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Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein
Monday, December 31, 2007
Happy New Year
The family is heading off to an 80’s themed New Years party. My wife is busy ratting and teasing hair right now. We’re essentially going as the butt rock family. I have a Guns-n-Roses concert shirt (bought in ‘87 at the Shoreline Amphitheater) and a pair of checked slip on Vans that I actually still wear regularly. The wife is straight out of Jersey with huge hair and a Bon Jovi T from the Slippery When Wet tour. My daughters both have side-ponies and jean skirts. One is wearing a Dokken T I bought at Monsters Of Rock in ‘88. The other is wearing a Howard Jones T from ‘85 (I was on a date and his music was catchy so bite it!). They’re both tied at the side, Madonna stylee.
Later, we’ll retire back to the neighborhood where the kids will all stay up late watching movies while the adults get wasted. Well, some of us will. I swear this is exactly like when I was a kid except I’m the dad now.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Johnny Get Your Gun
Guess what? Boys still like guns, and apparently it’s not all bad.
Hmm, it sounds like the teachers still want to put their own social agenda ahead of what’s in the kids’ best interests. But what about “It’s for the children?”
Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/31/07 at 03:03 PM in Europe and the UK • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
The Word Is The Word
Where the fundamentalist mentality comes from.
Pardon me for being blunt, but if you’re talking about your religion to those who don’t follow it and aren’t necessarily interested in doing so, then you’re imposing your views on them. This is why Mike Huckabee has become a turnoff for those of us who consider ourselves more libertarian than Republican these days-his candidacy is prolestyzation as politics, and that, to many, goes against the grain of the Constitution. Welcome to the age of theodemocracy.
Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/31/07 at 02:26 PM in Religion and Sky Pixies • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
It’s On, Bitch
How can you tell that we are finally going to do some damned voting around here? The rats are out in force. From CNN’s political ticker:
Hey, Mitt, you got off easy. At least they didn’t say you had a black love child. Anyone seen Karl Rove lately?
Then there’s this:
Edwards went on to say, “the proper way to deal with special interests is to pick the worst and completely sell yourself to them. For example, if you had trial lawyers thieving funds from 96-year-old ladies, that would show those evil special interests.”
The next week is going to be fun. The holidays are over and the races are close. So one will be inclined to play nice. Expect the slime to fly. This is when we’ll find out if Barack Obama is really a new kind of politician.
Alrighty, folks. I have been on the horn with our resident College Football expert Kevnmkr and as promised he’s guest blogging the bowls. I’d do it myself, but I gave up after reading he’s a much better study on the matchups, and all I really care about is the performance of UF (and the SEC, in general). So, here he is in all his glory (had to put this together fast, he’s going to be at 2 bowl games). So, here’s the mysterious person, that might or might not be paid to do this sort of thing (I’ve added it under the fold for more suspense! :-0))
Sun Bowl - South Florida vs Oregon
Call this the Cinderella Bowl. Both teams had inexplicably great seasons cut short—Oregon by an injury to their starting quarterback (which may very well have been the only thing keeping them from the Big One) and South Florida by virtue of the clock hitting midnight. That being said, Oregon is still without Dixon at QB and even with their tremendous defense, I cannot see how on Earth they will be able to stop Matt Groethe’s mohawk.
South Florida 24 Oregon 14
Music City Bowl - Kentucky vs Florida St.
36 FSU players suspended? Heck, I would give Kentucky a 2 touchdown advantage against a full-strength Seminole team. This one should be over in the first 8 minutes.
Kentucky 42 Florida St. 9
Insight Bowl - Indiana vs Oklahoma St.
If this was 2005, a quality drubbing of Nebraska would mean something. Who’da thunk that in 2007, it would hardly redeem an early season loss to Troy? However, Indiana did not fare much better playing in the Big Ten and losing to every ranked opponent that they faced. Edge: Cowboys.
Oklahoma St 35 Indiana 28
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Clemson vs Auburn
Auburn is going to bring the team that came two seconds away from beating LSU. Then again, didn’t every LSU opponent come two seconds away from beating them? This one could very easily go the other way.
Auburn 31 Clemson 28
Outback Bowl - Tennessee vs Wisconsin
Tennessee is the better team here, but I just can’t bear to watch my Big Ten go down in flames with Penn State being the only ‘quality’ bowl winner. Forgive me, Jeebus.
Wisconsin 24 Tennessee 21
Capital One Bowl - Michigan vs Florida
Michigan gets out to a 21-14 halftime lead until officials realize that Tim Tebow had been taking snaps for both teams. He ends up scoring the final Florida touchdown on a 78 year kickoff return.
Florida 35 Michigan 21
Rose Bowl - Illinois vs USC
USC will continue it’s dominance of the Big Ten in Rose Bowl action. At least Illinois fans will be able to cling to the memory of ending Ohio States chances for the BCS National Championship.......errr....DOH!
USC 31 Illinois 24
Sugar Bowl - Hawaii vs Georgia
This game is likely to go the way that everyone expects it to, but how nice would it be to see Hawaii prove everybody wrong? If anybody can find the Achilles Heal in the Hawaii offense, it’ll be the Bulldogs. If they do, their own offense should be able to hang plenty of points on the weak Rainbow ‘D’.
Georgia 45 Hawaii 28 (Secretly: Hawaii 42 Georgia 41)
Fiesta Bowl - West Virginia vs Oklahoma
Two words: Pitts Burgh.
Oklahoma 38 West Virginia 28
Orange Bowl - Kansas vs Virginia Tech
Kansas has a very mobile offense that could surprise the nation. Nah. Nevermind.
ps. Seung-Hui Cho, burn in Hell.
Virginia Tech 35 Kansas 28
BCS Championship - LSU vs Ohio St.
Here’s to the most anticlimactic and disputed national championship game E-V-E-R. LSU should dominate this game. They have the best combination of players, as well as individual standouts. Matt Flynn should light up the Buckeye defense and Jacob Hester will likely burn OSU for at least one 56-yard touchdown. However, OSU fans are rabid and should be well-represented, offsetting the Tigers “home” advantage. Look out if LSU stumbles early and allows the Buckeye fans to get drunk and loud (something that they are very proficient at).
LSU 41 OSU 14 (Deja vu, anybody?)Close this post...
Sunday, December 30, 2007
You Are Hicks, And I Am Your God
Stephen Bainbridge says what needs to be said about Huckabee’s recent hunting expedition, designed to bring a “level of authenticity and credibility to the campaign”:
When I saw Huckabee on TV with a gun I knew that it was either a hostage situation or an attempt to appear like “one of us”. Either way, his campaign is doomed. Even though Huckabee actually hunts for real, it was John Kerry in 2004 all over again. The second a candidate grabs a shotgun, it’s over. He would be slightly less doomed if he’d shot an elderly lawyer in the face.
I’m getting sick of this nonsense of trying to appear to be a good old boy. When I lived in Virginia, I encountered the worst example of it. George Allen—before his hilarious fiery implosion last year—used to pull that shit all the time. He flew a confederate flag, he wore cowboy boots, he would make the occasional racist slip. This was man born in fucking Southern California, raised in Chicago and about as much of a redneck as Yakov Smirnoff. It was insulting to have a man come to a southern state and assume he had to act like a cracker hick to get our votes.
I don’t want a President who is “one of us”. I don’t want a pseudo-intellectual know-it-all like Algore either but there has got to be a middle ground. Intelligent, thoughtful, but grounded. So far, the only men in the 2008 campaign who even begin to cross me that way are McCain, Thompson and Obama.
In Huckabee’s defense, he appear to be an actual hick, not a pretend hick. But I’ve personally ha my fill of hicks from Hope, Arkansas. From now on, his name to me will be Hickabee.
The Other Mayor Cometh
Well, the clown car is getting fuller.
If you want bland and blander, you couldn’t do much worse than Bloomberg and whomever his running mate would be.
Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/30/07 at 10:09 PM in Election 2008 • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
But He Spent the Night in a Haunted House!
What a douche:
Yeah, yeah yeah. Breaking his own rules. Taking money from special interests while screaming about his own pure soul. Typical corrupt Democrat. Why are you bothering me with this, Hal?
Now come on, Walter. If John Edwards can receive psychic messages from babies with cerebral palsy, he can divine the intentions of an old woman. But apparently this latest scumbaggery is so bad even Daily Kos has noticed.
I received another campaign update from Ron Paul. This one I sent a reply to.
Fuck him and his wacky creationist bullshit.
Put On A Happy Face
Is everybody happy? Apparently so.
Considering that many Yalies live in a fantasy world, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that they’re happier than the rest of us. Reality can be such a turnoff.
Fear Of A Terrorist Planet
What it’s really about.
In spite of all that Bush has done, I still don’t see us as headed down the road towards dictatorship-but we have become a secretive and paranoid country, using the fear factor to allow all sorts of anal and nefarious behavior to happen in the name of fighting terrorism. Instead of reacting we’ve been overreacting in a lot of ways. If this is to truly be a “Change” election, the Keystone Cops/Kafka-esque way we’ve been fighting on the domestic front is one of the first things that has to be dealt with by the next President.
Update by Lee: I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with WVR here. I think we have taken the first steps towards tyranny with the introduction of torture. Torture is easy, anyone can do it. It’s been used, as the quoted article correctly suggests, as a tool of fear since the beginning of time. And people who use fear to control populations are dictators.
This is not an irreversible course, however. What we have taken might be called the first “baby steps” towards tyranny. Every crack addict at one time started out drinking alcohol, but this does not necessarily lead to every alcohol drinker becomes a crack addict. But, to make the point once again, if you justify our current use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” then what is to stop us from using real, honest-to-Glaven torture? Think about it. The line between real “torture” an “enhanced interrogation techniques” is purely arbitrary. We once had an arbitrary line between civilized and uncivilized behavior, between what was acceptable and what was not. This line was codified in the many international treaties and agreements on human rights which we not only signed, but were instrumental in writing. That was the arbitrary line, and for six decades we all abided by it. Now we’ve unilaterally decided to shift the line a little, all while pulling the standard totalitarian tactic of moving the line while claiming that we are not actually moving it. So now we have a new arbitrary line for what is acceptable. Why couldn’t we simply expand “enhanced interrogation techniques” to include pins under the fingernails?
If the line can be moved once, it can be moved again. And again. And again.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that torture indeed works. Let’s assume that the the “terrorists” to whom we have applied these “enhanced interrogation techniques” have supplied us with a pirate’s booty of information on terrorist activities, information which could never have been obtained through standard interrogation. Why, in any logical sense, should we stop at “enhanced interrogation techniques?” If keeping a man in a cold room to where he almost freezes to death will yield information, why not drive nails through his testicles? That would yield more information, wouldn’t it? Since a little bit of torture works, and since we all know terrorists are of such keen intellect and steely resolve that regular interrogation won’t work on them, then surely a lot of torture would work better, right? And if the more torture the better, why not bring their children in and smash their feet to pulp with hammers? After all, the name of the game is to gather intelligence, right? If more torture equals more information, why pussyfoot around with sleep deprivation and weak-ass shit like that? Hell, let’s just pull out his fucking fingernails and be done with it. Let’s hook electric shocks up to his testicles. Let’s rape his wife in front of him. That’s GOT to give us more intelligence, right? After all, we have to protect America, and if we have to pull out a few fingernails or rape a few children to learn about the next 9/11, isn’t that worth it? Which would you rather see, a child raped or a mushroom cloud over Manhattan?
This is the problem with “moving the line” in the manner we have. George Orwell was a huge believer in words. Words mean things. It is the hallmark of totalitarian dictatorships throughout history that, when the meaning of a word becomes politically inconvenient for the goals of the regime, they simply redefine the word. In the literal sense, this is where the term “politically correct” comes from—Stalinist Russia. “Yes, it might be correct to say that we are torturing these people, but it would not be politically correct to do so, so we will refer to it as an enhanced interrogation technique.” Hitler did this too. The Jews were “resettled” into the east, but we all know what “resettling” meant and it sure as hell didn’t mean “resettled.”
Think, for a second, about what “democracy” means. Now think about the definition of the word “republic.” The official name for North Korea is “The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.” Would any of you, in any sense, describe North Korea as being either democratic or a republic? Well, they do in North Korea. Words mean things, unless it’s politically advantageous for the government to redefine them to suit their needs. Words like “torture” becoming “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
In the Navy a cook is known as a “Mess Management Specialist.” But he’s still a cook. You could call him “Senior Thoracic Cardiologist,” but if he prepares food and serves it to people he’s still a cook.
There has been a definition of “torture” in place for 60 years. We’re now violating that definition. You can tart it up however you like, you can use whatever euphemism allows you to convince yourself that we’re not actually torturing people, but according to any accepted definition of torture, including the ones we wrote ourselves, that’s exactly what we’re doing. All I ask is that, if you support this type of behavior, at least be intellectually honest enough with yourself to call it torture and stop bullshitting yourself with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
I wouldn’t say that we’re well on our way to becoming a totalitarian state. But we’ve come to a fork in the road, and we’ve taken the first baby steps in that direction. It’s not too late to change our minds and turn back, and I think—I hope—that whoever our next president happens to be they have the courage and integrity to end this barbaric practice. Because if they don’t, then we might as well just abandon all pretense that we’re opposed to just torture and really start fucking torturing people. After all, we have to protect America.
Of course, the definition of “America” can be changed too, can’t it? And if you really, really try hard enough, two plus two can equal five.
Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/30/07 at 05:11 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
Warming LIke It’s 1998
A big argument against global warming is that 1998 was the hottest year on record and hasn’t been matched since (1934 was the hottest year in *America* not the world and by less than the margin of error). Hold the horses, though:
Again, this isn’t the hysterical panic scenarios that Algore is hyping. And as the ice retreats, we have found evidence of prior human habitation covered by glaciers. But it is disconcerting and in line with the current models.
The temperature of the planet varies from year to year quite a bit, which is why it is so difficult to tease out the long term trend. 2007 was probably an outlier, just as 1998 and 1934 were. But the overall trend is unmistakably upward.
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/30/07 at 12:08 PM in Science and Technology • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
What’s Yours is Mine
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I remembered that the music industry was one of the most lucrative enterprises in the Entertainment industry. The music industry had money coming out of it’s ass and I was always amazed at the poeple I would meet that were industry poeple and could throw a lot of money around. It was there, and the system that was set up was so great that there wasn’t much of anything to worry about until napster bubbled up from the then very tiny internet. Downloading was tedious, but even when I saw it, I knew CD’s days were numbered.
The record industry never really responded, and to this day really never have. they have stubbornly kept to either trying to add security to CDs or they have attacked people they feel have an infringed on thier popularity. It amazes me that very big companies can make very poor decisions with all of the beauracracy they have. However, the record industry giants have, once again, astounded me with a monumentally stupid, and lazy approach to protecting themselves.
I’m not really shocked or outraged by the lawsuit’s premise. They have composed a very worthy case in my opinion, and I believe the point that they are making is that duplication of the material is a crime. It’s not so crazy to come to that conclusion. they feel you only own the property in it’s original form. However, what I am curious about is how they expect to prove they can have thier cake and eat it too. Songs are distributed over the radio to you for free everyday. Songs are also sold to you over the internet everyday.
The industry has been trying to tackle the idea of ownership of content for a while now, but I think that they are going to hit a wall until they change the methods in which they attempt to make money. Distribution has always been the bedrock of all entertainment companies, but the internet is fucking it all up for them. A few directions are coming up, but the concensous leans more and more to service. If anyone of you has a brilliant idea to make sales of music profitable again, there is a bright future for you in music. Just one of the many challenges that this wonderful time in history has provided opportunity for.
Now, for what I AM outraged about. the record industries have placed almost all of the war on infringement on patrons in the USA. I had a classmate in school, that knew Chinee, and he would regularly download movies before they were even released in the theatres. Entertainment companies will never go after these people, and to even try is pathetic. Putting the fear of god in people seems to only be the tactic here, and that’s wrong. I understand we are the largest consumers of entertainment, but we are also the largest consumers of entertainment. Eating your own is not really a great way to get new customers IMHO. People can tolerate being outsmarted. People cannot tolerate being attacked for very long.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Here it is in black and white:
I’ll give you three guesses as to which of us is supposed to go “by the wayside”. It’s a nice little recipe for disaster Rollins is cooking up there. If the Republicans drop the libertarian small government wing of the party, do they really expect to pick up the big government liberals from the Democrats?
On a related note, I wrote a long post on Ron Paul for my own blog. Money quote:
In the end, Paul’s views on the federal reserve, foreign policy, trade and now evolution, are a bit too much for me. But I’m glad he’s shaking things up. Because the GOP needs to know precisely what awaits them if they break up the triad.
I Am The Law!!
Read the Globe’s survey of Presidential candidates on executive power. Giuliani refused to participate—probably because he would look like the worst of the bunch. So did Huckabee and Thompson. Many of the candidates give Algorish long answers to show off their knowledge. But they get to the point. And, I hate to say this, the Democrats come off better—in part because none refused to answer the questions. Paul and McCain also do well. Romney depresses me.
I’ll give you some depressing quotes:
Give me liberty or give me death! Oh wait, you’re out of liberty? OK, I’ll have the chicken.
I’m getting tired of this bullshit argument. You can’t do anything you want by slapping a “security” label on it. Or perhaps I missed that Amendment to the Constitution.
No, John! Give me your fucking opinion. Don’t hide behind the courts.
He was also throwing salt over his shoulder and didn’t break a single mirror. And if we have to sacrifice babies to keep America safe, then we will do it!
Below the fold, I’ll give you my answers.
Overseas, yes. In this country, no. I do agree that warrants need to be updated to follow a person rather than a specific phone, thus allowing roving wiretaps.
The specifics do not change the situation. The Constitution is crystal clear on this—only the Congress has the authority to go to war. In the event of an immediate threat, the President can act. An example would be that we have good intelligence a missile is about to be launched or we have a chance to kill Osama bin Laden. Even in that case, retroactive approval should be required.
My answer here may surprise you. I don’t think it is the job of Congress to manage the war. That is absolutely the President’s call. Congress authorizes war, regulates the military and allocates the money. But the Executive runs the war. Getting Congress involved in running the details of a war is a recipe for disaster.
None. Signing statements are beyond the Constitution. If I think part of a law is unconstitutional, I’ll punt it back to Congress.
No. Congress may suspend habeas in time of declared war.
It’s a fine line. But the policy needs to be consistent. You can’t just take anything and declare it executive privilege. My instinct is to say only the communications of the President and Cabinet are covered.
The Constitution is very clear on who decides how prisoners are treated. The law could only be broken in the “ticking time bomb” scenario where force majeure can be imposed. HOWEVER. The President then has the responsibility, if he breaks the law, to inform Congress of his decision and take the consequences. Just leaving some grunts out to dry is not acceptable.
Under our Constitution, our treaties have the absolute power of federal law. See my answer on torture.
Gonzalez was full of it. The right of habeas is fundamental. It is not “given” to use by Congress.
I’d quote the entire Patriot Act at you but I’ve never had time to read it.
My cat Huxley. Also some fellows like Locke, Bastiat, Jefferson, etc. Hey, Paul cited Judge Napolitano!
These questions are absolutely legitimate. Shame on Rudy, Huckles and Fred (Fred! My man! WTF?!) for not answering them. It’s not like these questions came from some obscure right-wing website or something.
The guy who I most agree with? McCain. With Paul’s rejection of science, McCain is rapidly becoming my favorite.Close this post...
Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/29/07 at 09:30 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink •
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