Monday, February 27, 2006

Beating a Dead Horse

That's basically what this post is about. And what is that dead horse? The issue of John McCain. I've repeatedly posted on this blog about how John McCain is NO friend to progressives, and that he's basically a stooge of the Bush agenda. Every time I see a new bit on McCain, I like to bring the issue back up again, because it's important to get the message out. He may be a serious candidate for President, and it needs to be known that he's not the "centrist maverick" the media makes him out to be. There's a fantastic diary entry from Daily Kos that can be found here, illustrating various aspects of McCain's stoogery. For this particular diary, the comments section is also very informative and includes more information than the initial entry alone. Here are some highlights (from McCain's past and present):

1) McCain sided with the fundies on Schiavo.

- It's true. He has a history of backing the religious right. He also supports the teaching of "Intelligent Design" is schools and is has voted in favor of banning partial birth abortions. Be clear about this: he WILL support the interests of the Religious Right, at the cost of women's reproductive rights and the education of our youth.

2) McCain believes in and supports the privatization of Social Security.

- McCain has gone out on the stump in support of Bush's plan and has said for years that he supports privatization. Most Americans disagree with him on that, but that has never stopped him from being a rank-and-file Republican on most issues.

3) McCain supports the war in Iraq (always has), doesn't think it was a mistake, and wants to INCREASE the size of our military budget, and get tougher on terrorism and the countries that sponsor it.

- He's a hawk, a big one. Don't think things will be all lovey dovey if he were in charge. Quite the opposite.

4) He SUPPORTS the NSA wiretapping.

- McCain has been a loyal toady for Bush on this, coming out in support saying that the President has every right to authorize this kind of wiretapping. Implicit in an agreement that its okay for the president to do this, is the recognition that its both legal and nececcary. Oooh... but at least he's a "maverick."

5) The Barak/Obama spat.

- Totally unbecoming of a person is this little ordeal. I blogged on it before, but if you need a little refresher, check this out here.

6) A blast from the past: Didn't support the recognition of MLK day

- But he's such a moderate!

There's more in the diary, some good criticism of McCain, and some stuff that I actually think is unfounded and/or unfair. The point is, there should be more than enough there (enough SOURCED information, something I haven't bothered to do here) to make anyone of the leftie persuasion seriously pause before endorsing McCain so readily. So, check out that post.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Friday Bootleg (Rocky Mountain Bootleg #3)

Hey all!

Okay... so I'm basically mining 7 Inch Punk for my purposes until it's used up of Colorado bootlegs that I want. Don't hate me because I found such a great site. Anyways, here's the first release by Expatriate (the band from last week's TFB). It's live! That means awesome live energy and more of that metallic hardcore grinding action. Good stuff.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Santorum Redux

You know who hates Rick Santorum a lot? Me. That's who. So I want to share you all with this amazing resource of reasons-to-hate-Santorum-and-the-facts-to-back-it-up-with called Santorum Exposed. Go learnicate yourself.

Sidebar News Updates

Hey, in the spirit of the last post, I'm gonna throw some more News links up on the sidebar. Enjoy.

Denver Post - The big gun in Colorado News. Denver-centric and the best source for state news.

Rumford Falls Times - Okay, okay. There's not too much news here. But this was my town in Maine and I like to check up on it occasionally. Maybe you'd like to take a gander too.

Summit Daily News - The local (free) paper of where I (currently) reside in Colorado. They have some interesting local news, but their op-eds are what will keep you going back. Rich Mayfield has some of the best columns I've seen anywhere, bar none. And check out local funny man Biff America's column, insightful and funny stuff there.

Rock on.

Colorado Immigration Issues

Occasionally, I like to try and talk about/bring attention to issues from my "home state(s)," in this case Colorado. Immigration has for Colorado, like much of the country and particularly the Western states, been a hot button issue for a number of years now. On Tuesday, Democrats killed 6 Republican-backed bills to try and curtail the rights and benefits of immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally. Republicans accuse the Democrats of not wanting to get "tough" on illegal immigrants, but Democrats are saying they just don't want to give in to right wing pressure to get the job done quickly but in the wrong way. The Democratic plan is to put money into trying to keep illegal immigrants out at the border instead of trying to curtail their rights once in the country. Such an effort would do two things: 1) it would disproportionately harm children and families, since the "benefits" that most illegal immigrants take advantage of are the ones where their children get to go to school, and 2) it would require massive amounts of funding in order to enforce. The logistics are mind-boggling. Anyways, read the Post (Denver) article here and learn yourself a little about frontier politics.
Memo

To: President Bush
Re: Iraq

Mr. President,

Hate to say we told you so, but we FUCKING told you so.

Sincerely,

the Left

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why the Port Scandal Matters

Hekebolos zeros in on why the Port Scandal is a big deal. Check out his blog entry here.

I don't think I have much more to say in regards to this, the analysis seems pretty spot on.

(via Digby)

EDIT: MyDD has another great piece on the Port Scandal here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Everyone once in awhile I feel compelled to rant about something, and ocassionally these rants find their way on to Complete Control, as the following rant will. Forgive the change in tone from the normal posts by Flex, but I like to interject the hate-fueled rants once in a blue moon.

The NYTimes is reporting a story wherein U.S. Intelligence agencies have been reclassifying declassified documents. Since 1999, intelligence agencies have reclassified more than 55,000 pages of previously declassified documents. This is...mind-boggling. In 1995 Bill Clinton issued a declassification order to increase the rate of declassification of documents that were not deemed extremely sensitive to national security. For four years, documents were available for public perusal. Then, they were reclassified. Many of the decisions made regarding which documents should be reclassified have scholars and experts baffled. Frankly, it's ridiculous.

There's a serious problem with this, and I think it speaks to a larger issue about the decreasing transparency of the US government. The secrey with which the Bush administration especially has conducted their day-to-day affairs is troubling, and the fact that the process of reclassification intensified under their watch speaks to this larger aura of secrecy. Some of have suggested that many of the documents have been reclassified to cover up embarassing issues in the past. Is this an attempt to rewrite history? To cover up the mistakes of America to reorder the way we think about our nation?

This echoes eerily the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's novel "1984." Charged with the task of correcting history and deleting references, changing old records, and covering up the truth, the Ministry of Truth is all about a lack of transparency in government. When there is no consistency in government, there is a serious problem with democracy.

There's simply no reason for the government to reclassify so many documents. None. Most of these documents have no relation to national security, yet they're being retracted from the public eye. Why? What possible good reason could there be for doing such a thing? I don't think there is a good answer. The answer that exists is, I think, that we have entered a time where people aren't concerned with reality. They want to be true what they want to be true instead of what actually is true. And this, I think, is a product of a strand of modern conservatism that has little to do with conservative principles and a great deal to do with authoritarianism. Everyone, liberal and conservative, should be up in arms about this. How can a government retract what has already been put forth into the public record? How can they justify changing history?

Luckily, an audit of the reclassification program has been ordered. Luckily, many people are concerned with this issue. But I'm afraid that it spells a dangerous trend for American democracy, a trend that can only end in the fundamental destabilization of our nation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/politics/21reclassify.html?hp&ex=1140498000&en=1490d91764a11aea&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Google Fights the Good Fight

Google is telling the U.S. government to f--- off, resisting the Department of Justice's attempts to garner user data that Google has stored.
Google has formally rejected a demand from the US government to hand over a week's worth of search records.

The rejection was made in court documents Google filed in response to official demands for search data.

In the strongly-worded papers Google said the request would violate the privacy of its users and reveal trade secrets to its rivals.

It also added that handing over the data was impractical and would not accomplish what the government wanted.


It's good to see a company like Google actually have an understanding and respect of its users' wishes and the basic rights of citizens and limitations of governmental authority. It restores my faith in the ability of large companies to do what is right. People should be focusing on this aspect of Google along with their activities in China. Activities which, in my opinion, aren't bad at all and actually are in the same spirit as Google's fight against the U.S. government. In China, Google is working with the Chinese government to ultimately provide Chinese citizens with MORE, not less information than they had available to them before. If having to deal with some censorship requirements (requirements which, I think, will not survive in the long run), in order to provide as much information to a huge group of people as they can, Google is doing the right thing.


Source

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Friday Bootleg (Rocky Mountain Bootleg #2)

Hey all!

Time for that cherry on top of the banana sunday that is your week - the Friday Bootleg. The second in the series of bands from Colorado, this week I'm going to be taking another post from that awesomest of resources - 7 Inch Punk. This time it's some late 80's punk rawk for y'all, a little band called Expatriate. They were before my time in Colorado, but the choons are mighty fine and the music is free, so it's all good. This is their first single, "No Sleep Till Chugwater" and you can download it right here.

Hope y'all have a good weekend, I'm to Cold Springs Resort in New Hampshire for some maxin' relaxin' with the g/f. Good night and good luck.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Going Down South

Down to South America! At least in metaphor form. And children, the metaphor is death squads:
Iraq has launched an investigation into claims by the US military that an Iraqi interior ministry "death squad" has been targeting Sunni Arab Iraqis.

The probe comes after a US general revealed the arrest of 22 policemen allegedly on a mission to kill a Sunni.

"We have found one of the death squads. They are part of the police force," US Maj Gen Joseph Peterson said.

Sunnis have long accused Iraqi forces of operating death squads - but the claims have never been substantiated.

Isn't that special? At least the U.S. is trying to get to the bottom of this instead of trying to cover it up. Bleh, hopefully this will be taken care of promptly and thoroughly. Hopefully.


Link

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sidebar Updates

More sidebar updates for all y'all. Just in the comic section, here are some more quality reads for everyone:

Acid Zen Wonder Paint - A totally insane comic made in MS Paint. Totally hilarious, the comic comes in two flavours. The first (seemingly being fazed out) are singly panel non-sequiters of pure random brilliance. The second kind of strip comes in the form of help column advice and is equally hilarious, and even more complex... somehow. A brilliant comic.

Checkerboard Nightmare - A webcomic pontificating on the state of webcomics... brilliant. Actually, it's quite funny and since it's been around since 2000, it's a goddamned institution. Wacky adventures abound, and it's been re-started recently with the all the snarky commentary on the state of webcomics that had been at the core of the comic's brilliance for the last 6 years.

Exploitation Now - The comic is dead, to begin with (ooo... Dickens reference. Aren't I wicked smaht? *See previous post*). But, the archives are there and the comic was glorious in its day. From the maker of Errant Story... this is his first and *ahem* better comic. There's the funny first half of the strip, and the compelling drama of the second half of the series. Great artwork, too.

Niego - Another dead comic. This one was put to rest on recently, taken before its time (in my opinion). Great characters drove this comic, and some really hilarious situations. Check out the archives, for shizzle.

Overcompensating - Okay, I'm still just starting to get into the one, but it's one of those "comics taken from real life situations" kinda comics... except not crappy. The frequency of the updates is like a barrage of comics straight to the face, which can only be a good thing, right? Anyways, funny (if somewhat cynical and dark) strips abound. Pursue this comic and thou shalt be rewarded!

Well, that's all for now. If I end up adding more today, I'll update this post.

Gaming Makes you Wicked Smaht

Finally, a justification for the all the gaming I've done throughout my life:
A body of research suggests that playing video games provides benefits similar to bilingualism in exercising the mind. Just as people fluent in two languages learn to suppress one language while speaking the other, so too are gamers adept at shutting out distractions to swiftly switch attention between different tasks.

A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.



Now, if only I were bilingual... I'd be indestructable.

(via Daily Kos)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This Is What Happens...

...when you mix rich old white uppercrust fakes and actual activities that actual people do. I am, of course, referring to the Cheney hunting accident. A good article conveying just how frickin' clueless these guys really are can be found here. I don't get why the Democrats (and Left in general, i guess) gets pigeonholed as hunter un-friendly. It's dolts like Cheney that giving hunting a bad name, and he'd just as soon pave over hunting locations that the common folk use (i.e. public land and private land that doesn't belong to the richest 1% of Americans). And it's not like most people on the Left are against gun ownership, but I have hard time seeing gun safety locks and background checks as a real problem - people are still getting their guns, its just a method of enforcing laws that are on the book. I guess the Left gets a bad wrap for encompassing those fringe types that don't believe in protecting the Second Amendment at all and the jackass environmentalists that hate hunting because cute animals die. Seriously though, those types don't end up in office and don't make up the majority of either the Democratic Party or the Left in general. They're just fringe-types who are usually ignored because they'll just vote Green anyways. But serously though, read the article. It's good.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Well, if they do you can visualize what that would be like with this wicked neato little screensaver.
Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver run by thousands of people all over the world. It can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers "sleep", the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as "sheep". The result is a collective "android dream", an homage to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Cool, huh? Well point yourselves here and download it.

Hallelujah, It's Baseball!

Today is like Christmas... a LOT like Christmas. Here's why:
Sometime between 1:30 and 2 p.m. today, the Sox’ equipment truck departs Fenway Park for Fort Myers, for the start of spring training. The 18-wheeler is expected to arrive at City Of Palms Park at midweek, a couple of days before pitchers and catchers report on Saturday.

Baseball is here again, folks. There may be snow on the ground, but it's Spring in our hearts - and on NESN. The Spring Training reports shall begin in earnest - and before too long (March 4, to be exact) - we have the first Sox pre-season game. Oh, it will be beautiful.

NESN Red Sox programming schedule can be found here.

Source

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Friday Bootleg (Rocky Mountain Bootleg #1)

Sorry for not getting to this earlier... Civilization 4 has been keeping my attention. Anyways, I've decided to try and do a special series of the Friday Bootlegs, I'm going to try and do a series of posts on groups from Colorado (the closest thing I have to a "home state" probably). For the first of the series I'm going to give you one of the institutions of the Colorado music scene - Jay Munly. A member of Slim Cessna's Auto Club (whose most recent release, Jesus Let Me Down, has been my most recent obsession), Jay Munly also has a fine solo career of his own. Weird country that is in a league all of its own, this Munly fan site has previously unreleased recordings (live, demo, radio, what have you) and well as some samples from his albums; and you can find the cuts right here. Have a good weekend y'all, and remember...

THIS IS HOW IT'S ALWAYS BEEN!
THIS IS HOW WE DO THINGS IN THE COUNTRY!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Slight Update

Not really in the mood for an extensive update today (I think I did enough yesterday to balance out for today), but I did want to share two things.

1 - I attended a lecture today on the increasing "Financialization" of the U.S. (and World) economy. There was a lot involved, but the basic point was that, increasingly, the business model for large corporations is not to invest in actual industry type stuff, but to sink money into investor type stuff, thus stagnating economic growth. That's kind of what happened to Enron and is happening to GM (at least in part). This method of making money provides high short term profits, but doesn't offer long term viability. The lecture was like one huge piece of the economic puzzle sinking into place, helping to explain why everything is the way it is.

2 - I can't begin to describe how ready I am for the 2006 baseball season. I can't wait to see the Sox take the field and find out what all the new boys (and rehabilitated old boys) can do. Should be an exciting season. A serious contender for the World Series? Perhaps not, but I'm not scared by "building years." We're seeing a transition into the future of the Red Sox. Ain't nothing wrong with that. I guess Spring Training info and the Baseball World Classic will have to tide me over until April. So far away...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Amusing and Thoughtful

I'm an updating fiend today Here are two little bits that I'm not going to blog myself about but that are worth your while:

From the frequently amusing RelentlesslyOptimistic: This is just a little tid-bit, a little newspaper excerpt, but it's too funny to not share. Find the link here.

And from one of the more thought-provoking blogs out there, Reasonably Ascertainable Reality: A post (find it here) on the cartoon-related rioting and how people need to basically learn that getting offended is sometime just a freakin' part of life. I find myself agreeing with the core content of the post, even if I wish that didn't mean agreeing with Michelle Malkin. Oh well, it happens.

Both of these blogs get my sidebar love, so you should be checkin' em out regularly. Very much worth your while.

McCain + Lieberman = Obama hatin'

In my continuing quest to convince liberals that John McCain isn't actually "all that and a bag of potato chips" here's a little bit on McCain being a jerk. The basic gist is that McCain and Obama are involved in some down and dirty politics, which focus more on the mechanics of government than actual ideological issues. McCain has been treating Obama with something which resembles contempt and Obama has been trying to be graciously reconciliatory. Now comes Lieberman, who throws his support behind McCain and sells out one of the Democrats' rising stars. What a putz. I know that I've waffled on whether we as Democrats should be more supportive of Lieberman or not, but I think we're all pretty fed up with his BS by now. Even if he does represent another (fairly) reliable Democrat vote on most issues, the damage he does in everything else probably offsets that. Grrr... Flex angry.

EDIT: Massive edits and rewriting to remove the vulgarity in the original post. It's just not classy.

EDIT 2: If you want your daily dose of rudeness, check out The Rude Pundit's post on the issue (combined with a bit on the King funeral) here. He extolls on the racial dimensions (that may be) at play here. More food for thought.

Big Bang Theory and the Douche

I know it's being broadcast all over, but this is just too amusing/aggravating/other emotions perhaps. Deutsch, a Bush crony put in charge of NASA public relations, quit yesterday after it turned out he lied about graduating from college. Deutsch is known as the jerkass who was trying to force NASA to refer to the Big Bang as a theory, and for that he is a moron (hell, even the Catholic Church has accepted the Big Bang Theory as true). It's too bad he had to be taken out on a technicality instead of being grossly underqualified for a job in NASA. Read alll about it here.

The Democratization of Hamas

Unless you don't ever follow international news ever, you probably know that Hamas won in the latest Palestinian election. While it certainly seems crappy to have an organization which advocates - at least in part - terrorism, being elected seems like it may be having a a moderating effect on the group, as evidenced by Meshaal's most recent statements on peace with Israel:
The political leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas has said the group is willing to take a serious step towards peace if Israel does the same.

Khaled Meshaal told the BBC that Hamas would not renounce violence, saying resisting an occupation was legal.

But he said a long-term truce would be possible if Israel accepted conditions including a return to its 1967 borders.

Of course, one can argue the sincerity of the Meshaal in this case, but I think that argument avoids the larger point, which is that this kind of rhetoric is something that hasn't really been espoused by Hamas before, when it's been primarily revolutionary organization. Voting Hamas into power forces Hamas to become an administrative organization, one which has to deal with day to day problems through compromise and negotiation. Democracy ain't so bad efter all, even when the "bad guys" win.

Source

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Coca Sek

An ethical alternative to the big soda companies, perhaps? Just as we like to get our coffee straight from the natives when possible, maybe we can do that with out cola too. The semi-autonomous Nasa people of Colombia are gearing up to sell Coca-based cola (which is non-addictive and won't get you high, FYI). It's unclear if and when it will be available in the States, but damned if that doesn't sound tasty. The Free Market in action? We'll see.

Read the whole story here.

EDIT: From the Christian Science Monitor:
Initially, Coca-Sek distribution will be limited to Indian communities. Eventually, Mr. Curtidor wants to distribute it to Colombia's larger cities. But selling Coca-Sek abroad will be difficult. Coca is on a UN list of dangerous substances - international commerce in the leaf and its products is strictly limited. The Coca-Cola Company is one exception. Although Coke no longer contains the cocaine alkaloid, the Houston Chronicle reported that the company gets State Department approval to buy about 200 metric tons of coca leaves annually. The leaves are processed to remove the cocaine alkaloid, and the leaf mulch is reportedly used as flavoring in the secret recipe.

Free trade my ass. Let them sell the damned stuff worldwide.

EDIT 2: Spelling & Grammar edits.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My God This is Funny

Probably the funniest thing SNL has done in... well... a long time. Find it here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Friday Bootleg

*GASP* The Friday Bootleg... she is back. Also, apologies about the lack of posting yesterday. Anyways, today I'm presenting you with mp3s of one of the greatest fucking punk bands of all time: Discharge. These guys were around since practically the beginning, having been inspired by The Clash, The Damned, The Sex Pistols, et al. Roots of hardcore and all that. Awesome stuff. They turned metal and sucky later, but the good folks at 7 Inch Punk have some of their early and wicked fucking awesome singles here for download. So go on over, download some killer tunes, and give 7 Inch Punk some love.

Have a good weekend, see y'all on the other side... OF THE WEEKEND!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More IE 7

Well, I'm using Internet Explorer 7 right now, and it's interesting. I can't say I've used for more than a few minutes, but I'm happy with some things already. For one, it's really sleek and streamlined looking now. The top navigation bar is more compact than any of the other web browsers right now, I'd say (at least when all are compared in their default modes). Also, ActiveX is disabled by default - hopefully this is a sign they're fazing it out for good eventually. All in all, IE7 feels a lot like Firefox or Opera, which is a good thing. Of course, there are still problems, IE still seems a little sluggish in loading websites and it has problems displaying some sites properly - but it's hard to say how much of this is going to be a problem in the final release of IE and how much is just because it's a beta.