Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Stupidity from Congress (shocked?)

This will be a short post, but as a crusader against stupidity, and I had to make a quick comment.

Today, legislation made it through the Senate to begin a troop pullout on October 1st from Iraq. The legislation will be vetoed by the President shortly. I'm sure you've already heard all this, but if not, here's an article.

What's so stupid? Let me just tell you (you knew I would).

Wanting to pull the troops out of Iraq is a rational and logical stance to have. It's not one I agree with, because I believe the resulting mess is sure to be worse than things are now - BUT - to say that the war is screwed up and, therefore, we should get out, is a rational position to take.

However, to say that "It's screwed up, and we should get out, not now, but in October" is patently ridiculous. Why not start getting out now if we're getting out? Do we want to leave troops there just for fun? Do we like to see soldiers get blown up in a war that we've already written off?

It's like some kind of sick, sadistic, madness. The war is either worth fighting, or it isn't. Period. I'll respect and debate a position that says we should withdraw now. But, to say we should leave out troops out there, not to win the war, but to wait until October 1st is, very simply, stupid.

Stupidity from Congress? Who would have thought.

PS - One added stupidity: This "war funding" bill has 90 billion dollars for the war, and almost $35 billion in random domestic spending, i.e., pork. A war-funding bill where a third of the money is not for the war? Stupid.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Are you threatening me?

I had to take a quick break from my series 65 studying because it's not every day to get to make references to Bevis and Butthead. Apparently there was some scuttlebutt argument this weekend between Sheryl Crow and Carl Rove over global warming.

I'm sure it was quite the scientific battle-of-wits.

Seriously, can you think of anything that would provide less usefulness to your life than witnessing an debate between these two? Lord have mercy.

Anyway, among all of the hoopla I happened to see that Ms. Crow is advocating a policy of one-square of toilet paper per sitting, in order to help the environment. Yes, that's right. Regulation of toilet paper consumption to save the planet.

"I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting."
And that's not all - she also thinks that paper napkins "represent the height of wastefulness", and had come up with, as reported by the BBC the following:

She has designed a clothing line with what she calls a "dining sleeve".

The sleeve is detachable and can be replaced with another "dining sleeve" after the diner has used it to wipe his or her mouth.

Yes sir. In the Utopian world of Sheryl Crow, we'd all be walking around with skid marks in our pants and spaghetti sauce on our sleeves! That really is a sign of progress and forward thinking!

Maybe Ms. Crow thinks that paper is made by Haliburton or something. For her information, paper comes from a type of plant we commonly call "trees". These "trees" are actually something that we grow -- we call them a "renewable resource," when we're being all scientific about it. The companies that make the paper buy the trees from companies that, surprisingly enough, grow the trees so they can sell them to the companies that make paper.

This is a process we call "farming", and I'm sure Ms. Crow is all about helping the poor farmers, isn't she?

We're not running out of trees because of paper any more than we're running out of carrots or broccoli because we eat them. (Alright, because *you* eat them. I stick with meats.)

And I'm not going to carry a removable sleeve so I can wipe my mouth, or to use in a pinch when I'm over my toilet-paper-square quota for the day. Please.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui... Forgiven?

It seems that there is a sudden outpouring of forgiveness for the freak-of-nature that killed over 30 innocent people just a few days ago, according to this CBS article. Here's a quote from one of the students at Virginia Tech:

"People are talking about the senseless violence and hatred of his actions. They are senselessly hating him in return, and that is completely unfair." -- MacKenzie Swigart
Excuse me? A guy goes on a killing rampage through campus and it's "senseless" and "unfair" to hate him? What would it take to justify hatred? 300 deaths? 3,000?

Some people really do live in an alternate world I guess. It's okay to hate this guy. Really. It's fine. You don't have to forgive him. In fact, I think it's a little odd that you'd forgive someone just days later for something as heinous as this.

There's more:
"Cho Seung-Hui lived eight-thousand, four-hundred, and eighty-nine days. I and no reasonable person, or deity, could or should allow the events of one of them to discount the other eight-thousand, four-hundred, and eighty-eight," the student wrote.
Sometimes you want to reach through the computer and slap someone. Is this kid out of their mind? You know what? I *DO* discount those other 8,000 days based on this one day. I most certainly do. Does that make me a bad person?

Look, I don't know what drove this guy to do this. Maybe he had a bad reaction to some anti-depression or other psychosomatic drugs. Maybe he was the victim of some kind of pysical or extreme mental abuse that made him a lunatic. Maybe aliens abducted him. Maybe it was just good old mother nature dealing someone a fricked-up brain in the great evolutionary lottery.

Either way, he picked up the guns, he planned the assault, and he killed all those people.

It was not society. It was not government. It was not anyone else's fault but his own. Period. End of story.

I think people like to find "something else" to blame because the thought of some totally random event - like a psychopath storming a classroom and killing everyone in sight for no logical reason - makes them uncomfortable.

As well it should.

It's easy, in modern society, with all of the technology, science, and knowledge we have about the world, to forget that there are many, many things we simply can't control on a daily basis. And it's events like these that should get you to spend at least 30 seconds to try and rationalize what YOU might do if you ever found yourself in that situation. Jump out the window? Barricade the door? Charge the assailant? Stand there in a panic?

These things do really happen, and at least running through a little bit of mental preparation might help keep you out of harms way. Or it might not. I have no idea, and I hope I never have to find out how I'd react. But still, evil people do bad things to good people, every single day.

It's okay to blame them.

It's okay not to forgive them.

And if you don't blame them and hold them accountable for their actions, then you're kidding yourself, and you're doing a disservice to yourself, your friends, and your family who might need you to be the one that does something rational during a future crisis.

Just standing there, wondering how society drove this madman into your classroom, and what he did with the other years of his life, is not going to help you get your butt out that window and to safety. Compassion won't bar the door, and forgiveness won't provide a weapon so you can fight back.

And when it's all over, you don't have to "lovingly remember" the perpetrator, as Ms. Swigart advocates.

I'd consider you to be a bit crazy yourself if you did.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'll take a Big Mac, AK-47, and a side of ammo

Here is an article that explains contends that the reason for the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech is the lack of strong gun control laws in the United States.

I'm glad they cleared that up for me. Here I was, thinking the real cause was the fanatical bloodlust of this Cho Seung-Hui fellow.

His family must really be ticked off, seeing as his name is all over the news as the bad guy, when in fact, it's Charleston Heston's fault.

Perhaps that makes Mr. Cho Seung-Hui one of the "victims", given our senseless government and it's lack of gun controls.

And perhaps I am Mickey Mouse.

I mean, seriously folks: 3,000 people died on 9-11 because of a group of fanatics, armed with box cutters, wanted to kill them. Box cutters. Do you really think that this guy would have otherwise been sitting in his dorm room thinking, "Oh hey, I was going to shoot up the entire campus, but since I can't buy a gun from Wal-Mart anymore, I think I'll join the chess club instead."

Probably the most entertaining quote from this particular article comes under the caption of the first picture:

In America, "buying a machine gun is often easier than getting a driver's license."
A machine gun? Come on now. Granted, Amy points out that it's usually the trip to the DMV that *makes* you want to buy a machine gun, but I don't think that's what Der Speigel is getting at here. LOL.

In Britain, the Independent writes:
"The passionate feelings of the gun lobby may be traced to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, enshrining 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms'. Although the provision stems from the times when 'well regulated militias' were deemed necessary to protect against a British attempt to regain the lost colonies, it is the default position of any argument against greater gun control here."
Ugh. Not that I'd expect the Independent to be fully up-to-speed on the reasons for the second amendment, but the purpose of Constutional Rights is to protect citizens from their *own government*, not from a foreign government. We don't have the freedom of speech because we were worried the King of Spain would censor our newspapers, do we? I'd think the basic mechanics of why we have a Bill of Rights and a Constitution would be obvious to a journalist assigned to such political topics, but I guess that's not he case.

I'm sure that somewhere in the back offices of the Independent, there rests a dusty old dictionary like Webster's, which defines "bill of rights" as the following:
a summary of fundamental rights and privileges guaranteed to a people against violation by the state
Of course, we all know that Webster was just a ultra-right-wing militia-joining nut-job who was in cahoots with the shadow-government war cabal.

Or not.

On the other hand, all the "great" gun control laws in the U.K. aren't helping matters there. There rate of assault in this gun-free utopia is 7.5 per 1,000 residents. In the USA it's 7.6 per 1,000.

(And I certainly wouldn't want to try to, say, rob the home of the family shown in this picture I snagged from Google. Someone's getting the raw end of that deal, and I don't think it's going to be the young kiddos pictured here!)

In fairness, I will grant that the assault rate with firearms is much greater in the US than it is in the UK. Not that I'd feel much better if someone assaulted me with a chainsaw, kitchen knife, or large collection of Benny Hill tapes.

When discussing this article, my friend Scott quipped: "As if I'm going to listen to a bunch of socialist fools whose record on freedom adds up to 2,000 years of wars and serfdom."

But is that really fair? It's got to be really hard to overthrow all those kings, emperors, and warlords when all you can do is throw Benny Hill tapes at them, after all.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Don Imus may be a knucklehead, but...

... he's sure driving a lot of traffic to my blog! LOL

Special thanks to Don Imus, who drove me to make a post about him last Thursday, which resulted in 44 blog visits and my first ever appearance on Digg with a whopping 2 (or 3?) diggs. (you can see the digg count at the bottom of each post).

This got me to actually look at my stats since, at least for a short while, I've grown tremendously from my usual 6 hits a day. And I found the following statistic:

Over the last month, 34 people have visited my site after searching for "Jeff Ready" in google. Thirty-four. So now that you've found me, didn't you want to say Hi, or ask me a question, or something? Or are you just stalking me?

Ah, the mysteries of the Internet.

Don Imus Fired Because of 9/11 Conspiracy

What in the heck is this all about? Russian newspaper Pravda (of cold-war fame), ran this story today, alleging that Imus was fired not because he's a knucklehead, but because he was about to reveal the deepest, darkest secrets about 9-11.

I'm not making this up. Really. For serious.

Here's the lead paragraph:

In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically 'connected', and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.
The article goes on to associate Imus with our old friend Rosie, from which, I presume, we're supposed to draw the tie between Rosie's wack-job conspiracy theories, and her concern, on a separate issue, about the "thought police" going after Imus.

Maybe Pravda is reading my blog? Ha ha.

They then bring up Charlie Sheen, who is set to narrate a 9-11 conspiracy "documentary" as further evidence of some kind of cover-up. A cover-up that can (apparently) only be exposed by American pop culture media personalities.


So the only people that can save the good folks of the United States from the grasp of a shadow government war-cabal are: Rosie O'Donnell, Don Imus, and Charlie Sheen.

And that's not all! Despite offering no proof, sources, or actual hard research, the article concludes as follows:
To the American people themselves there remains no evidence that they know, much less care, about the dire state of their once Free Nation.
Right. And I'm further to believe this nonsense because, hey, it's coming straight from that bastion of "truth", Pravda, the former state-run newspaper of the Soviet Union.

Let me go on record by stating that, if the future of the United States hangs in the balance and can only be saved by a handful of comedians, and a media outlet for communist propaganda, then we're already screwed.

Do people really believe this stuff?

God help us all, Comrades.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Who the F is Don Imus?

Since this is all that's been in the news for the entire week, I feel compelled to offer some commentary on this Don Imus situation. Fortunately, I've been studying for the Series 65 exam (don't ask) and it's kept me away from most of it.

First off, until this week, I've never even heard of Don Imus. I could not have picked the man out of a lineup. I could not have identified his name as someone who is on the radio (or television). I think he looks an awful lot like a homeless man. I have no idea who he is, what he thinks or acts like, or what format his radio show is. I think I had a jean jacket like that in 6th grade.

Anyway, I trust that you don't need me to give you the full scoop on what's gone on, but the real brief summary is that, on his radio show, he referred to the Rutgers women's baskball team as "nappy headed ho's" supposedly in some kind of joke context. I don't know. I didn't hear it, but supposedly this guy is some kind of Howard Stern-like character which explains (1) why I didn't hear it and (2) why he would say something as idiotic as that.

You don't need me to tell you that what he said was... well... the stupid kind of crap you just shouldn't listen to.

So there's a bunch of hoopla, he ends up on the reverend Al Sharpton's show (I didn't know he had a show either - maybe I should sign up for one of these things if they are just handing them out to anyone), and apologizes. Then he meets the basketball team and apologizes.

Alright. Whatever. I don't care.

His TV spot on MSNBC got canceled. Ok. From what I can see, MSNBC isn't exactly hitting it out of the park in the ratings department, so avoiding controversy probably isn't a bad move.

Then today, CBS cancels his radio show. I guess the guy has been on for 30 years or something (who knew?). *This* is what I find a little strange.

Now, if CBS just doesn't want to be associated with this guy, then good for them. Kick him to the curb. If they think his ratings will drop tremendously and they'll lose sponsors and revenue, then yeah, out the door you go.

But, if they are doing this because of some kind of political pressure, then, well , what the hell. The statement from CBS reads to me to be a little political in nature.

"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society," CBS President Leslie Moonves.
That, to me, seems political. Why not just tell it like it is? "Don Imus is a jackass who's fatheaded remarks will cost this network millions. We kicked his nappy-headed butt to the curb. Good riddance." ... something like that anyway.

For one thing, costing your employer is plenty of good reason to give someone the ax. Although, I doubt that he *did* cost them any money - at least not yet. If anything, more people are aware of the show and will tune in, at least for a little while. Sponsors may pull so as not to be associated with Imus, even with the larger audience, but I read nothing of the sort.

Then I'm reading about Al Sharpton and his blathering on about cleaning up the public airwaves. He says:
"It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves."
Are you serious? The beginning of what? Who needs to have this broad discussion, and with whom? Is he going to call for stations to stop playing Snoop Dogg next? I mean come on - no one is forced to listen to any radio station, and if people opt not to listen, then that person, artist, company, whatever, will go out of business. Period. God Bless Capitalism (tm).

This kind of chatter troubles me, because Al Sharpton is a political figure, and if he's advocating going through political/government channels to get some dude kicked off the air for using language that, while ignorant, is present in all kinds of music, movies, television, and otherwise, it's a disturbing attempt to quell free speech.

Imus can say what he wants, and he must live with the consequences. Free speech doesn't free him from consequences. It only frees him from *government* consequences, which, I think, is what Big Al Sharpton is advocating here.

And who is on my side? None other than Rosie, who I just made a few negative (and well deserved posts) about.
O’DONNELL: But, what’s the next step Elisabeth? If you say— the though police–you’re going to get--your job is going to be taken away if you think or say something?
But I only partly agree with her. Earlier in the exchange, Rosie seems to think that if a corporation takes action that's a violation of Imus' free speech. Unless the corporation is the government or run by the government, then no, I don't think it is. They can do what they want, and have no obligation to keep him around if they don't want to.

Anyway, that's all I have to say on that issue (at least for now). The point being, give this Imus character the can because it makes business sense, or because you just don't like the guy, or whatever. Just don't do it because of some political hogwash from someone who appears to advocate government censorship of free speech.

At least I can say I've never heard the man speak. What a knucklehead.

If only I had a demo tape to send into CBS to fill that now-vacant radio slot...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Black Eyed Alanis

So props to Hawkins for find this hilarious parody of the Black Eyed Peas "My Humps" song and video, done by Alanis Morrisette.

For reference, here is the real video:

And then here's the Alanis version

LOL. I think that's just funny.

And hey, make sure you bookmark/RSS/memorize Hawkins' site, so you don't , you know, have to wait for me to steal all his best posts.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

We have met the enemy -- and it's our bureaucracy

There's an interesting op-ed piece I stumbled onto that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle a couple weeks ago, by Newt Gingrich. Here's an excerpt:

In Afghanistan, it has taken us more than five years to complete a 300-mile stretch of road. It's no wonder that the only form of commerce blooming in Afghanistan is poppy production.

And in Iraq, it was estimated that with an infusion of U.S. dollars, we could jump start more than 150 old and new Iraqi factories, creating tens of thousands of jobs. One is a fertilizer plant north of Baghdad. It used to furnish all fertilizer for the ministry of agriculture. It has produced none since Baghdad fell. As a result, crop production has decreased 50 percent, according to the Pentagon's analysis.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Rosie the Poet

On a random whim I decided to take another look at Rosie's Website this evening, and... well... hmmm. Let me put it this way: Her site reads like the myspace page of a 15 year old kid who is depressed, writing to no one, and on the verge of suicide.


The writing is intolerable, and not because of the content (as my site often is), but because you can't hardly stand to read the bizarre style in which she writes (and believe me, I use the word "style" in the loosest possible sense).

Here is an excerpt from just yesterday, and it's reflective of the style all over the site. Is she trying to write a series of (poorly done) Haikus, or what?

when joy and i
alluded to bill oreillys
sex scandal
on the view

we were told the following day
that we couldn’t bring it up anymore
or else bill o
would “go after” all the hosts of the view


i saw his friday rosie spin
on you tube
where he edited my statements
to make it seem
as he wanted

like 1984
molding the facts
2 suit the needs
of big brother rupert


question authority
b4 its too late
spin spin spin

Maybe it's just me (I am the only one writing this after all), but that is plain awful.

Penn & Teller on Wal-Mart Bashers

This is an absolutely brilliant episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit, in which they expose the stupidity that is Walmart Hatred (TM).

Online Videos by

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I wish this were an April Fool's joke.

Amy has has to put up with my complaints for years that there is not enough history taught in school. I know I'm not alone where my experience in high school history classes consisted of a couple of decent teachers and a whole lot of sports coaches who could have cared less. Luckily, one of the best teachers I ever had at any level taught history in 7th and 8th grade and gave me the appreciation for history I have today. Thank you Mr. V.

But enough nostalgia. Amy just passed this headline along to me:

"Teachers Drop Holocaust, Crusades From History Lessons to Avoid Offending Children"

Teachers are dropping controversial subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons because they do not want to offend children from certain races or religions, a report claims.

A lack of factual knowledge among some teachers, particularly in primary schools, is also leading to “shallow” lessons on emotive and difficult subjects, according to the study by the Historical Association.

Allllllllrighty then. The reason not to teach these subjects are (1) some might find it offensive, and (2) a lack of knowledge by the teachers.

History is offensive? It's a factual account of the past, not some kind of personal attack. Bad things happened, often for very bad reasons: learn from them--THAT'S THE POINT! You don't study history because you have a fascination with memorizing dates (but don't tell that to the football coach). You study history to learn about the people, their motives, what you can learn from them, and, how it affected others, and how it affects you today.

And a "lack of knowledge among some teachers"? Of the holocaust and the crusades? We're not talking the finer points of modern computer network architecture here, or some other topic where the data changes at light speed... we're talking *history* here, people -- READ A BOOK FOR GODS SAKE!

I mean, seriously, how can this be true? What subjects are being taught instead, at the sacrifice of history? Is it too much to ask that a middle school teacher have at least a middle school understanding of the holocaust? Really?

I know this is yet another of "old man Ready's" rants about stuff that irritates me, but come on, this is just insane.