Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Bad Is The Technology Void In South Dakota?

How bad is it here in South Dakota when because of Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T, we can't get the iPhone but the Taliban whom are in exile in Afghanistan and normally seek to ban almost all technology are singing the praises of Apple's technological wonder.
We doubt Apple will sign this guy up for an endorsement deal, but Mullah Zaif, a former Taliban official, raved about his iPhone to Al Jazeera correspondent Hamish McDonald during a visit in Kabul.

I asked Zaif about his gadget. His response was pretty much the same as everyone who owns an iPhone.

"I'm addicted," he said, "the internet is great on this, very fast."

He proceeded to show myself and our film crew his favourite websites. I half expected him to log on and show us 'Taliban Twitter'.

Witchcraft - Did You Know?

Did you know that New Testament mentions of the "sinful act" of witchcraft are actually a reference to abortion being a sin and not some denouncement of Samantha Stevens twitching her nose? I think those burned at the stake in Salem might have disagreed but interesting just the same to see how far some will go to find biblical justification for their worldview.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Huh?

Italy has their own Terry Shiavo case going on where the fate of a women who has been in a vegetative state for 17 years is now being debated between the wishes of her family and the government. The father, who says his daughter expressed that she wouldn't want to live like she is currently, has attempted to have doctors reduce and eventually stop feeding her. Meanwhile the Italian government with help from the Vatican is trying to prevent the doctors from carrying out her family's wishes.

Of course this issue is nothing new but what caught my eye was this beauty from the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi trying to justify why this woman should remain a vegetable.
Justifying his campaign to save Englaro's life, the prime minister added that, physically at least, she was "in the condition to have babies"

And I thought octo-mom being artificially enseminated with 6 embryo's while already having 6 kids and no job was bad...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cruel But Funny

What happens when kids get a taste of lemons for the first time?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Kind Of Hall Of Fame

In a former life I had a job working for a vending company in the Cleveland area. Part of the job entailed shopping out pinballs as they came in from the various bars getting them ready for their next location. And of course when finished you had to play them in order to ensure that everything was working properly.

During the 4 years I worked there, I became quite a fan of pinballs and though nowadays the industry is barely breathing, any stories about these machines brings back fond memories. So when I saw Joystiq's story on the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas I was again longing for a local arcade to drop a few quarters.

The Joystiq story also got me thinking about which pinballs are my favorites. While that is certainly a tough choice I must also qualify it by saying that the vending company I worked for refused to buy Stern or Gottlieb pinballs instead staying with Bally, Williams and few from Data East so games from those companies will not be on my list. I am not sure why that was but the rumor was because they weren't impressed with the reliability of the games which might now be considered funny as Stern is the only company still making pinballs. You will also not find any made after around 1995 as that is when I left the vending company and moved to South Dakota, not exactly a mecca for pinball aficionados.

So without further ado, here is my list of the top ten pins that I ever played.

[caption id="attachment_1002" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="10. The Getaway: High Speed II"]The Getaway: High Speed II[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1003" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="9. Star Trek TNG"]9. Star Trek TNG[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1004" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="8. Terminator 2"]8. Terminator 2[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1005" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="7. Bride Of Pinbot"]7. Bride Of Pinbot[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1006" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="6. Attack From Mars"]6. Attack From Mars[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1007" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="5. High Speed"]5. High Speed[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="4. Dr. Who"]4. Dr. Who[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1009" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="3. Adams Family"]3. Adams Family[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1010" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="2. Twilight Zone"]2. Twilight Zone[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1011" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="1. Theatre Of Magic"]1. Theatre Of Magic[/caption]

As you can imagine, this list is strictly my opinion and based only on my aforementioned limited exposure to pinball manufacturers so feel free to chime in with your favorites

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sin Taxes Are The Cowardly Way To Raise Taxes

Sin taxes, which for the sake of this post should be considered as taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, have been a pet peeve of mine for awhile. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea of raising taxes on these products when the money is used exclusively for paying for the results of using them. Paying for smoking related health care issues with cigarette taxes or paying for drunk driving related activities and prevention with alcohol tax just make sense. What bothers me is when users of those products are taxed at higher rates to the benefit of those that do not pay those taxes because it is easier to sell.

This first appeared on my radar in the early 90's when I lived in Northern Ohio and the city of Cleveland was looking to finance what became Jacobs Field (I still can't call it by its new name of Progressive Field). One of the options they used was a sin tax which I felt placed a much higher financial burden on smokers and drinkers of Cuyahoga County to pay for the stadium though they would be only a small percentage of those benefiting from it.

Fast forward 15 years and again a sin tax is in my sights. I touched on it briefly here but the new children's health insurance bill aka SCHIP just got a $33 billion infusion paid for by raising the tax on cigarettes $.61 a pack. I personally have no problem with SCHIP and in fact support this increase in funding and coverage but again must ask why is it being funded by exclusively by smokers?

Does smoking mean that your children will automatically be needing SCHIP funded health coverage? Do non-smoking families never need health care funded by the program? Of course the answer to both questions is no so why do smokers have to foot the bill exclusively?

Because smoking is no longer in vogue and it is the easiest way for our elected officials to increase taxes without getting crucified by their constituents that's why and herein lies the problem for me.

If a program or service is deemed worthwhile and it is also determined that it cannot be funded by cutting somewhere else, at least have the backbone to make everyone foot the bill instead of making an increasingly smaller minority pay for it because it is an easier sell. Either it is worthy of all taxpayers or it isn't.

Oh and finally if you think this is just another smoker complaining about paying higher taxes, you would be wrong. I quit 2 years ago after South Dakota raised our cigarette taxes $1.00 a pack so this increase will not affect me at all. It does though point out the one good thing about sin taxes. If you raise them too much, the pool of those paying them dimishes greatly leaving our legislators with fewer politically safe ways to raise taxes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good Thing This Is Being Considered In Minnesota

It is a good thing this is being considered in Minnesota and not here in South Dakota as our resident "Nanny State Crusader" would be having a cow!
MN Considers Smoking Ban In Cars

While South Dakota lawmakers debate whether to ban smoking at all businesses, Minnesota's legislature is considering a ban that extends to streets and highways. The bill would prohibit smoking in cars with kids inside.

Minnesota has already banned smoking in all bars and restaurants which is one of the latest pet peeves of certain local bloggers and now their legislators look to go even further. The question is how long will this even be an issue, especially after our latest $1 a pack increase here and the $.61 per pack increase that will take effect as part of the latest SCHIP bill signed by Barack Obama a few days ago.

Read the whole story

So Who Was More Stupid?

I've been stewing on this for awhile but I think this question needs to be asked. Who exactly was more stupid, the unemployed single mom of 6 who chose to have 6 more embryo's implanted knowing that multiple births could result or the fertility doctors that went ahead with the procedure? Reports are that Nadya Suleman, the woman in question, claims that she had the children because she loves kids and was lonely.

With 6 kids on the government dole already, one would think the fertility doctors should have instead given her a psychiatric referral (especially after watching this interview) and that Suleman should have considered getting a pet...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Guess What?

For all of those folks bitchin' about Stephanie Herseth Sandlin voting for the Democrat authored "put us into debt until our children's children grow up" package. Guess what, "Blue Dog" or not she is a Democrat so why are you surprised? Oh and by the way so is Tim Johnson so please don't be suprised after the Senate vote either.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Because We Should All Feel Safe In Church

We all know that going to church can be quite hazardous and Arkansas' Concealed Carry Association feels your pain.
Should you be able to carry a gun to church? It's a question state lawmakers will be taking up next week when they debate a bill that's kicked up a little controversy.  The bill being discussed would let churches decide on their own to post a sign to ban guns inside, but opponents say it should not even be an option.

Grant Exton is a gun owner and president of the state's Concealed Carry Association.  He's been working with lawmakers on a bill that would allow people licensed to carry a concealed handgun to take their guns to church.  Exton says the proposed law's less about guns and more about property rights.

Good grief...

A Big Comcast Oops?

If you thought the Janet Jackson nip slip was bad during the Superbowl half time show a few years back, just imagine what Comcast customers in Tucson must be thinking. According to at least one customer who caught it on tape, right after Larry Fitzgerald's 4th quarter touchdown the screen went blank only to come back on a different channel that he and his family hadn't expected.
Our TV reception went bad and went blank………then all of a sudden we see a woman putting with her hands down some guys pants……..and she whips his ‘thing’ out…..  All right on public television.

Read the full account along with his definitely not safe for work video here.

(via Perez Hilton)

UPDATE: TMZ now has an edited copy of the video for those wanting a somewhat sterilized version.