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December 31, 2006

2006: We the reasonable

WE SPENT FIVE years acting hysterically, like a nation that was in a fight with Ricky Ricardo. We were insane people, screaming about politics, shoving tiny American flags on the corners of our news shows, convincing ourselves that flipping houses was a real job. There was a moment there when we even considered shunning French fries.

But in 2006 it all changed. This was the year of adulthood, of sobriety, of pragmatism: the year of acting reasonably. The kind of year when you calmed down, thought it through, weighed your options and realized that there is no upside in telling the media that, yes, it does kind of suck when the vice president of the United States shoots you in the face.

All of a sudden, we decided to approach events unemotionally. In fact, we were downright boring. At this point in Vietnam, college kids were destroying campuses and growing incredibly unflattering facial hair. In 2006, we asked a bunch of retirees to meet for a study group about Iraq. If they had done a better job, we'd probably be moving on to solving the Palestinian issue with a book club. And the Iraq Study Group didn't come up with the radical solution that everyone expected. Instead, it reasonably advised that — slowly, when no one is looking — we get the hell out of there.

It was such a serious, reasonable year that, in an affront to every study ever done about human psychology, millions of people willingly paid $7 to see Al Gore give a slide-show demonstration about carbon emissions.

Faced with the opportunity of giddily discovering a bunch more planets and getting people excited about space for the first time in 50 years, astronomers convened in the most sober of places, Prague, and had their head astronomer guy declare that if tiny, wobbly Pluto is a planet, then my astronomer butt is a planet too.

The symbol for this year was America's most rational man, Warren Buffet, deciding that the best use of $37 billion was to give it away. It turns out you can sock away a lot of money by not getting new glasses since 1896.

Even people with a long record of insanity suddenly became well-reasoned deciders. President Bush fired Donald Rumsfeld. Whitney Houston divorced Bobby Brown. Britney Spears, the Elizabeth Taylor of our time, left Kevin Federline. Homeland Security responded to London's liquid bomb plot by allowing us to put lotion in see-through bags. Donald Trump met with a troubled Miss USA and restrained himself from firing her. Ford got rid of the Taurus. Jack Abramoff, when arrested for corruption, had the good sense to literally wear a black hat. Alan Keyes walked out of an interview with Borat. Oprah lectured James Frey about the rigors of journalism. The Wiggles, unlike all child super groups before them, were able to pass leadership down in a bloodless transition.

When marketing campaigns tried to fool the masses, the masses rebuffed them using the complex risk-analysis skills we learned from Howie Mandel. As much as we loved talking about it, there was no way we were going to actually see "Snakes on a Plane." We used E. coli as a brilliant excuse to stop eating spinach forever. We decided the best way to play video games isn't fiddling with a lot of buttons on a PlayStation 3 but swinging the controller wildly like it was an actual sword or a tennis racquet on our Wii's. Being reasonable, it turns out, often makes us look even dorkier.

It's as if we all got together and tried to prove that James Surowiecki book right. We voted Tucker Carlson as the first one off "Dancing with the Stars." We quit pretending we were going to use Mario Batali's tips on braising pig cheeks and instead watched intently as Rachel Ray showed us the proper way to cut the plastic off of food. It only took us one week to reject Katie Couric as a news source. We heard John Kerry try to tell a joke and decided it was not funny before we even figured out what he meant. We voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger because he made the environmental promises that Bush wouldn't. And we otherwise voted for Democrats based solely on the fact that they were not Republicans.

Principles, we learned, are overrated in this complicated world. When crazy Muslims start killing people over harmless Muhammad cartoons, newspaper editors put aside their journalistic responsibilities, consider their own safety and stop running Muhammad cartoons. When Judith Regan decided to print a too-cleverly-titled book about O.J. sort of, kind of, not really confessing, we thought long and hard and realized there's absolutely no reason there should be a publishing industry in Los Angeles.

People were so levelheaded, I wouldn't be surprised if in the next five days left in the year, everyone sells their hedge-fund shares.

If we keep this pragmatism up for a little longer, maybe we will have an ideology to export to the Middle East after all.

-Joel Stein
LA Times Columnist

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I apologize for my laziness and infrequent posting- vacation is just too sweet to have to think about bullshit and I am taking advantage of it. This column by Joel Stein is a great piece that I wanted to share (rip off) on my blog. He nails it so often and I find myself saying, "Damn, that's exactly what I wanted to say."

December 29, 2006

Ding Dong Saddam is dead!

Can someone tell me where to send Cindy Sheehan and Koffi Anon sympathy cards? I'm sure they are devastated. On second thought, I'll just send the cards to Hell; they can pick them up later. And tonight starts the eternal pineapple-ass-reaming as Saddam enters through the gates of Hell- Abandon all hope, asshole.

I only wish our justice system doled out sentence this quickly.

Good old fashioned hanging

Here is a reenactment of Saddam's execution. For those of you feint of heart, suck it up.

December 28, 2006

Juice Bonds

This has to be the biggest "no shitter" in the history of baseball. Courtesy of The Onion:

SAN FRANCISCO—With the publication of a book detailing steroid use by San Francisco Giants superstar Barry Bonds, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters have corroborated the claims of Bonds' steroid abuse made by every single person who has watched or even loosely followed the game of baseball over the past five years.

Read more.

December 19, 2006

Cartoon legend passes


Joseph Barbera, half of the team that founded the Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1954, died today. I would imagine that most kids today have never heard of Hanna-Barbera but my generation sees these two men as the creators of some of the most lovable icons of pop culture- Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Smurfs, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Johnny Quest, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, Quick Draw McGraw, Mogilla Gorilla, Scooby-Doo, The Snorks, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel, Space Ghost, Birdman, The Banana Splits, Josie and the Pussycats, the animated Harlem Globetrotters, Superfriends, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Fooey, The Snorks and even the Go-Bots.

To this day, at the age of 37, I have stop channel surfing when I come across Tom & Jerry. It is refreshing to still see animation showing good old fashioned animal-on-animal violence that hasn't been censored by an overly sensitive minority who hates the cartoon. I do have my current favorite animation shows like Family Guy, Futurama, and South Park and I enjoy watching Spongebob with my son (admittedly, I religiously watched Beavis & Butthead and most of the Simpson) but most of the cartoons today seem to be lacking something that made watching them fun- something that made me jump out of bed on Saturday mornings, even earlier than when I got up for school, and sit for hours until my mother kicked us out of the house.

Bravo, Mr. Barbera. You will be missed.

December 18, 2006

Study shows teens do stupid things

I had to shake my head when I read the headline called Why Teens do Stupid Things. The results, announced this week, were published in the September issue of the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

So, why do they do stupid things, you ask? Here is the reason:

"...the desire for acceptance among peers wins out in the decision-making process of a young mind. Teens often decide that the benefits of risky behavior immediate gratification or peer acceptance."


Teens also take 170 milliseconds longer to ponder situations than adults. That's it, 170 milliseconds? My computer has more lag than that when I am surfing the internet.

Good job, jackasses. You just confirmed what parents of teenagers have known for the last 300 years or so. If you would like to read some more revleations in teen behavior like these subjects- Why Teens are Lousy at Chores, Human Nature: What We Learned in 2006, A Brief History of Human Sex and Why Teens Don't Care- then visit the link above. Those psychologists are all over it.

Sen. Johnson outlook seems hopeful

A comment by Opinionnation on my last post about the SD Senator reaffirmed just how much class the Republican party has over the Dems. Oh, the GOP has its embarrassments to be sure, but there seems to be less whinning and venom when events unfold that aren't in their favor and when things do go their way they seem to be more graceful in acceptance.

Senator Johnson is doing pretty well considering he had his head cut open and coverage continues on his status.

Opinionation commented on the press coverage Steve Centanni and his cameraman recieved when they were held by terrorists. The supposed $2M paid for their release was like a dog biscuit thrown to a hungry Rotweiler when that tidbit made it to press. The NYT focused more on the staged conversion to Islam of the two hostages than anything else.

I am sure a guick search could reveal more results of mind numbing behavior from the Dems, thier poor loser crying aside, but I am off to fight the holiday crowds and torment the local Santa with more kids to sit on his lap.

December 14, 2006

Hanging in the balance

Not many people have heard of South Dakota’s Governor, Mike Rounds, but he could soon be one of the most important people of the post mid-term Democratic sweep of the both the Senate and the House.

Including the two Independents who are working the Democratic mooring lines around the cleats, the Democrats enjoy just a 51-49 margin of power in the Senate; certainly not the sweeping blowout they would have you believe judging by their actions the day after election day. But, like in a company who’s CEO owns 51% of the stock, that’s all the Dems need to keep the GOP in limbo. The Senator from South Dakota, Tim Johnson(D), suffered a stroke yesterday during an interview and had to undergo emergency brain surgery. What does this have to do with Governor Mike Rounds? Let’s have a little civics lesson.

If a senator cannot fulfill his term then it is up to the Governor of the state to which the senator was elected to fill the slot with someone of his/her choosing. So, if the Governor is Republican he will, more than likely, choose a replacement of his own party. Makes sense, right? If Governor Rounds selects a Republican senator the majority will be lost and the Democrats will be on an even-steven playing field with the republicans. So, during a tie in the Senate, who casts the tie-breaking vote? The Vice President, of course. So tricky Dick (sorry, Nixon) could have a no shit civic duty to perform involving shooting down a Democrat pushed bill instead of shooting someone in the face with a shotgun. Neato!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not waiting for Senator Johnson to croak so that my party can get into the Senate and I hope he pulls through. But I don’t think for one nanosecond that the Dems wouldn’t take the same opportunity to capitalize if the tables were turned. To sum up this situation, I turn to my favorite online RPG- World of Warcraft (WoW).

The Republicans represent the Alliance and the Democrats represent the Horde. The Horde run in packs and will take every opportunity to gank an Alliance who is by himself. When the same opportunity falls into the Alliance hands we take it but then it is the Horde who bitches about it. Pot calling the kettle black classico. The situation with Senator Johnson would play out like this if it was a WoW scenario except that it would be a one on one gank, this time in favor of the Alliance. Still with me?

Geeky scenario aside, the GOP should take full advantage of this opportunity and level the playing field because you know damn well the Dems would do it. In fact, they did when a Minnesota senator and his family were killed in a plane crash. Admittedly, the circumstances are different- there was not such a narrow margin of control- but, to me, that is irrelevant.

December 10, 2006

Mercury, Mars, Jupiter are aligned


The freaks are running for cover until the 14th of December because Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter have aligned themselves in a very small section of the sky. In fact, to the naked eye, they will look like a lopsided triangle.

These planets, especially Mars, may be hard to spot—even with binoculars—because of the twilight glare.

Given a bird’s-eye view of the solar system, you’d notice that relative to Earth, these planets are situated on the far side of the sun right now. All three planets orbit the sun eastward—or as seen from Earth, in the direction of the sunrise point on the horizon. Because Mercury orbits the sun much more quickly than Earth does, Mercury will drop closer to the glare of the sun day by day. As seen from Earth, Mercury will pass behind the sun in early January.

The Earth, meanwhile, orbits the sun more quickly than either Mars or Jupiter. Because the Earth travels eastward at a faster clip, these two planets will appear to climb upward in the dawn twilight throughout December. Next to Mars, Jupiter moves eastward at a snail’s pace. Therefore, Jupiter’s ascent into the morning twilight will be profound, whereas that of Mars will be rather low key.

Here's how it looks from Maui

December 3, 2006

School of Rocks

I apologize for the sparseness of my posts but I have been very busy with work, preparing for retirement, playing World of Warcraft, job hunting, and finishing up my Masters. Below I have some quotes from people in my Masters class, some of whom only 1 class from graduation. I have followed these people, painstakingly, from class to class and I dread seeing them every time.

I would love to play just 10 minutes of a conversation in our classroom but I’m afraid the excruciatingly long diatribes, most of which have nothing to do with the professors questions, would cause you to go into a catatonic trance from which only a whack from a wooden blackjack would break.

“He do evaluations…”
“Many bidnesses…”
“dispendable”
“Donalds Rumfeld”
“helf care”
“Po-leese”
“These are mines…” (used as a possessive, not floating explosives)
“They might axe you a pacific question” (Got a two-fer there)
“You can see favoritism in all faucets of the organization”
“People will put on a fas-kahd”
“lackadaisy attitude”
“unhappy with company constrictions”
“We all in the Army knows this”

This was about half a notebook page of gems not including the conversation by an Army recruiter who tried to tie in the empowerment of recruiters to do their job to Condoleeza Rice and Colon Powell’s relationship. This person always tries to tie her job into whatever the professor is talking about at every opportunity. She is only the second woman I have ever called a dork.

Although I am in the military, and normally the only Navy person (let alone submariner), I do not talk about what I do very much unless specifically asked. I think these people are going to have serious issues letting go of their military speak and transitioning to civilian life.

In all fairness, most of them have good intentions but they just cannot develop or deliver a coherent thought. Fortunately I do not have to work with these nimrods and only have a few more classes with them.

November 28, 2006

Navy Safety Center

The Navy Safety Center (NSS) is the gestapo equivalent of safety management. I don't pay much attention to them because the weekly harangue of motorcycle safety enforcement has numbed me to the point of apathy. How many times do I need to hear about wearing a gay refelctive vest while I ride? But I digress.

I sent the following letter to NSS and it is self-explanatory as to my intent.

------------------------------------------------------------

Research the people, not their actions.
STS1(SS) Greg Smith

I am writing in response to the article by Jack Dorsey, Off-Base Crashes Proving A Safety Issue For Sailors (Virginian-Pilot, Oct 18, 2006). After reading the consequences for various vehicular infractions- getting a ticket before a holiday weekend (mandatory prepackaging of personal items to send to next of kin), going 1 mph over the posted speed limit (loss of driving privileges for 45 days), and demotions/fines- and analyzing the current social dynamics of military members, it is easy to see why people speed off base.

The instinctive reaction to counter rising traffic fatalities is to impose harsher rules, more stringent enforcement policies, and more awareness of the rules and policies as preventative measures to reduce the number of traffic infractions. It is painfully obvious that these methods are not the most effective means of deterrence. The Naval Safety Center, Commanding Officers, Chiefs, and other sailors are scratching their heads wondering how to counter this deadly trend of vehicular deaths. I brainstormed and came up with some policies that might curb the increased traffic fatalities but they would be just as ineffective. I believe the answer lies not in finding more policies and rules but in finding the tipping point- the break in an epidemic.

The following paragraphs serve to correlate the growing problem of Sailor/Marine deaths and current societal problems and although they appear to have obvious answers perhaps they are the types of questions people need to be asking. The military is a reflection of America insomuch that it suffers the same problems. Can we “fix” our sailors and marines if they are subject to the same epidemics as their civilian counterparts?

Does Hollywood contribute to the increased speeding problem?
Could there be a link between the movie The Fast and the Furious and similar street racing movies and the rise in off-base traffic fatalities? I am not suggesting the Naval Safety Center should put pressure on Hollywood but perhaps some targeted research could yield some quantifiable data other than “67% of all off base traffic fatalities occur at night.”

Do motorists speed to make up for lost time or even speed out of frustration when they leave the harsh base-imposed limits behind?
On the Naval base in Norfolk, a reasonable person can assume that if driving 1 MPH over the speed limit will result in loss of driving privileges, that most motorists are driving 1 or 2 miles per hour under posted speed limits while on base to play it safe. The main gate exit then turns into a Grand Prix starting line. Kaneohe Marine Corps Barracks, Hawaii has a similar problem and local police stage “military appreciation days” outside the gate just around the first bend.

Is there a correlation between tight base security and off base alcohol related incidents? Sailors go to base clubs because the alcohol is cheap, they are in close proximity to the barracks, and, before September 11, non military were allowed on base with little or no extra security measures required. I remember Club Pearl was full of non military women on Friday and Saturday nights. After September 11 security measures were stepped up on base and the restrictions make it hard for non military personnel to attend the base clubs. Sailors will go where the women are; if they aren’t frequenting the base clubs then they will go off base. It would be criminally negligent of bases to dismiss their security measures for the sake of increasing the girl to guy ratio in base clubs but maybe some research should be directed at what can be done.

There are pages and pages of traffic statistics on the NSS website but it doesn’t appear that any of the statistics are being used to tackle the real problem of reducing the annual deaths. It is going to take more than statistical analysis of who, what, when and where if the problem of alcohol related incidents and off base speeding is to be solved. The NSS statisticians have done an excellent job of identifying who is at risk but some hard-line social analysis must be conducted to determine why the sailors have such blatant disregard for their own safety or the safety of others- a blatant disregard despite the amount of time and resources dedicated to awareness, despite the harsh punishments, despite the inept policies and procedures already in place.

There may not be a solution to the growing trend of Sailor/Marine vehicular accidents and deaths. In the end it comes down to changing a person’s attitude and if harsh punishments and force-fed safety training is not helping then perhaps different tactics need to be researched. Instead of producing meaningless statistics, like young Sailors and Marines who get drunk are more at risk of getting killed in a car accident, research the people and not their actions.

SUBMARINERS

Beween the innocence of infancy and the recklessness of maturity comes the unique specimen of humanity known as the Submariner.

Submariners can be found in bars, in arguments, in bed, in debt and intoxicated. They like receiving mail, mid month paychecks, nude pin ups, sympathy, complaining and beer.

A Submariners secret ambition is to change places with the Captain for just one trip, to own a brewery and to be loved by everyone in the world.

A Submariner is a Sir Galahad in a Japanese brothel, a psychoanalyst with Readers Digest on the table, Don Quixote with a discharge note, the savior of mankind with his back teeth awash, Valentino with a fiver in his pocket and democracy personified in a Red Chinese prison cell.

A Submariner is a provider in war and a parasite in peace. No one is subjected to abuse, wrongly accused, so often misunderstood by so many as a Submariner. He has the patience of Job, the honesty of a fool and the heaven sent ability to laugh at himself.

When he returns home from a long trip, no one else but a Submariner can create such an atmosphere of suspense and longing as he walks through the door with the magic words on his lips:

"HONEY, WHERE’S THE BEER?"

November 23, 2006

Sports, shmortz


Ohio State Defeats Michigan 42-39 In Ultimately Meaningless Game
November 23, 2006 | Onion Sports

COLUMBUS, OH—In what had been touted as a college-football matchup for the ages, the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 42-39 Sunday in a game that, while exciting, ultimately made no real impact on the football landscape and had no significant effect on the national rankings.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel echoed many of Henne's statements in a press conference during which he had obvious problems staying interested.

"This was a tough game for us," Tressel said. "By which I mean it was tough to get excited about it. Playing Michigan should be special, but going into this game, we knew that no matter what happened on the field, the BCS polls would have us either first or second. There was really no point in playing this at all."

Read the entire story here.

November 22, 2006

Commanding Officer sacked

It seems that men in high places still haven't learned to keep their dorks zipped up. Capt. Scott Bawden, Commodore of Submarine Squadron 17 in Bangor, WA, was relieved of commnad after having "lost the confidence" of his boss. If you follow submarine news you will remember that Bawden was the Commodore who axed some of the crew of the USS Columbia after a hazing incident. /hat tip The Stupid Shall be Punished

What comes around goes around? It has been quoted by a Chief who knew Bawden that morale will probably get better now that Bawden has been shitcanned. Sounds like a few Commodores I know. But there is more to this story than a guy who perhaps can't do his job anymore. Bawden was busted sleeping with someone elses wife, a Chief's wife, no less, IN HIS OWN command.
Will the top brass save a onetime fair-haired boy's career, or will he end up "walking the plank?"
What a jackass. It's bad enough that the Officers screw the enlisted, but do they have to screw the enlisted's wives too?

So long Admiral promotion and we have lovely parting gifts.

Chinese sub thumbs its nose at the Shitty Kitty


After playing cat-and-mouse with Russian submarines during the Cold War, it appears that the U.S. will now start playing with China, but in coordinated exercises. How ironic, since a Chinese submarine surfaced near the USS Kitty Hawk last month. Of course it took this long for the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral William Fallon, to confirm it (Navy Times, 11/27/06, p.26).

This is a significant event in the world of Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) for a few reasons. First, a submarine surfaced near an aircraft carrier undetected. The carrier is the life blood of the battle group. It must be protected because it has no real defenses of its own to combat an enemy submarine. It does have aircraft that can find them but they are not on the hunt 24/7, only when a suspected threat is imminent.

It is up to the ASW capable vessels in the battle group to find enemy submarines and what better tool to use than another submarine. Although the article does not identify what kind of submarine surfaced, or how long the submarine was surfaced before it was sighted by Kitty Hawk, the implication is that this submarine was close enough to have placed ordinance on the carrier. Granted, in time of war the U.S. Navy is in a heightened awareness but someone dropped the ball on this one.

Secondly, if the carrier was involved with an ASW exercise in which one of the participants launched an exercise torpedo (a regular torpedo but without the explosives) what would the Chinese submarine have done? Would it have thought it was being fired upon and launched a counterattack?

Fallon said, “We don’t consider the Chinese the enemy. None of us believe the sub was a threat.” Nice PR, Admiral, but I believe otherwise. Any submarine not of U.S. or ally origin is a threat. I understand that China has been moved to the Ally list but that is another PR stunt, in my opinion, so that we can try and keep North Korea under control. That submarine surfaced in close proximity to the carrier to thumb its nose at us.

“Coulda got ya!”

The United States and China have decreased military exchanges since an aircraft collision between a EP-3 and a Chinese fighter jet (a MIG, I think) in 2001 off the coast of Hainan Island, China. I remember that well. I was on deployment at the same time my brother was. He was attached to a P-3 squadron out of Kaneohe Bay and when I heard a P-3 had collided with a Chinese jet I feared the worst. Luckily, the EP-3 was not from his squadron but I thought, “Damn, what a great sea story for a first deployment.”

November 21, 2006

Top News stories?

Playstation 3 Ridiculousness
It has been four days since the debut of the Playstation 3 and I am still shaking my head in disgust at the response by the people who bought them- stampedes, robberies, assaults, and shootings. Way to go assholes.

I remember a few years ago it was almost the same thing, just short of a soccer induced mob riot. There were plenty of PS3's on eBay all going for over $2000; one console went for $30,000. Yes, you read that right.

"Hmmm, do I want a car or a PS3?"

Idiots. All of them.

I put part of the blame on Sony for only sending out 400,000 of the consoles. No less than 1 million would have been my marketing strategy and my first impulse was to make Sony pay for the damages caused by thier games. Then I reevaluated that rash statement and realized that Sony is just capitalizing on moronic infatuation or greed on a cosmic level. Love that capitalism!

Drunk Drivers Beware
I remember driving back from the clubs and then realizing I was driving up to the base front gate but not remembering the trip there. I have wised up since then and always use a designated driver or take a cab back to my home. It is a pain in the ass to go back and get my car the next day but it is better than the headache involved with getting a DUI.

For all the losers who can't stay out of their vehicles after hitting the sauce, have no fear- those ladies at Mothers Against Drunk Driving are on a campaign to put a tattletale device in your ignition. Basically, you blow into a tube and if you are over the limit your car won't start. So, aside from paying a stranger $50 to blow into the device you will have to come back when your breath isn't tainted with the sweet fumes of Jack Daniels. New Mexico is getting geared up to make this device mandatory. Ole!

Web Site Victory
The California Supreme Court said yesterday that Internet publishers could not be held liable if they posted defamatory comments written by others. This is great news for companies who host blogs, like Google, because I can tell all the bleeding heart liberals out there to kiss my hairy corn hole and there is nothing they can do about it. The First Amendment is safe online, for now.

Stupid Celebrity Sex Videos
For all the losers who love to see celebrities having sex, instead of paid professionals who actually know what they are doing (except you Pamela, you know how to deepthroat jimma-jamma), Britney Spears has her honeymoon sex tape on the market. For free. That's right, the mother of 2 and the ex wife of Kevin "I smell like ass all the time" Fetterline, has decided to put the tape out for free so that Fetterline can't cash in on it, thus following in the footsteps of Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton. What is it with blondes letting themselves get video tapped? Without having seen the tape I will make a bet that Brittaney knows how to suck the chrome off a Harley straightpipe. How else could she have made so much money making crap music.

Who Gives a Shit News
I almost put Britney's sex tape here but I found a few more articles more worthy.
* Tom & Katie on their honeymoon- whoopty doo
* Rosie O'Donnell criticizing The View- who cares what that fat retard says. Seriously.
* Mexico's elections- Brushing aside election results that declared him the loser in last summer’s polls, Andrés Manuel López Obrador had himself sworn in as Mexico’s legitimate president in a public ceremony full of fake pomp and splendour. Until that country stops helping thier citizens jump the fences they can kiss my ass.
* The U.N.- A divided UN nuclear watchdog has put off until Thursday ruling on Iran's bid for aid for a project the West fears could yield bomb-grade plutonium, but is still likely to block such assistance. Likely, but not definate. The U.N. has shown that it cannot be trusted with world security.
* Any news about sports.
* O.J. Simpson's book- Is this guy fucking serious? I am glad Fox had the sensibility to shitcan the whole thing.

November 17, 2006

UCLA Student tazed

Videos like this bring out the best and the worst in people. Ironically, it also brings out people who claim to have been stunned, citing a quick Google search on the "effects of stun guns" to back up a claim that you can’t get up after being hit with 40K+ volts. Here is the video via NBC News. The Iranian Truth continues to cover the story here.

The ALL CAPS entries on blogs surrounding this event above all point to one particular incident that is supposed to absolve this student- he was heading to the exit. While this might be true he did not cooperate with the rent-a-cops and became belligerent, albeit we only know as much as what the shitty cameraman caught after the incident started.

Loud, vocal outbursts of obscenity are enough to give anyone pause as to the intentions of the screamer let alone a peace officer/rent-a-cop/campus security. "Get your hands off me!" doesn't sound like a cooperative person. The police are there to investigate a person who doesn't have the ID to be there and this is what they run into.

It wasn't an abuse of the Patriot Act although that would make for some good headlines. Too bad it didn't happen before the elections and really bolster the anti-PR folk's resolve to vote. It was a bad decision one-upmanship contest that reflected poorly on everyone involved, including the students who took on the role of Citizen Patrol.

It was a poor decision by the student to act like an asshole to underpaid and under trained cops. Seriously, he had the wherewithal to scream grandstanding comments about the Patriot Act, which will now be emblazoned on a T-shirt that has Orwell rolling over in his grave, but couldn't just stand up and be escorted out by the police?

In the end, the police had to pick the pipsqueak up by his handcuffed appendages and escort him out anyway. Why couldn’t they have just done that in the first place when they realized they were dealing with a non-compliant person? Then again, why should they have to risk injury to themselves because of a non-compliant person?

It probably doesn’t matter how high of a threshold to pain you have- one blast from a stun gun is a clear message the person on the other end isn’t fucking around. Why tempt his trigger finger any more than necessary. Perhaps the crowd in the library was this student’s spinach, his courage to make a routine stop a platform to stir up trouble. Who knows. As cooler heads have pointed out on this thread, everyone lost that night.

Iran's real reason for nukes


Anyone who thumbs their nose at the world’s only surviving superpower, openly threatens a powerful neighbor with annihilation, and flaunts his pursuit of nuclear weapons… err, power, has to be a total whack job or an Islamic fanatic, but I repeat myself.

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, despite his good looking exterior, has an inside that burns with the fire of Jihad. It is no secret that he wants Israel to be a memory and it seems that he has been preparing for the final battle with Israel for a long time. Let’s take a stroll down Ahmadinejad’s past, shall we? But first, a little lesson in Islam.

From Wikipedia:
The Mahdi (مهدي translit: Mahdī, also Mehdi; "Guided One" ), in Islamic eschatology, is the prophesied redeemer of Islam, who will change the world into a perfect Islamic society alongside the Prophet Jesus before Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally "Day of the Resurrection"). The "hdi" of "Mahdi" refers to the Arabic root "هدی" which means "to guide".

Interestingly, Jesus, the son of God and the leader of Christianity, will join forces with the Madhi, a prophet of a religion who spreads its religion by force if necessary, and create an Islamic society. I don’t remember reading that part in the New Testament.

What does this Mahdi have to do with the current Iranian President? From 2003 to 2005, Ahmadinejad, then the Mayor of Tehran, head an urban renewal project to hasten the return of the Mahdi by making streets easier to navigate. When will the Mahdi return, you ask? He shows up after a time of chaos, war and bloodshed. Now where in the world is there chaos, war and bloodshed? But it appears that supporting Hizbollah to war with Israel is not enough and Ahmadinejad is setting his sights higher. As the “Man of a Thousand Bullets”, it is safe to say that job title can only look good on a resume to become the President of Iran, which he easily took in 2005.

A nuclear attack against Israel would provide just the right environment for the return of the Mahdi. This clown is trying to hasten a prophecy- a prophesy that is equal in proportion to Christianity’s Second Coming of Christ. Not all Islamic leaders are on the apocalyptic bandwagon and think that Ahmadinejad is taking steps well beyond the rest of Islam. These leaders claim that no one knows the day of the Mahdi return except Allah himself. This little tidbit isn’t slowing Ahmadinejad’s momentum.

Professor Raymond Tanter, co-author of What Makes Iran Tick and the President of the Iran Policy Committee, has this to say about Iran’s nuclear race:

"There is a link between Iran’s nuclear weapons program on one hand, and its ideology of trying to facilitate a cataclysmic event to hasten the return of the Mahdi. As a result, no conceivable positive or negative incentives will influence the leadership of the clerics and the revolutionary guards from acquiring nuclear weapons. They need nuclear weapons in order to facilitate the ideological precepts of the return of the Mahdi.”

Tanter also dismisses the bogus realist claims that Iran is pursuing nukes because of the tough neighborhood in which it lives. This is like Capone requesting a concealed weapon permit because he is afraid someone might try to kill him. All the Iranian government wants to do is hold off the sanctions as they will put a damper on their plutonium project.

“Plutonium? What plutonium?” - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

So the question is what can the World do about it? Left to the U.N., Israel will have a nuclear fallout winter. What’s to stop Ahmadinejad from bullying the rest of the world with his weapons? Strike, or wait it out- that’s all we really have. Israeli Prime Minister Bebe said it best when referencing preemptive actions in that it is hard to prove just how bad things would have been if the actions hadn’t occurred.

I guess he has never heard of Monday morning quarterbacks.

November 15, 2006

Class act

My last class of the semester was an interesting one because the first two hours of the class, Compensation Management (MGT 645), had nothing to do with the topic. As I returned from the bathroom I came in on the professor, who is a lawyer here in Hawaii, on a semi-tirade about our presence in Iraq and how it is a bad thing that we are there. As I looked around the room, observing 6 Army soldiers in uniform and several other armed forces people in this night class, they sat quietly and listened to this guy tell them that he knew 3 years ago it was a bad idea for us to go into Iraq.

Maybe he had that gut feeling, as did many anti- war protestors, but I finally had to speak up and tell him that he was right only in hindsight. He asked why we were there and I made the unfortunate mistake of leading off with a mention of oil. He became ecstatic and started, no doubt, a lawyer induced cross examination of me.

“So Bush lied! We went there for oil, is that what you’re saying?!” Several students joined in and I realized either they were kissing this guy’s ass or really believed what he was saying. Either way, I was alone in my stand.

After not being able to get a word in I finally was able to ask the professor to stop making up a position for me and then attacking me on it. This gave him pause and then he gave me time to explain my position, all of which were received in the same way as my first comment. I thought I was in a high school classroom at one point when the professor asked me if I thought it was a good idea that we went into Iraq. After pausing for a moment to articulate my response and guy behind me recessed into a sophomoric “Aww, yeah, what’s up now? Can’t answer the question?” to which I replied, “Good one Potsey, are you going to tell us your point of view or just piggy back off of his [professor].”

The professor, and some of the students, still believe Saddam didn’t have WMD’s, still believe that he didn’t do anything wrong and that the U.S. had no right to go into Iraq, and kept bringing up all the other countries that do have WMD’s yet we did nothing about (i.e. N. Korea). These are military people in my class and I was stunned. Eventually, a few of them started to argue my points at which the instructor conveniently used the ‘agree to disagree’ to stop the conversation.

The Iraq debate led to the religion of Islam when the professor mentioned he had started reading books on Muslims and their religion. I asked if he had ever read the Koran, instead of reding a book that talks about it, and he said that he had not. I started to make a point about the Koran that I have been reading and he interjected with a comment about interpretation and how the books of one’s religion are based on how they are interpreted by the believers. I started to ask him how I was supposed to interpret one of Bin Laden’s threats to Americans as Bin Laden quotes the Koran. The professor, in the middle of my question, allowed the Potsey behind me to interject by calling on him. I guess it is acceptable to be rude when you are about to be butt slammed.

Potsey started enlightening the class on how much more violent Christianity has been that Islam. I deducted that Potsey was trying to head me off at the pass with that comment so I politely told him that a quick Google search would prove his statement to be false. He quipped that he has 3 Muslim cousins and they are all peaceful to which I informed him of my 3 Mexican cousins and my inability to speak Spanish. That point went over his head like a steering wheel over Paris Hilton’s head on a Friday night so I politely told him that although only 10% of the Muslims in the world are violent, that leaves an imposing 60 million people who want to cut me head off in the name of Allah. By the way, here is an example of Egyptian Muslim tolerance towards Christianity- Rodney King style. Notice now the policeman’s feet are off the ground.

Again, the professor jibed with his interpretation issue but before I could get into the fact that the Old Testament comes before the New Testament for reason he decided it was time to take the last hour of class to actually talk about Compensation Management. My point was going to be that people who spew their ignorance of the Bible by bringing attention to the violence in the O.T. do not know that the N.T. subjugates that era’s customs. Christ taught a completely different ideology and that is why we are called ‘Christians’ and not ‘Leviticans’. Oh well, a discussion for another time.

I am three classes into my Masters and unfortunately I will have to follow most of these goobers around, class to class, listening to their unhinged comments and then having to shove it up their poop holes. Luckily I only have 4 more classes to go.

November 13, 2006

BASE Jumper bungee stunt

Base jumping, for those of you who aren't familiar with this sport, involves jumping from fixed objects. BASE is an acronym that stands for:

Building
Antenna- uninhabited tower like a radio mast
Span- bridge, arch, or dome
Earth- cliff or natural formation

We've seen Bond do it countless times and these BASE jumpers always show up on Extreme sport videos. It is very dangerous but looks like one of the best adrenaline rushes a person could get. They are professionals and I'm sure a lot of training and theory to practice comes into play. You wouldn't want to just jump of a building without checking the wind conditions first.

Bungee jumping is almost like BASE jumping (although it has been around longer) but, after experiencing a short free fall, unlike the BASE jumpers the bungee jumper is safely attached to something and then springs back up. I use the word 'safe' in the loosest of forms because there are plenty of stories of bungee mishaps involving miscalcultions of body weight, bungee length etc. One of the coolest bungee jumping videios I've ever seen was a dual jump off a bridge where both people's heads hit the water below with about as much force as getting a pat on the head. That is pretty impressive considering they jumped from 150 feet above the water.

The video below shows the combination of the two sports. It took me a few times watching the video before I realized exactly what happened and that these two men should probably have a shitload of life insurance.

Both men jump off a bridge connected to each other by a bungee cord. One guy then takes off his parachute, bungees off of his friend who is still gliding, detaches the bungee cord and then throws another chute seconds before he hits the treeline. 'Incredible' doesn't even begin to describe this video.

November 9, 2006

Monday Morning Quarterback politics

After reviewing the election results for the different issues that were on the ballots this year I have mixed feelings about the outcomes of the initiatives and propositions. For example, Arizona voters elected to make English the official state language. At first I thought, “Good for them” but then as I read how many states have made English as their official state language I realized that it really doesn’t matter.

English Only
California, believe it or not, made English its official language in 1986 yet still shells out a lot of money for multilingual paper products. Here are some statistics from USEnglish.org:

- The cost of multilingual ballots and translations represented one-eighth of Los Angeles County?s $16 million expense in the Nov. 2004 general election. (Source: European Commission)
- The City of San Francisco must spend $350,000 for each language that a document is translated into under the city's bilingual government ordinance. (Source: Janet Ng, Asian Week.com, June 2001)
- The total annual cost for the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide language services is $2.2 million. (Source: U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Report to Congress: Assessment of the Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order No. 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, March 14, 2002)

I would think that having a state language would alleviate the problem of having to print multilingual material.

This is a touchy argument for a lot of people. On one hand this is America and English is the predominant language. Our laws, business transactions, and road signs are written in English. Unless immigrants intend to live in an area that speaks their language, Chinatown for example, then they do not have to learn English to survive. Since 1980, the number of people who cannot speak English has doubled to an alarming 21 million. Simply put, is it too much to ask to learn the language if you are going to live in this country? And please, spare me the argument “Well, the U.S. doesn’t have an official language.” It is English, official or not, and now states are adopting the language as official.

Here is a graphic of the states that have official English laws:


*WARNING- There are a lot of state abbreviations in the upcoming paragraphs. If you do not know them, punch yourself in the ear and pick up a 4th grade geography book.

Gay Marriage
Another big ticket item was gay marriage, specifically banning gay marriage. The ban on gay marriage was passed by almost all the states that had it on their ballots- CO, ID, SC, SD, TN, VA, and WI- but surprisingly, the margin for victory was slim in all but a few states. So, for now, the rump rangers have 7 less states to look to for a marriage license, although Colorado even shot down domestic partnerships. Of course CO also had a proposition to legalize marijuana. Stupid hippies. Arizona was the only state to shoot down the ban on gay marriage. But the time will come when the margin for gay marriage will favor the peter puffers and the straights will have to figure out how to tell their kids why Suzie has 2 daddies- never mind an intuitive question like, “Then how do 2 men have sex and have a baby if they both have a penis?” If you are a homophobe you better start buying your books now on how to deal with it. It is coming; it is just a matter of time. I have said it for some time now, let the gays get married. Why should straights be the only ones miserable?

For the people who are wondering where the gays can get married, and consequently start emitting their gayness into the atmosphere (converting all non gays), there are only 2 states that allow gay marriage- Massachusetts (2004), New Jersey (October, 2006) and Arizona (November 2006) however, there are many countries that do allow it, not that it would help an American citizen- Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain.

A few state do allow for civil unions, CO not being one of them as of yesterday, and they are CA, CT, and VT. Several countries have civil unions as well- Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

And if you are gay stay away from Honduras, Latvia, and Uganda (popular shithole tourist areas) as they have banned gay marriage.

So, to all my gay and lesbian friends, go to one of the states above for your civil union / marriage or just wait a few more years until your state adopts it.

A few states decided to raise the minimum wage at least $1 over the Federal minimum: AZ, CO, MI, MO, NV, and OH. I feel good about that because that kid in McDonalds will now have more job satisfaction now that he is making more money.

Abortion and the Environment
I had to shake my head at the defeat of California’s proposition 85 which would have required parental notification of a minor who is getting an abortion. The ridiculousness of this defeat was offset by the defeat of proposition 87 that would have taxed the bejeezus out of companies drilling for oil in CA in an effort to raise money and encourage the use of alternative fuels. So, the message in CA is clear- irresponsible kids have a right to an abortion without their parents being notified by the hospitals and fuck the environment, we need to drive our SUV’s. Oregon also adopted a similar proposition. But who gives a shit about Oregon?

I am not against helping to preserve our environment but there has to be a better way than to just tax the shit out of people and/or companies. This strategy is also used in states that have hiked the price of a pack of cigarettes over $7.00. Don’t do that under the guise of trying to protect people, just come straight out and tell us that capitalizing on a vice is the best way to raise revenue. In a related story, Hawaii will ban smoking indoors (including bars) next week. Welcome to the 21st century retards. Even my home state of AR adopted similar laws before this state did.

Miscellaneous: Weed, Slots and Stem Cells
There were a few Whiskey Tango Foxtrot propositions on the ballots this midterm. Along with adopting English as its official language, voters also had the opportunity to vote on a $1 Million Voter Reward. Basically, it was a lottery that would randomly pick a voter every two years to receive the money. I understand that this was an effort to increase voter turn out but once again it falls under the “Use money to change people’s minds” tactic. Can you imagine the shit storm that would follow if an illegal immigrant won that reward?

Nevada and Colorado both wanted to legalize the possession of 1 ounce of marijuana, realizing the cost of the weed will be comparable to a pack of smokes in a few years anyway. The propositions were wisely shot down by a substantial margin. South Dakota wanted to legalize weed for medicinal use and it was narrowly defeated along with a proposition to ban abortion. We wouldn’t want any potheads, who are legally high, to be denied an abortion.

Ohio wanted to legalize slot machine. Slots? In Ohio? Well, maybe Ohio is due for another scandal involving coins.

Missouri’s Amendment 2 would amend the Missouri Constitution known as the "Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative" and would protect embryonic stem cell research. It would specifically legalize all stem cell research and therapies consistent with federal law but would ban human cloning. MO was the only state to have stem cell on its ballots. Michael J. Fox and his opposition aside, if we have found some kind of science that can help people with deleterious diseases then why not exploit it? Why not make someone’s quality of life better at the expense of a blob of undeveloped cells? “But it’s a potential life!”, you say. Think of it as a potential child molester then, or whatever will help you sleep at night.

Local Voting
Locally, voter turn-out is pathetic and continues to be a frustration with politicians. An article in the Honolulu Advertiser, written in August 2006, said that only 4 in 10 registered voters gets out to the polls and votes citing voters are “apathetic, content, too busy, disinterested in public affairs, cynical about politicians and distracted by new technology and access to unprecedented amounts of entertainment.” Say it isn’t so, locals are apathetic? They have no problem making it to the Day-after-Thanksgiving Day sales at 5:00 a.m, showing up in droves.

There were a few places that turned voters away because of time disputes. Several people had a few minutes to spare before the doors closed in several voting areas but they were turned away because the clock on the inside said 6:00 p.m. while the voters’ cell phones had 5:57. C’mon. Let the people in line vote since they were in line before 6. Or, to prevent this bullshit in the future, get your ass to the polls well before closing time.

Even so, Hawaii made national news as it had recorded its lowest voter turn out- ever. Just over 50% of registered voters even bothered to get off their asses and vote. No wonder politicians like Maize Hirono (D-HI) win elections with ads that say little more than “Vote for me, my opposition likes Bush”. The aged Akaka easily waxed his opponent with more than 60% of the 50% of the voters. Awesome, another 80+ year-old Senator. My wife always throws it in my face that Akaka is pro military- and he is but only to the extent of “Move here and spend your money but don’t do anything”. Is it any wonder why our roads, schools, sewage systems, electric company, and housing costs sucks. Local do nothing to improve it via the medium of casting a vote.

The good news is that I’ll be out of there next year, only to become a resident of California. Even then I won’t be able to cast a vote for Arnold because he will have hit his term limit. Bummer.

November 8, 2006

Quite a day

I woke up to a Democrat controlled Congress and House, Rumsfeld's resignation, a new Speaker of the House and the blogosphere in a tizzy. Bad day for Republicans, good day for terrorists. The people have spoken and we had a good run Republican's. No matter, the same thing happened to Clinton and Reagan; the only thing left to do is see what happens in 2 years, especially with crazy Pelosi leading the way.

I find it unsurprising that the moonbats were donning their tinfoil hats in celebration over their victories, showing just as much poor sportsmanship for their wins today as their losses 2 years ago. At least Arnold won his second term.

Gay marriage bans, illegal immigration reform, stem cell research, and marijuana possession- all of which I could give 2 shits for right now- were waving in an ebb and flow last night, some made it and some didn't. Coincidentally, none of these issues were on the ballots here in Hawaii. In fact, some places here were late in opening for the polls and a few didn't open at all because of lazy assholes that didn't show up for work. Un.Beliable.

Here is the short list of priorities for the new Democratic Congress via the AP:
Military: Force an immediate drawdown of troops in Iraq and conduct oversight hearings on missteps on the war. The announcement Wednesday that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was resigning met Democratic demands that he step down to take responsibility for the situation in Iraq.
Intelligence: Increase attention given to emerging terrorist threats in Africa and Southeast Asia and devote more resources to North Korea and Iran. More oversight of terrorism and government surveillance.
Energy and environment: Increase incentives for biodiesel, ethanol and other alternative fuels as well as wind, solar, geothermal and other sources of alternative energy. Renegotiate oil and gas leases that waived royalty payments to the government. Impose a national cap on industrial carbon dioxide emissions. Resist Bush's efforts to open more public lands to oil exploration.
Judiciary: Conduct oversight hearings on treatment of terrorism detainees, domestic surveillance programs and President Bush's use of "signing statements" affecting some requirements in the laws he signs.

We'll see.

OpinionNation had a great write up comparing Dems and how they act when they win or lose.

November 5, 2006

Justice served


"I admit it. I'M AN ASSHOLE!"
-Saddam Hussein, former despotic dictator of Iraq who, by the NYT admission, had a "nuclear primer".

What a great way to wake up, pumpkin spice coffee brewing, egg-in-a-basket cooking on the stove, and Saddam's death sentence all over the Internet. The only time I have been this happy about the Iraqi dictator and his family was when I heard that his two sons were killed by good old fashioned American bombs, and the fact that one of his sons was still alive long enough to see an American face kneeling over him as he breathed his last.

I am sure a quick search will yield more than enough information about this trial nad the verdict but it is worth posting a link to a video of Saddam's reaction, defiant to the end like the crazy asshole he is.

Guilty Verdict Video

November 3, 2006

Pot: "Hey kettle, you're black."

This story is beyond shocking. The New York Times is complaining that documents released by the Bush organization, under pressure from Congress, via a website contain sensitive information. So now the NYT is worried about leaking sensitive information? Their hatred of Bush must really be blinding if they are allowing themselves to look like 1) Complete hypocrates, or, 1) Complete jackasses.

A very interesting sidebar to this story, and one the NYT probably didn't anticipate with this "Bush screwed up again" post, is that the NYT will now have to answer for their "There is no threat in Iraq" position. Whoops. Now they know how John Kerry feels after making a stupid remark.

The Captain's Quarters had some damning paragraphs directed at the Times that I also echo:
Actually, we have much, much more. All of these documents underscore the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and show that his regime continued their work on banned weapons programs. We have made this case over and over again, but some people refused to believe the documents were genuine. Now we have no less of an authority than the New York Times to verify that the IIS documentation is not only genuine, but presents a powerful argument for the military action to remove Saddam from power.

The Times wanted readers to cluck their tongues at the Bush administration for releasing the documents, although Congress actually did that. However, the net result should be a complete re-evaluation of the threat Saddam posed by critics of the war. Let's see if the Times figures this out for themselves.

November 1, 2006

John Kerry and his Freudian slip

Once again the Senator from Massachusetts has made an ass out of himself. Addmittedly, I am blogging about this a little late but it seems Kerry has apologized, sort of, for his remarks and this makes for a good update to a story that has rallied the military against Kerry- once again.

But our troops know how to take it all in stride:


I won't bother going over the details of his botched joke suffice it to say that it wasn't botched. He said exactly what he meant and it was only after his nervous laughs compensating for an otherwise silent crowd that he realized he slipped.

There is a lot of criticism on the blogosphere from Democrats who are chastizing us for our chastizing of Kerry. It seems we are not to make fun of a Democrat's stupid remarks even though the Dems have been doing it with Bush for the last 7 years. But there is a little more in the substance of what Kerry said that differentiates it from Bush's butchering of the English language.

Here is part of Kerry's "apology":
I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform...
I take offense to the tardiness of this half-assed attempt at a political reckoning. How stupid do you think we are? Is there any wonder why Kerry has pulled out of a CNN and Minnesotta appearance? His statement is an attack concealed as an apology.

Kerry supporters are also spinning thier demigod's comments, laughing at republicans who dare to criticize, using lame quips like, "A week before the elections and this is what the Republicans are running with?!" it is no more ridiculous than the Democrats running with the Matt Foley mess.

It would appear at first glance that the Democrats deal more with reputation than with substance. You would be correct. Their campaign message this year is "Vote for us, we're not Republicans." Their television ads are mindless charicatures of the candidates who are hoping the main stream media will pull them across the finish line November 7.

John Steyn nailed it:
I find the Derb/Jay line, agreeing that Senator Kerry was making a joke about Bush, highly implausible. If you talk to Democrats of the middle-class and upper-middle-class and (in John Heinz Kerry’s case) the neo-Gulf-emir-class, you’ll have heard the same thing a thousand times: these poor fellows in Iraq, they’re only there because they’re too poverty-stricken and ill-educated so they couldn’t become Senators and New York Times reporters and tenured Queer Studies professors like normal Americans do. That is, in fact, what they mean by the claim that they “support our troops”: they want to bring them home and retrain them so they’re not forced into taking jobs as Bush’s torturers and thugs.

It’s part of the same condescension as describing soldiers as “our children”. If a 22-year old intern wants to drop to the Oval Office broadloom, she’s a grown woman exercising her freedom of choice. But, if a 28-year old guy wants to serve in Iraq, he’s a poor wee misguided Grade Six drop-out who doesn’t know any better. John Kerry’s soundbite is interesting not because it’s the umpteenth self-inflicted wound by Mister Nuance but because it gets right to the heart of the Democrats’ “support” for the troops.

October 29, 2006

Geek out time: Quantum Physics

In physics, wave-particle duality holds that light and matter can exhibit properties of both waves and particles. But how can this be?

This is one of the most mind boggling videos I have watched and it interests me immensely because of the section on interference patterns. Although the video is talking aobut quantum physics, interference patterns show up in the underwater world of sonar because of the Lloydd Mirror Effect- basically, sound is reinforced or cancelled out by sound waves of inverse proportion.

Light and matter makes interference patterns also in this dual slit experiment however, when the process is observed, the particles behave differently- like they know they are being watched!

Enjoy.

October 25, 2006

My first MGT 645 assignment... very lame subject matter

Enron Executives- Flight of Fancy

There are several distinct tipping points throughout history for people to learn from: military strategists have Vietnam, archaeologists have Lucy, and managers have Enron. Enron will forever go down in the annals of managerial and accounting practices as the single most costly scam to affect thousands of people, even the economy itself! Enron has been compared to a classic Greek tragedy of historical proportions. Some people claim the Enron scandal was born out of the constructs of good old fashioned American capitalism or from the deregulation of California’s energy policies. In reality, the whole despicable scandal can be boiled down to one thing- greed.

Enron was a company that dealt less with substance than with reputation. It sold energy, a commodity it did not produce but bought and then sold. Enron actually traded in more than 800 commodities, ranging from lumber and steel to bandwidth and weather risk management. California legislature deregulated the energy industry in hopes that the law of supply and demand would create fair prices for both gas and electricity. Instead, it gave Enron free reign to a market in high demand and very soon Enron was involved in one of the most blatant forms of manipulation to include asking electric companies to “unexpectedly” take their power plants off line.

From 1995-2000 Fortune Magazine named Enron the “most innovative company in corporate America”. Evidently they were a little too innovative. Having the state of California’s energy supply in the palms of their hands wasn’t good enough for Enron executives. Blinded by the same driving force that causes people to buy lottery tickets, Enron executives setup fake companies overseas, cooking their financial books to extract every last bit of profit from the company. Coincidentally, none of those companies showed up on the books but bought off much of Enron’s piling debt.

Enron executives went about their day like nothing was going on, shaking hands, making small talk to employees, even urging them to buy more of Enron’s stock. Even when wind of dubious accounting practices made it to Enron employees upper management assured worried employees that their stock and 401K’s would be fine. In fact, Enron passed company policy stating no employee under the age of 54 could sell their stock.

Kenneth Lay, Jeffery Skilling, and Andrew Fastow concocted a complex web of schemes to keep Enron’s stock high but in the end they just slowed the inevitable. They spent the better part of 2001 selling off their stock all the while telling their employees to hold onto theirs and even going so far as to lie about the company buying more stock. In the beginning of 2001 Enron’s stock sold for $80 a share. By the time Enron executives were caught with their pants down, Enron’s stock was on the floor too at only 30 cents a share.

Total monetary loss was $600 billion and big investors and pension funds bore the brunt of the losses. Surprisingly, it was the big investor fraud that landed the executives in the courtrooms and not the loss of thousands of pension funds of former Enron employees. An employee that worked for Enron for 15 years at the beginning of 2001 held about $100k of company stock. By the end of the year the stock was worth $80.

Lay and Skilling were not found guilty of the most heinous of their actions- destroying thousands of retirements, price gouging California residents billions in utilities, or even looting Third World companies. They weren’t found guilty because they were never convicted of those charges. It is generally not regarded as a crime by our judicial system and courts allow companies to ditch employee pension plans (deferred wages) with no consequences.

Trying to swindle big banks is another story and is punishable by law. Sixteen Enron executives have plead guilty to fraud including Michael Kopper who plead guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud and will have to pay back more than $12M in assets. In March of 2005 Bernie Ebbert’s honest idiot defense failed and he was convicted of fraud. In fact there are several key executives in the Enron scandal facing many many years in prison. Kenneth Lay, the former CEO and Chairman of Enron, was convicted of 6 counts conspiracy. It was Lay’s ego that got him convicted and Divine Justice, perhaps, that got to him before his sentencing. Lay died of a heart attack early July 2006 while he was vacationing in Aspen. Skilling was just convicted of little more than 2 years in prison- not a very encouraging message the courts are sending out to the masses.

The white collar community has always looked the other way when it comes to a little fraud or deception, hardly horrified by the action of the guilty. But Enron’s scandal reached far deeper than most newsworthy matchstick men games and even the ruling elite wanted justice served for the billions of dollars lost through the greed of a few people.

Lord of the Rings alternate gay ending

This is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I can't help laughing everytime, and I mean everytime, I watch it.

Nuke mentality has firm foothold in Navy

There are many great submarine Naval heroes in our 108 years history- CDR Slade Cutter, CAPT John Cromwell, ADM Eugene Fluckey , and Commander Howard Gilmore - officers who reshaped the course of a war, held their shipmates in higher regard than themselves, and made decisions that were based on what’s best for the crew. How I wish to be surrounded by such men and not the clueless, incompetent “leaders” that are doing nothing but shaping their fitreps.

While at sea, submariners are on a steady diet of shit sandwiches. Inherent to life at sea in the nuclear Navy, the stresses of keeping the water outside of the boat, preventing collisions with other vessels, and the routines of drills, maintenance, and training all contribute to the Dagwood-sized sandwich we are forced to choke down. After 4 years a sailor is supposed to be able to go to shore duty and shake off the rigors of sea duty. It is a time to relax, spend some well deserved time with family, and burn some of that leave that has been heaping up.

It is with a certain degree of expectation that anyone stationed at a shore command in Pearl Harbor, HI can make 10:00 a.m. tee times, start/finish higher education programs, and travel to the other islands unhindered by the constraints of anything remotely resembling the boat mentality.

Wrong.

The nuclear mentality has now made its way into the sanctity of shore duty. All the things I hated about Nuke officers have now followed me and have turned the best shore duty assignment one could ever hope for into an entity that resembles a submarine sans mooring lines.

"How bad can it be, Trickish Knave? You are still on shore duty and you go home every night. You’re not at sea so suck it up." True dat. But does that mean we are to needlessly endure ridiculousness to the nth degree just because we aren’t at sea? I say "Nay nay." Hell, why should people on sea duty endure needless ridiculousness? Random rules and regulations, or policies and procedures promulgated merely for the sake of change or ‘theory to practice’ erodes the morale and well being of the crew, whether at sea or on shore. Change is good, don’t get me wrong. The Navy has made some excellent changes for the better in the last 20 years. It seems like for every step forward the Navy makes to make things better, however, a local policy sets it two steps back.

I started to cite specific examples of what I am talking about but I started to irritated and I felt a headache brewing. It may seem like a petty rant but I cannot expect people to understand, unless of course they are sailors or anyone who has dealt with this type of living/working environment. There has always been an inalienable truth in the military in respect to idiot coworkers- either you or he will transfer and you won’t have to deal with him for more than 4 years. What a shame that another idiot just ends up taking his place.

October 23, 2006

Living among the history

My mother-in-law forwarded me an email that had the following 17 pictures of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I have been to the Arizona Memorial several times but do not recognize any of the shots she sent. I am planning on priting the shots out and giving them to the Chief Historian at the Memorial.

Many of the images show enemy planes still in the air, our planes and ships on fire, and unidentified structures exploding. They are very chilling for me to look at as I can easily identify specific parts of the harbor, parts that I have riden through while on a tour boat or the inbound/outbound submarines I have been attached to. The pictures represent a definitive result of what can happen if intelligence is doubted, defenses are lowered, and foreign policy is ineffective.


















October 20, 2006

Hubble's greatest image... well, one of them...



Hubble's Deepest View of the Universe Unveils Bewildering Galaxies across Billions of Years

What did the first galaxies look like? To help answer this question, the Hubble Space Telescope has just finished taking the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the deepest image of the universe ever taken in visible light. Pictured above, the HUDF shows a sampling of the oldest galaxies ever seen, galaxies that formed just after the dark ages, 13 billion years ago, when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age. The Hubble Space Telescope's NICMOS and new ACS cameras took the image. Staring nearly 3 months at the same spot, the HUDF is four times more sensitive, in some colors, than the original Hubble Deep Field (HDF). Astronomers the world over will likely study the HUDF for years to come to better understand how stars and galaxies formed in the early universe.

Representing a narrow "keyhole" view stretching to the visible horizon of the universe, the Hubble Deep Field image covers a speck of the sky only about the width of a dime 75 feet away. Though the field is a very small sample of the heavens, it is considered representative of the typical distribution of galaxies in space, because the universe, statistically, looks largely the same in all directions. Gazing into this small field, Hubble uncovered a bewildering assortment of at least 3000 galaxies at various stages of evolution.

The field is so small that only a few foreground stars in the Milky Way lie within it; thus, almost all of the 3,000 objects in the image are galaxies, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. By revealing such large numbers of very young galaxies, the HDF has become a landmark image in the study of the early universe, and it has been the source of almost 400 scientific papers since it was created.


As the universe expands, more distant objects recede from the Earth faster, in what is called the Hubble Flow. The light from very distant galaxies is significantly affected by doppler shifting, which reddens the radiation that we receive from them. While quasars with high redshifts were known, very few galaxies with redshifts greater than 1 were known before the HDF images were produced. The HDF, however, contained many galaxies with redshifts as high as 6, corresponding to distances of about 12 billion light years [2]. (Due to redshift the most distant objects in the HDF are not actually visible in the Hubble images; they can only be detected in images of the HDF taken at longer wavelengths by ground-based telescopes.)

October 18, 2006

Traitorous lawyer gets slap on the wrist

I sent a letter to Judge Koetle, who has just appeased terrorism in the most sickening way, admonishing him to exert the maximum allowable punishment on former lawyer and scumbag Lynn Stewart. Normally, 'lawyer' and 'scumbag' are found in the same sentence but for this woman there are different circumstances.

Stewart smuggled messages from her client, a terrorist who was in jail, to his terrorist buddies. The judge said her crimes had "potentially lethal consequences" and called them "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct." He then proceeded to give her 30 months in prison, which she can appeal (while she remains a free person). Remember the old Cheech and Chong courtroom skit?
"Bailiff. Whack his pee-pee!"
Instead of getting 30 years in prison, which the prosecutors wanted, for betraying her country, Stewart gets a sentence that amounts to little more than a joke. But could we expect anything less from a Clinton appointed judge?

Judge Koetle reduced Stewart’s sentence for a few reasons. “Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Koeltl said. By defending homegrown miscreants, cop killers and terrorists? Good one judge.
But why would Stewart defend people who use violence to spread their message?

“I don't believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence”

Hmm, that sounds really familiar. Who advocates violence to change the status quo… that’s right, terrorists!

Stewart’s attorneys brought her recent diagnoses of breast cancer to the attention of the judge citing it would be a death sentence to send her to jail for 30 years. What? She is dying any way so what relevance is it that she will die in prison?
Of course, Stewart and her ardent supporters--not to mention the far Left generally--have made an art of alleging that government measures to protect us from terrorists and terrorist supporters are unnecessary, unconstitutional, evil, or all of the above.
Meanwhile, the country she hates so much has been remarkably good to her. Stewart has carried on relatively undisturbed for years, and now that she's taken her political lawyering too far she has hardly been treated cruelly. In fact, the judge in this trial threw out an earlier indictment on the grounds that the statute was too vague, and now the government is forced to prove that she knowingly aided terrorist violence, not just that she provided material support to a terrorist group. And there's more: All of Stewart's legal fees are being paid for by the government, at taxpayer expense.
She also braggged about her acting skills as she relayed information from her client to his thugs saying, "I can get an award for it" which was translated to the Sheikh: "She is saying, Your Eminence, that she can get an award for acting (all three laugh)."

She talked tough back then but when it came to the sentencing she was reduced to her true self- a coward who threw herself at the mercy of the court just like the terrorist scum she defends. It worked and we can thank the judge who sends the message that nothing will really happen to traitors.

She asked the judge to let her live her life out
"productively, lovingly, righteously." And what did Stewart have to say after her sentencing?
As my clients say to me, 'I could do that standing on my head.'

Outside court, Stewart said she thought the sentence was "a victory for doing good work all one's life." She added: "You get time off for good behavior usually at the end of your prison term. I got it at the beginning."

You see, we fear jihadist beheadings more than the jihadists (and their supporters) fear our courts.

October 16, 2006

Shake, rattle and roll

It was quite a wake up Sunday morning as my bed was shaking like a frat house bed on homecoming night. Hawaii had experienced its hardest earthquake in 20 years and it showed. The islands experience thousands of earthquakes a year but many of them aren’t even noticeable except by seismographs. This is only the second earthquake I have felt (that I can remember, that is. As a child living in CA my mother tells me we had them all the time), the last one was when I was in Guam.

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake sent our son running into our bedroom with eyes as wide as saucers. My wife grabbed him and I rolled over our 3 month old daughter who was in bed with us. The whole ordeal lasted about 25 seconds. I thought it was fun and didn’t panic; my wife, a California resident for most of her life, dismissed it as if the quarter had just run out of the vibrating bed in a cheap motel.

I got up and surveyed my living room and the only proof of a shakedown was a cigar tube that had rolled onto the floor from my computer desk. I had enough time to look off my lanai and see people from the surrounding apartment buildings standing in the rain, talking on their cell phones and swimming in the complex pool. Our fire alarm went off, and feeling it was set off in panic, perhaps form our 5-points-away-from-being-legally-retarded resident manager, I went out into the darkened hallway only to see a few scared people fleeing their apartments and running down the stairwell. I thought, "You’ve got to be kidding me."

I went back to my apartment and shortly thereafter the fire alarm secured and then the power went out. I thought it was odd that the power went out so long after the quake. Listening to our radio we heard the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) rep try to backpedal his way out of explaining why. I think someone just panicked and tripped off the 15-story generators. It would be in keeping with the inadequate emergency responses this state has towards natural emergencies. Remember the 43 days of rain we got earlier this year? Out dated sewage lines were bursting all over the island.

This state just doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy when it comes to big emergencies, especially when little things like trucks running into overpasses shut down the state highways for hours on end. The residents are ill prepared for these things too. Perhaps it is because the island mentality precludes any sense of instinct or spatial reasoning; perhaps they are just that dumb. People called the radio station wondering where they can get something to eat, business were calling in plugging their wares and one guy called in to plug his huli-huli chicken stand which was later shut down by the police because of traffic concerns. So after a major event like this, these people are worried about her stomachs? I do have to give credit to the radio show hosts who came into work to keep everyone informed of the goings-ons. One was making coffee and the other was on the golf course lining up a putt. I don’t normally listen to Perry and Price but yesterday I had no choice.

I finally had to stop listening to the radio because I was getting madder as the morning progresses- someone called in and actually praised God for the earthquake, giving Him all the glory and honor. Because God has nothing better to do than send a 6.5 earthquake centered 9 miles NNW of Hilo. Surprisingly, we didn’t get our first Civil Emergency message until 10:00- 3 hours after the earthquake. Yep, those Civil Defense guys are all over that. It took them that long to get a message out to only ONE radio station that was working. One. There were people sitting in their cars listening to the radio because they didn’t have a battery powered one in their house. This island has a hurricane season, which we have just entered, and these people aren’t even prepared for that.

We had water in my building until 1:00 p.m. and then the reservoir went dry. Power was restored to some parts of the island at about 2:00 p.m. and I had water again at 4:00. We filled up as many containers as we could so we had enough to last for a few days but I will go restock our bottled water supply to have more on hand. In fact, I am going to restock all my camping gear.

I was taken back when a Vietnamese caller asked if he could give an update to all the Vietnamese people who are listen to the station. After his blurb I wondered why someone who didn’t know English would be listening to the radio anyway. After that a Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, and Korean person called in to do the same. For those people who are products of the Hawaiian school system, a local called in and gave a translation in pidgin. One of the morning show hosts made a comment that the Emergency Broadcast System should put out the 3 hour late information in different languages because of the diversity here in Hawaii. What? There is a lot of tasty diversity here- Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and the locals who speak in pidgin- and the Civil Defense Service is supposed to hire translators for each of these languages? Perhaps now would be a great time to learn just a little bit of English so you can get information that will, oh, I don’t know, keep you alive in case of an emergency?

On the bright side, the National Guard was already setup this weekend for their drill weekend. If they were needed it would have been a quick deployment. Although I cna't imagine the chaos and pandemonium had this earthquake happened at 7:09 a.m. on a Monday morning. There is no doubt doubt I would have been stuck in our elevator on my way to work.

At about 3 a.m. 95% of the island had power and the ordeal came to an end. Besides the discomfort of no power for 17 ½ hours, (NYC residents are probably laughing at this outage) my biggest complaint was that Starbucks had to milk this morning for my venti vanilla latte. They had soy but I kindly refused- that being the absolute worst that could happen in this "disaster"- having to drink a soy latte. Luckily, the Golden Arches, as usual, were on the ball and to celebrate the survival of Shakedown ’06 I had a number 1 with my large coffee. Reflecting on the last 24 hours I have come up with a lesson learned list.

1. People in Hawaii are retarded. Stay off the phones, stay off the roads. That was the message from the Civil Service. People were calling in with less than funny anecdotes, car accidents, and birthday party cancellations. The cell towers operate on backup battery power and every unneeded phone call drains that power so that when a real emergency comes up it can’t get through because of high call volume. A lady called in and said she was on the Waianae coast to see if the tsunami was going to hit. Yes, she was on the beach after an earthquake to see the tsunami roll in. There are several parts to that sentence that reveal a cosmic disregard for Mother Nature and common sense, and if I have to explain it to you then you need to spend two hours in a garage with your car engine running. This jackass was on the wrong side of the island to see the tsunami anyway.

2. Hawaii cannot cope with an emergency in a reliable amount of time. Every time something happens this place acts like it is the first time it has ever happened in the history of the world. A 6.5 quake rendered the airports, roads, and businesses useless. People in CA are laughing at us. HECO uses 3 15-story generators to proved power but when they tripped offline the smaller generators then tripped offline to prevent an overload. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? When something ridiculous happens on the island I am reminded of a comment a local made in a Hawaii Pacific University class- “Don’t bring your mainland ways here!” What ‘ways’ are those, my simple minded friend- electricity? power generation? power distribution? The things other states on the mainland have mastered through experience are dismissed as ‘mainland ways’, voodoo, Santa Ria, things that this state has to figure out on its own. We had one radio station running and didn’t get a Civil Defense update for 3 hours after the fact.

3. I need to keep my camping gear stocked. I had a grill and one propane mini-tank for our dinner last night- beans, broccoli and cheese, and some turkey Italian sausage. Not bad for a candle lit dinner with no power. This event has reinforced my preparedness initiative for the upcoming hurricane season. We were prepared but we weren’t over prepared.

4. Starbucks needs to have a way to preserve milk. Are we living in the stone ages? Unless you’re in the Middle East (the last bastion of the Dark Age mentality) there is no excuse to have your main source of making a latte tasty go bad. And what the heck is up with soy? Did an employee bring a few containers of soy in this morning or can soy survive unrefrigerated? Either way, it is an abomination.

I can’t wait until the next natural disaster to see which one of Hawaii’s disaster relief infrastructures collapses under the weight of the absence of those evil main land ways. These people act like they don't live less than 200 miles away from 2 of the most active volcanoes on the planet.