Friday, October 13, 2006

Black Box Voting

I had the pleasure of listening to my favorite radio show on the way into work this morning and they interviewed Bev Harris from BlackBoxVoting.org. Morse posted a bit on problems with the Diebold voting machine a while back, but according to Bev the problems go much, much deeper.

Did you know that:
22,000 defective Diebold voting machines were sent to Georgia in 2002?
a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina?
a cell phone was used to transfer a vote database in Marin County, California?

Neither did I.

In her book and on the site she discusses ways in which voting machines (computerized or mechanical) can be hacked. The source code on the Diebold voting machines is open source. While that's not a bad thing in and of itself it does mean that people interested in exploiting the weaknesses therein can do so more easily. The good thing is that since that's a known quantity things can be done to help ensure that vote rigging is at least hard to get away with.

So what can we do? BBV.org covers that in quite some detail. Warning, it does require some work on our part. If you're interested you can download what they call the Citizens Tool Kit. It's an extensive document consisting of twenty modules. Each is self contained and they encourage you to just pick one and run with it. To look at each module separately you can look here. The complete book, BLACK BOX VOTING: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century, is also there so that you can download it and find out why this is so important.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spat-tastic

Posted by codemorse

From MSNBC:

Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday accused former President Clinton, the husband of his potential 2008 White House rival, of failing to act in the 1990s to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.

"I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard.

McCain's criticism elicited a strong response from Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee and a potential 2008 candidate....

"The truth is the Clinton administration knew full well they didn't have a perfect agreement. But at least they were talking. At least we had inspectors going in and we knew where the (nuclear fuel) rods were. This way, we don't know where the rods are, the rods are gone. There are no inspectors. Ask any American which way is better," Kerry said.



Well, don't ask any American. Ask Americans who can find their own home state on a map - which was, at last count, just about 70% of the country.

The way in which the Republicans have shifted all blame for failure at the feet of a past administration is not only disingenuous, but vaguely pathetic. Imagine this back and forth over foriegn policy as a domestic dispute:

Wife: "You haven't taken the garbage to the curb in six months! The rats have overrun our yard, our garden is totally destroyed because of dogs and raccoons rooting through our trash bags at night, the smell is stinking up the house, and all the neighbors are complaining!"

Husband: "Don't blame ME for the trash! Eight years ago, when you were in charge of the trash, you failed to put together a comprehensive plan for taking it out! Who knew that there would be so much trash each week? Who knew that I'd have to tie the bags, take them outside, place them on the curb in trash cans, and cover them with lids? Clearly, this is your fault!"

Wife: "But that's insane."

Husband: "What's insane is your failure to come up with a far-reaching, totally effective garbage-hauling policy. Maybe, if you'd dealt a little more proactively with the garbage men, they wouldn't refuse to come into our house each week and remove the trash for us!"

Wife: "Even if that's true, wouldn't it make our lives and our relationship a lot easier if you'd stop blaming me for your every failing and just started taking out the trash again?"

Husband: "What trash? I don't see any trash. I intend to pursue diplomatic relations with the garbage men in order to insure that perhaps, someday, they will realize their responsibility to come and take the trash for us."

Wife: "I'm sleeping with your best friend."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Livin' It (And By "It," We Mean "A Ridiculously Polarized Form Of Religion That Ironically Mimics Radical Muslims")

Posted by codemorse

From Salon.com:

Baldwin preaches that free will is a lie of Satan -- we must shut off our brains, he says, and be led by what God tells our hearts. Furthermore, he writes, efforts to end global poverty and violence are just the sort of "stupid arrogance" that incur God's wrath, which we'll be feeling any day now in the coming apocalypse....

"I am smart enough to know that Satan is alive and well today," he writes. "Satan has all kinds of power, and he is able to control the minds of anyone whose mind isn't controlled by God."

....All of this might seem like the easily ignorable ravings of a Hollywood has-been if the book wasn't climbing bestseller lists. Baldwin writes that "God has called me to go and make disciples of the youth of America.

That is what I am going to try to do, and if you try to stop me I am going to break your face."


Boo-ya, Baldwin!

Do you hear that, unbelieving sinners? Baldwin is going to BREAK YOUR FACE if you try to stop him from converting the youth of America to Jesus Christ's philosophy of unconditional love!

In! Your! Face! Satan!

There's a popular movement to transform Christ into a figure of righteous anger and vengeance - based almost entirely on the book of Revelation. It's striking, and telling, that a spiritually-questionable and ultimately-unimportant book of the Bible has become the whole of the Bible for so many people. It's as if all that stuff about lovin' thy brother is just too much work.

the actor travels as a headline act with a group of skateboarders who provide entertainment, authenticity and conversion stories at "radical" revivals. The Livin It tour drew an audience of over a million in 2005, selling out stadiums from Atlanta to Kingston, Jamaica. At the Minneapolis Metrodome, the tour packed in 40,000 people in a single evening; the wait for an autograph after the "altar call" lasted three and a half hours. (Last year's X Games drew only 16,000 to a skateboarding competition.)

Ryan Dobson receives a shout-out in Baldwin's book as a messenger for "Homey," as Baldwin calls God. In Dobson's book "Be Intolerant," he rails against relativism, homosexuals, environmentalists and "inclusive, open-minded Christians," charging his readers to "get your armor on and take up your cross."

He knows just how to instill pride in the heart of his father. "I bleed conservatism, Dobson told me when I met him at a Christian publishing convention in Denver last year, crossing his ornately inked arms over a T-shirt that says, "Jesus Loves My Tattoos." "I see conservatives like me everywhere, at hot rod shows in Vegas, surfing top breaks on the coast, crazy motocross freaks like me living for Jesus. We know we're right, we have the power of the truth behind us.

And because of that, I see cities on fire."


Here we have what amounts to a near-perfect illustration of the differences between moderate faith and 'radical' faith. A thinking man will see that there is no fundamental difference between the rhetoric that Baldwin preaches and the rhetoric of radical Muslim fundamentalists. Both philosophies rely upon the assumption that the world is a damned and unholy place - and that only by cleansing it of the unbelievers will we earn God's love/respect/milk-and-cookies.

Were a Muslim to speak out that his faith knows "we're right, we have the power of the truth behind us. And because of that, i see cities on fire," what do you suppose the reaction might be?

Do you think the irony of Baldwin's conversion happening as a result of 9-11 resonates at all with the man himself? Do you think that he understands how an act of ignorant and violent radicalism has made him ignorant, violent and radical?

I'd guess not. To Baldwin, his brand of homo-hatin', God-as-homeboy Christianity is just plain radical, dude. Tubular.

In Fourteen-Hundred And Ninety-Two...

Posted by codemorse

...Columbus opened up the Americas to trade, colonization, uniquely European barbarism, slavery, and the near-devastation of indigenous peoples.

It's not quite as catchy as "...Columbus sailed the ocean blue," but it is just as accurate.

Students of history that goes beyond that famous schoolyard catechism know that Columbus did not "discover" America. That honor goes to the Vikings - if not older civilizations. Nor did Columbus discover "America" as we know it. He discovered the Indies.

He also implemented a reign of cruelty that left the native population enslaved, crippled by disease, and wondering what the hell they'd done to deserve it.

So, of course, we've dedicated a national holiday to him.

Like most national holidays, we spend this one shopping. And unlike most holidays, that somehow seems deeply appropriate. Columbus brought an already-ancient tradition of exploitation to the Americas, and we're proudly continuing that tradition in modern times.

When you're out today buying packs of tube socks for a $1.99, give a thought to Christopher Columbus. Without his foresight and his ingenuity, would we truly understand the joy inherent in the ravaging of the less "civilized" for our own benefit?

Probably.

Happy Columbus Day.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jack's Back

Posted by codemorse

You and everyone you know watched the season premiere of Lost last night.

And you loved it.

I know I did.

Fishbiscuits! The Others - fans of Stephen King! Jack's best flashback yet! Brunch on the beach! "Then you don't get any coffee." The Dharma aquarium! "I'll kill her!" "...Okay."

Discuss the show's opener in the comments section! And check out this link on YouTube - a video pieced together from all the random portions of the "Lost Experience" game they ran this summer. Since we have lives, we weren't able to play along. Instead, we get to jump on the bandwagon at the end and reap the sweet rewards of other people's hard work. I should warn you that the video appears to explain the purpose/existence of Dharma and the Numbers. I've no idea if they'll explain these things in the show itself. If you want to remain unspoiled, don't watch it.


P.S. - My girl is an enormous Grey's Anatomy fan (and so is your girlfriend/wife/sister/mother, probably). It's her favorite show. As a result, I'll be voluntarily skipping the season of "Supernatural," which is in my top three (along with Lost and Battlestar). If anyone knows where I can get the episodes online, I'd appreciate a heads-up.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our Country Has Gone Insane

Posted by codemorse

I ain't no doctor, but I've been curing what ails ya' for over a year now and I can confirm the veracity of my diagnosis - our country is drunk-on-the-dark-blood-of-kali INSANE right now.

In the wake of Rep. Foley's and the GOP's youngboyapalooza, people have been justifiably venting their anger and bewilderment - not simply over the behavior of a grown man seducing teenagers, but over the clear and willfull efforts of GOP members to cover up for him and then to play down that cover up.

But that's the good news - people should be good and riled up over this.

Here's the part that tells us how insane America is right now:

I want to see a full investigation into this and do not want to blame anyone (Hastert or whoever) until we know who knew what when. But in any event, I have to say that I am ashamed of my party today (yes, I am a Republican). At worst, they knew about this, and at best, they had enough clues to investigation. That anyone would have an inkling of this and do nothing is just disheartening. I think I am sitting this next election out. I won't vote for democrats, but can't vote for republicans right now. Gross. -Mary P.


Yes, apparently pedophilia has convinced "Mary P." that the republican party is, momentarily, as bad as the Democrats. Not worse, mind you. Were that the case, perhaps Mary could put aside her partisanship to consider individual candidates based on, say, merit.

But no. Apparently this scandal is cause to just...stop voting.

That's insane.

I don't mean that in the hyperbolic, ha-ha funny way. I mean that in the "these people have voluntarily lobotomized themselves" kind of way.

Let's take a deep breath and deal with a little something that I like to call "reality." Some folks may not recognize that word right away, considering that we've learned to live without it over the past few years. Still, "reality" remains important, and something that should - from time to time - be examined. So, let's focus on certain realities by answering some comments from Average Joes and Janes on this whole unfortunate mess:

Why is ABC News, and Brian Ross specifically, drip drip dripping these IMs so slowly? This is why people think this is more about politics than the public's need to know. These are all IMs between Foley and the same 2 pages but, for some reason, it has taken 5 days, so far, for ABC News to leak this out? Why not release it ALL at once? Why is ABC intentionally dragging it out so that they have a BREAKING NEWS headline everyday? JUST RELEASE IT ALL! Or is this all simply for ratings?? -Christine

I'm going to assume that Christine isn't being witheringly rhetorical here and treat her question as sincere. I'm also going to refrain from being witheringly condescending. Is ABC News' "drip drip dripping" of these IMs "simply for the ratings"?

Does a Grizzly defecate in the woodland?

There's an ugly sheen to Christine's question which goes unspoken. It speaks to how these creepy IMs allow us to indulge our fascination for the forbidden (something that Rep. Foley now stands publically accused of) without getting in trouble for it. Who cares how many of these things ABC has? Isn't one creepy/kinky IM exchange enough for Christine?

Apparently not. She displays the sort of impatience that fans of 'Lost' tend to show between episodes. When is the next installment coming? What happens next? How dare they withhold entertainment for political purposes!

...only this isn't entertainment. If ABC's drip-drip approach to IM release offends you then don't pay attention to it. I needed to read only one page of Foley's IM exchanges to know that I'd never, ever, need to read any more.

i am wondering who has also endangered these kids. Ross is saying he had the emails back in AUGUST! Several FL newspapers had the bad on Foley as well back then. Foley is not to be excused one bit, but looks like this was also a nicely conducted Oct political surprise that was surpressed! what about that, aren't these people also endangering kids if they knew earlier as well? My guess dems/liberals are giddy as a school boy page over this now! Politics have been played over this at the expense of getting FOley out and away from male pages by all parties!


While there's a point to be made here about making sure that it isn't simply the GOP who's blindly savaged by this scandal (if there were democrats that knew then they should be removed from office. Immediately.), it's kind of overshadowed by the shock this person displays over the withholding of personal information for political gain.

And here I thought that the "October Surprise" was something Republicans looked forward to - like Christmas or a new war. Evidently, that's the case only when that "Surprise" is something they can control.

Where was the Republican outrage over Rove's recent comment that there was an October Surprise coming to help win the elections?

I'm not sure how you don't politicize something like this. Or, more accurately, how you go about even beginning to try and correct something this distasteful without being accusing of "politicizing" things. The man held a public office and is (in theory) accountable to the people. People therefore have the right to know that he's betrayed their trust.

More importantly, we have the right to know if our representatives are covering up for illegal activities.

Most interesting to me is how several conservatives have implied that they hadn't wanted to let this information go public for fear of "Gay-bashing," which would be hilarious if it weren't so straight-faced.

The same party that wants to remove the rights of gays to marry and openly calls them an abomination in the eyes of God - indeed, a threat to our American way of life - is suddenly concerned about "gay-bashing"?

Dudes...I hate to be the one to tell you this...but you ran the last election on a big ol' plank of gay-bashing rhetoric.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gadget of the Week - Keyboard Pr0n

posted by Scott Roche



This is probably the sexiest keyboard I've ever seen. Okay so that's not really saying much, but it's pretty dang cool. It's the Logitech DiNovo Edge Bluetooth Keyboard. It's a mix of black plexiglass, brushed aluminum, and hi-tech. The round thing is a "touch disk" and above that is a volume slider and some zoom keys. When you hold down the FN key, orange backlights above the top row of keys give you secondary commands.

Computers that already have built in Bluetooth don't need any connection and if you aren't blest by the BT gods then a little micro-receiver plugs into your USB port. Using Bluetooth gives the keyboard greater range so you can control your media center from across your spacious home theater setup. And that stand it's in is the charger. Don't worry two hours of charge time gives you two months of usage.

All this sexiness will be available next month for just $200.

From Geekzone

Abramoff - Lobbyist, Criminal...Psychic?

Posted by codemorse

From DailyKos:

Newly-disclosed e-mails from the Minority Chair of the House Government Reform Committee Henry Waxman provide new areas of insight into Jack Abramoff's closeness to the Bush administration. Most shocking of all (at least of those I've been able to read so far) is that Abramoff off-handedly mentions "the upcoming war in Iraq." The date--March, 2002:

"I was sitting yesterday with Karl Rove, Bush's top advisor, at the NCAA basketball game, discussing Israel when this email came in. I showed it to him. It seems that the President was very sad to have to come out negatively regarding Israel, but that they needed to mollify the Arabs for the upcoming war on Iraq."


As is pointed out in the linked article, this email was sent just about a year before there was a war in Iraq - seven months before Congress authorized the President to go to war.

This email was written four days before the "Downing Street Memo," while President Bush was still claiming that we wanted to pursue a variety of options to war.

This is significant, because in March of 2002, many citizens already believed that the U.S. was committed to the Iraq invasion, and were opposed to the invasion on a number of substantially-factual, reasonable grounds.

When we expressed our concern over the apparent craving for war, we were called unpatriotic and anti-American. We were accused of aiding the enemy.

And we were, apparently, right.

Which begs the question, considering that our war has increased the global threat of terrorism...Just who was aiding the enemy again?

I'm Leavin' On A Jet Plane - Don't Know If I'll Be Searched Again

Posted by codemorse

Thanks to Scott, I've been pointed toward this gem of an article on CNN. Since 9/11 I haven't traveled much by airplane, and it isn't because I'm scared of dying in a terrorist attack (I'd have more luck accidentally drowning in my bathtub, according to all available statistics). It's because flying has become the equivalent of a Prison-themed carnival attraction.

"Experience what it's like to feel guilty until proven innocent!"

"Have your cavities searched!"

"Be treated as though you must earn the right to call yourself a human being!"

It's "Terrorists of the Carribean," and we're the attendees.

From CNN.com:

A Wisconsin man [Ryan Bird] who wrote "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on a plastic bag containing toiletries said he was detained at an airport security checkpoint for about 25 minutes before authorities concluded the statement was not a threat.

....A TSA screener saw the bag and went to get a supervisor, who grabbed it and asked Bird if it was his.

...."It was obvious that he was already angry," Bird said, adding that the screener told him, "You can't write things like that."

The supervisor told Bird he had the right to express his opinions "out there" -- pointing outside the screening area -- but did not have the right "in here," Bird said.

...."My level of frustration with the TSA and their idiotic policies has grown over 2 ½ years," he said. "I'm frustrated that poorly trained TSA people can pull random passengers out of line and pat them down like common criminals. The average traveler has no recourse."


Damn straight.

On every trip I've taken post-9/11 I've been specially flagged for 'screenings.' I am taken to a holding area and made to remove shoes, belt, and sometimes my pants (luckily, I've not yet been strip-searched - unlike others I know). These 'random' searches have succeeded in singling me out each and every time.

Which tells me one of two things:

Either the very 'randomness' of these things is off, or I'm on some sort of 'flagged passenger' list. I have never committed a felony. I pay my taxes on time. And the full measure of my political extremism is this blog.

Yet on six different trips (both coming and going) I've been treated, as Bird says, like a common criminal.

And that's both humiliating and anger-inducing.

Foley Ickiness, Batman!

Posted by codemorse

By now, everyone and their mother has heard about Rep. Foley's unsavory communications with an underage D.C. staffer.

I can't contribute anything substantial to the discussion of the 'crime' itself (and is it a crime when no actual contact may have taken place?), so instead I'll make one comment about the way we've recieved and treated this disturbing information about Mr. Foley.

If it is wrong/distasteful/some sort of crime to communicate with an underage boy in the manner that Mr. Foley communicated, why is it not wrong/distasteful/some sort of crime to reproduce those conversations for a general audience to read and gossip over (as we're doing right now)?

Why is it wrong to write what Mr. Foley apparently wrote, but not wrong to consciously choose to read it?

I ask, because on ABC news you can pick up a transcript of one of Mr. Foley's conversations with this mysterious boy-staffer. You can read exactly what was written by Foley, and what was responded to by the boy in question.

How is that, in any substantial way, any less of a questionable activity than writing it is?

What Mr. Foley wrote may, in some sense, be a crime. If Foley had physical contact with underage boys then it's definately a crime.

But what ABC news is peddling is underage pornography - and the last time I checked, that was definately a no-no.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bad Bug...

posted by Scott Roche

I just did hear about a rather nasty bug that some websites are using to download malware and adware. It exploits something that IE uses to display certain vector graphics. That functionality isn't taken advantage of by very many legit sites yet, but as always the cracker community is eager to do whatever necessary to make some cash. It's particularly bad because it doesn't actually require you to download anything and it all happens pretty invisibly.

Thankfully there's a patch out now:
You should run Windows Update to obtain the patch, reboot your machine as Windows Update will require, then re-register the VGX.DLL file if you had previously unregistered it, since Windows Update does not automatically re-register the previously vulnerable DLL file. (See instructions for re-registering the previously vulnerable DLL here.)

You can then verify that your system is no longer vulnerable by displaying this benign VML vulnerability test page, which will use VML to display two red star filled rectangles:

http://www.isotf.org/zert/testvml.htm

If the DLL is NOT re-registered, you will see a blank space instead of the red-filled rectangles. If the DLL is still vulnerable (the patch didn't "take"), your browser will crash harmlessly.


Courtesy of the Security Now podcast #58

Go do it and don't wait.

NY Post Giggles Over White Powder - Then Goes Back To Snorting It

Posted by codemorse

Sometimes, the "Right Wing" gets me so fucking angry.

Apparently Keith Olbermann, who's a talking-head (and one of the few "liberal" talking heads at that), recieved an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter this week.

Here's how the 'venerable' NY Post characterized the event:

MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out.

A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing.

....preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known.

Tee hee!

And here's 'The Radio Equalizer"'s comment on the subject:

What about a teddy bear? Did he ask for one of those? For police, the toughest question may be in attempting to determine who is the bigger nutcase here: the sender, or the recipient?


Are you kidding me? Ten bucks says that if The Equalizer had opened that envelope he'd have soiled his underwear. Twice. Back and front.

Talk about cowardly hypocrisy...The same people who whine about the necessity of ever-increasing security measures and the ever-scarier danger of terrorism want to pretend like Mr. Olbermann is some sort of sissy for being tested for contamination.

Let's call a spade a spade - The letter wasn't from a brown-skinned man. It didn't proclaim "Death to the West," and so it has no significance to these people. If it's not a Muslim threat, then it's not a serious threat, apparently.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Poseidon

Posted by codemorse

From CNN:

A leading opera house called off a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that features the severed head of the Prophet Mohammed, setting off a furious debate Tuesday over Islam, freedom of speech and the role of art.

....Kirsten Harms, director of Berlin's Deutsche Oper, announced "with great regret" that she had decided to cancel the three year old production after state security officials warned it could provoke dangerous reactions in the current politically charged climate.

After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over a scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha.

....The leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the move, saying a depiction of Mohammed with a severed head "could certainly offend Muslims."

But in an interview with German radio, Ali Kizilkaya added: "I think it is horrible that one has to be afraid ... That is not the right way to open dialogue."


Right on, Ali. Let's check in with that handy definition of 'terrorism' again, shall we?

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.


In a war against something as amorphous and as sinister as an idea, we've handed our enemies victory when we succumb to fear. I'm Christian, and the notion of the "severed head of Jesus" doesn't offend me at all. Do you know why? Because I'm a rational Christian.

I understand that art's primary function is to comment on life. And religion is a part of life. In life, and in a free society, we will be exposed to art we disagree with; art that makes us profoundly uncomfortable. But in that situation, we have choices. We can confront our feelings and the art in question by reflecting on it rationally and emotionally. We can walk out of the Opera house when we're offended and "vote" our opinion with our feet and our wallets. We can do violence to the people who make art.

Or we can become so afraid of violence that we stop making art that means anything. We can convince ourselves that the threat to security is far moree important than some stupid Opera.

And when we've done that - when we've removed everything 'offensive' from display and replaced it with banal and safe pageantry - then the terrorists will have won.

And we'll have fought their battle for them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Dramatization. Do Not Attempt"

Posted by codemorse

If you've watched a television commercial in the past five years, you probably recognize the title of this post. "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt" is usually printed in small white-colored words at the bottom of the television screen during 'kooky' and usually seemingly-dangerous physical stunts.

It's essentially a way for companies to cover their ass(et)es. If they display those words, then they can't be held responsible when some idiot decides that driving his SUV through the swamp at speeds of 100 mph seems like a cool idea.

But enough is enough.

During the premiere of "Heroes" (good, not great - but eminently watchable), Nissan unveiled the 'Versa' automobile. It's designed, apparently, to give you more space. During the first minute of the ad, those familiar words ran constantly at the bottom of the screen: "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt."

And what was it that we, the audience, were being warned not to attempt? Apparently, we were being warned not to bite our steering wheels comedically. Or to look frustrated while in the driver's seat of our car. Because that's literally all the commercial showed: A bunch of people looking upset/frustrated/cramped in their 'tiny' cars.

Maybe I'm a little...slow, but where's the danger in that?

Ironically, once the commercial began to show a vehicle in actual motion (lazy, easy-sunday-driving slow-motion, actually; the kind of driving your grandparents probably do) the 'warning' on the screen disappeared.

What's my point, you ask?

It's ridiculous what a Nanny-based society we've become. In the name of safety and security, we're allowing companies to treat adults like children. When I enter my car, do I really need a loud and increasingly-fast beeping sound to remind me that I haven't fastened my seat beat - in the passenger seat?

Do I really need to be told that biting my steering wheel is 'dangerous'?

Societies continue to grow and change because people take risks. And risk is a dangerous, but essential, part of life. As a culture, we've become so risk-averse that we've begun to stagnate. Lewis and Clark would never have set out into the West if they'd been as coddled and as nannied as the adults of today. Shackleton never would've braved the Artic.

But Lewis and Clark weren't consumers - the primary function of every present-day American. Their generation's notions of accomplishment didn't revolve entirely around the acquiring of meaningless status symbols. They revolved around acheivements that had nothing to do with buying a new car.

Oh, Condi, Condi

Posted by codemorse

"Grrrrrr.."


From the New York Post - aka Spin Magazine:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making "flatly false" claims that the Bush administration didn't lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks.

...."The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there...is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.

9/11 Report cites many warnings about hijackings

January, 2001 Richard Clarke Memo to the Administration on the need for an "immediate meeting of the National Security Council's Principals Committee to discuss broad strategies for combating al-Qaeda"

The Timeline leading up to 9/11, including verifiable stories on financial aid given to the Taliban in 2000 and 2001 by the Bush Administration.

The U.S. Given a failing grade by bi-partisan 9/11 commission.

But Condi's just so well-spoken! And she likes classical music!

And Clinton's such a scoundrel! Tee hee!