Friday, January 31, 2014

Much Ado About... What?

Californian professor claims Osama bin Laden is a FREEDOM FIGHTER in book he has made required reading for students

Was the headline that I followed to the Daily Mail, I found more to think about once I got there.  The quote from the book that is causing the controversy follows:

"The Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden is one example of an attempt to free a country (in this case, Saudi Arabia) from a corrupt and repressive regime propped up by a neocolonial power (in this case, the United States),"

The Problem

The problem here is that the quote is, mostly, true.  Saudi Arabia is indeed a corrupt and repressive regime, they are propped up by the United States, and one of the goals of Al Qaeda is the elimination of the Saudi monarchy. 

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Osama bin Laden was a freedom fighter as I think his primary goal was simply to replace one corrupt and repressive regime with another.  It is indisputable that the House of Saud is the antithesis of the principles our country was built upon but as Egypt so perfectly illustrates, the devil you know is far better than the devil you don't.  

So far, the only place I have seen bin Ladin called a "Freedom Fighter" is in headlines about this professor and his book and not in any of the excerpts from the book itself.

Liberal Bias?

Nor do I dispute the student's allegation that the professor suffers from liberal bias:

He was encouraging us to be activists, the whole last part of the course was about how to cause "positive change"... but his examples of positive change were all stuff like Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and raising the minimum wage.

After all, even liberal professors can see the liberal bias in American colleges and universities. In a UCLA study 12.4% of professors are identified as far left, 50.3% as liberal, 25.4% as 'middle-of-the-road' and only 11.5% as conservative... the opposite of far left, the far right garners a mere 0.4%

The Problem part II

The problem in and of itself isn't professors that are liberal but the lack of professors that are conservative.  For the most part the conversation on campus is one-sided and that is the true problem.  

From what little I've been able to garner from articles, Dr Emmit Evans is a good liberal professor, I'd probably enjoy taking his class.  If only we had more conservative professors just like him.

"The Al Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden is one example of an attempt to free a country (in this case, Saudi Arabia) from a corrupt and repressive regime propped up by a neocolonial power (in this case, the United States),"

Think about it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scenes from the SOTU Address

Now that was an hour+ I'll never get back.

If you missed the speech, here it is condensed down to five minutes


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Farewell to a Great American

"I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this."
-- Pete Seeger HUAC Statement
Pete Seeger, the father of modern American folklore, has died at the age of 94. My heart is sad today at his passing.

A WW II Army veteran who served in the Pacific, he was blacklisted during the red scare of the 1950's, a most egregious burst of un-Americanism launched by fanatics in our government. But in typical Pete Seeger style, he took it with a smile, not caring much for commercial success anyway. He turned his attention to activist causes, performing in small venues, and writing and singing for children, bringing our original American music to subsequent generations.

Here are some other facts about this ‘dangerous’, ‘un-American’ communist:

He quit the popular folk group The Weavers in 1958 because he disagreed with their decision to do cigarette commercials.

He was married to the same woman, Toshi-Aline Ohta, for 70 years, with whom he built the log cabin in the woods they and their children lived in.

He taught America's songs, our folk music, to generations of children, literally passing on our musical heritage and keeping it alive.

He wrote the song Turn, Turn, Turn, based upon Ecclesiastes and made popular by the Byrds.

Pete Seeger was a man of great joy and erudition, a talented and innovative musician, a living embodiment of American folk music, and a shining exemplar of the joy of live music shared with others. Youtube any of his live performances, and you will see what others have noted, that his concerts were not so much personal performances as they were joyous sing-alongs where he happily urged the audience to join in.

Here he his displaying his artistic mastery of the 12-string.  I love it when he starts frailing it like a banjo...

So long, Pete. It's been good to know you...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Forget Exceptionalism, now it's American Excessivism


Because 51 kinds of toothpaste just isn't enough!

Mint Chocolate Trek, Lime Spearmint Zest, and  Vanilla Mint Spark are three new 'flavors' of toothpaste being offered by Crest.

Now I don't really care that Crest offers 51 products in its line, nor do I really care that they now offer chocolate toothpaste.  I use Crest Pro Choice, not because I did any deep thinking or analysis, but because it's what my wife buys.  I reach into the drawer in the vanity and pull out toothpaste... what kind, I don't really care so long as it isn't that revolting glittery bubblegum flavored stuff my kids used to use.

The silliness of it all

Some people do some deep thinking on the subject.  Psychologists David Myers and Robert Lane concluded that the abundance of choice leads to depression and feelings of loneliness.  Barry Schwarz in A Paradox of Choice argued that with too many choices we begin to consider the hypothetical tradeoffs and the possibility of missed opportunities reduces our level of satisfaction.

Me, I think it's silly... it's just toothpaste.  I don't think all my teeth are going to fall out if I pick the wrong one, nor am I concerned that I may be missing out on the best tasting toothpaste in the world.

Is it choice or marketing?

My wife and I have two completely different methods of shopping.  I walk into a store, get what I need, and leave... if it's toothpaste I'm probably just going to grab something familiar or something on sale without giving it much thought.  If I go to the store for cheese, I come home with cheese.  My wife will come home with three or four bags of stuff... and may have forgotten cheese ;)  It's why we generally don't grocery shop together.

I tell my wife she's Madison Avenue's Dream Girl... we have a Swiffer, a Swabber, and whatever other gimmick they've developed as the latest iteration of a mop... me I'll clean the kitchen floor with a bucket and a scrub brush and think it does a better job.  Do you think there is $8 difference in performance between $2 toothpaste and $10 toothpaste? Or for that matter $20 Dickie's or $650 Gucci's?  Forget that last one, there is a difference... Dickie's last longer and are more comfortable.

What do you think?

Monday, January 27, 2014

British Nanny

Mary Cassatt

From the BBC

Stephen Cotton went to his local HSBC branch this month to withdraw £7,000 from his instant access savings account to pay back a loan from his mother.  "When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved."

Mr Cotton says the staff refused to tell him how much he could have: "So I wrote out a few slips. I said, 'Can I have £5,000?' They said no. I said, 'Can I have £4,000?' They said no. And then I wrote one out for £3,000 and they said, 'OK, we'll give you that.' "

Here's a dumb banker

"I can understand it's frustrating for customers. But if you are making the occasional large cash withdrawal, the bank wants to make sure it's the right way to make the payment." 

Here's a smart British politician

"It basically infantilises the customer. In a sense your money becomes pocket money and the bank becomes your parent." ~ Douglas Carswell MP for Clacton

Try this...

" Thank you... I'd like to close my account." 

The bank has since reversed its policy and will no longer require customers provide evidentiary proof of what they are going to use THEIR MONEY FOR!

This is the logical outcome of Nanny Statism

If I were Stephen Cotton I would be done with HSBC...even after 28 years as a customer.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Are You Prepared?


The State of the Union

Dan Pfeifer, Assistant to the President, expects Obama to talk about:

"a set of real, concrete, practical proposals to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and empower all who hope to join it"

Me, I think you may need one of these too:


Because you can rest assured, he's going to blow smoke up your ass.

Unemployment is down!

But not because there are more jobs... but because of a shrinking labor force.  Wall Street advisor David Marotta claims 37% but don't be too alarmed, that number is no more real than the government's one.

Income Inequality

Real median household income is down 8% since 2007 and you can only blame Bush for so long...By 49 percent to 41 percent, voters now blame “policies of the present” rather than “policies of the past” for their economic problems.

Maybe you'll need one of these too:


What do you think?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Canadian Music, eh?

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Age of Selfie-ishness

"When reality overtakes parody, there is no longer room for satire."
-- Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Which Headlines are Real?

Justine Bieber Pees Name in Snow

Kanye West Beats up Fellow Rapper, Steals Car

Kim Kardashian has Butt Cam Installed

Federal Budget includes 2.5 Million for Pot Bellied Pig Study

NAACP Official Calls black GOP senator "Ventriloquist's Dummy"

President says Pot OK

NY Mayor, after Tolerance Speech, Says Conservative Not Welcome in NY

More Americans tweet than read Bible

Selfie:  The Word of the Year

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Second Hand Sitting

van Gogh

Okay, second hand sitting isn't a problem...yet, but recently sitting has been deemed as bad as smoking by some health care professionals.  

How many of you sit at work?

When you say "My job is killing me" you may be right.

A number of studies have shown that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even early death.

“Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor, and sitting can be equivalent in many cases,” said Dr. David Coven, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
CBS New York

The more you sit, the poorer your health and the earlier you may die, no matter how fit you are.

In a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers reported that people spent an average of 64 hours a week sitting, 28 hours standing, and 11 hours milling about (nonexercise walking), whether or not they exercised the recommended 150 minutes a week. That's more than nine hours a day of sitting, no matter how active they otherwise were.

"We were very surprised that even the highest level of exercise did not matter squat for reducing the time spent sitting," says study author Marc Hamilton, Ph.D.
In fact, regular exercisers may make less of an effort to move outside their designated workout time.

Runner's World

Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. 

Those with greater screen time had:
  • A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
  • About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack
Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What's more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk. 

Mayo Clinic 


Me, I'm just waiting for them to ban chairs in NYC

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

All Aboard the Pharma Train


An estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. CDC

ADHD affects about 4.1% American adults age 18 years and older in a given year. The disorder affects 9.0% of American children age 13 to 18 years. Boys are four times at risk than girls. NIH

Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. NIH

The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs. Kaiser Family Foundation


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders versus the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

ADHD: It affects about 6–7% of children when diagnosed via the DSM-IV criteria and 1–2% when diagnosed via the ICD-10 criteria

While the DSM has its critics (Psychology Today) it is the standard diagnostic manual in use in the United States.

Subjective vs Objective Diagnosis

If you have cancer you have cancer, if you have hepatitis you have hepatitus, both are measurable objectively.  You can put cells under a microscope or run a physical test with observable results.

Now, who's too anxious?

According to the NIH roughly 1 in 5 of us suffer from 'anxiety'... roughly 1 in 5 of us also have light brown to blonde hair.  Now which is a genetic trait of our species and which is a disorder?

You may say it's a silly question or comparing apples and oranges, but seriously consider it for a minute. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Zombies Among Us?

Confusion about identity, place, and time; shakiness and unsteady walk; unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination; decreased awareness or responsiveness; depersonalization; seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there; Attack, assault, or force.  These are just some of the listed side effects of Ambien (Generic: Zolpidem). 


In March of 2011, Lindsey Schweigert took one Ambien before getting into bed at 6pm. Hours later, she woke up in custody with no idea how she’d gotten there.

Julie Ann Bronson took a couple of Ambien to help her sleep. She awoke the following morning in jail, still in her pajamas, barefoot and terrified. When she was told that she had run over three people, including an 18-month-old girl who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the wreck, she was horrified.

The Fix

Kevin Robertson popped an Ambien recently to help him sleep. Next thing he knew, he woke up in jail -- facing criminal charges from a non-injury crash in Santa Clara, including driving under the influence of a drug and resisting arrest.

San Jose Mercury News

The Ambien Defense

The Lexis-Nexis search returned 28 relevant legal cases. The criminal cases by committing offense included: 7 violent crimes, 10 driving-related incidents, 1 sex offense, and 2 false reports. In these cases, the defendants argued that the use of zolpidem near the time of the offense reduced their criminal liability. JAAPL

Monday, January 20, 2014

When Ads go Over the Top

In anticipation of the upcoming Superbowl, let's take a look at some past ads that folks think went over the top.

Feel free to share your examples.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fookoosheemah Raydeeayshun

Alex Jones recently ran with the headline "Despite Dangerously High Radiation Levels, No Caution Signs at Surfer’s Beach" which was a follow up to "Has Fukushima’s Radioactive Wave Already Hit California?"

Watch the video at the second link if you want to see what all the fuss is about.  

The article itself states:
The video shows a man measuring radiation readings at different spots on a beach south of Pillar Point Harbor. Background radiation in the areas immediately surrounding the beach are normal, but once the man approaches the water itself, the radiation spikes to at least 500 per cent safe levels and the Geiger counter’s alarm goes off.
 Yet if you watch the video itself you'll see the levels return to normal at the water's edge.

A curious note that I found researching the Geiger Counter used in the video is as follows:
Note: Recently there was a firmware bug that calculated totals incorrectly. These items are all brand new manufactured units with the latest firmware that does not have this problem. Purchase with confidence!
First, I wonder if he updated his firmware. 

Second, the stated accuracy of the device is: Accuracy (Referenced to Cs137): Typically ±15% from factory, ±10% with NIST Source Calibration and Built-In Efficiencies are: 5Sulfur (S35), 90Strontium (Sr/y90), 137Cesium (Cs137), 32Phosphorus (P32), 14Carbon (C14), 131Iodine (I131), 60Cobalt (Co60), and Alpha.

The California Department of Public Health states:
“Recent tests show that elevated levels of radiation at Half Moon Bay are due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident,”
San Mateo County health officials also say:
"after testing the sand on Dec. 27 that higher levels of radiation on Half Moon Bay and Pacifica beaches appear to be from naturally occurring minerals, typically found in coastal geology"
Dan Sythe, CEO for International Medcom, which designs and manufactures Geiger Counters had the following to say:
The radionuclides are in the NORM class of radioactive substances, Radium and thorium, which are naturally occurring radioactive elements, not from Fukushima. The radiation level is elevated, but roughly equivalent to some granite counter top material from Brazil.  If the sand were contaminated by radiation from Fukushima it would show Cesium-137 a product of nuclear fission.

 So, Go to the Beach...Stay Out of your Kitchen

Alex Jones describes himself as a libertarian and a conservative... me, as a libertarian and a conservative, just describe him as an idiot and a braying jackass.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Some Lousy 12-Bar

Recorded in 1965, not released until 1996.  When asked in a radio interview if there were any unrecorded Beatles songs John Lennon replied "some lousy 12-bar".

This is it. 

Compare that, to this:


Friday, January 17, 2014

10 Happiest Countries in the World

All kinds of lists about happiest countries, best places to live, etc, get published every year.  Depending on the criteria, you will see different countries on it. I like this one because it features mostly Latin American countries where I have lived or visited, and it confirms what I saw with my own eyes.

Here's the List:

10. Guatemala
9.  Venezuela
8.  Nicaragua
7.  Panama
6.  Jamaica
5.  El Salvador
4.  Belize
3.  Colombia
2.  Vietnam
1.  Costa Rica

Why are people in these poor countries among the happiest in the world?  Here's my opinion:

* People there don't engage in constant narcissistic self-referential auto-fellatio.
* They view popular culture for what it is: Entertainment and not lifestyle guidance and life philosophy
* They don't cry discrimination if their lifestyle isn't reaffirmed by everyone else every five minutes.
* They don't base their happiness on the latest toy, luxury item or gadget.
* They see politics for the corrupt snake pit that it is, and they're not waiting for a politician to deliver them happiness.
* Consumerism is not yet rampant in these places. I remember walking through a Safeway after returning to the US from Peru and being dumbstruck by the revelation that our grocery stores have a whole aisle dedicated to just snacks
* They know how to make their own fun.

And, finally, what I believe to be the most important factor...

* Close-knit families and communities.

World's Top Ten Happiest Countries
Where Life has Meaning:  Poor, Religious Countries

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Anxious and in a State of Panic

To Protect and To Serve

David Perdue is the surfer who was on his way to catch some morning waves last Feb. 7 when he was stopped by Torrance police on the lookout for Christopher Dorner.  After he was cleared by the first set of officers, a second set of officers drove up the street, rammed Perdue's vehicle and began shooting at his head. He was not hit.

Charges will not be filed...

The district attorney found that because McGee and his partner, Erin Sooper, were "anxious" and in a state of "panic," their attempt to kill Mr. Perdue was justified.

At the time officers stopped Perdue, Dorner had already killed two people, and officers throughout the area were protecting people he named as targets. Authorities believed he was driving a pickup, although it was a different make and color than Perdue's truck.

NBC Los Angeles

“a reasonable mistake of fact”

Dorner, an African-American suspect, was reportedly driving a grey NissanTitan.  David Purdue, white, was driving a black Honda Ridgeline.  In the same manhunt police also opened fire on a pair of Latina women in a royal blue Toyota Tacoma, shooting 71 year old Emma Hernandez.  That suit was settled for $4.2 million.

Out of Control

I am generally inclined to give police officers the benefit of the doubt in marginal circumstances, these cases are not marginal.  Different makes, models, colors, not to mention different license plates and different races of the occupants of the vehicles demonstrate a shoot first ask questions later mentality.  These circumstances are illustrative of law enforcement out of control.  Multiple incidents of a similar nature, in this case and others,  indicate not officers who are anxious and panicked, but a systemic institutional problem. Law enforcement needs to get back to basics...

To Protect and To Serve


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bigger, Wider, Stronger, Lighter

Motor Trend
"Bigger, wider, stronger, lighter", that's the quote from Peter Reyes the 2015 Ford F-150 Chief Engineer.

Steel frame, steel firewall, and an all aluminum body equates to up to 700 pounds weight savings (in the largest models), and a corresponding payload increase.

Gone is the massive 6.2 liter V-8, the default large engine choice is now the 5.0 and the vehicle stock engine is now a 3.5l V-6 downsized from the former 3.7l.  Also available and considered the
"top engine" choice is the 3.5l Ecoboost and a new 2.7l Ecoboost, both V-6's

I'm a bit skeptical about a full size truck with a 2.7l engine, but apparently unbeknownst to any of us, Ford ran a 2014 model stamped from aluminum with the 2.7l Ecoboost in the 2013 Baja 1000 race.  I'm still skeptical though.

I've been contemplating another pickup truck, my last truck was a Dodge Ram 2500HD but the one before that was an F-150.  My Ford had no problems, my Dodge lost the transfer case just barely (less than 1000 miles) under the 3/36 warranty.  I've said before I'm not buying a Government Motors vehicle, and I am hesitant to buy an Italian pickup truck, so I've been looking at Fords and the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan and leaning towards the Fords.

Jeep, regrettably now also an Italian car company, doesn't seem to be forthcoming with their FC Concept.

What can I say, I'm utilitarian and live 9000 feet above sea-level.

NY Daily News

Road and Track

Motor Trend

Car and Driver Jeep FC

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chris Christie's Bridge Over Troubled Water

Ed Yourdon -CC BY-SA 2.0

Well, this about sums it up...

What? You were expecting Simon and Garfunkel? 

I know nothing, I see nothing, I hear nothing!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Vagina Ideologues

Ross Douthat incurred the arch indignation of New York Times readers by repeating a headline:

“Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican.”

 He further rankled delicate progressives by positing the theory that increased sexual promiscuity leads to less commitment by men who...
"take[...] advantage of a social landscape in which sex has been decoupled from marriage but biology hasn’t been abolished, which means women still operate on a shorter time horizon for crucial life choices — marriage, kids — than do men.
In this landscape, what Nate wants — sex, and the validation that comes with being wanted — he reliably gets. But what his lovers want, increasingly, as their cohort grows older — a more permanent commitment — he can afford to persistently withhold, feeling guilty but not that guilty about doing so.
Reader comments revealed the sad fact that people not only hear only what they want to hear, but hear it through an ideological filter.  Doesn't that neanderthal rightwinger Douthat realize that Julia has met Barry?

The tired, unthinking responses from indoctrinated leftists are one of the principal reasons I have mostly retreated from Blogistan.  Here are two delightful samples:

"Is it just me, or is Ross suggesting, in a very indirect and veiled way, that fathers should be selecting their daughter's husbands???

"Rather than padlock virginity devices upon our daughters (I have 4, and 5 granddaughters) and cloak them in burkas or performing genital mutilation on them, I suggest that we address the Penis Problem which results in so much rape, child molestation, procreation of children abandoned by their fathers, porn addiction, use of prostitutes, sex slavery. Let us civilize our males into learning to control their baser selfish instincts, rather than behaving like wild animals.
Douthat suggested nothing of the sort. The closest he came was quoting a novelist who suggested women mount “some sort of a sexual strike against” irresponsible Peter Pan's who crave sex with no responsibility or commitment.

As for "civilizing males?" That's what morality is for, dimwit. You know, that set of rules of right and wrong that every culture in the history of the planet has crafted for itself? Throw them overboard, or replace them with modernist dogma that makes no logical sense, and this is what you get. Congratulations, progressives!

Here are more doctrinaire comments:
"Having a daughter makes me even more disgusted with the anti-woman, anti-girl policies of the GOP.

"What utter arrogant claptrap. Republicans are bad news for women.

"Why do you sidestep the abortion debate? Do you agree that our daughters have a right to choice? Why is that so hard for conservative/Republicans to understand?

"Sure, if you really love your daughters, vote for people who will make it harder for them to get birth control and impossible to get an abortion.
Progressives Objectify Women

The Republicans have taken no action to deny women birth control. Liberals are the sexists, treating women like walking vaginas, as if they had no interests or needs beyond the radius of their crotches. Is there anyone more narrow-minded about women than liberals who shrink down a young woman's essence to the freedom to contracept and abort her babies?

There's nothing new under the sun. We don't need studies to reinforce that age-old wisdom, transmitted by grinning older men to their young progeny, and equally scolded out by wizened older women helping young daughters and granddaughters build their battlements against the wiles of men:

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Bull Moose Party

Today: Liberals aren't liberal, Progressives aren't progressive

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.

From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them … to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

The deliberate betrayal of its trust by the Republican Party, and the fatal incapacity of the Democratic Party to deal with the new issues of the new time, have compelled the people to forge a new instrument of government through which to give effect to their will in laws and institutions.

This is from the Progressive Party Platform in 1912... did they nail it? Or what?  Just goes to show you, nothing's changed in over 100 years.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Alternate Realities

I've posted this here more to illustrate the environments and graphics then the games themselves. Elder Scrolls Online is currently in beta testing and slated for an April release date on PC/Mac.

Coming out later (no release date) from Sony Entertainment is EverQuest Next which is slated to go into alpha testing in February.  Utilizing a different game engine, the graphics are a bit more cartoony.

Of course the goal of any MMO is to unseat the current King of the Hill: World of Warcraft.  World of Warcraft currently has around 8 million subscribers down from a high of 12 million.  Warlords of Draenor is the next scheduled expansion in the Warcraft universe.

With the advances in bandwidth, processing, and computer generated imagery you can only wonder when we'll be seeing movie quality imagery in artificial realities.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Importance of the 3 R's

Should have paid more attention in school

A man reportedly walked into a Wells Fargo bank and silently produced a note, which the teller couldn't read because of his bad handwriting. The woman went to get her manager to help her decipher the message, during which time the suspect fled through a back door. 

Officers found a man matching the description of the would be robber in a nearby shopping center whose identity was confirmed by witnesses from the bank. He was booked into the county jail on attempted robbery charges as well as parole violations.

San Jose Mercury News

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A House Divided?

(C) Finntann

Don't worry, it's been that way for years.

Political polarization among the public has barely budged at all over the past 40 years, people vastly overestimate how polarized the American public is — a tendency toward exaggeration that is especially strong in the most extreme Democrats and Republicans.

Live Science 

It's crowded in the middle

The new American center has a socially progressive streak, supporting gay marriage (64 percent), the right to an abortion for any reason within the first trimester (63 percent), and legalized marijuana (52 percent). Women, workers and the marginal would also benefit if the center had its way, supporting paid sick leave (62 percent); paid maternity leave (70 percent); tax-subsidized childcare to help women return to work (57 percent); and a federal minimum wage hike to no less than $10 per hour (67 percent).  Majorities support offshore drilling (81 percent) and the death penalty (64 percent), and the end of affirmative action in hiring and education (57 percent). Most people in the center believe respect for minority rights has gone overboard, in general, harming the majority in the process (63 percent). And just one in four support immigration reforms that would provide a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally.

NBC News


The Center is fed up with both Parties.

60% of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed. That is the highest Gallup has measured in the 10-year history of this question. A new low of 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.

Record number of Americans identify as Independents (42%)

Gallup Third Party

Gallup Independents

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Red State-Blue State Myth


The new political divide is a stark division between cities and what remains of the countryside. Not just some cities and some rural areas, either -- virtually every major city (100,000-plus population) in the United States of America has a different outlook from the less populous areas that are closest to it.  The voting data suggest that people don't make cities liberal -- cities make people liberal.  The only major cities that voted Republican in the 2012 presidential election were Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, and Salt Lake City. ~ The Atlantic

Robert Vanderbai - Princton
Take This State and Shove It

Northern California, Northeastern Colorado, Southern Oregon, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Appalachian Maryland, and even in Long Island there are separatist movements by people dissatisfied with urban domination.  Greater Los Angeles has 34 state representatives, the northern third of California has 3. It's not strictly a Republican or conservative issue either, there have been Democratic secession movements in Florida and Arizona.  Last year, Arizona’s liberal-leaning Pima County, home to Tucson, tried to declare itself the state of Baja because it didn’t want to be governed by Arizona’s conservative majority.


There may also be a proposal on the November 2014 ballot to break California up into six states supported by California billionaire Tim Draper ~ LA Times

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Dominik Hundhammer
I recently saw an article about Ben Sasse, Republican candidate for the US Senate in Nebraska.  He has as part of his candidacy proposed moving the US government to Nebraska.  Now I like Ben, and he seems to have some positive things to say, but realistically he strikes me as naive.

Unfortunately, government is a lot like cheese... no matter where you put it the rats will come.  What do you think?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Ducking the Debate

Secular priestesses and angry Christophobes have hijacked our culture. They preach diversity and tolerance, but their variety is a one way street leading to their PC altar where all must bow down or be excommunicated from the public square.

The Duck Dynasty flap ended with A&E surrendering to the profit and loss column, but unlike a duck's quack, the after effects will echo on.*

This GLAAD statement is a sterling example of illiberal illogic. It is a sputtering tourettes outburst of outraged apoplexy that ruins any chance for legitimate debate:
“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans – and Americans – who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.”
This statement is the antidote:
Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. -- Pastor Rick Warren
We could junk the entire Celebrate Diversity indoctrination for the cultural garbage that it is and instead instill some simple values:

* The Golden Rule

* We are all equal in God’s eyes. We are human beings and we should comport ourselves the dignity that implies, while also treating all fellow human beings with equal dignity.

* You don’t have the right to not be offended

* No one owes you validation of your beliefs, avocations, lifestyle choices, faith, pronouncements or ideological shibboleths.

A Preachable Moment

Finally, the part of the GLAAD statement about Christianity is particularly stupid and insulting. As another author pointed out, it is an act of cultural appropriation. Who is the GLAAD spokesman to recast Christianity in his own ignorant and narrow image? Imagine if Pat Robertson tried to lecture the LGBT community of what “true” homosexuality was really all about.

Christianity and homosexuality are not compatible, despite efforts to reconcile them. Like trying to reconcile water and dirt, you end up with mud, obscuring the clear truth.

Larry Alex Taunton points out that GLAAD deliberately skirted the root of the issue, because the facts quickly become inconvenient:
if they actually acknowledged that there is a genuine conflict between orthodox Christianity and homosexual sex (along with several forms of heterosexual sex) they would have to confront head-on the fact that calling for a boycott or pressuring for Robertson's suspension tells orthodox Christians that their religion is no longer acceptable, and that’s not a very politically correct thing to do. Right now, they are trying to weasel out of it by characterizing Robertson as a backwoods bigot who takes his moral cues from Deliverance rather than from a straightforward reading of the Bible and the historic teachings of the Christian religion.
GLAAD’s unreasoned emotional outburst ruined an opportunity for dialog and understanding. We need to learn how to Tolerate a Diversity of thought. Descending into red-faced rants and theatrical paroxysms of outrage take us in the opposite direction.

Further Reading:
Phil Robertson Breaks his Silence
Hung out to Dry

* - I know, a duck's quack not echoing is a myth. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What is Death?

Jahi McMath

A 13 year old girl in Oakland California is declared brain dead after a cardiac arrest during a tonsillectomy. Her mother is fighting efforts to remove her from life support and is trying to find a place that will keep her.

Marlise Munoz

In Texas a woman is declared brain dead and the husband is fighting efforts to keep her on life support... Marlise Munoz is 19 weeks pregnant. 

What is Death?

I went into this story with the belief that Jahi McMath was dead, end of story. Now after doing a bit of research I am not so sure.  There is a lot out there, from the story that "No one recovers from being brain dead" to the story of someone who recovered from being brain dead.

In 2002 it was discovered that about 1 in 15 people who had been in a "minimally conscious state" for years could be "awakened" with nothing more than a simple dose of Ambien.

Dead or Alive?

In my opinion, for all practical intents and purposes Jahi McMath is dead, but then again so were many people in the 1800's who died of cardiac arrests that are currently reversible.  Those who recover from the diagnosis of "brain death" are the statistical outliers, much as many people in the 1800's whose hearts stopped, lacked a pulse, but whose hearts seemingly restarted spontaneously.

It just goes to illustrate how little we understand of the brain, life, death, and consciousness.  Perhaps in 10, 50, or 100 years jump starting the brain will be no different than jump starting the heart today. The question then becomes is it worth the $2,000 - $4,000 dollars a day necessary for intensive life support to keep the girl alive in the eventuality we figure out how to restart her brain.  An interesting question in the days of ObamaCare.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rocky Mountain High

On January first, the retail sale of up to an ounce of marijuana became legal in-state to state residents, out of state residents are limited to purchase of 1/4 ounce.

64 Questions and Answers about marijuana ~ Denver Post

Friday, January 3, 2014

Justice is not only blind...

she's schizophrenic

There is in New Jersey a man who is in jail.  He is in jail serving a sentence of nine months for marijuana possession but on the orders of a judge is allowed to leave jail in order to undergo medical marijuana treatment.

Ah, the wisdom of Solomon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Decline of America in Pictures

From Bad Boy

Wear leather
Drink cold beer
Talk about getting 

To Pajama Boy
In Only 60 Years

Wear pajamas
Drink hot chocolate
Talk about getting
health insurance 

Seriously, is this what we've come to?

Once we lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation...
 we're at serious risk of a pillow fight.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mummers Parade

From the String Bands, the Comics, to the Fancy Brigades, the Mummers are a Philadelphia tradition dating back to the 17th century.


Happy New Year!