NY Times, House of Representatives holding pissing contest

CNN.com – House vote slaps news organizations – Jun 29, 2006 The House of Representatives (hereafter referred to as Bickering Partisan Assclowns) passed a resolution “condemning news organizations for revealing a covert government program to track terrorist financing”. Now, this got me thinking – what, exactly, is a “resolution”? Well, answers.com had a nice definition. Interesting to note is that there are two types of resolutions – those that pass laws, and those that more or less express the opinion of the legislative body, in this case the Bickering Partisan Assclowns, or BPA. This type of resolution is in response to a certain event, such as the Times writing about our secret and probably illegal searching techniques for terrorists. It is not intended to be permanent or enforceable.

In a certain respect, [resolutions of this type] resemble the opinions expressed by a newspaper on its editorial page, but they are nonetheless indicative of the ideas and values of elected representatives and, as such, commonly mirror the outlook of voters.

Oh, really? So, the Times prints an article. The BPA gets its panties in a bunch, and publishes an editorial. Except that because the BPA is a large and powerful organization, it passes a resolution instead of publishing an editorial. This, in effect, says to the Times, “our genitals are larger than yours”. So that’s fine, I guess. Sure, it’s a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, but I suppose a response is justified. But then we see that the vote on the resolution was pretty much straight down the party line, with the Republicans (Not surprisingly) in the pro column. The Democrats had a problem with some language in the resolution that defended the legality of the search techniques. Now, here’s where I have a real problem, and why I think our government is broken. There are two issues that need to be resolved here. First, did the Times break the law? Are they guilty, as complete nutjob Ann Coulter says, of treason? Well, either they are guilty of breaking some law, and they should be dealt with by the legal system, or they’re not, and their actions are protected by the free speech, or freedom of the press, or whatever. Second, are the methods they wrote about illegal? Are we violating our citizens’ rights in the name of stopping terrorists? It seems likely that we are, but I can’t say for certain. Again, if these methods are illegal, then the legal system needs to deal with that, and if not, everything’s fine. So, what does the BPA do? It writes an opinion piece. It tackles none of the underlying issues, and simply drafts a non-binding opinion calling people names. Great.

Im sorry, Godwins Law says youre done now.

Pro-lifers against Buffett-Gates alliance – Yahoo! News

How misguided do you have to be to attack a man for pledging tens of billions of dollars to charity? Misguided enough, I suppose, to run smack into Godwin’s Law.

“The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world,” said the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of Human Life International.

Referring to Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi death camp doctor, Euteneuer said Buffett “will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents.”

Now, for a minute, let’s assume that the Judeo-Christian God exists more or less as He’s described in the Bible. Then, we can suppose that Rev. Euteneuer asked Him, “So, God, we have this guy who wants to pledge literally billions of dollars to promote global health. He wants to bring medicine and education and all sorts of necessities to people who need them. But there’s a possibility that a small fraction of the money will go to promote abortion. Should we stone him, or simply banish him into the wilderness?”

Whatever God may or may not be, He’s not stupid. I’m pretty sure He’d tell the Reverend to go take a long walk. Actually, the Bible makes God out to be a little more aggressive. He might actually smite the Reverend.

I understand why people are against abortion. I’m against it, too, although I won’t support laws that make it illegal. But when you’d stand in the way of all the good that can be done with this money just because you don’t like where some of it’s going, you’re not doing God’s work.

And I know the vast majority of pro-lifers aren’t as dumb as this guy. Nor are the vast majority of Christians. But when you let idiots like this be your voice to the public, it’s not helping things.

Compact Flourescent bulbs save a ton of energy

Treehugger: Change a Light Bulb: It Really Can Make a Difference

Treehugger points to a report from the International Energy Agency that claims that switching to efficient bulbs like CFL‘s would cut the world’s electricity use by 10%.  Considering that these bulbs are not much more expensive than regular bulbs anymore, and they pay for themselves by using less energy and lasting longer, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t switch.  Most of them don’t work with dimmers, but I think you can get dimmable ones, and if you can’t now, you will be able to soon.  I’ve been switching over at home as bulbs burn out, and my only complaint is that the bulb they say replaces a 60 watt regular bulb is not as bright as a regular 60 watt bulb.

Ford sucks.

The Spokes-Frog Is Dead, Long Live The Spokes-Frog! – Jalopnik

Jalopnik has a nice summary of an article detailing how, once again, Ford is backing down on a promise to go greener. Ford is spinning it to say that the original promise was “too narrow”, and that they underestimated the changes in alternative fuels, so that their pledge to build more hybrids is no longer reasonable, but it’s hard to believe that’s anything but spin.

I’m continually embarrassed by the state of American automobiles. I would love to buy an American car. In fact, I sort of did, as I’m pretty sure my Mazda 3 has some Ford technology in it. But Japanese automakers are light years ahead of the American automakers in terms of fuel efficiency, reliability, quality . . .

And I don’t understand why GM and Ford are latching on to ethanol so much. We have yet to show that we can produce sufficient quantities of ethanol at a feasible price. And they make most of it from corn, which is a tough, expensive crop to grow.

I know some argue that we need to buy American to support ourselves, rather than sending our money overseas. But I refuse to purchase an inferior product in the name of patriotism. It doesn’t help my country if I reward Ford and GM for failing, and for breaking their promises to get greener. When an American car company makes a car that I can be proud to drive, I’ll buy it. Until then, I’ll stick with Japanese cars.

Well, hes the decider

CNN.com – Panel questions whether Bush improperly ignoring laws – Jun 27, 2006

When the first thing you see in the article is a quote from insane Republican Arlen Specter saying, “It’s a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution”, it’s a pretty good indication that the AP doesn’t think that Bush should be adding all of these signing statements to the bills he signs.

Defending Bush, a Justice Department lawyer said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had made it prudent for the president to protect his powers with signing statements more than did his predecessors.

I’m not quite sure what September 11th has to do with the President overstepping the legal boundries of the office. One of his signing statements said that he would ignore laws preventing torture on detainees if he felt like it. There’s a reason that we have this system of checks and balances that we all learned about in high school. We have it to prevent any one part of the government from gaining too much power. The system seems to have been working pretty well for quite some time, and now Bush has added more signing statements than any of his predecessors, according to NPR this morning.

Honestly, when you have prominent Republicans like Specter saying that our Republican President is overstepping his bounds, we’re all in trouble.

The title of the article is also priceless.  It implies that maybe there are other laws that it would be proper for Bush to ignore.

This sounds like a bad idea

Internet providers to combat child porn – Yahoo! News

I was actually going to post this earlier today, but the article I first saw on Slashdot was from some little Florida news site, and I wanted something a little more reputable.  But then I thought that searching for “child porn database” probably wasn’t a good idea.

The gist of the article is that they’re going to catalog all known child porn images so we can scan for them.  Now, I’m all in favor of getting rid of child porn.  People who involve children in their sex lives should be sent to jail for a long, long time.  But I think this is a misguided and doomed attempt to do something about it.

When you start scanning for these “known” images, it will drive people to find or create new images.  You may catch some people who are emailing stuff to others, but I can’t imagine that’s really the bulk of the problem.  I’d really rather catch the guy who makes the images rather than the guy who looks at them.  And this database only encourages the making rather than the looking, because the old pictures are all marked.  It’s basic economics – the old pictures are less valuable, and new ones are more valuable, so it encourages more people to make new images. I also don’t like the idea of a big database full of child porn.  We’ve all seen lately how securely companies and the government protect sensitive data, like our social security numbers.  What makes anyone think that the security on this database will be any better?

Ive had it with the rain

For Wetter or Worse: A Wanton Excess of Water

The above Washington Post article suffers from a great many maladies. First, alliteration is a nice literary tool, but I think it’s better suited to fiction, or perhaps poetry. Second, aside from a few quotes and factoids about the weather, it doesn’t have much of a point. “Too much rain can be a bad thing”. Yeah, thanks for the bulletin. At least we were spared some remark about drought in other countries.

Third, and most importantly, I’m a little bitter about the weather already, and reading an article like this (I know, I could have skipped it) doesn’t help. I’m not sure if we’ve broken any records in the DC area these past few days, but I’ve lived in and around the area my whole life, and I don’t remember anything like this.

The article also mentions Al Gore, in the news lately for finally showing that he has a soul (A little late for the Democratic party, who maybe invested some time and money in him a while back).  It doesn’t actually come out and say that the rain is a direct result of the global warming that Gore’s been talking about, but I think it’s clear what we’re supposed to infer.

Anyway, I lost my point long ago.  I just wish it would stop raining.

On the Internet!

I just ordered some hanging plant pots from some strange store I found on Google. I need a new one because I have a hanging plant that has outgrown its pot. None of this is very interesting. However, I just got the shipping confirmation email (Edit: It was UPS that sent this email, not Novosel.), and it includes this at the bottom:

Click here to track if UPS has received your shipment or visit http://www.ups.com/WebTracking/track?loc=en_US on the Internet.

Now, I don’t know about you, but “on the Internet” is the LAST place I’d look for www.ups.com. The absolute last place.

Edit: These guys are the fastest online seller I’ve ever seen. I placed an order at 9:40AM yesterday. The UPS woman showed up at 10:50AM today. For $4.83 in shipping. If you ever need garden supplies, check out Novosel Enterprises.

Please, wont someone think of the stupid adult men

WAWS FOX30 Online – Jacksonville – Man Robbed by Teen Girls, Thought He was Meeting MySpace Friend

With everyone flipping out over MySpace, and how dangerous it is for young people – apparently no parent in America is willing to tell his or her 14-year-old daughter that she shouldn’t go meet some “great guy” she met online in a dark alley in the middle of a strange city at 1am – it will be interesting to see how we also protect the adults from the children.  To summarize the article, an adult male of unspecified age meets 18-year-old “Natalia” on MySpace.  He goes to meet her at her place.  He instead meets a 14- and 15-year-old girl, who rob him at gunpoint.

First tip that the person you’ve met online might not be who they say they are?  She says her name is “Natalia”.  No one is actually named Natalia.  No one.

Link via BoingBoing.

Hello, WordPress

I’m home from work today due to the power outage. Apparently the DC area got six inches of rain this weekend, most of it last night, and now the whole area is a bit of a mess. I’m supposed to be working from home, but there’s not much I can do without access to the servers, and so I’m awaiting instruction. And by that I mean awaiting the start of the Italy-Australia game.

This morning, I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. It seems cooler. The template I got from WordPress is certainly nicer than what I had before. And there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know how to do yet with WordPress, so I’ll probably be playing with that today.

And now, a complaint – the traffic lights at Seven Corners weren’t changing this morning. Now, Seven Corners, on a good day, is a miserable place to be. When the traffic lights are on, but never change, and there’s no police presence to keep order, it’s a disaster. Not as big a disaster as Metro seems to be, but a disaster nevertheless.

Edit: It’s pouring again.