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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Poker!

Yesterday I decided to trek out to the "San Manuel Casino," which is a mere 35 minutes from my house. I found it to be a gorgeous place. Naturally I sat at the poker tables, and sat at a 3/6 table. (Unfortunately, no "No Limit" tables at this place.) In the space of 2 hours I raked in $201. Nice way to end the year. :)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Heck of a job, Bushie

A great column from the NYT's Paul Krugman. I'm posting this blogger's version of it because the NYT requires a log in to read the full text.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The EFF on Wire-Tapping

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has just released their newsletter, and has this to say about Bush's illegal wire-tapping: _________________________________ * Action Alert: Demand Congress Investigate Illegal Wiretapping! In last week's EFFector, we pointed you to the New York Times' report that President Bush personally authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to wiretap the international phone and email communications of people within the US -- without getting search warrants. We've gotten several inquiries from people wondering what EFF thinks about this and whether we plan on suing anyone. The short answer is that we think the newly-revealed NSA wiretapping is completely illegal, violating both the Fourth Amendment and criminal statutes that prohibit unauthorized electronic surveillance. However, without a client who has actually been spied on as part of the NSA program, it is possible that neither we nor anyone else will be able to bring a civil lawsuit. There's still the possibility of a criminal prosecution, but the Attorney General has argued that the wiretapping is legal and clearly doesn't plan on pursuing a criminal investigation, The White House has made it clear that it intends to continue the wiretapping program. So what can be done? The most important step now is to make sure that Congress holds full hearings on the matter and gets to the bottom of this illegal scheme to invade Americans' privacy. Such hearings may generate enough political pressure to force Attorney General Gonzales to appoint a special prosecutor, who would be authorized to conduct an independent investigation and bring criminal charges against those who violated the law. There's already some bipartisan support in Congress for hearings after the holiday recess, but we could use your help to ensure that those hearings actually happen. So visit our Action Center today to send a message to Congress showing your support for hearings and your opposition to illegal eavesdropping by the NSA. Contact Congress via our Action Center Original New York Times coverage Security expert Bruce Schneier gives a knowledgeable roundup

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Movies

I saw "The Corporation," a documentary that will scare the shit out of you. I recommend it. Then I saw "King Kong," and I'm not sure I can express how awful I thought this movie was. It's not the worst movie I've ever seen by any stretch, but if you were to average out the number of minutes I sat doing one of the following: a) grimacing b) laughing inappropriately c) looking at the time d) wishing I was somewhere else, or e) thinking, "that's preposterous" then King Kong would rank as the worst by the sheer number of minutes spent wasted. Peter Jackson did well with the LOTR trilogy, but with this film he confused the word "spectacle" with "spectacular." My threshold of disbelief cannot be held at bay merely the perfection of special effects. You have to bear in mind things like human motivation, logic, and scientific rationale. Things like ... a gigantic ape can run at full-speed with a waif hanging half-out of his left hand without accidentally killing her. This is only one example. There are more. Avoid it unless you're an ape fiend.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Going Full-Tilt

Pardon me while I rant. I'm probably going to apologize for this tomorrow, but tonight I am really really mad. George W. Macarthey has gone too far. He mocks the law. He mocks our liberties. He mocks the truth. He lies us into his own pet war. He tortures people he doesn't like. Then when he gets caught he sets up secret prisons so he can torture people THERE. And he won't admit it even though it's true. And now he's been caught with his hand in the wire-tap jar, and he gets MAD at the people who leaked the story. What gall. By cloaking it in the sanctity of "fighting terrorism," George W. Macarthy has decided that it was okay for him to bypass the courts in order to snoop on American phones and e-mail. The courts, you see, were an inconvenience. But it's okay, this completely unilateral decision by the White House won't ever be abused. Right. Here's a wake-up call to the Democrats. Ten years ago your president was fucking IMPEACHED because he diddled an intern. And you sit and watch this man dismantle our wonderful country without impeaching him in kind. Hell, he should be arrested! What the hell does it take to bring this despot down? It's no wonder that Americans don't vote for you. You are pussies, afraid of your own shadows. Where is your spine? How the hell can we expect you to stand up to terrorists when you cow to a president who is so fully out of control that you should be frothing-at-the-mouth, Spitting, fucking out-of-control MAD. LIKE ME!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Nice Holiday News

I'm semi-out-of-the-loop regarding what is pop news, but this one caught my eye so I thought I'd share in case you haven't heard: A mother actually had the presense of mind to throw her one-month-old baby from a 3rd story window when her building was on fire. (How many mothers could actually do that?) The baby was caught by a kind gentleman on the ground, who gave the baby mouth-to-mouth. Everyone is now fine. The catcher risked litigation if he dropped the baby. Cooler heads prevailed here. Happy Holidays. :)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Meme tag

Dag nabbit. I'm behind on my blogging, and saw that someone tagged me with a meme TWO MONTHS ago. Here are the results: 1: Technology Companies manipulate the pace of change in order to maximize profits. Here are the rules: 1. Go into your archive. 2. Find your 23rd post. 3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to). 4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions. 5. Tag five other people to do the same. I tag the following five who may very well be the only five readers I have): HizzleThizzle, Carol, Lisa, Patriotboy (who I'm pretty sure doesn't read this blog), and ... was that five? I will stop there.

Governor Arnold ...

If you're reading this (and you know you are)please give Tookie Williams clemency. That is all. UPDATE: He didn't listen to me. :(

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm a Guest Poster!

It just makes your day when you're a guest poster on a blog that you *really really* admire. that would be "So Cal Progressives." I labored for the longest time to come up with a pun that attached the "Gulag Archipelago" with the good ol' USA, and came up with "The Red-White-and-Bluelag Archipelago." I loved it at first. Now I realize it is totally lame. But, hey. I'm on the coolest blog in So Cal. :) You can read the rest here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Newsflash

Jesus has co-opted the Christian strategy of consumerism by bringing us a reminder of his life, by presenting the world with a Funyun in the shape of his Mother Mary holding the Baby Jesus. Hallelujah!

Putting the "Oh Christ!" Back in Christmas

Deja vu. Christians are in an uproar over the blandification of their biggest holiday. I would normally roll my eyes because I just don't care, but this time I'm getting a little twitchy. The following quote from ABCNews says it all: Christian conservatives say retailers should proudly play up Christmas even if some non-Christian customers are alienated. "Tough luck," said Donald Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association. "This is an overwhelmingly Christian country." ____________________ The recent religio-political climate in this country has, as we all know, divided us more than we've been divided in a long time. Sadly, the great "unifier" in the United States is our actual religion, which is consumerism. However the religious right is trying to absorb the tenets of consumerism into their religion, and trying to make Target (for example) play by Christian rules. It's possible that Christians know down deep in their hearts that they have lost the battle for American souls. Because instead of finding a nugget of joy in knowing that Jesus has saved us from eternal damnation, we instead opted to find our nugget of joy in the new bean bag sit-up chair we just got at Sears. Damn, she's a beaut! So Christians, who don't want to admit defeat, are simply changing the internal workings of their religion, and attaching themselves to consumerism. Since consumerism is the winner, they want to see the word "Christ" in red twinkle-lights over the frozen foods aisle. Apparently, the words "Happy Holidays" symbolize their defeat. This move is even more clever than the Intelligent Design move. Because really, no one cares about evolution. But people do care about the fact that Target has fuzzy bathroom carpets on sale for $5.99. I have four things to say: 1. If Christians really want to pee in their own coffee, they may. 2. If Christians think that they are going to make turn America into "Jesus Country" they will eventually create the American Civil War II. Please reconsider. 3. If "WalMart" wants to rename itself "Jesus Christ Superstore" they may. That's their right. I'll shop at Costco anyway. 4. Psssst. Retailers. If any of you come out saying that you will NOT have holiday decorations, and NOT pipe in Christmas music in order to transfer those costs to lower prices, I will shop at your stores, I promise!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Chilling Effect

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second-ranking House Democratic leader, have recently implied that outspoken Democrats might be risking re-election by speaking out against the war in Iraq. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is advocating a quick pullout of Iraq. Additionally, Howard Dean recently said, ""the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." It takes huevos to take these stands, and I applaud them both for being rare, straight-shooting politicians Reflexively, Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer, who both have suspiciously odd names, are clearly part of the problem and not part of the solution. They think Pelosi and Dean should pipe down. They favor a more passive strategy, which is clearly one based on fear of the Republicans' current mastery of framing an argument. Is it logical to say that because Howard Dean is soft on the war in Iraq he is therefore soft on defense, or would falter in a justifiable war? No it is not logical. Will the Republicans try to spin it that way? Of course they will. Should the Democrats therefore bow their heads, cower to the Neo-Cons, and zip their mouths in order to keep hope of re-election alive? FUCK NO! Emanuel and Hoyer need to grow some balls! When the Republicans claim that Dean is soft on Defense, the Dems need to give the Neo-Cons both barrels by claiming that they are using the chilling effect to exact their agenda, and that the Neo-Cons fear criticism because their policies are grossly flawed. We know that American voters are idiots, and may not understand this. So say it with a tone of voice says you know what you are talking about. Do it with flourish, and the voters will nod and smile. Then create a commercial where republican wolverines are tearing apart the Bible or something. But don't be a pussy please. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

And now for something Really Important

Cats. That's right cats plural. You see, Gayle has finally moved all the rest of her stuff into my house including one 15-year-old tabby named Scallywag. As some of you know, I already had a cat named Frida. Here's a comparison of Frida and Scallywag: Frida: Extremely obese Scallywag: underweight Frida: Female (fixed) Scallywag: male (raging) Frida: Recessive Scallywag: dominant Frida: Scared of everything Scallywag: Fears no thing and no one. Frida: Insecure Scallywag: Cocky Frida: Sweet mewling meow Scallywag: Short-circuited Foghorn meow Frida: Never fought anything. Always runs. Scallywag: Has fought and beaten cats, dogs, raccoons, probably even larger animals. When introducing these two, I was expecting a lot of hissing, spraying, pissing, fighting, etc. But believe it or not it hasn't been that bad. Scallywag has been very respectful of Frida (while not afraid of her). Frida is still not letting Scallywag get close without a hiss, but that's been the extent of it. I can see that eventually they will be friends. Soon I'll show you a picture of the two of them snuggling.

National Call-In Day: End the War

Thanks to So Cal Grassroots for this tip. Today congress is reconvening. So several groups have organized a "National Call-In Day." The point is to call your congressman and ask him to end the war in Iraq. Get the info you need right here. Have an active day. :)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Furthermore

To add insult to injury on our journey to becoming a more progressive nation, we just executed our 1,000th prisoner since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. That's roughly one state-sponsored killing every 10 days. I encourage everyone to watch "The Decalogue" particularly episode five, which represents the 5th commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Polish Director Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski shows how a brutal, senseless murder is not made aright by the state brutally and senselessly murdering the criminal. And that's just the emotional argument. The logical one is that we have put the wrong people to death on many occasions. And if we actually put to death enough criminals for the death penalty to become a deterrent, we would kill even more innocent people. Bad idea. Lock 'em up, and throw away the key. But state-sponsored murder is expensive, immoral, not a deterrent, and in the words of Jesus, will result in a toothless and eyeless world.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

WHoooosh!

What was that sound? That was the sound of another country blowing past us in the race to become the most progressive nation on earth. What nation was it? Surprise! South Africa! They've just legalized same-sex marriage. We're now lagging behind a country that just a few years ago was in the throes of rampant racism. Na-na-nah-nah ... na-na-NAH-NAH ... HEY HEY HEY ... goodbye.

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