Friday, December 30, 2005
Doing A Heckuva Job: 2005 Bushisms
We all know that would-be King Georgie II is a moron. Nowhere is this more evident than when he opens his big, fat, Texan-from-Connecticut mouth and spouts drivel that would make kindergarteners tremble in fear (or laugh til they pee themselves). "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job here," said to former FEMA head Michael Brown, 10 days before he resigned amid the row over their piss-poor handling of the response to Hurricane Katrina, was chosen as the #1 "Bushism" of 2005. My favorite remains his quote
from Special Report with Brit Hume, where Bush says the iPod Shuffle (which he couldn't identify despite its simple name), it's "Lightweight, you crank it on, and you shuffle to the shuffle." (Link
-- via Fark
As a side note, this will be the last Blog Prophyts post for 2005. Hope everyone has a safe, happy and healthy New Year. Remember: You know you're too drunk to drive when you can't carry a drink with you to the car...
Catholic Church Goes Back In Time
Well, isn't this interesting. Found this bit of happiness while piddling around Technorati: Apparently, the Catholic Church is charging a priest with heresy for "the high crimes" of allowing women and married men to become priests. OK, why is this bad? I'll tell you why: The Catholic Church has been a patriarchal theocracy since its inception, a discriminating and biggoted institution from the word go. Isn't that some kinda junk. Looks like some people just can't live in the way more tolerant 21st Century... (Link
-- via The Immoral Minority
Daily Kos: Misguided Defense
Add one to the "via" club. The Daily Kos joins Fark, BoingBoing and Slashdot as a source of links and posts for Blog Prophyts. Today on the Kos, Armando looks at the Bush Administrations apparent ability to defend itself rather well, while at the same time failing to defend the Constitution and the American People. Condi Rice flat-out lied aobut POW torture to defend the administration, and they're trying to get a vague deffinition of torture so they can carry out their BS plans. (Link
Lost Prophyt Looks At Blogger Gen-3
Here's a stupid little piece on my personal views of the third generation of bloggers. Yes, I look down on Gen-3, and with good reason. These people have no sense of structure at all. Hopefully, given time, they'll learn to put away the AOL Kiddie Speak and blog like normal human beings. Reviews and links are included for several Gen-3 blogs. Makes me proud to be a Gen-2 blogger... (Link
Yet Another Tropical Storm Forms
Well, if you wanted proof that the wacky ball of dirt we call Earth is undergoing some serious climate changes, then all you have to do is look out over the Atlantic Ocean. Over a month after the 'official' hurricane season ended, Tropical Storm Zeta is forming out in the middle of the pond. It's the 27th storm of the year, an already record-breaking at that, and as of today isn't any immediate threat to land. (Link
-- via Fark
Report: US 'Forcefeeding' Hunger Strikers At Gitmo
The Beeb is your friend, and very much ours. It now looks like prisoners at Guantanamo, most of whom were captured in Afghanistan and have been held without charges for over four years, are being forcefed in a cruel manner if they go on hunger strikes. Now, how come we can't take some action against our government for this kind of crap? There was 'national outrage' when Clinton got a hummer, why isn't there national outrage when we're lied to, decieved into war, robbed of our tax dollars, put into into deep debt over administration money-borrowing, spyed on by the government that's trying to protect us, and treating "POWs" like 5th class humans? (Link
US Government Undermines Internet
Surprised? I'm not. Looks like the US Government has its reason for wanting to retain sole control over the Net. I'm not even going to speak on this much, I'll let the article speak for itself. Impeachment of the entire government, anyone? Anyone? (Link
-- via Slashdot
DRM 3D: A Settlement In The Works?
Well well well. Looks like Sony wants a quick end to the mess they themselves created. Unless you've been under a rock or are a non-tech-savvy person, you've heard of the ruckus over Sony's use of DRM software to prevent people from ripping CD audio to MP3/OGG/etc. If that isn't bad enough, the software left holes the size of Alaska in computer security, inviting malicious folk to waltz in and take control of a person's PC. Well, they got the pants sued off of them, and it looks like there's a potential settlement on the horizon. The hope is that this will cripple the use of DRM altogether, but sadly it seems that it might be a catylist for legislation to encourage the practice, not destory it. (Link
(PDF) -- via Slashdot
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Daschle Speaks On Domestic Wiretaps
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD Ret.) has put his two cents on the table about the Domestic Wiretapping Initiative that President Bonehead authorized in the days following 9/11. In this piece, he details what powers Congress did
give Bushy Boy post-9/11, and how they got to that point by narrowing the language and focus of the legislation. When the Administration didn't get their way the first time, they tried to insert the words "in the United States and" right after "appropriate force." For some reason, they sought to reenact that point of their original request. When denied, apparently Crawford, TX's Village Idiot had to go the covert (and illegal) route and make them a "secret necessity that's, like, vital to National Security and kept totally, like, hush hush." (Link
TSG's Mugshots Of The Year
The Smoking Gun has compiled their top mugshots for 2005, and I'm extremely happy to say that my personal favorite, Mr. Tom Delay (R-TX, Pictured) is right in the mix with the rest. There are more than 15 offenders, so those involved in the same incident have been stitched together by the TSG Photoshop Team (?), including a somewhat hot set of strippers on page one, and the women involved in the 'Lesbian' Cheerleader Brawl. Also included is Juan Llama, a fugitive high school mascot of some sort. I'm sure reading the story would shed more light, but I'm on a schedule at the moment, so you'll all have to check that out for yourselves. Enjoy! (Link
-- via Fark
PennDOT Fails: I-70 Bridge Collapses
Only here in Pennsylvania, I guess. A bridge, originally designed to last only 40-50 years and lasted 45, finally collapsed after decades of corrosive road salt runoff and a history of trucks hitting the underside. The DOT recently fixed the two bridges and overpasses near exit 120 (Clearfield), so I feel a little bit better. But if they're lagging behind and missing a few key spans, then driving in PA just got a whole lot more interesting. And that, my dear readers, is your Blog Prophyts PA Travel Warning for 2006... (Link
-- via Fark
Oddly Enough: PA Teacher Insanity
This happened in the Central Dauphin School District, which hits close to home for me, since I had a few friends who graduated from that particular district in the late 90s. Anywho, apparently a teacher from the district was found naked, smoking pot, standing in the snow. Um, OK. What's worse, when asked his name he replied "Jesus Christ," and then called one of the responding officers "God" before wailing on him with a toy trumpet. Yeah. Whatever they're putting in the water down there in Harrisburgh, I certainly hope they're not pumping it into the capitol building. Lord knows that all we need is Ed Rendell stoned and nekked declaring he's the Buddah reincarnated... (Link
-- via Fark
Yet Another NSA Ear - 1984 Almost Here
Looks like George Orwell was right. Another listening post has been found and detailed in Yakima, WA. These facilities eavesdrop on millions of conversations a day, supposedly looking for terrorists. Think what you will, but a lot of people are calling shinnanegans on the Government. The impeachable offenses keep racking themselves up, yet we can't get this administration out of office? (Link
to Google Maps data -- via BoingBoing
The Internet Gender Gap
Desperate guys on the Internet (which is pretty much every guy who goes into Yahoo! Chat, trust me on that one) rejoice, for a new study confirms your life-long dream: There are more women using the Net than men in the US. While the percentage of users within each gender is higher for men (68% to 66%), the fact that there are more women than men in the US today tips the scales and puts women in the clear majority. Guys use the net for more along the lines of fun, while women continue to be social creatures and use it to maintain social contacts and find information on health issues and such... (Link
-- via Slashdot
No God, No Political Office
Get this horse crap: Seven states in the US have language written into their state constitutions which discriminate on religious grounds, often preventing a person who subscribes to a left-of-center religion (or none at all) from holding public office. Gee. For a country that prides itself on religious tolerance (which is why it was founded to begin with, duh), it sure is starting to sound more and more like a theocracy. For example: If you don't acknowledge the existance of a "Supreme Being" (read: God, but it can imply any god or combination of gods), then you can be prevented from holding whatever office you're seeking. And given the fact that people these days are leaning more and more on the hooey of Religion to make their political decisions, this won't change in the near future. God Bless The USA my arse... (Link
-- via Fark
Surprise! 9/11 Money Not Going Where It Should
We all remember 9/11. How can we forget, when we're constantly reminded about the big, bad terrorists and how they could strike us at any time (which defeats the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security)? Well, a whole mess of federal money was made available to businesses affected by the tragedy, and applications flew. The problem is, quite a few of the applicants weren't affected in any way by 9/11 (other than closing down shop as the event unfolded, which was a nationwide reaction), and the morons in charge of dishing out the billions of dollars available overlooked that fact as they dished out the dough. Surprised? I won't be surprised if you say you really weren't at all. (Link
-- via Fark
Windows = Swiss Cheese
Yet another serious flaw has been found in Windows, and there's already an exploit for it running loose in the wild. This one even lets the attacker take control of your PC via IRC, which is nifty. Yet another reason why people should either put a ton of pressure on Microsoft to release an actual "good" product, or ditch it altogether and try something fresh and exciting, like Linux... (Link
-- via Slashdot
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Time Is Fleeting
The 2005 list of films for the National Film Registry have been released, and this year they have their most brilliant addition yet: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We used to do Midnight Saturday Rocky's at the Rowland when I still had my junior license, so getting to them was always a joy, but well worth the effort when it paid off in fun. Now future generations can do the Time Warp again... (Link
Clackity McNugget Pants
Lord almighty, is it ever ON! The Bet
continues ever forward as salvos are fired from all sides. It's Wil
on the Light Side of the Blogging Force versus Dark Side Annie
and her biting sense of blogging n00b humor. They're coming hard and fast, and getting funnier and funnier all the time. A sample:
Annie: NO WAY! NO WAY AM I GETTING ON YOUR NERD BUS AND RIDING IT ALL THE WAY TO GEEK TOWN WITH A STOP AT THE STAR TREK CONVENTION AND THE COMIC BOOK SHOP! I HAVE MODERN DANCE EXERCISES TO DO, YOU NERDHOLES!
Wil: Annie, I propose a contest of wits and skill. If I win, you keep a blog for seven short days. If you win, I'll tell you that great secret you've wanted to know for so long.
Annie: You mean . . . you'll tell me your middle name?
Too. Much. Teh Funnay! The saga continues in these latest posts. Never bring a knife to a gunfight... (Links -- Wil -- Shane -- Annie -- Stef (Annie's sister, for good measure))
Old School: Ghosts'N Goblins Review
Now that the holidays are over, I once again have time to review some of my favorite classic NES titles from the bygone glory days of 8bit consoles. This time around, I've pulled up the ultra-classic Ghosts'N Goblins. There's another version of this game, and I'm not sure if its a sequel or a remake, called Ghouls'N Ghosts, but they're essentially the same. So, consider this you're all-in-one review, and take on the forces of Satan... If you dare... (Link
Hollywood Out Of Ideas: Pac Man, The Movie?
It all started with a film called Super Mario Brothers (some think it started with TRON, bu no, the games were made after
the movie on that one). It took a beloved video game franchise, skewered it, twisted it, distorted it, and turned it into a steaming pile of crap where the only recognizable elements were Mario, Luigi, and a few cameo appearences by Bullet Bill and Bob-omb. After that, the names rose and fell: Mortal Kombat. Resident Evil. Tomb Raider. Even Dungeons & Dragons, albeit with LARP roots, fell victim to the game movie stigma. And now, they're batting about a few new names: Tekken, Castlevania, and... Pac Man?!? Yeah. That's gonna be a blockbuster. How do you turn 3/4 of a cheese wheel that munches dots, is chased by ghosts, and goes "wakka wakka wakka wakka" into at least an hour and twenty mintues of entertaining movie? (Link
-- via Fark
) (ed. Heh. Check out my score.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
We're All Krazie
Thanks to BlogShares
, I've been able to grow the Blog Prophyts link network substantially in the last two weeks, as is evident by the growing "Cool Blogs" section of the sidebar. Today, I found a new blog through that very same game, and wouldn't you know it, this guy's life isn't too far removed from my own. Here's a 25 year old guy, helping raise a stepdaughter (a parallel I don't share), going back to school, and trying to turn life in general around for the better. Story of my life, right? Well, I reccomend keeping tabs on Krazie and his life down in North Carolina, because I sure will be. Welcome to the network! (Link
Monday, December 26, 2005
That Guy... You Know The One...
Who's this guy? You know you've seen him before. He's been in dozens of dozens of films (literally, over 150, and a dozen dozen is 144), played bit characters that you all recognize, and you know what? Until today, even I didn't know his name. Well, it looks like I'm too late, because today, character actor Vincent Schiavelli has died.Ghost. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Amadeus. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Man on the Moon
. There are a TON of movies this guy has been in, and to think you never really noiticed. Movies just won't be the same without him, though, that's for sure. (Link
-- via Fark
Tommy Can You Hear Me?
Here it is, folks. If you're talking on the phone, then this is the building that's listening in. I won't say much more on the subject other than this is totally wrong, a serious invasion of privacy, and another reason why our Government needs to be totally scrapped so we can start over... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Bringing Multimedia To Linux
Caught a post over at Slashdot that might interest the Linux crowd here at BP (which is pretty much just me and Derreck). Seems there's a crew developing a media editing distro based on Knoppix. Version 4 is out now, and there's an RC available for version 5, due out some time next year. If you're into Linux and a media nut, this might be something you want to look into... (Link
-- via Slashdot
Why Fundamentalists Are Dangerous
Why this didn't get an "Asinine" tag over at Fark, I don't know. There's nothing more asinine in this world than people who take their religion way too far, and if there's a king of that goodness, it's Radical Islam. Some fool Islamic judge in Aceh, a province on the island of Sumatra, is calling last year's Tsunami "divine punishment" for women not following the strictist of Islamic doctrines. And Christians, don't even think that you're innocent, because you've pulled crap like this before in the name of your God, too. You're all guilty. (Link
-- via Fark
Floyd PwNzRz j00
I've been saying it for well over a decade now, almost two, and now it's been confirmed. Planet Rock held a poll to find the Greatest Rock Act Of All Time, and boy, did they find it. Looks like the station's listeners have spoken, and I'd say they're thinking properly, because they voted the one and only Pink Floyd the top honor! They beat out Led Zepplin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and even Nirvana. How Nirvana came in ahead of a rock god like Jimi Hendrix is beyond me, but as long as the Floyd are on top, then all is right with the world. (Link
-- via Fark
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas From Blog Prophyts!
That's right, we here at Blog Prophyts want to wish you a Merry Christmas! Have a safe and responsible day, and enjoy your time with your families. Grandmothers should be watching out for reindeer, lest they get run over. We'll be back tomorrow to begin the year in review process. We'd like to wish everyone here a very happy holiday!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Holiday Home Havoc
The Christmas season is upon us all, and it goes without saying that not much has been posted here at BP during this, the craziest week of the year. Well, I can safely say that, unless I find something extra special to yank me away from the required family time that comes with the season, BR won't see much action until just before the new year.
That said, I thought I'd tell a bit of a story. Call me star-struck by the fact that he was in this one classic movie and on this one bitchin' TV show, but the fact of the matter remains thusly: Wil Wheaton gets talked about at BP because he's one of the most prolific bloggers on the Internet today. Yesterday's WWdN:IX post
gives us a peek at an article Wil wrote for Salon
, detailing the frontlines in the so-called "War on Christmas
." Sadly, that front line is Wil's parents' house, and it shows us just how deep the divisions in our society have been carved by politicians and religious nuts.
"OK," I said, "I guess we'd better not talk about this."
But just then, my father walked into the room.
"Wil thinks Tookie Williams shouldn't be executed," she said.
"What?" My dad said. Not to my sister, to me.
Here we go.
"Well," I said, "I don't believe in the death penalty, so..."
You know those optical illusion drawings, where you're looking at a smiling man, then suddenly he's become a werewolf? Faster than you could say "Fox News," my dad was screaming at me, Bill O'Reilly-style.
"... an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! He killed four..." he stabbed at the air with four fingers on his left hand, "four people in cold blood and deserves! to! die!"
I briefly made eye contact with my stepson, Nolan, who sat just behind my father on my parents' couch. His face flushed and he quickly looked away. My sister had stopped her channel surfing on a shopping network, and he looked awfully interested in putting a sapphire ring on easy-pay. While my dad continued to scream about biblical vengeance, I went into shock. Just minutes earlier, we'd stood together outside on the deck and laughed with each other as he congratulated me for a great finish I'd had the previous day at a poker tournament in Las Vegas. In fact, I'd cut my trip short, specifically so I wouldn't miss the family Christmas. What a difference five minutes makes.
Indeed. If you want to read the full article, all you have to do is watch a quick ad to get a limited free pass to Salon. It's worth it, if only because it illustrates the real problem in this country of ours, and how it's amplified by the Christmas season and the divides created by it's meaning. Because of the "Tookie" execution (or "Termination" if you want to use a sick pun), a family has become divided on an issue and drawn lines in the sand.
I've had a similar situation arise in my family, and I talked about it before in my old blog, Rancho Relaxo. Last year around Christmas time, I got a phone call from my Aunt Judy. She had asked me how I was doing, all the usual aunt-to-nephew conversation pieces. And then, for some reason, she asked me again, how was I doing?. That struck me as left-of-center, given the fact that she had asked me that exact question not 30 seconds before, to which I had provided a failry usual, yet complete, response. Why would she ask again if I had already told her?
"What do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Well, how are you doing with Jesus?"
It's no secret that I'm an Atheist, something of a secular humanist. I don't buy into Mother Goose omnipotent beings and dime-store ressurection tales that permiate pretty much every known mythos on the planet. When I was 13, I was told, I could make my own decisions since I would be an adult in the eyes of the church my parents attended. So on my confirmation day, I walked out of the church after the "ceremony" was finished (but not the service) and haven't been back since. After that, I've had to deal with Jesus freak family members left and right, and each one has had to learn that I just don't want to hear it.
Well, Aunt Judy doesn't seem to get that idea. She can't understand that, if you don't talk to Eric about God issues, then everyone gets along. She doesn't understand that if you continue and he politely asks you to stop, you should stop and change the subject. And she most certainly doesn't get it: If you spend 45 minutes on the phone trying to convince your nephew that he NEEDS Jesus in his life, that he is MORALLY WRONG in voting for someone other than "that good Christian man, George W. Bush," and that he HAS to pray for forgiveness in order for his life to turn around, you earn yourself a hearty "F**k off" and a very rude slam from the top rope down to the floor hang-up move.
Talk about ruining a holiday. I was looking forward to some good, quality time with my family (I wasn't yet sure how much I'd have at that time). They could go do their own church thing and I would sit here at home or go out with my friends. Noone would shame the other for doing either one. I'm a quiet Atheist most of the time (unless something provokes me, like the whole Intelligent Design thing), and don't chide people for their personal beliefs.
It's when you forcefeed them to me that I get cranky. Aunt Judy did just that.
Then it got even better! This past November, we had a reception here in Houtzdale for my baby brother CJ, who got married the month before in California, and guess who showed up. Not only the dreaded "Judy the Jesus Freak," but her equally God-fearing daughter Julie was there as well. Wonderful, given that I was about to show the family I had in attendance that the black sheep had some talent in him by singing "Angel Eyes" for my brother and new sister-in-law. Afterwards, almost like clockwork, my cousin pulled me off to one side, sat me down, and attempted to do the thing you should just not do.
What strikes me as insulting is the fact that she knew damn well what response she'd get. Her mother had obviously told her about the conversation we'd had the previous year, and I'm sure she'd heard about the hang-up move (which I was later awarded a title shot for, ha ha). Yet she still made the attempt. Now, telling someone off on the phone and telling someone off in a banquet hall filled with your family and very close friends (including some big names I won't mention) are two very different situations that require very different approaches. Thankfully, my anger didn't get the better of me, and I chose the appropriate tell-off method:
"Look, Julie. I'll be fine. Now, I've gotta go talk to Justin about some work he wants me to do after the party. Thanks for your concern, though." With that, I stood up, walked away, and promptly made my way to Justin's upstairs office where I proceeded to scream my head off in the storage room.
Why do these issues have to divide families like they have? Why has War, the Death Penalty, and even Religion driven such huge wedges between people who are supposed to unconditionally love each other? Why do they cause chaos, even in what's supposed to be a festive atmosphere? We've allowed ourselves to become polarized to the point where we're adhereing to our political and religious ideals with more of a death grip than we are to the bonds that make us relatives. Whether these mini-battles in the larger (and more idiotic) war last only a few minutes or even years, why do they need to happen at all?
George W. Bush likes to think that he united a country. It's stories like these - the personal stories of everyday people, whether they've been on TV or they're just some random guy with a blog and a big mouth - that make me think he's more like his predicessor, Ronald Reagan. Both men divided this country like never before.
And the dividing lines are being drawn in a very, very bad place: your family's living room...
Here's hoping that your Holiday Family Time doesn't end up like ours. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever it is you celebrate: Just have fun, be safe, and enjoy the season!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
OK, I wanna meet the blokies who pulled this off, if only to smack them. Apparently, the bones of Alistaire Cooke, a BBC broadcaster for decades and host of the popular "Letter From America" segment until his death in 2004, were stolen before they were to be creamated in NYC, then sold to a bio firm which in turn sold them off. OK, seriously, fokls. Yeah, there's crazy money in organ harvesting. But come on. Isn't ther a less... Macabre... Way to get some cash? (Link
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Merry Christmas, Laddie!
With the Holidays in the air (and yes, I said "holidays," you "war-on-Christmas" conspiracy nuts), I did some holiday digging and found out that the modern Christmas Card, which claims its origins in London around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, was actually invented by those wacky Scots. For the complete story, you've got nowhere else to turn but their own "hometown" news source, the Scotsman... (Link
Ohy. Ugly chap, ain't he. But hey, you can't complain. While the true first Christmas card was, in fact, used to drum up business for a local shop, it doesn't sport the things we commonly assoicate with a more commercialized holiday. Good thing we have enough of that today, right kids?
Abramoff May Out Congresscritters In Plea Deal
Continuing our watch over the Downfall of Washington, it looks like a former lobbyist could be ratting out the Congressfolk he is accused of bribing when his plea deal is finalized, possibly as early as next week. Jack Abramoff is accused of providing the political figures with goodies in exchange for official favors, a scandal that has already seen an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Delay (who himself is already under investigation in Texas for money laundering with regards to his political campaign) plead guilty. Reps who got money from Abramoff's clients have been hastily giving it back in hopes that they won't get caught up in the wave. If you ask me, a good housecleaning of Capitol Hill is in order... (Link
-- via Fark
Blog Roundup: Intelligent Design
yesterday, a federal judge here in PA shot down Intelligent Design in the Dover, PA School District. This is a good thing, because now kids won't be forced to hear the crap that's jammed into their heads enough on Sundays in regular, public-funded school as well. Well, a quick stroll around the Net is in order, and it's time to see what other bloggers are saying:
From A Nom De Guerre
I'm all for religious belief. I have Christian family and atheist family so I grew up with quite a balanced view, getting both books about dinosaurs and bible stories to read. Unsurprisingly I ended up agnostic (which is a posh way of saying I haven't a clue whether there's a divine influence). I think it would be nice to really believe in something but I never will and I'm content with that.
However, I think there is a time and a place for religious study and that's the Religious Education class rather than the Science class. My only gripe with RE classes at school was that they focused heavily on Christianity at the expense of other religions (which I was interested in hearing about).
Here's someone over in Europe, looking at the ID debate with clear, unclouded thoughts, and laughing their arse off at us "silly Americans." And, while still a Christian in a sense and Agnostic in practice, the conclusion is still reached: That teaching Intelligent Design is nothing more than a sham front for teaching God to kids in schools.
And from This Nut-Job
comes the other side of the argument, no matter how fasical and asinine it really is
At that moment, I realized that our resident skunk family had eaten like kings the night before. They had a smorgasbord, compliments of those wasps. I reflected on that miracle in utter amazement. The Lord God had created both creatures: predator and prey. Both animals are considered nuisances by us humans. I was reminded that there is a fierce debate sweeping the country regarding evolution and Intelligent Design. I wondered to myself, "At what point in the evolutionary process would worldly science tell us that a single-celled organism decide that it would eat things that produce painful consequences?" A skunk doesn't have an armor plating, so evolution must have missed a step. While their hair is thick and wiry, a wasp/bee is small enough to penetrate it. A skunk's spray doesn't work on insects because they don't have sophisticated olefactory organs like mammals do. There was no sign or smell of spray anywhere. Evolution can't explain why a skunk would eat the habitat of a stinging insect, while being swarmed by hundreds of them. The skunk had used stealth, calculation, and strategy, attacking at night, under the cover of darkness, and knowing exactly where and when to dig.
Yeah, man. Scientific indeed. You looked, and instinctively knew it was God's will? That's not Science, pal, that's brainwashing.
And finally, Doug Berger over at Secular Left
puts this all into simple, plain English for the rest of us:
Judge Jones found:
1. The Board's actions violated the establishment clause and failed the "purpose" and "effect" prongs of the Lemon Test.
2. That ID is NOT science and that is in fact "creation science" with a different label.
3. The Board members at the heart of the case, the ones' who led the effort to put ID in the curriculum, lied under oath and that the Board attempted to hide their real intentions about the change after they found out it might cause a legal case.4. While ID is not appropriate for the science classroom, the court wasn't saying it couldn't be studied in a more appropriate context.
The debate will rage on, I'm sure. ID is still the norm in Kansas, where Jesus reigns supreme over common sense. But at least here in Pennsylvania, our schools are safe. For now... (Link
to Technorati Search)
Judge To Bush: Suck It
A federal judge on the "spy court," which oversees and authorizes wire-taps and such espionage happiness, has resigned in protest over Bushy Boy's authorization of spying on American citizens suspected of links to Osama's Fun Bunch. I'm not surprised, really, because this administration has time and again used 9/11 as an excuse to go beyond the extent of its power and commit crimes against us regular citizens. Meanwhile, Congresscritters are calling for investigations into the legality of the administration's tactics, which will probably end up going nowhere, given Republican control of Congress. (Link
-- via Fark
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
OpEd: LP On Iraq & The Bush Administration
Here we go, folks. The Sunni Muslim "list" is having a fit over election results in Iraq as the partial tallies are being released by the election comission. The Beeb has your story: (Link
"If the commission does not take steps to restore justice to other lists, we will demand a new election be held." -- Adnan al-DulaimiGo figure, right? You see, what comes next is the fun part. Because meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet, a new poll shows that Bush's approval rating has "shot up" to 47% (Link -- via Fark, again from the BBC) on the Administration's trumpeting of the elections in Iraq as a "success."
So, where's the fun I mentioned? What if the elections in Iraq collapse because of this pitiful tribal infighting that got them into trouble in the first place? You see, Saddam was a Sunni. The Sunni tribes are a minority in Iraq, and have long been bullied by the Shiah, who hold a minority along with the Kurds, both of whom were big targets of Saddam's wrath. A bit of reading up on Bush I's own goofed up war (if he wanted Saddam gone, he had the perfect excuse, he pulled a Hitler and went into Kuwait uninvited) and the aftermath will show that this situation was severely limited during the much-simpler No-Fly Zone years.
The Kurds pretty much lived autonomously in Northern Iraq under the NFZ, developing a more westernized society without fear of Saddam's persecution. They had Internet infrastructure, cell phones, and pretty-much unabated free trade, so they no longer had a reason to be upset with other tribes. In Central Iraq (where-in lies the majority of the infamous Sunni Triangle), the Shiah and the Sunnis still walked an uneasy line betweenn violence and peace, but international pressure kept this tension strongly limited. Shiah in the South of Iraq fared better, as their NFZ kept Saddam's influence to a minimum as well.
Bill Clinton's bombing of Iraq during his term as President was both stupid and productive. Stupid because it was simply to distract the nation from the Lewinsky mess (which failed, and he got lambasted for it). Productive because it simply provided further proof that Saddam was incapable of being any sort of immediate threat to the United States, or even to anyone within his own borders.
It wasn't until after the 9/11 Attacks that we heard about Iraq again. It was then that the US invasion of Afghanistan was in full swing, and the "evil" of Saddam began to "rise" again.
The Administration let fly that they had found evidence linking Saddam to bin Ladin, and that he was trying to buy radioactive materials in Africa for a weapons program. It was also revealed that he had quite a few mobile biological weapons labs (run by folks they recently released from prison - Link
) capable of producing quite a bit of bad stuff.
These were cited as valid reasons for invading Iraq in 2003.
Since then, it has been pretty much disproven that Saddam had any direct ties to bin Laden at all, and if any WMDs have been found in Iraq at all, they were a few rare leftovers from Saddam's tyrant years, pre-1991 Gulf War and long since unable to do much damage at all. The Africa story was also proven false, and led to the joy that is the Plame CIA Leak scandle.
The war has not gone well. Not long after the start of the war, US forces marched into Baghdad, and Bush II landed himself on the deck of an aircraft carrier to proclaim "Mission Accomplished." That we had done what we set out to do. And what had we done? Had we found WMDs? No. "Well find them," Bush said. But still no WMDs. They caught Saddam, and brought him before a tribunal (sham or no sham, Saddam does in fact deserve
to be tried and punished), but that's a minor vicotry at best. The real problem still persists almost three years later.
Insurgents (or "terrorists" if you believe the Bush Administration) are killing US troops, Iraqi and US civilians, blowing stuff up, taking hostages, executing said hostages, making demands... Need I go on? Over 2,100 soldiers have died in Iraq to date, most of them since Bush made his little declaration from the carrier deck in 2003.
And where are the cries of foul with regards to the so-called "reconstruction" contracts? A whole mess of these things took taxpayer money and handed it straight to Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton (a company which he still holds significant interest in, mind you) and its subsidiaries, often without so much as a chance for other companies to make a bidding offer. Taxpayer Money. The Vice President. Suspicious much?
After 9/11, the government passed the USA PATRIOT Act, broadening the powers of law enforcement agencies (especially the CIA and FBI) to perform surveilance activities, and removing quite a few of the checks and balances that prevent abuse of such power. Such abuses have been reported, but not widely heard of, and are currently being investigated. It also created the Transportation Safety Administration, who's No-Fly List has caused countless headaches at airports, and coming soon, a bus or train station near you.
The government has also attempted to create a National ID Card (can you say Papers Please? Link
) via the RealID Act, which was snuck in with an appropriations bill which funded the Iraq conflict. Since no Senator in his right mind would vote against money for troops, it passed without debate. In three years, when this becomes law, you'll all be the proud owners of an ID card which gives the government alomost unabated access to quite a chunk of your personal data, and gives them a way to keep track of your movements and activities.
George Orwell, eat your heart out.
They created the Department of Homeland Security, unifying some departments and creating a few new others, bloating the size of government (something Republicans are supposedly against) and thus increasing the budget. Which, by the way, they spent the surplus of within a year and returned us to years of deficit. Not to mention the National Debt has risen quite a chunk thanks to the fact that George W. Bush has borrowed more money during his five years in office than all the previous presidents before him (all the way back to that other, more respectable George W.) put together.
This war has cost the taxpayers over $280 billion. And what does it have to show for it? 2,100+ US Casualties, 27,000+ Iraqi Civilian Casualties (Link
), a nation invaded, destabilized, and made worse than it was before we invaded, and a very, nasty case of Big Brother and Taxpayer Looting at home.
Bill Clinton got impeached for lying about getting a hummer.
See where I'm going with this? What the heck do you have to do to get impeached? Lie about an affair? Be responsible for the unnecessary deaths of nearly 30,000 people? Which one is worse, do you think? Sure, the affair is immoral. But isn't killing and war immoral, too? Isn't lying to the people you're supposed to be leading? Isn't it immoral to pry into the private lives of those people in the name of national security?
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -- Benjamin Franklin
Bush isn't the only one to blame. The American People are also to blame. For allowing this to happen to themselves by allowing this administration to continue alomost completely unchecked. It's time to clean house now before it's much too late...
SuperNova Silence Broken
Former BitTorrent super site SuperNova was shut down a year ago after threats made by the RIAA and MPAA in their ever-persistent quest to dictate what we do with the content we pay for. Now, the truth is revealed as to what actually happened after the site was takend down. Watch the brilliance of the Industry fall flat on its face. (Link
-- via Slashdot
Bright Sunshiny Day
As if the Intelligent Design ruling isn't enough, today we catch wind of a Censure motion filed in the House of Representatives against Bush and Cheney. Censure is the first step in the process we've all been waiting patiently nearly six years for: Impeachment Proceedings. This is just the first step, mind you, so we can't declare total victory on this... Yet. (Link
-- via Fark
Halliluiah! ID Shot Down In Dover
Victory! Victory, I say! A federal judge here in Pennsylvania has done the right thing and declared Intelligent Design (which is nothing more than Christian Creationism repackaged as pseudo-science in order to sneak God back into schools) to be in violation of the Constitutional provision which mandates seperation of Church and State. This is a true victory for education, and even more so for the human race as a whole. (Link
-- via Fark
-- Slashdot Discussion
Monday, December 19, 2005
Cheney Greeted By Skeptical Soldiers
Well well well. Looks like the opinions of the soldiers stationed in Iraq are starting to match those of us back home. While Cheney and his administration buddies are trying to play up whatever "successes" they've managed to acquire in Iraq, the soldiers spin a different tale where they don't see much at all along the lines of progress. They're starting to question why they're there, and of course they want to know when they can come home. (Link
-- via Fark
Let it be known! Blog Prophyts supports our troops 100%
and has nothing but love and the utmost respect for all of them, and the jobs they do. But when they're being misused
, then we have a problem...
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Straight On Til Morning
Some fun before I call it a day: Neave Lab's virtual planetarium. Nifty little stargazing app. Just click, explore, and pick out stars. Simple, effective, and it most certainly qualifies as a time-waster. (Link
-- via Fark
Whistle While You Weird
Only in the UK, I suppose. A shopkeeper in Portsmouth is being "forced" to sell his shop. Not because of crime, not because of lack of profit. But because he hates... Get this... Whistling. He threw one guy out who was simply whistling to himself. So, the locals made it a point to go to his shop, stand around, and whistle. Well, now the guy's selling out. Oh those crazy British... (Link
-- via Fark
Ancient City Discovered In Syria
For a while now, archaeologists have figured that most early cities were situated around Uruk, which is more or less in modern day Iraq. But this city, said to have been sacked around 4500BC. Looks like human cities spread farther and faster than they originally thought. You kids these days should pay attention to History. After all, you can't know where you're going unless you know where you came from first... (Link
-- via Fark
Wikipedia Gets Spoofed
Several sources are talking about the ongoing Wikipedia controversy, now fresh with spoof articles popping up all over the site. This includes one article about WP founder Jimmy Wales getting "shot" by an associate of someone wrongly named in the JFK conspiracy in the article that touched this whole thing off to begin with. Personally, I think Wikipedia is a great resource, and it's community (of which I am a part) is generally a good bunch. (Link)
Powell: US Troop Pullout Will Take Years
Young American Men and Women: This is your wake up call. According to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, US Troop pullout from Iraq will take years, but could start as soon as 2006. Simple math: If you sign up for the military, chances are you'll be doing quite a few tours in Iraq. We shouldn't have been there in the first place, but we can't help that now. So, if you've got a death wish, like oil, and are into wars for false causes, your local Army recruiter would like to see you, and the Bush Administration would like to fit you for your brand new pine box... (Link
People Of The Year
Time Magazine has released it's "Person of the Year" issue, and the outcome is as surprising as it is obvious. Say what you will about Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and purveyor of crap operating systems, and his wife Melinda. While you'd think that several trash-filled versions of Windows would detract, apparently his charity work surpasses that by leaps and bounds. He is, after all, a very generous guy, and does give large sums to good, solid charities. They're joined this year by U2's Bono, himself a great humanitarian in his own right. Congratulations to the Gates and Bono! (Link
-- via Slashdot
-- Mugshot from The Smoking Gun
Radio Free Burrito: Episode 2
OK, so he had a brain malfunction and declared it episode 3. Technically, it is the third episode, though they're numbered starting with zero. Does that matter? Probably not, but hey. The point is, the latest episode of Wil Wheaton's Radio Free Burrito is online! This week, Wil talks music, Star Wars, and about being involved in the voice acting community. Check it out! (Link
-- 15.5MB MP3)
Friday, December 16, 2005
Old School: Kung Fu Review
My lastest NES game review over at my personal blog is all about the punching, kicking, jumping, and midget beating that is Kung Fu, one of the first titles released for the NES in 1985. Kung Fu was originally an arcade game, and I guess IREM and Nintendo saw fit to port it to the NES, despite the limited challange and gameplay. Oh well, it's still a classic, and still worthy of a review. Enjoy! (Link
BoingBoing's Sony DRM Roundup V
Hey music fans, Cory Doctrow
has posted the fifth (and final for 2005) Sony DRM roundup. Included are revelations about Sony sneaking their music onto Apple's iTunes to avoid giving them a cut of the profit (and using Open Source anti-DRM code in violation of the GPL to do so), releasing a few half-arsed patches and uninstallers, as well as the "Make Your Own DRM CD" link we posted about here
on Blog Prophyts. If the music cartel and its shady practices tick you off, this is your source for all the latest news! (Link
-- via BoingBoing -- Parts I
Senate Rejects Extending PATRIOT Provisions
Score one for the American People and their Privacy! The Senate has shot down an extension of certain controversial provisions in the US PATRIOT Act, itself a controversial bit of legislation. If this sticks, then the FBI will lose a whole mess of its power to snoop on regular American citizens, which is a severe violation of privacy, terrorists or not. Merry Christmas, America, from the United States Senate, and from all of us who think the PATRIOT Act is nothing more than a cheap, superficial power grab! (Link
-- via BoingBoing
As part of my commitment to the Community Article Portal, I have a side-story up over there about the odd trend of harmful legislation being titled with acronyms. (Link
Boondock Geeks: Lost Prophyt's First Article
I've managed to expand BP's reach quite a bit over the last few days (even though the comments don't reflect that fact), and am still working to expand our readership by trying new and interesting things. One of which was joining The Community Article Portal, a user-driven, post-anything blog where you can write about pretty much whatever you want. So, for my first article, I've written about the joys (or lack thereof) of being a Geek in a town full of hillbillies. Check it out. (Link
I've posted yet another article there, and this time around, I discuss the sensational, over-hyped sports stories overshadowing the more serious stuff. Sex scandals and T.O.'s big mouth are drowing out the fact that a former Phillies pitcher is on trial for murder in Venezuela... (Link
WWdN:IX: Lost In Time?
When I woke up this morning and checked my RSS feed for WWdN:IX, I noticed that it had reverted quite a bit back to when Wil was in Las Vegas for the World Poker Blogger Championships. If my guess is right, that means four or five posts from this past week have vanished, lost to some form of horrible blogging time warp. Time for Wil to go into Wesley Crusher mode and reverse the polarity one something, I think. (Link
And You Shuffle To The Shuffle
Further proof that our "Dear Leader" is a moron, and emerging proof that Fox News anchor Brit Hume is, too. The Washington Post has put up a transcript of Bush's visit on Hume's show, and boy, is it teh funnay! Apparently, Bush bought an iPod Shuffle, and doesn't know what the heck it's called. Hume had to coach him through it. Here's the blurb:
Unidentified Male: ...which ones do you play?
Bush: All of these. I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yokam. I've got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little...Hume: Shuffle.
Bush: It looks like.Hume: The Shuffle. That's the name of one of the models.
Bush: Yes, the Shuffle.Hume: Called the Shuffle.
Bush: Lightweight, you crank it on, and you shuffle to the shuffle.
And here I thought intelligence was a requirement to be POTUS. One of the many times I've apparently been wrong, I guess... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Forward And Share, Elbow And Send
It's happened to all of us: You get those forwarded emails that either have amusing pictures, some stupid "scroll-down-and-wish" idea, Nigerian Scammers, or funny stories about people/places/weird crap. Most of us just delete these emails, but now there's a place where you can get some use out of them! Say hello to our newest link partner, Forward-and-Share! Check them out, laugh, and get nostalgic if you got one of these email forwards before... (Link
Tweak Freaks: Addicted To Change
Tweak. To pull or pinch gently. Or, in today's modern business world, to make a minor change to a document or presentation, supposedly for the better. Let's say you're a reporter at a middle-of-the-road newspaper, and your editor is constantly asking you to "tweak" this or that in the article. Tweak this word to make it sound more edgy. Tweak that detail to give it more importance. Tweak this, tweak that. These are "Tweak Freaks," and they can be pushy, counter-productive, and just plain annoying.
Tweaking seems simple enough: Sounds like a small, relatively easy change. But 99% of the time, the Tweak Freak who wants you to tweak something, won't tell you exactly how he or she wants it tweaked, so you're left to figure out what the hell to tweak it to. That's where the counter-productivity comes in. The annoying? It's always there, probably because your copy editor is just an annoying person by nature. Which is probably why he or she is a copy editor in the first place: they annoyed their way to that position. At any rate, the Globe and Mail has an article about this little problem. (Link
The NSA Is Spying On You
If you make international calls on any sort of regular basis, guess what: The National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on your conversations. Without your knowledge. Without a warrant. On authroization from? None other than Dubya himself. The supposed idea is so they can try and monitor "terrorist-related hot numbers" for information. But now, the NSA wants to get the warrant to spy on any and all domestic conversations. What does that mean? It means you should get your hands on some encryption and anti-wiretap, and soon, before the government knows absolutely everything you plan to do on Firday night... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Most of what we post here on BP is either of a technical, political, or sad nature, since that's the way of the world of news. But sometimes, just sometimes, things are discovered that just make you smile, say "awwwwww," or just want to gag yourself with a spoon. Such is the way of Cute Overload. Check it out if you need a break from the mundane and macabre... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
GMail For Mobile Launches Today
Mobile device users rejoice, for GMail (the uber awesome email service from Google that I highly enjoy and reccomend) is now available on your... Mobile device, I guess. Just gotta make sure your mobile browser supports the right stuff, and away you go! (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Strap Bush To The Rack
Well well well. After months of opposing a Torture-By-US-Personell ban proposed by Senator John McCain, the Bush Administration, in it's infinite wisdom (where have we heard that before? Oh yeah...) has flip-flopped it's position entirely, doing exactly what it accused John Kerry of doing, and now accepts the ban. Further proof that Bushy boy and his cronies realize they're fighting a losing battle, and are desperate for any PR move that will make them look better. I call shinnanengans anyway, since I'm sure that the fact that there's no real oversight (press and civilians are banned from military prisons), the torture will continue unabated anyway. (Link
-- via Fark
Iraqis Vote For Sham Government
In what the Bush Administration will no doubt tout as a policy victory in Iraq, Iraqis turned out in droves to vote for the puppet government that will fail them once the US leaves. Even Sunni Muslims turned out to vote. You can bet there will be nothing but positive spin on this from the Administration-watched major news outlets, further spreading the lies and deceptions to the American People. At least we bloggers still hold out hope that this sham will be revealed, at least during our lifetimes, and that we'll see justice done upon the corrupt officials in this nation of ours. (Link
Yahoo! Searchers Prove They're Morons
Once again, the top search at Yahoo! is Britney Spears. Seriously, people? Why do we care about her at all? Her talent is minimal at best (she sounds like every other female singer out there these days), the only reason she sells albums is because parents are idiots and buy this crap for their daughters. She married a complete douchebag, had a kid with him, and discovered just how much of a douchebag he really is. The fact is this: Noone with any measure of respectable intelligence would have anything to do with Britney Spears... (Link
-- via Fark
Sony PSP Firmware Cracked... Again...
Sony, in there ever-infinite wisdom, has been nothing short of a cranky old geezer lately. Not only are they in serious trouble over their DRM-disabled CDs, but they've also been catching a lot of flak over the firmware in the Playstation Portable (PSP). Each time they release new firmware (which, BTW, limits functionality in a device that people want because of more features, not less), some intrepid team of PSP hackers break it wide open, allowing people to retake the hardware they paid for and use it as they wish (which is the point of buying something in the first place). Something tells me their stock will be taking a serious hit soon if this leaves the internet and hits the mainstream press... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
KaZaA Heads To Face Jail Time?
Well, that's what the record industry wants. Idiots are trying to determine who does and doesn't go to jail for their already criminal greed. Sharman Networks, KaZaA's parent company, blocked Aussie IPs from their network to comply with a court order, but apparently the big labels don't think that's enough, and now they want to toss them in the clink for failure to abide by a court order. The only question left now: When will the labels' customers openly and outwardly rebel against the cartel? (Link
-- via Slashdot
HOWTO: Make A CD Crippled With Simple DRM
Ed Felton, researcher and anti-DRM blogger, has figured out a way to make a copy-protected audio CD, similar to the ways the big labels do it. Why you'd want to make a crippled CD is beyond me, but hey. Something to experiment with if you have a few CD-Rs laying around that you don't mind sacrificing to the cause... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
BP PhotoBlog: Call For Storm Pics!
Attention Central PA BP Readers! If you've got a digital camera and are hella bored, have we got news for you! As we all know, there's a fairly big snow storm coming. Break out your camera, take some pics, and submit them to the all-new BP PhotoBlog! This won't be all it's used for, just a good way to kick things off. There's a handy email addy to use for submissions, too, so you don't have to leave the comfort of your home, or even communicate directly with us! (Link
A Two-Fer From Fark, Plus RFB!
Got two articles from Fark this morning, the first being the story of a man in NY who's being tagged as a hero, and rightly so. He caught a baby that was dropped from a third floor apartment in a panic during a fire. Both mom and baby are fine. (Link
-- Fark Thread
The second article is one of the weirder, yet ingenious, crime stories I've heard lately. Apparently, two women are running around in the greater Houston area. One of them flashes their intended victim, while the other uses the distraction as an oppertunity to yank out a gun so the duo can rob and carjack in the confusion. So, will the offending boobies be impounded as a weapon now? (Link
-- Fark Thread
Side Note: According to yesterday's WWdN:IX post
, there should be an all-new episode of Radio Free Burrito available sometime in the coming days. I highly reccomend taking a listen to his PodCast, whether you have an iPod or not (any MP3 player will work fine), Wil's storytelling ability is something people can't praise enough, really. Here are the two previous episodes, just in case you missed them. (Episode 0
-- Episode 1
-- Mirrors For Both
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
WWdN Poker Schedule Changes
For those BP readers who don't read WWdN or WWdN:IX, Wil has poker games set up to run at Poker Stars every week. There's the formerly-titled-(but-looking-for-a-new-title) West Coast Warmup games, and the Formerly-On-Friday games which Wil names after the person who busted him out the previous week. Here's the blurb from WWdN:IX:The WWdN Friday game at PokerStars is moving to Tuesday, beginning December 20th. The game will play each week, except in the event of major holidays, starting at 7:00 PM EST. The buy-in will remain at $10+1.
If you're a poker nut and like to play online, this game might be for you. There's always more info available at WWdN:IX if you need it... (Link
Blog Prophyts: The First Week And A Half
Well, so far, Blog Prophyts is going as well as can be expected, with the obvious exception of an explosion in reader base, which isn't going to happen anytime soon, I'm sure. We've managed to get Derreck to post something, we're adding a few new team members soon, and most importantly, within the next few days, we'll be launching our first Podcast!
Thanks to BlogShares, as well as some curiosity on my part, we've managed to grow and groom the list of links on the side bar. We encourage all of you to check out these blogs, news sites, and other such nonsensical fun and tom-foolery that we have linked. There's usually a lot more beyond what's listed here at BP on these sites, especially Fark, not to mention many of these sites have extremely interesting online communities to join and participate in.
A few firsts: First Post, First Comment, First Comment Troll, First Time Beating Slashdot To Tech Coverage (which, to my knowledge, they haven't covered at all, which is odd), and probably a few more that aren't cool enough to merrit mention. Ahh well. It's all good in the BP Hood! Stick around, things can only get better...
NC State Education Comittee Undersight
Here we go again. More religion-fueled nonsense in our public schools. Simply because Christian whackos have determined (through no scientific study, mind you) that Darwin's Theory of Evolution is "controversial" (yet somehow, a magical God saying "Pow! Humans!" isn't), and are trying to sneak him in through the side door of education legislation. Seriously, folks. This has got to stop. Schools are no place to teach religion. That's why you have churches and such. Keep it there. When I have kids, I don't want them forced to learn this crap... (Link
-- via Fark
Wrong, But Still Right?
OK. So the Bush Administration over-hyped intelligence reports on Iraq that were either faulty or not really worth much attention. He misled an entire nation (and a few others) into declaring war on an enemy that was less of a threat before the war then they are now. He invaded a sovereign country, cruel dictator or no, and destabilized the entire place. He declared "mission accomplished," yet the problem has grown worse. And now, almost three years after the fact, he's finally admitting that they goofed on the intel. The problem here is, he still says invading Iraq was "the right thing to do," and is now relying on blind assumptions that Saddam wanted to restart his WMD programs. How much more of this idiot can the world stomach? (Link
D&D Online Game Launches Beta
Finally, A D&D MMORPG! Looks like the Stress Beta is off and running, open to Fileplanet subscribers. In a world where MMORPGs are becoming more and more popular, it's about time there was an official D&D entry into the fray. Sure, Diablo was nice and all, but there isn't much out there with the depth and expandability of the D&D Universe (or Multiverse, given the fact that many incarnations have cropped up over the years). (Link
-- via Slashdot
Really, Really, REALLY Strong Magnets
Magnets. Harmless to most things except your computer equipment, right? Wrong. Turns out that there are magnets out there, available for purchase, that can be quite scare to handle. These 3" x 1" bad boys can frag a PC from anywhere in the room apparently, and can cause metal objects to up and fly due to the strong attraction. I gotta get me some of these! According to the retailer, their own shipping people refuse to pack these, so their engineers have to do it. Two of these together can break your arm! Righteous! (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Diebold CEO Out
Election Voting Machine makers Diebold are under heavy investigation regarding election fraud. It's alleged (and most likely true, IMHO), that they rigged the voting systems in Ohio and elsewhere to ensure a presidential victory for the current Idiot in Chief. Well, the CEO that supposedly promised the RNC this exact outcome has resigned amid the allegations and investigations. They're running scared because they KNOW
they sold this country out. Karma's a bitch, ain't it... (Link
- via Fark
XBox 360 Not So Hot In Japan
Hey, we beat Slashdot to XBox 360 coverage! Yay! Score one for the Prophyts! Anywho, it looks like the XBox 360 launch in Japan kinda fell flat, with retailers supposedly sweetening deals with ISP packages and other extras to entice cautious gamers out of their moms' basements. Reports of price slashing are surfacing as well.
What makes this interesting is the fact that there was so much hysteria here in the USA when the 360 launched. People were camping out, stores had limited stock, and they sold out rather quickly, not to mention all the coverage about the faulty power bricks. That might have had a hand in Japanese gamers' decisions, although these stories seem to overlook how much Net exposure that story got. All the coverage you could ever want is right here. (Links: Gadgetell
Old School: Kid Icarus Review
One of the true classics for the NES, Kid Icarus dominated my after-school game time for many, many moons when I was a kid. It was one of the first games I had for my system, and also one of the first games to feature a password-based continue feature along with Metroid, which I'm sure I'll review in the near future. Of course, I used the KidKid Icarus
trick to get myself the to the final stage for these screenshots, but I still reccomend going through the entire game all the same. Read on... (Link
Pull This Thread As I Walk Away
Oh wow. Wow. That sweater is just... Wow. It's that time of year again, time for the meme-mongers to post this photo of a certain Wil Wheaton all about teh Intarwebs, and speculate as to why in the blue hell he would pose for a picture, with that look on his face, wearing that atrocity of a sweater. Well, there's a story behind it, and Wil's got it covered over at WWdN:IX.
Having read such a story, I think I'll make it a Silver Quest (in Fable
terms) to find the owner of this horrid, horrid second-hand-store find and become part of the project myself. When I make my way west, that is. Til then, enjoy this frightening yet teh funnay photo for the next few days until the front page cycle turns over. (Link
Stanley "Tookie" Williams, co-founder of the Crips, convicted quadruple murder and, surprisingly enough, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was executed by leathal injection at 12:01AM in California's San Quinton Prison. Ahhh-nold didn't grant him a stay or clemency, and now Tookie is gone. IMHO, the man turned his life around and did very good things from his death row cell, and he maintained his innocence to the end. I'd say that's enough to at least grant hm clemency to life, and let him live it. But it's too late. Hang your colors on the left in his honor, and please... PLEASE... Remember his message. If Tookie can turn it around... (Link
-- via Fark
Side Note -- The Fark Thread is fairly busy today. I encourage everyone to sign up (it's spam free, I promise) and participate in the discussion. It might take a bit to load, though, depending on your connection.
Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me!
Oh, Rocky! Now, back when I used to attend Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings, we'd have homemade costumes that came pretty close to those used in the cult classic film. We'd also trash the living heck out of the Rowland Theater, a historic landmark movie house in my area. How often can you actually trash a joint like that (with rice, toast, water guns, etc)? With permission from management? Well, now you can, and in more realistic garb. Rocky Horror themed costumes are out there, and you can go get yourself one. It's just a jump to the left... (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Monday, December 12, 2005
Happy Monday :-/
Hey, folks. Yeah, it's Monday. Another weekend gone, another week ahead, doesn't life just suck like that? So, here's some goodness to get you going this fine morning. Have fun shoveling that snow when you're done.
His name is Jelly D. He is a rapper dressed as a jelly doughnut. And he is the absolute shiznit. All your links are belong to my parentheticals. (20 MB QT Video Link
-- more Jelly D
-- Killing My Lobster
-- via BoingBoing
Time for some more poker goodness. Apparently, Wil had a good time in Vegas this weekend, and came away with some cash. There will be a trip report soon, but for now, you can share in his happy ha-ha through this brief WWdN:IX post. (Link
And on a personal note: HERE WE GO STEELERS! So much for Da Bears' win streak. HA!
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Bring on the browsers!
I just noticed an article over at newsforge about a couple good ol browsers coming together. I'm not gonna spoil all the fun here so you'll just have to head over and read it yourself :) (Link
Update (LP): While we're on the subject of browsers, is anyone else having issues with Firefox 1.5 for Windows? My scroll bars are totally gone, and I can't get into my settings without it looking all kinds of transparent farked up...
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Old School: Gun.Smoke Review
On with review number two, as well as some shameless self-promotion. For the Nintendo Generation, I've decided to start reviewing classic games. This time around, it's Gun.Smoke, a classic shooter, ported from the arcade game of the same name. Since I have more access to NES consoles than I do arcade cabinets, I'll do the NES version, downgrades in graphics aside. Besides, it's no the graphics that make the game, as Gun.Smoke demonstrates: It's the gameplay... (Link
Slow News Saturday Vol. 1
I guess you could call it a "regular feature." News sites always slow down on Saturdays, so you really have to dig to find some interesting stuff. Here's a small collection of junk I found today...
The Beeb has an article about a proposed mission to Neptune and, in particular, its moon, Triton. Speculation about the craft is interesting, as it may be so big they have to launch it in two parts and assemble it in orbit. The big draw here is Triton itself, which is thought to be less of a moon and more of a captured object that wandered into Neptune's gravitational control. (Link
The Beeb also has some coverage of the Sony/BMG DRM dabaucle. I also reccomend BoingBoing's growing roundup collection of stories regarding this mess, found here: I II III IV
The Toronto Star brings us coverage of a UN Conference on Climate Changes. As usual, the USA was lagging behind, dragging its feet because of its lust for oil, and not much has come out of it other than empty promises of more talks. Meanwhile, Mother Nature continues (as she has for millions of years) to do things her own way. When will these silly politicians learn that there's nothing they can really do about a climate cycle millions of years in the making? (Link
In another case of International Media paying more attention to the US than they probably should, the Aussie News.com carrys the story of Los Angeles' fears over riots should Governator Ahhhh-nold not commute the death sentence of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, reformed gang founder and quadruple murder, to life in prison. Everyone remembers Rodney King, and nobody wants that again. Honestly, the idiots planning the violence should think twice about what they're doing versus what Tookie teaches these days... (Link
Here's a good piece in the Washington Post about the so-called "War On Christmas," where fundies are crying about taking the true meaning of Christmas out of the public eye in favor of more "politically correct" genericy. Turns out that they're worried about nothing. All they care about is being the "Persicuted Christians" who want to improve their influence over everything. As with the climate changes, some cycles never die out, do they... (Link
We now turn to the British Media paying attention to themselves, as the UK NHS is backed into a corner over a promising new cancer treatment. I guess we're not the only people with a top medical agency playing for the wrong team, AKA the perscription drug companies or the Religious Right. As the godson of a Breast Cancer victim, I'm throwing my weight behind any advances science can find, drug companies be damned. (Link
And finally, the Israel/Palestine problem continues. This time, those poor Israelis are threatening to clamp down on Gaza Strip security if the Palestinian Militants don't knock off their own brand of BS. Let's face it: Both sides are guilty, and we all know why. Israel just needs to get over itself and the BS promise of land made to them in a Mother Goose fantasy story and deal with the fact that the Palestinians have as much right as they do to occupy that hunk of dirt. (Link
It's going to be a slow day here at BP, too, which is why I've loaded you up with some link goodness. I've got a roadie gig this afternoon, so I won't be home to do any BP work until around 2am. But all two of you will survive, I'm sure...
Friday, December 09, 2005
The Cheat Is So A Cow
All praise The Cheat
, for The Cheat is teh awesome. Strong Bad's little sidekick appears to be quite highly regarded, and has his own waterfall, bridge and tourist rail car somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. The Cheat... West Virginia... Bad thoughts, man. Anyway, pretty amusing stuff if I do say so myself... (Link
-- via Fark
Shrouding Every Step I Take
Nerd Alert! They've managed to crack the code that the Sober worm uses to communicate with its owner. Since I'm primarily a Linux user, this really doesn't affect me much at all, but I'm willing to bet that 99.99999% of you are, so you might want to keep an eye on this story. (Link
-- via Slashdot
Since I plan on getting into Podcasting, I thought this article was of great interest. It appears that shrewd and shady web jockeys can hijack a podcast's RSS feed, thus controling a portion (if not all) of a show's listener base. This can lead to extortion and total loss of listeners at worst, not a good thing in this burgeoning field. Here's the story of one podcast that suffered through the ordeal, and what you can do to defend your show. (Link
-- via Slashdot
Pardon Our Dust
Hi, folks. I'm sure you've noticed that BP has undergone a weird series of changes since its inception, mostly of a visual nature. Well, I'm still toying with the template, and refining my knowledge of the stylesheets they use here at BlogSpot. I think I've got the Color Scheme pretty much under control, just a few more color bugs to work out and we'll be all set.
I'm also tweaking the sidebar, mostly on the fly. The EFF link was only the beginning, there will be alot more links coming in the next 24 hours. I'm pretty much snowed in for the remainder of the evening (hopefully I can get out around 10ish), so I'll have plenty of time to spruce this place up, give it more purpose.
I'm not a terribly huge fan of Disney. In fact, I pretty much hate what the company became under the leadership of a guy named Mikey. Disney owes its very existance to the Public Domain. Cinderella, Snow White, Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast; Their biggest hits are all public domain stories with just enough Disney original sugarpop tunes to make it distinctly theirs. That's why you see so many so-called "rip-off" tapes and DVDs on the WalMart shelves. They're not rip-offs, they're legal interpretations of the same story, minus the Disney Hype Machine.
Yet Disney themselves don't want their own creation, Mickey Mouse, to enter the Public Domain. They've taken, and taken advantage of, but they have yet to give. Why? The almighty dollar. Which is why Wil is also on a rant this fine, snowy Friday. It appears DizzKnee wants to "freshen up" Winnie the Pooh, almost replacing Christopher Robin with a girl character. Blasphemy? Of course. Greedy? You bet. Sad? True. (Link
: John Kovalic of Dork Tower/Munchkin fame has a great Friday bonus along with his DT strip. Go check it out. If you get it, congratulations. If you don't, you need to discover the joy that is The Simpsons (Link
-- via WWdN:IX
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Painting The World Red
There's a new symbol set to join with the Cross and the Crescent: The Crystal. The Geneva Convention member states have voted by a 2/3 majority to approve the Red Crystal, a religion-free alternative to the Shield (or Star) of David, the symbol most commonly associated with Israel and Judeism. Arabs, of course, had a fit about that (even though their own Islamic Crescent and Christianity's Cross are both in use), and that led to the search for a less "offensive" symbol. Looks like Israel's emergency workers can now join the other "Red" protected personell. (Link
Austrailian Senator Wants To Censor The Net
Yep. Looks like some idiot blokie in the Aussie government wants ISPs to totally filter out porn and force users to apply for access if they want it. How asinine is that? Seriously! It's not the government's job to act as a moral guardian. That's up to parents and individuals. But hey. If you can't handle the responsibility, then it should be taken away from you. Just goes to prove how idiotic you are when you can't make a decision on your own... (Link
-- via Slashdot
The Chronicles of Nerdia
Starring Shane, Annie and Wil as the Homly Lion, the Nerd-hating Witch, and the Cheap Second-hand Wardrobe. See, Shane and Wil made a bet with Annie that she couldn't guess Wil's middle name. Well, she lost (Richard Wil
liam Wheaton, III), and the result is a blog war of massive teh funnay proportions. Chapters can be found at the following links, as well as some side commentary by Annie's sister Stef. Enjoy! (Shane
Sony Episode III: Oops, We Blew It Again
Here's you're timeline. Pretty simple:
Sony releases CDs with MediaMaxx DRM software.
MediaMaxx found to create severe vulnerabilities on computers it is installed on, even if you choose to uninstall it.
Sony releases web-based fix for MediaMaxx.
Web-based fix found to create another vulnerability.
EFF forces Sony to release yet another patch for MediaMaxx.
Patch fails to fix vulnerability, leaves computer open to attack.
Yep, that last line says it all. (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Get Your Name Out There
And by "out there," I mean out there. NASA is giving people the chance to have their names somehow placed on a microchip (they're vague about it, simply saying "recorded") which is on its way to the asteroid belt via the DAWN spacecraft. OK, how much of a point is there to this? I really couldn't tell you. I guess it's bragging rights. Might be fun for classrooms to do it in a group form. (Link
-- via Fark
DRM 2: Electric Boogaloo
It looks like the Electronic Frontier Foundation
was all over Sony/BMG from the word go. They've forced Sony's hand and a patch for Mediamax-crippled computers. Do we need any more proof that DRM will never work the way the entertainment cartel wants it to? (Link
-- via BoingBoing
Clash of the Titans
It looks like we're in for a good advertising scrap. With Google running amok thanks to their simple ad scheme, Microsoft and Time Warner (pretty much AOL) are forming an unholy advertising alliance that will vie with the big G for your eyeballs and wallets. Google is rolling out new features every other week/month it seems, and service-based sites like MSN and AOL, long the dominant forces, are starting to lag behind. (Link
-- via Slashdot
Sweet Audio Goodness: Just A Geek
I'll be perfectly honest with you. I own a copy of Just A Geek
, Wil Wheaton's blog-based opus on the transition from "former child actor on that sci-fi show" to husband, stepfather, sketch comedian, Internet personality, and finally (so far), writer. It's a great book. Wil tells some excellent stories (yes, a few Star Trek
stories are in there as well) based on entries he made at WWdN. He's had an AudioBook version available for a while now, but with the success of Radio Free Burrito (Previous BP Post
), he's decided to schill it a bit more, and I think that's a swell idea. Just A Geek: Teh Audiobook
has extra notes and commentary, and is read by Wil himself. Check it out if you haven't gotten around to getting JAG
in dead tree format... (Link