Saturday, March 15, 2003

Went out and rented some movies, because there's nothing worth watching on TV tonight... Got a few good ones, I hope - Road to Perdition (with Tom Hanks), The Bourne Identity (with Matt Damon), Serving Sara (Matt Perry & Elizabeth Hurley), and Insomnia (Al Pacino & Robin Williams). I also got Queen of the Damned, which may not be the greatest movie ever made, but it looked interesting.

I've darkened up the column a few percentage points, and tweaked the links a bit more. I'd like to thank John Public for the advice, but I've just started looking... There's a lot of options right now and I'm under no real time pressure. I realize that the sooner I go to my own domain, my traffic is likely to grow quite a bit faster (if only because there are people out there who won't come to BlogSpot). I'm still learning the HTML, so if anyone wants to submit a design, I'd like to see what you have in mind. Color combination suggestions are also welcome. What is up on this page is how I'm trending, though. (It's easier to try them out on my HTML Editor, and then poke the determined values into this site's template.)

Anyhow, I'm going to go watch a few movies now... G'nite!
Trying some new color combos. Expect several different changes over the next few hours...

Still raining. Hard. I'm just achy and looking for a distraction. So I'm playing around... :-)
Good morning. It's raining here. Again. {Sigh.}

I am actively seeking suggestions, commentary, and criticism for the color scheme. I am also looking for other (inexpensive, as opposed to "cheap") hosting servers. I've seen prices that would fall into the $80-150/year range for hosting. I'm also trying to figure out how I can arrange that plus the domain name shift. (I think it would be cool to have a domain name of just "Drumwaster". Oh, yeah, the 'www ' and the 'dot com' parts - I just didn't want to trigger the URL protocols)

I also see that the Pixie Sticks Dixie Chicks are backing off from a statement that they were "ashamed" that President Bush comes from Texas. I think they might have realized that pissing off their customer base, which (not coincidentally) also happen to be conservative-types who come from Texas, and who also happen to be some of the most patriotic people in the nation. Fiercely so. I guess the angry phone calls to the radio stations (demanding boycotts of the Prixie Trix) that were sponsoring the Concert Tour finally sunk through. Although I'm not sure how firmly rooted someone's patriotism might be, when a two-week tour of EUnuch-land is enough to cause them to say that they were ashamed of their President. (There are stories of pilots captured during Vietnam who had to go through severe depravation, torture, and political "re-indoctrination" - that didn't work - for years. None of them ever lost their love of this country. What kind of torture did these three go through? Not enough mints on their pillows? The little bottles of liquor in their plush hotel rooms too expensive?)

Bah... Lucky for me, I like music mainly from groups that aren't celebs any more, so their image can't get any more tarnished. ;-)

In other news, some groups are concerned that the FBI has started using the UAV concept to do covert surveillance. I'm not quite sure why. They are already able to use helicopters, tracking devices, multiple vehicle tails, wiretaps, high powered cameras, you name it, but unmanned, unarmed, model aircraft that is carrying nothing more dangerous than a camera and a transmitter is "blurring the lines of domestic spying"? Will someone explain how? The fact that you would have to get permission to use it (a warrant to collect information, just like a wiretap) and the fact that it cannot see what isn't available to anyone who looks (no violation of privacy issues) means that it's just the application of new arrangements of old technology. Nothing new here, but these groups (who are more often concerned with the rights of the criminal, rather than his victims) are whining that their right to privacy is being violated.

I mean, really. If you've got nothing to hide, what's the problem? If you do, GO INSIDE! They can't see through walls. Yet.

Wimps. Besides, if you think that the model aircraft circling overhead (miles from any airport or open park) is following you, maybe you ought to look around.

It might be. :-)

Still raining. {Sigh.}

Friday, March 14, 2003

So what do you guys think about the new colors? I'm trying my HTML editor/viewer, and if anyone has a milder combination (or think they might), feel free to let me know. You can check many of the most common colors on this page.

I'm actively seeking input. If no one wants to give any, then I will decide all by myself, and the page may be different every time you swing by (at least until I figure this out). Wouldn't that be cool? A different combination with every page refresh? Maybe a Random function... I'll go see what I can do. :-)
I've tried this test three different times coming from three different blogs (from among those in my blogroll), and each time I've gotten a different result, so I'm not real sure what I am - Libertarian, Green Party, or this one... (I just like this picture better than Thomas Jefferson or Ralph Nader). It's a toss-up as to which role model I'd be prouder of - Jefferson or Reagan.

Nader can quietly fade away. Or prominently explode. His call.

Reagan
Republican - You believe that the free market will
take care of most things, but that the
government should be there with moderate
taxation to provide for national defense and
enforcing morality. Your historical role model
is Ronald Reagan.


Which political sterotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Trying out a new background color... If I got it right, that is...

Seeing how the page is put together on a real browser...

Update: It's a little bright on the eyes...
I found a really cerebral game, involving a "laser beam" and some light bulbs. If you're into games that make you think, rather than those that test your hand-eye coordination or reflexes, give this one a try. I've also added it to my Games List in the left column.

I'm only on level 11, but I'm working on it! :-)

In other news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has asked for the resignation of any leadership positions held by Congressman "Moron" Moran (D-VA) over the dumb-assed comments Moran made, claiming that we are going to war in Iraq "because the J-E-W-S want us to..."

This is the first clue that the Dims realize that this is going to backfire on the whole party, with a simultaneous effort to do some damage control. They were doing a lot of finger pointing at Trent Lott over his statement in support of a man celebrating his 100th birthday. This wasn't an occasion for celebration where beverages may have been consumed, this was a public speech. That sound bite is priceless, where he actually says, "Maybe I'm not the right man to be in Congress."

I couldn't agree more, and I predict that it will be included in every poster, every bumper sticker, every commercial over both TV and radio. "Moron" Moran has written his opponent's election strategy for them... For Free!!!

I just have to chuckle. Heh...

So. How is your day? :-)
I tried for two solid hours last night to get into editing this site. I wanted to play with the background colors a little, but while the background color would come up, the columns with the entries (the ones you're reading) never appeared, not even after 2-3 minutes of waiting. I tried the 'Refresh' button a few times, but after a few tries, it just came back with a "HTTP404 Page not Found" page.

I've talked with the missus, and she says that she is okay with me getting my own domain name, but there are still some wrinkles to be ironed out, server space to find, HTML programming to play around with, but it's almost certainly coming. Probably before May 1st, if I can get things moving here. I want for it to be ready the earliest moment I have access to such server space. When that happens, I will close out this blog with pointers to the new page. I hope that you will all come visit there. Same humor, same righteous outrage, same frustrated politician (even though I'm not elected, I know that my expressed points of view represent many others who don't bother to publish those views).

Or something like that... I've even had one guy tell me that this is his Home Page! While I am thrilled at the compliment that expresses, that is also an awful lot of pressure, because there is no way in hell I can keep up with the output of, say, Yahoo or FOX News. I just hope I'm worth it.

{/fishing for compliments} :-)

Anyhow, Good Morning!

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Alright. I'm serious now. I mentioned a few days ago that I was thinking of moving away from BlogSpot. It is a pain for me to sit through the long download of the page. I have a DSL account, and have to sit through a long download. I can't imagine what it is like for those on 56K dial-ups.

So I gotta know. Would you guys be willing to put up with shifting your Favorites links? I can get pretty good service with my own domain name for about $100/year (maybe a little more). I will be doing all of the designing from scratch, and all of it ad-free (I think). What do you think?

Seriously. Let me know. (Thanks to Loyal Reader "John", who e-mailed me, and pointed me at Rachel Lucas' archives. I think he wants me to get off the dime.)
Wow. Apparently, sometime within the past half-hour or so, I got a hit from someone looking for (I'm not making this up) "accidental pussy shots of 8th graders". I'm stunned. I haven't even gone to see how I would have gotten on such a list, and why. I'm afraid I would trip some FBI program.

He (presumably) was from somewhere in Colorado, and I have his ISP info, but I'm not even sure he would have broken any laws just looking. Would he? What if he was a minor? I'm just stunned.

Any ideas?

I would like to welcome my 2,000th visitor, from "cox.net", somewhere out in the Heartland.

I want to thank all of you for stopping by, and I hope I make it as much fun for you as it is for me...
Okay... last chance to get your inputs in on how you want the page to look... If you have a favorite color for the background, the sidebar, the links, of a fun font you want considered, now is the chance. I'm going to go study for a while longer, and I'll check my e-mail regularly (the link is in the left column), and so if you guys (and girls) want your input considered, tell me now.

While this is my page for ranting, I'm under no doubt that you are out there, and I want your visits here to be as pleasant an experience as I can make it. I want to make you think, make you mad, make you laugh, and keep my sanity. I could turn this into a hot pink page with sky blue text, and none of you would be likely to return, because that kind of text is too hard to focus on (they proved that in psych tests - black on yellow is the easiest to distinguish, which is why many traffic signs use that scheme).

But let me know what you think would be a nice color combo, and we'll give it a try. (At least a few hours, just to give people a chance to take a look.) If we have several, we'll hold a running poll, with a new color scheme every day, until we figure one out. Fair enough?
More text tests... Learning a lot. (Thanks, Dave!)

Font size one
Font size two
Font size three
Font size four
Font size five
Font size six
Font size seven

Coooooool... :-)
Remember when I said I was going to be playing with colors today? I wasn't kidding.

The following is a test, it is only a test. Do not adjust your set.

This text is white
This text is red
This text is green
This text is gray
This text is blue
This text is black

Thank you for your attention. :-)
Just scanning around, read some anti-war conspiracy theories (just enough to make me paranoid), and so I decided to poke around in my old haunts for a dose of reality.

When I found this.

Don't these guys usually travel in mini caravans, followed by the press? Did anyone get the name of the truck driver? Any questions about why this guy just happened to hit a UN vehicle (which are idenitifiable as such, else those guys would have never crawled inside them demanding sanctuary a few weeks ago), and not one of the escort cars? Do these guys drive themselves? What about other passengers?

Something just rife with conspiracy theory potential, and all Roto-Reuters can come up with is four lousy sentences?

Hmmmmm...........

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Some minor cleaning up of links for now... Tomorrow, I'll be playing with colors, thanks to an interesting reference page. Maybe some more appealing combinations... Whaddayathink?
They found Elizabeth Smart! She had been kidnapped from her Salt Lake City bedroom about eight months ago. More details to follow, but this is a very happy ending for a Utah family... Good for them.
I was just setting my reminders into the digital cable box for this evening's televised entertainment. I clicked over to our usual Wednesday night fare, when it struck me. Last week The West Wing aired the first part of a two part story. All indications I had was that part two would be aired tonight. I was all set to copy down the advertisers (as a part of Week Three of the Boycott), when I realized something.

NBC pulled the show! (For this week, at least)

NBC is airing a re-run of Law & Order in its place (and yet another re-run of Law & Order in the regular 10 pm slot). I'm not sure what this means, but last night I saw a clip of Martin Sheen in a news story about celebrity pundits. He said, "I'm not just gonna shut up, just because I'm an actor." (or something to that effect).

My immediate response was "No, Marty, but just because you're an actor doesn't mean that you are immune from being criticized for saying stupid sh*t, either..." (My wife came in from the kitchen at that point and asked if I was talking to the TV again. I had to admit it.)

Does this mean that the boycott (as well as the dozens of other grass root boycotts out there) is working? I intend to keep a careful track of whatever advertisers use The West Wing to hawk their products, and list their names and contact pages here. If any other pro-Saddam appeaseniks celebrities with anti-war opinions want to boycott anyone who advertises on my site, I say "go for it".

The Screen Actors Guild is whining about a "blacklist". I'm not sure how protesting to the advertisers has anything to do with the actor's ability to get a job, but while they may have the right to free speech, the producers also have the right to hire people who are more palatable to the public. The First Amendment doesn't even enter into the issue. Why? Because the producers are not Congress.

Cowards. Ass-hats. You treacherous, pro-despot, anti-freedom, anti-human rights, prejudiced, racist, America-hating liars. Once the war is won (sooner than you think), you will have a lot of explaining to do. Word is already starting to hit the mainstream media as to exactly who pays for these rallies you show up at for your thirty seconds of sound bites. Janeane Garofalo already sold you bastards out when she admitted that protesting Klinton during Kosovo just "wasn't cool".

The only difference is that there was a Dimocrat in the Oval Office. That makes this whole thing about politics. You are just pissed that your whipping boy lost the White House, and want to protest the man who is in that House, no matter how just his cause, no matter how much better a place the world would be afterwards. You don't care about the Iraqis, just the Democrats. And you only care about the Democrats because they're "not Republicans".

Well, you buttered your bread. Now sleep in it!
The Most Reverend John Hawkins has created a FAQ on the war, in which he answers (with supporting evidence) the 50 most common questions and concerns about the upcoming Battle of Iraq.

Go. Now. Read it. Pass it along to your liberal friends and neighbors, but have tissues handy for their inevitable tears. (They are, after all, having their long-held illusions shattered.)
Well, I guess turnabout is fair play. (Click on the 'Stress Toy for Warhawks' link to open the smaller window...) (Thanks to Michele - with just one 'L' - at A Small Victory)

Good morning, by the way!

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

You've got to be f*ckin' KIDDING me...

Would you believe The Suicide Bomber Game?

Don't blame me, I'm just pointing it out.
Thanks to the nice folks over at AMCGLTD for pointing out this awesome essay from Tech Central Station. It is well worth the time it takes.

In the next twenty years, life is going to get either much, much better or much, much shorter. If I were consulted, I would vote for "better", but I'm an optimist deep at heart. No, really. :-)
Time for this week's This-or-That Tuesday!

1. Married or single? Married. Happily.
2. Knit or crochet? Neither. I'm lucky if I can tie knots...
3. Homebody or world traveller? Both. (I've seen dozens of nations and lived all over the U.S. I'm tired of travelling, though.)
4. "Star Search" or "American Idol"? Neither.
5. Dancing or karaoke? I occasionally hum in the shower, and sing in the car, but that's about it. My days on stage are over.
6. Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello? Presley, but only the early years.
7. Bus or train? Car. (I've driven enough miles to circle the globe at least a dozen times. So far.)
8. Batman or Superman? Batman. He didn't have any super-powers, but he still kicked ass.
9. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. YUM...
10. Which came first...the chicken or the egg? The chicken, because the chicken had to get laid before the egg could. LOL

Thanks for playing!
Ready for the smack-down?

Violence

Theodore Sturgeon was one of Science Fiction's greatest writers. He once wrote a story that moved me deeply, because it touched upon one of societies' debates that are so fiercely debated, yet so often unnoticed. It was the proximate cause of this rant because of something that Loyal Reader (and HTML guru) Dave sent me in an e-mail, "Do you think that violence in the media and movies and video games and such, leads to our children being numb to commiting violent crimes?" (He sent more, but that's a subject of another rant, for another day.)

Theodore Sturgeon (or as his adoring fans humorously refer to him, "Teddy The Fish") wrote a story of a man who literally overdoses on the news, until it one day causes him to go "off the deep end". Just the overwhelming pain that is caused by the knowledge of all the suffering throughout the world just becomes too much. He cuts himself off from society entirely (and I mean ENTIRELY - no phone, no radio, no TV, no electricity, no books, traumatic amnesia, the whole works), and his family sends up a psychiatrist to "cure" him.

The psychiatrist gets him to speak about it, and brings him back to the point where our protagonist makes the realization first voiced by John Dunne in 1624, "Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind." As he gets up to leave the Psychiatrist's office, his last spoken words (and the penultimate sentence) were, "So I'm going to diminish it right back." The story ends, "He got eight before they cut him down."

That was one man's reaction to the overstressing of the American psyche with nothing but bad news. Many people have commented on the lack of "good news" stories, but primarily because people love "dirty laundry" (in the words of Don Henley), there just isn't the overriding urge to see stories like, "Today in Los Angeles, tragedy fails to strike more than five million commuters as they manage to safely make it from home to work, and back again at the end of the day. A million students county-wide were not shot to death on campus by a crazed psycho killer, and several hundred Girl Scouts were similarly safe from sexual predators as they went door-to-door, selling cookies."

No one wants to hear these stories, they want to hear the worst of the worse, so that they can look around and say, "At least that's not me..." Our hearts go out to these people, and we labor hard to help them in any way we can, because no matter how much we want to see the road-side accident, no one wants to be left alone in these tragic times.

But this instant awareness of tragedies around the world, the ability to see the live aftermath of a Palestinean bus-bomb one second and the clashes between police and protestor in South America the next, brings with it its own coping mechanism. We start to look on everything as a giant special effect in our own private movie. The unreality of the images on the morning of September 11th, 2001, that overwhelming feeling of detachment, that this was just a movie based on a spectacularly bad idea from a Tom Clancy novel. We had to find ways to get through the day-to-day drudgery, despite the urge to give over to the horror we could see and the anguish we knew those people just had to be feeling, being forced to decide between burning to death or jumping onto the pavement over 1,000 feet below.

So we numb ourselves. We refuse to accept the reality unless it is absolutely shoved in our face. Psychiatrists refer to the "Seven Stages of Grief" (Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Fear, Anger, Despair, and Acceptance.). It is an inevitability. The human mind can only adapt to its surrounding because of its ability to shut out the pain and the horror of an incident until it is ready to accept it and move on. But it is an extension of that second step, Denial, that allows us to grow inured to the suffering. We find defensive measures that allow us to keep our sanity. Humor, curing the pain and suffering, catching (and punishing) those responsible for causing the pain and suffering, donating time and money to those (or others) who are suffering are all ways that people find to ease the pain they feel.

But what about those who grow so immune to the pain that they learn to ignore it. Could it be because of the constant exposure to violence we see in our movies? You know, the ones that star Jackie Chan, or Bruce Willis, or Ah-nuld, or Vin Diesel, or whomever. Movies with lots of high-speed chases and dramatic explosions, at least one guy who dies after having the hero (or a villain) do that "Hollywood neck twist", and lots of guns fired that only kill the bad guys, while spang-ing bullets all around the "good guys" (who don't even get scratched).

Or video games with "realistic bone-breaking sounds!" and "Dial-a-Gore settings", who use the really demonic bass voice to order you to "FINISH HIM!" once you managed to floor your (virtual) opponent with a particularly effective controller combinations ("You move Up, Right, Right, Laft, A, X, Up, Up, Right, and his head will literally pop right off his shoulders! It's coooool!")

Reality, in other words.

Everyone knows that it is not real, but the images are getting more and more real every day. The effort to make it real has been in the open, and is perceived as not being much of a threat, because it has been associated with the more expressive of the video game genre, so we may have missed the subversive effects on the psyche of our kids. When I was growing up, Pong was still kinda cool, and Pac-Man was the latest craze. It advanced rapidly, and video games started using the increased ability to program in different responses. More controllers (buttons and levers and eight-point joysticks) tested hand-eye coordination.

Now there are video games that can tell whether you're standing or kneeling, and adjust the viewpoint on the screen. There are games that can give you dance steps (the whole body kinesthetic version of "Simon") and display an on-screen avatar of your efforts in real time. Games with helmet controllers that can track your "aimpoint" by which point on the screen you're looking at. Physiologists are attaching electrodes to the heads of guinea pigs psych students and having them fly an imaginary plane down a canyon by just thinking "Up", "Down", "Left", and "Right".

Hook all of these together, with high-powered computers, and you can train people to handle just about any situation. There is a shooting range not far from where I live that has the Simulation Trainer. It offers various situations that people might interact with during the day, and will judge how well you do by measuring how accurate your response was to the shifting scenario. (Will he pull a gun, or are those just his keys? Is he trying to assist that woman on the ground or is he the one who put her there and now wants to silence a new witness?) I did pretty well, but only because I've had some training.

There is a new movie out, called "The Recruit", and I saw a five second scene on the trailer where this new recruit does very well on (what appears to be) his first time shooting. He sees his instructor's surprised face, just shrugs, and says, "Video Games".

This is at the core of what I'm trying to say, and what David was asking me... Kids today, hearing all the bad news they hear, seeing the world around them and just accepting it as "the way things are". Add in the violence in our movies, our television shows, and the wildly popular rap music (which apparently revels in the idea of "poppin' caps" and "smackin' bitches"), and you have a glut of violence. Estimates vary wildly as to the number of violent crimes kids see in today's media, but they are usually measured in the tens of thousands. Or higher.

Each time, the entertainment industry is looking for ways to make it a little more exciting than last time, a little more blood, a little more gore, a little rougher language and a little more skin. The pendulum has swung about as far as it can in this direction. The hedonism of our time, mixed with studies like this one, and we can safely conclude that our society has a problem.

The solution is not going to be an easy one, because people are strange. Once they get a taste of something that they like, they discover that a "taste" is not enough the next time. (To use a personal example everyone can remember, once you get to kiss your boyfriend/girlfriend, you're not going to be satisfied by shifting back to just holding hands any more. I've heard it called the "Point of No Return".) When it's that little thrill of violating taboos, new taboos will have to be found, and new pariahs will have to be blamed for the world's troubles.

The ability to control others with threat of violence is one of the most heady of thrills, which is why there is such a strong taboo against the threat of violating. That is why so many people will band together to fight an aggressor, whenever possible. The urge to rise in defense of the defenseless, the underdog. "Thou Shalt Not Kill".

Unfortunately for my thesis, much evidence exists on the other side of the equation, too. I can use my own childhood when growing up as a counter-example. I owned a BB-gun while I was growing up. Had dirt clod fights with the neighborhood kids. Wrestled with the siblings. Watched professional wrestling on TV and in those West Texas arenas. Saw multiple versions of "Road Runner lures Wile E. Coyote off a cliff/into an oncoming truck/train/pile of explosives" Saw murders and rapes and vicious assaults in horror movies ranging back three decades.

But with all of the violence I have seen while growing up, I have zero wish to go pick a fight with the next door neighbor (even though he's a jerk who like loud motorcycles). I maintain a pretty firm grasp on reality, and I'm not a particularly violent person. On the other hand, I am no pacifist, either. I see the benefits of proper use of force, and understand how, like fire, force can be used impartially, and its end product is determined entirely - 100% - by the wielder.

So while I think that seeing the violence day after day can inure people to the horror of committing violence on others, it is the responsibility of all adults (and I'm not using that terms to mean "only those persons who have lived for at least two decades") to hold themselves responsible for their own actions.

Robert Heinlein wrote (in Starship Troopers), "I told you that 'juvenile deliquent' is a contradiction in terms. 'Deliquent' means 'failing in duty'. But duty is an adult virtue - indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a 'juvenile deliquent'. But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult deliquents - people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail.... The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were symptoms of a greater sickness; their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights' ... and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure."

Whatever the reason for our actions, it all boils down to choices we make, for which we are solely responsible. If you asked me whether the pervasiveness of violence numbs us to its effects, I would say 'Yeah, and so what?. It was a movie, you twit!' Violence in our entertainment has been around for thousands of years.

However, if you asked whether choices made or experiences gained in the past should be used as an excuse for our current actions, then I would answer 'No'. Everyone makes choices. Those choices dictate our actions (or lack thereof). Just ask the Germans at Nuremberg. "I was just following orders" was a defense used. Guess what? It didn't work then. It shouldn't work now.

We are now to the point of people getting away with murder because of gorging on snack foods or other such craziness. "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." Just ask Robert Blake.

In yet more words by Don Henley, "Get Over It".

Monday, March 10, 2003

Yet another reason why I am loathe to entrust the Internet with any personal details...
GUIDE FOR RECOVERING LIBERALS
AUTHOR UNKNOWN (Although I wish I had written it.)

Overcoming Liberalism: A 12-Step Program

Step 1: Admitting that you're a liberal

This is the first step for every liberal on the way to recovery. It is important to understand that you're not "progressive", "moderate", or "enlightened". You're a liberal, and you need to be honest with yourself about that fact.

Step 2: Pledge to support your beliefs with facts

Realize that truth is more important than moral superiority and is the only way to come over to reality. You must research beyond propaganda from the Sierra Club, Hillary Clinton, and CNN to understand things as they really exist in the world. You can no longer argue based on "feelings" or emotion. You will actually need to back up your arguments with real information. This is a difficult step, because it means you can't be lazy any more.

Step 3: Love America

This may be the most difficult step for those of you who are hippies and peaceniks. Admitting that the country you hate actually stands as a beacon to defend freedom throughout the world can make some of you physically ill. You might want to make a visit to a military cemetery to better understand that these men and women gave their lives so that you could spew hatred. Otherwise, you would currently be living in a police state that would never let you wear that nasty patchouli oil, let alone speak out against your government.

Step 4: Take a college level economics class

A Socialist is defined as someone who's never taken an economics class. Most Socialists have a hard time balancing their checkbooks, let alone explaining the simple concept of supply-and-demand. It's time to flush your complete ignorance of basic economics down the toilet and understand how the world actually functions. This concept will be very important for the next steps that involve communism, facts about corporations, and the inefficiencies of government.

Step 5: Say "no" to Communism and Socialism

While this concept is obvious to most of the free world, it is an important step in your recovery process. If you have difficulty with this step, spend a week living and working in Cuba.

Step 6: Corporations are not evil

If you're reading this article online or in an email, it's thanks to corporations. If you get some kind of paycheck, you can thank corporations. If you work for a non-profit or the government, you still have to thank corporations. The non-profit sector and the government wouldn't have any money to pay you without corporations. It is also important that you understand that making a profit doesn't equate to "greed" or exploitation. Capitalism has created the greatest society in our world's history. Even communist countries need corporations to survive, so enjoy a nice, hot cup of reality.

Step 7: The government is inefficient

If you are one of those liberals who believe the government should tax us more in order to take care of society, you need to pay special attention to this step. You need to realize that government bureaucracy will waste most of your tax dollars, while the private sector will put your money to much better use. Even most Democrat politicians understand this to some degree, which is why Hillary's socialist healthcare proposal was voted down by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Go to your local post office or call the IRS to ask a tax question if you need a reminder about government inefficiency.

Step 8: The earth is not your "mother", and she's not dying

The time has now come to stop your donations to Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, and every other EnviroNazi organization to which you belong. Face the reality that the earth, society and our environment are better off today than ever in recorded history and that they are continuing to improve. I realize that many of you tree huggers will have a very difficult time letting go of the Douglas Fir on this one. I would suggest reading The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg. Mr. Lomborg is a former member of Greenpeace and is currently a statistics professor at a university in Denmark. He set out to prove the world was in bad shape and ended up surprising himself by proving the exact opposite.

Step 9: Stop smoking the wacky tobacco

Okay, some of you might need to enter another 12-step program to complete this step. Marijuana is distorting your sense of reality, and you need to stop using it. Besides, you'll save a fortune on snacks.

Step 10: Eat a hamburger

If God didn't intend for us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat. You can put your sprouts and tofu on the hamburger, but get some meat into you. You'll look and feel better than you ever imagined. You can always remind yourself that Nazi propaganda hailed Adolf Hitler as a vegetarian to get you through this step.

Step 11: Stop re-writing political history

It's now time to admit that Bill Clinton is a lying-cheating-sexist-racist-rapist jackass, Hillary Clinton is one of the worst role models for women in this country, Al Gore really did lose the 2000 election by every vote tabulation you attempt, Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War and didn't create the homeless problem, John McCain is not a typical Republican, and Jimmy Carter is a nice man but has one of the worst presidential records of anyone in history.

Step 12: Be a missionary

Once you have completed the previous steps to overcoming liberalism, it's time for you to share this awakening with others who are not as fortunate. Go out amongst the liberal sheep and spread the good word of your freedom from the chains of ignorance that once bound you. Congratulations, and welcome to reality!

Ah, it's Monday morning, the birds are singing, the cats are prowling, and Saddam is threatening to spray our troops with chemical and biological weapons if we invade. Wait a minute, what was that last?

But Janeane Garofalo, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Nelson Mandela, Jimmeh Cahtuh, Jacques Chiraq, Schroder, and Artists United to Win Without War (Auwww?) say that the inspections are working, didn't they? Hell, even Saddam himself says he doesn't have them... How can Saddam threaten us with something he doesn't have?

I hope that these celebrities remember all the sh*t they've been spouting once the facts come to light, and all the abuses and tortures and murders and God only knows what all they've been defending are displayed, for all the world to see...

We in the Blogosphere will not let them just "get on with their lives".

We will wemembuh... {/Elmer Fudd}

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Just a final update for the day. I've added a new button in the left column, linking to the Periodic Table of Elements. Not much, but needed to have a post to update the page properly. Good night, all. I'm going to go watch now.
Asshat-in-Chief Jimmeh Cahtuh (who list of overwhelming failures while in the Oval Office can be found here) has declared that he is defending the right of Saddam Hussein to torture, oppress, and murder his citizens in his mad dash to get weapons of mass destruction. He has established five criteria that would define a "just war".

Those five criteria are (according to his New York Times op-ed piece this morning):

1 - The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted.
2 - The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants.
3 - Its violence must be proportional to the injury we have suffered.
4 - The attackers must have legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to represent.
5 - The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists.

Since none of the wars the United States has fought (that I can recall) meet all of these criteria (most of them meet none of these criteria), I can only conclude that (Nobel Peace-Prize Winner) Jimmeh means that the United States should immediately surrender to Iraq, and all political control to the United Nations. But let's take them one at a time, shall we?

First, the "requirement" that the "war be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted". I think that 12 years of inspections, and more than 60 distinct resolutions (a list of them can be found here), with increasing sanctions, and not one, but two "last chances" would qualify, especially when all Saddam had to do at any point was say, "Okay, I give up. Here... take 'em all. Now will you go away, please?".

If he had just cooperated, he would have had a hell of a lot more of a moral leg to stand on when he accuses the United States of "lies and aggressions"... But I digress.

Point two: The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. I know of no magic bullet or bomb that will change it's aim point, depending upon whether or not there is a civilian in the way. We are using many, many times more precision munitions than we used in the first Gulf War, whether they are measured in percentage terms, or in absolute totals. Those weapons are not the bombs used in carpet bombing we used in Germany or Vietnam, where we had to expend 50-100 bombs to guarantee a hit on a factory or bridge. These satellite-guided weapons use much more accurate sensors to limit the CEP (Circular Error Probability - the distance between the aim point and the likely impact point) from the 10 meter standard used in 1991 to 1 meter (a little more than a yard).

In realistic terms, that means the targeting has improved 1000%, from being able to designate which side of a building would be hit to being able to decide which window will be broken first. Laser targeting designators means that the CEP on Apache-launched Hellfire missiles is reduced to just a few inches. If there are civilians in the way, they might get hurt, and even killed, but we cannot control the movements of civilians in a battle zone. Especially if Saddam manages to station weapons systems and AA guns next to schools, hospitals and mosques, or those dumbass volunteer bombsights who call themselves "human shields" get stuck in a tank laager or weapons depot. I will grieve over those Iraqi civilians (not a tear will be shed over the hypocrites and traitors), but I will also rejoice when their neighbors and relatives are finally free.

Third, Jimmeh says that it must be proportional to the injury suffered. If that were the true standard, we would be over-run. We would have to wait for the first hit every time, allowing the enemy to choose the time and place of a battle, and since you were a graduate of the Naval Academy, you should know that it the easiest way to lose a battle, and then the war. You would be sacrificing the initiative, which is something you should never do, which is a lesson every military man on the planet (except for you) soaks up through his skin.

The cops wouldn't be allowed to use lethal force against a felon who was actually shooting at them until one of their numbers were actually hit and killed. While that logic might have explained the sacrificial lamb in the red shirt on Star Trek, it doesn't apply in the real world. Laws the world over allow sufficient force to "stop the aggression". I'm allowed to knock a man unconscious to protect myself (and others) from imminent harm, and even use superior force, so long as I stop using that force the moment that the threat he poses has ended. (If that seems complicated, then you try summarizing the justifiable use of force in just a sentence or two... LOL)

So, basically the rules of polite society need to be completely re-written to conform to Jimmeh's version of Utopia, where everyone lives by the Golden Rule, and no one ever goes hungry or thirsty or sad, and we all spend our days playing in the peanut fields with the bunnies and puppies and little fluffy kittens.

(An interesting side note: the word "Utopia" is from the Greek. "U-" = "no", and "-topia" = "place", so "Utopia" literally means, "no place". And, no, I'm not channeling Gus Portakalos, either...)

Point four - The attackers must have "legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to represent". Huh? Would such legitimate authority come from the Congress? (It already has.) The Security Council of the United Nations? (It already has.) Who else does Jimmeh need to provide "legitimate authority"? A poll, perhaps?

Maybe he's just pissed because Dubya isn't taking his calls anymore...

Final point. The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists. Since that is the ultimate goal of any use of force, this one is pretty much a given. The question lies in which point of view would view the end result as an improvement - the winner or the loser.

In the case of the war in Afghanistan, it was better for us, because it took away a major stronghold of the terrorist organization that had just killed three thousand of our citizens, and sent them all scurrying like cockroaches caught by the kitchen light.

It was better for the Afghani citizenry, because people are now allowed, no, encouraged to laugh and sing in the streets. Kids are playing soccer where once prisoners were executed by the hundreds. Girls are attending school for the first time in a generation, and their mothers and aunts are allowed to hold jobs. The government business license office has issued more new business licenses in the past six months than they had in the preceding 25 YEARS. Isn't that an improvement? I'd say it was a win-win scenario.

It's going to be the same in Iraq. Just wait and see. But people will not forget, Jimmeh. Because the Blogosphere will not let you cover this one up. You hypocritical asshat.
Found over at Qwerty's site: A story about Iraqi soldiers surrendering before the war even starts. I remember reports from the first Gulf War where Iraqi soldiers were surrendering to CNN crews in an unarmed helicopter. But this group (of about a dozen) showed up to surrender to British paratroopers, who were conducting some training exercises on the Kuwait side of the border.

If this is what we can expect, then we should have an easy row to hoe until we get close to Baghdad. (I'm pretty sure that the only reason that the Republican Guard is behind the "regular" Iraqi forces is to be able to shoot them if the regulars turn and run. That's why many of them will use anything white they might have, T-shirts, underwear, burnooses (burnice?), old paper napkins sewn together, whatever.)

I guess it's a good thing that the French Army has been supplying them for so long, huh? I guess the urge to surrender must be caused by the chemicals used in painting the weapons or something....

Anyhow, Good Morning!