Tuesday, 20 May 2008, 12:55:52 EDT
Normally, I try not to advertise support for any specific political affiliation here. But I've decided to add a button linking to fairtax.org. I feel it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. How the sixteenth amendment was ever ratified is beyond me. But it is time to end this robbery.
Take some time to read about the FairTax. The books The FairTax Book and F ... (view rest)
Tuesday, 22 April 2008, 18:52:55 EDT
"Healthcare is not a privilege. It's a right." -- Heather Arnet
Wrong! The only time anything close to "healthcare" is mentioned in the United States Constitution is in the one sentence preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
"Welfare" does not mean healthcare. Yes, it has to do with your health. But look at the full clause: "promote the general Welfare." That doesn't mean you are guaranteed to be healthy and happy from the day you are born until the day you die. It means the United States government, as established by the constitution that follows the preamble, will not do anything to prevent you from being healthy and happy. It in no way implies the government is there, nor obligated, to make you healthy and happy.
This healthcare issue is probably the most infuriating one being discussed in the presidential campaign. I agree that healthcare is too expensive. But that doesn't make it my responsibility to pay for your healthcare.
Let's examine the problem. Before health insurance people were expected to pay all of their own medical bills. Let's say you broke your leg and need a doctor to set it and cast it. Under the original model, the money comes out of your pocket. Simple. But then someone got the bright idea to "insure" you against such accidents for a monthly (or some other annual) fee. Now when you break your leg the insurance company will pay the bill. Awesome right? Hell no.
Think about it. Instead of a one time fee, you pay someone, who is not a doctor, an annual fee just in case you happen to break your leg. So now the doctor is getting paid by someone who has a lot more money than you (because they presumably insure many more people than just you). What is the doctor going to do? He's going to raise his prices because now his client can afford to pay more. Oh, but now the insurance company is going to raise the rate it is charging you to make up for the increased expense at the doctor. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.
Doctors are now charging exorbitant amounts for their services because they expect you will have a giant corporation paying your bill (and all of the people charging him outrageous prices for his supplies sin ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 20:22:14 EDT
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: My campaign is about an America of shared opportunity, shared prosperity, and shared responsibility.
Translation: "My campaign is about promising everyone they will have free access to the luxuries they desire. It's about taking the smart, motivated, people's money and giving it to the lazy and stupid. It's about putting the burden of your neighbors bad choices on your shoulders."
I don't think there is any clearer statement as to what she thinks the federal government should be doing. She thinks the federal government should be making life easy for its citizens at the expense of those who have worked hard to achieve. She thinks that if someone makes a decision that adversely affects t ... (view rest)
Monday, 18 February 2008, 22:03:22 EDT
Obviously, that will be an issue both for Blacks and Whites, and one of the things my candidacy has surfaced is people have some confused views, both in the White community and the African American community about this. But what it does say is I think the vast majority of Americans right now, what they want to know is how are you going to help me hang on to my house now that the sub-prime lending crisis is in full force?
What are you going to do to help me deal with my job now that the plant moved to China? How can I save for my child's college tuition and my own retirement at the same time? And if I can answer those questions effectively in the last few months of this campaign, then we have an excellent chance of getting this nomination.
Barak Obama on the Tavis Smiley show. Maybe I misunderstand Article II, but I don't think any of those things are the responsibility of the president. In fact, I think every single one of those things are the responsibility of the individual. You took out a loan to buy a house you can't afford? You lost your job and didn' ... (view rest)
Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 21:20:49 EDT
In the last presidential election I participated in the primary voting. Since I hadn't voted before, I didn't really know what the primaries are. I think my stance on political parties also effected my idea of what to expect. I won't be participating this year. It's a complete waste of time, as far as I'm concerned. When I can go to the poll and pick the candidate I like, out of all that are in contention, then I will go back. Of course, that is never going to happen.
Speaking of candidates in contention:
The real story, though, I think is -- the divide here is on the socioeconomic issues between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And, quite frankly, even though John Edwards running as a populist, he was never really part of the debate for many of these voters, who really thought, if you made less than $50,000, you supported Hillary Clinton.
If you did not have a college degree, you supported Hillary Clinton. If you thought the economy was worsening, you supported Hillary Clinton.
I think the core issue is the demographics, that she does extremely well among people who are less educated, among people who are poorer, and among people who are older, basically sort of a Wal-Mart set.
That was Amy Walter and David Brooks, res ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 22:39:58 EDT
Recently, I've been watching random You Tube videos before going to bed. It's sort of like "surfing" the television channels a few times before turning off the television. Tonight I came across a video of some Norwegian reporter asking silly questions of a New York City councilman (hear his explanation of his response). One of the questions she asked implied that Senator Barrack Obama is not a United States citizen. The councilman specifically said "He's a citizen. He's a senator." For some reason, that made me question what the requirements for being a senator are; I'm not sure why, but I gave Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution a quick read to refresh my memory. I've read it many times before, but this time it struck me as odd. Here is the line outlining the requirements: "No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."
Do you see it? It seems to say that a person cannot be a resident of the state for which he wants to be a senator. That is just strange. Such an odd wording had to have been noticed before, so I did some research. It turns out that a logician was using phrases from the Constitution to teach his logic course, and came across this same peculiarity. He has a pretty good writeup of his analysis, and some of the responses he has received. I think the final explanation is the correct one; the line implies this wording: "No person shall be a senator who shall ... (view rest)
Saturday, 30 December 2006, 16:48:32 EDT
Don't get a sinus cold in Georgia. You'll be considered a criminal if you try to get over-the-counter medication for it. From House Bill 19 (2006): Any person purchasing, receiving, or otherwise acquiring any product, compound, mixture, or preparation containing any detectable quantity of pseudoephedrine, its salts or optical isomers, or salts of optical isomers shall produce photo identification showing the date of birth of the person and shall sign a written log or receipt showing the date of the transaction, name of the person, and the amount of the product, compound, mixture, or preparation purchased, received, or acquired.
Why? Because if you have a significant quantity of pills, you can extract enough pseudoephedrine to manufacture methamphetamine. The pseudoephedrine in the cold medication causes the nasal passages to open a little wider so that the person can ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 04 October 2006, 19:36:49 EDT
I cannot believe it is October already. Midterms have come and gone. I've been so swamped in homework I haven't had time to do anything extracurricular. My workout schedule is almost nonexistent; all I'm doing there is maintaining previous work (if anything). I just hope to make it out of the semester with at least three Cs. I'm not worried about my macroeconomics class, and my differential equations class should be okay. It is the combinatorics class that is killing me. If I make the C I need in that class I will be amazed. The subject eludes me; evidently, counting is not my thing. Maybe I will get it, though.
The personal update out of the way, let's shift gears a bit. I'm sure you heard about the president of Venezuela and his lunacy at the United Nations a few weeks ago. I don't recall how I learned about it, but several weeks prior to his speech I learned that the Citgo oil company is owned by Petroleos de Venezuela. It had been a while since I had purchased fuel from a Citgo and I decided at that time to keep that trend running. I have no desire to send my money directly to a country that harbors a hatred for my own. Well, after Chavez's speech, other people decided the same thing. At least one of my friends has joined me in the endeavor. I also just read ... (view rest)
Thursday, 31 August 2006, 18:34:36 EDT
Well, I've used up twenty-seven of them now. Not very much happened on this, my twenty-seventh birthday. The most significant thing, at least at the time of this writing, is that Iran refused to stop enriching uranium. Today was the day the United Nations had mandated they stop or sanctions may be placed on the country. I really don't know what to think of this situation. I agree that a sovereign nation should be allowed to develop technology that it feels is necessary for advancement into the modern world. But, I also agree that a country that would possibly sell nuclear weapons to terrorists should not be allowed to develop the technology necessary to do so. By all accounts, Iran was supplying Hezbollah with weapons and other military items in the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. That doesn't exactly help Iran's case for developing nuclear technology. It will be interestin ... (view rest)
Monday, 05 June 2006, 18:10:39 EDT
"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. ... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic. ... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else." -- Theodore Roosevelt, October 12, 1915.
I saw this quote in some guy's signature yesterday when searching newsgroups for some information regarding spark plugs. According to the venerable Wikipedia (a little joke there) this is an accurate quote. Since trusting a signature in a random Usenet post is not the best grounds for making an argument I did some searching to verify its validity. The first link I came to was the Wikipedia article Hyphenated Americans. Whether or not Wikipedia is more reliable than a Usenet post I won't go into here. I believe it is good enough in this instance. Also, in that article is this quote from Woodrow Wilson: "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready." I like that one too.
I happen to agree with the good Theodore Roosevelt about hyphenated Americans. I think that if you are an American citizen, particularly by birth, then you should be proud enough of that citizenship to call yourself "American." If you are a naturalized citizen I can understand the hyphenation on occasion to denote whence you immigrated. I think in most contexts that is acceptable and not showing allegiance to the mother country. But when someone who was born here, their parents were born here, and their family for generations, refers to themselves as a hyphenated American I get a little upset. In fact, no other hyphenated American term gets me as riled up as the increasingly popular "African-American."
Back in January a friend wrote a post on his web site in which he referred to himself as an African-American. I had never heard him do this before and was intrigued. We later had a discussion about it during one of our card games. I don't think we really came to an understanding of the term in each other's views. If I am recalling correctly (correct me if I am wrong Chris), he has started to accept the term as a social moniker in that it is now more appropriate to refer to a black person as African-American just as it was once more appropriate to refer to such a person as colored instead of negro (I could be wrong on that one too). I completely disagree with this point of view for a variety of reasons. First, not all black people are from Africa (including ancestry). Calling someone from Jamaica an African-American, when they might not even be an American, is just plain abs ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 02 November 2005, 22:32:07 EDT
There is going to be some insensitive bitching in this post. This post employs MLA style citations. You have been warned. Also, while composing this post I found out that my site had disappeared (technically, just the "james" subdomain). It is clearly back. It seems my hosting provider has been troubles today with the machine this site resides on and it magically lost part of my site. A kind gentleman at Bluehost restored everything without any fuss.
Fall Semester 2004, I took a history class on United States history since Reconstruction. The professor that taught the class has a policy of assigning each of his classes a book to read, and review, each semester. Every semester it is a different book. That semester he assigned Parting The Waters: America In The King Years 1954 – 1963 by Taylor Branch. I didn't like the book because it literally put me to sleep every time I tried to read it. I ended up writing my review having only read twelve of twenty-three chapters; I think I made a B on the assignment. I did manage to pick up a few bits of knowledge whilst suffering the portion of the book that I suffered. One of those bits happens to be about something in the news lately that they just won't shut up about — Rosa Park's famous bus ride. What do you hear on television, the radio, and read in print recently about this historic event? That Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Is that the whole story? Hardly.
Have you ever heard of a woman named Claudette Colvin? I doubt it. On March 2, 1955, Miss Colvin refused to give up her Montgomery bus seat for some white passengers. She, a minor at the time, was hauled off the bus and arrested. Why haven't you heard about this? The black community leaders didn't think they could press a segregation case with Claudette because no one would back an unwed pregnant teenager who was prone to outbursts of profanity (Branch 120 - 123).
Before going on I would like to explain a bit about the bus segregation in Montgomery, AL at the time. The buses were essentially split into three sections: white [front], black [back], and "no man's land" (Branch 14). Basically, as white people boarded the bus they would fill in front-to-back and as black people boarded they would fill in back-to-front, meeting in the middle. The dividing line was arbitrary and imposed at the discretion of the bus driver. If the driver felt the the white section needed to extend further back he would do so, forcing anyone sitting in the then black, or limbo, area, now white area, to move back or stand as seating permitted. A completely retarded system and one that needed to be abolished, along with the rest of segregation, to be sure. But, thems was the breaks.
Okay, fast forward to December 1, 1955; the day Rosa Parks did exactly the same thing Claudette Colvin did — refuse to give up her seat in "no man's land." The only charge filed against her was that of "violating Alabama segregation laws." Long story short, Parks was a model citizen, other than this infraction, and just the person to become the poster child of bus desegregation. Knowing full well the danger of standing ground in this matter, she agreed to fight the charge. That is essentially the extent of her involvement — she consented to let others use her in a fight (Branch 128 - 131). Very brave and very ... (view rest)
Monday, 03 October 2005, 14:15:46 EDT
Do you enjoy being mugged every other week (once a month if you are on salary)? That is what the federal government does, you know; it mugs you. You don't believe me? Okay, then consider this example. Last Thursday I received my bi-weekly pay check. Before the paycheck was even in my hands the government had taken, sorry, "withheld" $149.53 of it for taxes thus leaving me with 78.64% of my money. Let's dwell on that word "withheld" for a moment. What does it mean? Well according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word withhold means "refuse to give (something that is due to or is desired by another." Just so you don't get your panties in a twist here is a secondary definition that the government would prefer you to use: "(of an employer) deduct (tax) from an employee's paycheck and send it directly to the government." If you look at it from the government's preferred angle then you are led to believe that your employer has given you all the money owed to you but immediately taken some back because the government has asked for it. That is just a fancy way of saying "refuse to give". Even if you don't agree with me that the government is refusing to give you the money you earned you must still agree that the government is going to get it at some point. If they didn't steal it out of your paycheck you would just have to write them a big check once a year. Or would you?
What would you say if I were to tell you that you can keep all of the money owed to you by your employer without the federal government getting one penny of it? Sounds good doesn't it? It can happen; the only thing that needs to be done is for you to quit being lazy and write your representatives. Write them and tell them that you are in favor of the FairTax Plan (H.R. 25). The FairTax plan would eliminate federal withholding and keep that money in your pocket. Instead, the government would get its dues from a national sales tax on all goods and services (minus the bare necessities which it will pay you to buy). Don't take my word for it, though. Pick up The FairTax Book by Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder. It is a short book (Really, it is very short. I finished it last night amid my busy school schedule.) in which they detail how the current tax system reams the average American and how the FairTax would give us the financial freedom we deserve. Once you have read the book, I demand that you do, you will need to write your representative either supporting their backing of the Plan or urging them to get on board. If you don't know who your representative is then you can use the search engine on the House of Representatives website to find out. It is even easier to find out who your senators are; all you have to do is visit senate.gov and choose your state. Once you know who your ... (view rest)
Thursday, 31 March 2005, 13:08:11 EDT
A week or so ago I mentioned that I would be adding a "favorite icon" to the site. It took a while because I can't draw and I am not talented enough with photo editors to do what I wanted. So, I asked Jason to draw one for me. He managed to find time to scan it in and send it to me last night so today there is an icon. Thank you, Jason, for the icon; it is perfect.
Speaking of video games, I have to rant a bit more on violence in video games, parents' lack of responsibility, and the government. On the fourteenth of this month Senator Hillary Clinton gave a speech concerning the media and its affect on children. Near the beginning of her speech she says, "And probably one of the biggest complaints I've heard is about some of the video games, particularly Grand Theft Auto, which has so many demeaning messages about women and so encourages violent imagination and activities and it scares parents." Of course, she has never played the game so her assesment of it is woefully inaccurate. Yes, the game is predicated on violence; but, the game is also satire which makes fun of the media! The very thing she wants to regulate is the very thing the game, which she doesn't seem to care for, ridicules.
Later in her speech she talks about how advitisers target young children with flash commercials about junk food and toys. She says, "And so it's a kind of real whammy. You get the child hooked, you know, into these ads and then the child, if you've ever been in a supermarket with a young child, becomes a very effective advocate just to be quieted in the cart. Go ahead and buy it so we can go ahead with the rest of our shopping." Am I the only one that recognizes the problem here? The child she is speaking of evidently has not been diciplined. The parent is probably the same parent that would buy their child a mature rated video game.
Senator Clinton advocates a cross media rating system that is "clear" so parents can judge what their ... (view rest)
Sunday, 20 March 2005, 18:40:53 EDT
I just canceled my World of Warcraft account. I have not actually played the game in at least a month. I have logged in a couple of times and done some miscellaneous stuff like sell items or quickly do a low level quest, but I have not played the game per se. I also have not felt any overwhelming desire to play recently. I do enjoy the game and I was looking forward to the upcoming player versus player content but it just isn't enough to keep me paying the monthly fee. And, after reading the latest update concerning the PvP system, I am not too jazzed up about that any more either; it seems that they are going to reward the people that can play non-stop and give people like me the cold shoulder. One of the reasons I purchased the game was the fact that it is supposed to cater to the casual player and not overly reward those that are more than casual. Besides, I have other things that I need to be doing.
In other news, I wouldn't be surprised if our government collapses in upon itself at some point in the future. It is a behemoth that can not seem to contain itself while, at the same time, it tries to be overly correct and not offend anyone. In case you have not heard, there is a special session of the House and Senate being held this evening to debate federal legislation as to whether or not an invalid should be allowed to live or die. It seems that our congress thinks this is a more pressing issue than, oh say, social security reform. If the issue is not a family issue then it is surely a state government issue and is most assuredly not a federal issue. Why they are even discussing this is beyond me — it isn't like she is paying taxes. Oh, that's right, it is a "moral issue" and we care more about christian morals in this country than about actually solving problems.
I am not sure what is worse, the fact that this issue is before the congress or the way the legislature members address each other. When I was watching the meeting this afternoon where they debated about possibly having ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 09 February 2005, 07:57:26 EDT
Monday evening I sat down and did my tax returns instead of homework. I did it all through http://www.statetaxfreedom.com/ because, since I am poor, it did not cost anything to electronically file my federal return nor my state return. Basically, Intuit, the company that produces the TurboTax and Quicken software products, donates their web based TurboTax services to people like me who just need to get the stuff done and can't really afford to pay someone to do it for them. It turns out that I will be getting a rather nice return this year, mostly because I bought a new vehicle in 2004.
What is wrong with getting a good tax return? I start thinking of ways to spend it. The smart thing for me to do would be to use the return to take a year off of my car loan. However, as I have stated before, I am really interested in getting an Apple Powerbook. Recently, Apple updated the Powerbook line by increasing the memory, upping the hard drive, adding some extra features, and lowering the price. Three days before they updated them I priced the cheaper version of the 15" at about $2,300 with a student discount and the Apple Care service plan. The day they updated the Powerbook line I priced the more expensive 15", with one further upgrade, at about $2,100 with a student discount and no Apple Care service plan. With the tax return that will be deposited in my bank account in a couple of weeks I could pay for more than half of the price of the Powerbook.
In an effort to make a more informed decision, I decided to read the Apple Care service plan and compare it with Dell's Complete Care service plan (the links are to the PDFs for each plan). Read Dell's plan; in particular, read section 2 subsection A and the prices for laptops on page seven. Now, read Apple's plan. The ... (view rest)
Tuesday, 07 December 2004, 09:49:39 EDT
Some times I think Bill Watterson is psychic. Read this comic (he stopped writing Calvin & Hobbes at the end of 1995):
Now, read section 215 of Bill H.R.3162 (USA PATRIOT Act). Also, read this link, this link, and this ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 03 November 2004, 13:44:06 EDT
John Kerry has conceded to George W. Bush. It is fairly clear that Bush won the popular vote. In addition to Bush being reinstated to the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives now are controlled by a single party majority. That party just happens to be the same party that Bush is a member of — the Republican party. This means that the balance between the executive and legislative branches of the government are now skewed (screwed). This is a bad thing. The only thing that could make it worse is if a few highly conservative judges are appointed to the Supreme Court this term.
I hope all of ... (view rest)
Friday, 29 October 2004, 16:04:52 EDT
The 2004 election is four days away if you don't subscribe to "early voting," not including today. Hopefully after the furor of the election dies down this site will become less political once again. But, until that time comes, you don't get that luxury.
My buddy Jonathan made a post on his site last night about his opinion of the current election. I decided that I would like to follow up with some of my opinions on the things he has said. So, it would behoove you to read his post before this one.
Jonathan mostly concentrates on the two primary parties, Republicans and Democrats, because, I am sad tosay, they are the only two real considerataions this time. He references my post in which I pointed out the reasons for not considering the two other major parties' (Green and Libertarian) candidates. I fully agree with a lot of what he has to say but I think there is more to it.
Jonathan's remarks about Bush (Republicans) are mostly spot on why I could not in good conscience vote for him. I already stated why the Patriot Act is the most abominable act ever passed. Bush's insistence that it be made permanent without change is reason enough for me to discredit him as worty of my vote. His insistence on, basically, instituting religion in to government affairs is right up there, if not more abhorrent than, with the Patriot Act. His unwavering support of the amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only is infuriating. No, the amendment does not affect me; but, I also believe that if two men or two women want to marry each then that is their business not mine or the government's. In short, the man's policies make him a very poor choice in my opinion.
Jonathan makes the claim that John Kerry's whole platform is "I'm not Bush. Bush is bad. Vote for me." I don't see it that way. Yes, there is a lot of that, in some form, in his campaign. I don't think that is all there is to it though and I think that is mostly anyone's platform running against an incumbent. They may not say it quite as bluntly but that is the main theme. Do I think Kerry is the best man for the job? Not really. I will tell you that during the primaries I did not vote for him. I don't think he is as straight forward as other candidates that were in the primaries and I would really rather have seen someone else get the nomination for his party. That being said, I think he is a better choice than Bush solely because of the reasons I have already stated for Bush being the worse choice. There is really nothing outstanding about the man but at least he is in favor of fixing the Patriot Act and not shoving his political beliefs down the throats of every American.
From there Jonathan starts in on the real reason why I am writing this — syndicated AM radio talk show hosts. Particularly Sean Hannity (by the way Jonathan, it is spelled with a 't' ;) ). Sean Hannity is the biggest jackass ever to be on the radio. His constant statement "we have to win" ticks me off to no end. Who is "we" and what are they trying to "win"? When John Stewart went on CNN's Crossfire and told the hosts that they, and people like them, are "hurting America" he was talking about people like Sean Hannity; if you haven't seen it then ask me for it and I will find a way to get the video clip to you. Hannity's show is nothing more than a way for him to innundate people with his mindless, unsubstantiated, half truths. I tried to listen to him for a while but gave up; he refuses to acknowledge all sides of issues and forcefully rejects any opinion, or fact, that contridicts his own.
When he says "we have to win" he is only further showing his ignorance. The issue of who wins the presidency is not a competition other than there are several people competing with each other for the position. "We" are not competing for anything. "We," the American people, are merely voicing our opinion as to who we think is the best person for the job of President of the United States. Our opinion really means squat in the system that is in place. The ... (view rest)
Tuesday, 26 October 2004, 14:24:33 EDT
You might recall that I said this post would be a "geeky" post. Well, it isn't. The post that I was going to write languished in writer's block for so long that I have forgotten what I wanted to write. So, instead, I am just going to babble for a bit because it has been so long since I have written anything. I think the reason I haven't been writing much lately is because of school. I am trying to focus more on school than anything else and it takes a lot of time. When I get done with school, a.k.a. not in class or doing homework, I just want to relax. Relaxing, as of late, means not doing anything remotely stimulating intellectually which is where I get most of my material to write about.
I suppose one could argue that today I truly matured as a citizen of the United States. I voted in the 2004 presidential election this morning before work. I really reccommend that you vote early; I got in line at 8:40AM and walked out of the voting room at 9:20AM. Not too bad but think about how it will be in one week.
There is one very big problem though — Henry county, along with most of the rest of Georgia's counties, uses the Diebold election machines. A simple Google search gives plenty of explanation why I do not like this. When I got in the voting room I looked around at how they have everything set up; it is pitiful. The machines are plugged straight in to regular wall outlets. Not even the pollster's machine was plugged in to an UPS. If a power outage were to occur then every single one of the machines in the room would crash which would mean a possible loss of every vote taken that day up to the point of the power outage. I didn't have any problems using the machine and it was actually fairly quick and easy. The problem is that I am worried my vote might get lost. The Diebold machines are probably the worst machines developed for electronic voting; well, according the everyone with half a brain they are. I do believe that the voting process needs to be quicker and easier to tabulate. There are way too many people for hand counting to be effective, or efficient, any more. But, I would prefer that the electronic method be more secure. I mean really, if monkeys can crack the system what is stopping a well paid poll worker from doing so?
In somewhat related matters, I was able to pick up my pre-ordered copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas yesterday evening. I played it for about three hours last night and I can assure you that this game lives up to the standards that have been set forth by the previous two games. I love this series because it is completely blatant in its content. They are not promising fluffy bunnies and roses. The game is a satirical representation of society during the time period in which the game is set. This iteration just happens to be set in a central L.A. environment in the early 1990s when gangland warfare was at its height. The language is harsh, the w ... (view rest)
Saturday, 02 October 2004, 01:44:30 EDT
I was going to post this yesterday but I didn't finish composing it in time. It was meant to deal with the topic of the day yesterday. The first presidential debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush. I was able to watch it because at lunch Thursday I bought a powered antenna and can now get a very clear reception of PBS; well, I get an excellent reception from ABC and NBC as well but I would rather watch the airwave version of C-SPAN. There was also a debate between the Green Party candidate, David Cobb, and the Libertarian Party candidate, Michael Badnarik, that was not nationally televised but can be downloaded from Free Market News. I have not seen this second debate but really don't need to; Badnarik is a nut case and Cobb doesn't have a backbone. Before reading any further you should read this article at FactCheck.org.
In my opinion Kerry did a better job answering questions and making points. Bush was only really coherent when he was able to attach a sentimental aspect to his answer. With just about every other answer from him I was not able to follow what he was saying. Bush stumbles over thoughts entirely too much and leaves sentences unsaid. Trying to stick with what he is saying is quite difficult. Kerry, though, was a bit easier to follow; he would state his points and then explain them. That is something Bush did not do very well, or often.
Bush convinced me that he is all about Iraq and not much else. What he did say about Iraq was mostly false. For example, he said that we have trained an Iraqi force of 100,00+ and are training more. In October's issue of Playboy there is an article by David Hackworth, a military man, that touches on this very point. He talks about how Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger developed a "Vietnamization" plan to get the United States out of the Viet Nam conflict. This plan called for replacing U.S. forces with South Vietnamese forces called "ARVN." This ARVN army was trained by the U.S. and was to be our blanket for withdrawing. He compares this with training we are providing the Iraqis today. "After one year and more than $1 billion in expenditures, Major General Paul Eaton, the first U.S. general in charge of training the new Iraqi army, said the Iraqis were good to go, that they were strong, powerful, well led and properly equipped. So when our Marines got into that though fight in Fallujah last April, a battalion of the new Iraqi army was called in to reinforce them. The Iraqi troops completely fell apart. They ripped off their uniforms — many wore civilian clothes underneath — threw down their weapons and ran." He quotes the Marine advisory team that was with the new Iraqi battalion as saying the forces "went ARVN on us." Does that sound like we are training an army to replace our troops? It sure doesn't sound like it to me.
Bush seems to think everything revolves around Iraq. No matter what the question was he always brought his answer around to Iraq. When he was asked if he thought the Unites States would be more susceptible to another 9/11 like attack if Kerry were to be elected he completely ignored the question and talked about Iraq. Maybe he just likes countries that have the same number of letters in the name as is in his last name. I don' ... (view rest)
Tuesday, 07 September 2004, 22:20:34 EDT
I think I will listen to Use Your Illusion I as I write this post. It seems strangely fitting.
If you live in the state of Georgia you have until October 4 to register to vote. If you don't live in Georgia, or you just want to read the rule for yourself, you can check out the State Registration Deadline document. If you want to save yourself some time and fill out the form ahead of time just browse through the PDF directory for your state, Georgia in my case, and print it out. If you are truly lazy here is the document that works for every state except for the following: Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, and Ohio. Voter registration in Georgia is a county affair; to find out where your local registration office is you can browse the Secretary of State's home page. In particular, you are looking for this page.
A number of you must be wondering about my political awakening. I suppose it started on the morning of 11 September 2001. Just as every other morning my television turned on at about 8:50AM to awaken me. I expected to hear the insanely annoying Today Show; I heard something that woke me up much quicker than Katie Couric's annoying drivel. I heard people talking about a plane crashing into a buliding. That event has been a significant turning point for this country. In my opinion it has been used for ill means. Legislation such as the Patriot Act has been passed as a result of it. Please, understand that I am all for empowering the authorities to do their job but I am not all for writing away the Fifth Amendment (among others). If you think I am kidding then you can re-read my rant about this very subject.
Of the two candidates that I know anything about right now I don't believe either is worth my vote. If it were not for at least one proposed amendment to the Constitution I would probably abstain and say that is my vote because as far as I know there isn't a "these people are all morons" option on the ballot. The BBC has a decent overview of the three main candidate's stances on key issues.
Concerning Bush, the only thing I think he has done a good job of is stepping up and kicking ass when it needs to be kicked. I do not, however, agree with redefining "hostile aggression" as "pre-emptive strike". I do not agree with putting on a front of supposed intelligence as a reason to go to war and then changing tunes when the intelligence proves less than accurate. Tell me the real reason for the war at the beginning; if it is a good one I might agree with it.
That is basically the only thing that makes him worthy of the position in my opinion. Throwing people in a navy brig without trial or right to attorney, allowing the Bill of Rights to be eroded, and actively seeking amendments to further erode civil rights do not make him worthy of the position. It doesn't help that the man is none too bright either (the link is a funny video).
Bush's strongest opponent? What can I say other than I can not bring myself to support a man who refuses to talk about current issues at all but instead prefers to talk about a completely irrelevant period between 1968 and 1969. He either needs to put up or shut up and go ... (view rest)
Monday, 26 July 2004, 16:11:01 EDT
I am about half way finished moving in to my new apartment. Jay spent a great majority of the day moving almost all of my heavy or awkward stuff. It took a lot longer to take my futon out to my grandparent's and exchange it for the bed I was using out there than I anticipated but we still made it back to Morrow in time to pick up my washer and dryer from Sears. We managed to get enough of my stuff moved in and set up that I was able to stay the night in the new place and I must say that I am pleased. I didn't have to listen to a kid running track upstairs, I am on the top floor for a change, or any other noise that would keep me awake. I didn't get to sleep until about 1:30AM and still woke up at 7:30AM feeling a lot better than I have any other mornings (excepting when I would sleep on a real bed at my grandparent's house). I think I am really going to like this place. The bedroom is much bigger than any room I have had before and the general apartment is quite a step up from my previous apartments. Once James and I get the apartment set up the way we want it I will post some pictures.
In other news, a website was brought to my attention today that does a good job of pointing out some of George W. Bush's shortcomings (for lack of a more gentle word). The site is Reasons to Dispatch Bush. All the site does is list eighty-one, at this time, facts about Bush, his actions, and the actions of those he associates himself with. I say they are facts because each one has at least one source linked or listed to back up the statement. I had ... (view rest)
Friday, 11 June 2004, 11:29:21 EDT
I was sitting in Chick-Fil-A yesterday eating my lunch and watching C-SPAN on the television. They were covering a House meeting where members were alloted time at the podium to remark in some measure about the passing of Ronald Reagan. As I was watching this I started thinking about something that has never made any sense to me. Several of them were talking about how the United States conquered the "evil that is communism" under Reagan's lead. First of all the philosophy of communism is still going strong in places like China and Viet Nam; so, I am sure how it was "conqured." Secondly, why is it evil? Is it evil because the United States didn't think of it first? Is it evil because the United States just deems it so? I think that as a philosophy many aspects of it are quite benevolent and democracy can use them quite effectively. But, it is evil so that is out of the question. Thinking about this took my mind on towards the the practices of the United States in general, particularly recently. It seems to me that the people running this country, it does not matter who or what "side" they are on (left, right, upside down), deem things evil if they contradict random things in the book of the sky-godders. I suppose this ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 14 April 2004, 22:56:33 EDT
I was going to write my opinion of a video game tonight. I was also going to talk about the new search feature I added. But, that will all have to wait. I have to take this time to talk about certain goings on in our country that is just flabbergasting.
This country, the United States of America, is founded on some very clear rules. These rules are outlined in the Constitution and the subsequent Bill of Rights. For those you who do not know, and if you are a citizen of these United States of America you damn well should know, that the Fifth Amendment, or the Fifth right as defined by the Bill of Rights, states:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Another ammendment that is pertinent to this post is the Fourth Ammendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
There are certain people that are citizens of these United States of America that have been denied these rights. These people, and surely more to come and maybe even some we have not heard about, have been denied their rights through the Patriot Act. Under this act the government can jail people as "enemy combatants." As explained here "Detention as an enemy combatant is not criminal in nature but is permitted under the law of war to prevent an enemy combatant from continuing to fight against the United States. Under the law of war, enemy combatants may be detained until the end of hostilities." When do hostilites end when you are engaged in a "war on terror"?
If this is not upsetting enough, and evidently not since I am just now posting about it, the people are just placidly accepting this. People I know, people I live with, do not see a ... (view rest)
Monday, 12 April 2004, 21:56:01 EDT
I am sitting here listening to the Majority Report on Air America Radio through the online stream. I am really digging this radio station; I wish I could listen to it on an actual radio instead of having to use the Helix Player, the new Real Player, to listen online. From what I heard earlier today, you shouldn't rush out and pick up an XM radio to listen to it. Evidently, they preempt some shows with alternate ones. So, if you can not tune in through the AM band you should tune in through the online stream. Don't get me wrong, you should still listen to stations like WSB AM750 so that you can hear different takes on issues. I do think that you get to hear more information on this new station though. They tell you where they got their information, give you web sites, and etcetera. I particularly love how they are working really hard to illustrate how stations like CNN and Fox News only give you the information they want you to hear, the information that benefits them the most. I fully agree with this. If you ha ... (view rest)
Thursday, 11 March 2004, 21:45:43 EDT
I am searching for words to describe the site I am about to share with you. It is very difficult to find the right ones because this site is so...unbelievable yet seemingly true. I am sure that many of my devoted (you will get the joke soon enough) readers know by now that I am not exactly a Christian. I am sure that many of you know that when I hear about absolutely stupid things being done in the name of Christianity that it upsets me greatly [please have the sense enough to know that I am not saying all Christians are assholes]. Well, this website I am about to introduce you to takes all that and steps it up a notch and just plain astounds me. Here is an awesome quote, "Take for example Apple Computers, makers of the popular Macintosh line of computers. The real operating system hiding under the newest version of the Macintosh operating system (MacOS X) is called... Darwin! That's right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don't advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an "Open Source" license, which is just another name for Communism." Isn't that amazing? That came from this page.
I was just going to post that bit and talk about how retarded they are about evolution and the "science of creationism" but before I came here to post I decided to read some of the other pages on that site. Upon doing so I came across this other tid bit of enlightenment: "The Internet was created by the United States of America - a Christian nation [ref. 1, 2, 3] - and should not be used to spread anti-Christian, secular, or non-Christian propaganda and hatespeech. This is our Internet, and we should exercise our position as its owners and as the guardians of civilization to stop its misuse." You can read the rest of it here. I really don't have anything else to say about this site. If I tried to come up with words to describe my feelings about it I am scared to find out what they would be.
On a more positive note, I have recently started going nuts about exercise. Around late November early December of last year I picked up a couple fifteen pound weights and have been doing various exercises with them at least three nights a week along with a couple different types of situps. That has done some good. It has toned up a few areas and I generally feel good about the routine I have with them. Well, now that it is starting to warm up, last week I started going to the "gym" at my apartment complex to do some cardiovascular exercises. I have been doing twenty minutes on the elliptical machine and the recumbent bike they there. I would use the treadmill but running makes my chest hurt and I am really just looking to get my heart rate up and keep it up for a while. I like using these two ma ... (view rest)
Friday, 27 February 2004, 12:02:43 EDT
When I have the money I am moving to another country. This is just insane. Evidently some idiot DJ in Florida was fired because he aired a controversial skit during his morning radio show. Does no one realize that morning radio is intend for adults stuck in traffic on their way to work? What sane individual is going to let their children listen to morning radio? Why should this even be an issue? Why are congressional sub-commitees being called t ... (view rest)
Thursday, 26 February 2004, 20:21:32 EDT
Last night we had a "winter storm." What that means is there are patches, patches, of snow on the ground in random places. Because of this, CCSU closed down for the day and I in effect got an unwanted unpaid day off. Yay! But I did make the most of it by finishing up the new site design and casting an early primary vote (don't ask because I won't tell you).
If you are in the mood to laugh your ass off then read this guy's "Top Ten Worst Things I've Ever Jacked Off To". It is some hilarious stuff.
Also, if you like machinima you need to check out this ... (view rest)
Wednesday, 25 February 2004, 10:59:18 EDT
At least I am not the only person on the web that thinks the whole constitutional amendment thing is ridiculous.
I will be working on implementing my new layout over the next few days. I think you all will really like it. I have decided that it just isn't worth the time and effort to write functionality to use the current theme or the new theme so there will just be the "new hotness."
Also, you may have noticed that the gallery is not working. I upgraded the web server a week or so ago and that evidently broke the software I am using for that gallery. I will be writing my own gallery software at the same time I am working on the new the ... (view rest)
Thursday, 19 February 2004, 01:28:40 EDT
Okay, this amendment to ban same sex marriage is really getting on my damn nerves. It is embarassing to me that my home state wants to amend its constitution in this manner. Just read this quote from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution:
"Children need mothers and fathers. Their well-being cannot be sacrificed so that adults get to form the families they choose," said Sadie Fields, Christian Coalition state chairman. "We must do what is necessary to preserve marriage, as that is the only way to reproduce ourselves, and it also is necessary for the preservation of any civilization."
I am absolutely astounded at that statement. I particularly love the part where she says, "We must do what is necessary to preserve marriage, as that is the only way to reproduce ourselves..." How can anyone make that statement and consider themselves even remotely intelligent? Sorry lady, marriage has absolutely nothing to do with reproduction. Here is a five hour History of Sex as related by the History Channel.
I can almost guarantee you that this lady is a "christian" and as such has been inundated with out of date notions of human sexual interaction.
I think some people need to learn that the bible, the book they can't seem to live without, is written by man. As such, it has "laws" written to keep man in check. It is also influenced by other stories that are MUCH older than it is. Don't know what I am talking about? Read Gilgamesh. It is an epic, just as the bible is an epic, that is the earliest known writing on Earth. This document is estimated to have originated around 2000 B.C.E. The start of this epic mentions a great flood. Sound familiar?
Aside from the biblical stuff being an absolutely horrible way to look at it there is the fact that it is an inherrent denial of civil rights. Yes, ... (view rest)