Monday, November 23, 2009

Skating Babies

Posting will be light for a week or so while I make the 16 hour trek to Ohio for Thanksgiving but I thought I'd leave you with this for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Missouri Republican Group Calls For Overthrowing The Government

The Lafayette County Missouri Republicans apparently have had enough and aren't going to take it anymore. Their solution? Overthrow the government.

From their billboard:
"A Citizens Guide to Revolution of a corrupt government.
1. Starve the Beast.
2. Vote out incumbents.
3. If steps, 1 & 2 fail?

PREPARE FOR WAR--LIVE FREE OR DIE!"
So who are the terrorists again?

Supply And Demand At Work?

Remember $4.50 a gallon gas? The oil companies and oil speculators surely did and apparently they miss those good old days. But when the laws of supply and demand aren't working what are they to do?

They resort to Plan B and they manipulate the supply...
Locals in Suffolk watched with growing anger over the summer as more and more tankers dropped anchor.

Southwold mayor Susan Doy said: 'It is wrong that tankers should be left off our coast for reasons of profiteering. Ordinary people are left to suffer as petrol prices go up.'

Andrew Reid, of ship owners and managers Charles M Willie & Co, said the flotilla off the Devon coast, pictured in the Mail yesterday, was 'a drop in the ocean compared to the much bigger fleet full of crude oil off Suffolk'.

He added: 'They are all just waiting there for the price of crude oil to rise, enabling huge profits to be taken. If all this crude were to be delivered there would doubtless be a fall in the crude price and petrol prices.

Sunday Funnies - The First Thanksgiving




(Via atheistcartoons.com)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pot Meet Kettle - The Associated Press Edition

Yesterday I briefly mentioned how Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue" had been fact checked by the Associated Press with quite a few of Palin's "facts" being called into question. Along those lines Talking Points Memo posted on the AP fact finding mission including how the AP somehow got a hold of a copy of Palin's book before it was released, digitized it, and proceeded to quote it extensively in their fact checking story. They even gave a $500 bonus to the reporters who were responsible for tracking down the pre-release copy.

An obvious case of fair use right?

Considering that the AP apparently doesn't believe in fair use going so far as to try and charge bloggers for quoting with attribution from their articles, will they be paying the copyright holders for this story? At the AP's pricing of $2.50 a word up to $100 for 251 words or more, Palin should be seeing a $100 check soon.

I am sure it is in the mail...


Friday, November 20, 2009

There Is A "Sarah Palin Quitting Early Again" Meme Here Somewhere

The women out pawning a book despite some not believing that she has ever read one is apparently sticking it to her supporters once again and her Sioux Falls fans looking forward to her appearance here on December 6th might want to pay close attention.

Sarah Palin's whirlwind book signing tour in small towns with easily controlled impressed media made a stop in Noblesville, IN and despite folks waiting for hours for one of 1000 wristbands, anywhere from 150-300 (depending on who you listen to) were left hanging after Palin quit signing before all in line could meet their "Hockey Mom" hero. Many were not happy.



As mentioned above, Palin's book tour is strangely avoiding most large media markets to which I wondered whether she was doing so to avoid having to answer questions. Well a story in today's Argus answers that question mentioning that she is also ducking out of interviews even with local rags in the cities she has toured to date.
In her new book, Sarah Palin complains that presidential candidate John McCain's staff kept her away from the media.

But on the first four stops of her book tour, Palin has repeatedly ducked local reporters.

The Argus Leader surveyed 12 local newspapers and television stations which requested interviews with Palin in the first four metro areas she visited on the tour: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Indianapolis and Cincinnati. None of the 12 news outlets were granted an interview.
Pretty strange for someone hawking books to be avoiding the non-Oprah media isn't it? Maybe it has something to do with a large chunk of the book already being called out as being less than truthful...

Texan's Banned All Marriage?

Texas is known for many ridiculous legislative ideas already but this one might take the cake. It is possible that in their haste to incorporate homophobia into the state's Constitution in 2005 by banning same sex marriage and civil unions, they might have also banned all marriages in the process.
The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Waited, I Really Did

Anyone who regularly reads my rants knows that I have been quite critical of the exclusivity deal that Apple signed with AT&T to have the iPhone. While it appears that Ma Bell might actually move into South Dakota some time next year as a result of the Verizon/Alltel merger, there has been no word on them bringing the iPhone with them (Alltel's network is incompatible with the current iPhone). Regular readers here would probably also know that I am a tech nerd that tries to keep up with all the latest and greatest gadgets.

So what is a South Dakota techie supposed to do when the so-called greatest thing since sliced bread in the cell phone business is unavailable?

In my case I waited, and waited, and waited hoping Apple would move on from AT&T. In the mean time I ignored the hype over all the latest and greatest Blackberry's. I even held back on switching from Verizon to Sprint so that I could get the Palm Pre (come on Sprint, any chance that you can get more than 5 towers in South Dakota?). A couple of months ago I even resorted to buying a cheap replacement dumb phone on eBay when mine died with the hopes of the iPhone coming here in the not too distant future.

Well I finally decided to stop waiting and gave in to the hype over the latest and greatest toy and I upgraded to the next "iPhone killer" with the huge marketing budget also known as the Motorola Droid. I've only had it since last Friday so this review is based on only the weekend that I have had to really play around with it but I thought I would post my initial thoughts.
Impressive....
I assume the Droid gets its name from the fact that it runs on Google's Android open source mobile phone operating system and from what I am reading, this phone might be Motorola's last chance at survival in the mobile handset market.

As of this writing, the Droid is the only handset that I am aware of with the latest version of Android installed (ver. 2.0) and coming from being forced to use Windows Mobile on my work phone, currently an HTC Touch Pro 2, the difference is like night and day. Not more than a minute after the salesperson handed me the phone after activating it, it rang and I had to quickly figure out how to unlock it. A quick swipe with the finger later on the absolutely gorgeous touchscreen, I was on my way.

Being built on Google's OS, the first thing you will notice is that it plays nice with Google's other services including 2 that I use quite often, Gmail and Google Voice. The Droid enables push email from your Gmail accounts so you'll never have to manually check them again, enter your log in information and you are set.

Google Voice also works quite nicely and from what I understand Android equipped phones are currently the only phones that you can utilize your Google Voice number right from the phones dialpad. In other words, making a phone call from your cell phone will show your Google Voice number on the caller ID display of the person you are calling. All you need to do is download the free Google Voice App from the Android Market Place (and have a Google Voice account of course).

Speaking of the Android Market Place, just about any functionality or feature that you could ever want on your Android phone has a application available on the Market Place. It's not near the 100,000 or so apps available for the iPhone but the open source community is quite good at identifying a need and writing software to address it and in this case, big brother Apple has no control over what you can put on your phone.

Another great feature is Google Maps with turn by turn navigation. Using your phone's built in GPS, you can use Google Maps for free turn by turn navigation that supports voice directions even being able to switch to Google Street view once you get close to your destination. Oh did I say it was free?

That's some of the good, now for some of the bad.

Android 2.0 is a new OS version loaded on a brand new handset and there is bound to be bugs/usability concerns. A few that I have encountered or have heard of include a few biggies.

- Voice dialing over Bluetooth does not work so true handsfree calling is not currently possible.
- Another Bluetooth issue I have encountered is problems using the Bluetooth audio. After having a tough time getting the Droid paired with the Sync system in my Ford Fusion (you need to type the security code in really fast or it will time out), music played from the phone over Sync would drop out from time to time and from what I've read, it is a common problem not associated with Sync.
- Push email with Gmail works well but syncing with MS Exchange is buggy, especially with highly secure Exchange setups so getting corporate email setup can be a challenge.
- Auto focus on the camera is iffy to the point where I have just turned it off completely and once a photo is taken, the images take a while to load and some have had problems with noise showing up in the pictures.
- No "send" or "end" buttons on the phone. To make a call you must press the phone icon.
- The included music player doesn't have a stop button so to stop a song you either have to pause the player or use task manager to close the application completely.

I am sure there are more but most of the other problems I have heard of come from those using a smart phone for the first time like battery life issues etc. but what is nice is that it seems that Verizon/Motorola/Google are listening. They have already planned an OTA (over the air) operating system update that could happen as soon as December 11th and will supposedly address some of the above concerns.

Like I said, this post is based on only a weekend of use but so far I am thoroughly impressed and will write updates as needed in the future. But as of now the Droid on Verizon's excellent network is a great option even if AT&T ever decides to bring their crappy network and the iPhone to South Dakota.

Howard Stern Takes On Kirk Cameron

This is definitely NSFW but is an excellent discussion on the Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort butchering of Darwin's "Origin of Species" from Howard Stern.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dobbs Quits CNN

CNN's Lou Dobbs announced he was quitting the network effective today so that he could “engage in constructive problem-solving” on national issues.

So who are the birthers and anti-immigration folks gonna get their propaganda from now?


More Truth From Fox News

Damn it now they have me prefacing things with "truth" statements but in this case there seems to be another issue with protest attendance figures and this time Fox News talking head Sean Hannity seems to be having "truth" issues.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Trust me...

Why is it that some folks often seem to preface their arguments by telling us that "the truth" is this or "the truth" is that? Many that often just cut and paste from sources like Whirled Nut Daily and other similar sites seem to believe that just because they state that what they are saying is the truth we should believe them.

Take this site for instance. On their somewhat barren home page alone, the word "truth" is mentioned at least a half dozen times.

Does constantly feeling the need to tell us that they speak the truth instill any confidence that they actually are or would providing verifyable facts be a better tactic?

You Knew This Was Coming

When a fundie Christian extremist goes off the deep end and kills someone like when Eric Rudolph bombed Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996, Christians are quick to give assurances to the world that the act was not condoned by the mainstream in their faith. So when a lone Muslim fundie goes off the deep end you would expect these same folks to realize that the extremes of any religion including Muslim's do not necessarily represent the faith as a whole.

Yes I know, what was I thinking.
It it is time, I suggest, to stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military. The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels. Yesterday's massacre is living proof. And yesterday's incident is not the first fragging incident involving a Muslim taking out his fellow U.S. soldiers.

Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers. Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms.

This is not Islamophobia, it is Islamo-realism.
Someone needs to start working on that "jihadi-detector" right away and once that is done they can concentrate on fashioning an effective "Gaydar" as well so that those mean old gays can be kept out of the military ensuring a completely American Family Association approved fighting force.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oh My This Is Bad!

Nepotism is rampant in politics and has become almost expected, ain't that right Brendan? But oh my just because you were married to Beatles legend John Lennon doesn't mean you are talented and Yoko Ono keeps proving that point. The latest from her comes from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and he even managed to keep a straight face.



And to further prove how irrelevant Rolling Stone Magazine has become, they rated Ono's latest finger nails on a chalkboard album 4 out of 5 stars...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Faith Based Prison?

The whole Constitutionality of this proposed Oklahoma based Christian prison is questionable but it would certainly solve the problem of what to do with the pedophile priests...
A 150-acre site on the edge Wakita has been selected, and an agreement has been reached with Corrections Concepts Inc. to manage the 600-bed prison if and when it is built ... [Bill] Robinson said the $42 million project would be financed with bonds.

A bond underwriting company said that if a government jurisdiction will commit to sending 310 inmates at a cost of $42.80 a day, bond sales can begin, and the project can proceed.

...

Robinson, himself an ex-con and prison minister, said he had been working for years on the idea of an all-Christian prison, and he had invested $1.3 million so far on construction plans and other expenses.

He said a lot of prisons have faith-based or Christian units, but he knows of none with an all-Christian staff.

"The staff, being all born-again believers, will see this as a mission," he said.

"I want people to understand what it's about. It's about changing criminals into citizens."

The prison would accept only men near the end of their sentences who volunteer to come into the prison and sign an agreement to participate.
(via Right Wing Watch)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Photographic Proof

There seems to be some question in regards to the number of local Democrats that got together to discuss South Dakota's Democratic candidates and issues. Erin McCarrick, executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party says 1200 showed up.
"Yesterday, I was with about 1,200 Democrats and independents. We were really focused on South Dakota candidates and issues. They are excited and unified about it," said Erin McCarrick, executive director of the state's Democratic Party.
On the other side South Dakota War College's PP poo poo's that number.
1200 Democrats? She’s actually claiming 1,200 Democrats?

What, did Erin go to the mall and make an assumption? Considering that most years South Dakota Democrats can’t get many more than 100 people to their state convention (and the last ones in the door get drafted to run for a constitutional office) I’m just a little bit of a doubting thomas at this claim.
Well I figured I would get to the bottom of this and lo and behold one of my spies sent me this photo he swears was taken at the meeting.




Oh wait my spy was referring to one of those other get togethers....Nevermind

AT&T Suing Verizon

AT&T is suing Verizon Wireless over their advertisments showing maps of each companies 3G coverage. AT&T claims the ads unfairly represent their actual coverage as their non-3G coverage area is much larger than what the map shows. Verizon off course says that nothing they said in the ads is wrong.

Unfortunately calls to anyone using AT&T's network in South Dakota for comment went unanswered because of course AT&T has no coverage here...Can you hear me now?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oops!

You may remember the neo-con flavor of the month Carrie Prejean whose claim to fame until now was her comments against gay marriage during the Q&A session of the Miss USA pageant. Prejean didn't win and she eventually had her Miss California crown stripped causing her to sue the pageant organizers.

Well we are learning today that Ms Prejean has dropped her ridiculous demands and settled for not much more than the pageant paying for her boob job after the lawyers for the Miss USA organization offered to release her previously unreleased solo sex tape.
A legal standoff between Carrie Prejean and Miss California USA officials reportedly ended when a Pageant lawyer played his trump card: a sex tape far more hard-core than the nude pictures which had previously scandalized her – and in which she had the starring role.

After being shown the hardcore home video - in which she apparently engages in a solo sex act - Prejean dropped her million-dollar-plus demands, TMZ.com reports, and bolted from the negotiating table.
What is it with neo-cons and their sexcapades?


How's That For Inflation?

Average health insurance premium for family coverage in 1999: $5,791

Average health insurance premium for family coverage in 2008: $12,680

(Source)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Lines Before Were Nothing

Wow, if you thought the wait to renew your drivers license was long before...
Starting at the end of the year, if you come into a driver license station in South Dakota to renew your driver license it's going to take a little more work. That's because federal regulations are changing, and it's going to take four and sometimes five different forms of identification just to renew the license.
I'm curious what my soon to be of driving age daughters will need to provide for their 3rd, 4th, and 5th forms of identification considering they are a few years away from having a utility bill, bank statement, credit card statement or mortgage document.

FISA Construction Boom

Remember just a few months ago when Congress and Barack Obama voted to give away some of our 4th Amendment rights as part of the new Government surveillance rules and nobody seemed to care? Well now that the NSA has pretty much carte blanche to monitor our communications without warrants they will be needing somewhere to store all those ones and zeros that make up our private data.

Enter their currently under construction datacenter in Utah that could eventually have enough storage to hold ever bit of porn ever produced, or in the NSA's case, all of our digital communications.
There’s an interesting article in the current New York Review of books (predictably, a book review) detailing the history of the National Security Agency, that shadowy power-behind-the-power to which we surrender much of our privacy. That in itself is interesting, but I found the introduction a bit shocking: the NSA is constructing a datacenter in the Utah desert that they project will be storing yottabytes of surveillance data. And what is a yottabyte? I’m glad you asked.

There are a thousand gigabytes in a terabyte, a thousand terabytes in a petabyte, a thousand petabytes in an exabyte, a thousand exabytes in a zettabyte, and a thousand zettabytes in a yottabyte. In other words, a yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000GB. Are you paranoid yet?
How's that for change you can believe in?

Monday, November 2, 2009

22 Milliseconds Costs Company $850,000

In a lawsuit reminiscent of the McDonalds Coffee spill case, a jury awarded a family and their son's estate a total of $850,000 after he was killed from being struck by a line drive during a baseball game. So who you ask was determined to be at fault for the families unquestionable tragic loss?

Despite findings that there were no defects with the bat, the jury still felt that Hillerich & Bradsby Co., the maker of the aluminum bat was to blame because they didn't properly warn everyone that using their bat could result in a batted ball traveling a few MPH faster than it would have with a wooden bat.
In the verdict read in District Judge Kathy Seeley's courtroom, the jurors found the company, which makes Louisville Slugger bats, liable for failing to warn users of the danger of its aluminum bats and that this failure caused the accident that killed 18-year-old Patch.
And
Baseballs hit with aluminum bats, such as the one used in that American Legion game, only give pitchers milliseconds to respond in a defensive stance, the plaintiffs said. Plaintiff's attorney Joe White said the average time needed by a pitcher to defend a batted ball is 400 milliseconds. Patch had 378 milliseconds to respond, he said.
Guess what, coffee is hot and spilling it in your lap could burn your mommy or daddy bits and standing on a pitching mound 45-60 feet away from someone hitting a ball in your direction can be dangerous no matter what the bat is made from. A great loss for the family for sure but hardly the fault of the bat maker.

At least the lawyers won't go hungry...

Google Voice - Invites

In honor (or maybe inspite) of my move here I am offering to random commenters my 3 invites for Google Voice which like most of Google's services starts out as invitation only.

For those not familiar with it, Google voice gives you a single phone number that you can setup to ring any or all of your phones, saves and transcribes your voicemail online, gives you the ability to listen in on messages as they are being left, and as of just recently it now allows you to move your cell phone voicemail away from your carrier which gives you all the Google Voice functionality from your cell phone. Of course the real advantage is you just give out your Google Voice assigned phone number and no matter what happens in the future with your other numbers, you can be still reached using that same number.

I have been using the service since I got the invite back in July but because I rarely get calls outside of work I really haven't had the chance to put it through its paces so I am a bit short on details. But if you have more questions, you can find more of what it does here and here. And if you would like to try it, just comment on any post and close it with your desire for an invitation and later this week I will shoot out my invites to 3 of you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Makes You Go Hmm....

Some food for thought to close out your Halloween weekend via care2.

Some of the latest polling shows that a larger percentage of people believe that houses can be haunted than believe that human caused global warming exists (37% to 36%). Among Conservatives, only 18% believe in man made global warming while 28% believe in haunted houses.

Wow.

Teacher Suspended For Teaching

An Illinois High School English teacher has been suspended for having his students read an article documenting the fact that some so-called unnatural acts aren't as unnatural as some would like you to believe.
Delong is said to have allowed students to read the article “The Gay Animal Kingdom” from the June 7, 2006, edition of Seed magazine. Seed magazine is a science and culture publication.

The article by Jonah Lehrer talks about the research of Joan Roughgarden, a biology professor at Stanford University who said she has documented homosexual societies among the more than 450 animal species.
Another example on how knowledge can be a terrible thing when it contradicts one's world view. The more ignorant they are kept, the easier they are to control...