Archive for May, 2007

In Coke™ We Trust

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

This to me is a sign of a diseased culture…

Twentieth Century Fox has hooked up with the Franklin Mint for an ingenious marketing scheme, putting 40,000 quarters based on their upcoming Fantastic Four flick into circulation across the country. The Silver Surfer coins are legal tender

Wired Blogs

See, money is not just an object. It is not some product. It is a symbol of man’s labor and hard work. It represents, literally, the value of achievement.

…and some idiots are slapping ads on the back of it. And some idiot at the government is letting them.

Why is this an issue? Because it compromises the integrity of money as a neutral representation of what it should stand for. “The sweat of your brow, brought to you by Ford!”

Beyond that, does absolutely everygoddamnedthing in American culture have to have advertising on it? Coins remain in circulation for decades. Do we really want “Fantastic Four movie” coins floating around in general circulation twenty years after the movie is forgotten? If this tactic gains traction, what’s to stop us from pulling out a dollar bill five years from now and seeing the smiling visage of Mayor McCheese in place of ol’ George?

(And while we’re on the topic, I believe this marks the first U.S. coin in a looong time [100+ years?] to lack the phrase e pluribus unum.)

Note to 20th Century Fox: This actually makes me not want to see your movie, as a matter of principle. Just sayin’ is all.

hat tip: The Shape of Days

With apologies to Coca-Cola, Ford, and McDonalds, who, despite my illustrative mockery, have not to my knowledge attempted anything so crass as defacing money with marketing messages.

The Disgrace of the National News Media

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

So…

Don Imus calls some black women “nappy headed hos” and is excoriated throughout the press for weeks. A black prostitute accuses three white students of rape, and despite a complete lack of supporting evidence (and an abundance of evidence against), the “crime” is trumpeted throughout the land for months. Hell, an ex-stripper gold-digging bimbo dies and we never hear the end of it (This just in: Anna Nicole Smith is still dead.)

But when five blacks, some of whom belong to a black supremacist group, carjack, kidnap, torture, rape and finally murder two white students, you can hear crickets chirping over the sound of the mainstream media‘s reporting.

American Renaissance News: The Knoxville Horror: The Crime and the Cover-Up

[Channon] Christian picked up [boyfriend Christopher] Newsom in her 2005 Toyota 4-Runner. Some time just after midnight, Letalvis Cobbins, 24, along with his brother Lemaricus Davidson, 25, and George Thomas, 24, stopped the couple at gunpoint. Mr. Davidson had already been convicted of carjacking and aggravated robbery in Tennessee in 2001, but had served only five years.

The three men tied up the two whites and took them in the 4-Runner to an apartment where Mr. Cobbins and Mr. Davidson lived…. Mr. Cobbinsâ??s 18-year-old girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, met them there.

All four, including, Miss Coleman, then engaged in an orgy of rape and violence. They anally gang-raped Mr. Newsom, and orally, anally, and vaginally gang-raped Channon Christian. They brutally beat both victims and poured cleaning fluid down Miss Christianâ??s throat. They killed Mr. Newsom, leaving him with â??multiple gunshot wounds,â? and set his corpse on fire.

They also killed Miss Christian.

Can somebody tell me why this is only being reported locally, and even them with not much coverage? Where is CBS? NBC? CNN? Fox News? Where is Jesse Jackson decrying the “hate crime”?

Oh, wait. The perpetrators were black, and the victims were white. Got it. Wouldn’t want to be insensitive.

To anyone who thinks I’m seeing bias where none exists: can you imagine the coverage this would have gotten if five skinheads had done this to two black students? It would’ve been front page news for six months! (This happened back in February, by the way….)

Singer Charlie Daniels says it well:

A free press is one of our most precious rights and a selective press one of our most dangerous realities…. I wonder what else they’re not reporting?

Well, gee Charlie. They’re so busy telling us about Paris Hilton’s DUI — I mean come on, there are only so many hours in a day, y’know?

(I don’t remember hearing much about this one, either.)

Terrorist Teachers

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Some teachers in Tennessee decided to give their students a “learning experience” by staging a mock gunman attack and convincing them it was real:

from CNN:

Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables….

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip….

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.

“I was like, ‘Oh My God,’ ” [11-year-old Shay Naylor] said. “At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out.”

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation “involved poor judgment.”

“Poor judgment”??? Bureaucrats are amazingly proficient at understatement when their asses are on the line. The word is “criminal. These teachers should be (at least) fired for pulling such a foolish and dangerous stunt, and the local D.A. should be considering criminal charges. If I were one of the parents I would be getting together with other parents and lining up some lawyers right about now.

What they hell were they thinking?

I blame Al Gore

Friday, May 11th, 2007

'Joy of Tech' comic

“Journalist”, heal thyself!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

I don’t do a lot of fiskings on this blog, (in fact, I think I’ve done exactly one in the past), but I just read an article that begs to be picked apart, letter by letter, by as many bloggers as set eyes on it.

Name and shame offensive bloggers
David Bullard

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Fred Khumalo and I should feel very flattered indeed.

Erm, sorry. Am I supposed to have heard of you?

Every day there are 120000 new blog sites registered â?? a staggering 43 million a year. According to blog search engine Technorati, there are already 70 million blog sites registered worldwide. Admittedly the majority of the bloggers get bored rather quickly and donâ??t bother to update their sites, but thatâ??s still 70 million people (higher than the population of the UK) who desperately want to be columnists.

The numbers sound about right, so no arguments there, but why do you assume we all want to be columnists? Many blogs are essentially personal diaries, meant for friends and such, not the public at large (though, admittedly, putting it on the Internet is not the best way to remain private….) Many of them are “columns”, if you will, on niche topics that have an interested audience, but not in numbers that can support a dedicated column on dead-tree media in a particular locale. Personally, I just like the outlet. A large audience would be nice, I suppose, but at the rate I post, I’m not at all surprised that I don’t have one.

Itâ??s comforting to know that, should Fred or I decide to take a sabbatical, thereâ??s no shortage of people available to hold the fort. The only snag is the quality, or lack of it.

There’s that old saying that “98% of everything is crap”, but you’ve obviously never spent much time reading blogs if you’re going to try to argue that 100% of blogs are crap.

Allow me to explain what I mean. I used to play air guitar with a band called Deep Purple. My playing was perfect, I had attitude and I even smashed my air guitar at the end of the number. The reason I played air guitar is that I couldnâ??t play real guitar very well so I was forced to dwell in this fantasy world where my guitar playing meant something only to me. I should point out that this was years ago when I was still young and foolish. These days I play air tenor saxophone, which is far more challenging.

You mother must be so proud.

Most blog sites are the air guitars of journalism.

Allow me to explain something back to you. The difference between you playing air guitar and a blogger writing a post is that when you play air guitar, you’re not actually playing any music. Cat blogging notwithstanding, bloggers actually create something. Hell, even pure “linkers” are creating something in that they are essentially editorializing on what they think is worthwhile on other web sites.

Theyâ??re cobbled together by people who wouldnâ??t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism,

This article is more interesting to me for what it says about you than what you say about bloggers. Tell me, do you spend a lot of time railing against people who sing in the Church choir because they’re nothing like Britney Spears (that is, a “pro”)?

My grandmother could have been a professional singer. She got out of the business because (among other reasons) there were too many “fanny patters” for her liking. Her lack of pro status said absolutely nothing about her singing ability.

mainly because they have very little to say. Itâ??s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.

Blogs are a social construct as much as anything else. One thing they have that newspaper columns and editorials will never have is the instant feedback, cross-referencing, and interactivity that blog readers are able to take for granted for their ubiquity.

I read many blogs that are quite far removed from “the tedious minutiae of their lives”, but quite frankly, a good blogger can take even minutiae and turn it into entertaining reading.

Itâ??s even sadder when someone reads them.

It’s far more sad when some thinks that pulling a paycheck is cause to believe that nobody else can possibly do what you do.

Many bloggers prefer to remain anonymous and with good reason. The content of their sites is so moronic that even their best friends would disown them if they knew they were the authors.

Have you looked at a newspaper lately? Unsigned editorials, reviews and articles abound in print. Are these articles unsigned because your “best friends would disown [you] if they knew [you] were the authors”?

As with most things in life, something that costs nothing is usually worth nothing and that puzzles me.

Breathe much?

Okay, cheap shot. Here’s a better example: Roughly 80-90% of all websites are run on a server program called Apache. It’s free. Programmed by volunteers in a methodology that in technological circles is called “open source”. There is open source software out there that rivals the power of such large commercial applications as Microsoft Word (see “OpenOffice”) and Adobe Photoshop (see “Gimp”). All free.

I take it back — my earlier statement was not a cheap shot. Sometime you get what you pay for, but the world is filled with worthwhile things that don’t cost money.

Are there really 70 million bloggers out there hoping that their writing talents will be recognised, or is this just another example of modern narcissism?

Narcissism? Sir, you are the very model of a modern major narcissist.

Unlike the world of newsprint, there are no rules out there in the blogosphere and that makes it a very confusing place for the consumer.

Whose rules are we talking about? Does the government regulate newspaper content?

Pretty much anybody can publish a book if they choose to. Are you confused when you walk into a bookstore? Into a grocery store? Down Main Street?

I have no objection to reading my Sunday Times on the Internet because I know the content has been through the same process as the print edition.

In a world where major network news anchors feel fit to broadcast fake political documents, and major journalists at major national newspapers are caught inventing “news” out of whole cloth, it’s dangerous to assume that the word “journalist” somehow magically imparts you with talent or integrity.

I do, however, object to some anonymous, scrofulous

scro•fu•lous adj.: 1. morally contaminated; 2. having a diseased appearance

Getting a little personal there, are we?

nerd pumping meaningless drivel into cyberspace at all hours of the day and night simply because he canâ??t find a girl to sleep with him.

Heh. Kinda funny considering the biggest blogger on the ‘net also has a podcast with his wife (who in turn has her own blog).

These are the sort of wackos who gun down their fellow students at university.

Fuck you, David.

Sorry — was that rude?

I visited a site the other day that was so hideously racist that it would have qualified its publisher for a long spell in prison if it had appeared in print.

I’ll have to take your word for it. Here in the United States we have this thing called “free speech”, which means people can’t go to prison for spouting off racist, or any other kind of, bullshit.

So whatâ??s the difference? How come newspapers and magazines have to carry the names of their editors and publishers and watch their content and websites donâ??t?

Again I’ll take your word for it. In the USA you can publish any damned thing you want (with extremely limited exceptions) on paper or on the web. You’re not required by law to sign your name to it, either.

You “have to” watch your content because if readers turn against you, your advertisers might not give you money anymore. In that sense, I would say that unpaid bloggers may have more intellectual integrity than newspapers, in that they are speaking their minds instead of biting their tongues over fears of lost advertising. I think bloggers are also more willing to say things that they suspect will be unpopular, whereas, again, newspapers need to stay popular.

Iâ??m told that itâ??s possible to track down the author of any offensive website…

Not if they take steps to prevent it, unless you want to subpoena the Domain Registry…

and perhaps thatâ??s what the government should be doing

Aha! Definitely unfamiliar with the whole “free speech” thing.

instead of looking at legislation to gag legitimate publications.

Well, they shouldn’t be doing that, either.

Better still, maybe itâ??s time the print journalists named and shamed some of the more offensive anonymous bloggers and published their physical addresses.

Okay… One: I bet if some blogger threatened to publish your personal details you’d be the first to get your feathers in a fluff about how terrible a thing it is.

Two: yeah, that whole banning thing works so well with books. Hey everybody, let’s go read the thing that this goofball demands nobody reads!

Then I can start a blog site called printrevenge.com and bore you all with the details.

Zing! Ooh, ow. My sides.

This whole article reminds me of a page on Microsoft’s web site a couple years ago that gave “advice” on buying an MP3 player. It was absolutely hysterical to read (unintentionally), because every single suggestion on the list was somehow a variation of “don’t buy an iPod”. If an iPod had it, it was bad, and if an iPod didn’t have it, it was essential. Helpful suggestions like “Make sure it has an FM tuner. Let a professional pick your music for you.” As though you aren’t qualified to determine what kind of music you like to hear without the aid of some guy with the word “professional” stamped across his forehead. [Update: Microsoft’s page is still there. Apart from the first item on the list, every single point is a swipe at the then-new iPod Shuffle.]

So one last parting shot to David Dullard. Sorry… “Bullard”:
You’re not a journalist. You’re an opinion writer. They have a saying about opinions, you know. Like assholes, everybody’s got one. The fact that somebody is dumb enough to pay you for yours does not make you the only person qualified to state it in public.

There. Now I can go read Ryan’s fisking of the same article.

Update: L’esprit de l’escalier struck as I was rereading this, so I went back in and added the “narcissist” line above.

The Speech, and a Challenge

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Please note: I did not write this. It’s one of those things bouncing around in emails, but I though it was worth a reprint here:

“The Speech President Bush Should Give.”

Normally, I start these things out by saying “My Fellow Americans.” Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don’t know who more than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that you’re really not fellow Americans any longer.

I’ll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: there’s been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.

The reason I’m quitting is simple. I’m fed up with you people.

I’m fed up because you have no understanding of what’s really going on in the world. Or of what’s going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.

Let’s start local. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in the tank. And that’s despite record numbers of homeowners including record numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we’re mentioning minorities, I’ll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton Administration. I’ve mentioned all those things before, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in.

Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there’s increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than refinery capacity and your economic security.

We face real threats in the world. Don’t give me this “blood for oil” thing. If I was trading blood for oil I would’ve already seized Iraq’s oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don’t give me this ‘Bush Lied People Died’ crap either. If I was the liar you morons take me for, I could’ve easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be ‘discovered.’ Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty. Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named ‘Clinton’ established that policy. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to outspend and out-tech them.

That’s not the case this time. The soldiers of our new enemy don’t care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That’d be fine, as long as they weren’t also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are. They want to kill you. And the bastards are all over the globe.

You should be grateful that they haven’t gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you’re not. That’s because you’ve got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that. When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I’m disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of ‘Survivor’.

Instead, you’ve grown impatient. You’re incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few months, a few years, tops.

Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat’s political campaign, well, dammit, you might just as well Fedex a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.

In this day and age, it’s easy enough to find the truth. It’s all over the Internet. It just isn’t on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you’d be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch American Idol.

I could say more about your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out, even if you’re too stupid to leave a city that’s below sea level and has a hurricane approaching. I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from. But I’ve come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.

So I quit. I’m going back to Crawford. I’ve got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I’m done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.

Oh, and by the way, Cheney’s quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that they’re just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.

So that’s it. God bless what’s left of America. Some of you know what I mean.

I’ll close with a “simple” challenge to anyone who believes Bush lied to us to lead us to war:

Quote the Lie. Specifically. In context.

Head on over to The White House web site, and you can find a transcript of pretty much every single major speech President Bush has ever given. Find me the quote.

If he lied so grievously as you would have us believe, then the lie that led us into this “illegal” war should be child’s play to find.

Funny thing is, I’ve issued this challenge to several leftists who have made the claim, and not one of them has taken me up on it. It’s time to put up or shut up, people. Identify Bush’s big lie, or shut the hell up about it. That claim itself is the lie, and I’m calling you out.

Hat tip on the “speech”: Kevin