I'm not sure why, but I had even more trouble getting to sleep tonight than last night, and that is saying something. I couldn't seem to get comfortable for some reason, and it just didn't feel like my CPAP mask was on quite right. So about 2:15 I said "f*ck it", and got up. I'd been idling about, hoping that maybe I'd start to feel sleepy, but no dice. I guess my stress level with all the things left undone has reached the "and you're not getting any sleep either" stage. *sigh*
Anywhoot, since I am up, I might as well close out some tabs and post some links for y'all. No sense in me being the only one wasting time, now is there?
- From Boing Boing, small USB speakers that don't suck. Very interesting. Anyone come across these before?
- From the local Seattle newspaper (well, it's local if you're in Seattle, so bite me), that butter aroma might be toxic, too. No really, they found yet another thing that's bad for you. Like breathing the air and drinking the water aren't bad enough.
- On a more serious note, another link from Boing Boing is probably worth a read regarding the militarization of our police and raids gone wrong. Aggression only begets more aggression, and our ill-founded "War on Drugs" continues to entrench itself in daily American life deeper than any of the anti-terrorism crap. Hey Sparky, you can't keep drugs out of this country, what makes you think you can keep out terrorists and the nasties they want to spring on the good old U S of A? Here's a novel idea - decriminalize drugs, treat it like a health problem, and spend the savings on protecting our borders. Like that'll do any good either.
- From Jared Axelrod over on Twitter, comes a link to Shapeshifter, which is a very interesting little bit of animation tool-kit-ery. Web-based, using a limited number of base shapes, folks have come up with some really neat stuff.
- From the Washington Post, D.C. Asks Supreme Court to Back Gun Ban. This could bring the two schools of thought on how to interpret the Second Amendment - personal right vs. civil/community right. Thanks for the ambiguity, almighty founders of this country. I personally believe in the individual's right to own firearms - yes, I know what I said about aggression. I think the authors of the U.S. Constitution were thinking (and I seem to remember some kind of quote attributable to one of them that bespeaks armed insurrection) that the only way to keep a tyrannical government in check is for the citizenry to be armed. It's the only language some chuckleheads understand, including you-know-who in the big white house.
Also from the Washington Post, Yossi Melman says cut out the hyprocrisy on terrorism. Amen brother, I couldn't have said it better myself. In many ways the various sovereign nations have created the
quagmiresituation we're in with these terrorist elements. If we'd kept our noses out of other people's business and focused on our own domestic programs, I suspect that the number of people who hate the U.S> would be significantly less.
- To end on a serious but humorous note by way of Evo Terra on Twitter, here's an "attention grabbing" approach to promoting breast cancer awareness - Save 2nd Base! Yes, it's cheesy, but you won't soon forget it, which is rather the point isn't it???
Half an hour is enough on this. Note that I am still not sleepy. S-T-R-E-S-S.
I didn't get a chance to post this last night, so I'm sending it out of my queue while I get ready to start work in earnest on the house. Here are some links that particularly captured me interest this week, with a snippet of my thoughts on the issue each of them are addressing. No particular order, except maybe which tab was open...
- China to Regulate Re-incarnation: We invade Iraq, we send troops to Darfur, we chastise the Israelies and Palestinians for not playing nice. Anyone heard anything from the U.S. about how China has been systematically dismantling the civil rights of a sovereign nation that China invaded for no other reason than to gain access to its natural resources, and how China has infiltrated the Buddhist monasteries with so-called monks who owe their allegiances to the Chinese Communist Party? No? Neither have I... because we'll f*ck with countries that are smaller than us, but we won't f*ck with a country that seriously put a hurt on us.
- The Teamsters have sworn to fight allowing Mexican truckers unfettered access to U.S. highways: Despite their sabre rattling, there is more to this than the very salient points being made about environmental controls and lack of familiarity with U.S. traffic laws. We're afraid of internationalization, because of the perception that it will lower our standard of living, because we will be forced to compete. No simple answer here, really.
- Terrorism Policy Splits Democratic Party: This truly underscores one of the biggest problems with our current political system - policy being made based on fear of not being re-elected, rather than based on what is the right thing to do for this country. I have two words for you that might just help fix this mess: term limits.
- Immigration Fight Moves to Colleges: Ok, once again we have demagougery (sp?) and blatant pandering to conservative voters piled onto an issue that is already a hot button for many. ( Let me make myself perfectly clear on where I stand on this issue folks )
- Senator Craig Announces Resignation: I can't even take pleasure in this sort of thing anymore. The sheep in this country continue to be homophobic, because people are afraid of who they are... self-denial is a horrible thing.
- DNC Op-Ed on Flawed Primary Calendar: Sing it, sister! Just another reminder of how totally screwed up our political system has become. Admit it Florida - it isn't about choosing the best candidate, it is about focusing attention on your state for financial gain. Assholes.
- Patent trolls go after big names for automated e-mail patent infringement: I have said it before, and I will say it again. The U.S. patent system needs to be overhauled, and the first thing that needs to be tossed are software and business process patents. The next thing that needs to happen is a "if you don't implement it in X years, your patent goes away" clause, so these bottom feeders can get stuffed.
- SFWA Abuses the DMCA: Thanks to hughcasey for this link. Just another example of folks overstepping their bounds, and of how an organization one would THINK should be forward thinking (Science Fiction Writers) can display a decided lack of tech savvy.
- And from today's CNN, two sides of the coin: North Korea agrees to dismantle nuke program, whileIran announces that it has reached its goal of 3000 centrifuges for enriching uranium. Wow. What package did we offer North Korea, and why aren't we offering it to Iran? I mean, they're two components of the Axis of Evil, right? Sheesh...
The painful truth is that in our bids to play kingmaker, the United States has caused more troubles for itself in the long run. Not content with simply protecting our interests abroad, there seems to be this need to manipulate events and internal politics, and for what? Saddam Hussein took the weapons, training and money we funneled into Iraq and made a royal nuisance of himself, ultimately costing the lives of many Americans in a war that has made us no safer than we were in September 2001. Nor have we really made Iraq that much safer for its inhabitants, have we? I'm not even going to start on the whole Osama Bin Laden thing... we fucked ourselves good with that little jaunt, didn't we?
Saddam Hussein is dead. Dubya will undoubtedly make some pointless statement about how this marks an end to a horrible era, but that much work remains to be done in Iraq. In other words, more lives will be lost, more money will be wasted, in a pointless attempt to somehow save face. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it... the sad state of affairs is that some of the same advisors to Dubya were there to see the Vietnam War end as a total catastrophe. Those arrogant bastards should know better dammit!
Here's a novel idea: let's get our noses out of other countries' governments. Who gives a rat's white fanny if the government is composed of Islamic fundamentalists? As long as they don't mess with our interests, what the hell is the problem? If they start messing with our interests, then go in and kick the shit out of them... at least then we'll have some kind of "just cause". Because the tack we've been taking isn't working folks... all we've managed to do is piss a bunch of people off because we want to tell them how to live their lives. At least we pay taxes for that privelege.
Saddam Hussein, may you rest in peace. Yours was a troubled soul, and if there is such a thing as reincarnation, perhaps you will get a chance to start making up for those things you did in this life. What you did was wrong, let there be no doubt, but you weren't alone in your perfidity.
My current frustration has to do with Windows programmers who chose not to honor things like system default font sizes, and then don't provide you with a way to adjust the font sizes within the application... we'll talk about web developers who still use graphical text buttons assuming a given resolution along with OS X and it's apparent unwillingness to let me change the overall default font size some other time. See, I bought a 23" widescreen SONY display for my Windblows boxen, and one of the programs I rely on the most is pissing me off on a daily basis because there is no way to bump the font size it uses. The optimal resolution for the display is 1600 x 1200, and is generally fine when using most programs because they honor my adjustments to the display appearances... I like the idea of putting up two pages on the screen for side-by-side review dammit.
The culprit? Franklin-Covey's Planning Software. Yes, I know this is an "old" application by most standards, but if the latest release was in 2003 I think it is not unreasonable to expect a certain level of compliance with Windblows standards that have been around for eons at this point. And for the record, I did actually download and check out the latest iteration of the software (Plan Plus), but I'm not terribly thrilled with it because it won't let me set the view the way I want to - as in, I want to see today's task list, but the week's events... but it wants to make me use a day view OR a week view for BOTH. The developers have probably had enough time management training and now need to spend some time going to user interface design school. The problem is, no other PIM really focuses on a daily approach to planning, and I am used to the damned software. If the boneheads would have just simply complied with the OS standards, I'd be fine.
*sigh* Anyway, must go work on the disposal...
This thought has been brewing in the back of my mind for a few days, so I figure while I am waiting for another computer to boot up, I'll pour a small draught for your consumption. In about ten days, those of us who reside in the United States have the opportunity to exercise our electoral rights in the 2006 mid-term elections. Above all, I encourage everyone who is legally able to vote to first educate themselves on the issues and the candidates in their home state or local burrough, and to then exercise their right and privilege as U.S. citizens by casting their vote on November 7. I'm not going to get into the evils of Diebold or the impression that We the People often have no real voice... I would like to think that if people made educate decisions when going to the polls that there might be some chance that we'd get more elected officials who are interested in something other than lining their nests with lobbyist gifts and campaign contributions from big business. I'm quite possibly wrong on that account, but that does not chang the importance of going out and performing your civic duty.
A note to those who don't bother voting: if you choose not to vote, you give up your right to bitch about your public officials. None of this bullshit about "Hey, I didn't vote that asshole in..." You want the right to complain about what's going on in the governor's mansion, state house or Congress? Get off your lazy, complacent ass and (1) educate yourself, then (2) get said lazy, complacent ass to the polls on November 7.
That being said, if your narrow-minded view of the world involves no equal rights for gays including banning gay marriage, restricting a woman's right to an abortion, taking away my rights to keep and bear arms, giving up civil liberties in the name of the so-called war on terrorism or in the name of protecting the children, or forcing your religious views on anyone who doesn't share them, please do us all one big favor and STAY THE FUCK HOME ON NOVEMBER 7!!!
You've read my rants on the topic of how we are no safer now than we were before all the happy horseshit that Dubya and his cronies have implemented (i.e., the oxymoronic "Patriot Act", the flouting of international laws with regards to human rights and treatment of prisoners, the invasion of Iraq). So I am not terribly surprised by this latest report from national security analysts. You mean our actions have actually galvanized our enemies? You mean our words and deeds have made us even more of a target? You mean our Command in Chief has his head lodged so far up his ass he's a human Moebius Strip? Fucking DUH!!
I'm not sure what makes me more disgusted: the fact that so many of the sheep in this country blindly follow that retard in the White House, or the fact that they're so goddamned belligerent to anyone who dares to suggest that the U S of A has actually taken a wrong-headed course of action. If you're so cocksure about this, take your ass down to the local Armed Services recruiting station and sign up to take the place of some poor soldier who has spent enough time risking their life for you assholes. Christ on a crutch, what is it going to take to get through to you fucking morons?
Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm down.
Thank Ghod I don't run into too many of those sheep. I'm in a foul enough mood these days to probably get my ass kicked but good by some dumbass redneck fundie who believes that we hve a Ghod-given right to invade another sovereign nation with suspect intelligence data. Fucktards.
A-n-y-way. I took that nap, and am on track to be up all night working on the house. ravynmaniac and vandaluna apparently had a good time with Miz Malena today, and are off to some "Tolkien-esque" restaurant at Malena's recommendation. ravynmaniac appears to be having laptop issues, so she may be off to the Apple Store while she is out there in LA. Dinner tonight was lamb in the form of an organic arm steak, with a red potato... a little later I will have some salad, and later still I will have some fruit. I opened up a bottle of Fiore (a local Maryland winery) Chambourcin, but methinks perhaps that it was skunked... crud around the inside of the cork and a very bitter taste. The bottle of 2002 Yellow Tail Shiraz was much better.
Enough screwing around... I need to get back to dishes, laundry and my office... another floor unit and a wall-mount folding table to put in, along with making room for clearing the rest of my stuff out of my old office/ravynmaniac's new sewing/craft/art studio. TTFN...
Or, at least maybe a different kind of drama. Thank you Charles Krauhammer for putting it so succinctly. Two snippets from this Op/Ed piece in particular just make me shake my head, the first at the beginning...
...and the second at the end...
Religious fanatics, regardless of what name they give their jealous god, invariably have one thing in common: no sense of humor. Particularly about themselves. It's hard to imagine Torquemada taking a joke well.
Today's Islamists seem to have not even a sense of irony.
The pope gives offense and the Mujaheddin al-Shura Council in Iraq declares that it "will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the 'jizya' [head] tax; then the only thing acceptable is conversion or the sword." This to protest the accusation that Islam might be spread by the sword.
As I said. No sense of irony.
Now, I mean no offense to anyone, but the man has a point. More blood has been spilled in the name of religion than any other single cause in the history of mankind (the next runner up would appear to be greed, both monetary and power-driven, but that is another story).