Archive for April, 2006

3,501

April 30, 2006

FBI Investigated 3,501 People Without Warrants:

The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court’s approval, the Justice Department said Friday.

It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge’s approval or a grand jury subpoena.

Friday’s disclosure was mandated as part of the renewal of the Patriot Act, the administration’s sweeping anti-terror law.

But, I’m sure they’re all bad guys. Because the Bush Administration is just so trustworthy in that regard.

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Stephen Colbert and the White House Correspondent’s Dinner

April 30, 2006

Just awesome.

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Press Corps to Bush: Quit Hogging the Remote

April 28, 2006

Reporter asks to watch CNN on Air Force One:

During a briefing led by White House spokesman Scott McClellan as President Bush was traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Washington Post’s Jim VandeHei asked why the White House televisions always seemed to be tuned to Fox News and if it was possible to have them tuned instead to CNN.

“It’s come to my attention that there’s been requests — this is a serious question — to turn these TVs onto a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied,” VandeHei told McClellan, who is soon to be replaced by former Fox anchor and self-described conservative Tony Snow.

It’s really a pretty silly story, but it’s the little things like this that speak to the larger mindset of the White House, and their intolerance of dissenting viewpoints. It’s just another sign of how steeped they are in groupthink.

I am happy to say this incident had a happy ending for the reporter in question though:

McClellan then asked whether VandeHei had tried to have the change made.

“I was told — the quote was, ‘No,’ when I asked for CNN,” the reporter said.

McClellan asked him with whom he had spoken, but VandeHei said he did not know.

“Well, the magic people at the other end of the phone … I was told, ‘We don’t watch CNN here, you can only watch Fox,’ ” VandeHei said.

McClellan said he found the question “quite amusing,” and left to see about making the change.

Eighteen minutes after VandeHei raised the issue, McClellan had resolved it.

“We just called up. They’re going to be changing it, at your all’s request, to the channel that you requested, which is CNN — from the press corps.”

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Marketing Stupidity

April 28, 2006

The Nintendo Revolution has been officially named the Nintendo Wii (pronounced “We”).

What. The. Fuck. Nintendo needs to find the person who came up with this, and shoot them.

How in the hell you can you take a cool (if overused) name like Revolution and wind up with a lame-ass name that invokes images of… well, I don’t know… but it just sounds awful.

How do marketing departments come up with this stuff?

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Suddenly, I’m in favor of Global Warming

April 28, 2006

According to this great visualization, a 14 meter rise in sea level would result in my house becoming beachfrount property. Sweet!

More seriously – the interesting thing to note about this is that if the ice caps do melt, we’re not looking at a “Waterworld” scenario. It’s primarily the coastlines that will get flooded (Think New Orleans, except everywhere). Here’s the hitch though: anyone want to take a guess at how much of the world’s population lives in the would-be-affected areas? Take a look at what happens to almost all the world’s major cities after a rise of only a few meters. Think mankind can handle the destruction of all our centers of civilization and the displacement of six billion people?

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Corporate America: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy

April 27, 2006

The Ten Worst Corporations of 2005:

2005 was a good year for bad corporations.

There were no U.S. elections to worry about, with their troubling possibility of politicians running on the popular platform of curbing corporate power.

There were corporate scandals and corporate crime and violence galore, but none that rated the ongoing banner headlines of Enron and WorldCom.

Indeed, the ongoing prosecutions of individuals associated with corporate financial scandals enabled Big Business and its apologists to claim there had actually been a crackdown on corporate crime.

All leaving corporations free to buy legislation, profiteer, pollute, poison, and mistreat workers without restraint.

I promise to attempt to comment on this without using the phrase “shit sucking ass maggots”.

I’m glad to see oil companies featuring prominently on the list, shit sucking ass maggots that they are. (Crap, there goes my promise already).

In all seriousness though, the list of crimes, social delinquency, unethical behaviors, murdering, raping, pillaging, and moral abhorrency is pretty astounding, even speaking as someone who’s been pretty firmly anti-corporation for a while now.

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Projected Iraq War Costs Soar

April 27, 2006

Washington Post:

The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week.

There were three major things told to the American people going into Iraq:

  1. Saddam had WMD’s
  2. They’d greet us as liberators
  3. The war would pay for itself in Iraqi oil.

It’s amazing how many of them turned out to be true, isn’t it?

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Spanked California woman sues for $1.2 million

April 27, 2006

Calif. Woman Spanked at Work Sues for $1.2M:

Lawyers for a woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers as part of what her employer said was a camaraderie-building exercise asked a jury Wednesday for at least $1.2 million for the humiliation she claimed to have suffered.

Remember kids, spanking might be a good idea in the bedroom, but when a manager spanks a subordinate on the job, that’s sexual harassment, and that makes Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda a saaaaad Panda.

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The State of Alternative Fuels

April 26, 2006

Popular Mechanics takes a look at the state, pros, and cons of some of the alternative fuel options we currently have available to power our cars and trucks.

The take home message is that things are looking pretty bleak. None of the technologies profiled are really knock the ball out of the park superior to petroleum, and the likelihood of anything gaining widespread adoption in the near future seems pretty minimal.

Energy is going to be the issue of the 21st century; and potentially the greatest challenge mankind has yet faced. The global energy demand is going to continue to climb exponentially, and it’s obvious that without a major new source of energy (Fusion) to supplement and eventually replace fossil fuels, we’re going to be unable to meet it. At least that’s the way it’s looking now.

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God smites evil

April 26, 2006

Lightning kills 5 Mexican children in prayer:

Five Mexican children were killed when a large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning in central Mexico, local media reported Monday.

Alright, so it’s pretty morbid, I know. But the worst part is that this sort of thing happens a lot. People, innocents, children are killed while in church, or praying, or otherwise doing “God’s work”.

I’m not a religious person (obviously) but I imagine this would be deeply troubling to my faith if I were. If one believes that God directly intervenes in human affairs – then what kind of a God would allow this stuff to happen? To his own worshippers, no less?

It’s one of the more mysterious about faith, that I just can’t get my head around.

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