Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Presidential Nominee Deabtes: Talk Clock

These are real clear graph via Senator Chris Dodd's blog. They simply show how much time each candidate spoke during the Democratic and Republican debates. Now it says nothing of content, substance, clarity, or quality of what was spoken. It just shows who owned the mic most of the night. I don't know if that speaks more about the candidates or the moderator. Probably both.

Images Removed

And when comparing times between the Dems and GOP, just remember that there's only 8 Dem candidates at this point versus 10 GOP candidates. That's two extra folks to need time on the GOP side.

UPDATE: Images removed since they were hosted on Dodd's blog and they took them down. Since they took down their images, the link to their blog has also been taken down.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I've been under a rock

I haven't been as diligent about following the news these last couple months, but I couldn't help but to notice an AP story that mentions a Turkish military build up on Iraq's northern border. A group of Kurds has been using the north of Iraq to stage terrorist attacks in Turkey, so they have some legitimate concern. There are some troubling details, though.

In the past when the Turks would invade northern Iraq, they'd fight along side the local population against this troublesome group, the PKK. Since the US invasion the rhetoric has changed, though. They blame all Kurds for harboring terrorists. I'd have to think that if they invaded now, it would be different than in the past. The Turkish government is rightly concerned that the war in Iraq has destabilized it to the point that Kurdistan may eventually become an independent, rival state. My concern is that they'll wish to invade and establish a permanent presence there, interfering in local Kurdish politics enough to prevent any sort of movement for statehood.

Al-Maliki has warned the Turks not to intervene, but he's powerless to stop it. Iraq's security forces can't even secure Iraq, much less the remote northern frontier. Robert Gates has warned the Turks, too, saying that the US has aided Turkey in dealing with the problem on their own soil, but if the Turks believe that the problem has to be solved on Iraq's soil, their solution is going to be a military one. We probably can't convince them not to. You may remember that Turkey refused Bush Administration requests to stage part of the the 2003 invasion from their bases. I can't remember for sure, but I don't even think we got flyover rights in spite of what was rumored to be a very generous foreign aid quid pro quo.

This is a very dangerous situation and one to keep an eye on.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Jackass with Highly Drug Resistant TB or Andrew Speaker: Patient Zero

This story is incredulous. Let's start here:
Speaker said in a newspaper interview that he knew he had TB when he flew from Atlanta to Europe in mid-May for his wedding and honeymoon, but that he did not find out until he was already in Rome that it was an extensively drug-resistant strain considered especially dangerous.
You're joking, right? Well, shoot, if it were just regular TB, it's perfectly fine to trot across the globe and infect people?
Speaker's tuberculosis was discovered when he had a chest X-ray in January for a rib injury, Huitt said.
Gee, I could understand the confusion. The guy only knew he had the disease 5 months before his trip.

The saddest part of the story is that his new father-in-law, Robert C. Cooksey, works for the CDC AND deals directly with TB issues! First, how does the father-in-law not know his son-in-law has a highly infectious disease? Second, if the father-in-law did know about his son-in-law's infection, how did he allow him to travel? Highly suspect that: "Cooksey would not comment on whether he reported his son-in-law to federal health authorities." Then again, it's also telling when this is stated:
``I'm hoping and praying that he's getting the proper treatment, that my daughter is holding up mentally and physically,'' Cooksey said. ``Had I known that my daughter was in any risk, I would not allow her to travel.''
Maybe I'm reading into that too closely or maybe a full quote wasn't given by the press, but there doesn't seem to be too much concern for the son-in-law. That said, this is directly from the CDC website:
If you are infectious while you are at home, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and others near you. Your doctor may tell you to follow these guidelines to protect yourself and others:
*Do not go to work or school. Separate yourself from others and avoid close contact with anyone. Sleep in a bedroom away from other family members.
Seems pretty self explanatory that extensive travel across the globe and sharing confined spaces like an airliner and hotel rooms would be out of the question. I know some people might bring up the fact that this man may have been on a regimen of medicine and he could have been cleared to travel. Seems highly unlikely considering his specific TB bug is so drug resistant. I would hope the health care officials involved would have narrowed that down in the 5 months that it was known about this TB infection. According to WaPo article, he knew we wasn't supposed to travel:
officials said the man had recently been diagnosed with TB and knew he should not travel when he left the United States on May 12.

After testing revealed his tuberculosis was extensively drug-resistant, he was contacted in Europe by health authorities and told not to take a commercial flight home -- advice he ignored.
I understand the need to stand up for your family and for your children, but when the actual father states:
Speaker's father told WSB-TV: ``The way he's been shown and spoken about on TV, it's like a terrorist traveling around the world escaping authorities. It's blown out of proportion immensely.''
That makes you an equal jackass! He was trying to escape and evade authorities!
Despite warnings from federal health officials not to board another long flight, he flew home for treatment, fearing he wouldn't survive if he didn't reach the U.S., he said. He said he tried to sneak home by way of Canada instead of flying directly into the U.S.
And that brings us lastly to the dipshit border agent who cleared the jackass to continue traveling:
The inspector ran Speaker's passport through a computer, and a warning - including instructions to hold the traveler, don a protective mask in dealing with him, and telephone health authorities - popped up, officials said. About a minute later, Speaker was instead cleared to continue on his journey, according to officials familiar with the records.

The Homeland Security Department is investigating.

The border officer ``who questioned that person is at present performing administrative duties,'' said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke, adding that the officer is not checking people at the land border crossing.

Colleen Kelley, president of the union that represents customs and border agents, declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but said ``public health issues were not receiving adequate attention and training'' within the agency.
I would think the people who came in contact with this traveling jackass could sue the hell out of the dipshit who didn't do his job. You get a notice to detain a traveler and notify health officials and you don't even call you supervisor?! And you work for the Department of Homeland Security?! Really?!

This whole story has too much gross negligence and idiocy to go around. The worst part is that the rampant stupidity could massively affect the well being of the greater population. Survival of the fittest is working in quasi-reverse here when one moronic host can potentially knock out a larger population. Best quote: "The unidentified inspector explained that he was no doctor but that the infected man seemed perfectly healthy". Well, he's not a doctor and apparently not a competent inspector either. It's disgusting that the guy still has job and is still working even if he, "is at present performing administrative duties". Does "accountability" not mean anything anymore?

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's been a while... time for NIN

Haven't posted in a while. Found something interesting I thought I would share from Nine Inch Nails' website per Trent Reznor (My bold emphasis):
As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:

* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."
So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.
ANd if you're a fan of Reznor and not a fan of the current music industry, you'll probably enjoy his most recent interview with Australia's Hearld Sun.

Have to say, I miss the days of spending hours at the music shop browsing for tunes. It's hard finding a good quality album that hasn't been rushed with one or two singles marketed and pushed while the rest is less than so-so. Regardless, I bet NIN's August 22, 2007 show will be more than amazing. What a line up.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chuck Norris fills in for Hannity

I've been lurking for the past 2 months just soaking up the news on the internet. This tidbit had just enough mustard to get me posting again:
That's right, Chuck Norris filled in for Sean Hannity the other night on Hannity and Colmes. That is awesome. Now maybe we can get Steven Segal to fill in for Chris Matthews or maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme could handle Paula Zahn's show? Awesome. Just plain awesome. A political opinion is never delivered better than with a roundhouse kick to the face while wearing cowboy boots.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Find the Best Song of 1960-Current

Yes, you have to scroll down near the end after hitting the link and it's worth it. Like a mini time capsule. Find your favorite and then head to You Tube.

Yeah, most of my alt indie records are scratched from the list, but I remember that 8th grade dance more vividly now. Hit it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Following Up On UCLA Taser Incident: Cop's Background

Thanks to Crooks and Liars for pointing to the LA Times follow up on the tasered UCLA student. Seems as though the officer that administered the repeated taser blasts has an interesting work history and was recommended for dismissal at one point but granted a 90-day suspension instead.

Most interesting segment other than the work history:
The officer said that when the probe is complete, he'd like to sit down with students, particularly Muslim student groups, to explain his actions at the library. (emphasis added)
Because the kid he assaulted was of Middle Eastern descent he must be Muslim? How at the time of assualt did the cop know the kid's religion? The point is that he didn't know. Got that? If you were any student at all this cop would have tasered you just the same. Feel better now?

After the internal investigation I'm sure there will be a civil suit, unles they settle out of court, if not a criminal suit first. Everyone deserves their day in court and to have all the evidence heard. At this point, it's looking even worse than it did when the tasering first hit You Tube's site.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fantasy Congress?

I can get into fantasy football pretty easily. I like football. I like watching it, cheering for my team, having a few beers with my friends, and watching the players on my fantasy team do well as well as my favorite NFL teams.

But Fantasy Congress? Football is a game. EVERYONE knows that. Politics shouldn't be a game. Politics is how we resolve our nations problems. And never mind the fact that I don't think I could call up some buddies, head to the bar, and have a few cold ones anxiously waiting to see if Carl Levin pushes a bill through (Boo-ya!), if Barbara Boxer is going to vote that day (DE-FENSE!), or if Ted Stevens manages to get that Presidential signature (Who's your daddy!?!). Wow! Minutes of fun! Sounds just about as lame as Fantasy Fashion. People need to stop treating politics like a game, especially the people we elect.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Global Orgasm for Peace

Count me in:
The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace.


The couple said interest appears strong, with 26,000 hits a day to their Web site,

''The dream is to have everyone in the world (take part),'' Reffell said. ''And if that means laying down your gun for a few minutes, then hey, all the better.''
Sounds like a good idea to me. There's more than one clever pun with "laying down your gun" but I'll leave that alone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Get Out and See the Leonid Meteor Shower

The Leonid meteor shower will be in effect tonight so get and see it if you can. It's predicted to be a good show:
This year, the Earth is passing through a denser-than-usual trail of Tempel-Tuttle debris that should result in high meteor activity, said Brian Marsden, a senior astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge.

The rush of meteors was expected between 11:45 p.m. yesterday [11/17/06] and 1:30 a.m. today [11/18/06]], and during the same times late today [11/18/06] and early tomorrow [11/19/06]. Meteor forecasters were predicting 100 to 200 meteors an hour during the peak, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, based in Cambridge and a Globe columnist.
I generally have bad luck when it comes to viewing meteor showers cursed by cloudy weather. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to sneak a peek. There could be some good stuff tonight:
In North America, for the Maritime Provinces of Canada, New England, eastern New York and Bermuda, the Sickle of Leo (from where the Leonids appear to emanate) will be above the east-northeast horizon just as the shower is due to reach its peak.

But because Leo will be at a much lower altitude compared to Europe, meteor rates correspondingly may be much lower as well.

However, this very special circumstance could lead to the appearance of a few long-trailed Earth-grazing meteors, due to meteoroids that skim along a path nearly parallel to Earth's surface.
Here's hoping.

Man Who Sent Fake Anthrax Out on Bail

I really don't understand how this guy is out on bail and how he's not being tried as a terrorist. And how does an unemployed, 39 year old who's still living with his parents manage to cough up $350K for bail?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Student Tasered at UCLA Library

Being an alumnus of Michigan State University, I can relate to abuse of power by campus police. What happened at UCLA was absolutely horrible. Although not clear from the graphic video below, if it is true that the police tasered the handcuffed suspect, those police should fired and barred from ever "protecting" the public again along with steep jail sentences. Video snippets of police actions don't tell the entire story, so an investigation is most definitely important. The video is pretty revealing though. At no point is it ever clear if the suspect is ever under arrest. But with 4 to 5 officers standing around, they couldn't just carry the guy out?

This whole scenario is just so indicative of the mood, temperment, and politics of today's society. You're either with us or you're against us. What disturbs me the most after the initial melee is the officer at the end of the video when approached by a female who asks for his name and badge number, the officer responds with, "Stand back or you'll get tasered too." The public has a right to ask officer's their information. I don't know if officers have the right to threaten violent force in return.

I find it equally disturbing that the student newspaper's editorial staff printed this letter with this gem out of the letters received (I have no clue how many they actually received. I'm assuming they received at least more than just this letter):
What if this suspect had a gun or biochemical agents such as anthrax?
Yes, because there's been a trend, CIA intelligence, or ever an attempt by slow moving terrorists to target university libraries carrying doses of anthrax around. Wow. Us or them buddy. Just hand over all your civil liberties. I realize now that a person can justify any actions by stating, "He could have had anthrax." It's the new "sprinkle some crack on him". Hell if it works for an entire White House administration, why can't the public use it too? Sick.

UPDATE: UCLA's student paper editors speak out agsinst the police use of force. I'm assuming their decision to print the particular Letter To the Editor I quoted above was their attempt to apear "fair and balanced".

However, I disagree with their decision to print this guy's editorial on the subject when all he's done is watch the video and review the police record. I don't know, it that whole investigative reporting thing or maybe taking into account eye witness reports that make an editorial worth something. Otherwise, you're just blowing smoke, like me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Man arrested for anthrax scare to celebs/politicians

It's terrorism, plain and simple. It's not a hoax, a joke, or simply a threatening letter. This is the definition of terrorism.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A California man suspected of mailing threatening letters containing a suspicious white powder to celebrities and U.S. politicians has been arrested and could face federal charges on Monday, the FBI said.

Investigators identified Chad Castagana, 39, of Woodland Hills, California, as the person suspected of sending more than a dozen threatening letters to media outlets and the homes of public figures in various cities, the FBI said in a statement on Sunday evening.

According to a federal search warrant, among those who received threatening letters were Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show;" talk show host David Letterman; Keith Olbermann of MSNBC; Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, who is set to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, both Democrats.
This guy needs to be tried as a terrorist and sent to Gitmo. Sadly, No! has even more background on this nutjob. Since this different nutjob repeatedly did the online equivalent of shouting "bomb" in an airport is being "charged with making a terrorist threat over the Internet, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and US$250,000 fine," I would think Castagana's alleged direct and targeted actions would garner harsher penalties.

This story might make you wonder about the investigation into the real anthrax attacks on U.S. citizens in 2001. The LA Times reports it's still being worked on by the FBI. The results of which have not been as encouraging as one would hope after 5 years into the investigation.
As the probe enters its sixth year, the FBI is urging patience, and notes that complex investigations often take years to resolve. It has compared the case to the Unabomber investigation, which took 17 years to solve, until the assailant renewed his campaign of terror and a relative turned him in. (emphasis added)
As true as that might be, it's always disheartening to read that investigative police work can't solve the problem but rather the public has to wait for another citizen to crack the case.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Jim Webb Ad

For those who don't know the backstory, Jim Webb wrote an article in 1979 titled "Women Can't Fight". Webb has since apologized for the article and stated that he is comfortable with women in the military.

George Allen, with not much else mud to sling, crafted a commercial with women, who attended the Naval Academy at the publication date of Webb's article, speaking out against Webb. You can view it here. Take note that the women never verbally endorse Allen. One of those women who originally asked Webb to apologize has accepted Webb's apology and now supports and endorses him.

So in Jim Webb's latest ad, as seen above, the public can see that Webb has promoted the female's role in the military since writing that one article nearly 30 years ago. I'm rather curious what George Felix Allen has done for women in the military?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Jesus Camp

I've been hearing a lotf buzz about the new documentary Jesus Camp. I've seen many of the same clips repeated on the news shows and listened to a handful of pundits comment on it while few have actually seen the film. Huffington Post has a post from the two directors about a mini tour they did recently with the release of the film. They also invited along the pastor from the camp and she joined them. I haven't seen the film and I'm holding out judgment not only for the obvious reason that I've yet to view it, but also because I attended a Catholic school for 8 years.

I'm sure if someone decided to film my school for a few select months out the many years I attended it, they could get some pretty funky and confusing footage. Not only that, I try to imagine the spotlight put on some of my grade school friends and interviewing them about something as confusing as faith and religion at such a young age, I know they would have spouted out some ramblimng, regurgitated, preached, oversimplified nonsense. And do they all believe in that same religion taught to them? I can firmly say, "No." And this was a religious school we attended 8 months of the year versus just a camp. Based on first impressions, the news and pundits aren't giving the kids in this film enough credit.

I do plan on seeing the silm and I'd like to see it in a theater, but it's not really being released anywhere near me (find listings here). So I may have to wait till DVD to see, but I might be able to check it out while traveling for work. Regardless, I'll post my review.

Election Time

This is how I feel at election time. I love that Lucy quote:
"Anyone can trust someone who's trustworthy... I'm giving you a chance to trust someone who is NOT trustworthy!"
Do I even need to link a current corruption or scandal story? I think there's enough out there right now that I'll let you pick and choose and conclude which news story best correlates to this comic strip.