Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Maybe their love of animals will make them reconsider.

Article here.

We all know the exalted status animals have in the eyes of the public (at least the segment that makes themselves heard). So, why not take a "compassionate" conservative (if you can read or write that without snickering you need to replace your irony module) play and stop appealing to logic and commonsense. We all know they want to build a 700 mile fence along a 2100 mile barrier (um... what?), and the Great Wall DID NOT stop China from being invaded (just couldn't compete with the wonders of mammal technology).

So lets tell 'em to do it for the animals. Create one of those wonderful 'wedge issues' and call the fence builders anti-animal and such.

It's working against Vick...

More bittersweet tales from the cradle of Humanity.

No, I'm not going to argue with you if you think that people were magically placed on this world and built up the population through incest.

Kenyan Farmers’ Fate Caught Up in U.S. Aid Rules
Published: July 31, 2007
A small change in American legislation could allow the U.S. to buy food in Africa to feed the famished there.

Article here.

More proof against that lazy African myth. These people died while they built their own infrastructure. I am proud of their achievement and pissed off that one of the biggest obstacles they had to overcome was caused by a bureaucratic technicality mostly caused by U.S. people demanding to turn a profit on corn that we (U.S. taxpayers) helped them grow in the first place. What is this obsession with something for nothing? They did what you asked, and you still found a way to punish them for it.

I'm glad they got it together and can help people even worse off than they are. I bet you they don't have some arcane system for their charity; probably, 'oh you need food, here you go'.

The article writer did a good job so I don't really have more to add. I do like the usage of the fish parable. Too bad people here resist this common sense as if the parable instead stated, "Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day; set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life".

How hard is it to realize if you help people get their own, then at some point you won't have to help them (in that way) anymore.

Unless of course, it benefits you to have people unable to do for themselves...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The more it seems different, the more it stays the same.

Premier’s Party Suffers Big Defeat in Japan
Published: July 29, 2007
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that he would not step down after his Liberal Democratic Party was routed today in elections.

Article here.

Apparently part two of my "they're just like us" foreign government tour.

You can see part one here.

You'd have to be armless with a degenerative nervous condition to not be able to draw the parallels here. Let's go through some anyway.

Formely popular head of government, check.

Party to which he belongs loses long held legislative majority, check.

Enacted over reaching programs to combat non-existent problems in schools, check.

Militaristic ambition, check.

Bucks time worn traditions regarding failure, check

Gutted national retirement fund, check.

Attempt to swindle people with electronic voting, check.

As an aside, even the Japanese, who make voting machines for other countries and have a history of adroitness with all things technological, have an aversion to using voting machines in national elections.

Pursuit of nationalist agenda, check.

Let's talk about patriotism and nationalism for a minute. Most people would think that they are synonyms, and those people would be wrong. A patriot, as you will note in the definitions linked, is defined by love and defense of his country and individual rights. A nationalist, as you will see in the definitions linked, is defined by a support of strong central government and promotion of the nation over the rest of the world's interests (it's also interesting to note that it is an obsolete usage of patriot.

I'm a patriot, not a nationalist. Nationalism smacks and reeks of facism (e.g. the National Socialist German Workers Party [Nazi]).

Who's ever heard of a fascist democracy?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It seems like we're running headlong into the Dark Ages.

Certain Degrees Now Cost More at Public Universities
Published: July 29, 2007

School officials admit they are queasy about a practice that appears to value one discipline over another.

Article here

Now I happen to like the apprentice system for many fields of endeavor, but the modern educational system is based on the idea that education for it's own sake is a good
thing. You don't go to school to get a job, you go to school to learn. Of course, that idea, as so many others, has been co-opted by the Profit Motive (no I'm not a communist you simple minded label spewing fool).

I'm about to go back to school (really couldn't afford it the first go round [probably still can't]) and I know I am hyper sensitized to any cost. Now on top of all the other opportunity costs I have to weigh if my major is too (potentially) lucrative for me to afford to study it. Anybody besides me thinking of the Mascot chapter in the Autobiography of Malcolm X where Mr. Ostrowski says:

"Malcolm, one of life's first needs is for us to be realistic. Don't misunderstand me, now. We all here like you, you know that. But you've got to be realistic about being a nigger. A lawyer -- that's no realistic goal for a nigger. You need to think about something you 'can' be. You're good with your hands--making things. Everybody admires your carpentry shop work. Why don't you plan on carpentry? People like you as a person -- you'd get all kinds of work."

Now replace that word nigger with the phrase 'poor person'. In the good 'ol U. S. of A., where people used to come because they knew they'd be leaving the strict class structures of the Old World behind them, we now functionally limit not only what you can actually do by your resource access, but also what you can know.

All you need now is the ongoing collapse of 'Net Neutrality' to reach it's conclusion and then you'll have a system where you have to indenture yourself just to get the opportunity to better yourself by indenturing yourself some more. You remember how people who wanted to learn how to read had to basically join a monastery or be born into the nobility. I'll let you sit back and contemplate all the achievements during that period of history... 1... 2... 3... ok you're done.

It's easy to deride the phrase 'knowledge is power', but all throughout history the people 'in the know' ran everybody else. A flawed counter argument might run along the lines that scientists and other educated folk work for the people who have money. This is true, but keep going; ask and answer the question 'what is money'? It is a TOOL used to represent worth in trade. What does it represent? Well really, nothing. It used to at least be worth gold, which has always been pretty much tradeable to any non-starving non-thirsty human for something else, but it's not even that now. Now who controls the money? Not you, not me, not even the government, really. It's mostly rich people born into already wealthy families who have, over time LEARNED, how to manipulate the system and build a positive feedback cycle the sustains and enriches them. It sounds just like the concept of nobility, right? Bloodlines controlling massive conglomerations of capital. Meet your new princes and princesses. It's a nobility built on the understanding of shaping of finance, their knowledge empowered them.

How would knowledge help you here? A good question because at this point it would essentially take everyone turning their back on currency as we know it. Sounds easier to go along to get along, that's fine as long as you willingly choose to enrich others with your labor. You could go radical and go, 'off the grid', demand to be compensated in trade, or try to vote to get your country to take control of it's own finances. The thing is if enough people take any option other than the status quo the system would have to change, at very least forcing the vultures to learn new rules to manipulate. Even a minimalist cynic can see if properly manipulated this could be your window to break through to their side of the equation. That's real capitalism. King of the mountain being played and won by the hungriest and most capable, not this slow dance of upward accumulation to which we're all currently yoked.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The banality of evil.

Article here.

I know what they are doing, kicking people off of voter rolls. By people I mean people who realize that republican government tends to fuck up their lives and livelihoods. When you read the 'back and forth' in the e-mails you realize it isn't some white and crimson caped individuals in a field of burning crosses. It's just Bob the middle manager processing some data. It's all so ho hum. A countrywide hijacking of folks voting rights handled like a seasonal merchandising campaign. All the death, sweat and blood of revolution undone by a listserv.

I think that's why white collar crime, even though it tends to be more destructive, is just overlooked by everyone. It's not dramatic enough. Kevin shoots up a corner store and makes off with $47, it's splashed all over the local news like the Next Coming. Mark embezzles $47 million from a pension fund and you'd be lucky to see it on page one and even then it'd probably only warrant a single column under the local team's box score.

People tell me the the masses don't think abstractly. My question is what in the hell is so abstract about your right to vote or how your tax money is spent? Why wouldn't you care? That is some abstract, no fuck that, that's some alien shit to me. Individuals determine what their interests are, so if you don't care about the sheer amount of money being spent (or should I say wasted) in Iraq it's not because Iraq is abstract it's because you don't care.

No, I'm not an elitist. I don't think I'm better than you because I care. I think everybody cares, but they care about themselves more. Honestly, I care more about myself than about some other person I never met. I also realize since we all live here and share the same basic language, laws and taxes (unless you're rich, and in that case you're not really the target audience anyway) what effects you will ultimately affect me. It costs me to have you over in Iraq, it costs me when you come back maladjusted to society, it costs me to pay your Veteran's benefits. If I care about me (which I do), I have to care about you. This pretty much goes for everybody.

Some dogs may or may not have died due to Vick's involvement, and while this does cost me, it doesn't cost me umpteen BILLION dollars, so my focus isn't there.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can you say, "Press Gang"?

First of all, a bit of history...

Company homepage

I think we should table the 'War on Drugs', not because of it's wasteful ineffectiveness, but to stock our growing prison/industrial complex with fresh trained talent from the private sector. Really, why hold yourselves back? With the influx of credentialed individuals you could greatly diversify your business presence. No longer limited to general labor, you could move out into corporate espionage, insider trading, pseudo-legal racketeering and money laundering, etc... The sky is the limit, but only if you get them prosecuted. Act now! Don't be the first prison to miss out on this veritable smörgåsbord of elite criminalized talent.

Remember that?

Simpsons win over Kenyan carvers
The Simpson carvings alongside plastic models of the characters

By Muliro Telewa
BBC News, western Kenya

A group of carvers in western Kenya are looking forward to the first Simpsons movie hitting big screens around the world, even though they are unlikely to see it.


I have an interest in Kenyan news (as I was given this name by my Kikuyu friend).

I really posted this here to illustrate what 'soft power' is. The United States used to possess a silly ridiculous amount of the world's soft power, especially after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Our idiots in charge can't comprehend that we already had what they wanted; we were relatively secure and had the ability to influence world events in our favor.

What we didn't export physically was more than compensated by our worldwide cultural imperialism. I used to joke in the late great 90's that the U.S. found the perfect form of imperialism, we import the world's cultural raw materials, repackage it with a shiny U.S. wrapper and sell it back to everybody. People don't often fight against what they demand, we weren't (for the most part) forcing ourselves on anyone, if you didn't want our products, you didn't buy them. No rebellions, colonial administration or other hassles.

We could've 'got in' even better with the world community post 9/11, we had their sympathy; U.S. related memorabilia could've flown off of the shelves. Unfortunately a calculated perfect storm of nepotism had occurred and we had another Bush in the White House. Instead of running with the potential windfall they sculpted it in that peculiar corporate shortsighted way to maximize profits without a thought for the context in which those profits are created or if said profits are even sustainable.

I want them (and the corporations they represent) imprisoned and stripped of their assets. Although even if that managed to pay the tab for their sand box time, they'd still owe us our soft power back. Maybe we could give them to the international courts (after we charge them). [By the way can we get some mandatory minimums for this seriously destructive white collar shit that is always orders of magnitude larger in effect than the efforts of any one thug or hustler?] We could put them in a zoo-like enclosure and subject them to the questioning and the will of the people (which they spend an inordinate amount of resources avoiding being public servants and all, matter of fact they're our resources that they are expending to avoid us [how fucked up is that?]). Every question they avoid or refuse to answer adds a week to their sentence. They be in the box forever even if they started with a two hour mandatory minimum.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is why we bitch...


for the lazy non link clicking:

By Nate Anderson | Published: July 25, 2007 - 01:03PM CT

Colleges were among those less than pleased to find that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) recently talked a new amendment into the Higher Education Act legislation that was moving through the Senate. The amendment would have directed the Department of Education to compile a yearly list of the 25 top P2P-using schools. How would such a list be compiled? By the number of complaint letters received from the MPAA and RIAA.

We heard from Reid's office yesterday that the Senator had canned the proposed amendment, without comment. It's clear that it was canned in response to strong outcry from the academic world, but there was no shortage of enraged citizens either.

Colleges and universities, always fierce about their own independence and the idea of academic freedom, were not eager to implement P2P filtering software, especially since it has the potential to block legal uses of P2P technology. The schools also aren't big on unfunded mandates that tell them how to run things on campus.

One IT official at a Boston-area school noted that the proposal would have created a kind of "revolving door" for anti-P2P software companies who would have, in effect, been guaranteed 25 new customers each year. The kind of reverse meritocracy that the amendment would put in place was also completely subjective.

The Reid amendment led to protests from groups like EDUCAUSE, a coalition of colleges and universities. In an urgent letter sent to members late last week, the group pointed out that the amendment would rely on "terribly inaccurate" data from the entertainment industry, that it targets only schools and not ISPs in general, and would "dictate the day-to-day operations of colleges and universities.

Our own coverage sparked many of you into action: we heard from dozens of you that sent your views to your own senators, and a few of you called Reid's office for good measure. We were told that the volume of complaints was indeed high.

Inside Higher Ed has a nice writeup on the developments, noting that after Reid pulled his amendment, another one was inserted into the bill, which then passed the Senate. This final amendment, though, was almost innocuous: colleges simply need to publish a couple of notices to students about how illicit file-swapping is wrong.

So this is what I've been paying the F. C. C. to do...

Cable Without a Cable Box, and TV Shows Without a TV
Published: July 26, 2007
CableCARDs, which contain the information necessary to unscramble digital cable channels like HBO, could allow other equipment to become much more versatile.
New York Times article here

I suppose it is better than having my tax dollars lost

But, why don't they:

1.) study the adverse effect of the demise of the Fairness Doctrine

2.) go all anti-trust on Clear Channel and News Corp (before they merge)

3.) find the decency act unconstitutional

4.) or go all the way and actually be in charge of the movie rating system

5.) allot a specific amount of our wavelength to political campaigning, make it free and fair access, and then make all other T.V./Radio spots illegal

feel free to add your own...

Just move away, not now, RIGHT NOW!

Actual release [for lawyerin' type folks]

Translation [For the rest of us]

If you are really too lazy to follow the links, Prez Bush just pwned j00.

Thanks to Bassnectar and NummyMonkey

If you have for some reason failed to read this...

...book called The God Delusion, I'll let the author pitch it himself (and it's finally in paperback you [cheap/poor/I don't work at a bookstore] bastards).

Yep, I'm blog jackin'

Text from blog:

A man walked up to Dick Cheney, calmly told him he thought his Iraq policy was reprehensible, and walked away. A few minutes later he was arrested by the Secret Service, in front of his 8-year-old son, for "assault".

When he asked what would happen to his child, the Secret Service said, "He can be sent to Child Services." Luckily, the boy found his mother and was safe.

But the citizen who practiced his free speech spent a few hours in jail before he was released.

original URL:

Exporting idiocy since ...

New Leaders Say Pensive French Think Too Much
Published: July 22, 2007
In the country of the Enlightenment, President Nicolas Sarkozy's government advocates hard work, not musing.

Story here

Why are all of these pro-business, anti-tax people against higher brain function? Oh yeah, so you are easier to enslave.

Yeah I know, I am behind. Friday, July 20, 2007

In Mississippi, Ruling Is Seen as Racial Split By ADAM NOSSITER Published: July 18, 2007 A court ruling that forces voters to register by party could return Mississippi to the days of racially polarized politics.

Article here

Conclusion: The actual problem is the gerrymandering of the voting districts, but as usual the folks in charge would rather have you focused on the easy to digest indignity of racism.

He should have actually made them filibuster. July 18, 2007

Vote fails 52 yea - 47 nay

Reid voted no so he can bring it back later.

Duh... July 18, 2007

…and now Mitch McConnell continues to beat the dead horse called 'it's a stunt'. Praising Lieberman for exercising his right while calling the very process of exercising that right theatrics. Since our Main Stream Media is so complicit, he even gets to accurately repeat how they're negatively characterizing the proceedings. I love how they demand all this specific information that they don't have themselves for their alternative 'strategy' of doing the same thing.

Yep... July 18, 2007

... McCain did it. Nothing will change? If we make the correct choice, things will change. How is it that many of the Republican talking points do one of three things, deliberately distort reality, demean the all-nighter as a 'stunt', or seek to equate status quo with change.

We can't afford to imbibe any more of their distorted reality and we can't afford any more status quo.

Now McCain again repeats the will of the people is fickle and should be ignored because we know better point. Why should Congress do the will of the people, perhaps because that is what they are elected to do, they even call one of it's portions the House of REPRESENTATIVES.

I wish he would, "shoulder a rifle and fight", the war he is obviously so interested in.

Sorry for the break. July 18, 2007

Had to eat, but anyway in the two plus hours, you haven't really missed anything more, it has broken down into the same rhetoric circling around punctuated with home state examples.

I'll keep trying to post highlights of the things that make me scream at the T.V.

Is it me... July 18, 2007

...or did United States Senator Orrin Hatch's description of Iran's government make you think of things that our government in it's current configuration would eventually get to doing?

By the way he didn't take long to get to Iran did he?

He speaks of squandering the goodwill of our allies in other countries if we redeploy. Is he fucking serious? What goodwill? What allies?

Then he compares it to the Cold war (which was once again against a single state), but then states it's different than Vietnam because the VC didn't have the ability to attack us here. Do you know any Iraqi insurgent organizations with the ability to attack the U.S.?

He also does everything he can to make any sensible change in strategy seem cowardly. If I pursue a strategy whereas I don't (or anyone who is representing me doesn't) have to die, then that isn't cowardly, it's intelligent.

He says we have finally mastered counter insurgency tactics and that we now dominate the field of battle. Check the stats, tell me what you think the numbers say to you. To me they say he is stupid, at best; a liar who doesn't value the lives of his fellow citizens more than an obviously failed strategy devised by members of his political party, at worst.

His assertion that we (people who are done with the waste) want to abandon without a strategy is hypocritical because they (people invested in a failed effort) invaded without a strategy is really baffling. It's like he didn't even read what he was opposing. His statement also attempts to create a false equality between the two things. Invading without a plan costs us resources. Redeploying (which is in itself... wait for it... a... PLAN!) costs us less resources.

I love his quoted analogy, which I will paraphrase:

If some someone tells you the boat you're on is on fire and you jump off, and once you do you find out that it wasn't on fire you only have two choices, swim or drown.

This from the self-avowed anti-hypocrite. How ridiculous is that? This from the, 'You down with W.M.D.? Yeah you know me.' crowd. Un-fucking-believable.

At least he is honest in saying he wants to stay there longer than the remainder of his lifetime, let's hope he doesn't get his way.

Norm Coleman = wrong. July 18, 2007

United States Senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota shows us how to conflate Iran with all the problems of in the entire Middle East and along the way manages to compare us to the U.S.S.R. "Al-Qaida kicked them out of Afghanistan and they kicked us out of Iraq". He seems infatuated with the phrase, "why now?" He states that the Congress shouldn't hold their finger to the wind. He says will be there a long time, and then compares it to Germany, Korea and Kosovo.

Let's go backwards this time. Hmm... we WON in Germany (which had invaded most of the rest of Europe), in Korea we were pursuing our effective strategy of containment against a single communist STATE (you know old fashioned non-asymmetrical warfare via mostly economics, gotta love that 'soft' power), in Kosovo we stopped an ongoing GENOCIDE (after repeated warnings and while being restricted by these same Republicans).

Shouldn't hold their finger to the wind?! You mean it is wrong to listen to the will of the people who elected you?! And, I don't know, fucking REPRESENT them?

Why now? Because people are dying RIGHT NOW and their deaths are not accomplishing anything positive. Our loss would be a recruiting tool? As usual you have is backwards, us BEING THERE is the terroist recruiter's wet dream.

Once again, Al-Qaida in Iraq IS NOT Al-Qaida that attacked us on Sept. 11th, 2001. We helped the rebels kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Iran is not the boogey-man behind all Middle Eastern conflict, there has been conflict in the Middle East since there've been people there with different ideas and because it is in the middle of three continents with their own cultures, it's a crossroads for everything. Can you stop trying to start another war when we don't have the resources to continue to pursue the folly in which we are currently embroiled.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007, Thune is an idiot.

United States Senator John Thune from South Dakota says today's debate is about the appropriations bill and that includes a more than 3% raise for military personnel and that we think Iraq is a 'bad" war and Afghanistan is a 'good' war due to the difference in casualties. He goes on to say that we suffer more casualties in Iraq because that is where are troops are. Sen. Thune continues by asserting that there is some 'false' distinction between the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, he believes it is the same war against the same enemy. He then essentially states the United States Congress shouldn't interfere in a war effort.

My rebuttal:

1.) Dead people don't need or spend money.

2.) Iraq is a 'bad' war because they DID NOT attack us.

3.) Afghanistan is a 'good' war because that is where Al-Qaida is

4.) Any casualty incurred while pursuing a false target is more than a waste.

5.) Osama bin Laden is not, nor shall he ever be, Saddam Hussein.

6.) I'll quote the United States Constitution here:

"...The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;...

...To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;..."

10:20 PM update. July 17, 2007

United States Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma thinks there might be repercussions if we leave, and we have an moral obligation to wait for the experts' opinion to be proved or disproved. So, let me get this straight, there are people currently dying in Iraq, and we are there, but... we can't leave because... people might die. If English isn't your first language the preceding sentence proposes a notion that is utter nonsense.

On experts... Are these the same experts that painted us a vision of flowers strewn at the feet of our soldiers? The experts that said we need fewer troops than we actually did? The experts that said the insurgency was in it's last throes? How about the expert that declared mission accomplished while playing dress up? Fuck those experts. Do you think any discernible difference in our situation will occur in two months?

How about we apply logic and chase the people that attacked us, you know the ones that have rebuilt their full capability and are about 1,217.4 MILES (1,959.2 kilometers) WEST of where we currently are.

All night Senate session! Better than porn. July 17, 2007

Don't worry I'll watch it so you don't have to (although you should). Am I fucking insane? I think death and/or serious injury is binary. Either you're fucked up or you're not fucked up. But, United States Senator Susan M. Collins from Maine believes there is a middle ground. The only ground in Iraq is the ground meat being produced from the bodies of our soldiers, marines, et al. Lets get the fuck out people.

The breakdown (out of five stars)[no Dodd, sue me].

Well the republican (or rethuglican or repugnican) candidates are all out of their minds, so they're a wash.

Clinton - the current front runner; everyone is still in love with her husband, or their lifestyle at that time in history. This makes her stupidly popular even though she transparently tries to play both ends against the middle. I personally think she has a nefarious hidden agenda due to the secretive way in which she conducts her business. I do think she was 'broken' upon her arrival in D.C. when she pushed for universal health care and the real powers that be (corporate health and corporate medicine) set loose all the dogs of hell upon her. Two and a half stars.

Obama - initially the dream candidate, but as time goes on he (or him via his campaign handlers) has started to put image before substance. He never SAYS anything anymore, all of his statements either preach to the choir on safe, previously tread upon ground issue wise or he is the classic politician with his nebulous non-answers and non-statements. The disturbing trend is if he's willing to sell out to get elected just on the campaign trail, what is he willing to bargain away once he's under real pressure either in D.C. or at the international bargaining table? Still, better than the alternatives. Three and a quarter stars.

Edwards - the "outsider" candidate; he knows he's the third wheel and this allows him to make very specific promises and lay out very specific strategies for the prevailing issues. But, how much of this is 'outsider' grand standing? If the race was closer would he still be the idealist and planner? Pretty vanilla, sort of a wild card with potential that could either swing positive or negative. Two stars.

Kucinich - fast rising star from Ohio; his agenda kicks ass and take names, if his initiatives actually got through congress, we'd all be better off. But his politics also have a past, he went from being (or at least voting) pro-life to either abstaining or voting pro-choice in (well duh why isn't that already the case) situations. I'd rather have the pro-choice votes being pro-choice myself, but if his shift in stance is calculated, then he poses a threat as President due to the erosion of Roe v. Wade in the past few years. Two and a half stars.

Gore - top non-candidate; has all the experience, has the name recognition, is ridiculously smart, there is simply not much to NOT to like about him. His problems are: 1.) he got cheated out of an election already and in America the stigma of losing sticks with you for quite awhile, 2.) he would get caught in the train wreck that the first series of primaries that have a serious minority and a serious woman contender is bound to be. People are going to vote their affiliation, not their principals "just to see a [fill in the blank]" president. In my opinion he'd be smart to continue sitting it out until next time around when it isn't such a novelty. Right now, three and a half stars; in four years assuming status quo, four stars.

The Assault on Reason

by Al Gore

Al Gore logically and ruthlessly eviscerates the very notion of the unitary executive. Then proceeds to illuminate the soil from which it grew and it's enduring consequences.

Speaking of consequences, I'm going to quote Winston Churchill, as Gore does in this book, "They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent. The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences."

The accumulation of executive power has not occurred in a vacuum. Its increase in power was your decrease in rights, representation, and relevance. The time to 'draw your line in the sand' is now. Use the remaining rights (that people of that ilk see as privileges) you have to get back the rights you've had taken away from you.

Unless, of course, you'd like your children to spend what's left of their company scrip at the company store after their housing expenses have been fairly deducted to finance their company housing.

Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and her Path to Power

by Marcus Mabry

Have you seen the Star Wars prequels? You know the ones that illuminate the factors and decisions that transformed a little slave boy named Anakin into the evil Darth Vader, right hand man of a more evil emperor.

How about Animal Farm, have you read it? How a group living in degradation rises above it, overthrows their oppressors and ultimately goes on to become oppressors.

Odds are even if you haven't directly experienced these two works of fiction, they are pervasive enough in our popular culture for you to have heard of them and know the gist of their plot arcs.

Here you have a book that relates the story of someone's rise from institutionalized adversity to the heights of power in the land of her birth. Along the way you discover some of the roots of her psyche and how they grew around her life decisions to form the labyrinthine, tautologous, insular mind she has today. The same mind that allows her to execute the duties of her office with such egregious contempt for it's actual purpose. True insidious evil is like erosion, it follows the path of least resistance until it has carved a mighty duct that allows its agents to flow freely.

Unfortunately, this is not a work of fiction.

Nickel and Dimed

by Barbara Ehrenreich

This book re-ignited my loathing for corporate America and its usury towards its own workforce. It was the beginning of the end of my time at a certain corporate bookstore.

Barbara could have remained in her redoubt of success and wrote a fact based report filled with the charts and statistics that are the chilling indicators of the demise of the middle class, and of inescapable truth that working for a living no longer provides enough income to invest in your future (or anything else). Instead she went out and collected some compelling data points on her own.

They told you that she was a melodramatic grandstander like Michael Moore. Of course they also believe that hard work will get you anything you want and that racism is a thing of the past.

They are not particularly well informed.

Jennifer Government

by Max Barry

You want to know what life as a serf or apprentice was like during the clash for dominance between the established hereditary powers and emerging capital powers. Your problem has always been adopting the alien mindset necessary to truly empathize with any protagonist from that era.

Your cries have been heard. Max Barry has set that seemingly futile struggle for advancement and security, which is the existence of the working class, in a setting familiar to you. Against a backdrop of impossibly wealthy multinational corporate conglomerates and national governments that have largely out grown their founder's ideals, our characters are relentlessly ground into lubricant for the gears of the 'great society'. *******************************************

"We recommit the errors of our forebearers so you don't have to wonder what your grandparents and great-grandparents were angry enough to fight about".

-- [may be attributed to any of the historical or current "powers that be"]

A Game of Thrones

by George R. R. Martin

Your friends keep suggesting that you read this or that fantasy book. You remain skeptical because you:

  1. Remember that insipid Disney crap (eg. Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, etc…)
  2. Think that the fantasy genre is mindless fluff about friendly unicorns, talking animals and anthropomorphic atmospheric conditions.
  3. Have read Tolkien and everything else is obviously a debased derivative of that magnum opus.
This is not that book. Hold on, you heard me but you weren't listening…


This is the fantastic Middle Dark Ages where non-noble human life was largely valueless, noble life is usually a high risk proposition due to your own or someone else's ambitions, and the caricature white hats and black hats have been driven into extinction by the necessities of survival. You'll find the ruthlessness of Stalin, the machinations of Machiavelli, the actuation of Churchill, in short, the superlatives of humanity. If this book were any grittier you'd have to spit the sand out of your mouth.

Forty Signs of Rain

by Kim Stanley Robinson

The only fictional thing about this book is that the major events within might not happen for five years.The worlds of scientific fact and political expediency continue their current day collision throughout this book and you get a close-up of the crash site through the eyes of the people who live at the wreck, government sponsored scientists.Of course all scientists are pale, beaker toting, bespectacled minimalists with a one track fashion sense that runs toward lab wear.


You could suspend your acceptance of the misinformed
general consensus and enjoy the naturally complex web
of (gasp...) human interaction amongst the characters
in this book.

...eliminates even the toughest stain...

I honestly don't know what our... [me]searches for the proper honorific[/me] ...FUCKING IDIOT IN CHARGE has to do to get fired. How in the fuck can you commute the prison sentence of someone who essentially worked for you? If you pardoned him then you'd be saying, "I don't think a crime has been committed". By commuting the sentence you say, "I know there is a crime but I think I am better equipped to adjudicate the law".

This is the same retard who was either too engrossed in the riveting plot of 'My Pet Goat', or so terrified that his limited brain function failed for seven minutes while the country he was responsible for was being attacked. Better equipped than a jury of his peers and an experienced judge (you know the Judicial branch), are you fucking serious?

Even a lack wit in George W. Bush's class of mental ineptitude understands that this unequivocally means that there is the law for 'you people' and the law for the elite ruling class. Lets say your jury was still out on that one despite the fact that there is a discontinuity between theory and practice of law (e.g. If man A sneaks in a corner store and steals $350 and gets caught, and man B defrauds the retirement trust of a corporation for $350,000,000 [leaving thousands of people without any sort of retirement fund]. Who goes to prison longer [likely WITH a mandatory minimum sentencing]? The answer should be Man B, but as most of us know it is Man A). This is the light shining under the rock where you have obviously been hiding, your personal wake up call.

What are you going to do?
Well you could show your support with your personal capital:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Yes that is absolutely real, no I'm not lying to you (notice the real silver from ground zero). I know they're ghouls, but they're American ghouls and that means... something right?

Or, you might actually want to do something useful but have been made impotent with rage (I feel you, why do you think it's taken me this long to post?). Stop. Take some breaths, puffs, drinks or whatever your personal centering technique happens to be. Now make a plan, make if good, then tell someone about it, after they shoot it down and poke it full of holes (what are friends for?) rebuild your plan. Keep submitting it to your personal community of devil's advocates until you think it's good enough.

Now execute your plan.

thought excerpt

God is at best a delusion, "...Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact...".

Faith of the religious type tends to run counter to, and in many cases seeks to undermine, reason.

Religion itself evolved as a system of managing finite resources. When humans became agrarian they needed different rules for some simple reasons:

1.) People could no longer just deplete the area and move on like hunter-gatherers.

2.) The increase of population of agrarian living meant that the concrete interconnectivity of the social unit had to be replaced with an abstract interconnectivity (it is easier to understand "don't steal from your fellow [insert affiliation here], than it is to understand don't steal from Bob the baker, Carl the cobbler, Joe the cowherd, Mark the smith, etc...). In a necessarily small group of hunter-gatherers you wouldn't steal because you knew everybody and unless you had an aberrant psyche understood that that would weaken the group. Growing populations meant that you didn't necessarily know everybody and that visceral knowledge of the damage you would cause was diluted by you lack of direct connection to your would be victim.

3.) The wise person/elder/keeper of lore of the group could no longer directly interact with everyone. This means you needed more of those types of people, but at the same time you need to give consistent information so the wise ones necessarily codified their wisdom so that they wouldn't contradict each other and to leave a legacy of knowledge.

Religions are a combination of government and science. Government in that it sets rules and provides logistics for the distribution of goods. Science in that it attempts to explain the 'whys'.

By and large people have realized that religion as government is outmoded and unwieldy. (e.g. Protestant Reformation, birth of the Anglican church, the fact the primary architects of the most modern form of government [ours - I know crazy, right] were Deists (the 18th century's version of Atheists and to some extent Agnostics, the fact that it took until the 20th century for the Vatican to apologize for torturing and murdering scientists [who were correct!] during the Renaissance).

However, people have an amazing (to me) problem realizing that religion as science is even more outmoded and unwieldy. What religion invented ANYTHING in the last 200 years (you know the horse transportation to rocket/jet turbine/mag-lev era) that possibly competes with the importance of the microchip, antibiotics, sterilized surgery, fiber-optics, etc...

Religion isn't the best government you can have, it isn't the best science you can have. Why do people still use it? Oh yeah, it makes them feel better. So do drugs, and they are currently illegal, or controlled due to their destructive side effects. What destructive side effects could religion possibly have? Surely not the:

1.) Inquisition

2.) Crusades

3.) Holocaust

4.) Ongoing wars or militarily sustained truces in: Northern Ireland
Côte d'Ivoire
East Timor
Sri Lanka

5.) Murder of OB/GYNs

6.) Male and female circumcision (and other mutilation)

But what about gunpowder and nuclear weapons, science made those, right? Yes, but science never said to use them. Religions motivate people to kill people, usually with very explicit rules for doing so in their respective canons. Can you find an Einstein (or anyone who worked on the Manhattan project) quote that say we should bomb population X? Didn't think so.

Is science or are scientists perfect? No. They're humans pursuing human activity, the difference is that their whims and opinions aren't blindly followed by masses of people who haven't stopped shopping long enough to wonder why they do or believe what they do or believe.

I'm not referring to you... specifically