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the quest for world domination continues
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/08/25/pitcher.toogood.ap/index.html?cnn=yes

Here we have the story of a 9-year-old who was told that he's "too good" to pitch in his local baseball league. Apparently his 40-mph fastball is just too much for the other kids in the 8-10 year-old division, with one team just packing up and forfeiting the game rather than face this junior fireballer.

Wow. We already have school districts where competitive games like "tag" have been banned from the schoolyard, lest little Johnny develop some sort of complex at the thought of being "It" or fat little Janey get depressed because she's unable to catch the other kids (most likely due to the fact that her parents let her sit on her ass all day eating McDonald's), and now this? Just when I think the levels of nanny-state stupidity in this country cannot possibly get any worse, something like this comes along to surprise me. For a country that supposedly loves great feats of athletic acheivement (Michael Phelps, anyone?), it blows my mind that the adults in this situation are acting like a bunch of snot-nosed, whiny losers. So what if the kid is better than any of the batters in his league? Too bad for them! They should learn to hit better, and they should be happy that there's a kick-ass player in their division for them to face. You don't get any better by hitting a bunch of softballs.

League officials seem to think that one possible solution to all of this is to put the kid in a division with older children, presumably of an age that can hit a 40-mph fastball, but they're missing the social aspect of the game here. What 12 year-olds are going to want a 9-year-old on their team? The kid might be able to throw a mean 4-seamer, but he won't have any friends on the team, and that'll probably just ruin the experience of baseball for him anyway.

What's next? We tell our music prodigies that they're too good for Beethoven? Tell our math and science geniuses that Harvard only wants the above-average kids, not the stratospherically-smart ones?

Yeah! Give it up for mediocrity! Think of the children! BLARGH.

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2 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
One of the things that's been a big deal about Obama during this presidential cycle has been the fact that he's energized a lot of younger voters. This is, by all accounts, generally considered to be a good thing, and Obama probably believes that it's to his benefit. I wonder, though, how many of the 18-30 people that were turned on by Obama are aware of Joe Biden's instrumentality in passing the RAVE Act, and will be turned off to voting for the Obama/Biden ticket in November as a result of it. There's always been at least some semblance of a political undertone in the rave scene - maybe not so much these days, but certainly there was an element to it when I was involved, although ravers around here could never get organized and/or never existed in large enough groups to get the politicians to take notice of anything except flagrant drug use. Wouldn't it be one hell of a turn of events if all of those old former ravers who were so pissed off about the RAVE Act actually voted as a bloc in this upcoming election to vote AGAINST Obama/Biden in protest? I suppose it would be a greater irony for all of us to vote FOR them - here's a guy that declared war on the electronic music scene, pissed off thousands of people around the country who may not even have been old enough to vote at the time, and now here we are former ravers and new ravers alike, potentially voting to put this nanny-state asshole into the second highest office in the land. The whole thing definitely has an element of surreality to it.

Something else that strikes me as bizarre is the fact that, as I noted in a comment on my previous entry, I have yet to see anyone come out and say that Obama made a mistake by choosing Biden. That strikes me as a little odd, and I think it means one of three things. 1- Obama really did make such a great decision that the pundits can't find very much wrong with it, or 2- There's such a cult of personality surrounding Obama that your average media nutjob is so wrapped up in that they wouldn't know an Obama-misstep if it bit them in the ass. I have a hard time believing #1.

femmdraven raised the following question: "How many people do you actually know who voted for Bush (especially the 2nd time)? I don't know one single person...not one. Yet he's president and oddly enough, with everything he's done, he hasn't been tossed. What does that say?"

It says that Nancy Pelosi is a fucking sock puppet and the Democrats need to collectively grow a pair. Dennis Kucinich (who is a nutjob in his own right, but at least he's got some balls) actually did try to introduce articles of impeachment agaisnt Herr Fuhrer Bush, but Pelosi is having none of it. I'd never really paid much attention to her or cared about her all that much until I saw her on Meet the Press this morning. Now that I've seen her and heard her talk (Tom Brokaw pretty much made her look like a complete tool), it makes me think that we're in worse shape than I had first believed. I can't even really explain it in an objective sense - but just listening to this woman weasel her way through the conversation just made my skin crawl. Brokaw showed her poll numbers that said that only 14% of America approves of the job that Congress is doing, and she weaseled around it. Brokaw grilled her on the fact that she's invested her own money in T. Boone Pickens' wind energy plan, pointing out her ability to influence energy policy due to her position as Speaker of the House, also nailing her on her apparent flip-flop on offshore drilling. After about 5 minutes of her weasling around, Brokaw seemed pretty resigned and said, "So I guess we're going to have offshore drilling." Weasel weasel weasel!!! Funny thing, too - Pelosi is apparently from San Francisco, which is filled with liberal Bush-haters - you'd think that they'd be writing her office and telling her to act like a responsible statesman and do what's best for the country instead of just trying to ride it out and hope that Bush goes quietly. Maybe she doesn't want to stir up more bad blood in Congress between the elephants and the jackasses, but you know what I say? Stir that shit up!

I've always been cynical when it comes to domestic politics, but I don't think I've ever been so pessimistic about the future of America as I am today. You'd think that I'd be at least slightly more optimistic because I know Dubya isn't going to be back for another term, but I'm actually not. The difference between Obama getting elected and McCain getting elected is, I think, going to be like the frog in the pot of hot water. If McCain gets elected, that'll be like putting the frog in while the water is boiling - it'll be so obvious that we're screwed right away that we might just be able to do something. If Obama gets elected, it'll be like putting the frog into the cool water and cranking it up gradually. We won't know how badly we're fucked until our goose has been cooked.

And finally, in the, "I voted for what?@!@#$" category, I got a letter yesterday from Harry Mitchell, who is the Congressman from this district. A few weeks ago, Mitchell sent out little flyers telling people about what he was doing, and those flyers had comment cards attached. I filled mine out and sent it back, and in it I specifically said that I was opposed to any kind of housing bailout bill in response to the foreclosure situation in the US. My thinking is simply that if you made a bad decision and you got in over your head and your house goes into foreclosure, well, shit happens, that sucks, I'm sorry, but deal with it. It isn't the government that signed your loan docs. It isn't the government that told you that you needed to try to buy a house that was three times more than what you could afford. And it damn well isn't the government's responsibility (and, by extension, the taxpayers' duty) to save your ass when the house of cards comes crumbling down. The fact is that we've become a nation of pansy-ass softies that always looks to the government to bail us out, and then we get all butt-hurt when the government goes too far and starts telling us what to do. Well, come on, fuckholes, what do you expect? When you demonstrate that you can't handle personal responsibility and making your own decisions and living with the consequences, what do you think is going to happen? Someone else is going to come in and make decisions for you, and you're not going to be in any position to raise a ruckus. BLARGH!

Anyway, I digress. So I get this letter from Rep. Mitchell thanking me for writing him IN SUPPORT of the housing bill that Bush signed into law several weeks ago, which has various provisions in it meant to help out the people in foreclosure. Wait, rewind.... Are you serious? You're thanking me for supporting a decision you made which I didn't actually agree with? When did that happen? Did you even read the comment card, or did you just assume that because I'm a registered democrat in your district that actually bothered to fill the thing out that I must assuredly be in support of your position?!@#! Unfuckingbelievable. I've written my Republican senators a few times, and while I've never gotten a response from McCain's office, I have gotten a response from Senator Kyl both times -- and while we certainly disagree on issues, at least I know by the content of the reply that someone actually read my letter and comprehended what I was saying.

I'll say it again. BLARGH!


Edit -- If you're interested in technology, civil rights, copyright, and all of that, here's a little article on Joe Biden's voting record. Pro-RIAA, pro-FBI, anti-encryption, anti-fair use. Fuck him.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10024163-38.html?tag=newsLeadStoriesArea.0

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what the hell do you want?
Barack Obama picked Joe Biden to be his running mate. As a result of this, John McCain is probably so damn giddy that he's pissed himself several times over. While it might be true that Biden has a decent set of foreign policy credentials, and at 60+ years old, he's certainly got that experience thing down pretty well, he also has this rather unfortunate tendency to spout Bushisms at the most inappropriate times. Oh, and let's not forget this choice quote, said during the August 2007 debates by Joe Biden ABOUT Obama: "I think that he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." Let's think about this for a minute, shall we? One year ago, Biden didn't think Obama was ready to be President. What has happened in the past year that might lead him to change his mind? Has Obama picked up any leadership experience? Has he picked up any foreign policy experience? HELL NO! He's been too busy running for president to do anything except change his mind, act like a typical pansy-ass Democrat, and disillusion a lot of his supporters. As far as being ready to become president, there's nothing that's any different about Obama today than there was a year ago - either he was ready back then, and he's ready now, or he wasn't, and he isn't.

And as theklute has correctly pointed out, it's our buddy Biden that was responsible for the RAVE act. Not only that, but he got it passed by sneaking it into the "Amber Alert" bill.

Let's think about one other thing here.... Obama has been running under the banner of "change" - he's all about being a different kind of politician, about getting rid of business as usual, and all that good shit. But if that's really true, why would he pick someone who's been in Washington even longer than John McCain?!@#!

I think this is a clusterfuck of a decision on Obama's part. I'd have rather he picked Hillary Clinton, or Bill Richardson, or, better yet, my choice would have been Russ Feingold, but I don't think he was ever up for consideration.


So, yeah, you heard it here first, kids, John McCain is going to be the next president of the untied states. Un-fucking-tied indeed. Here comes the war with Iran!
5 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
Ok, so, we all know that reality TV sucks the soul (not unlike most forms of television), but at the same time, it's something like a horrible car accident, where you really want to turn away but just can't. I've been known to get sucked into a reality show from time to time, and I recall a few years back during one season of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice, I mused on how absolutely cool it would be for someone if someone could get on that show, take it all the way to the end, have Trump say, "You're hired," and then to say, "You know what? I don't really want the job. Thanks for the offer, though," and walk away.

Tonight, I saw it happen.

Cory has been watching this show on MTV called "A Shot at Love 2 with Tila Tequila" wherein some bimbo with the pseudonym "Tila Tequila" whittles her way through 16 dudes and 16 chicks in what can really only best be described as a cross between Animal House, Survivor, and Blind Date, ostensibly trying to "find love" among one of these people. Who the fuck is Tila Tequila, why does anyone care, and why does she have a reality show on MTV? I have no idea. I think she's like local DJ William "Fucking" Reed -- essentially good at nothing except shameless self-promotion -- and that's how she got to wherever she is (which, outside of MTV, I don't think is really anywhere).

But I digress... The show itself is not all that entertaining, although I have lost a few hours of my life to it over the last couple of months due to the fact that sometimes it just happens to be on while I'm sitting in the living room. The final episode aired tonight, and it came down to a guy from Ohio named Bo and a girl from New York named Kristy. Bo appeared to really have fallen for her, whereas Kristy was expressing some reservations - not about Tila so much as about this potentially being her first serious relationship with a woman. Blah blah blah, filler filler filler, spoiler spoiler spoiler, Tila tells Bo that he's not it and picks Kristy. But that's not all...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Kristy turns her down!

FUCK YEAH!

Now, there is certainly the very real possibility that this whole thing was scripted from the beginning, and if we assume that to be true, it does take a large amount of the cool factor out, but if we assume that it was generally legitimate, and that Tila had no idea that events would unfold as they did, then all I can say is, well, FUCK YEAH! I give mad respect to Kristy for doing what she felt was right for her. I'm also happy to see D-list celebrities with an overgrown sense of their own importance get shafted and humiliated on national television.

Tila, you're a moron. You were oblivious to the message that Kristy was trying to send you in the pre-elimination dinner--you know, the one in big neon signs that said, "DON'T PICK ME!" If you had even a modicum of belief that you would find any kind of serious relationship by sorting through would-be candidates on a reality show, all I can say is that the joke's on you. Next time, try eHarmony.

atmosphere: amused amused

what the hell do you want?
So, as I'm sure anyone living in the US knows all too well by now, gas has gotten to be quite pricey (please, let's not get into discussions over whether or not gas should actually cost more as a means to spur conservation - that's a topic for another post). Even the regular unleaded is over $4/gallon in these parts. A couple weeks ago, I told my boss that I wanted to start working from home at least one day per week as a means to, well, use less gas. It's not that saving me, say, $10/day on gas is going to make all that big of an impact on my bottom line, but honestly, I just find the idea of spending upwards of $60-$70 to fill up my car to be rather offensive. Ok, great, so now I'm working from home on Thursdays.

Then I started thinking... wouldn't it be nice if I could bike to work? We have a shower in the office, so I'm covered on that front, so all I'd need is a bike (since my last bike got stolen a few years ago). The only problem with this plan is that my house is about 15-20 miles away from the office, and I'm just not really in shape for that kind of ride to AND from the office in the same day. Add on to that the fact that summer is rapidly approaching, and the thought of an hour-long bike ride in 110-degree weather just doesn't sound like my idea of fun.

But I found a solution. I have a parking card for Hayden Square, which is in downtown Tempe, about 1/2 way between my house and my job. So I can park my car there in the covered parking (for free!) and then just bike the rest of the way. Then I bike back to my car at the end of the day and drive home. It's not a perfect solution, but it's a start. Just need to add a bike and then figure out how to get my ass out of bed at 6am so I can be at the parking garage by 6:30 or so and be able to do the morning ride before it starts to get really hot out there.

So, last Monday, armed with my foolproof plan, I went to the bike store and I bought one of these (mine actually looks a little different because I replaced the handlebars and seat, added some bar ends, and took off the clipless pedals, but you get the idea - it's the same model - a Trek Fuel EX 8):


Woo!!

And then, all last week, I failed to get up early enough in the morning to actually put my plan into motion. See, if I don't get up until 9am, I'm not out the door until 9:30, which means I don't get to work until almost 10. If I were going to throw an 8-mile bike ride into that equation, we're talking 10:30 or so before I actually start to get any work done (of course, I'm at work now and not getting any work done, either.)

Boo!!

But fear not, dear reader. Ravyn went to bed early last night (thank you, Xanax!) and managed to get a good night's sleep and then woke up this morning at 6am. I made it to the parking garage by 6:45, got on the bike, and pedaled my ass down the street and to the office. It actually wasn't too bad of a ride, although my butt started to get a little sore there at the end. The ride to work is mostly uphill, which means, naturally, that the ride home (when it's hotter than fuck outside) will be mostly downhill and should theoretically be pretty easy. So that brings us back to...

Woo!!!!

So the plan is to bike two days per week and work from home one day per week and then work that up to three days of biking and two days of working from home. I may be stuck paying $4/gallon for gas (which will probably be $5/gallon by the end of the summer) but at least I won't have to do it quite so often. So, let's say it again!

Woo!!

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4 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
From CNN (emphasis mine):
"In the face of criticism from a slate of economists who say her gas tax holiday plan would be ineffective or even harmful, Hillary Clinton said she wasn’t taking stock of their opinions and emphasized that this was a short-term fix that would primarily benefit long-distance drivers."

“I’m not going to put my lot in with economists,” Clinton told George Stephanopolous on ABC’s ‘This Week’ after he asked her to name a single economist supporting her plan.


She's going to do what she thinks is right regardless of what the experts say. On one hand, you could admire her fortitude. On the other hand, you might find it enlightening to examine past events where a president has ignored the people that know a particular subject area the best and gone off on his own course of action and see where that has gotten us. Oh, right... Iraq.

Hillary won't listen to the opinions of *economists* in reference to the *economy*, believing that she knows better, yet Obama is the one they call an elitist? Come on, Hillary, can't you just admit that you're wrong about this and get on with it?

I had originally said that I would not vote for Clinton under any circumstances, but then I changed my mind, thinking that she'd still have to be better than John McCentury. Now I'm not so sure. This gas tax issue, although certainly not on the scale of the Iraq invasion, really speaks volumes about Hillary's ability and/or willingness to listen to outside advice and to keep an open mind rather than just seizing on a particular course of action and holding on for dear life. I'm sure her heart is in the right place, but sometimes you just have to admit that a bad idea is a bad idea and move on. We don't need another four years of stubborn single-mindedness that refuses to be swayed because it believes itself to be on the path of true righteousness.

Obama '08. He's not perfect, but he's a shit-ton better than Moe and Larry.

EDIT: It just gets better. Here's the latest Clinton gem, this time from a rally in Indiana, wherein she again talks about the gas tax holiday. Once again, emphasis mine:

"Do they stand with hard pressed Americans who are trying to pay their gas bills at the gas station or do they once again stand with the big oil companies? That’s a vote I’m going to try to get, because I want to know where they stand and I want them to tell us - are they with us or against us?

With us or against us?? The next thing you know, she's going to come out with her own version of the "axis of evil" speech. Hell. she's already said that she'd "obliterate Iran" if they ever attacked Israel. Even McCain isn't stupid enough to say something that incendiary.

I know some of you are Clinton supporters. If you support Clinton because you dislike Obama, I can understand that, because that's basically why I support Obama over Clinton. If you support Clinton because you genuinely like her and think she'd be a good change from El Chimpy, I invite you to take a good long look at the attitude and general disdain for anyone's opinion but her own that she's shown recently.

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2 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
Gas prices are high. Compared to the rest of the world, though, $3.50/gallon is still relatively inexpensive.

Our buddy, John "100 Years" McCain, thinks that it makes sense to give the struggling American gas-guzzling consumer a break from high fuel prices during the summer driving season, and his proposal to do this involves a temporary suspension of the 18.4cents/gallon federal gas tax. A gas tax holiday, he calls it. John McCain is a moron for believing that this is actually going to make any kind of meaningful difference in the average driver's bottom line.

Hillary, not wanting to appear as if she, too, cannot pander to the unwashed masses, has also jumped on this bandwagon. This means that she is even DUMBER than McCain for being the second idiot on the bandwagon. Hello, Mrs. Clinton, do the fucking math.

If any of you, dear readers, think that this gas tax holiday is actually a good idea which is going to have any meaningful positive impact on your pocketbook, then I am saddened to say that the average IQ of the folks that read this humble blog has just dropped. So let's break it down:

A gas tax holiday that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day (the traditional summer driving season) would run for approximately 13 weeks. Let us suppose that you are like me, and you drive to work every day, and you drive a little bit on the weekends here and there, but that you're neither always on the road nor always at home. In other words, you have average driving patterns. I get gas approximately 3 times per month, at a rate of about 16 gallons per fillup. For ease of calculation, we'll round it up and say that I will get gas 10 times between the end of May and the beginning of September. So, with Johnary McClinton's gas tax holiday, this means that I am saving:

16 * 0.184 = $2.944 / fillup * 10 fillups = $29.44, or about 10 bucks per month.

10 bucks a month. That's the net individual result for an average American driver under the McClinton plan. Who are they kidding? Who is that really going to help? If you're so strapped for cash that an extra 10 dollars per month is going to make a meaningful difference in your bottom line every month, you shouldn't own a car in the first place.

Let me say it again. 10 motherfucking dollars per month.

Now, let's look at the other side of the equation. This tax money normally goes towards highway maintenance and construction and other such infrastructure-related things. Suppose that it's taken away for 3 months. There are 300 million people in America. Some of them don't drive at all, but others drive a lot more (for example, long-distance truckers). For the sake of estimation, let's say that over the next 3 months, 150 million people will be affected by this gas tax holiday. At $30/person, that's 4.5 billion (billion, with a B) dollars in lost revenue that could have gone towards highway improvements or even, god forbid, alternative energy research to try to wean us off of the Middle Eastern petro-tit.

Fuck you, John McCain, for being a stupid, pandering politician, and fuck you harder, Hillary, for agreeing that it's a good idea. But most of all, if you can't see past this ruse, FUCK YOU, AMERICA.

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atmosphere: annoyed annoyed

7 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
First... if any of you play chess, find me on facebook if you're not already on my flist, add the chess application, and challenge me to a game. Come on, you know you want to. =)

Second... I continue my procrastination with a foray into domestic politics. We all know it's going to be John McCain vs. somebody in the next election, and while I am not an outright *supporter* of either Clinton or Obama, I am definitely a *detractor* of Clinton. That said, though, I have changed my mind on one thing. If Clinton gets the nomination, I'll grudgingly vote for her. Even Dennis Kucinich(sp?) would've gotten my vote over John "100 Years" McCentury. However, there are a few things that have really bothered me that I think are worth comment on.

1: The whole fiasco with Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been unfairly condensed down into one "God Damn America" soundbite. I bet you that a good 80% of the people that have heard that quote during the last several weeks and then gotten upset about it haven't taken the time to actually listen to or read a transcript of the whole sermon. I have. Yeah, it's inflammatory, but you know, there's a lot of truth in what Rev. Wright said. He went a little overboard with the whole "AIDS was created to kill the black man" stuff, but the basic idea of the sermon, which is that America has failed to live up to its promises, well, you know what? That's TRUE.

2: They call Obama an elitist because he said that people are bitter. How are John McCain and Hillary Clinton NOT elitists. Look at their background. They're both senators. They're both multi-millionaires. I read an article in which the author noted that anyone running for President is inherently an elitist. If you're running for president, obviously you think you're good enough to run a country of 300 million people better than the other 299,999,999 of them. Think about that.

3: Obama hasn't a chance in hell of beating McCain. It has nothing to do with being black or white or democratic or elitist or any of that other shit. You know why he won't win? He's too smart. I watched the last debate between Clinton and Obama where the moderators were asking Obama a bunch of stupid questions - one of them was about how he doesn't wear flag pins but the other two do - and the essence of his response was that patriotism isn't measured by a pin, but by what you do. He called out the media for sensationalizing these kinds of trivial issues at the expense of discussing real issues (you know, the economy, Iraq, civil liberties, all of that stuff) - and you know what, he's RIGHT. George W. Bush wears a flag pin, and we see how much good he's done for the nation. However, to Joe Sixpack in middle America, the fact that Obama doesn't wear a flag pin and then tries to explain why he doesn't do it just means that he's a Bad Man. It means he's of questionable character. Obama has said that the views of people he knows are not representative of his views. This seems like a self-evident statement, doesn't it? I mean, shit, my grandfather was quite fond of words like "nigger" and "coon" - but, what, exactly, does that have to do with me? Oh, right, absolutely nothing. Except, of course, to our buddy Joe Sixpack again, it means that I must be a racist. Three cheers for guilt by association! God damn America, indeed.

4: Clinton doesn't have a chance in hell of beating McCain, either. The majority of her policy ideas are not really that bad, but I think she has a major image problem. I think people look at her and see Slick Willy. I think they look at her as an opportunistic, power-hungry carpetbagger who is more interested in her own aggrandizement than doing what's right for the country. I think these perceptions are probably too harsh when compared with reality, but I think she needs to do something about them nonetheless if she hopes to become the nominee or the next president. I wonder how many people will not vote for her solely because she's a woman. I'm sure it's a nontrivial number; that's just the nature of the American electorate. I was on the Clinton website today just poking around, and there's an interesting little quiz on there which basically just attacks Obama, and one of the questions is "Who claimed Hillary Clinton has a secret 20-year plan to become president?" - the answer, of course, is Barack Obama. You know what, though? That's actually true. I was told the same thing by someone who's working on the Clinton campaign and knows people in their inner circle. I guess it's not so secret....

5: Getting stupid again... Remember what I said at the end of my last entry, bringing up the various prophecies which say that the world as we know it will end in 2012? I wonder if that means John McCain is the antichrist? Hmm.... hehehehe

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atmosphere: working working

1 whiny bastard | what the hell do you want?
Ok, so if you've seen the news lately, you've probably heard the story about the teenagers in Florida who videotaped themselves beating the shit out of one of their classmates (I doubt the word "friend" applies here) for the purpose of putting it on YouTube. Here is a link to the CNN article if this is news to you:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/10/girl.fights/index.html

Let's put aside a moment the fact that this girl got her ass beaten in a big way -- certainly a non-trivial fact to just set aside, but bear with me a moment, dear reader -- and let us ask ourselves this question: "How much of a stupid, brain-dead, ignorant fuckhole do you have to be to have your pissant little friends taking video of you beating the shit out of someone to post it all over the Internet, where it will most-assuredly be downloaded by a large number of our friends in the porcine brigades and at which time they will get in their little pigmobiles, come over to your heretofore unassuming suburban houses, and haul your cunty asses away?!" What could have possibly been going through those assclowns' minds when they were doing all of this? Consider the possibilities.

A: We won't get caught. Uh, hello, did you not see the part about the stupidity of posting video of yourselves breaking the law on the public Internet? You shitheads wanted to post this on YouTube, no less, where all manner of weird, sick, and twisted video will eventually make it to the front page if it generates enough buzz. Well, you certainly got your wish - it did end up on YouTube - but you're all being tried as adults and may get life in prison. Someone's cost-benefit-analysis filter needs a little tune-up.

B: So what if people see it, they'll think it's cool and nothing will happen to us. Right. You fucksticks beat the piss out of someone that wasn't fighting back, that was trying to get away, and trying not to be knocked right the fuck out. How is that cool? How do you really expect that nothing will happen to you as a result? Some of you are so out of touch with reality that you were joking about missing spring break and cheerleading camp. Guess what? You might be lucky to see daylight in 20 years if the DA and the victim's family really push this (and I hope they do). Don't get me wrong, I like a good fight as much as the next guy, but the fights that I watch are between, oh, I don't know, professional fighters?!@#!@ Seeing some teenage girl basically held against her will and bludgeoned by a bunch of shit-for-brains candidates for retroactive abortion, well, you know, call me an old geezer, but that's not my idea of a good time.

C: We weren't thinking about the consequences. Yeah, maybe so, but if that's the case, then you (because you're a bunch of ignorant fucksticks) AND your parents (because they raised a bunch of ignorant fucksticks, when we already have more than enough of them to go around) are prime candidates for retroactive abortion.

Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, bitches. You won't be all happy-happy-joy-joy when Bertha comes up behind you in the shower.

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atmosphere: aggravated aggravated

1 whiny bastard | what the hell do you want?
Took the Redhat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification exam this morning... I got the job to pay for the week-long boot camp training class and exam, as I thought it might be something useful to add to my list of credentials, both from a personal level should I ever decide to jump ship and go get a different job as well as from a company level - for whatever it might be worth, now we can say that all of our IT staff members are Redhat certified (the sysadmin we just hired has his RHCT - certified technician - the entry-level RH cert).

The instructor was well-qualified and knowledgeable, and an interesting person in his own right, but the class was something of a letdown. I guess I was expecting to learn a little more. We were told at the outset of the class that it was largely intended to be a review of things that we should already know, and that it was just designed to be a refresher course, and I suppose in that respect, it was successful, but for $3000, I would have hoped to actually pick up some more useful tips and tricks and best practices that I could apply to my networks. At least I wasn't the one paying the bill.

So, yeah, the exam... there's a lot of hype about this exam, because it's not like your typical Microsoft multiple-choice test. Instead, it's performance-based. In the first part, you're given a machine that has various things fucked up on it and you have to fix them, and in the second part, you're given a list of specs and you have to build a machine that satisfies all of those requirements. So you can't really memorize a bunch of answers; you have to know how to actually get the shit done. It's said that the exam has a 50-60% fail rate for people taking it the first time through, too. So with all of this, I went into the test today not really sure what to think. The class itself was ridiculously easy, but would I have my ass handed to me on the exam?

Yeah, right. The exam was a joke. I could see how someone who wasn't prepared could get overwhelmed, but seriously, if you know how to install basic services and do some very rudimentary configuration, there's no complicated configuration on it. We were given 2.5 hours for the troubleshooting section. Done in 30 minutes. We were given 3 hours for the server build section. Done in 2. Final score? 97.8% - so I'm now an RHCE. Woo.

I think I'm going to try to get the job to send me to one of the post-RHCE advanced courses - either the one on performance tuning and system monitoring or the one on virtualization - and we'll see how that goes. To get to RHCA (certified architect, the highest level) is another 5 weeks of classes and 5 exams (and about $15,000) - I don't know if I'll end up trying to go that far, but anything that I can get my job to pay for is always a bonus.

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what the hell do you want?
Rambling on about the state of the world economy and my own pocketbook....

Fed cuts rates again in emergency action on a SUNDAY NIGHT - two days before the regularly scheduled FOMC meeting where everyone expected them to cut rates anyway. Asian markets drop like a sake cup in a beer glass, and now we see the yen is kicking the dollar's ass. Last year when I went to Japan, it was about 115-120 yen to the dollar. We're now at a 12-year-low: 96yen/dollar. Are you kidding me?! Gold was up around $1020/oz, and oil was hitting $110+ in the international markets. And, to really make your head spin... JP Morgan Chase just bought up struggling brokerage firm Bear Stearns at the downright treasonous price of $2 per share. Yeah, that's right, 2 bucks per share. This is the same brokerage firm which was trading at about $60/share one week ago. Wow. How deep does this rabbit hole go, anyway?

Most international markets that are currently open (at least as of the last time I checked in on it) were down 4-5 percent across the board. You can bet that's going to happen here, too, and that means there's money to be made if you've got access to a real-time trading platform and a stomach for a wild ride. The real question is going to be what happens on Tuesday. We all know the Fed is going to cut rates again - but will this mean a bounce for the markets or another drop as people continue to realize just how fucked up things are right now?

If I'm awake in the pre-market hours around 5am, I'm going to be checking in on DIA, QQQQ, SPY, and others in the same family. If I can get in some short action on those (or buy up some of the ETFs that are short-oriented, like QID) then I can watch the market go into freefall and collect a tidy profit. At least in theory.

I was talking to a friend of mine last week about the current state of economic affairs, and he's basically in the same situation that I am. I make a pretty good income, so I'm not concerned about being able to pay my bills, and I don't expect to lose my job due to the recession (hell, the company I work for is *expanding* right now) - but I'm definitely concerned that my savings is becoming more and more worthless as the dollar goes down the shitter and inflation creeps up. Six months from now, I don't expect to be in substantially different financial shape than I'm in now, but I wonder how things will be in a year or two, especially with the upcoming election and uncertainty as to who's going to be the next President (hint: it doesn't matter, we're fucked anyway - the only question is how hard). I'm thinking that things are going to be bad for the next two years or so.

What's the best way to cover your financial ass in these kinds of times? It depends, really, on where you're at currently, but the best thing you can do with any extra money right now is pay off high-interest debt. Save whatever money you can and invest in things that are either not denominated in dollars or that are recession-proof. Examples? When times are tough, people have to eat. When times are tough, people get depressed and they drink. You could play this by investing in companies like Altria, Procter & Gamble or Kellogg's or General Foods or you could hit up the underlying commodities like corn and wheat. Budweiser and Coors tend to do well in economic downturns, but don't invest in casino stocks. I think gold, even at $1000/oz, is headed higher - probably up around 1500 or so before we're done, so there's money to be made there, either in the metal itself or in the mining stocks (I'm leaning towards the metal). What about foreign currency? This one's a harder call, because it's not in the best interests of the governments and central banks of the world to watch the dollar get too weak against their own currencies because it hurts the profits of their own companies. (Think about Japanese automakers. If Toyota sells a car in the US at $40,000, and that $40,000 isn't even worth 4 million yen today, when last year it was worth 5 million yen, well, that's a 20% drop in revenue. Ouch.) So at some point, the central banks are going to intervene to either prop up the dollar or devalue their own currencies in relation to it, but I don't know when this is going to happen or to what extent. Given how far the dollar has already fallen against the yen and the euro, I don't know how much more downside there is. It's hard to imagine $2 <-> 1 euro or $1 <-> 80 yen, but it's not impossible, either.
what the hell do you want?
http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/0304abrk-carjacking0304.html

Man uses rock to carjack woman

Ben Sandoval
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 4, 2008 10:41 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Police continued to search Tuesday for a man who used a large river rock to steal a Scottsdale woman's car.

The 44-year-old woman drove her 2002 white Chevy Cavalier into the parking lot of the Center Court Apartments, 3031 N. Civic Center Plaza, about 10:30 p.m. Monday when she noticed a man walk through the security gate she had just opened, Scottsdale police said.

The man approached the woman with the rock after she exited her vehicle, demanded her car, got in and drove off, police said.

Police described the man as a Black male in his early 20s, wearing a light brown hooded sweatshirt. The woman's car has Arizona license plate 091-LEE

-----------

Are you for real? A rock?!? If some guy came up to me and said "give me your car or I'll hit you with this rock," I'd probably start laughing at him. Then I'd kick him in the nuts. How's that rock workin' out for you now, buddy? Seriously, though, the woman could have just run away and called the cops without giving this fuckstick her car - he's only got one chance to hit her with the rock, and if it was a "large river rock" he probably wouldn't have been able to throw it that far anyway. What a dumb bimbo. Of course, it really doesn't say that much for the asshat that stole her car, either, that the only weapon he could come up with was a freakin' rock. I don't know who's more deserving of my derision - someone that actually thought he could rob someone at rockpoint or the person that actualy fell for it.

Rock on.

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2 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
Something's gotta change.

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atmosphere: distressed distressed

I bet that got your attention.

A recent post by spacekadette about an encounter with a customer combined with the recent flap over the guy on "Dog the Bounty Hunter" using the word "nigger" got me wondering...

Why is the word "nigger" so reviled in the English language that people are not even willing to use it the context of academic or otherwise non-directed discourse, preferring instead the euphemisms "The N-word" or "n******" ? Yes, we all know the word is highly offensive and that to refer to someone as a "nigger" is something that you just don't do. (There are two exceptions to this rule, apparently - A: if you're a racist and you don't care about the potential fallout, or B: you're black, and you're talking to another black person, and using the shortened form "nigga" -- apparently an accepted practice in some circles but one that I find the rationale for completely lacking -- but that's a story for another day.) But what is it that makes people even afraid to say the word in any context at all? If I'm talking about someone else that used the word "nigger", I'm not going to say, "oh, so and so said the n-word," I'm going to say, "oh, so-and-so said 'nigger'." It isn't like I'm saying it, or I'm the one making racial slurs against someone, so why do people get their panties in a twist? What is so bad about the word "nigger" in relation to all the other ways that you can insult someone's race, gender, religion, or god-knows-what-else that the moment someone says it, 95% of the population immediately loses all sense of rationality?

Now, before anyone says "oh, well, the word "nigger" has a lot of history attached to it, what with slavery and all of that," let me remind you that black people are not the only racial minorities that have been royally fucked by the white man in this country during its illustrious history. Pretty much everyone that's not white has gotten shit on at some point or another; the native americans arguably got screwed just as much, if not more, than the blacks. The chinese were treated like shit, too, and let's not even talk about the japanese that were loyal US citizens that took it up the tailpipe during world war II. I bet you, though, that if one were to use the words nip, chink, or jap, that person would not get anywhere near the negative reaction than if the epithet in question were nigger. Double standard, anyone? As a society, either we believe that everyone is deserving of equal respect and equal outrage when they're on the receiving end of racial slurs, or we don't, and we're just afraid to admit that we believe some animals are more equal than others.

And I wonder what would happen to racism in this country if people stopped giving words power over them. One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

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7 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
So, with Google stock hitting the $700 mark today and me sitting here at the job which I turned down Google to stay at, I thought this would be a good time for reflection on whether or not I screwed myself and made the wrong decision.

From a day-to-day work perspective, I don't think I fucked myself. I have a lot more control here over what I do or don't do on a daily basis, and decisions I make have a real impact on what happens with the company, whereas as Google, I would have just been another cog in the great machine, probably dealing with the same shit every day. Given that the job they offered me wasn't even working on stuff related to google.com (it was internal-applications SA work), I just don't think I would have been happy with that. I don't work on anything really cool here, but I don't think Google would have been any different. I suspect, though, that I would have learned more at Google in the last six months. Of course, given that I don't learn much of anything new at this job anymore other than the occasional tip or trick that I figure out myself or come across online, this may not be saying a lot.

From a longer-term perspective, again, I don't think my decision would have mattered either way, because after I leave my current position, I don't think I'm going to get another "job" working for someone else -- I'm going to do whatever it is that I have to do to go back to full-time consulting/contract work and work on my own projects. ioerror suggested to me a couple months back that I apply for a job where he's working in San Francisco; it would have been cool working with him and artkiver, but in the end, it's still just another job where you're working for someone else, making someone else rich, and chasing someone else's dream. That's not going to cut it. I think I'm probably too arrogant to work for other people for very long, too, because I end up thinking (in my defense, often this is with good reason) that I'm smarter than they are.

Where I'm questioning my decision the most is financially. When Google offered me the job, their stock was trading around $450, and I had serious reservations about the potential upside. The annual salary component to the job offer wasn't anything spectacular, but there was also a stock and option grant to it. The same Google stock that was worth about $35k on offer day is now worth about $56k. Granted, that would vest over four years, but if GOOG can go from $450 to $700 in six months, I have to wonder where it's going to be in another 3 years. Will it be at $1000? $1500? $400? The options that were worthless on offer day would now be worth another $40k. Hmm. Of course, to really get depressed about this one requires me to forecast out another three years and wonder what's going to happen - and that's pretty hard to do when I don't even know what I'm going to be doing next week - but it still gives me pause when I think about it.

So did I screw myself? Overall, I don't think so - but if my goal is to get away from the standard 40-hour-a-week job routine, I need to get off my ass.
what the hell do you want?
It's really moist and truly gentle on the anus.

And yes, I'm going to bring some back.
what the hell do you want?
Probably preaching to the choir, but nonetheless, a damn fine piece of writing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/opinion/30friedman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin
what the hell do you want?
Ok, so, if I were a betting man (and anyone who's ever seen me at the blackjack tables knows full well that I am indeed such a man), I would say that there is a very real possibility that Hillary Clinton will end up the next President of the United States. How do I come to this conclusion? Well, right now I don't think any of the Republican candidates stand much of a chance; Bush has done so much damage to the image of the Republican party that I think there are enough pissed off people that it may very well not matter who the elephants nominate. On the Democratic side, I see Edwards and Obama putting up a good fight but coming up short, and all of the second-tier candidates will continue to languish in a state of relative anonymity as the media does its usual focus on the front-runners.

Now, it's certainly possible that someone will try a swift-boat type attack on at least one of the candidates, and there will inevitably be hidden skeletons, tales of flip-flopping, and other gaffes along the way, so there's always the chance that the next 12 months could see a complete upheaval in the race, but let's talk about Hillary for a moment.

Today she's quoted as saying that she thinks it's a good idea to give every newborn baby a $5000 bond that it can use when it's older for college or buying a house or whatever. She did not give any other details, such as the all-important one of how this plan would be paid for. Now let's think about this for a minute.

There are about 4 million babies born in the US every year. 4E6 * 5E3 = 2E10 = 20 billion dollars. This is so disturbingly wrong that it's not even funny.

1: People that choose not to get married or have children are screwed YET AGAIN. I would like to go so far as to say that it's somehow unconstitutional, but it probably isn't. Hell, if there can be a "child tax credit" then I suppose there's legal standing for this, too. Personally, I'd like to see that disappear, too. People either have children, or they don't, and there should be no reward or punishment for making one choice over the other. Giving people incentives to have children makes my blood boil. People should have kids because they want to, not because the government is prodding them along to do so. Fuckin' A.

2: Who the fuck is going to pay for this? There's a reason that Hillary didn't say how she'd pay for the program - it's because she's not the one that's going to pay for it. WE are. That 20 billion dollars I mentioned up there is only a drop in the bucket; administering a program wherein 4 million babies per year get this so-called "baby bond" is going to require the creation of a whole federal agency, or at least a division of some agency, and more bureaucratic bullshit to sustain it. That agency will have to hire workers and find office space and the like, and it will inevitably have waste and corruption and mismanagement like most other federal agencies. Oh, hey, look, there go more dollars out of my pocket.

3: How long do you think it will take for someone to figure out how to game the system? What about illegals? What happens if the baby dies before it turns 18? Who gets the money? Call me a real cynic, but I could see some fucked-up scenario in which the parents of a baby-bond recipient receive the money if the child dies - in which case I could see some equally fucked-up scenario in which crackheads or tweakers pop out babies just for the sake of collecting the money and then quietly dispose of them when they think nobody's watching. That would never happen, you say? I'm crazy, you say? Yeah, well, this world is pretty fuckin' nuts, too. Watch and learn.

----

Now let's talk about the economy. The Fed just lowered interest rates and the stock market said "weee!" as it jumped about 500 points over the last couple weeks. Ok, that's great - but look at the dollar. For the first time in something like 30 years, the Canadian dollar is equal to the American dollar. Are you shitting me?! I remember the first time I went to Canada, it was about 65 cents to the dollar. The British pound is now worth 2 bucks. The Euro is about $1.45. All of this has happened within the last six years or so. Maybe you're thinking, "So what?! If I don't leave the country, it won't matter." WRONG. It does matter. Y'all know that the US continues to run in the red every year - spending more than we earn - right? Well, where do all of those borrowed dollars come from? Most of them come from foreign countries that buy up our T-bills and such. So, let's suppose that you've got a country, say, China, that has billions of dollars in dollar-denominated assets that are continuing to lose value as the dollar gets weaker. So what does China do? There are several options, two of which being that they simply stop buying US securities (oops, no more credit for Uncle Sam) or they start trying to dump them - and anyone that knows even the slightest thing about economics understands what happens to price when the supply far outstrips the demand. Oops, even weaker dollar. You and I, having our money in dollars, just got a fuck of a lot poorer. Don't believe it? This kind of thing has happened before in the 1970s - but I suspect that this time is going to be worse.

This article is worth a read:
http://www.merkfund.com/merk-perspective/insights/2007-09-25.html

What do you or I do about it to avoid losing our retirement savings? Make sure you've got a decent exposure to foreign stocks, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a little in gold or silver. And, while you're at it, hope that the central banks of the world aren't as stupid as Ben Bernanke and the Fed.

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10 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?
Ok, so, my company is looking for an entry-to-mid-level Linux admin (as the person with hiring authority, preferably mid-level, but I'll take a smart beginner that can demonstrate legitimate skillz), to be affectionately known as the Associate Network Ninja. If any of you are interested, or know someone that is, please go here http://www.rsmart.com/about/jobs and read the job posting. Follow the directions on the website for submitting your resume, or leave me a comment or an email if you'd like to know more about the position.

Easy enough, right?

Well, we posted the job on dice.com in hopes of finding a few qualified candidates. One of the *requirements* of the job is that you must have a good working knowledge of *Linux* system administration. Yes, it would be nice if you knew a little about Windows 2003, but since we only have one W2k3 production server that's going to get replaced soon anyway, it's a bonus only and won't get you the job if you don't have any of the required skills. We are a *Linux* server shop, not a Microsoft, Solaris, BSD, SCO, AmigaOS, DOS, or WTFOS shop. So, if you send me your resume, and on it the word Linux is nowhere to be found, or as I read your work history the word Linux is nowhere to be found, that tells me one of two things:

1: You're stupid, or you can't read, in which case I wouldn't hire you anyway.
2: You're intentionally trying to waste my time, in which case I wouldn't hire you anyway.
3: You're desperate for a job and you think I'm desperate to hire you and therefore I'll overlook it, in which case, again, I wouldn't hire you anyway.


Ugh. We did get one resume from someone that I was going to call back, until I talked to someone else I know that knows him, and got a rather unfavorable assessment of the guy as a person. Doesn't sound like someone I would feel comfortable entrusting with any root passwords. =/

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1 whiny bastard | what the hell do you want?
Up until a couple days ago, I'd never heard of this story, but since it seems to be all over the front page of CNN lately, I've started reading a little about it. For those of you too lazy to go read a news site, the story goes a little something like this. Some black kids at a high school in Jena, Louisiana asked a school administrator if they could sit under a tree. He said yes, so they did. A day or two later, some white kids hung three nooses from said tree. They (the white kids) were suspended for some period of time, despite the principal's recommendation that they be expelled. No other charges were filed against the white kids. A few months later, six black kids (hence the name "Jena 6") were accused of beating up a white kid, and they were charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy, charges that were later dropped down to battery and conspiracy. What happens next seems somewhat unclear from the news reports - one of the black dudes (Mychal Bell) was convicted of aggravated battery in June and remained in jail awaiting sentencing (up to 22 years). Last week a judge vacated his conviction, saying that charges should have been brought in juvenile court, not the adult system, because he was 16 at the time, but because Bell can't afford his bail, he's still in the pokey, awaiting sentencing for the other charges he was convicted of. The judge in the case refused to lower Bell's bail, citing his previous four juvenile offenses - the other 5 have made bail and are out.

Today, we have rallies led by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in Jena, Louisiana, wherein a large group of what I can only assume to be black folks from around the country are decrying the injustice perpetrated against the "Jena 6." The mother of one of the black kids is quoted as saying "I hope the DA will wake up and realize what that he's doing the wrong thing, and to release these kids. It's not equal. The black people get the harsher extent of the law, whereas white people get a slap on the wrist per se."

Ok, now, before I go any further, I'm certainly willing to grant the following points. One, there may be large parts to this story that I'm not aware of. Two, in general, the criminal justice system in the US does tend to be harsher on non-whites than whites, all other things being equal.

However, I still have to ask the following question: WTF?!#!!$#$@@#

On one hand, you have some (three, I think?) white kids that put nooses around a tree to scare the snot out of their black classmates. On the other hand, you have six black kids that beat the snot out of one white kid. Someone please, for the love of Zeus, tell me how the fuck you can compare these two incidents and say that the black kids are getting screwed? Yes, sure, the white kids probably should have gotten a harsher punishment, but these are two separate crimes that simply are not on the same level. Race has nothing to do with it, and I'm so fucking tired of everyone (white, black, yellow, brown, it doesn't matter, all you fuckers do it) using the color of their skin as an excuse to whine about having to deal with that harsh mistress we call reality. Let's think about it here for a moment. One one hand, you have a threat. On the other, you have a gang beating. Hello??! Look at any state's criminal statutes and you're going to find that "threats and/or intimidation" are classified at a different level than "assault and/or battery." Had six white kids gotten together and beaten up some black kid and gotten off with a light sentence, then there'd be justifiable basis for outrage on the part of the black community, but as it is, all I see is two publicity hounds (Jackson and Sharpton) engaging in race-baiting and asshattery.

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atmosphere: annoyed annoyed

3 whiny bastards | what the hell do you want?