From Pine View Farm

June, 2006 archive

Oh, My 0

The court decided they wouldn’t stand for this.


Emus Run Wild in Illinois 0

As Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this up.

Check out my friend Opie’s story about it.


That’s Why They Call Them “Crotch Rockets” 0

A child-welfare worker was clocked at 142 miles an hour on his motorcycle while leading police on a two-state chase, authorities said Thursday.


Aside 0

Opera 9 has been released.

Here’s a screenshot showing two of the new Opera widgets–the Opera clock and the “Touched by the Sky” weather widget.

Opera screenshot


Hypocrisy and the Current Federal Administration 0

I missed this, but Phillybits caught it:

Pointing out that North Korea test firing a missile would end a moratorium in place since 1999 means absoltely nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zero.


Because. The US is about to welch on agreements against landmines.

But, then, we all know that whatever the current Federal Administration does is always right, just because they are doing it, now, don’t we? Because they are always right and never wrong.

Just look at their track record.


Whoops! 0

Optimist that I am, I keep expecting that people remember that the work computer is the work computer and the home computer is the home computer:

Workers at Oregon’s department of revenue have been banned from using their PCs for “non-business” purposes after a porn-hunting employee accidentally downloaded a Trojan which spirited away personal details of over 2,000 taxpayers.


Hysteria with the News 0

Well said, Paul Lewis:

Two seemingly unrelated stories – the flap over Ann Coulter’s characterization of 9/11 widows and the suicide of three Guantanamo Bay detainees – highlight what our linguistically challenged president might call a “misunderestimated” feature of Republican rhetoric: the use of angry ridicule in defense of ruinous policies. With some historians concluding that G.W. Bush has descended to the ranks of our very worst presidents, with more people saying that Republicans have misled the country, we need to focus on how the right sold its flawed initiatives.

Of course, they are just following the leader. Eugene Robinson:

The Decider’s decision to whip up a phony crisis over same-sex marriage — Values under attack! Run for your lives! — is such a transparent ploy that even conservatives are scratching their heads, wondering if this is the best Karl Rove could come up with. Bush might as well open his next presidential address by giving himself a new title: The Distracter.

Chris Satullo:

The only bullets Karl Rove has ever dodged were legal.

Last week, after learning he would avoid indictment for his role in the sliming of an Iraq war critic, Rove had this to say about two men who risked death in service of country, John Murtha and John Kerry:

“Like too many Democrats, it strikes me that they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult they fall back on that party’s pattern of cutting and running.”

In any sentence with the names Kerry, Murtha and Rove, there is only one possible coward. It’s not the Pennsylvania congressman nor the Massachusetts senator.The only combat for which Rove ever volunteered was political. In that realm, he’s mastered the coward’s way, the sly attack from the hidden place, the anonymous flier full of innuendo, the invective by surrogates, the timely leak to the friendly writer. The shiv goes in the back, but the fingerprints are smudged.

Of course, this is a tactic the right-wing follows pretty coherently, as opposed to incoherence of the center and left. David Broder:

Judging from the amount of publicity they gleaned, the liberal bloggers who gathered in Las Vegas recently for the first annual YearlyKos convention represent the cutting edge of thinking in the Democratic Party.

But the blogs I have scanned are heavier on vituperation of President Bush and other targets than on creative thought. The candidates who have been adopted as heroes by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the convention’s leader, and his fellow bloggers have mainly imploded in the heat of battle — as was the case with Howard Dean in 2004 — or come up short, as happened to the Democratic challengers in special House elections in Ohio and California.

Fortunately, there are others than these “net roots” activists working on the challenge of defining the Democratic message. I do not include the Democratic congressional leadership in the hopeful camp. The new legislative “agenda” that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week was as meager as it was unimaginative.

Of course, I have often observed that persons in error proceed with certainty into deeper error, while those who recognize the error are uncertain as to how to correct it.

Mistakes become obvious while things are still in process; successes often aren’t recognized until processes complete.



Gun Nuts on Parade 6

I will preface this by saying I have a gun and, when I’m in practice, I’m a pretty damned good shot. Guns don’t scare me, but gun nuts do, because they don’t just like guns, they idolize them. And that’s just plain spooky.

From U. S. Newswire, from a press release from the Second Amendment Foundation (okay, they haven’t fallen as completely off the map as the National Rifle Association, I will grant them that).

The U.N. Conference on Global Gun Control, scheduled June 24- July 7, poses a direct threat to our constitutionally-protected individual right to keep and bear arms, said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). Gottlieb will attend the conference, but he suggests that this may be an opportune time for Congress and the White House to reconsider this nation’s level of financial support for an international organization that now wants to write a treaty that specifically attacks a cornerstone of our federal constitution, and the lynchpin to our liberty.

More lies. The facts are here:

The UN Programme of Action is focused on the illicit trade in SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons–ed.). The programme was agreed to in 2001 by the 191 Member States of the General Assembly including the Permanent members of the Security Council. They committed to collecting and destroying illegal weapons, adopting and/or improving national legislation that would help criminalize the illicit trade in small arms, regulating the activities of brokers, and setting strict import and export controls.

But it’s typical of what I spoke about here: the Big Lie. And folks who chose not to think critically will, no doubt, buy it.

Consider what the inventer of the Kalashnikov has to say about his invention. This is the stuff the conference is about, not whether some old American guy can go target shooting with his Glock.

“Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens I ask myself the same question: How did it get into their hands?” the 86-year-old Russian gun maker said.

“I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?” he said.


The Post Has This One Right 0

The detention policies of the current Federal Administration dishonor it, dishonor us, dishonor the blood and ideals of the founders, and dishonor the sacrifices and ideals of our soldiers:

This political and administrative mess stems directly from Mr. Bush’s decision in the weeks after Sept. 11 to take extraordinary measures against terrorism through the assertion of presidential power, rather than through legislation, court action or diplomacy. His intent was to exclude Congress, the courts and other governments from influencing or even monitoring how foreign detainees were treated. Senior officials, led by Vice President Cheney, argued that this policy would give the administration the flexibility it needed to fight the war effectively. Instead it has done the opposite: Mr. Bush’s policies have deeply tarnished U.S. prestige abroad, inhibited cooperation with allies and prevented justice for al-Qaeda.


Ad Hominem 0

An acquaintance of mine is upset tonight.

One of her co-workers sent her an email that was apparently an amagram of this and this.

Both of these are examples of the tactics of the current Federal Administration and their sycophants: the Big Lie. If they cannot or dare not respond to the message, they attack the messenger.

What a nice example they set for our progeny.


Don’t Mess with Jack 0

This is one cool cat.


Ten Things Bush Has Done Right 0

Found on the internet:

Ten things bush has done right

1) He has united the country – against him.

2) He has united the whole world – against him.

3) He is engineering the defeat of the whole GOP agenda.

4) He has shown the GOP “states rights” to be a mockery.

5) He has ended the political ambitions of anyone related to him.

6) He has ended the military support of all things Republican.

7) He has ended the presidential ambitions of Texas Republicans.

8) He has ended GOP efforts to privatize Social Security.

9) He has exposed the sham of “fiscal conservatism”

10) His legacy – the “Bridge To Nowhere”


A Day in the Life of a Bot Master 0

I’ve written before about botnets.

This article brings them to life in a truly scary way.

Now, with the smoke of his day’s first Marlboro curling across the living room of his parents’ brick rambler, the hacker known online as “0x80” (pronounced X-eighty) plops his wiry frame into a tan, weathered couch, sets his new laptop on the coffee table and punches in a series of commands. At his behest, the commandeered PCs will begin downloading and installing software that will bombard their users with advertisements for pornographic Web sites. After the installation, 0x80 orders the machines to search the Internet for other potential victims.


Flag Day U. S. A. 2

Wave ’em if you got ’em.

Homework: Read the Constitution of the United States of America. (It’s short–you can finish it in less time than it takes to listen to the evening news.)

There will be a Blue Book exam on November 7th.


Desecration for a Dollar 0

Nothing funny here, no cutesy-poo or neat little twists.

This is just horrible beyond words.

This contributes to it.


Who Woulda Thunk? 2

A lawsuit that busts through stereotypes:

Alyse claims that her generous breast size got her fired from the cast of “Movin’ Out,” the Broadway show choreographed by Twyla Tharp to songs by Billy Joel. Alyse was an ensemble dancer in the national tour until her bra size “naturally increased” from a C cup to a D, according to her lawsuit against the production company. The growth spurt happened while she was on leave last year with an injured big toe; the 29-year-old says she neither gained weight nor got implants. When she returned to the show, she needed new bras sewn into her costumes, and for this, she alleges in her 42-page complaint, she was sexually harassed, verbally abused and wrongfully dismissed.

All snickering aside, I do know quite a bit about EEO laws, and EEO laws state that, if someone can do the job, he or she should have the job. They do make exception for situations where someone’s sex (not gender, dammit–words have gender, people have sex) makes a difference–that’s why Hooters can get away with hiring only persons with–er–hooters.

It should be interesting how this suit proceeds. It seems to me, speaking as someone who is definitely not a lawyer, that the plaintiff has a pretty good chance.

If not, she should have a pretty good chance. If she can still dance, it’s a damned stupid and petty reason for firing her.

Then again, my one son acts, and he will freely tell you that theatre people are wierd. And I know from observation they can be damned stupid and petty.

Just like the rest of us at times, I guess.


Lies, Damned Lies, and Creationism 2

Judge Jones, of the Dover, Pa., creationism case, has been speaking out on the role of the legal system under the rule of law. From the local rag:

Jones had anticipated he would be targeted by hard-line conservatives after concluding that teaching intelligent design in public schools as an alternative to evolution was unconstitutional.

But he was surprised by how ignorant some of his critics were, in his view, about the Constitution and the separation of powers among the three branches of government.

Jones said he had no agenda regarding intelligent design but, rather, was taking advantage of the worldwide interest in the case to talk about constitutional issues important to him.

“I’ve found a message that resonates,” he said. “It’s a bit of a civics lesson, but it’s a point that needs to be made: that judges don’t act according to bias or political agenda.”

One particularly strident commentary piece by conservative columnist Phyllis Schlafly, published a week after the ruling, really set Jones off.

Schlafly wrote that Jones, a career Republican appointed to the federal bench by President Bush in 2002, wouldn’t be a judge if not for the “millions of evangelical Christians” who supported Bush in 2000. His ruling, she wrote, “stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.”

“The implication was that I should throw one for the home team,” Jones said. “There were people who said during trial they could not accept, and did not anticipate, that a Republican judge appointed by a Republican president could do anything other than rule in the favor of the defendants.”

And Case Western Reserver University Professor Patricia J. Princehouse speaks on science:

People ask me, Why pour so much energy into protecting science education? Why not fight for literacy generally or any of a thousand other educational issues? I have two answers. One is easy: I know about evolution, so it makes sense that I would work on what I know best. The second is harder to grasp. And that is that freedom of religion is the bedrock foundation of liberty in this country. If we allow certain special-interest religious groups to co-opt the public school science classroom, to use it as a vehicle for converting children to religious views their parents don’t hold, if we allow them to spout outright lies about the nature and content of science, what do we really have left? If you can lie about science and get away with it, you can lie about anything.


Neat New Word 0

Well, not new, but new to me.

“Scotomisation” is the psychological tendency in people to see what they want to see and not see what they don’t want to see – in situations, in themselves, in anything, even in a painting – due to the psychological impact that seeing (or not seeing) would inflict.

El Reg tracked it down from an occurence the The Da Vinci Code movie.

We sure got a lot of it in our politics.


Bad Move 1

It’s not good to try to bargain with the Creator:

A man in Ukraine set out to prove that the Lord would protect him when he clambered into the lion enclosure at a Kiev zoo Sunday, The St Petersburg Times reports.

An official at the zoo said: “The man shouted ‘God will save me, if he exists’, lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions.”


Bigotry on the March 0

We are going to see more of this, as the right-wing’s xenophobic rhetoric escalates, and, no doubt, they will see no connection between conduct like this and news stories like the one below:

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned a two-count indictment Wednesday which was unsealed late Thursday, charging three men with violations of federal civil rights laws in connection with alleged attacks on two individuals, a Mexican-American male and an individual of Native-American heritage. The indictment alleges the attacks took place in furtherance of a conspiracy to make “non-white” residents afraid to appear in public, live or work in Salt Lake City.


In furtherance of the objectives of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges that on Dec. 31, 2002, Walker, Massey and Egbert assaulted a Mexican-American male in a Salt Lake City bar because of his national origin causing bodily injury.

The indictment also alleges that Massey and another person threatened and assaulted an individual of Native-American heritage on March 15, 2003, outside another Salt Lake City bar.