A Democratic Pakistan Begins To Show Its Love for the United States

Pakistani troops fire on US helicopters at border | Yahoo! News

Ah, yes, now that Pervez Musharraff is gone and Pakistan is governed by politicians more in tune with the sentiments of the country’s population, the love fest begins. And, if there is any doubt as to how much love there is between Pakistan and the United States, read today’s statement from the Pak government.

There has been, perhaps, no love affair in more dire need of lubricant. 


The Least Effective Threat in the History of Mankind

Dire warnings fail to sway senators on big bailout | Yahoo! News

What do you do when you can not offer any semblance of reason, any item of reality and any moral basis for what you advocate? You threaten, of course. A necessary condition for the threat to be effective, however, is that you threaten something that is not already happening. This important but trivial aspect of the threat was apparently lost on Chairman of the Federal Reserve Benjamin Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. 

Refusing to be pushed, Republicans and Democrats alike rebuffed dire warnings Tuesday from the government’s top economic officials of recession, layoffs and foreclosed homes if Congress doesn’t quickly approve the administration’s emergency $700 billion financial bailout plan.

“Give us the money, or there will be recession!” the two chicken littles seemed to be screaming. Astonishingly, Congress seemed to be unswayed by this threat. For the first time in over a decade, the members of Congress seemed to be aware of reality (!!!), that the United States has been in a recession for over three years, and they stood firm in the face of this hollow threat. 

One may surmise that this threat, or “warning”, of recession was the strongest threat that their handlers offered Paulson and Bernanke. “Give us the money or we’ll tell everyone that Joe Biden has had hair transplants” was the runner up, most likely.

Educated, learned and exceptionally wealthy and intelligent men have been reduced to blathering idiots. In ancient Greece, this was comedy. In modern America, this is politics. More specifically, it is the ruling Republican Party. No art could possibly aspire to imitate such nonsense.


Bull in Santa Ynez Valley

While tasting wine in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley, Jerry and I discovered this magnificentBull enjoying the heat in the Santa Ynez Valley area of California. specimen of bull at the Tres Hermanas winery, and neither one of us could possibly resist or argue with the notion that this beast was the perfect embodiment of the sheer virility that each one of us possessed. Consequently, we each took a picture of him from a safe distance from the sturdy barricades that contained this black mass of uncontrollable masculinity.

The running of the bulls proceeds next to Zaca Mesa winery, if memory serves. And, it probably doesn’t.


White House Forced to Acknowledge Global Warming, Again

Under Pressure, White House Issues Climate Change Report | NYTimes.com

What are we to make of grown men who are too frightened of the truth? Woe be upon a populace–indeed, a world–led by such men. 

The New York Times article above cites the Bush Administrations latest defeat in its efforts to stifle scientists. After many years of suppressing the findings of a panel on the effects of global warming, the Bush Administration finally released the findings of its scientific staff. This report can be found at www.climatescience.gov.

Alas, the release was not voluntary. The Administration was forced to honor its scientific staff by a court order that required the release of the report by the end of May. Otherwise, the report’s release would have been delayed until 2009, possibly until 2017 by a McCain White House. 

The cowardice of the Bush bunch is perhaps surpassed only by their incompetence in reasoning. Although their stupidity and ignorance in matters of science, philosophy and morality is enormous, their lack of courage in confronting facts repeatedly confirmed by every scientific advisory panel ever assembled is so staggering that it defies measurement, even description. Absent any evidence that  environmental regulation is deleterious to economic growth (Japan, Germany and the rest of the EU enjoy healthy growth under heavy regulation) and in the presence of abundant legal precedent and import, the Bushies still cannot muster the courage to do what’s right. They are so beholden to their political patrons and their ideological masters that they dare not contradict a single stroke of the agenda handed to them from the moneyed sources.

Certainly, with regards to environmental matters, White House foot-dragging has ample precedent.

More poignantly, what are we to make of a country that claims the pinnacle of humanity, that owns the greatest resources of any nation, that contains the greatest wealth on the planet, that boasts the most powerful military in the world, that wields the largest economy in the world, and yet cannot muster the courage to acknowledge the excesses of its being? 

Suffice it to say that the United States needs leaders worthy of its giant stature, desperately.


God’s Curse or Voodoo?

“Certain Death” Warnings in Ancitipation of Ike | BBC News

None of this is intended to meant to diminish the misery that is about to be wreaked upon the residents of Galveston and Houston, TX, but there must be many among those former citizens of New Orleans who  relocated to Houston after Katrina who are seriously questioning their lots in life. After all, what is the probability of being struck by two of the worst major natural disaster in American history in a scant three year span?

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Unscientific Evidence of the Distribution of Intelligence

Out There: People Who Live Without TV | Yahoo! News

The entire argument hinges on this premise: recognizing that American television programming is garbage and failing to tolerate such garbage is a sign of intelligence. If one can accept this premise, then it would seem as if the very politically liberal are more likely to be intelligent than the very politically conservative. According to this fairly small survey, two-thirds of those who find television so insufferable that they refuse to keep onee in the house are politically liberal. 

The politically conservative cited in this survey may be more appropriately described as frightened, for they are turned off more by the perceived affronts emanating from television rather than the sheer stupidity of the programming that multibillion dollar corporations insist on producing and airing. In other words, the conservatives are more likely to fear what they see on television than to loathe it. 

And, if that premise is also true, and if one also accepts the premise that intelligent people are more likely to loathe stupidity than to fear it, then it is simply true that the politically liberal are more likely to be intelligent than the politically conservative. Fear and loathing may have made for a remarkable story in Las Vegas, but the two sentimens do define a stark line of demarkation between those who prefer to act on the merit of things and those who act on their fears and prejudices.


“Being There” Wasn’t There

Being There, the last movie by Peter Sellers and a favorite of many who admired this iconic genious, is not a movie that true admirers of movies would embrace. Directed Hal Ashby, an accomplished director, missed with this movie. 

Perhaps the more salient question is whether it is possible to make a grand illusion about a grand delusion and somehow make it a credible illusion. In Being There Ashby attempts a very daring goal. He tries to make a mockery of how simple-minded American society has become. The essence of the story seems to be that the American psyche has become so utterly bland and unsophisticated that the simple act of throwing about random lines acquired from television shows will afford a random stranger entry into the most rarefied of cliques and into the heart of the circle of power.

For many, the commentary worked. For me, it did not. Being There played mostly like a typical Three’s Company episode writ large. After all, the truth is closer to Wag the Dog than it is to Being There: the sophisticated power mongers manipulate an unbearably naive public, not the other way around. 

Alas, Shirley McLaine masturbated on camera for nothing.


Which Idiot Thought This Was “Unexpected”?

Jobless claims jump, productivity soars | Financial News | Yahoo! Finance

In light of the remarkable string of bad news that has emanated from the American economic system for the past three years, one wonders who on earth found the sudden increase in unemployment “unexpected”. When every major economic indicator has been heading down for over two years and the financial markets are in the middle of a complete metldown, why on earth would it be surprising that companies are shedding jobs because they have less business to conduct? 

We know that the economy has been shrinking because the “growth” of the last four years was nothing but a house of cards built on subprime mortgages. Unfortunately, American journalism is far too incompetent to keep up with what’s going on.

Liberal media, my ass!


Chrome vs. Safari: Chrome IS Safari

The Google Chrome browser identifies itself as Safari to other web sits, as seen in this screen capture from www.spyber.com
The Google Chrome browser identifies itself as Safari to other web sits, as seen in this screen capture from www.spyber.com

There is very little difference between Google’s new Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari. Both are based on the fantastically beautiful and fast and open source KHTML browser foundation, and each has simply been optimized for its own particular niche. I have to admit that based on only one day of testing, I like Chrome better than Firefox. Even though Firefox’s Gecko rendering engine is fast, the KHTML engine is faster and lighter on resources, yet.

The browser wars are on, and one wonders whether Firefox will perish as collateral damage in the war against Internet Explorer.


The Microsoft Zune: Are You Playing It or Is It Playing You?

Microsoft May Build a Copyright Cop Into Every Zune | Bits | Technology | New York Times Blog

As if Microsoft had not provided its users sufficient reasons to abandon the Windows platform, it has now provided the ultimate reason. Microsoft is contemplating building a digital rights management scheme that will disable or erase content whose provenance it cannot verify. In other words, if your Zune player or Microsoft Windoze Vista cannot verify that you obtained your music or movie “legally”, it will prevent you from playing this content. Of course, “legally” in this context means through Microsoft’s proprietary means of ascribing legality: whether you bought it through Microsoft or not.

This report is very much on the rumor mill level of things, but it is entirely credible because it is not such a drastic departure from the existing Microsoft DRM schme. if it proves true, then every Microsoft user will have to register every CD she or he owns with Microsoft so that she or he can play it on the computers that she or he has authorized. Indeed, every Microsoft user will have to ask Microsoft for permission to play anything on her or his computer or Zune player.

“Thank you, sir. May I have another?” is the phrase that may be relevant to Microsoft users at this juncture. And, apparently, they do want to have another, and Microsoft is all too happy to deliver the blows.