Right Thinking From The Left Coast
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Saturday, December 31, 2005

You Got Servered
by Lee

Hey, I just wanted to get some feedback from people.  Ever since we switched to the new domain the server seems to be going up and down more than a drunk teenage girl at an N’Sync concert.  You’ll be surfing along and one second later the server cannot be found, but it comes back up a few minutes later.  Has this been happening to other people?

Posted by Lee on 12/31/05 at 09:03 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Year That Will Be
by Lee

I’m packing and drinking and eating quesadillas right now.  I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Get FUBAR as much as you like, but make sure you make it home alive.  Let’s hope that 2006 doesn’t turn out to be a sucktacular crapfest.

Will the terrorist insurgency be cracked?
Will Bush regain his stature as president?
Will the economy continue to improve?
Will Lee be able to get a date?

Find out in 2006!

Posted by Lee on 12/31/05 at 09:01 PM in Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Me And My Girl… Drunk Blogging
by Lee

I know you guys love it when I drunk blog.  I’m so fucking drunk right now I can’t believe I made it up the stairts at my brother’s house.  Holy Christ!

20 gold star points to anyone who can get the reference in the title to this post.

Update: Now that I am awake and sober and surprisingly not hung-over, I’ll tell you that it took me about ten minutes to type this post last night.  Man, I was absolutely shithammered.  I fly home on the 1st, so last night was the last opportunity for me to really get my drink on.

Oh, and for the curious, the reference in the title is from the song “Me and My Girl (Nightclubbing)” by David Essex, circa 1981.  (I told you I was drunk!)

Posted by Lee on 12/31/05 at 12:21 AM in Etcetera  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Year That Was
by Lee

I’ve had a couple of people email requesting me to do some Top Ten of 2005 lists.  I always thought these were kind of dopey, but I suppose if we make it a group effort it could be fun.  So, use the comments to this post to leave your own Top Ten Whatevers of 2005.

One thing I would be really curious about is to see what you think the top ten posts on this blog were over the past year.  If you leave a top ten posts list, a couple of days from now I’ll compile them into one big list.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 04:18 PM in Deep Thoughts  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, December 29, 2005

School of Thought
by Lee

It seems that all is not lost in North Dakota.

Students in North Dakota debating programs have been banned from broaching the topic of intelligent design.

“We’re doing this because we don’t want to exclude any students from public forum debate at state,” said Robert Hetler of the North Dakota High School Activities Association. “Some schools were afraid parents wouldn’t allow their kids to do this one.”

He added, “Not to mention that we didn’t want to appear like a bunch of drooling, applesauce-slurping, banjo-playing hillbillies who are laughed at by everyone else in the world for our self-inforced scientific ignorance.”

Update: In a devastating blow to the anti-ID message, InsipiD pointed out that I posted a typographical error above by misspelling the word “enforced.” How I will be able to recover from this body blow I have yet to reckon.

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 04:29 PM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Power of Words
by Lee

One of the common refrains that we hear from the asshat left is that it is possible to support the troops without supporting the mission, and that opposing the fascist Bush, his war for corporate oil profits, and his ultimate goal for a Christian theocracy in America will not demoralize the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  So it was with interest that I read the following in an email from MoveOn.org.  It’s a message that Harry Reid asked them to forward on to their members.

To the members of MoveOn: I know Congress can often seem very far away. But when you folks call, and write, and hold events that demonstrate how much you care about something we’re doing, it really wakes people up. Your voices remind me and my colleagues that democracy works. I see the impact every day—you’re forcing Congress to answer to the people, not the lobbyists or the White House. And I’m looking forward to fighting alongside you next year.

Interesting, isn’t it.  On the one hand left-wing activism has the power to inspire people and wake them up.  In other words, its message has an effect.  On the other hand, left-wing activism won’t have any effect on the troops in Iraq who happen to hear it.  Its message is effective only against politicians and th public, but soldiers are somehow impervious to its effects.  Only someone as intellectually bankrupt as an American liberal could believe this bullshit.

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 02:53 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

A Heavenly Glow
by Lee

There’s new info from space.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope may have detected the infrared glow from the very first generation of stars, a new study reports. If confirmed, the work would reveal the structure of the universe a few hundred million years after the big bang, when the galaxies that exist today were just beginning to take shape.

Astronomers have already detected light from even earlier times, when the universe was a mere 370,000 years old. It was then that radiation first escaped from a scalding primordial soup of matter and energy, and it still suffuses space today in the form of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

But infrared light also floods space in what is called the cosmic infrared background radiation. “It is a repository of the emissions of all the stars that have ever existed in the universe,” says the study’s lead author, Alexander Kashlinsky at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US.

The discovery immediately prompted a response from Elmer Dinkley, director of the Intelligent Design Institute Of Toledo.  “These here scientist folk are willing to believe any old thing that comes along, aren’t they?  I mean, it’s obvious to me and all other non-heathen sinners that the glow in these pitchers is the divine light being cast by angel’s wings.  Seriously folks, stars from like a trillion bajillion years ago?  Pretty tough, considering the universe ain’t but 6,000 years old.  I mean, I suppose these here stars were already around when Adam and Eve were running around with the dinosaurs, right?  Sheesh, come on now.”

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 12:45 PM in Science and Technology  • (16) TrackbacksPermalink

Scandals and Sandals
by Lee

An Israeli columnist overall supportive of the Iraq invasion makes a great point’, one which echoes things I have said here many times.

The problem caused by the revelations of just how much the Bush administration lied, cheated and manufactured the Iraqi threat to the U.S. and all of Western Civilization as we know it is that there was and is something valuable under way here: A truly brutal, neo-fascist dictator has been deposed, a country is on the mend, and the region’s remaining dictators are watching their backs.

Those are all good things. That the administration’s prevarications have caused that message to be lost or disregarded - that’s the shame.

There is value in what has happened, and not only for Israel. The shame is that the Bush administration has ruined its ability to explain and be proud of that effort.

This is absolutely true.  One of Bush’s many failings, indeed possibly his main failing as president, is to be likable.  Being likable doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be a better president per se, only that you will be able to use that likability to drum up popular support.  This is why car companies send models to auto shows.  The hot broad in the skimpy outfit is a much better salesman for the car than the frumpy greasy-hands engineer who designed and assembled the thing.  But public opinion is important, and Bush, through the various scandals, has made himself and most of his staff to appear as pretty unlikable people.  Through their failings in other areas, supporters off the war and of the administration itself are really righting for air during discussions over the fate of Iraq.  The administration’s incompetence is causing the glow from the Saddam Trial to diminish, The schmucks in the MSM aren’t giving it the coverage it deserves simply because when they have a choice over highlighting the latest scandal or the trial, which are they going to pick?

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 01:41 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Snow Snow Bang Bang
by Lee

Canada refuses to face reality.

Canadian officials, seeking to make sense of another fatal shooting in what has been a record year for gun-related deaths, said Tuesday that along with a host of social ills, part of the problem stemmed from what they said was the United States exporting its violence.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Toronto Mayor David Miller warned that Canada could become like the United States after gunfire erupted Monday on a busy street filled with holiday shoppers, killing a 15-year-old girl and wounding six bystanders—the latest victims in a record surge in gun violence in Toronto.

The shooting stemmed from a dispute among a group of 10 to 15 youth, and the victim was a teenager out with a parent near a popular shopping mall, police said Tuesday.

“I think it’s a day that Toronto has finally lost its innocence,” Det. Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said. “It was a tragic loss and tragic day.”

While many Canadians take pride in Canadian cities being less violent than their American counterparts, Toronto has seen 78 murders this year, including a record 52 gun-related deaths—almost twice as many as last year.

“What happened yesterday was appalling. You just don’t expect it in a Canadian city,” the mayor said.

“It’s a sign that the lack of gun laws in the U.S. is allowing guns to flood across the border that are literally being used to kill people in the streets of Toronto,” Miller said.

Miller said Toronto, a city of nearly three million, is still very safe compared to most American cities, but the illegal flow of weapons from the United States is causing the noticeable rise in gun violence.

“The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto,” he said.

There are a number of things at work here.  The first is that the Canadian social welfare system, which they hold up as being a model for the world in its ability to provide for the needy and thus reduce the “need” for people to turn to crime, is failing.  The second is the belief that guns cause crime, when crime is a symptom of social failure and guns are merely the most convenient tool with which to do the job.  The third is that Canada’s gun registry has been a monumental failure, despite costing roughly fifteen times the original estimate.  The fourth is that this is an election year, and rather than speak honestly to the Canadian public about any of these issues, Canadian politicians are falling back on the most trusty old sawhorse in their political arsenal:  blame America. 

“It’s not aboot us, eh.  Our problems aren’t our own.  We’ve got a social welfare system and free health care.  We love each other.  We don’t lock our doors.  If we’re having a problem with guns and gang violence, it just can’t be our fault.  It’s those damn hoser Americans, isn’t it!  With their guns and their cowboy president and their love of violence.  You know what America needs?  It needs to be more Canada-like.  If they followed our lead and implemented a social welfare system and gave everyone free health care, then their crime rate would drop… like ours.  Oh.”

The rise in Canadian crime is a failure of the Canadian system, and has nothing to do with rates of gun ownership in America.  Yes, the guns going into Canada are coming from America, but this is because the criminal element in Canada is creating a demand for them.  This is EXACTLY the same dynamic that gun rights advocates in America use to point out the inherent stupidity of gun control laws: when you pass a law against guns, criminals will be the only armed people, because by the very definition of the term criminals do not follow laws.  Canada seems to think that by disarming the law-abiding public somehow this will keep weapons out of the hands of criminal gangs, when this idea is absolutely absurd on its face. 

Canada.  Where real progress is always impeded by a pathological need to blame everything on America.

Posted by Lee on 12/28/05 at 09:02 AM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (5) TrackbacksPermalink

Steal Steal Bang Bang
by Lee

God bless Texas.

Dallas police say a would-be robber is dead after being shot by a store clerk.

Investigators told NBC 5 that the shooting occurred at a Shell station at Interstate 30 and Winslow Road.

The robber was trying to steal two 20-packs of beer when he was shot while trying to get away, police said.

The robber, whose name has not been released, was transported to Baylor Medical Center, where he later died.

Note to criminals:  Texas is not a state where you can expect citizens to remain compliant victims, even over something like two cases of beer.  Happy New Year.

Posted by Lee on 12/28/05 at 08:45 AM in 2nd Amendment  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Old School Gaming
by Lee

What’s the best site for downloading MAME ROMs?  I’m looking for the classics:  Joust, Pac-Mac, Defender, and so on.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/05 at 06:57 PM in Blegging  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Solution
by Lee

The insurgency is over!

Rebels in Indonesia’s tsunami-ravaged Aceh province formally disbanded their armed wing Tuesday, ending a 29-year struggle for independence that killed thousands so the movement could participate in elections next year.

Free Aceh Movement fighters returned to peace talks with the government after mammoth waves crashed into Aceh’s coastlines a year ago, leaving at least 156,000 of the province’s people dead or missing and a half-million more homeless.

The two sides signed an accord in August, and the rebels last week finished handing over their self-declared 840 weapons. Tuesday’s disbanding was the next major step under the plan, and it carried large symbolic weight.

“The armed wing of the Free Aceh Movement has demobilized and disbanded,” said rebel commander Sofyan Daud, effectively ending the separatist insurgency that has killed at least 15,000 people since 1976.

“The Aceh national army is now part of civil society, and will work to make the peace deal a success,” he said after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

“We are entering a political era now. We do not need weapons anymore.”

Instead, the guerrillas will participate in April elections in this province of 4 million people on the northern tip of Sumatra island.

All we need to do is figure out some way to destroy Iraq with a tsunami.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/05 at 05:21 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Politics and Islam
by Lee

Not only is Europe beginning to feel the effects of a low birth rate among their educated white population combined with high rates of immigration of ignorant, low-skilled Muslims, but now there’s a growing trend for those educated white women to go to the Dark Side.

The death of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert who blew herself up in a suicide attack on US troops in Iraq last month, has drawn fresh attention to the rising number of Islamic converts in Europe, most of them women.

“The phenomenon is booming, and it worries us,” the head of the French domestic intelligence agency, Pascal Mailhos, told the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde in a recent interview. “But we must absolutely avoid lumping everyone together.”

The difficulty, security experts explain, is that while the police may be alert to possible threats from young men of Middle Eastern origin, they are more relaxed about white European women. Terrorists can use converts who “have added operational benefits in very tight security situations” where they might not attract attention, says Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.

Ms. Fallot, who converted to Islam three years ago after asking herself spiritual questions to which she found no answers in her childhood Catholicism, says she finds the suspicion her new religion attracts “wounding.” “For me,” she adds, “Islam is a message of love, of tolerance and peace.”

Here’s the interesting point.  Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and most of the other major religions are also about love, tolerance, and peace.  Of all these faiths, the only one which mandates that its love, tolerance, and peace be enforced at the point of a sword is Islam.  This is because Islam is not only a religion but a political system. The faith requires that politics and law be intertwined, whereas Western civilization is built on the backbone of a separation of church and state.  This is why Islam is so dangerous a force in the modern world, because for the most part they simply cannot make the distinction between politics and religion.

Fallot laughs when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision. “When I told my colleagues at work that I had converted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend,” she recalls. “They couldn’t believe I had done it of my own free will.”

In fact, she explains, she liked the way “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.”

More evidence of my point above.  Christianity also provides rules which need to be followed in order to gain salvation and acceptance into God’s graces in the afterlife.  However, this choice is voluntary.  Free will is one of the hallmarks of Christian belief, it’s the origin of the concept of Original Sin.  God tells you the rules, and he tells you what you will gain by following them.  But the choice to whether or not to follow those rules is left to the individual.  Islam, on the other hand, offers no such choice.  The rules are laid out by God through the prophet Mohammed, and anyone who does not follow them is an abomination against God, and must be brought to heel by force.

Some converts give their decision a political meaning, says Stefano Allievi, a professor at Padua University in Italy. “Islam offers a spiritualization of politics, the idea of a sacred order,” he says. “But that is a very masculine way to understand the world” and rarely appeals to women, he adds.

There it is again, the concept of politics and religion being inexorably linked in the Islamic mind.

At the same time, says al-Toma, converts seeking respite in Islam from a troubled past - such as Degauque, who had reportedly drifted in and out of drugs and jobs before converting to Islam - might be persuaded that such an “ultimate action” as a suicide bomb attack offered an opportunity for salvation and forgiveness.

“The saddest conclusion” al-Toma draws from Degauque’s death in Iraq is that “a woman who set out on the road to inner peace became a victim of people who set out to use and abuse her.”

Unfortunately, this is the major dynamic we see at work in the Islamic world today.  I have never believed that Islam and democracy are inherently incompatible, but Muslims have to understand that in the Western world politics and religion are separate.  In the Muslim world this is not the case, and the radicalized, perverse elements of this religion have dominated it, to the point where blowing yourself up to kill others is seen as the ultimate act of religions piety.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/05 at 05:05 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Linkage is for Cool Kids
by Lee

Hey, cool.  I got linked on Slate for my post Oppression is for Cool Kids.

My quest for a global information hegemony continues unabated!

Posted by Lee on 12/27/05 at 04:08 PM in Etcetera  • (7) TrackbacksPermalink

Limp Sausage
by Lee

There’s been a death in San Quentin.

The self-proclaimed “Sausage King” sentenced to death in February for murdering three meat inspectors during a 2000 rampage was found dead in his prison cell this morning.

Prison spokesman Sgt. Eric Messick said a correctional officer conducting routine rounds at 4:30 a.m. noticed that Stuart Alexander, 44, did not appear to be breathing.

“He was quickly removed from his cell,” Messick said. “All attempts to revive him failed.”

The prison physician pronounced Alexander dead at 5:15 a.m. The Marin County Coroner is scheduled to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

“There is nothing to suggest any foul play,” Messick said, adding that it did not appear that Alexander killed himself.

For me, at least, the Sausage King will always be Abe Frohman.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/05 at 11:58 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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