Friday, July 30, 2004

Bush has done some stuff

I have complained lately that Bush really hasn't done much during his tenure as President. Other than two wars and talking about terror, what has he done? As it turns out he has done some stuff, unfortunately most of it is bad.
Okay, I need to rephrase my question. Bush has done some stuff, for starters he took the largest budget surplus in history and quickly turned it into the largest budget deficit in history. While doing this he managed to pillage the Social Security Surplus in an attempt to make his budget skills look less horrific. Too bad he is jeopardizing the future of Social Security.
New question: What has Bush done that I consider good on any issue?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Guns in the sky

I am pro-gun despite my history of debating against many pro-gun arguments. Responsible, sane people should be allowed to have a gun. I say this with the expectations that guns should be heavily regulated. Waiting periods, background checks, physiological testing, training classes. In addition only certain guns should be available. I support the assault weapons ban and closing the loopholes that get around the ban. To stop the spread of guns getting to the wrong people gun owners should have to account for their guns once a year.
I think in high density areas like city's, people should only have guns inside their homes or inside a locked box inside their cars.

I also think many pro-gun arguments I hear are stupid and irresponsible.
This is a study that debunks many pro-gun arguments. The graphs showing number of guns per-capita and gun deaths, injuries and homicides gets to the heart of the debate.

Below is a section on Gary Mauser's study that is often invoked by the gun lobby to show that guns reduce crime. Apparently it increases contact with Extra Terrestrials.
Mauser's earlier work on arming for self-protection was funded by the NRA and has been critiqued by many academics. In one often cited study, Mauser argued that firearms are used between 62,500 and 80,000 times per year for self-defence. This is based on a 1995 telephone survey of 1,505 Canadians, in which 2.1% (32) of respondents claimed that they or a member of their household had used a gun for self-protection (either against a person or an animal) over the last five years. Of those, 12.9 % (5) claimed they or a member of their household had used a gun to protect themselves against a person within the last 5 years. Mauser extrapolates this to the Canadian population.
Dr. David Hemenway, Professor, Harvard University in an affidavit to the Alberta Court of Appeal, notes that Mausers study contains "incorrect assertions and misleading statements." The study fails to distinguish perception from reality - grabbing a gun in response to a bump in the night does not mean that anyone has actually been defended themselves against a threat. " It is not appropriate to extrapolate the results of a simple, self-reported study or a RARE event, particularly when there is the possibility of positive social desirability response, or personal presentation bias. The results will be wild over estimates." He compares Mauser's methodology to a 1995 survey by NBC which asked 1500 Americans "Have you personally ever been in contact with aliens from another planet or not?". Extrapolating the results (0.6%) to the entire US population would suggest that 1.2 million Americans have been in actual contact with aliens.

The Federal Govenment passed a new law that allows cops to carry a concealed gun in EVERY state. Yippie!! Screw you NJ.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Chicken Abuse Scandal
Sadly, I am not at all Suprised by this.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Eleven workers from a poultry processing plant have been fired and fast-food giant KFC has halted purchases from the facility following the release of a secretly shot video showing employees kicking and stomping live chickens. ....
The moves come a day after grainy videotape was released over the Internet by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showing employees "ripping birds' beaks off, spray-painting their faces, twisting their heads off, spitting tobacco into their mouths and eyes, and breaking them in half — all while the birds are still alive."

I think many out there want to believe these kind of practices aren't common place in the animal food industry.  Many people will say that when an animal rights group has video of animal abuse they have captured a rare anomoly.  Wake up.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

"They’ll be talking about this war for a thousand years"
I finally saw the movie Troy.  Maybe because I had low expectations going in, I left the theater very satisfied.   For me the Illiad is probably the greatest tale ever told.  I read it 14 years ago but it still vividly stick out in my memory.  Meanwhile I barely remember many books I read just a year ago.  Because I'm a fan of the original written epic, I  was reluctant to go see Troy when it didn't receive raving reviews.
Troy doesn't retell the story of the Illiad very closely and in the closing credits it says it was only "inspired by the Illiad".   It was still really cool to see the character of the Illiad come to life.

I liked how the Glory theme was pervasive throughout the film from the opening monologue to the closing monologue.  It made me think about what it means to be a "Hero".  Achilles and Hector were two different kinds of hero.  Glory and self pride meant everything to Achilles, it motivated him throughout the film.  Glory was not a factor for Hector; he fought for love, loyalty, and country.
It was pretty depressing when Hector died and Troy burned.  For some reason I root for the Trojans over the Greeks.
Is it Odysseus that does the opening and closing monologue?

Friday, July 16, 2004

My First Experience with Religious Fervor

Ever heard of Our Lady of Mount Carmel?  I sure hadn't until today, when I went to her festival in Spanish Harlem.  It was an interesting cultural experience for me and I didn't have to go very far to witness it.  First there was a parade with an all white marching band leading the way.  Next came the float and on board was  a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding an infant in her arms.  Surrounding the statue and following behind in the hundreds was a mostly black crowd with a few Caucasians singing hymns in French.  It seemed like something out of The Serpent and The Rainbow
The parade zig zagged through the streets for a few hours, everytime I thought it was over, it started up again.  Finally it stopped in front of a church. 
"Their going to take the statue down, surround the float, hold the people back"   
What does that mean? I thought to myself...
Soon enough I found out as hundreds of people in a religious frenzy tried to bum rush the statue.  Once the statue got into the church the religious fervor was peaking.  The pews were packed with people, blacks and white Italians, tears streaming down their faces, many hoping to touch the statue.  We had to push people back to keep the aisle cleared as they carried the statue to the alter. 

Anyone else have an experience with the power of religion?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Another Brick in the Wall

I believe Israel has a right to build a wall to secure their borders and protect against terrorism. However, I do not think Israel should extend the wall across the border and into Palestinian territory. For various reasons the wall extending beyond the border undermines the peace process and causes hardship on non-Israelis who live there.
I realize Israel has settlements on the other side of the border that also need protecting. I suggest they put a wall around each settlement they realistically believe they can keep in a future peace settlement and abandon the rest.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Turning our Scientist into YES MEN

The Bush administration is still packing scientific advisory panels with ideologues and is imposing strict controls on researchers who want to share ideas with colleagues in other countries, a group of scientists charged on Thursday....

These are increasing bits of evidence of attempts at control over the way the business of science, the open communication between scientists, is being conducted."
Robert Paine, an ecologist at the University of Washington who chaired an advisory panel on endangered salmon and trout, said his team was warned by the government to remove facts that undermined policy.
"We were told to strip out specific scientific recommendations or see our report end up in a drawer," Paine said.
The report includes accusations of administration interference on strip mining, drug approvals and protection of endangered species.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


But upon further review probably lies.
Why, in Philadelphia, the 2000 presidential elections saw a 100 percent turnout of registered voters, with 95 percent of those votes going for Al Gore! I don't know what's funnier, the massive vote fraud itself, or the deafening lack of public outrage at the news

After reading this stunning revelation I wanted to Blog about it as part of my unfair election series. So i internet searched for supporting information and all I turned up was this: Free Republic piece
In Philadelphia, "people apparently take their civic responsibilities seriously," Stephen Bronar and John R. Lott Jr. write in the New York Post. "In that city, 1,025,259 are registered voters out of 1,065,455 residents aged 18 and over. As a number of adults are ineligible to vote (e.g., felons and non-citizens), the number of registered voters clearly exceeds the number of eligible people," writes Mr. Bronar, chairman of the University of Texas Economics Department, and Mr. Lott, a senior research scholar at the Yale University Law School. "These numbers cannot be explained simply by voters being left on the rolls after they have moved or died. Preliminary numbers show some precincts had 100 percent of the registered voters voting, with 99 percent of their votes going for Gore. There is no obvious explanation for how this is possible."
The numbers also fail to add up in cities ranging from Detroit to St. Louis, the authors write, "and many races apparently turned on those results. Simply making sure that we 'count all the votes' — the mantra repeated constantly over the last month — is not the answer if those aren't real votes."

Okay, so strangly a story this stunning had only two sources but I had a trail to follow. I did a search for: Stephen Bronar and John R. Lott Jr New York Post My only search results went back to the Free Republic piece....Odd.
At this point I decided the whole thing is bullshit and is make believe conservative propaganda.
By browsing though the Comment section it looks like its been bought hook, line and sinker. As Karol would say. SHEEP.

I failed to find evidence of truth to this story but if anyone else can substanitate this story let me know.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Funny Item listed on Ebay.

found my ex-wife's wedding dress in the attic when I moved. She took the $4000 engagement ring but left the dress. I was actually going to have a dress burning party when the divorce became final, but my sister talked me out of it. She said, "That’s such a gorgeous dress. Some lucky girl would be glad to have it. You should sell it on EBay. At least get something back for it." So, this is what I’m doing. I’m selling it hoping to get enough money for maybe a couple of Mariners tickets and some beer. This dress cost me $1200 that my drunken sot of an ex-father-in-law swore up and down he would pay for but didn’t so I got stuck with the bill. Luckily I only got stuck with his daughter for 5 years. Thank the Lord we didn't have kids. If they would have turned out like her or her family I would have slit my wrists. Anyway, it’s a really nice dress as you can see in the pictures. Personally, I think it looks like a $1200 shower curtain, but what do I know about this. We tried taking pictures of this lovely white garment but it didn’t look right on the hanger as you can see, so my sister says, "You need a model." Well, quite frankly my sister isn’t exactly small, (like a size 12 is?) so she wouldn’t pose for the picture. Seeing as I have sworn off women for the time being and I ain’t friends with any, it left me holding the bag. I took the liberty of blacking out my face - not to protect the ex-wife but to protect me from my bar buddies and co-workers finding out about it. I would never live it down. Actually I didn’t think my head would fit in the neck hole, but then I figured she got her Texas cheerleader hair through there I could get my head in it. Though, after looking at the pictures, I thought it made me look fat. How do you women wear this crap? I only had to walk 3 feet and I tripped twice. Don’t worry ladies - I am wearing clothes on underneath it. I gotta say it did make me feel very pretty. So if it can make me feel pretty, it can make you feel pretty, especially on the most important day of your life, right? Anyway, I was told to say it has a train and a veil and all kinds of shiny beady things. I think it's funny that one picture makes it look like the chest plate off an Imperial Storm Trooper. Did I mention that all I want is a ball game and beer? Cheap at twice the price. Ladies, you won’t regret this. You may regret the dude you marry but not the dress.

Just a little side note - As I was putting this ad in EBay, it asked me for a color. Is a wedding dress any other freaking color than white or ivory??!! If it is it wouldn't be a wedding dress, now would it?? I suppose black would work...

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Florida Election Fix is on AGAIN

This story was largely ignored after the 2000 Election. I suspect Jeb figures the Florida election is going to be close so he's pulling the disenfranchise legal democrats from voting card out of his sleeve again. If the powers that be in Florida allow this sham to happen in November, it's time for a REVOLUTION.
Lucky for me I have a very uncommon name so it's doubtful I could lose my NY vote because some Felon in Idaho happens to share my name.

Disgruntled worker kills 4 wounds 3

The timing of this tragedy happened right after Scott from Right Moment posted about the assault weapons ban.

Scott writes:
I know why gun enthusiasts would like to have such weapons and I also know why criminals do; one is for hobby the other for killing as many as possible with the least amount of effort. Problem is many of the latter will probably respect the law, the former by definition will not.

I replied,
Sometimes hobbyist become criminals.
I can see the headlines,
"Gun enthusiast, kills 5"

Scott responded:
So can knife collectors, bow collectors, car collectors, rock collectors.

I replied,
True, but how often do you hear about killing sprees/mass murder using those other items?

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