Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's The End Of The Year, As We Know It...

Click on, REM - "It's the end of the world as we know it...but I feel fine." Sure my stocks are underwater in most cases, but so is every one (except for those elites who got bailed out). Sure, George Bush has made a mess out of just about everything he has touched, but at least we have some hope in Obama. Turns out it takes an economic downturn to help us re-learn what's really important.

Without George Bush, I'm quite certain, there would be no room for Barak Obama to win the election. Indeed, Chris Rock is right in that category. Certainly, the economic engine has been consumerism for a great long while, but from the "Me" generation spawned by Reagan to the wacky notion that the only sacrifice we would need to make to get through Nine Eleven would be to go out and shop, we have learned that it's not what we buy, but what we make that is more important. Worth and value are determined not by how cheaply you can get junk from China, but what you make of what you have right in front of your nose.

In the end, what's really important in life doesn't cost money. It's friends, family and the biggest ROI - hugs for and from small children. Being together, no matter what, and helping each other through these troubled times will be the measure of who we are, not the situation we're in caused by inept leadership. Certainly, as MKL Jr. used to stipulate, it's not what we do when things are good that are the measure of who we are, it's what we do when the chips are down that are the hallmark of our humanity.

Toward that end, here's an interesting project to become involved and a part of the solution rather than contributing to problem. This is something I say a great deal, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Begin constructing a ladder to get yourself out."

Adios 2008, and a Happy New Year to you all. Aught Nine has to be much better than aught eight as we are certainly scrapping the bottom of that hole as of late.

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughts On Abstience Making The Heart Grow Fonder

Straight from the "no surprises here department," we see yet another report indicating that the abstinence only nut jobs are just that:
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.
Those misguided adults who insist that abstinence only education is the way to go have forgotten what it's like to be a teenager. Here's an interesting commentary on the subject:
I think the abstinence boondoggle is just one more example of the corrosive effect of American religion on society. Long ago I gave up trying to understand the Christian point of view. I concluded that, as imperfect as I am, I don't have enough hate to be a Christian. I have too much respect for individual self determination, for freedom, and for the power of love, to think that a viewpoint founded in Stone Age myth and Medieval superstition, in magic and miracles, has any relevance in today's world. When I look around me and see the harm caused by wacko extremists of every religious stripe, I stand even stronger against the destructive effect of the intrusive and propagandizing religions that try to get into the intimate aspects of people's lives. I believe in the power of every person, young and old, to use his or her noggin to figure things out, and I believe in giving people who want and need advice on sex and love good advice, sound advice, founded on science, practical experience, and good example.
Blog on friends, blog on all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Should Bush and The Whole of His Administration Be Held Criminally Liable For Their Actions?

I say yes, and methinks many who blog here also agree. Simply because some one is placed in such grandios policital posts does not put them above the letter nor the spirit of the law.
Whatever its other legacies, the Bush administration will be remembered for its contemptible disregard for the law in the post-9/11 war on terrorism. From the wiretapping of Americans without a court order to the waterboarding of suspected terrorists to the refusal to abide by the requirements of the Geneva Convention, many of the administration's policies can fairly be described as lawless.

But were they also criminal? Should officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, be put on trial, either in a court of law or in a forum like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission? As the Bush administration nears its end, calls for such a reckoning are coming from civil libertarians and some supporters of President-elect Barack Obama. Some even argue that President Bush should be indicted.
Minimally, we should toss the whole lot of them over to Bahgdad to finish this grand "democracy spreading experiment." If they believed in it, truly believed in it, they would volunteer and go post haste directly after 20 Jan. Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Iranians For The American People: Any one been to this in person care to comment?

Have a look:


History Will Not Be Kind To The Bush Administration

I know that many in the current Bush Administration are banking on the fact that "history" will find them to be prudent and good for America, but I highly doubt it. The jury's still out, but living today in Bush's economy, we know for a fact that the world is not a better place for the W, Rove and Co being at the helm of what used to be the most powerful nation on the globe. Have a look at this short editorial for further discussion on the matter:
Vice President Dick Cheney has a parting message for Americans: They should quit whining about all the things he and President Bush did to undermine the rule of law, erode the balance of powers between the White House and Congress, abuse prisoners and spy illegally on Americans. After all, he said, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln did worse than that.
When do we get to shovel the W, Rove and Co over to Baghdad so they can finish their little "democracy spreading" experiment?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ebeneezer Scrooge Would Be Proud

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
Where's my bail out? Never mind that, what about the bail out for my son's school - that is in dire need of a facilities upgrade?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hollywood Is Dead

I've got the Canon 5D Mark II on my wish list for Santa. If you look at this video, you will see why this invention will mark the slow demise of Hollywood. Everyone will be able to make high quality moving pictures. It will be content and creativity that reign, not big budgets and those who have the stomach for the film industry politics.

Canon 5D Mark II - Espresso Demo from Mark Fong on Vimeo.

W, Rove And Co - Professionals At Redefining "Winning."

If you think we are winning the "Drug War," let alone the debacle known as the largest Social Welfare State of Iraq presenting an increasing tax burden on the American People, think again. Why the W, Rove and Co continue to insist on setting up straw arguments as a means of declaring victory is beyond me, particularly given that they are well past gnawing down to the nub of their last straw.
Outgoing Drug Czar John P. Walters claims that the U.S. "war" on drugs is working ("Our Drug Policy Is a Success," Dec. 5), but that's true only if one redefines success.

Here's the reality: Illegal substances -- from marijuana to cocaine to heroin -- are more potent and more available than at any time in history. Deaths from illicit-drug overdoses are at an all-time high, and most illicit substances are cheaper than ever before.

Thanks to the strict enforcement of America's drug laws, which primarily target nonviolent drug offenders, police now arrest some 1.8 million citizens every year for drug crimes -- over 800,000 for minor marijuana offenses alone. As a result, the U.S. has earned the unique distinction of jailing a greater percentage of its population than any other industrialized nation.

If this is Mr. Walters definition of "success," then I shudder to think what he would consider to be failure.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if the current administration actually came clean on all the messes they caused? Let's hope at least they are confessing their sins to Obama, but my intuition tells me they are hard at work setting land mines and traps so that Obama has to fall on one to save our country but it works in turn to destroy his political career.

On a final note, just think of the additional revenue that could be gained if we started taxing even just marijuana after it has been decriminalized, not to mention the savings of not having to incarcerate your grandmother because shes growing some plants in a hot house. Last I checked we could use some additional tax revenues that boost the economy rather than tap it dry for a failed enforcement policy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Looks Like They Love George Bush In Iraq...

Just found this on one of the yahoo pages. Looks like George has not fully gained the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq.

I'm still voting that George, Dick and the whole kit and caboodle of those who wished for democracy's spread to work in Iraq move on over there after 20 Jan to finish their mission. Of course, George isn't that committed to the work in Iraq. He's moving to some fancy digs in Dallas instead, it seems.

Late add - looks like it's finally up on Youtube. Of course, Fox News folks are trying to hint that Saddam would have handled it differently:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Thought For The Day: Well, Go Figure - Interactivity and Action Are Better than Sedentary Observation?

...a new study out shows, once again, a pretty strong link between happiness and NOT watching television.
As much as you enjoy the 52in flat panel with the bluray disc operating 1080p quality images, shut the bugger off and go do something outside. Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather, just being poorly prepared for the existing weather. Invariably, the weather always looks worse from the inside looking out the window. They do make all those snazzy technical fabrics for a reason - get outside (oh, and yes, the irony that I'm typing this on a monitor does not escape me).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

War On Terror + War On Drugs = Same Result

Funny, the LA Times had two opinion articles on the very subject we've been bashing about on blogs for a great long time. Perhaps we can get some headway on the different causes. First, legalize pot, then tax the hell out of it and shrink the costs of trying to enforce the ban and put people in prison for it. Sounds good to me:
Now, as we're desperately trying to reinvent the economy, should we consider marijuana?

We've dipped a toe in those waters already in California. Sales of medical marijuana are taxable -- $11.4-million worth for 2005-2006, the most recent (though admittedly murky) figures available.

How much more might we raise from the tons of now-illegal marijuana? When we tried to tax it decades ago, it wasn't so much about raising money as about cutting the demand for dope. In 1937, a new federal tax added so much cost and red tape to purveying marijuana that even doctors were priced out of legally prescribing the stuff. Once pot was banned outright, the tax became a double-dipping opportunity for lawmen. They got you for possessing or selling and for not paying the tax too. In 1968, the feds busted a Santa Barbara couple with 600 pounds of marijuana -- and gave them a tax bill for $1,622,000.

Of course, by paying the tax, you would be confessing to breaking the law. Timothy Learywas busted for not paying a marijuana "transfer" tax, but the Supreme Court said the law amounted to self-incrimination and threw his case out.

However, if we keep charging a tax -- something above and beyond a sales tax -- but take away the criminality, we'd be win-win, right? We don't mind paying "sin" taxes, or levying them, like Schwarzenegger's plan to help beat the deficit with a new 5-cent-a-drink tax.

Marijuana is a huge component of the nation's underground economy. A couple of years ago, the legalize-it forces estimated that the U.S. marijuana crop was worth $35 billion a year. California's share of that was $13.8 billion.

If the number is even half that, any tax windfall, on top of money saved by not prosecuting marijuana crimes, would mean a bonanza, wouldn't it?
Jackpot! Next, much like the War on Drugs, Mumbai proves that the War on Terror is going to be a money sink hole likewise.
Terrorism is nearly as old as humanity itself. In the 1st century AD, the Zealots of Judea began a series of covert killings of Roman occupiers and Jewish collaborators. The word "assassin" is thought to derive from "Hashshashin," the name of a Shiite sect active during the Middle Ages whose members donned disguises to kill their victims in public places. The term "thug" is said to come from India -- from the 17th to 19th centuries, a cult engaged in "thuggee," the mass strangulation of travelers in caravans. And like modern terrorists of all ideological stripes, these ancient Zealots, assassins and thugs succeeded in part by sowing outsized fear.

Mumbai should remind us -- again -- of the folly of the Bush administration's "war on terror." Terror is an emotion, and terrorism is a tactic. You can't make "war" against it. Even if meant as mere metaphor, "the war on terror" foolishly enhanced the terrorist's status as prime boogeyman, arguably increasing the psychological effectiveness of terrorist tactics. Worse, it effectively lumped together many different organizations motivated by many different grievances -- a surefire route to strategic error.

Like crime, terrorism will always be with us, and terrorist attacks will increase as long as we succumb to the panic they're intended to inspire. But if we resist the temptation to lash out indiscriminately, we can take sober steps to reduce terrorism through improved intelligence, carefully targeted disruptions of specific terrorist organizations and efforts to address specific grievances (such as disputes over Kashmir). With a new U.S. administration about to take office, isn't it finally time to say goodbye to the "war on terror"? After all, we already have two real wars to worry about.
Amen. It's never too late to cancel a failed ideology wrought with the irons of a failed administration.

Monday, December 01, 2008

High Resolution Images from Mumbai

Check these out - the one's that are blacked out can be clicked on as they are graphic and should not be viewed if you can't stand seeing the full deal.

I like the boston dot com location as they have many images you are not going to get in the Mainstream Media. I'm in favor of full disclosure. It's easier to make decisions about what you think if you have all the information. Sanitizing the news makes it easier to distance oneself from the horror.