Friday, July 21, 2006

Youtube: The Vampire Player

Posted by codemorse

This is just plain nifty.

Click here to watch the original, unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot, pre-Alyson Hannigan. And may I take this moment to say thank you for Alyson Hannigan, who replaced the weirdly high-school musical-ish actress playing Willow here. Weird.

And check out who's playing Principal Flutie! Needlenose Ned! Ned RYERson! He did the whistling belly-button trick at the school talent show? Bing! He dated your sister Mary-Katherine till you told him not to. Double-Bing!

Gay Panic! At The Disco!

Posted by codemorse


Prosecutors said Thursday they want to limit the use of "gay panic" defenses -- where defendants claim their crimes were justified because of fear or anger over their victims' sexual orientation.

"The suggestion that criminal conduct is mitigated by bias or prejudice is inappropriate," said San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who organized a two-day national conference on the issue. "We can't outlaw it, but we can combat it."

...It was prompted by the murder of 17-year-old Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager who was beaten and strangled in 2002 after two men with whom she'd had anal sex learned she was biologically male.

At Thursday's conference, the prosecutor who won second-degree murder verdicts in that case agreed expressed skepticism that new laws are the answer.

"Gwen being transgender was not a provocative act. It's who she was," said Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Chris Lamiero.

"However, I would not further ignore the reality that Gwen made some decisions in her relation with these defendants that were impossible to defend," he added. "I don't think most jurors are going to think it's OK to engage someone in sexual activity knowing they assume you have one sexual anatomy when you don't."

Funny. If I were a juror, I'd be more interested in how two men manage to have anal sex with someone without, y'know, checking under the hood first.

I'm simply shocked that this defense exists at all. It would seem to me to remove significant responsibility for sexual activity and any resulting violence from the assailant's hands.

Defense: "I'm sorry I beat that kid to death with a tire-iron. I am. But he should have told me he was gay before he let me take him up the rear!"

Translated: "Someone should tell me that water on a stove is hot before I'm allowed to rush in, willy-nilly, and stick my fingers in!"

Alphabet Soup...

posted by Scott Roche

VOIP + WiFi + 3G CDMA + Skype = Confusion for most and dirt cheap phone calls in the near future.

VOIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol. This is the ability to make and recieve phone calls using the internet. There are a couple of ways to go here. I use a service from my hi-speed internet service provider. They provide a piece of hardware that I plug a regular phone into and for thirty bucks I can call whomever I please and talk as long as I want. Vonage offers something similar and isn't ISP dependent.

The other option is to use a service called Skype. Up until recently you could only use Skype and your PC to "call" other users of that software on their PC. They have expanded their horizons and now for a nominal fee you can use SkypeOut to call a regular phone or get a SkypeIn phone number so that non-computer phreaks can call you from a landline.

Soon you'll be able to buy a phone from a third party that'll enable you to use your Skype account from any WiFi hotspot. Their site says that the phones will be available sometime in the next month and it looks like they'll cost about two to two-hundred fifty dollars. Given the near ubiquity of hotspots that's pretty cool. That means no monthly fees and it looks like that's making cell phone service providers a little nervous.

Not as nervous though as a phone that combines 3G CDMA (the latest in high speed cell technology) and WiFi VOIP. These phones will be able to switch on the fly between the two. If you're in the boonies then you run off the nearest cell tower. Sipping a latte at B&N? Your phone detects the hot spot and you connect to that.

Now of course someone will still be making some bucks. The dual nature phones will be hideously expensive. Free hotspots are becoming rare. Skype or their competitors will charge you some sort of fee. But if you're still using a traditional landline the it's time to examine your options.

The Hard Left Crowd

Posted by Jabawacefti

As it is making the rounds, Bill Clinton is apparently going to campaign for Joe Lieberman.

Apparently, the crowd from Kos just thinks that reactionary Bill has gone too far.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sullivan's Sense

Posted by codemorse

Once again, Sullivan shows that differences in ideology do not negate the possibility of (relative) agreement on issues.

From Andrew Sullivan:

"Total Information Awareness"

Remember that idea? Congress disposed of it back in 2002. But that didn't stop the Bush administration from
doing it anyway. I tend to think these programs are useful and, with oversight, defensible. Some may be legal, under exceptions to the law. But the Bush administration - again - seems to think oversight is a dirty word; and no sane person can trust them any more.

Money quote:
USA TODAY discovered the continuing TIA programs through entries in a public database of government contracts and a search of academic papers mentioning those contracts."

And so King George just does what he wants. In the end, his contempt for the constitution may undermine the perfectly defensible anti-terror programs he has instituted.

While I don't share Sullivan's comfort level with programs like TIA, I agree entirely that programs like TIA can be maintained within Constitutional boundaries. That the President has consistently and consciously chosen to disregard and/or test those boundaries is really the base, elemental source of my dislike for his administration.

Were he to suggest these programs in a forum befitting the word democracy, it's more than possible that even a rampant lib like myself could get behind them. But by working under the assumption that trusting-the-American-people = bad, the President and his chosen teams have forfeited that trust in return. I distrust them on impulse, and I blame them, not my "lack of patriotism," for that development.

9/11: Now In 3-D! With CG! Soon To Be A Theme-Park Ride!

Posted by codemorse

From US News:

The controversial video of the burning World Trade Center towers in a television campaign ad for Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine is doctored, U.S. News has learned. The television spot, which has been lambasted by critics as a political exploitation of the Sept. 11, attacks Democrat challenger Rep. Sherrod Brown for being weak on national security....

DeWine's office acknowledged the error. "The Senator was unaware that the image of the towers was a graphic representation and has instructed the campaign to replace the footage with a picture of the Twin Towers," his office said in a statement on Wednesday evening. DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik says the image of the burning towers in the ad is a still photo with computer-generated smoke added.

You've got to be kidding me.

9/11 wasn't horrific enough? Now we've got to dress the day up with extra smoke and special effects? Aren't conservatives supposed to hate Hollywood? Why are they borrowing CGI tricks from the "Left" coast, then?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Democracy Caveat

Posted by Jabawacefti

In attempting to resolve the Middle East conflict, one of my bigger theories was (and is) that democratically elected governments do not fight each other. And therefore, Democratic government and electoral accountability is the long term solution to this conflict. The present conflict challenges that assumption in several ways.

The bigger problem being that after the Palestinians had their first election, they voted Hamas in as their elected government. Hezbollah maintains seats on the Lebanese parliament. Democracy doesn't work, obviously, if you elect terrorists as your representatives.

That being said, the Lebanon situation poses a more concrete problem. The Lebanese did not overwhelmingly vote Hezbollah into government. At least not as a majority. And yet Hezbollah sits on the Southern border of Lebanon and can attack another sovereign nation with impunity.

Imagine, if you will, that North Dakota got sick of Canada and declared war on Canada, while the United States government say by and watched. What would Canada do? To retaliate against North Dakota would be an attack on the United States. Or wonder if Quebec attacked the United States...what do you do?

Which is why our Constitutional government does not allow for each state to maintain its own foreign policy. Such is the problem with Lebanon today. It's a country with two-three foreign policies.

Which brings me to my caveat. You cannot make peace with a Democratically elected government that does not have sovereign control over its borders. Most of the Lebanese do not want to fight with Israel. And most Israelis do not want to fight the Lebanese. But a rogue group of people amongst the two nations can change everything. This is a problem we will likely see for years to come. How do you prevent a country like Lebanon from harboring terrorists when a majority of the people do not agree with the terrorists?

Meanwhile, this incident also highlights what we knew to be true, that the lack of occupation (i.e., Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza) does not automatically lead to peace with those neighbors. In fact, some would say it simply emboldens the terrorists.

Solid My Brutha...

posted by Scott Roche

In light of yesterday's tech post (gotta think of some flashy name for that) I thought I would touch on the future of the hard drive. Now predicting the future is always tricky, especially with technology. I'm no Nostradamus, I don't read tea leaves, and the only animals I sacrifice and burn are the ones involved in Saturday afternoon cookouts, but I shall endeavor to peer through the murk and give you one possibility.

They are called solid state disks (SSD). Rather than magnetic platters which have been the standard for about fifty years, they use either SDRAM or Flash based memory. Both use far less power and are faster than their elderly cousin. SDRAM (related to the RAM in your PC right now) is volatile which means when the power goes, so goes the data. That's not good for data unless you have a disk to back it up to. And then you'd have to have a battery backup. I think Flash memory is a better option. It's not volatile like SDRAM, but at this point it has a lower write failure rate (it goes bad quicker).

Both are far more expensive per gig than traditional hard drives and have size limitations. That won't be the case for much longer though. Right now there's actually a laptop from Samsung that uses a Flash based SSD. By their accounts it's lighter, quieter, and depending on what you're doing it's 25-300% faster. It will also be able to display pictures, video, and play music without actually needing to boot up into an OS. On the flipside it's veeeery expensive and can only hold 32 gigs of data.

This is definitely bleeding edge stuff and God knows what may be just around the bend. I do know one thing for certain though, just about the time technology gets really cheap and into everyone's hands, manufacturers will come out with something horrendously expensive that you just have to have.

Science Fiction Kicks Ass

Posted by codemorse

Here's why.

Here's another reason.

I'm Insane With Anger!

Posted by codemorse

From This Modern World:

I’ve been reading Suskind’s new book, the title of which refers to the doctrine Cheney adopted after 9/11 — essentially that if there’s a one percent chance that someone might do something terrible, the administration must act as if it is a certainty.

It takes a little while for the horror of that to sink in, but when you really think about it, it effectively means that this country has been governed by complete madmen for the past five years. Life is all about making reasonable decisions based on probable odds. In retrospect, it’s what I was trying to say in
this cartoon, back in January of 2003. If there was a one percent chance that the moon might crash into the earth someday, we would, as rational people, respond differently than if the odds were at one hundred percent, or even fifty percent. We would monitor the problem, consider options. We would not make it the single most pressing issue of the day.

You would have to be literally insane to suggest blowing up the moon immediately because there was a one percent chance that it might crash into the earth someday.

But as Suskind tells it, this is what the entire Iraq War has been about. All the tragedy, all the blood spilled, all the ensuing chaos — all because there was a one percent chance that Saddam might help terrorists someday.

From the Godless NY Times:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

But the inspector general of the
Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child’s play: all these “unusual or out-of-place” sites “whose criticality is not readily apparent” are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database.

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687)and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha.

If this doesn't cause a potent combination of bewilderment and anger to begin pumping through your blood then might I helpfully suggest that you cut down on the horse tranquilizers?

Really, man. They're making you all loopy.

Stemming The Tide Of Progress

Posted by codemorse


Through bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate, funding for life-saving stem cell research has been approved. The president, a slave to the regressive religious right, is going to kill it.

The Senate today approved legislation that would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a measure President Bush has vowed to veto as soon as it reaches his desk.

The veto, expected tomorrow, would be the first of Bush’s 5 1/2-year presidency.

There are two uses for these cells:
1. Throw them away down the drain

2. Use them to save possibly hundreds of thousands of human lives.

The president and the con movement has chosen the latter, simply to boost their own inflated egos.

We must have a government that respects the will of the people and infuses scientist with the funds they need to save human lives.

Willis goes on to start frothing at the mouth about how the Republican Party wants to make you suffer, or some generalized and ridiculous nonsense like that. Still, the fact remains: the Republican Party's members have been instrumental in blocking this line of research. Not only is it detrimental to the development of cures and salves for myriad diseases, it's also detrimental to this country's economy. While President Bush dithers over the "human life potential" of cells that clearly do not have any, the rest of the world is advancing stem cell research without us.

Yet another economic area we are willingly surrendering to our competitors without a fight. When our children grow to working age, will they move to India and China to compete for jobs? Or will they settle for the handful of remaining industries left inside the domestic United States? Namely, retail and hospitality services?

For Me? You Shouldn't Have.

Posted by codemorse

If anyone's looking to purchase me a gift, you could do worse than this t-shirt.

The Legacy Of Violence

Posted by codemorse

From Yahoo News/the AP:

Israeli girls write messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border, Monday, July 17, 2006. Diplomatic efforts to end Israeli-Hezbollah fighting gained traction Monday, with Israeli officials saying the country would agree to halt fighting if its two captured soldiers were returned and Islamic guerrillas withdrew from the border. Publicly, the officials continued to insist their goal was to dismantle Hezbollah. But senior aides to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert office said he told his Italian counterpart, Romano Prodi, that Israel would accept cease-fire terms of Hezbollah releasing the Israeli soldiers and withdrawing from the border.

I certainly hope that Hezbollah does exactly that.

I feel a compulsion to provide a link to my Munich review here.


What did you want to be when you "grew up"?

For a little while, I wanted to be a Paleontologist. Then an FBI agent. Then a cartoonist. Then about four hundred other things.

Somewhere between Paleontologist and Professional Superhero (which would have made me eight years old or so), I briefly entertained the idea of being a mad scientist. Mostly, this came from a desire to invent crazy shit - along with a total lack of scientific understanding.

Like most of my passing career fancies, the mad scientist gig didn't hold my interest for too very long. It's been approximately twenty years since I thought about it at all. But last night's premiere of "Eureka" reminded me of that kooky kid again, and left me intrigued if a little underwhelmed.

Somewhere in the secluded American Northwest, a secret government enclave of Wile E. Coyote-type super-geniuses invent a plethora of crazy shit in a small town that looks and feels a little like Twin Peaks, minus the prophetic midgets, killer spirits, and damn good cherry pie.

A Federal Marshall with eye-rollingly-unnecessary family issues stumbles upon the town of Eureka in the middle of a mysterious crisis. As you might guess, he gets swept up into the town and finds himself becoming the Sheriff of a government-funded technological nuthouse.

The execution's not bad, even if the idea of a secret government facility has been ground into fine powder by now. The show has a relatively light tone and the dry humor of some of the funnier X-Files episodes of yore.

Eureka succeeds when it focuses on the bizarre and hyper-intelligent townfolk and their interactions with the Marshall. These are charming, and genuinely funny in places. The show loses steam when it enters exposition-land; something it does fairly regularly.

Eureka also elects to continue several of the hoarier tropes of serialized sci-fi: the mismatched, bickering, professional partners with an attraction to each other that's obvious to everyone but themselves. The secret government facility hidden beneath the everyday surface of things. The tacked-on "strained" emotional relationships that actually manage to be less emotional and/or affecting than the more relaxed and casual banter between townsfolk and Marshall.

One can't help but wonder what someone like Amy Sherman-Palladino (creator of the Gilmore Girls) might have done with the concept. In the hands of a creator like that, Eureka might have been a genuine quirky miracle. As it stands, it's less quirky than it really should be.

I don't watch a lot of television in general - and science-fiction television in particular is something I steer clear of. Most of it comes off as increeeeeeeeeeedibly cheesy to me. Joss Whedon's work is an obvious exception (although Mr. Whedon isn't afraid of cheese, intentional or un), and I've enjoyed what I've seen of Battlestar Galactica. The latter is especially impressive to me, dealing as it does with very contemporary, very "realistic" issues in a fantastical setting - namely the war on terror.

Other than that, though, I tend to steer clear of televised sci-fi. Especially the stuff on the Sci-Fi channel. Has one cable station ever produced so much horrendous crap? But surprisingly, Eureka isn't crap. It's kind of cute.

If you can stomach yet another reiteration of the David/Maddie, Mulder/Scully relationship and you have a tolerance for the sort of flaws this show has, you may find yourself charmed by it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

MorseCode Drive...

posted by Scott Roche

I saw this little bugger

and given the name had to post about it here. In today's security para... conscious world you need to protect your data from the gov... evil people that may want to use it against you. On the hard drive's top is a keypad that let's you set and input a four digit PIN that locks/unlocks the drive. Plug it in to your USB port and you're ready to go.

The best part is since the thing isn't dependent on some buggy OS or piece of software it should be reasonably secure, for at least the next ten minutes. It comes in size from 128mb to 2 gigs and is USB 2.0 compliant (that means it's pretty fast). If you put things like Portable Firefox and Portable Open Office on it and you can carry your PC in your pocket. Walk up to any Windows machine, enter your PIN, do your business, unplug and walk away.

Political Rant: Madlibs Edition

Posted by codemorse

I thought I'd help out some of my fellow bloggers with a handy guide to snarky commentary.

You too can heap withering disdain from safe distances (just like us!) with the newly-copyrighted Codemorse Political Rant Madlibs.

All you need is a thesaurus (codemorse tip: big words create the illusion of intelligence!), a little free time, and the crippling narcissism required to run a daily blog.

Here, presented for your edification (big word!), is Codemorse's Political Rant Madlibs template, Blue State edition:

From (news organization/blog):

(current political target)'s recent remarks at (educational institution/conference/cockfight) caused a firestorm of controversy yesterday morning amongst members of the (Black/Gay/Muslim/Circus Clown) community. Speaking with (news organization), community leader, Mr/Ms (community leader) denounced (current political target)'s remarks, demanding an immediate apology.

Obviously, (current political target) doesn't understand (dryly-sarcastic joke on decorum/racism/sexism/other that's probably a little too obscure). If it weren't for (absurd pop culture reference/non-sequitor activity), you'd think this (world/country/city of choice) was (attempting a form of uncomfortable sexual congress). This is all (Current administration member)'s fault.
And here's our Red State edition:

From (news organization/blog):

(current political target)'s recent remarks at (educational institution/conference/Amateur Luge Exhibition) caused a firestorm of controversy yesterday morning amongst members of the (Black/Gay/Muslim/Professional Midget Kiss-Tribute-Band) community. Speaking with (news organization), community leader, Mr/Ms (community leader) denounced (current political target)'s remarks, demanding an immediate apology.

(current political target) is the sort of (overheated and possibly violent - derogatory - description) man/woman who takes (freedom/America/Apple Pie) for granted. If it were up to (current political target), we'd all be (wearing turbans/praising Allah/buttfucking/horrible-fate-of-choice).

Easy peasy, people. Codemorse's Political Rant Madlib is available for use, free of charge. Just remember to tell them who gave you the tools to take on The Man in your pajamas.


Posted by codemorse

Saw this on this morning. Definately the most amusingly-titled partisan tome I've seen in a while:

(Note: this is not an endorsement. I have not read Nunberg's book, and have no idea whether it's worth your hard-earned money. You have to admit, though - that title's pretty good)

Sh*t Storm

Posted by codemorse

There's been a lot of virtual and actual ink spilled over President Bush's recent comments to Tony Blair at the G8 conference. For those of you just returning to the present time in your snazzy DeLoreans, here's what was said:

"I think Condi (Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) is going to go (to the Middle East) pretty soon," Bush said.

Blair replied: "Right, that's all that matters, it will take some time to get that together." Rice said on Sunday she was thinking of going to the region if it would help.

However, Rice headed back to the United States after the G8 summit closed on Monday, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Blair added: "See, if she (Rice) goes out she's got to succeed as it were, where as I can just go out and talk."

Bush replied: "See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

Maybe it's just me (I tend to have potty-mouth, especially when I've been hittin' the Jack D.), but this "story" seems pretty ridiculous to me. Not to mention petty.

Oooooooh! The President said 'shit'! How uncouth of him! Frankly, the President can sling expletives all day long as far as I'm concerned. Hell, give us a President with tourettes if he can handle domestic and foriegn policy effectively.

There are literally hundreds of Bush quotes that are legitimately stupid and/or mean. At this point even a dyed-in-the-wool liberal has to wonder: what's the point?

Shouldn't we be concentrating on the meat of the G8 summit, and not our Leader's lil' 'faux pas'?

Morning Music Exposure

Posted by codemorse

In a rambunctious, tequila-swilling place? Try Roger Clyne's authentic southwest rock.

Still getting over that hang-over? Will Hoge will cure what's ailin' you.

Missing Buffy the Vampire Slayer more than ever? Check out Adam Busch's (Warren, the evil nerd) outstanding rock outfit, Common Rotation.

Alternatively, are you more of an Angel fan? Take Christian Kane's brooding, lonesome howl for a test drive.

Quote Of The Day!

Posted by codemorse

From Blender:

...finding the right balance between the [Pussycat Dolls'] playfully fleshy past and its recording contract future was tricky: How much skin could they show without turning off potential fans?

"When we first started with the record company, everyone was very nervous," Robin Antin says. "Like, 'Oh my god, we can't have the girls wearing fishnets!' So I had to work very hard to teach these people - who sit at desks every day and maybe aren't out doing research - that little girls like fishnets, if they're worn the right way."

Awesome. Just awesome. Damn those ignorant desk-jockeys for not understanding the secret nudie-dancer locked away in the heart of every little girl.

You know what else little girls like? Pasties.

Show those lil' women how to dream, Antin - Show them how to dream.

Honorable Mention (from the same article):

Indeed, the tween audience is a big part of the Dolls' demographic, which explains why the band will be immortalized in the form of Hasbro dolls later this year. So parents might be surprised by the act's outrageously sexy live show, which features plenty of bumping, grinding, and heretofore unknown displays of flexibility...

Any parent "surprised" by the sexuality of the Pussycat Dolls is:
a) living in a hole somewhere outside Afghanistan and/or
b) probably borderline-retarded.

Keep targeting the Gays, people. It's obvious that what threatens our nation's youth isn't a disturbing emphasis on sexualizing any woman with a decent singing voice until they're a glistening, 2-dimensional ad for casual flesh-slappin'. No, our children like fishnets, if they're 'worn the right way' (and what way is that, I wonder? Worn crotchless? Worn with an unsettlingly babyish pink ribbon in the hair?).

Monday, July 17, 2006

That Hits the Spot...

posted by Scott Roche

HP Labs in Bristol England ("among the premier corporate research labs in Europe", who knew?) has developed a chip they call the "Memory Spot". It's approximately the size of a rice krispie, the working prototypes holding between 32k and 512k, a respectable amount of plain text. The real kicker though is that this thing has wireless capability in speeds equal to the cyber-cafe connection where you're reading this and it doesn't need any batteries.

You'll be able to access the information on this chip by using a PDA or cell phone with the appropriate software installed. When the reader is in range of the chip it wakes up and dumps it's data. One possible use would be to store medical records in a patient's wrist band (or under the skin perhaps). It can also be used in security passes, passports, or anywhere else an RFID tag is used now, the differences being storage capacity and transmit speed.

The Spot isn't the only technology out there trying to put a chip in every pot. Soon enough nearly everything you touch, wear, or buy at the grocery store will be able to "speak" volumes about itself and perhaps about you. When we walk into a shop they can plant a cookie on us that will tell them how often we've shopped there among other things.

All of this definitely has a Orwellian vibe for me. I don't want to carry around any information that I'm unaware of. Merchants want to know where I'm eating, the websites I visit, and whose underwear I'm wearing. Given their behavior in the past I can't assume that they have my best interests in mind. What worries me a little more than that is that the government has just now started to try and educate legislators on RFID, a technology that's over forty years old. Advances in technology are vastly outstripping the ability of our government to protect us from misuse of it and that's assuming that they want to.

From now on I'm making my own underwear. Who's with me?

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Posted by codemorse

We're back. Hung-over, possibly suffering from Mononucleois, but back nonetheless.

Is there a sight in this world cooler/more ridiculous than two women in togas playing mandolin and violin covers of Kanye West and Metallica? If there is I haven't seen it.

That's the only part of the weekend I can publicly discuss. The rest is classified, and you hate America for wondering about it at all.

Yes, you.

America hater.

The Death Of Consensus

Posted by codemorse

From Media Matters:

On the July 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham baselessly attacked the The New York Times for publishing a photo of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vacation home. In fact, as American Prospect's Greg Sargent noted on July 3, Rumsfeld's public affairs director confirmed that he granted the Times permission to run the photo, the Secret Service confirmed that the photo "is not a threat" to Rumsfeld's security, and numerous media -- including Fox News -- had previously reported the location of Rumsfeld's residence. Further, a January 2 Washington Post article -- headlined "Right on the Water, The Only Retreat for Cheney and Rumsfeld: St. Michaels" -- published a nearly identical photograph of Rumsfeld's vacation home on the front page of the paper's Style section....

Moreover, media outlets have previously reported that Rumsfeld and Cheney have homes in St. Michaels. First
noted by blogger Glenn Greenwald, "news outlets such as NewsMax and Fox and others had previously disclosed this same information months earlier," and "this information is commonly reported about government leaders in both parties." As noted above, The Washington Post previously published a photograph of the exterior of Rumsfeld's house for a January 2 article similarly noting that both Cheney and Rumsfeld have homes in St. Michaels. The Post's photograph of Rumsfeld's residence appears nearly identical to the photograph published by the Times.

Do you mean to tell me that Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham were being disingenuous?

Oh, my stars and garters! Say it ain't so, Joe!

The big story here is the attempted slander of any media outlet that threatens to speak to both parties. The NY Times famously supported the war in Iraq, but they aren't a publicity outlet for the Republican party, so subsequent critical stories have resulted in a full-scale assault on the integrity of one of America's remaining journalistic institutions.

Is the Times always "right" (not "Right")? Of course not. They screw up (see: Supporting the Iraq war) and they're subject to the same scandal and impropriety as any other corporation or big business. But that doesn't mean that they've become useless, as Michelle Malkin, O'Reilly, The Nameless One, and many many maaaaaaany other conservative pundits would have you believe.

You can call it paranoid thinking if you want, but I tend to see this sort of baseless and hypocritical behavior as symptomatic of a larger, consciously-motivated goal: to eliminate the credibility of news outlets that are not beholden to your side of the story. Why suffer the fourth estate when modern technology enables you to create an echo-chamber of people who already agree with your opinions and have no desire for "fact," preferring instead the warmly numbing false comfort of empty rhetoric? Before anyone starts yelling about how the dems are guilty of the same thing - let me go ahead and preemptively agree with you.

Bill O'Reilly feels free to attack the Times in this sort of manner because he knows that most of his viewers a) probably don't read the Times, and b) are already inclined to believe him over the "factanistas."

(Nebr)askin' For It

Posted by codemorse


Supporters of banning gay marriage won two major court rulings Friday, with a federal appeals court reinstating Nebraska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and the Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that voters should have a say on the issue...

In the Nebraska case, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon had ruled that the ban was too broad and deprived gays and lesbians of participation in the political process, among other things. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, saying in its ruling Friday that the amendment "and other laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples are rationally related to legitimate state interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States."

Seventy percent of Nebraska voters approved the ban in 2000....

The Nebraska amendment went farther than similar bans in many states in that it also barred same-sex couples from many legal protections afforded heterosexual couples. For example the partners of gays and lesbians who work for the state are not entitled to share their health insurance and other benefits.

That'll show the gays.

Truly, Friday was a banner victory for the common man. Seventy percent of the voters went to the polls to affirm this basic truth:

America's freedoms and benefits are not, and have never been, for all Americans. It's bad enough that blacks and women get to vote (thank God we were at least able to stall them) - the thought of some fairy recieving the same compensation for doing the same work at the same business in pursuit of the same sort of life goals is enough to make decent, red-blooded heterosexuals quake with rage.



[Explodes in a mushroom cloud of sarcasm]

Finding God In Smaller Places

Posted by codemorse


The janitors at a rural secondary school in the eastern South African town of Jeppe's Reef are letting their curiosity get the best of them. Lured by the sounds of teenagers energetically repeating metric conversions, the broom-wielding older ladies peek into two classrooms that are supposed to be empty.

It's the winter school holidays on this side of the equator. While most school kids in this desperately impoverished area are out playing, dozens of teenagers choose to sit in brick classrooms. They're happy to take part in an after-hours "Accessible Schools" program, learning fractions, measuring distances -- and taking in life lessons.

"I like these classes because they are about more than just math. I'm learning life skills, about the dangers of having sex when you're too young. I'm learning a lot in these classes that I'm not getting in regular school," says Sindi Tabela, a 16-year-old orphan.

Sindi is the kind of child that the Accessible Schools program wants to help the most. Her mother died of an undisclosed illness in February. Now the head of the house, Sindi juggles raising her 10-year-old and 6-year-old sisters, going to school, finding food and fighting off unwanted advances from men who know the girls are alone....

The $9 million Accessible Schools program is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor, South African authorities, the American Institutes of Research, RECLISA and local NGO Thembalethu Home Based Care.

It's probably hokey to say this, but it's in programs like Accessible Schools that I tend to see God's face most clearly. Maybe you don't believe in God. That's cool. Call it Grace, if you will.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bizarro TV

I just watched Henry Rollins and John C. Reilly discuss Broadway Musicals.

Had they broken out a tea set and started talking in fey british voices, I would not have been more surprised than I already was.