MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
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Heard the Word of Blog?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito is extraordinary. And I don't mean that in a nice way. I mean it in the way that the folks who drew up the compromise over judges used the word extraordinary. He is exceptionally BAD and unacceptable to all but the wingnuts who sent Harriet Miers shuffling off to Buffalo.

I have to admit that I'd take Miers over this scumbag. He is called "Scalito" for good reason: he's basically Antonin Scalia's clone.

Alito needs to be filibustered, Nuclear Option or not. If the GOP wants to pull the trigger, fine. We only have a year to go before we retake the House and Senate, if we play our cards right. We can basically shut down both houses of Congress if the Nuclear Option is invoked. And keep 'em shut down until we paint the Capitol true blue.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Another silly post, but this time for a non-silly purpose. The Onion got in trouble for using the Presidential Seal for satirical purposes. Well, here's our response to that:

And this:

To all responsible for this anti-First Amendment BS: go fuck yourself.

Saturday and the bloggin' is easy...

Thinkpad abuse, part 1

Thinkpad abuse, part 2

I'd better not visit these sites when I'm online with my 600x. It might get the wrong idea about me.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Our first "Fitzmas" has come and gone, and as expected, it's Scooter who has to scoot on out of the White House under a cloud. However, unlike Christmas, "Fitzmas" doesn't necessarily come but once a year. Rove hasn't been cleared, and there are others under that umbrella of suspicion.

Perhaps not surprisingly in the midst of these events, the Right Wing Noise Machine is now turning their wrath on the Blogosphere. "Capitalist Tool" Forbes.Com just let loose with a hideously evil article (soul-sucking registration required) about how bloggers are bad, mmkay? Apparently the article will be their November cover story. And it is a hatchet job from start to finish. It's geared towards CEOs and meant to inject Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about the motives of bloggers into boardrooms around the world.

Of course, the Wicked Witch of the West according to this article is Pamela Jones of Groklaw. (Again, soul-sucking registration required) Never mind that she has proven conclusively that she is not on IBM's payroll. Never mind that Jones' primary allegiance is to the Free/Open Source Software movement, not any corporate interest. Never mind she's been doing this site at her own expense. Never mind all that. [sarcasm] She's evil! She's like that chick from Fatal Attraction! She kills and boils bunnies! Why? Because Darl McBride says so! [/sarcasm] The Forbes folks even go back to the Maureen O'Gara hatchet job on PJ as proof of how evil she is, and by extension, bloggers are.

Why has this suddenly popped up on Forbes, the same day the Scooter Libby announcement was made? Is the target anti-corporate bloggers, or is the target anti-Bush bloggers? Is the objection about those who would speak truth to corporate power, or about those who would speak truth to political power? In any event, bloggers are now officially under attack by the establishment. This Forbes article reads like an anti-blog manifesto, and an attempt to establish a casus belli before embarking on an anti-blog war. There's even suggestions about how to "fight back" in another sidebar article. (again, soul-sucking registration required...)

Reaction articles from Boing Boing and Doc Searls.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The end of t3h 5ux0r? (translation: The end of these distressing times?)

It looks like Scooter Libby is going to be indicted tomorrow, while the axe still dangles but has yet to fall on Karl Rove. However, Scooter's a start. A big start. And Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald is moving into new digs in Washington, and is quite unlikely to give up anytime soon. He's moving very cautiously. Caution is not necessarily a bad thing. Caution in order to make the charges you eventually file stick is actually a Good Thing.(tm) The scuttlebutt is that he sees a few cracks in Rove's armor and he thinks he might be turnable.

Also the real polls are starting to come out about the "Sucky Six" propositions, and it looks like they are not jibing with the poll the Asshole from Austria commissioned at SurveyUSA. They're going down, down, down, down, down, down. And the trend lines are moving in the direction of rejection. Hasta la vista, Props 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78. It looks like the other two are also going down as well, but I'm not shedding any tears about them. They are both showing some flaws, as in possible unconstitutionality in 79's case and disincentives for clean, green energy in 80's case. My advice still holds: NO ON EVERYTHING. TELL AH-NULD NEIN!

If I were the folks at SurveyUSA, I'd quickly slap together something that wasn't a blatant push-poll and get that going to redeem the company's credibility. Because the big losers, aside from Herr Gropenfuhrer, is SurveyUSA.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Anyone want to know the secret of why the movie industry is in such deep doo-doo? It's really not a secret...sucky, sucky movies.

I'm going to hold forth on one of the main reasons why movies today suck. Pointless remakes! We had a lot of them recently. Let's recap:

  • War of the Worlds
  • The Island (Parts: The Clonus Horror)
  • The Fog
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Longest Yard
  • House of Wax
  • Lords of Dogtown (Dogtown And Z-Boys)

I would like to add, for dishonorable mention, the remake of The Stepford Wives.

What's distressing about this list is that many of the movies were not good movies to begin with, and the remake was no improvement. A few were really good movies that got bad remakes. But ultimately all of them were totally, absolutely pointless.

This trend started with George Romero, who by a fluke of copyright law had the original Night Of The Living Dead end up in the Public Domain. Of course, that was before the Copyright Act of 1976, and the Sonny Bono Act, etc. Romero made a shot-for-shot remake, with the only change in it being that the heroine stops screaming after 5 minutes of Zombie attacks and becomes Rambette. Gotta change with the times, right? More like "gotta nail those Intellectual Property rights down."

Then came Psycho, the remake. Aside from a questionable scene where you see Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates masturbating, the movie is a shot by shot remake. Again, totally, unquestionably pointless. Gus Van Sant is permanently on my shit list for that.

OK, here are a few suggestions for pointless remakes. Don't blame me if someone takes me up on it.

Don't Look In The Basement.(On IMDB as The Forgotten)
One of those "so bad it's good" movies. A nurse starts work at a small "asylum" (more like a board-and-care) for the mentally ill. Of course, you know it's not going to end up well. The classic Fun Boy Three song "The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum" would be a dandy theme for the pointless remake of this Dadaistic classic.

KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Of course, let's not have KISS as the rock band, even though theoretically because they are all in heavy makeup their advancing age would not be obvious. No, let's do it with another band...something "the kids" will love. Yes! It's obvious! Franz Ferdinand Meets The Phantom Of The Park! Scottish dance-poppers with superhuman powers foil the plans of a masked theme park saboteur! "And I would have gotten away with it too, had it not been for you meddling haggis-eating kids!"

The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Is Michael Jackson looking for a comeback? Have I got the vehicle for him. He wouldn't even need makeup...he's a living, rotting corpse as it is! It would be perfect! Hoo hoo hoo! Oww!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Afghanistan vs. Iraq: a vital difference

I find myself in an awkward position right now...having to defend the war in Afghanistan. As I have said many times before, I am not a pacifist. World War II was a good example of a mandatory war, a war we had to fight and win for the survival of a free humanity. I believe the conflict in Afghanistan is similar, and should not be lumped in with Iraq. Cindy Sheehan, a person whom I support and usually agree with, made this erroneous connection in her most recent DailyKos diary. I hate to say this, but she's wrong. Dead wrong.

Let's imagine what it would have been like if we had stayed out of World War II. "The Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" is a Japanese hegemony. Europe and South America are ruled by Adolph Hitler and his client Benito Mussolini. Africa is run by Hitler's Boer allies, who with Hitler's help overrun Black African governments.

The Philip Roth novel "The Plot Against America" suggested that a WWII-era Fascist takeover of the United States would be a distinct possibility thanks to a ready and willing pro-Fascist 5th Column that only needed a suitably charismatic leader. If such a leader existed, the United States might not have to be conquered. It would probably roll over willingly like Austria did. A Fascist USA would then be able to handily take over Canada. The Japanese and Nazi German Empires would then have the whole planet carved up between themselves like a Thanksgiving turkey, with willing client states ruling some of the countries and giving the appearance of home rule.

People of Jewish descent like myself would have never been born. Those alive in the '40s would have been sent to German death camps for slaughter. The Jewish people, as well as the Romany people, would be a distant memory by now, kept alive only by museums attesting to the Nazi triumph. Distinct cultures in Asia would also have been assimilated into that of Japan.

The Afghan War has been prosecuted in a half-assed, perfunctory way. It is as if G. W. Bush sent troops in there as a mere gesture to buy him the good will of the American people, to soften them up for what he really wanted to do: establish an American beachhead in Iraq to assure America plundered oil to ease us over the crisis that would come once Middle East Peak Oil was reached and Middle Eastern capacity began to shrink.

Ms. Cindy Sheehan has made a similar mistake to what G. W. Bush was hoping the American public would make. Iraq and Afghanistan are not related. Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on the World Trade Center complex on September 11th, 2001. However, by dint of sheltering and providing aid and comfort to Osama bin'Laden and the al'Qaeda organization, Afghanistan had everything to do with this horrible event.

To not challenge Afghanistan after 9/11 would be an open invitation to be attacked again on American soil by al'Qaeda. A pacifist, no war, no way, no how stance would have invited further catastrophe.

Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan was not an elective war. It was one thrust upon us by an enemy that views us in the same objectified light as the Nazis viewed Jews. They see us as "Crusaders and Zionists." They see us as "Infidels." They do not see us as fellow human beings. We are rats to be exterminated. We are a block in the way of establishment of a new Caliphate, with Osama bin'Laden as the Caliph. Never mind bin'Laden probably does not have blood ties to the line of Muhammad.

The al'Qaeda organization has the same "today [blank], tomorrow The World" perspective that Nazi Germany had. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say this. I don't think Godwin's Law is invokable in this case.

The main fly in the ointment is that unlike Nazi Germany, al'Qaeda is not tied to the policies of a single country. It is an amorphous affiliation of disaffected, mostly Arab youth. However, on September 11th, 2001, it had training camps and outposts in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. We had attacked some of these outposts after the al'Qaeda bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya. Although Bill Clinton had been accused of using the bombing as a pretext to "wag the dog" and distract from the Kenneth Starr witchhunt, history has vindicated Clinton's decision. If only the Bush administration had listened to experts within the departing Clinton administration who said that the Kenya bombing and the sinking of the USS Cole were only the prelude to something big, and something which could possibly happen on our soil. They either couldn't or willfully didn't listen. The result was 9/11.

How do you fight a war against a stateless foe? You go after those States who have given the foe aid and comfort. An organization like al'Qaeda needs home bases, needs physical presences on the ground. In the face of this there are two actions a State can take. One is to actively expel the aggressors and repudiate their cause. Another is to tolerate their existence and either passively or actively render aid and comfort.

Currently the nexus of operations of al'Qaeda is in Pakistan, in the lawless province of Waziristan. They also have presences in parts of Afghanistan dominated by the discredited Taliban regime. However, thanks to the less than zealous prosecution of the Afghan War, there has been an opportunity to decentralize al'Qaeda's operations. They have presence now in the breakaway Russian province of Chechnya. They have a presence in North Africa. They have sleeper cells in untold numbers of States, cities, towns and villages all over the world. And the US invasion of Iraq has given al'Qaeda its newest proving ground, in the Sunni-dominated provinces of Iraq.

Would they have had such a training ground had we not invaded? No way. Saddam Hussain might have made "statements of support" for al'Qaeda for public relations purposes and as a way of publically thumbing his nose at the US, but ultimately he had reason to not support them. Saddam was a secular leader, albeit one who occasionally would wrap himself in the Quran and the banner of Jihad for self-serving reasons. As a secular leader occupying the Mesopotamian plain, a region which had been part of the Islamic Empire up until the end of the Ottoman dynasty, he was in the way of the restoration of the Caliphate. Eventually, according to the dogma of al'Qaeda, he would have to be swept aside. Even Jordan, ruled by a king directly descended from Muhammad, would have to be conquered because theirs was a secular country. Only Saudi Arabia, with its strict Wahhabi-inspired Sharia law, passed muster. And even there, the "decadent" House of Saud would have to be pushed aside for a true heir of Muhammad, in spirit if not in blood. al'Qaeda wants nothing less than a Sunni Islamic theocracy covering the entire Middle East and Islamic Asia. Ultimately it wants the whole world.

War is a last choice. It has to be. It can't be entered into lightly, it has to be entered into reluctantly. No matter how careful you are, innocents die. No nation on this Earth has mastered the art of waging warfare only against "combatants." War is not surgical, it is a blunt club, even in this age of "smart bombs." And even in Afghanistan, a place where we have to be, we have waged this war badly and sloppily and too often brutally, ignoring pages and pages of International Law we are signatories to in order to "soften up" the enemy.

Would this war even happen had Gore been President during 9/11? Would 9/11 have even happened? The world will never know. However, I suspect if it had, he would have prosecuted this war in a more honorable way, and prosecuted it to win. Yes, Saddam Hussain would have probably still been lording it over Iraq. But he would still be pinned down between no-fly zones, an international pariah. Once he perished and one or both of his murderous sons took their father's place, he would also be corked up like a genie in a bottle. The mischief of this brutal dynasty would be isolated and unable to lash out at other countries. And it certainly would not be on the road to becoming a client state of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ironically another country on the al'Qaeda hit list because their Islam is not Wahhabi Sunni Islam.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rest In Peace, Rosa.

Rosa Parks' booking photo, 1955

Obit from Auntie Beeb.

George W. Bush = Sick fuck.

That, in my still non-expert opinion, is the diagnosis for our Commander-In-Chief. The thing is, however, I'm not alone.

Capitol Hill Blue has been running with the "Bush is going insane" meme for years, and here's a link to a Guardian Unlimited story dating back to 2003 which has a Freudian analyzing the Bush Administration. However, the meme is now starting to worm its way into somewhat-mainstream media. It's still the New York Daily News, which is immediately suspect. But it's a start.

Waiting for Fitz to post the indictments is killing me. Too much suspense. I might be certifiable before this all is over. John Dean has even speculated that there will be no indictments. That would be bad and wrong and totally fscked, but it would not be surprising. Dubya seems to have at least 9 lives. And Karl Rove is not the only master manipulator in the West Wing.

I suppose that Mel Brooks' advice in "The Twelve Chairs" is probably safest of all: "Hope for the best, expect the worst."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"You can't handle the truth..."

I forgot to mention that I learned something very interesting in Abnormal Psych on Thursday. We're talking about mood disorders, and apparently one of the reasons why people get depressed is that they have a better grasp on reality than those who are not depressed. When a person is depressed, they have a more realistic view of their chances of success on a given task. On the other hand, when a person is exhibiting a quote-unquote "normal" mood, they have a somewhat unrealistically optimistic view of their chances of success. This is the case both with people who do not suffer from depression at all and those who are in remission from depression.

So let me get this straight. When you're depressed, you see reality clearer than those who are quote-unquote "normal." So does this mean that "normal" is a mild variant of hypomania? Or that we humans, particularly USian humans, really "can't handle the truth" about our chances to succeed out there in the Real World? Interesting.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Aargh...another paper needs to be written, an outline for another presentation needs to be drawn up, I have math homework up the ying-yang and it's stuff I'm half at sea about.

And right now I can't find the square root of my tochis.

On to politics, Cali stylee.

It's not just the Schwarzenegger push polls that are saying the "sucky six" propositions might have a chance of winning. So we need to start getting out there and educating people about just how bad the Schwarzenegger propositions are and how absolutely HIDEOUS Prop 73 is. I'm all about voting NO on EVERYTHING but some folks say that we should vote yes on Props 79 and 80.

And all this with Ah-nold and Dubya racing to the bottom in popularity, too.

This is insane. We've got to turn it around. If you hate Herr Gropenfuhrer as much as you say you do, VOTE NO ON HIS SPECIAL ELECTION.

Here's the nerve-center for the resistance: Go there and do what you can. Donate, volunteer, kick ass, stick it to the hopefully soon to be ex-Governator. If you hate seeing Ah-nold's flabby ass and hearing his Col. Klink accent on TV...DO SOMETHING!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is a diary on DailyKOS that needs to be read, and a call for help that needs to be heeded. I'm shocked, shocked, to say that women in the regions devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and which also might be threatened by Wilma in the not-so-distant future are having a lot of trouble getting abortions. And these women are crying out for them, because they are in no position to be mothers due to considerations of health, considerations of financial well-being, and other personal considerations. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are not necessarily great hotbeds of Choice, and getting an abortion there is difficult during the best of times. Now, it's almost impossible.

In light of the new revelations about Harriet Miers, and the obvious fact that Chief Justice Roberts is no fan of abortion rights, this situation may be a preview of how life might be in some of the 50 states once these wingnuts get a chance to vote on the issue. And Californians: remember to VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING November 8th. Because one of the nightmare propositions on the ballot thanks to Herr Gropenfuhrer is Prop 73, which is the revival of the California Abortion Squeal Rule. It was ruled unconstitutional and struck from the CA State Code a few years ago, but that of course has only encouraged Christian Taliban members like Dave Monaghan of Domino's Pizza fame to dig into their pockets to put it back on the ballot.

This is an ugly world and continuing to get uglier. This is one of only many examples. Robert Anton Wilson said once that people who have a more and more optimistic view of the world are getting more and more intelligent, and people who are more pessimistic in their worldviews are getting more and more stupid. Of course, he said this during the 1970s. I suspect the converse is the case now. Only the stupid people are optimistic now. Welcome to Planet Baka. Enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"Two steps forward/Six steps back, six steps back, six steps back, six steps back..."
-- "At Home He's A Tourist" Jon King, Gang Of Four

I'm referencing the lyric because of two reasons: 1.) Gang Of Four is playing in two days at what used to be called The Palace in Hollywood but is now called The Avalon, and 2.) This is how I'm feeling in school today.

Regarding Gang Of Four: ever since they re-formed earlier this year I've been wanting to see them but have been thwarted at just about every turn. First, they played Coachella, which is a huge festival that costs a huge sum of money to go to. It was also held during a Spring heat wave, and even if I could have swung the money to go see it I would have literally been dying in the heat. Almost 42 years of life largely lived in the San Fernando Valley has not changed my tolerance for heat. I can hang with cold OK, but heat just saps the life out of me. Brokeness and probable sellout is preventing me from going to the gig at The Avalon. They were going to do a short set at the grand opening of the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood yesterday but they no doubt got rained out.

This is the absolute right time for them to reappear. I remember how their bleak, angular, spiky music seemed to sum up the bleak, angular, spiky Reagan era. Now we are 5 years into the reign of Dubya the Terrible, a guy who would make even a lefty like me nostalgic for Reagan. To answer that, The Four Boys from Leeds University return, like four musical-instrument wielding Jedi, ready to take on the entire freakin' Evil Empire all by themselves. Now more than ever, they speak for me.

The only thing missing is Saccharine Trust opening up for them on some local dates. Seriously. Listen to a Saccharine Trust album from back in the '80s, maybe We Became Snakes, then listen to Entertainment! Saccharine Trust influence-checks Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra more than they do, say, Funkadelic, but they share a great deal in common. Of course, if this had actually happened, I would have actually gotten to see them. Oh well. You would have to raise D. Boon from the dead and reunite The Minutemen to find a more appropriate band to be an opening act for them here in LA.

I hope they can see their way clear to doing an all-original album next. Return The Gift is basically re-recordings of classic tunes from 20-some-odd years ago. They are now scattered between continents and have lives that have long-ago diverged from each other. But some new stuff would be great, guys.

In regards to how the lyric relates to my current progress at Woodbury: I have a math test in about a week, and that is overshadowing the good news that's been going on with regard to my classes. So far I've been getting good grades on work I've done for other classes. You already know about Family Systems, I found out today that I now have an A-average in my work for Abnormal Psych. However, the fucking math is still my bete noir. I had hoped that maybe I could be on track for a B in math. Nope. Another installment of "hang on by my fingernails and hopefully eke out a C." Swell.

Oh yeah, one other observation before I go: Gang Of Four was one of my favorite bands when I was going to college the first time. Now they're back and I'm back in college finishing what I started back then. And to make the circle even more than complete, one of Richie's favorite bands back when he was at Rutgers Newark was Cream. Cream got back together and played a handful of shows in London's Albert Hall this year. With that, I end this blog post.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A few quickies before I turn in: (yes, at a little after 8 on a Saturday night)

1.) Regardless of the fact I haven't posted here, I'm ok.
2.) The one Family Systems journal I have gotten back so far got an A.
3.) The technical aspects of the presentation hit a snag (Dell lappie with a busted headphone-out jack, I'm not surprised) but I was able to find the blasted remote for the CD player in the room so I was able to present my "Daria" vid clip. The scene from "Psycho Therapy" was extremely well received, as was the rest of the presentation. This was my one-and-only presentation for this class so I had to hit it out of the park. No matter how many times I pleaded for "constructive criticism" I got "dude, that was cool" from all my classmates. Was it "Daria?" Was it me? Or was it a hunger for a more human-centric type of psychology that's an endangered species thanks to HMOs? It might be all three.
4.) I pulled an all-nighter last night/morning. I think part of the reason I had a good energy level for this presentation was doing it "late, or early, whatever." I really am nocturnal by nature. Too bad that only works if you are independently wealthy. :P

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I think I'm going to be all right. After an exchange of email with my Family Systems prof, I'm only going to have to get the presentation finished, not the paper to go with it. The paper is due as a term paper. Whew!

I have just about everything ready to go. I need to pre-flight the presentation tomorrow on Woodbury equipment...perhaps I might even get to do it in Miller Hall 104 if nobody's using the classroom. I've already tested the handy dandy retractable extension cable I had to snag for my USB key. With the extension cable, I'm fine. The SVGA cable that goes from the lappie to the projector no longer blocks out the USB ports. Without it, however, I'd have to burn my presentation onto CD which would mean running a DVD and my presentation on the laptop like I intend to do won't work.

A week from Tuesday is my next Math test. Eep! Not looking forward to that.

I finally did something I should have done weeks ago with this iBook: let it run overnight so that the cron jobs that Mac OS X has to run would run. I've got to get Cocktail or something like it to run the jobs at a more appropriate hour, because I really don't enjoy the risk of keeping this running in Earthquake Country. Yes, iBooks are designed to take punishment, being that they were designed for K-12 students. However, having the lappie go flying in the middle of a 7.5 shaker (which is what some say Northridge was) would probably not be very good for its health.

Wow, there's entries for Reseda and Panorama City in Wikipedia! Kewl. The Panorama listing needs a little fleshing out, and there is only a stub for Fritz Burns, the guy who built our city along with Henry J. Kaiser of Kaiser Aluminum and Liberty Ships fame.

Wow...I gotta get going on finishing things up. This project is doable but not if I keep on dawdling. The wind is kicking up some nasty shit into the air. My sinuses are not happy. One of the effects of allergies for me is low energy. Hopefully the last bit of Diet Mountain Dew I had with dinner will kick things up a notch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I have been whacking on this presentation I'm supposed to do for Family Systems class on Saturday, and the more I whack on it, the worse it gets. I am incredibly frustrated. This is why I haven't blogged recently.

Stay tuned though...lots of stuff going down. Could Dick Cheney be among the 22 indictments? Is Gotterdammerung at hand? Who's going to be first into the bunker in some Undisclosed Location? Mother of mercy, is this the end of Dubya? One can only hope.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


George W. Bush may veto a defense authorization bill because it contains an anti-torture amendment. This will be his first veto.

This guy definitely has a pair of brass ones. I'm talking brain hemispheres, not balls. They must be brass because anyone with a functioning brain would not do this.

Telegraph.Co.UK: Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Today is "Founder's Day" at Woodbury University, but I decided not to attend. Instead I took the opportunity to sleep in and take it easy. I don't regret the decision.

Today is also SFVLUG meeting, and I'm debating the wisdom of perhaps either giving it a miss or just attending briefly. I really do have other things I should be doing instead, not the least of which is schoolwork. Chores need to be done here too.

Yesterday, in the midst of Friday "sneak the bad news out over the transom" day, it turned out that Herr Gropenfuhrer actually did something good for a change. He signed SB 370, a State Senate bill which outlaws "black box voting" in California, and mandates that every voting machine used in California have a voter-verified paper trail...meaning that when you vote on a computerized voting machine, you will be able to confirm that your vote is your vote. Although the Secretary of State considered this law too burdensome to his office, he has also mandated that voting machine companies submit their code to be reviewed by computer experts selected by his office.

Taken together, these two actions mean no more black box voting in California. I would have preferred it if Free and Open Source software became the gold standard in the Golden State, but maybe that's a little too much to ask.

Text of the bill
Oakland Tribune: California to put e-voting to the test

Friday, October 07, 2005

A flash animation you should see:

What does 2000 dead look like?

(Warning: not safe for work.)

I'd blog some more but I'm out the door.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm pretty sure I can get out from under the backlog of work I incurred while being sick as a dog. My math teacher stood our class up today, so basically I have three sub-chapters worth of work before I'm caught up with the rest of the class. There's three papers to write, but I'm not sweating them too hard. The one thing I'm concerned about is a presentation I need to do about Family Systems. Hopefully I can get in touch with my Prof and figure out what to do on that.

The news of what looks like the beginning of the fall of Dubya's empire is starting to trickle in. 22 indictments on Plamegate/Traitorgate, Harriet is still in deep trouble with the GOP Base, and not even Fox's morning show took time out to air Dubya's morning press conference. Someone on DailyKOS said it felt like Christmas, Easter and Halloween at once. I wouldn't be so "irrationally exuberant" yet, but the inevitable implosion seems imminent.

Put it this way...I will start celebrating when:

  1. All the Chimperor's men are frog-marched out of the White House in leg irons and manacles

  2. Harriet gets rejected by a bi-partisan majority and Justice O'Connor has to stay on for a while longer as each wingnut in turn that Dubya proposes after Harriet is disposed of by an emboldened Loyal Opposition

  3. The decision is made to cut our losses in Iraq as our "offset" plan w.r.t. Hurricane Dubya/Hurricane Rita

  4. The Special Election measures are soundly trounced and Herr Gropenfuhrer slinks as far away from Kal-ee-FOHN-ya as he can for a long vacation...preferably long enough to elect either Phil Angelides or Warren Beatty the next Governor of the Great State of California.

Admittedly, this is all quite the longshot even now. But remember when both Dubya and Ah-nold looked absolutely untouchable? Remember how it felt when Grey Davis got his walking papers and John Kerry got robbed? All of a sudden both Schwarzie-baby and George Jr. look vulnerable.

And it all comes down to corruption and coverup, just like Watergate, but writ on a larger canvas. The more things change, the more they look the same.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Supreme Court fight...from Bizarro World.

That's the only way to describe what's shaping up since the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the departing Sandra Day O'Connor. It is the ultra-Right Wing, Jeezo-groveler faction of the GOP that has been the screaming the loudest about how wrong Miers is for the post, and people from the Democratic Party who have said "let's give her a chance, shall we?"

OK, so next we'll be seeing, to quote the Ghostbusters, "Fire and brimstone....the dead rising from the grave...cats and dogs living together...." and any number of other signs of Apocalypse. Really, this is that much of a dose of cognitive dissonance.

I urge caution, restraint, and a thorough grilling. She's probably the best that the Loyal Opposition's going to get out of Bush, but we need to at least make sure that this is truly the case and she's not some sort of killer fembot designed to shoot bullets from her brassiere when approached by a liberal lawyer, or Harriet, Culture Warrior Princess, or whatever. Right now, all bets are off and anything's possible. This is just too freakin' weird. Suddenly finding yourself in limited agreement with people like Pat Buchanan and not in agreement with Senator Harry Reid is just too much.

In amidst all this weirdness, I do smell a rat. A big fat Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man of a rat named Karl Rove. I think that she may very well be a right-wing nut job without a paper trail, and that certain folks on the ultra-Right are reading from Rove-prepared scripts of feigned outrage at the nomination to give her the cover we need. I keep hearing that Calamari dude from Star Wars screaming "It's a trap!" in my head.

Proceed with caution, folks...

Update 9:47pm PDT: Now George Will has his bowtie out of joint about Harriet The Spy. I still think she's a trojan-horse candidate, but it sure is fun to watch the ultra-right wing Kultur-Kampf types have conniptions over her.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bend over, here it comes again...

Dubya has made his choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. It's his assistant chief-of-staff Harriet Miers. Ms. Miers is the one who is just to the left of Veep Dick Cheney in the picture. She's another Gonzalez candidate...she's a really close Friend Of George and seems to be getting the Base all hot and bothered because she's not pure enough. However, she is also a Born-Again Christian, has been going to the same Texas church for two decades, and has been part of Team Dubya since before Dubya got out from under his many business failures and into politics.

Harry Reid seems to think she's the best we can get under the circumstances. I don't entirely buy that, but with him rolling over and showing his belly there's not much hope of a fight against her. So she's here, she's going to be a Supreme Court Justice, get used to her. sigh...

Sunday, October 02, 2005


This story has only appeared in one place, but if it's true, it's scary. Apparently someone might have brought a suicide bomb into Oklahoma University's stadium yesterday during the OU/Kansas State game. The bombing was reportedly a failure that only killed the bomber. However, it's enough to give you pause.

Need I remind you about a more lethal example of home-grown right-wing nut job terrorism that happened not very far from Norman, OK?

This is apparently an AP story but so far nobody but Sports Illustrated has picked it up. I'd like to see some corroboration but perhaps this is a story that got sat on.

Scary, man...

Update: 8:32pm PDT: Lots of corroboration now. Here's a story with some background on the bomber, OU Engineering student John Henry Hinrichs III. (soul-sucking registration unfortunately required.) The kid was only 21 and distraught. Most now conclude that the motive was probably suicide, not terrorism. Still scary, though.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

News of the Ugly for this lovely Saturday...

1.) I have heard rumors that Washington Mutual might be acquired by Citibank. These rumors haven't been confirmed at this point, and since the rumor-monger was a salesperson for Wells Fargo Bank who was pimping the bank's checking and savings accounts and their credit cards at Woodbury I suppose I should consider the source. The only outside source for this rumor I found was someone's blog entry from 2003. Not bloody likely.

However...WaMu hasn't been out of the m&a game. In a move that was surprisingly stealthy and didn't get much media play, WaMu bought Providian Financial back in June. OK, who's Providian Financial? They are a company that has made their fortune on issuing credit cards to "sub-prime" customers. As such, they are pretty much second cousin to the corner loan shark. They charge usurious rates on their cards, and even when I was looking at "first credit" card offers back when I had a job I ignored Providian because their terms were so bad.

This is actually pretty bad news. WaMu makes a big deal about being consumer friendly. However, buying Providian suggests that they have decided to go bottom fishing in this new environment created by the Bankruptcy Bill of 2005. Suddenly WaMu doesn't look like such a friendly and open place to bank. The way WaMu snuck the news out about this acquisition also smells.

When I heard about the possibility of a WaMu/Citibank merger, I thought, "OK, that's it, I'm going to take my money and go to a credit union." Now that I know about the Providian acquisition, I'm starting to consider such a move anyway.

2.) Time to mouth off about Herr Gropenfuhrer. He did as he said he would and vetoed the attempt at overturning the ugly California "Defense of Marriage" Act. However, a blogger has suggested that as well as being hateful and hurtful and throwing red meat at the GOP base, that he's being awfully hypocritical.

According to this blogger, when Ah-nold was a hungry young bodybuilder, he was "Gay for Pay." He had to do something to afford those steroids, right? No less an authority than Joe Gold, the founder of Gold's Gym, stated this before he died. It is hearsay and gossip and could never be admitted as evidence in a court of law. But if it's true, it puts him in a Grand Old Tradition of self-hating Gay men with reaction formation complexes. And it makes him one hell of a hypocrite too.

I hope this rumor is true. It would certainly turn off the GOP base, which seems to be his only constituency left here in California. If Ah-nold loses his base, then the only people left to vote for him would be Jay Leno and Richard Riordan. From my mouth to Goddess' ears.