Bill O'Reilly can be a little...over the top...sometimes in his firebranded and self-righteous crusade of populism, but every now and then he and his staff tackle an issue nobody else in the left-leaning mainstream media is willing to and hot damn, if it doesn't make me chuckle with glee.
Take this stalking of noted terrorist and Barack Hussein Obama mentor Bill Ayers outside his home.
Do you apologize for your terrorist acts? Don't you think it's time for some repentance? That's some good stuff.
Making it even better is the ultimate act of irony and cowardice Ayers resorts to to get this pesky reporter off his front lawn: he calls the police. A man who twice bombed a memorial to 1886 Haymarket Riot now calls the cops to protect his sorry ass. That takes an amazing level of both chutzpah and cognitive dissonance.
Of course, further complicating matters is the question of why Ayers has not been arrested, charged with terrorist acts, and -- once determined guilty -- executed for his crimes. In his own memoir he admits to participating in campaigns against the New York City Police Headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon. Sounds like a signed, sealed, and delivered confession to me.
This man is a disgusting piece of human excrement, and the fact that he will likely have an opportunity to spend some quality time in the White House under an Obama administration sickens me utterly. A vote for Obama is a vote for Bill Ayers, pure and simple.
H/t to Jim Treacher for the video.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Bill O'Reilly can be a little...over the top...sometimes in his firebranded and self-righteous crusade of populism, but every now and then he and his staff tackle an issue nobody else in the left-leaning mainstream media is willing to and hot damn, if it doesn't make me chuckle with glee.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Philosophically, I am very apathetic towards imposing term limitations upon elected officials at any level of the government. For starters, limits should not even be necessary; the fine men and women called to serve high office should come from all walks of life, perform their civic duty, and then want to return to their prior lives with no interest in making a career of suckling off of the public teet. At the same time, the voters should be wise and reasonable enough to reject a candidate blatently motivated by naked ambition and eject that person from office when the time is right. Whether or not it actually does, the system should in theory take care of itself.
On a personal level, though, term limits have greatly affected my own professional development and actually guided me onto the career path upon which I have now embarked. My first employer -- a classy and noble city council member -- had to leave office after serving two terms and his transition (and encouragement to learn that newfangled Web stuff back in 1999) set forth the chain of events that led me from government hack to aspiring and savvy digital marketer.
Anyway, twice in the past fifteen years -- in 1993 and 1996 -- the citizens of New York City voted to impose upon their officials a strict restriction that calls for serving only two consecutive terms before becoming ineligible to run for the office again. Whether or not you support or oppose these decisions, the people have spoken and it had been the law of the land.
I guess in the eyes of King Michael Bloomberg and his legion of lapdogs in the Council, though, we residents must have had no idea what they were talking about, and surely weren't talking about them specifically, because this past week a City Council vote officially circumvented this regulation and opened the door for current officeholders to run for third terms.
You see, according to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, because the economy is in the crapper and the City is slowly regressing back to the sad grimy days of squeegee men and rampant crime, the natural response is to keep the same folks overseeing the decline at the helm!
Quinn, an ally of Bloomberg's, had tried to play up the economic reality as a reason for term limits, "Our city, already in recession, is headed for a long and deep downturn. In challenging times like these, the voters should have the choice, the choice to continue their current leadership. They should have the right to vote for their current mayor or a new one, for their current City Council member or a new one."
The move by Bloomberg and the Council is completely legal -- the City Charter's system of checks and balances weighs equally laws set forth by public referendum and the legislative process.
What it is not, though, is ethical or even remotely within the best interests or will of the people.
For that, for protecting their own interests above those of the people they took an oath to serve and defend, and for having the absolute blind arrogance to actually think they just flat-out know better than everyone else, King Bloomberg and the following members of the legislature have earned a permanent and prominent spot on the Geek Soap Box Enemies List.
|COUNCILMEMBER||NY1 TALLY||COUNCIL VOTE|
|Maria del Carmen Arroyo||Undecided||Yes|
|*Erik Martin Dilan||Yes||Yes|
|*G. Oliver Koppell||Yes||Yes|
|*Peter Vallone, Jr||Yes||Yes|
* - Would have been term limited out in 2009.
Friday, October 24, 2008
You know that rather unpleasant olfactoral emanation that results from the expulsion of air from the human anus? Turns out the chemicals composing the gas play a key role in the regulation of blood pressure, and even might be able to alter the affects of hypertension when therapeutically utilized.
The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure).
This gas is “no doubt” produced in cells lining human blood vessels too, the researchers said. “Now that we know hydrogen sulfide’s role in regulating blood pressure, it may be possible to design drug therapies that enhance its formation as an alternative to the current methods of treatment for hypertension,” said Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., a co-author of the study detailed in the Oct. 24th issue of the journal Science.
Color me disappointed with this article and its misleading headline. Here I was, prepared to subscribe to a theory that, when you fart, the aroma automatically slightly lowers your blood pressure -- perhaps in an attempt to relax the muscles that could cause a "repeat offense." Turns out it's just that the H2S coincidentally occurs in both processes.
So instead, I suppose we will have to all sit back and await the application of the Scientific Method to that long-speculated-upon hypothesis, "you smelt it, you dealt it."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
You know what I would love to hear a presidential candidate put forth as part of his/her platform one day? A call to completely revitalize our decaying railroad infrastructure.
Railroads are what built the United States, transporting supplies and a fresh, eager citizen base further and further down the frontier, a phenomenon that later became known as Manifest Destiny. It remains positively awe-inspiring to watch the steel and aluminum successors to those big iron horses of the 19th Century continue to chug across the country wherever possible.
Today, I took Amtrak's magnificent Acela express from Washington, DC back to my home in New York. The ride was amazingly quick (2:45), incredibly comfortable, and furnished with enough technological savvy that I could do anything from eat to work to chat on the phone to sleep any time I wanted on the ride. It is a great travel experience that puts cramped cars and expensive airlines to shame.
Unfortunately, the Acela basically only services the Northeast Corridor, and, aside from small freight pockets down South and some random commuter lines in California, the remainder of the nation has seen the railroad era come to a sad whimper of a close.
Imagine, though, if those metal highways and biways were rejuvenated into a vital, economically feasible alternative once again. Less ugly and bloated tractor-trailers would fill our Interstates, belching out countless volumes of pollution and clogging the roads with their reckless traffic. Even personal and business travel via automobiles and airplanes would decrease, reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and simultaneously lowering prices at the pump and in the air.
Finding a way to fundamentally improve commerce and infrastructure -- and reaping the green benefts that would natually flow from them -- seems to be a logical and essential responsibility of our federal government. Come on, politicos, let's hear some chants of "CHOO CHOO" on the capaign trail!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Hello from our brisk and chilly nation's capital, Washington D.C. After a quick bite to eat with a certain Cranky Conservative, I took advantage of the opportunity provided by my luxury hotel being located on Pennsylvania Avenue to take a little stroll in search of some beautiful monuments -- testaments to the great American spirit of ingenuity.
(Editor's note: your mileage may very when it comes to actually making anything out within these images...blowing them up on a really bright flat-panel monitor or laptop will definitely help).
Of course, what I didn't mention yet was that I managed to walk up and down the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Ave. and actually miss the White House. As in, I literally walked right past it the first time while looking in the other direction, thinking it was over there somewhere. And seriously, do you know how many freaking white-colored well-lit buildings are in the vicinity?
So, finally, after giving up and starting to head back I observed a bunch of people in front of me all gaping and snapping photos. So I turned my head and went, DUH. Idiot. I blame being tired and stressed out.
Have I ever mentioned how much the Washington Monument totally creeps me out? I mean, look at the damn thing. It's a freaking giant phallic symbol with bulging, pulsating red eyes on top. Plus, as the tallest point in town, it's glance filled with stone and intimidation follows you everywhere.
THE EYES! MAKE IT STOP!!!
Finally, yes, I did stand in the middle of oncoming traffic to garner this lovely shot of the most hallowed halls of parliamentary democracy ever constructed by man. I mean, it has to be hollowed, right, because that is where our future lord and antisavior Barack Hussein Obama currently conducts his business of voting "present."
A few days ago, the campaign for United States Presidential Candidate John McCain grew tired of having its videos pulled from the massively popular video site YouTube thanks to perceived violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In a letter (PDF) sent to YouTube CEO Chad Hurley and company attorneys on Monday, the campaign charges that "our advertisements or Web videos have been the subject of DMCA takedown notices regarding uses that are clearly privileged under the fair use doctrine." The DMCA is, of course, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allows copyright holders to submit takedown notices.
The letter cited "numerous" examples, without listing them. One would likely be CBS News' successful DMCA takedown request to YouTube over the McCain campaign's lipstick-on-a-pig ad. It used a brief video clip featuring CBS News anchor Katie Couric to make a point about sexism. (Disclaimer: CNET is published by CBS Networks, home of CBS News.)
Then there was the related flap last fall about Fox News complaining about McCain using a video clip from a Fox News-sponsored debate.
The issues, as I see them:
- The various network news outlets do indeed own their content, and have every right to make these sort of requests. It's their intellectual property. That being said, this is clearly not the situation where someone is taking large-scale cuts of major CBS/FOX/Etc. broadcasts and repurposing them for personal and financial gain. This is a major political campaign for the highest office in the land, one that operates as a nonprofit entity, and most clips rarely run more than 30 seconds, if that. This sounds like a reasonable application of a fair-use defense if there ever was.
- Besides, the networks only gain from having their broadcasted content used in such scenarios. Having their reports out there in the public eye (at a time when overall traditional viewership is dwindling fast) will only enhance their reputations and increase the volume of consumers out there thinking about their news product. I fail to see how this is a bad thing.
- Finally, it is also interesting to point out that YouTube is, of course, owned by the Internet technology juggernaut Google. In light of Google CEO Eric Schmidt's public endorsement of McCain opponent Barack Obama and continued role as an advisor to his campaign, one cannot help but wonder if the McCain ad "pulls" (when compared to the sheer volume of Obama content that is out there to this day) might somehow carry an ulterior motivation behind the scenes.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Part of the pre-responsibilities for my upcoming speaking gig is that I have to actually craft a biography summarizing my career. This is some surreal stuff, folks. How do you distill down ten years of professional experience into a paragraph and change and not make it sound either like the rantings of a pompous windbag or have it completely bore the crap out of its readers?
I think I find the fine line between these extremes, and now I'm done and don't want to have to look at it again for a few years.
Theodore S. LaBarbera, the Web Editor for the American Association of Advertising Agencies, was hired in 2007 by the 4A's to bring an outside perspective to the association's flagship Web site, www.aaaa.org. Within that short time, the 4A's has launched a completely revitalized Web site utilizing the latest in modern technology and has begun the process of implementing an array of social networking features to further engage its membership base. Previously, Ted was the Webmaster for the City of New York Department of Finance, a site that attracted more than two million unique visitors every month thanks to services such as the ability to pay City parking tickets and property taxes online, and was also a community/intergovernmental liaison with both Finance and the Council of the City of New York.
Currently working on his MBA in Marketing at Saint John's University, Ted has a BA in American History from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
It's about time that d o r k e l i n a posted a link to some quizzes!
You Are Kidnapping
You love to be in control. You are incredibly dominant.
A part of you even likes to make people suffer. It's all about power!
You love to take risks, especially if the potential payoff is huge.
But you wouldn't be in crime only for the money. You're twisted enough to just enjoy screwing with people.
Friday, October 17, 2008
One of the most anticipated games of the year was set to arrive next week: Sony's innovative Little Big Planet. A cross between a traditional platformer and a fully customizable experience, Planet has already received rave reviews and accolades for not only its gameplay but for its revolutionary embrace of user-generated content.
Unfortunately, the world will have to wait a little while longer -- Sony has temporarily recalled Little Big Planet and pushed back the release date for a week due to concerns that some lines from the Koran snuck their way into the song's background music.
The words are:
1- In the 18th second: "كل نفس ذائقة الموت" ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death'). 2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: "كل من عليها فان" ("kollo man alaiha fan", literally: 'All that is on earth will perish').
The music in question is the work of a group known as Toumani Diabaté and the Symmetric Orchestra.
Toumani Diabaté and the Symmetric Orchestra is known for combining the traditional music of Mali with other internation [sic] styles, like jazz, blues and flamenco. The international sound would be appropraite [sic] for a game like LittleBigPlanet, which takes players on a virtual journey around the globe. Diabaté won a Grammy award in 2006, the same year "Tapha Niang" was released.
Apparently, it is considered offensive to Muslims to have words from their sacred text mixed with and/or set to music. I assume that this stems from the belief that the words of the Koran were dictated from Allah himself, and therefore it is a sacrilege to utilize them in any sort of commercial or non-devotional manner.
Of course, one has to question the logical and rational fallacies that must occur to actually believe that a document that dates to nearly one thousand years ago and has passed through the hands of billions or trillions of individuals still remains an unblemished, pristine work.
Literal interpretation of any iterative text – the Koran, the Bible, or the freaking collected works of L. Ron Hubbard – leads to bad stuff, folks. Like flying planes into skyscrapers and even preventing video games featuring adorable little sackboys from making it to store shelves.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
In the future, under the oppressive dictatorial regime of President for Life Barack Hussein Obama, we will all be forced in some way or another to wear a personal "mark" indicating our collective devotion to the teachings of our Left-Leaning Master.
One way we can do that in style? Growing jewelry, an ironic and inspired take on injecting environmental social consciousness with an infusion of bling bling.
Growing Jewelry is a redefinition of modern values. It is a clash of jewelry an gardening; couture and organism. The collection of this hand jewelry is designed for people in metropolitan cities and is an experiment in drawing nature toward man, as nature being the presupposition of life.
Now on sale in Iceland. You know you want one.
Despite John McCain's strong and energetic performance at last night's final presidential debate, I remain sobered and resigned to the fact that we are looking very likely at President Barack Hussein Obama in January.
That being said, I am trying hard to find the small rays of sunshine that will light up the dismal and cloudy four years to come. One of those highlights will undoubtedly be listening to the every day wisdom and rhetoric of Vice President Joe Biden.
Like, for instance, when he gleefully recounts a story from his glory days of almost scoring a threesome in Ohio, only to get cock-blocked by some diligent member of the po-po (AKA The Man).
He must have mentioned he was from Scranton. The chicks dig that.
Of course, this whole near-sordid tale could have been completely fabricated in Biden's robust and cavernous mind. I mean, he does have problems counting up to the number three.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Human beings possess free will. For purposes of this intellectual/philosophical discussion, I will define free will as such: the ability to undertake any feasible action without consideration of the consequences of said action.
Meaning, there are any number of reasons why your humble blogger does not walk outside his home and start randomly assaulting people he meets on the street -- fear of individual or societal reprisal, lack of a logical motivating force to provide rationale for doing so, even the fact that I'm just a normal, relatively moral and nice guy -- but that doesn't change the fact that I could, or that anyone could. I just choose not to. That is free will.
It is this free will, and capacity to commit any act from the most noble to the conversely reprehensible, that renders this earth the imperfect and flawed place that it is. I know, some proponents of the far left might disagree, but this world is not and never will become utopia, particularly since any one of the billions or trillions of human inhabitants can at any time utilize his or her free will to undo the man-made perfection.
This is serious and sobering stuff, but continue to bear with me, please.
Now say that you believe in a worldview or formalized religion that promotes the concept of a true utopia upon reaching the afterlife for its chosen, righteous followers. This utopia can be referred to as Heaven or even Nirvana, if you want to look at this from a non-Western perspective.
This afterlife location is by all human standards perfect, free from any worry or sin or need or want. Yet, even if those let into the pearly gates of this location are chosen with the most carefully selected scrutiny and rigorous vetting process possible, the members of this population (approaching infinity over millennia) will still be capable of acting upon their own personal free will. So, what happens if one person -- amongst these infinite numbers and within an infinite timeframe on which to act -- chooses to utilize his or her still-existent free will to conduct some theoretical horrible act while in paradise? Does that act seemingly create a paradox that wipes out all of space and time, and if so, why hasn't it happened already? Is just that what the Bible refers to when discussing the fall of Satan?
It cannot be that a higher power just knows what we will do in every instance and refuses to allow entrance to utopia for such a person, because then it would mean that every decision is in fact predetermined and that there is no free will after all.
These are big and heady thoughts to which we as human beings will never truly gain understanding or an answer. Instead, we will all choose to accept things on "faith" (a nebulous term that implies blindness that I really do not like) or go to the opposite extreme of "skepticism" and boldly declare, like Neo in The Matrix, that "there is no spoon."
I don't like either choice, personally, and still consider myself to be of the Roman Catholic worldview because I cannot and do not want to live in a world that arose via a mere astronomical volume of one trillion coincidences. There must be a higher purpose or power that has given us these great gifts to even contemplate such issues.
Or course, it is also totally possible that I just pulled this entire post right out of my ample posterior. That being said, it's really interesting, deep, fascinating stuff to think about, ain't it?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
If you were thinking about sending Ringo Starr any fanmail or other important correspondence, please ensure that it is postmarked by October 20th or otherwise he will toss it in the trash.
You see, he's just too busy to deal with that stuff...but he still offers plenty of peace and love.
Heh, I'd mock his righteous self-importance but in a sense I got a real kick out of his chutzpah. Maybe this is some super-secret viral marketing promotion for a new studio album, or great work of charity.
Then again, this is the fellow who emphatically asks the crowd "What's my name?" at the end of every show.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Wired published a closer look at presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Hussein Obama earlier today that focused the scorecard on certain technology issues near and dear to the hearts of Internet geeks everywhere. Issues such as broadband access/affordability and Net Neutrality may not be en vogue in an age of economic bailouts and overseas wars, but nonetheless they are intriguing high-minded concepts that could very well shape the future in their own unique ways.
Rather than go through what the candidates are saying, I am going to present what the folks at Wired proclaim to be the be-all, end-all position on each concept and offer how I—the People’s Libertarian Fascist Candidate—might stand by comparison.
The Issue: The United States is becoming a tortoise in a world of hares. One of the world’s most Wired nations a decade ago, we now lag behind most of our peers. In France, broadband access is half the price and four times as fast. The main cause for the debacle is a lack of competition in telecommunications. Most communities have, at best, one cable choice and one DSL choice. This situation came about through the mass consolidation of the industry, and through the non-enforcement and then repudiation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which mandated that entrenched telecom companies lease their lines into people’s homes to smaller companies.
This feels like an issue that would be right in the wheelhouse of any center-right candidate for higher office. Deregulation of the telecommunications industry, coupled with a roving eye ensuring that the lines of information do not just wind up in the hands of a small oligopoly, should bring forth the real competition that inevitably spurs cheaper prices and higher quality product.
Instead, things seem to be moving glacially at best. Make no mistake, things are looking up—from fiber-optic full-service television/phone/Internet providers such as Verizon FIOS to talk of sending signals via power lines, a few alternative systems of accessing the Information Superhighway are being built—but it irks me to no end that I remain a slave to my cable company and oppressive $50/monthly charges to blog and check my e-mail.
Between the cable conglomerates, a consolidated, bloated and broken banking infrastructure, and all of this talk of government intervention I’m thinking that we need a good, old-fashioned, Teddy Roosevelt-style trustbuster more than ever these days. Especially if part of the trust-busting involved breaking up inefficient parts of the federal bureaucracy.
The Issue: Many people skilled in technology around the world want to work in the United States, but it’s tough to get in if you don’t have a family member already living here. One good way to increase American productivity would be to increase the quota of skilled workers allowed under our H1B visa program. Opponents counter with mostly bogus concerns about spies and job loss for Americans.
It’s fascinating to see how Wired frames immigration as a technology issue—and callously and foolishly dismisses the very real concerns over security and terrorism—but in a sense it makes a logical point. I do worry in an increasingly globalized world that the United States might fall behind in the cultivation and embrace of new ideas. One way to circumvent this circumstance would be to encourage enlightened thinkers from all over to apply their wares here, either for our government (worst-case scenario) or at the very best and brightest of our private companies (best-case scenario).
By no means do I take the issues of terrorism or lost jobs as nonchalantly as the article authors, of course. These are sad, legitimate and far-too-real concerns in the modern world. However, having seen a few friends from graduate school wind up forced to return to homes overseas immediately upon earning their degree due to overcomplicated resident/employment laws, I wonder if a more sensible means of thinking this system through is not possible and even desirable.
The Issue: Technology is the best, and only way, to get us out of our environmental mess. Government’s best bet at solving this problem isn’t to pick and fund specific winners. Instead, it should try to create as fertile a marketplace as possible, while ending subsidies to dirty technologies. Five-dollar gas, after all, is good for clean tech.
This is perhaps the most obvious case where I vehemently disagree with the Wired authors. Creating safe, green, non-foreign-dependent, and affordable energy in the future is not mutually exclusive with utilizing current and available avenues to mitigate today’s economic concerns and energy needs.
In particular, that knock-off line at the end about “five-dollar gas” smacks of an elitist environmental mindset: I’m perfectly safe in my big, urban locale with copious public transportation and a Whole Foods right next door; but that redneck yokel who drives his SUV to work 20-miles away through back roads? To heck with him, he has to suck it up.
That is such garbage. Progress and advances need not be undertaken with a blazing economic Sword of Damocles hovering overhead. We can do both simultaneously: look towards the future and investigate alternative sources for energy while utilizing emerging technology in nuclear, coal, and oil to provide for today’s needs in a more efficient manner. As a certain candidate for the highest office in the land might say: drill, baby, drill.
The Issue: The question here is whether the telecom companies can pick and choose what they send over their pipes. Without a regulation mandating that the pipes remain open, Verizon, for example, could decide to start messing with your Vonage or your Bittorrent.
This is a very tough issue. At its root, it seems evident that an unfiltered, open-to-all Internet serves the best interest of all parties—researchers, students, doctors, movie-watchers, and businesses. One would hope that market forces would exert enough pressure upon the service providers that they would not even consider offering a “restricted” access package whereby the infamous “tubes” are purposely diverted and blocked to only those channels to which the provider does better business.
Who knows, though? Maybe an ala carte system of broadband content is in the works and will be the way of the future. The most nuanced position here might be somewhere in between the two candidates–trust in the sensibilities of the free market but verify what is actually happening.
The Issue: Spectrum is the technological equivalent of the roads over which our technology travels. Right now, clunky companies that use oxcarts own many of the widest highways. Meanwhile, tiny alleys---like the 802.11 band---are used for rampant innovation, like everything that uses WiFi. Soon the government is going to have a choice over whether (and how) to auction off extremely valuable, and fast, spectrum: the unused bits in between broadcast TV channels one and 52. Google and other most other tech companies believe that the spectrum could be the basis for a future of super-fast wireless communication. The broadcast companies naturally want to keep it in their top drawer. Joel Osteen is terrified that his sermons won’t come through cleanly if the spectrum is auctioned off.
Isn’t technology wonderful? Imagine: the very same frequencies that once gave us grainy over-the-air channels on our 13-channel VHF bands might one day be the same ones that enable massive terabyte-or-even-higher level information.
Imagine a world where you can listen to music, check your e-mail, read newsgroups, surf the World Wide Web, get the weather forecast, view sports highlights from the night before, Twitter your every thought, and text message your friends all while riding the train to work in the morning. Oh, I do that already; it’s called my iPhone.
Instead, imagine this unprecedented access to information now at a nearly unlimited capacity. Let’s keep opening up the spectrum bit by bit in carefully managed nuggets and see the entire world come to our very fingertips. Maybe the government will even make a little cash from the endeavor, which can in turn be spent on increased research and development or—dare I say—returned to the taxpayers!
Conspiracy Nut Aside: A part of me has always privately wondered if all of those varied frequencies of electromagnetic radiation swirling and pulsating in the millions in every direction every second isn’t doing massive harm to our inner cellular integrity. Casting that aside, though—after all, even if my radio or router weren’t blasting something some natural geographic phenomenon or distant pulsar in outer space would fill the void—it’s clear that we are only scratching the surface of what we can be doing wirelessly.
In summary, the authors at Wired present a view of technology and the emerging global world that absolutely conforms to their limited and biased up-close perspective; they are the geek’s geeks, so it’s natural they would come at things in such an authoritative tone.
In contrast, I much prefer my own personal enlightened and—dare I say—nuanced look at the underlying factors and think that the right way to lead the United States into the Digital Future is one that encourages and never inhibits the flow of information between engaged parties.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
When word broke last week that the former headmaster of my high school -- someone I genuinely considered to be a mentor and role model back in the day -- plead guilty in federal court to possession of child pornography, I wanted to say something here but instead let it go. We've all seen the sad stories of Catholic priests abusing their trust in the Church to conduct terrible acts, I did not need to pile on and add my own two cents.
Then, barely one week later, the chaplain of my current graduate school received his own perp walk for sending disgusting video of him pleasuring himself to someone he thought was a teenaged boy. Now, that's twice that the scandals have hit close to home, so I have to ask, "what is going on?"
My first reaction was to hit the Web and do some perfunctory statistical analysis. According to a site called the National Alert Registry, approximately 4% of the total population is estimated to hold some form of paedophilistic tendency. When combined with the aggregate number of priests currently serving throughout the world -- approximately 40,000 -- that would imply that around 1,600 men of the cloth are walking this earth perhaps carrying a dark secret.
That gross number could definitely assist the Church in rationalizing away the problem -- oh, there are evil people everywhere and besides, it's a small segment of a highly visible minority population causing a misperception of the extent of the problem. And, indeed, a very feeble and pathetic communication members of my high school community received from our current President attempted just that, along with the usual "pray for the victims and the perpetrators" spiel.
I am sorry, but that is total garbage.
The individuals called to serve as priests are not just randomly pulled from the general population; they are carefully recruited, vetted, and chosen via a rigorous and robust process over the course of years of seminary and theological/philosophical training. The Church simply needs to do better at reviewing and analyzing these candidates from the point of interest forward. Whether this includes complete psychiatric evaluations and the elimination of all privacy -- searches of personal property including personal computers and closeted materials -- I don't know. But it does seem reasonable to have to go to such lengths.
This is a very essential and core group of men granted one of the most important responsibilities on this earth, to assist others in communicating with God Himself and understanding His mission and goals for the world. To betray that trust runs far beyond any protections required to ensure that it doesn't happen in the first place.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Apparently, the artist/actress/musician -- and I use all of those terms in a purely ironic fashion -- Madonna is no fan of Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin.
MADONNA better not take her act to Alaska. At one point during the US kickoff of her "Sticky and Sweet" tour at the Meadowlands Saturday night, the Material Mom indulged her Republican-hating ways, shouting, "Sarah Palin can't come to my party. Sarah Palin can't come to my show. It's nothing personal." Then the kabbalah queen told the crowd, "Here's the sound of Sarah Palin's husband's snowmobile when it won't start," followed by a loud screeching noise.
Um, what? That doesn't even make sense, and it's certainly not even remotely funny on any level above that of a...actually, I can't even think of a level on which it's humorous. Perhaps the years of hard living and faux-Euroweenism have finally taken their toll on Detroit's finest export since Kwame Kilpatrick.
Or maybe, much like her alleged paramour Alex Rodriguez, she just choked under pressure.
I wonder if her intestinal discomfort really stems from the threat Palin presents to her own personal view of feminism and female power. Palin has brought herself to the cusp of the highest office in the land, and has done so while still embracing her traditional roles of mother, wife, and social conservative (anti-abortion). That has to be quite a shock to the system of those who viewed those qualities as mutually exclusive with that of feminism. In a way, Sarah Palin is the next generation feminist, and a pioneer; call her the post-modern feminist's feminist.
As to Madonna, well, she can sit and sulk on the Geek Soap Box Enemies List while the world passes her by.
Introducing the latest innovation from the fine folks at Google -- mail goggles.
Is your Saturday morning inbox filled with regret and self-loathing for the drunken e-mails you fired off the night before? If so, Gmail might have a solution for you.Heh.
Google’s Gmail Labs has a new experimental featured dubbed “Mail Goggles” which will attempt to prevent you from sending out those ill-advised late night e-mails. Gmail developer Jon Perlow created Mail Goggles as a kind of e-mail sobriety test.
It works by stopping your message when you hit send and then presents a series of simple math problems you need to solve before you really send the e-mail. The problems themselves aren’t very difficult, but they do serve the purpose — making you stop and think about what you’re doing.
Despite its soaring stock price -- even in this downtrending marketplace -- I have never truly been convinced of Google's real money-making abilities. Selling advertising, no matter how specific and targeted, is still a very cyclical business, and the only other major product out there for the company is the new (lackluster) Android mobile phone operating system.
Still, it's these cool little "outside the box" gadgets and gizmos that give the company such great marketing possibilities. Like Apple, but without the aesthetics.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I fully confess that--as I type this at 7:47pm Eastern Daylight Time--I expect Sarah Palin to lose tonight's Vice Presidential Debate. Even if she holds her own, the narrative has already been carefully crafted and repeated ad infinitum throughout the mainstream media: Palin is an inexperienced, not-ready-for-primetime gaffe machine with little national experience and even less national judgment. Palin could rhetorically rip off Joe Biden's gonads and fist them down his throat; the meme will not change, nor will the public's perception of the GOP ticket as a result.
Instead, let's look at this fun what-could-be story stemming from Palin's recent visit to the United Nations, and in particular her interaction with new Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. Seems Mr. Zardari went and got himself the subject of a fatwa due to his fawning reactions.
Cleric Maulana Abdul Ghafar, a prayer leader at radical mosque Lal Masjid, condemned Zardari's "indecent gestures" toward Palin as a disgrace to all of Pakistan.
Zardari's "filthy remarks and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt" was unbecoming of a head of state of a Muslim country, Ghafar said during a sermon, according to the Daily News.
Zardari has also drawn criticism from the Pakistani press and the nation's feminists, who blasted the president for calling Palin "gorgeous."
He went on to tell Palin, "Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you," and said he might hug her if his handler insisted.
Heh. It would be so great to have a powerful, conservative woman a mere heartbeat away from the highest office in the land, if only to see the collective heads of the rest of the world explode and become immediately disarmed.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
How can we all go on knowing that Anne Hathaway did not in fact profess to Esquire her love of all things anal sex?
So, which of the following things is the worst?
1) We all believed the original story without a moment's hesitation or skepticism in this anything-goes, instant-gratification Internet society?
2) I was actually kind of sad that the story did not turn out to be true.
3) I scoured the last issue of Esquire looking for any reference of Hathaway when it arrived in my mailbox?
It's hard to imagine a more unlikely advocate for John McCain these days than the former Democratic President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton. And yet, how can you watch this lukewarm, nearly calculatedly diabolical reaction to Greta Van Sustern's question "How is a close association with Rev. Wright different than a close association with David Duke?" and think anything else?
Ah, Slick Willie. The sullen body language, the lengthy pause, the subtle bulging eyes, the crafty non-response to the question. I hated this man when he was using his incredible talents at obfuscation to defend his penchant for utilizing the highest office in the land to spray his demon seed into the clothing of not-so-fairminded maidens. But when it's on the other side--and he's sort of giving the big old rhetorical buttfuck to his own party's candidate out of naked political ambition and revenge--well, I giggle a little like a schoolgirl.
H/t to Ace of Spades HQ.