Thursday, December 27, 2012

quote for the day

"When outsiders hear that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the second amendment of the US constitution, I suspect many imagine this is like saying it's "protected by law", something that can easily be changed, as it would be in their own countries. But this is to underestimate what the constitution means to Americans.

It is indeed a sacred text. Despite, or perhaps because, the US is a country animated by faith, the "founding fathers" are treated as deities, their every word analysed as if it contained gospel truth. Any new idea or policy proposal, no matter how worthy on its own merits, must be proven compatible with what those long-dead politicians of the late 18th century set down – otherwise it's unconstitutional and can be thrown out by the supreme court, the high priesthood selected to interpret what the great prophets of Philadelphia intended."


Jonathan Freedland at The Guardian, Friday 21 December 2012 13.32 EST


Oh, boy, aint that the truth. Criminy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

No really, I mean it. I mean, sure, all the stuff I posted up until now have been mocking the season, even the Pogues classic below isnt exactly traditional happy fare.
Still, I hope you all have a lovely day, that everything goes well and that everyone is happy at whatever gathering you attend. Or, if you're alone today, I hope you're okay with that anyway. Sometimes that's just the way it is. Next year doesnt have to be the same, and probably wont be.


Oh, and in case you're wondering, it didnt take a midnight visit or two to make me be nice here. I just felt like doing so.

So really, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas



Here's one of my favorite Christmas songs

Saturday, December 22, 2012

saturday matinee: santacademy



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a few words

My condolences to all the apocalyptophiles out there whose death wishes were once again thwarted. Good luck on getting the end of the world to occur next time. Enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

alternate post



Well, the video that I had set up a while back to run today is now marked "private video" or something like that, whatever that means (why put a video on YouTube if not for the world to see?).

Anyway, instead I'll just take this opportunity to say "goodbye", since the world will possibly be ending today. I believe that it is scheduled for some time right after the monkeys fly out of my butt.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Terry Gilliam's Christmas Card



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too late

So, I was wondering what kind of gun that the Sandy Hook shooter used, so I googled it. It's a Bushmaster AR 15. Why anyone who isnt in a paramilitary squad needs a gun like this, I dont know, but it's what he had. Anyway, this image is from the Cabela's ad that I used to see the gun.


I dont know how well you can see it on this copy, but here's a clearer image of the yellow box at the bottom.


Very considerate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

An idea

Okay, so here's a simple idea to change the gun laws in this country: Stop trying to ban guns. Regardless of the carnage, it's not going to happen, certainly not any time soon. The NRA with its gun nuts (and weapons industry) who support them are all too loud and well-funded to beat without another such incident every two months for the next two years.
Rather, how about coming at this from another direction? Instead of banning guns, how about we make gun owners carry liability insurance on them?
After all, all states (except Wisconsin and New Hampshire) now require that automobile drivers carry at least some liability insurance to cover the cost of any damage that misuse of your automobile may inflict upon others, so why not have a similar rule for guns? The more dangerous the weapon, the higher the premium. Doesnt that seem reasonable? If you have a .22 caliber single shot, you'll pay a lower rate than someone with an assault rifle. Got more guns, carry more insurance. Take a class on gun safety, get a discount. Have a mentally unbalanced family member in your household? Then you'll pay more, just as those families with teenaged drivers pay more for auto insurance.

The best part of my idea is that if you can get the insurance companies in on this, then they will most likely join in lobbying on the side of some (not all*) gun control, because that will help their own bottom line. Why would insurance companies want to get behind this idea? Because it represents a potentially huge and untapped revenue stream, which would be mandated by the government. All in the name of public safety! And it'll be privately controlled. Guns wont be taken away, nor taxed, just insured against calamity, like insurance is supposed to be for.

But Dave, you say, how do you make sure that people claim their guns, rather than simply hiding them away and avoiding the insurance. Well, I suppose that you could use the already in place gun registries. But another route that we could go is to simply not worry about insurance on those particular guns until something happens with them. At that point, have laws in place which make whatever assets of the gun owner forfeit up to the point where recompense is made (plus a fine of some sort). That should bring out some folks voluntarily, and perhaps make the others a whole lot more careful.

Seriously, how hard could it be for the insurance lobby to find a GOP member of congress who is beholden to them? Or twenty for that matter. Instead of wasting our time engaging in protests that no one in the government pays attention to, let's try to pit two massive and well-funded lobbies against each other! Congress does a fine job ignoring voters, but they cant ignore lobbyists.

Anyway, it's just an idea. But it seems to me that when a significant segment of the population thinks that a reasonable answer to the crisis is to arm teachers, there's probably not much chance of any kind of solution banning anything anytime soon.



* they cant ban too many guns, because of the higher premium thing; but rest assured, they'll figure out where the profit ends and losses begin and guns beyond that point will be lobbied against.

quote for the day

The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, “that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about Basketball Diaries?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?” The obscure 1995 Leonardo Di Caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it. The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory.

“Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
Roger Ebert
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

saturday matinee

Why is the night sky dark?



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quotes for the day

"Jesus, I am so sick of this country and its goddamn cargo cult of deadly weapons."

Read more: Connecticut Elementary School Shooting - A Short Question To Ponder Over The Weekend - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/connecticut-elementary-school-shooting-121412#ixzz2F8fyis36

Addendum:

"When we were hit on 9/11 and 3,000 people were killed, we then spent a decade and trillions of dollars fighting ill-fated wars. How many of you still take your fucking shoes off at an airport because of ONE fucking shoebomber attempt? Yet every year, we have the equivalent of three 9/11’s due to gun violence, and our response is to let the Assault Weapons Ban lapse and then underfund mental health care and can’t even spend enough money to computerize records so the background check to purchase firearms. I’m used to Republican stupidity and obstructionism (and there are plenty of Dems on the wrong side of the gun debate- JOHN DINGELL, I AM LOOKING AT YOU), but other than the drug war, find me a way our congress and political leadership have failed us more than this."

John Cole, at Balloon Juice

Thursday, December 13, 2012

quote for the day

"Who would’ve thought giving Egyptians, who have lived under a military dictatorship for 30 years, the right to choose their own leaders would’ve lead to them choosing anti-liberal, theocratic leaders, who would immediately grant themselves dictatorial powers?

Answer: everyone who knows how people operate.

Guys. Democracy doesn’t work unless the people who are voting understand the obligation of choosing leaders. If people are used to dictatorship, and you tell them they can vote, they’re going to assume that means they get to pick the next dictator, and they’re going to do this. Look at Russia and Eastern Europe and Africa. They don’t know any other form of government. You can’t expect them to.

Democracy isn’t in our genes. It’s something that has to be learned. If you shake down all the autocracies and turn them into democracies, you’re going to get democratically-elected autocrats, and the immediate end to democracy.

America needs to stop acting like a hipster doing a semester in the Peace Corps, and start acting on policies that have a bit more of a world-wise adult perspective of human behavior.

Because history isn’t going to give us credit for stopping the Stalins, if our method is simply letting people choose their own new Stalins."


the Virgin Prince

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

special day

Today is the day, folks! 12/12/12, and this is the last time this century that you'll be able to do that.

Actually, it could be said that the really money shot was 12/12/1212, and we've missed it by 800 years, but where's the fun in that?

quote for the day

" America’s Internet started out as No. 1 in speed. It now ranks 26th, far behind the networks in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Lithuania. Americans pay the sixth highest median price in the modern world for Internet data — 16 times the rates paid by South Koreans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Just as serious is the problem of coverage: in France, South Korea and other modern countries a superfast Internet is or will soon be available everywhere. In America, AT&T’s fiber optic lines stop short of homes and small businesses, while Verizon plans to end its fiber-optic installation work once it reaches 18 million residences.

As of now huge parts of the United States will never get on the information superhighway but will rather slog along on the digital equivalent of a country road. This presents a genuine economic threat to America: the future industries and jobs that require a universal ultra-high-speed network, after all, will most likely be developed somewhere else. "


David Cay Johnston, Bad Connections

And of course, if you dont really care about competitiveness, how much do you care about being fucked by monopolies?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

photo for the day


Dubaï sky view by AirPano.com

By Charles Nouÿrit

Just image how much money this required.

Monday, December 10, 2012

quote for the day

"It’s almost like you can’t trust an organization that only exists to kill people to handle its own justice…"

The Virgin Prince, discussing sexual assault of females in the U.S. military, where, according to the Department of Defense, approximately one in three military women has been sexually assaulted compared to one in six civilians (Foster & Vince, 2009).

Saturday, December 08, 2012

saturday matinee - double feature



Okay, so "most" is a bit of hyperbole, but the numbers are way too high even so.

Instead of "proper" ID, how about a quick exam over the government before anyone is allowed to vote?

More:

Friday, December 07, 2012

quote for the day

"The problem isn’t that Mitt Romney was a bad candidate for Republicans, but rather that Mitt Romney was the best candidate Republicans had.

Republicans can complain all they want about the candidates they had, and wish someone else had run, but they did this to themselves.

A year ago I wrote that when you spend four years calling the President of the United States a socialist Nazi Kenyan anti-American terrorist agent of the Devil killing old people and destroying the country, and you whip up your base to a frenzy that moves your party so far to the right that moderates become an endangered species, then you create a foundation where the only candidates you can possibly attract are Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. And Mitt Romney ends up as your best chance.

In his play, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare wrote, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. It’s in ourselves.” And so it is with today’s Republican Party. The fault is not with Mitt Romney — he did better than most Republican presidential candidates have done in 24 years. The fault, dear Brutus, is with the Republican Party itself. When looking for a culprit for the 2012 Presidential, Senate and House losses, Republicans need only look in the mirror.

In the middle of a recession, Republicans should have won big. But they created their “#1 Priority.” They created the direction of their party. They created their anti-women, anti-Hispanic, anti-health care, anti-Climate Change, anti-tax the wealthy, pro-legitimate rape agenda.

You make your bed, you lie in it"
Robert J. Elisberg: In Defense of Mitt Romney


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Thursday, December 06, 2012

quote for the day

"It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others."

- anonymous

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

did you know: christmas edition

In the Catalonia region of Spain, there is an extra figure in their nativity sets. It is located at the back of the manger, and it is a person, squatting to take a dump.
No, really.
The figure is called a "caganer". Often, they are made to look like celebrities.
The belief is that with his/her "fertile depositions" the soil of the manger will became rich and productive for the coming year. It was also believed that he "would bring good health and calm to the body and the soul". The figure is in the back of the manger because putting it up front would "show a lack of respect".

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

sunday funny


Oh My God! That's me!

You really ought to read them all.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

saturday matinee



So, when I first saw this video, it came with the following explanation:
We’ve all heard examples of fake Chinese or German from speakers who lack familiarity with either language. While typically cringe-worthy, these examples do raise interesting questions regarding our own language. What does English sound like to non-English speakers? After more than 40 years, Adriano Celentano’s “Prisencolinensinainciusol” remains one of the most illuminating examples.

The entire song is nonsense verse, neither English nor Italian, but the sounds are meant to resemble English. Linguist Mark Liberman wrote an interesting post about this sort of thing over at Language Log discussing yaourter, the French word for an attempt to speak or sing in a foreign language that one doesn’t know all that well. This often involves trying to sing a foreign song with nonsense or random words filling in the blanks. Liberman shares this wonderful quote from a random Internet user:
"Just for the story, in France, when we don’t speak English and we want to imitate the sound, we call it 'yaourter'(to yoghourt), the imitation sounds like a very nasal language, kind of like a baby crying. It mostly imitates the 'cowboy' accent."
Remember this video the next time some idiot goes "ching chong chang" as a jokey attempt to sound Chinese.

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Actually, now that I think about it, this reminds me a bit of Elton John's song "Solar Prestige a Gammon".

Also, here's another take on the English thing, this time by actual English speakers!