Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chamber of Whores

GRIT TV has put together a damning behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that details from where the money comes, and to what the money goes.

If you think the U.S. Chamber in any way aligns with the mission of your local Chamber of Commerce, prepare to be shocked.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eight False Things The Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day

Baffled as to why these misperceptions still exist.

Could someone please tell journalists to write 1000 words on reality. I realize this might be more difficult than simply cutting and pasting press releases from the GOP, and columnists might not get invited to the cool parties anymore, but for crying out loud.

On a positive note, I'll bet half of Americans can name eight contestants on Dancing With The Stars.

Flood of Opaque Funding Drowning Democracy

The Citizens United decision was terrible on several levels. We're already seeing the effects of torrential special interest money cascading through this election cycle. I just want to veg out and watch an hour of television, but that means sitting through a monsoon of campaign ads full of lies, half-truths, selective interpretations, and negativity. I can't do it.

Money rules politics and government. It always has, and it always will. The system is engineered to ensure that never changes. I get it.

Thankfully, there are still a couple of folks who believe in transparency. Will Tom Perriello win? No idea. But I'm glad he's fighting the good fight.

Wikileaks and War

It's really lousy that a lone, low-ranking military intelligence operative could violate his oath and our morality by leaking hundreds of thousands of electronic documents gathered during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That said, if the press corp was doing its job, and our government could tell the truth and maintain some sort of temerity to stick to American values and traditions, Wikileaks would be irrelevant.

We reap what we sow sometimes. Let the outrage begin.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Stop - Vader Time

Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm gonna put two hotels on that dinosaur, then sit back and watch the loaves and fishes roll in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Six Steps to Suicide

This is a fascinating piece in Scientific American about the six primary steps in the escape theory that culminates in probable suicide when all the criteria are met.

In considering people’s motivations for killing themselves, it is essential to recognize that most suicides are driven by a flash flood of strong emotions, not rational, philosophical thoughts in which the pros and cons are evaluated critically. And, as I mentioned in last week’s column on the evolutionary biology of suicide, from a psychological science perspective, I don’t think any scholar ever captured the suicidal mind better than Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister in his 1990 Psychological Review article , “Suicide as Escape from the Self.” To reiterate, I see Baumeister’s cognitive rubric as the engine of emotions driving deCatanzaro’s biologically adaptive suicidal decision-making. There are certainly more recent theoretical models of suicide than Baumeister’s, but none in my opinion are an improvement. The author gives us a uniquely detailed glimpse into the intolerable and relentlessly egocentric tunnel vision that is experienced by a genuinely suicidal person.

James Harrison Has Sand In His Panties

Hey, James Harrison. The rules apply to you, too.

As much as I love Steelers football, either be a professional or retire already.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Condom Bagpipe

Is this necessary?

On a side note, I practiced safe sax in high school. Alto.

Gays in Space

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh Java, Why Do You Hate Us?

Brian Krebs, writing in his Krebs on Security blog, comments on reports from Microsoft that the number of attacks against Java vulnerabilities has overtaken attacks against Adobe products. Adobe is obviously breathing a sigh of relief.

Says Krebs:

My research shows the reason for the spike, and it precedes the 3rd quarter of 2010: Java exploits have been folded into a number of the top “exploit packs,” commercial crimeware kits sold in the hacker underground that make it simple to seed hacked or malicious sites with code that exploits a variety of browser flaws in a bid to install malware.

All automation, all the time. Point and click assaults on known threat vectors. If you install it, they will come.

I'm less concerned because I run Linux boxes, but I still exercise caution with the Java in my environment. Relying on Java's auto-update feature has proven woefully inadequate.

Krebs has previously recommended removing Java from your machine if possible, but it's so intertwined with browsers and third-party apps that successfully getting Java off and keeping it off is a Herculean task.

Obama Opera?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tea Bagger Welfare

Love Matt Taibbi:

But these Tea Partyers make themselves fair game with their preposterous absolutist stance on government. If you call Obamacare radical socialism and unemployment insurance a parasitic welfare state program—well, guess what, asshole, you’re going to get rung up when we find out you had your whole family living off state medical aid and farm subsidies.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unemployment Musical Chairs

Gin and Tacos has a plaintive piece on the absolute futility of expecting either party to solve the unemployment dilemma via more magical "job retraining" programs:

The problem, of course, is that we can retrain people until the cows come home and it won't matter because the jobs aren't there. We keep adding more people to the game of musical chairs, and if the number of chairs doesn't increase it really doesn't matter how quick the players are. So when the White House announces the thousandth "job training initiative" of the last 20 years in response to the current levels of unemployment it is hard not to laugh. Retraining for what? The stated goal is to match the unemployed with the needs of the major companies behind the plans, including Gap and McDonald's. It's sad that people need to be retrained to reach the level of competence necessary to fold sweaters at Old Navy or supervise high schoolers at McDonald's. Anyone else wonder if the difficulty in filling those positions, if indeed there is any, has anything to do with the fact that an adult can't live off of the money they're paying? Can't quite "retrain" ourselves around that problem, can we.

No, we can't.