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2014-09-13      The Fate of the Senate   

Much recent electronic ink has been spilled in recent days on the possibility of the Democrats retaining the Senate in the 2014 election. It will not happen. Money talks, and the Citizens United decision means those with money can effectively drown out the voices of the filthy peasants. To be fair, each dollar in bribe money has a return on investment of hundreds or thousands of dollars, so it makes good business sense. And since "corporations are people" ...

2014-09-11      So It's 9/11 Again   

I have but one thought on the subject.

To all of you that spent the months and years after a single terrorist incident shitting your pants or, more importantly, enticing others to shit their pants at the merest mention of swarthy persons of a certain ... type:

Take heart. You and your ilk are only the second most pathetic, miserably, barrel scrapings on the planet. The most pathetic are those poor wretches that carry out the tasks your kind are too chickenshit to carry out yourselves.

Fear not. So long as the most powerful profit so greatly on the willingness of the oppressed to accept the claims of their oppressors that a third party is responsible. Then a cozy relationship develops between the "enemy" organizations, wherein each profits from the attacks of the other for propaganda purposes.

You have a long and bountiful future ahead. So sail on, malevolent parasites. Sail on.

2014-09-08      Quit Using Our Words   

Often I hear a drooling political prostitute use the vernacular of science for moron-baiting purposes. Among the techno-babble words recently acquired by the anti-intelligentsia is "optics."

The book on optics (Opticks, as he wrote it) was written by Newton himself. Optics is the science of light. "The way morons will see it, if properly guided by my propaganda" is not functionally equivalent. Is it that the words "perception" and "appearance" have too many syllables? Optics is a fairly narrow area of study. I mean that it is very specific, though many would argue that its vast and growing set of applications shouldn't be called narrow. Screw those guys. Within the field, the word "optics," when not applied to the field itself, generally refers to items such as filters, lenses, and mirrors. In what way is this similar to "appearance?"

But I guess it sounds educated to the sorts of people that prefer the airheads who deliver their daily dose of bovine excreta to sound smart.

It beats having to listen to actual smart people who will almost certainly disagree with their preferred delusions, I suppose.

2014-09-06      When "Idiot" is an Acceptable Political Persona   

I don't think it would be particularly controversial to call George Bush, Jr. somewhat less than brilliant. But the odd thing about him is that he felt compelled to act dumber that he actually was. He was smart enough to stumble through Ivy League schools, which implies he was at least above-average. But he put on a silly "poor ol' Texas boy what ain't got no fancy city-boy edgy-cation" affectation.

Now your average doctor can excuse Bush, Jr. by telling himself, "The 'Good Ol' Boy' shtick is for the rubes, Bush, Jr. has actually had a quality education. He's just using it to get elected, whereafter he will spend his rare work hours pushing through laws designed to transfer wealth from the filth to the deserving rich."

Fair enough. But to what else does this sort of play-acting give rise?

Obviously oblivious morons like Christine O'Donnell and the clearly deranged Michele Bachmann come to mind. Today, I saw a quote from Representative Joe Barton (R-TX): "Wind is a finite resource and harnessing it would slow the winds down which would cause temperatures to go up."

Faux morons like Bush, Jr. give rise to real morons like Joe Barton.

2014-09-03      Legislate on Snake Oil   

Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) form a potent coalition defending the impotent concoctions of the snake oil industry.

I understand that the purveyors of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM, for short) have always had a friendly ear in Congress. That is, a friendly pocket. In addition to those individuals, the recent fashion of acting the part of quasi-Libertarian kook has taken the lower house by storm. Among the numerous incongruous ideas that Antiregulators blather about is that all regulation is bad. In particular, regulation with the potential to cut into the profits of decent wealtho-Americans is simply unacceptable. Clean water and a safe work environment are only the tip of the iceberg of disasters waiting to befall those who would let down their guard.

In such an environment, then, I would take a step with which the anti-governmentarians couldn't reasonably take issue. Granted, reason is hardly a disqualifying factor for producing excremental arguments on the basis of "Freedom! Or something."

My proposal is this: any treatment that the FDA does not currently look at may continue to receive the preferential status it currently enjoys as a "health supplement." But the poultice, potion, or tincture of [insert natural or mysterious sounding name here] would be clearly labeled as a "Quack Medicine." As well, physicians would be required by law to report any noted effects suspected to be the result of quack concoctions. Ironically, some quack medicines which purport to contain minuscule doses of the ichor of exotic plant or animal parts would actually lose their preferred status as a true quack medicine if the mixture were found to actually contain any of the substance.

I used to give my child colic pills that proved effective. I was shocked to see that the pills were supposedly homeopathic. They were similar to antacid tablets, in their chalky consistency. They felt similar in the mouth as well. The non-scientific conclusion would be that the producer was using an actual effective treatment, but bypassing any quality control or other FDA regulations by slapping on a nonsense label.

Just a thought that will never come to fruition so long as quackery is so damned profitable...

2014-09-02      Excerpt from The Battle of Shiloh: Personal Recollections from Generals to Privates   

A year or two ago, I listed to an audio book called "The Battle of Shiloh: Personal Recollections from Generals to Privates." What struck me most, oddly, came in the last few minutes. Describing a reunion taking place nearly a half century after the epic battle, two former soldiers, one from each side, gave the closing speeches at the Sunday service:

After many a joke and story of the battle, the people adjourned to the church for services, the church being filled.

General Basil Duke, one of the Shiloh Park Commissioners, gave a fine address, giving his experience in the Battle of Shiloh where he was wounded. He was in Morgan's command of the Confederate Army. Among other things, he said, "We fought in the Civil War for the cause we thought was right. We believed the rights given to us under the Constitution were being taken away from us.And you must admit that our love for our homes and property is as dear to us of the South as it is to you of the North.The people of the North believed that to divide the United States would destroy this nation. Time has proved under the providence of God that the judgement of the North was correct.For had we succeeded in establishing the Confederate States of America, no doubt later on other states would have felt aggrieved on some question and would have seceded and in time, had our cause won, this nation would have been divided into a great many small principalities governing themselves. Now the issues for the will of this great nation are as dear to us of the South as you of the North. General Duke closed his address by saying that, "we all rejoice at the fraternal feelings now existing between the North and the South and hope that ever these bonds of love and goodwill between us may grow and cement us together, stronger and stronger. And we shall continue to prosper and enjoy the rights and privileges of this great nation."

W. F. Crummer of Chicago Illinois, on behalf of the boys in blue and their friends responded, contrasting the scenes of forty seven years ago with those of today. He said in part, "It was a beautiful Sabbath morning, April 6th, 1862. The birds were singing among the trees, and nature was putting forth her verdure of green when suddenly the boom of cannon, the shrieking of shells and the rattle of musketry heralded the beginning of one of the most terrible battles of the Civil War. I will not take the time to relate all my experiences of that battle, but simply say this: that when on Monday evening, we had regained our camp, we found a few Sibly tents all riddles with shot and shell and while you ex-Confederates here had possession of our camp, you took my knapsack, my blanket, the Testament my mother gave me, which I hope you read and profited thereby. You are welcome to that. But one thing you took made me feel badly and that was the picture of the girl I left behind. And I am here today to ask you to return that picture. The scene of that awful field of carnage and bloodshed changes, Today, after forty seven years have rolled by, the birds are singing in the trees and nature is putting forth its green as then. And all is peaceful. And instead of cannons and bullets greeting us, you meet us with open hands and extend to us a cordial greeting and your boundless hospitality. Our hearts are moved and we thank you most heartily. We rejoice with you that today we know no North or South or East or West, but one country reunited country with one flag and one nation, the grandest nation on the Earth. We trust that we shall always remain a happy and prosperous people, both North and South working together for the good of the entire country. ..."
I find it interesting that those who actually witnessed the spilling of blood, including their own, were able to come together afterwards. But with the Southern Strategy, Nixon was able to dredge up the vestiges of "Lost Cause" mythos and its accompanying racism to achieve the phenomenal success of duping the victims of economic attack into supporting the same economic attack by covering it in a veneer of "States' Rights" along with a gentle wink and nudge and whispered reference to "those people."

2014-08-31      "Mixed"   

An Asian acquaintance recently mentioned the appalling lack of Asian representation in polls regarding race. My first thought was that that is terrible. But next, I wondered why "mixed race" is an option in so few government forms. This, despite the explosion in "mixed race" citizens that has occurred in each of the last two places I have lived. For that matter, I know that my last previous home and current home (Hawaii and New Mexico) are both non-majority-white states. I'm interested in finding out more on these statistics, but the Census Bureau doesn't seem particularly interested in this growing trend. Odd.

2014-08-28      Recent Twitter Stuff   

Twitter is interesting in that most of it is mindless garbage. Occasionally, however, I add to the festering pile. A selection of my recent contributions:


  • There's a reason most people are loath to leave their children unattended around gun nuts.


  • Ronald Reagan died for your sins. Repent, liberal!


  • At press conferences, sartorial choices are far worse than, say, using disproven reports as justification to invade a country.


  • If a corporation is a person and it possesses a fundamental inability to feel empathy or remorse, isn't it a psychopath?


  • In my state, 'alleged manhandling' isn't a 'summary execution' offense.


  • If Obama had a pretend ranch, RWNJs would call him a poser and not a real cowboy like terrified-of-horses Bush Jr.


  • If the computer evolved from the calculator, why are there still cash registers?


  • I thought the armed wing of the John Birch Society called themselves the "Tea Party."


  • The human brain only uses 10% of it gullibility inhibitor.


  • It sounds like the Socialist Takers don't even want the US to become a tax-free capitalist paradise like Somalia.


  • It's telling that only three of the last three US Presidents are known to have smoked pot.


  • Tea Party 1773: "No taxation without representation!" Teap Party 2009: " No taxation if the guy I voted for lost!"



And, regarding the inexplicably "hero-to-anti-government-loons" pile of excrement Snowden:


  • I'm so old I remember when stealing secret documents and absconding to Russia was considered espionage.



I remember a word for people who require a mere 140 characters to express themselves, but what was it?

Oh, right. Simpletons.

2014-08-27      A First in Software Purchases   

Perhaps I have reached old-fuddy-duddy-hood. Or perhaps being on the downward slope on the "years remaining" hill has altered my view on these things. I spent several hours yesterday evening attempting to purchase some software. As is often the case these days, one must create an account. To create an account, enter a value in each box. An appropriate value (say, "John" for "First Name") will result in a green check mark next to said box. Alternatively, a red "X" indicates an error. So once each box has a green check mark, you hit the "Create Account" button.

Each of the first several dozen attempts (not exaggerating) resulted in the message: "There was an error in creating your account. Please try again."

Really. That was the extent of the message. Randomly iterating through combinations of several email accounts, varying passwords such that each meets the stated standards, and changing Username each time, I eventually succeeded. This was after no less than 30 attempts. Actually, the number may have been closer to one hundred, as it took me from about seven at night to probably eleven.

I then spent time last night and this afternoon into the evening downloading the software. Apparently, the fact that many people get IP addresses dynamically is a secret to the developers, since each new IP address triggers an anti-fraud protection. This requires typing a code received by email. So I had to retrieve a new passcode from an email address I never use each time I was spontaneously kicked during the download process.

This morning, I attempted to continue the process, but the log in page showed that the servers were all down.

So this afternoon, I finished the process in a mere three hours. When the download finally completed, I hit the "Play" button.

A cinematic appeared. Actually, half a cinematic appeared. My monitor showed a lovely animation in the upper left hand portion. The bottom right hand portion of the screen, however, was black. A line from the top right corner to the bottom right corner separated the visible animation from a black screen. I imagine that was not intentional. After the cinematic played (or half played), a log in screen appeared. This came despite the fact that I had arrived at this screen from a place that had already required the user to be logged in.

Attempting to log in prompted the message that there was no account associated with the email address and password I had used (that I never wanted to use in the first place). After submitting a support ticket, I received a response stating that I had not done some additional step about which I had never been informed. Assuming this instruction was among the 18 emails I have received so far, I don't care. I decided that the level of effort required was beyond what I was willing to put in.

I asked for a refund.

2014-08-18      Loon Funders   

The sources of funding for right wing nuttery seems infinite. Much of this cash is aimed at organizations that are primarily or at least overtly religious. Not just religious, but crazy religious. By that, I mean religion of the "Science is the work of the Devil!" variety. Yet those providing these funds seem to be mostly secularists. In fact, the key aim of these people appears to be just to convince the rubes to support the sorts of policies used to shackle the same rubes. Is it evil to use racism and intelligible-only-to-morons-who-don't-understand-the-tenets-of-the-religion-to-which-they-claim-to-adhere religious arguments to convince the downtrodden to support their own downtreading, as long as some other group bears a more severe downtreading?

Probably.

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