Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I've always been untrusting of military and law enforcement, even our own, for that very reason. You just see and hear too many of these kinds of incidents. When you train these guys, give them weapons, etc., you're giving them an extreme amount of power, one that's very easy to overstep and abuse. On top of that, they're trained from the get-go to follow the orders of their superiors. When a superior, like a military dictator of a country like Burma, is telling them to beat and even shoot at innocent protesters, they're taught not to question or to follow their conscience, assuming that they have one.
But there is actually something you can do, and it isn't some impotent event like a candlelight vigil. As Michael from Brighton, England comments after the article:
About how we can probably expect out of this summit is for Bush to have his staff do "more research", like he has in the past.
The only caveat is that nearly half in the poll still think that there is a sharp divide in the scientific community over whether global warming is real. The scientific community decided long ago that global warming was a reality. The only few holdouts are likely funded by the oil industry.
But now, the phone companies are lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would give them immunity and protection from any penalties for breaking our privacy laws. Some of the lobbyists who work for the phone companies are part of the ever-spinning revolving door between government and business; one was an attorney general for Bush Sr., another was an assistant secretary of state, and on and on. There is pending legislation that was written by the Administration, providing blanket immunity to the telecom companies, as well as anyone in the Bush Administration.
The basis of granting immunity is that it's irrelevant that these companies engaged in illegal conduct, because Bush asked them to do it. Just read your Constitution and you'll know that that's hogwash.
For more, including contact information for your congressperson and senators, click here.
Anyway, thanks to Gamepolitics.com for this. I'll occasionally post on the unique events and situations that happen in Second Life. This afternoon, on the steps of the virtual Capital Hill in Second Life, former Speaker of the House and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke to a crowd of 50 avators. Things like this are just really cool. I see a lot of potential, especially for presidential candidates who want to get close to potential voters, in a way that just isn't possible in televised debates or 20,000 dollar a plate fund-raising dinners. And it's always a pleasure to hear Gingrich speak. While I don't agree with a fair deal of what he says, and think he was an utter hypocrite when it came to the Clinton scandal, he always makes valid points and you end up learning a lot.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
As you can tell from the lack of posts, I'm still really tied up, but hopefully things will slow down a bit in the next few days. BTW, check out the new Ben 'N Jerry's flavor, Dublin Mudslide. Really good shit.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I have to get up early tomorrow, so I now have to go to bed. Which sucks, because I really wanted to blog about the visit of the Iranian president to NYC. But I'm sure there are countless bloggers on that. Oh well, till next time.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
A couple of weeks ago on "Real Time", Bill Maher asked a New York Times reporter stationed in Baghdad a very interesting question; more or less, it went like this: What if Iraqis were asked the same question that Ronald Reagan asked of Americans in 1980, "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" I forget the man's answer, but if the plummeting housing prices and Iraqis being forced out of their homes by militias is anything to go by at all, I'd have to think that the answer to that question would be a resounding "no."
But for me, the worst part of this story is how it arose in the first place. This columnist, S. Renee Mitchell, was sent a photo by a friend of hers, and went hunting through the various Starbucks' in the area. Upon finding the one where it happened, she spoke to a few employees, and then grilled the manager, Hillary Barnes, on whether this was the right thing to do. This was fine, Mitchell certainly had a right to confront something that she felt was offensive. But, then writing about it, complete with explicit details of where it happened and who did it, and having it published, that wasn't cool. An employee at Starbucks isn't going to be able to defend him-or-herself from an attack in a major newspaper. Barnes wasn't going to be able to handle being Sharptoned, she doesn't have a huge nest-egg like Don Imus.
So sure enough, the manager was fired. But I'm not done. A month or so later, Mitchell wrote another story on Barnes. She visited Barnes' home, Barnes made coffee for her (if I'd just gotten someone fired from their job, I wouldn't drink their coffee). In the story that resulted, while showing sympathy for Hillary Barnes and stating that she should have a job, Mitchell takes no responsibility for having her fired in the first place. She calls on other people in the Portland area to help Hillary Barnes find work. But the only person who has the responsibility to help Barnes find a job, the person who should be devoting all her free time to this task, is S. Renee Mitchell. She made a mess out of Barnes' life, she should be the one cleaning it up.
Friday, September 21, 2007
I have a confession to make, one that might well cause me to lose a few visitors. For the most part, I loathe old people. They're rude, unpleasant, loud, and are generally a displeasure to be around. Of course, there are exceptions, but those are usually the kinds of emotions I feel when I'm around them. However, that doesn't compare with how I feel about them in terms of their influence in policy, and their general feelings and interests in terms of our nation's policies. What Liz puts so elequently here, that I am failing at right now, is that while old people are decrying "socialism" in health care, they have reaped the fruits of socialism for many years. Of course, I'm referring to Social Security and Medicare. Those programs are the very definition of "socialism." I'm in complete favor of these programs, and when I get old, I hope I'm well taken of with some form of safety net. But, I also would hope that I don't make others pay at my expense, in the form of fighting to deny these same benefits to others.
Seniors always have wanted to preserve their programs, while at the same time fighting to ensure that others' needs aren't met, hence meaning they'd have to sacrifice a little. But oh no, seniors can't have that. They've always been intent on taking from us, and giving nothing back. They rail against universal healthcare, but they're well taken care of. They own homes that they'll get to pass down to their children and grandchildren, while they're way out of reach for many people in my generation. They bitch about paying property taxes, and they gripe about an estate tax, but they think nothing of using their clout to cut programs in other areas, like school programs, for example. So, fuck them. Finally, off to the post:
Monday, September 17, 2007
Hillary, Barack, and John all have our health in the forefront of their campaigns. I have to tell you, though, I really find it hilarious that so many senior citizens are up in arms about all these "liberal democrat's ideas that are nothing but socialism!" Medicare and Social Security are the backbone of any socialist society, and yet American senior citizens just can't understand that. I've made reference before to the system and the uproar from those that are the most benefitted, but I feel that it is high time to truly understand this burden of respect and care that has been thrust upon the working class of America all in the name of tax laws, nationalism, and respect. In 1935, the young generation "respectfully" left the farm and said forget it. Since there was no one to take over the family business of farming, this young heady generation gladly paid a miniscule percentage of their city wages to support their aging country parents. The ratio was 16 workers to 1 recipient, and although the percentages have changed all the way around, many of those original working class are now and have been collecting for over 20 years. So, they should remember the fact that what they were paying in, was not for them to collect. Their parents collected what they contributed so they could go to town! Now, we come to the next generation which is also now collecting, because "they paid into it." Well, apparently "they" weren't listening in school or were absent that day. Social Security was never established for the payor to be building a personal retirement nest egg. Social Security was for the elderly without income, and that was when the work force outnumbered the collections. Then along came Johnson with his "Great Society" plans and medicare was added to the already lucritive pot of reward for living long enough to no longer have to contribute. With medicare added, now the simple formula of collecting 13 Social Security checks could multiply many times over, by extending the life expectancy of the average American. With medicare added, living 13 months after retirement, rapidly turned into 13 years, and beyond. But these people knew, they hadn't really contributed all that money and they knew what they had contributed had already been spent by the previous generation, and they knew they didn't have nearly the number of children that their parents had, and yet . . .
So now, these same people are up in arms because they are just sure that one of those democrats, if elected, plans to implement socialized medicine.
The way I see it, the big concern is not socialized medicine, because the seniors have had it for some time. I don't understand how so many of our nation's seniors can live by the benefits of history's democrats, yet donate and vote against the same political standard that brought so many of their benefits about. Are the senior citizens afraid that socialized medicine would mean they have to share their medicare rights with everyone?
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. New Testament
Over the years, particularly this past season, people have said that 24 has "jumped the shark" (term for reaching its peak and having a moment that leads to a significant and total decline). I have always found this laughable. But with this decision, 24 isn't merely in danger of jumping the shark, it might become the very definition of "jumping the shark". I feel it was a shitty idea to kill off Tony in the first place, it served no purpose other than some short-term shock value, but what's done should be done. Undoing the mistake can be worse than the mistake. I know you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief while being a loyal 24 viewer, but this might be too much.
Things are fine, despite the fact that I haven't posted 30 times yet this month, whereas I made it over a hundred last month. It's for a few reasons. Between reading this really hefty book, and watching Season 2 of Supernatural, and this new part-time job I have, my time is at a preninum. This is still far better than it was when I was working 50 hours a week, so I'm definitely not complaining. Things are actually going pretty well, all things considered. I'm enjoying this new job I have, it's a lot of work, but I work far less hours and get along very well with everyone there. As much as I value making lots of money and paying the bills that need to be paid, that isn't always a recipe for happiness. So while I'm busy planning my next move, this job is perfect. I filled out what's called a reactivation form since I'm returning to Suffolk Community College to take a program to be certified as a paralegal. Also, I applied to Smith Barney months ago for a position, and got a phone call from them today. So I'm wondering if I should try to see what I can make of this opportunity, or stay on course to be a paralegal.
Anyway, just wanted to let readers of the blog (hopefully there are a few) in the loop. I'm going to make a few more posts and get back to watching Supernatural.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
By the same token, it's of importance that an employer, no matter if it's employing 10 people or 100,000, treats its employees with respect and dignity, and makes their working environment one in which they look forward to being in every day. I'm a huge Starbucks guy, and while there are things I don't like about it, there are a lot of things they appear to do right, like giving health insurance to their employees and making them generally proud to be there. One of the blogs I visit regularly is the Starbucks Gossip blog, and many of the people who post there are Starbucks employees (mostly barristas); most of them love their jobs. I think that's a rarity when it comes to a large corporate outfit in the service industry. I haven't searched for, say, a McDonald's or Target employee blog, but if I were to, I don't think it would be too flattering of those respective companies. If I didn't already have a part-time job (hopefully, only until I finish my paralegal certification, which I might begin taking this winter), I think I'd be interested in trying out being behind a Starbucks counter, rather than in front of it.
Well, I'm off to the theater cause my brother wants to see The Brave One, that new Jodie Foster movie. I want to see Shoot-Em-Up but maybe next time. Later.
I agree with Steve B. in that we should let the free market be the free market. If a company fails, let them fall. Another company will just rise to the occasion, and hopefully do a better job.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
It's a very long game, with lots of missions. You also have to make money to buy "exotics" such as fast cars, boats, and furniture for your mansion. As someone who isn't that materialistic, I wasn't planning to use that feature often, but you have to to enhance your reputation level and get further in the game. The graphics are really good, beautiful in some places. I kind of think of sitting in front of the TV now, turning the game on, and just sending Tony to one of the beaches, with a drink in my hand, pretending I'm at the beach, LOL. Yeah, I'm really weird.
But yeah, it's an awesome feeling, since the game is so lengthy and some of the missions are really difficult. If you love the movie or GTA-type games, and haven't played this, you really should.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Thompson has finely-honed political skills. I thought waiting so long to declare his candidacy was an act of genius. Why come under scrutiny and be confined to fund-raising limits like the other candidates, when at the same time, you can go on the news and talk shows and use those as a platform? Then, and only when the time is right, declare your candidacy. I'm sure I won't like him in the White House, but I admire his astuteness.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Check it out here: http://www.gametrailers.com/screwattack.php
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
This is an image of what 24's DVD set cover could look like. I don't know whether it comes from a genuine source or is just something a fan created, but it looks fantastic. It'd win my favorite cover hands-down. I think I'll be pretty upset if Fox goes with another design.
I was hesitant to include this show after its sixth—and admittedly terrible—season. It's easy to forget, though, how new and bracing the format that's now routine once was. Created before Sept. 11 and debuted just weeks after, 24 captured the country's edgy mood, and not just because it was about terrorism. With its breathless real-time format and multi-screens, 24 reflects the same information-overload media culture that gave us the zipper and screens-within-screens on cable news. The computers work a little too efficiently, the LA traffic is suspiciously light and Jack Bauer never has to take a leak, but Kiefer Sutherland gives Bauer psychological weight in the most outlandish situations, racing against a ticking clock that tolls for us.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Anyway, I got this from Newsday. Nassau County had their own kind of a "To Catch a Predator" like sting operation, and they busted 21 people. Thankfully, Newsday spares us the sanctimonious crap of it being "entrapment", that it wasn't the pervert's fault, etc. We just get a solid news story about 21 sick people being brought to justice. Until next time..
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Also, "care packages" that were organized by another Christian group for transport to our troops in Iraq, and that included Christian-themed goods, as well as a copy of the video game "Left Behind" (based on the end-of-times themed Biblical apocalypse books) in which Christian soldiers must convert and hunt down non-Christians. Thankfully, this was made public in the nick of time, and the U.S. Army won't be sending these packages.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
However, I have a few questions and thoughts:
1) Why the outcry and ceaseless pressure from many in his own party for Larry Craig to step down and retire, when one of his colleagues, Sen. Vitter, didn't get the same treatment for a similar transgression? Although this wasn't a police matter, it came out that Vitter was having sex with prostitutes, according to the diary of some well-known madam in Washington. Vitter, like Craig, was also married. This didn't happen long ago, a few months, but while it was a scandal, it was nowhere on the scale of this, and not too many people on the GOP side of the aisle were pressuring Vitter to resign. It's probably because Vitter was a bit more, should we say, "traditional" in his methods of extramartial affairs. He didn't make the mistake of going on the wild side and cruise for men, unlike the unfortunate Larry Craig.
2) Also, this "sting" took place in a public bathroom, that happened to be in an airport in Minnesota. Now, in the wake of 9/11, the only business a police officer or any member of law enforcement has in a public bathroom located in an airport, is to do either #1 or #2. It's been almost six years, but as a result of the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq, and in a climate where we're hated by many, especially Muslims, our law enforcement must be vigilant and keep on the ball, and watch out for any who could do us harm. Catching gay men having sex in bathroom stalls should be pretty much at the bottom of their list of priorities. Who's in charge of the Minnesota Police Department, Ashcroft?
Also, there's a new television series coming up that takes place in New Orleans, and is also filmed on location. It's called "K-Ville." I saw the pilot episode yesterday, it's a pretty good buddy-cop action drama. Hopefully, amidst the gunfights and explosions, there'll also be room for some examination and social commentary of the post-Katrina recovery. I find it'll be a worthwhile program, only because it's being filmed in New Orleans, providing jobs and a much-needed boost to the economy there. Hopefully Fox will give it a real chance to succeed, rather than pull it too quickly, which is what they do with a lot of shows.
You can watch the pilot episode here.