how much traffic is going to my site

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Party of Family Values

Jim Morin of the Miami Herald eloquently skewers the hypocricy of the modern NeoCon "Party of Values" in this panel. So sad...

Visit Bog Geiger's The Saturday Cartoons roundup for a sampler of a variety of popular nationally syndicated cartoonists.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Our Changing Times

Will Bunch at Attytood discusses the current paranoia over child predators and accidental injury while reflecting on this article in the LA Times.

Kids Taking a Bus 350 Yards to School

I've contemplated this current phenomenon as well. As a metro-Atlanta child who attended local public schools, I walked a mile or two to and from school. It was a chance to experience the seasons, plants and wildlife of the area. To occasionally detour along a railroad track imbibing the smells of wind, water, earth, wildflowers, creosote, and the nearby poultry farm. And in the first years of high school, gave opportunity to stop at the old wooden framed store on the corner to swap discarded glass bottles collected en route for the dreaded potato chips and other such junk food. I found being free and outdoors much more appealing than being locked indoors alongside clamorous, irrational adults. In fact, I still do...

The ills of society are likely to compound themselves as we draw into tighter and tighter clusters of dysfunctional, hyperactive, paranoid, self-serving isolationists. We are adopting the behaviors and lifestyles of overcrowded rats in cages, whether our confines be pseudo-secure gated communities of McMansions or automobiles inching along grid-locked, polluted highways. Contrast this with the pathetic efforts to shun increasing isolation and meaningless existence demonstrated by society's current obsession with cell-phones, PDAs, and sound bites. All the while lashed into the yoke of perpetual corporate servitude. Activity for activity's sake doesn't allow much time for personal reflection or genuine though, and leaves a populace susceptible to mass-think, propaganda and spin. Perhaps therein lies the most plausible explanation excuse for escalating levels of chaos.

Vanity Press on the Cheap

Ran across this faux-newspaper widget at Captain Plaid's site. You should read his snarky missives if you are at all interested in the current state of primary education, southern politics, or ???. Peace... Or War!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring has Sprung

FloridaCracker posted pictures from his garden yesterday and since I had taken a few shots the previous weekend, decided to post them here - just in case you're tired of hearing about crooks and liars in the gubment. I know I am...
Click on the pictures for a better view in a new window.

You Can't Handle the Truth

Old story, but some may have missed it the first time around. This Slate article written by Sharon Weinberger reveals the possible use of psy-ops propaganda and disinformation to mislead the populace into submission. The red zone is for loading and unloading only...

You Can't Handle the Truth: Psy-ops Propaganda Goes Mainstream - Slate

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stop the Press: My Head is Exploding

I was awakened around four this morning by the pretentious, nasal voice of Newt Gingrich being interviewed on The O'Reilly Factor. As the tsunami of incredible GobbledyNewt rushed towards my ears, the torpor eased and the words became clearer. Yet the more I awakened, the more uncertain I became whether this was reality or nightmare.
"The danger the news media runs, though, is a little bit of the Dan Rather effect. That if people conclude they do not trust the media, in the age of the Internet - first of all, it's going to substantially increase turning to places like Fox, uh, and turning to radio, and turning to the Internet, and having people say "I want to find out what really is happening, because I don't trust the sources." And I think, I think you agree with me on this that the - we've always had a biased news media, but, but the toleration recently for just plain factually false reporting is astonishing. And, and the fact that the newspapers don't have any sense of remorse, don't have any sense of correcting the record, uh, what it is, is - it's not a matter of opinion, it's just blatantly false."

Straight from the horse's mouth! Turning to Fox for integrity?
Gauge the irony of the "Truth Police" by your own volition.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Artistic Differences

Earlier tonight I caught part of a "documentary" on the National Geographic Channel. Dubbed "War on America", it is part of a four hour series covering events surrounding 9/11, the CIA, FBI, Osama, and Jihadists. I was struck by the rhetoric used and of the skewed presentation of fact. This led me to investigate, online of course, who the producers of this film were, and in which direction they leaned politically.

Break out your tin-foil hats, folks, 'cause here it comes:
The two programs, "War on America" and "Ground Zero," are part of the "Inside 9/11" series written and produced by Jonathan David Towers of Towers Productions from Chicago. Towers has made several propaganda type films about the attack on the Pentagon, Saddam Hussein, the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and a documentary called "America's Jewish Gangsters."

The "Inside 9/11" series seeks to reinforce the official version that Osama Bin Laden and 19 Arab hijackers were the architects and executors of the massive terror attacks that befell the United States four years ago.

So who are Jonathan Towers and National Geographic Channel?
Jonathan Towers grew up in a suburb of New York and is a 1982 graduate of Yale University. Fleshing Out Skull & Bones (2003) by Kris Millegan lists Mr. Towers as a 1982 initiate of Yale's super-secret elitist fraternity known as The Order of Skull & Bones.
The National Geographic Channel, which carries the program, is primarily controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which might lead one to ask which nation is meant by "national."

Murdoch, the Australian-born owner of FOX News, owns nearly 67 percent of the National Geographic Channel in the United States and 50 percent of National Geographic Channel International (NGCI).

Also turns out that Peter Lance, author of the book "Triple Cross" on which this series was rather loosely based, seems a bit peeved at the conclusions presented by the directors of the film.

Artistic differences or agitprop? Draw your own conclusions...

UPDATE (03/26/07 @ 6:00pm EST):
For those interested, the author has supplied these links:
National Geographic Channel’s Whitewash of Triple Cross
National Geographic Channel’s Whitewash Press Summary

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Terrorized by "War on Terror"

How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done -- a classic self-inflicted wound -- is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
Read On...

Barbeque - Houston, Texas Style

Texas Police Say Man Used Grill To Burn Ex-Girlfriend's Body

HOUSTON (AP) -- A 19-year-old Texas A&M University student was killed by her ex-boyfriend, who then dismembered and burned her body on a patio grill, authorities said Saturday.

Investigators say Timothy Wayne Shepherd, 27, confessed Wednesday to strangling Tynesha Stewart because he was angry she had begun a new relationship. Shepherd, who is charged with murder, is being held on $250,000 bond.

"We have determined through this investigation that the defendant dismembered Tynesha Stewart and...he burned the body parts," Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas said. "There are no remaining body parts."

Not to make light of this sick story or the sad fate of Ms. Stewart, but why is it that this deranged psycho managed to find a girlfriend, yet all I come up with are his female counterparts. Argh...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Judicial Accountability

While judicial reform and accountability laws should be ammended to each state's constitution, big money interests are fighting tooth and nail to prevent this from occuring. Gee, I wonder why...

Backers of a South Dakota initiative designed to reform the state’s courts by holding judges accountable for their rulings are licking their wounds after the amendment’s defeat at the polls. Organizers behind the measure said they had to contend with a well-funded propaganda mill that ran nonstop to defeat the proposed state constitutional amendment.

Still, backers say they will not give up and hope that this revolutionary measure will spread like wildfire across the country.

The onslaught against Amendment E, known officially as the Judicial Accountability Initiative Law, or JAIL, featured several key players. The South Dakota State Bar figured prominently in the anti-amendment movement, reportedly spending at least $1 million. The bar’s allies included the insurance lobby, Citibank, which donated $50,000 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which donated $15,000. All of the 105 state legislators signed a resolution opposing the amendment.

Were South Dakota Voters Duped?
Well-funded 'insider' efforts sabotages judicial reform.

Citizen Confidence in State Governmental Institutions - PDF

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like whitened sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Thus ye also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
Matthew ch. 23:27-28

Forcing the Hand of God

Lunatic authoritarian eschatologists are being led by legions of snake-oil salesmen who prey upon their callow, misguided visions for the future. These recent end-timer prophets, as well as the centuries of apocalyptic promoters before them, believe they have a say in the outcome of the universe; that they can, by force of will, incite the realization of The Revelations - and make a buck in the process. Arrogant, nescient minds whose core beliefs are tantamount to the flea believing it can determine the dog's ultimate destination.

Even more mystifying is their inherent belief that in this eventual good vs. evil altercation, they are destined to represent God's chosen people - all the while promoting agendas which mark them more and more as the beast they contemn. Look around, closer, closer... anything look familiar? Xenophobia, war mongering, rampant hypocrisy and piety among those who proclaim their alleged faith the loudest, adulterous, corrupt leaders who defraud the populace en masse via bribery and corporate profiteering, usury, avarice, extortionate physicians, vanity, gluttony, human branding, ignorance of evil, and the inability to discern between virtue and guile.

What pseudo-Jesus did they learn these subverted lessons from?

The Doomsday Code - Google Video

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

World Loses First Computer Geek

John W. Backus, developer of FORTRAN, died Saturday at the age of 82. Backus led the IBM development team that created the first widely utilized, high level, optimizing compiler for the FORTRAN programming language in 1957. This compiler was developed primarily for scientific and engineering applications and during its 50 years of continual use has been implemented on multiple platforms. The resultant machine code has been used for calculating results for mathematically intensive tasks such as sending rockets into space, climate modeling, computational physics and computational chemistry. It embraces complex number data types, and other algebraic functions, making it uniquely suitable for engineering and scientific use. Continued popularity in these circles is probably due to its superior floating point performance as compared to other popular modern languages such as BASIC and C/C++, although high-precision math libraries are now available for these languages as well.

FORTRAN is an acronym for Formula Translating System. Previous to the widespread acceptance of FORTRAN, programming involved the labor intensive step by step coding of assembly language, which is the mnemonic representation of the CPUs core machine instruction set. This code was originally entered via toggle switches and debugging was via panel lamps indicating fault conditions. FORTRAN allowed more natural and efficient code development than assembler and thus allowed scientists to create their own code models rather than having to rely on dedicated programmers. High-level languages coupled with mass-production and the improved data entry and storage methods which were eventually devised resulted in the personal computers we use today.

Due to the language's long term usage, many jokes and anecdotes have arisen; a few of the more humorous are listed below.

  • "Consistently separating words by spaces became a general custom about the tenth century A.D., and lasted until about 1957, when FORTRAN abandoned the practice."
    Sun FORTRAN Reference Manual

  • Computer Science without FORTRAN and COBOL is like birthday cake without ketchup and mustard.

  • "The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change."
    Early FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers

RIP to one of the first and most influential computer geeks.

John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies
New York Times
Fortran Automated Coding System For the IBM 704
Original IBM FORTRAN Manual, by John Backus, et al., Oct. 1956

Friday, March 16, 2007

"I'm a Uniter, Not a Divider"

Yeah, right, George. The world just loves ya!
Remember this?

Blood and Avarice

Having been peripherally aware of the barbarism and propaganda which permeates the diamond trade, it surprises me that more people aren't aware of the myriad of ills which this purely self-serving industry and its rogue players foists off on the international community - Torture, mutilation, murder, civil war, terrorism and slavery. For many African nations, diamonds are not a luxury item but a harbinger of violence and death. Raw, unbridled capitalism realized demonstrates its most vulgar ramifications.

Further Information:
From 007 to Osama: The Political Economy of Diamonds

Did Someone Die for That Diamond?
(Amnesty International)

Blood Diamond Fact Sheet

The Sordid History Behind Africa's Conflict Diamonds
(The Christian Science Monitor)

Diamonds: The Real Story
(National Geographic)

Diamonds of War: Africa's Blood Diamonds - Movie
(National Geographic)

Blood Diamond - Movie
(Warner Brothers)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day

Today is Albert Einstein's birthdate, and appropriately enough, pi day as well. For those who may have slept through high school math, pi is not only the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet, but a lengthy transcendental number that stretches to over a trillion decimal places. It is commonly abbreviated to a more usable, albeit slightly inaccurate, 3.14 - hence the date it is celebrated, March 14. The most common usage of pi is in calculating the circumference or area of circular objects.

While presented somewhat tongue in cheek, here are a few pi related links that hard-core eggheads may find amusing.

The Exploratorium's 2007 19th Annual Pi Day Celebration

Mathematical Pi

Unihedron's Pi Poster

And for all you anti-science, thirty percenters out there, remember: pi are round, cornbread are square.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rumsfeld and Saddam

Since many people I meet here in red-stater land dispute the fact that Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein in 1983, but are too lazy to do their own homework, I am posting this well known video:

Now do you get it?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Irony of Modern Conservative Tenets

My thoughts on what it means to be a conservative are apparently at odds with not only the GOP, but the rest of the country as well. When considering conservative mandates, I envision fiscal responsibility, a balanced national budget, reasonable trade deficits (or dare I dream, surpluses), a healthy economy and profitable, diverse employment for the bulk of the population. Adherence to Constitutional ideals, such as separation of Church and State, and limiting government reach to what is absolutely necessary for fair and balanced treatment of all citizens while performing those socially mandated tasks at the highest attainable efficiency. Minimizing waste, keeping taxes low, and managing civil infrastructure to the benefit of the public at large. Foreign diplomacy which respects other cultures and the precepts of fair and equitable trade.

Yet apparently the modern NeoCon conservative playbook embraces record setting amounts of fraud, waste, avarice, and ineptitude; a government literally gorged with incompetent cronies and hack political contributors, record breaking deficits and trade imbalances, pork-barrel - nay, even criminal - privatization of public services. A total lack of honorable diplomatic considerations, and in fact, lies and deceptions which harm foreign nation's inhabitants as well as our own due to overt fear-mongering and hate-speak which is tantamount to corporate war profiteering from the misery of others. Criminal conspiracies and perverted judiciaries which unfairly condemn average citizens to lives of misery. Imperialism and pandering to subverted, malicious religious interests is the frosting on the NeoCon cake of hypocrisy.

This is this the party of "compassionate conservatism?" The malignant faction which has amply demonstrated the utter failure of raw, unbridled capitalism to fulfill national needs? Is it any wonder the Republican party is falling faster than Skylab, and is destined to the same fiery end? Is this the sad remanent of the party of Eisenhower?

Apparently, and if so, Good Riddance!