Wednesday, February 28, 2007


So, there's a funny thing going on in Iraq. No, I'm not referring to the occupation, nor the civil war, nor the missing millions of dollars. There's something going on in Iraq that seems to be the latest in typical behavior from the US Government. See, back when Iran was sounding all expansionistic and stuf, the USG funded Iraq in their war against Iran. The idea was to then keep Iraq in check by funding Iran. Later, when the Soviet Union was trying to spread into Afghanistan the USG funded, trained and equipped "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. In ALL THREE CASES, the people we were helping later became our enemies. Iran and Iraq (obviously) and later the freedom fighters, which included a certain Osama bin Laden. Whoops! Now, we're at it again. It seems, according to [|a February 25, 2007 article] by Seymour Hersh at NewYorker.Com the USG is funding one set of insurgents to keep another set in check. Now, here's where it gets really funny. See, this Shi'ite group is getting Iranian weapons and we can't (or won't) ask them to stop using said weapons against their Sunni enemies. So, we are now funding the Sunnis to try to keep the Shi'ites in check. The catch there is that they are allies with.... Al Qaeda! It's actually WAY more complicated than just what I described above, but that's the important bit. Hell, we may be help AQ out by helping their Sunni allies. It's truly absurd. Incidentally, if I have gotten it wrong above and you can better explain what's up, please take over in the comments section because Hersh's article is a little confusing and I may have misunderstood a thing or two. That said, I'm really beginning to find it hilarious that the Bush Admin can talk about how us leaving Iraq would "embolden our enemies" while: 1) the British leaving doesn't (it's a sign the Brits have succeeded!) 2) how us staying isn't EXACTLY what AQ wants 3) the ever-growing body count of Americans and Iraqis doesn't seem to have any effect on the souls of the men running this war I'm also puzzled as to how no one, on the world stage at least, is calling a spade a spade by pointing out that this has all been one giant, callous, cynical, amoral attempt to war profiteer like no one else in the history of man has. Seriously, if you think Bush didn't have a plan and the Democrats are STILL letting him get away with it after FOUR YEARS, you're not facing reality. This is all going according to plan, sadly. It's making a lot of people a lot of money and those ever-richer people don't give a shit about the lives of poor people and other "suckers" who thought they were fighting for their country. I'm going to have to blog more on this very soon...


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ANGELINA JOLIE HELPING TO GUIDE AMERICA ABROAD? explains [|the mission] of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), in part, as:
Its mission is promoting understanding of foreign policy and America's role in the world. Meetings are convened at which government officials, global leaders and prominent members debate major foreign-policy issues.
These are the guys the guy in the White House takes advice from on how the USA should behave on planet Earth. Now, if you were to look at the planet Earth and how America behaves in it, you'd probably think "CFR" stood for "Crappy Foolish Relations." I mean, either these guys are idiots or Bush and Co. are lying when they say advice is taken from the CFR. Well, after this latest bit of news, I can't help but think the latter. They've decided to ask Angelina Jolie to join them. Now, anyone who knows me or anyone who visits this site regularly is aware that I have a BIG crush on Angelina Jolie. I think she's a good actor, she's HOT and she's a pretty kind and generous person to be a UN good will ambassador and to have adopted so many kids from 3rd world countries. But should she be helping guide America's foreign policy? Ahhhh, well? Would you want the woman who thought Tomb Raider II was a good movie to be advising the guy in the White House? I mean, [|I enjoyed that movie] but that doesn't mean I want someone who was dumb enough to admit publicly that it was a good film to make suggestions to King George the W on how to handle other countries. I hope and pray that she'll make smart suggestions. But save for two films, I just don't think she's made the smartest choices for roles. I mean, come on, Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Big dumb action movie. Hackers? Fun, but ultimately, not exactly a classic of American cinema. Same goes for Taking Lives. And Angelina was NUDE in that one. And what about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?? I mean--WTF was that piece of crap? Seriously, that movie was worse than Dungeons & Dragons for crying out loud! And Alexander?? Why did she think playing his mom would be a good role for her? They couldn't give her make-up to look as old as she should have looked (because they could have cast anyone in that case) and as a result I kept wondering why Alex's mom looked like she must have been 2 year! s old when she gave birth to Alex since they looked so close in age! Now, I have to say that she was absolutely brilliant in Gia. And I shouldn't suggest that she didn't do a good job acting in most of the movies I've seen her in. Even in the Tomb Raider movies she did her research, nailed the accent and didn't phone it in like most actors do when cast in video game movies. So, I give her a lot of credit. That said, I still don't think she's qualified for the CFR. Sure, she's been around the world working to protect human rights the only way a totally sexy movie star can. Sure, she's spoken out on many different issues without drawing the slings and arrows of pundits who think Hollywood types aren't allowed to form their own opinions or have time to read. Sure, she's adopted children at a time in American history when adoption hasn't been further from the national spotlight. Most people cling to the belief that having your own kids is the most important thing. While she did eventually have her own kid with the good Mr. Pitt (no slouch in the acting department, either) she still provides a good example to future parents everywhere. Her message? Help the future adults of the world by taking care of presently abandoned children. Once again, I'm a huge admirer of her--but is she CFR material? I don't think so. Then again, who knows--maybe her kind of idealism and blind hope (that movies will be better than they obviously would end up being) is exactly what the CFR needs to make serious changes in the direct America is going in. Maybe her sheer hotness factor will distract the other folks at the CFR into doing something that just might be good for this old planet called Earth. One thing is for certain, this post made for a great excuse to post a bunch of Angelina Jolie pictures! Come on Google, DO YOUR MAGIC! :D



Yes, today in Afghanistan, the man many people call the vice president of America didn't shop at Wal-Mart, but was in fact a Target shopper.
I have a sneaking suspicion that we're going to see more of these kinds of attacks if our brave and righteous leaders continue to step outside our country. I mean, it's not like people in other countries have a say over what the American government decides to do around the planet. What are they supposed to do if they don't like what our leaders do? Hell, voting doesn't even work for us any more. I'm not saying it's justified, just not terribly surprising.


Project365 day 057 2007 02 26

Project365 day 057 2007 02 26
Originally uploaded by thepetecom.



Orignal From: Project365 day 057 2007 02 26

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Tags at ThePete.Com are managed with [|Jerome's Keywords plugin] (I use version 1.9, but he's up to 2.0) for WordPress. TheTag Cloud: < ?php all_keywords('
  • %keyword%', '', 1, 10, 5) ?> All TheTags: < ?php all_keywords('%keyword% (%count%)
    ') ?>

    Orignal From:

    [asin: B0002I83IQ]
    Positive Experience/Entertaining? Definitely--it's a blast. I've only gotten to episode 15 and while the premise isn't my cup of tea, in standard anime fashion, the characters are so endearing and sympathetic, I can't help but care what happens next.
    Technically any good? Like a lot of other anime storylines, this one takes something most of us are familiar with and totally changes it around making it much more fun, dramatic and thrilling. How many demon hunter/exorcists have you known to shoot holy guns and wear thigh-high stockings? This series is probably not the most accurate portrayal of demon hunting in 1920s New York City, but it is a blast to watch and so far there have been very few boring, filler episodes many anime series suffer from.
    How did it leave me feeling? Good--I still have another nine episodes to go, but I'm enjoying it a lot. If you're looking for a good anime with a hot heroine (despite her sister-ness, she's still sexy) and lots of great action and fun, this is a good choice. Even if you're not into religion, I'd say go for it.
    Final Rating? RTD - Rent The Disc, while not anything I'd watch again, this one is definitely worth checking out at least once.

    Orignal From: CHRONO CRUSADE (2003)


    [asin: B00064AFBE] [asin: B000AJJNFE] [asin: B000BNI90Y] [asin: B000GFLEAO]
    Positive Experience/Entertaining? This series is amazing. I really didn't want to like it, but it's so solid and seems to understand, even more than the original, why human survival is such a great story to explore. Yes, it's a little hard to take Starbuck being a woman, but give her time. She kicks ass.
    Technically any good? While season 2 lags a little, season one is almost flawless and season 2.5 knocked me on my ass. The bad episodes only suffer because characters do things they wouldn't do (Starbuck falls in love reeeeally fast, for example) and so does the story (we go back to their home planet for some reason). Generally speaking however, the acting is spot on--everyone is absolutely brilliant and solid and believable. Edward James Olmos (Adama) should get a thousand Emmies and the wonderful duality James Callis brings to Baltar makes me want to be an actor. The writing is really strong and there's a great story arch that is easy to follow.
    Final Rating? WEW - Watch Every Week. Currently it's running on the SciFi Channel, but the miniseries and seasons 1, 2 and 2.5 are all available on DVD (click the images to the left to get 'em from Amazon). not to over-hype this, but this show is really good.

    Orignal From: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2003)


    Positive Experience/Entertaining? DEFINITELY. Before I sat down to watch this movie I was worried it would be a film only Angelenos would get and while there are a lot of inside LA jokes I think this film is an incredibly valuable work for anyone who is a film buff.
    Technically any good? While it's a "documentary" the same way a Michael Moore film is a "documentary" there are a lot of facts and insight the narration is able to provide. It's interesting and fascinating and there's quite a bit of humor. You may not get all the LA jokes, but you'll still learn a LOT. The narrator's dry delivery helps the film be that much more entertaining. Remember those old Motel 6 radio commercials with Tom Bodet? It's sort of like that.
    How did it leave me feeling? Satisfied--but only slightly--it made me wish the movie was a series, instead of just a 3 hour stand alone film. The film covers so much but only tip-of-the-icebergs Mexican and African-Angeleno filmmaking which are two genres of film that we hardly ever hear about. I hope the director of this film does a sequel centering around the Hollywood's "second class" film industries for darker-skinned audiences.
    Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now, well, if you're in Los Angeles, the only city that I've known it to play in. It shows up at the Egyptian and the Aero theaters from time-to-time so if you live here or plan on visiting, check out for schedules at both theaters (both are run by the American Cinematheque a GREAT group of people that could use a donation). I'm really hoping this film will be out on DVD eventually which will mean it'll have to have a movie poster, too!

    Orignal From: LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF (2003)

    BREACH (2007)

    Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah, definitely, though it was a little weird seeing what is effectively a period piece set in the years 2000 and 2001. Ah, those wonderful pre-911 days!
    Technically any good? As far as an adaption of the events, I'd say it was pretty accurate. I don't remember all of the details regarding the true story this film was based on, but nothing seemed inaccurate. Over all, however, I felt the script fell a little flat. It felt more like a TV movie than a theatrical release. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, I did and was even a little moved at the end. Chris Cooper's performance is brilliant (as usual) and unfortunately overshadows everyone else a bit. I also felt like Phillippe's acting choices didn't change no matter how much his character should have changed throughout the film. That's not to say he was bad--he just wasn't particularly good. Oh and to the next director to cast the Allstate guy: give that man something else to do aside from standing around looking trustworthy, PLEASE!!
    How did it leave me feeling? Satisfied, but there was a strange aloofness to the film. For me, there was an emotional connection missing for me. I didn't quite "get" why the lead (Phillippe) entered the FBI or why he even loved his wife.
    Final Rating? NXI - NetfliX It - I enjoyed this movie, but I'm not sure I can recommend you drop $10 to see it in the theater.

    Orignal From: BREACH (2007)

    Project365 day 054 2007 02 24

    Project365 day 054 2007 02 24
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Incredibly, this is the second day in a row where I didn't snap a picture of

    myself on a bus! INCREDIBLE. Where am I? At a bus stop. :\ I was

    waiting for the 2 bus that takes me into Hollywood for my Saturdaily

    novelling session--not that I even touched my novel, sadly. Worked on the

    site, but at least I was some kind of productive. Usually I meet a fellow

    writer there and that guilts me into doing SOME kind of work on the latest

    novel, but he's been busy. Anyone else want to join me? :D

    Orignal From: Project365 day 054 2007 02 24

    Project365 day 053 2007 02 23

    Project365 day 053 2007 02 23
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Oh, man--one of my co-workers went to this place for lunch today that sold

    the best barbecue ribs and she brought back some to share!! KICK ASS!!

    Believe it or not there's a church in LA that makes buckets of money just

    from selling these HUGE BBQ ribs Fridays and Saturdays. These ribs are so

    tasty, if you're in LA, check out the Prayer Assembly Barbecue at 442 E El

    Segundo Blvd LA, CA 90061 310-523-2481--Fridays and Saturdays ONLY. Prepare

    for a bit of a long line/wait. But in my humble opinion it's totally worth

    it. :) And you're supporting an inner city church when you do it, so it's

    doubly worth it!

    Orignal From: Project365 day 053 2007 02 23

    Project365 day 052 2007 02 22

    Project365 day 052 2007 02 22
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Ahhh, lunch time bus rides are the best! (I suppose...) Yes, it's me on

    the bus again, with special guest, random bus guy in the background! I hope

    he doesn't mind...

    Orignal From: Project365 day 052 2007 02 22

    Project365 day 051 2007 02 21

    Project365 day 051 2007 02 21
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Ahhhh, friggin' SLVR!! Here's a blurry shot taken with my Motorola SLVR.

    I've decided that it takes pics just fine in reasonable light, but if it's

    dark out (even if it's dark but lit OK by street lights and such) your shot

    is likely to end up blurry unless you hold veeeeery still! Anyway, so this

    is me in Westwood--that's what I call the Fox Theater in the background, but

    most people know it as Mann's Village Theater. I believe it was originally

    a 20th Century Fox-owned movie theater back in the days when movie studios

    owned their own theaters. Today it is still one of the best theaters in

    LA. Though my fave will always be the Chinese.

    Orignal From: Project365 day 051 2007 02 21

    Project365 day 051 2007 02 20

    Project365 day 051 2007 02 20
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Ooo, I look so brooding here, but really I was just tired after a long,

    bland day of sitting on my ass making sure data had been entered into a

    computer properly (that's my dayjob--weeee!). And, yes, that's a bus I'm

    on, as usual!

    Orignal From: Project365 day 051 2007 02 20

    Project365 day 050 2007 02 19

    Project365 day 050 2007 02 19
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    This is just a quick shot since I forgot to take a pic of me in an

    interesting locale. Behind me is my desk. You can clearly see my

    personal-sized coffee maker (it makes one cup at a time). Right below it is

    the trophy my wife made for me to celebrate me finishing my novel series a

    few years back (now if I can only get it published!). And everything else

    is tooooys! YAY!

    Orignal From: Project365 day 050 2007 02 19

    Project365 day 049 2007 02 18

    Project365 day 049 2007 02 18
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Me outside of one of my favorite places to get (Japanese) food. I'm a

    sucker for most things Japanesey, especially when they come in "modern"

    settings. 7-11 this place AIN'T. That is my official FamimaFace, btw.

    Orignal From: Project365 day 049 2007 02 18

    Project365 day 048 2007 02 17

    Project365 day 048 2007 02 17
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Blurry shot of me in a place called Fred 62. It's a little dinery-type

    place on the east side. Los Feliz, I think? I didn't drive, so I'm not

    sure. The food was good and the atmosphere was great. I wish there was a

    place like this near me. They're even open 24 hours.

    Orignal From: Project365 day 048 2007 02 17

    Saturday, February 24, 2007


    Do I even need to ask you to look at the below images?


    I bet those pics above got your attention--probably even if you're a straight woman or a gay guy. They're [|the latest ad campaign] from PETA--the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They believe that wearing fur is bad and exploits animals. I totally agree with this. The thing is, I think PETA is missing the point here. They're running around protesting unethical treatment of animals yet in their ads they exploit the human animal. First: They exploit and objectify women by using their naked bodies to get our attention. Personally, I enjoy this. However, just because I enjoy something doesn't mean it's good for me. I've always heard that illegal drugs can be quite enjoyable, yet we all know that can be bad for your physical and mental health. Second: The objectification thing is not a big deal to me, since I simply wish men would be objectified in the same way. This second issue is much larger to me. In those ads, did you notice that the model is not entirely nude? You don't have to have seen Leonard DiCaprio's latest film to know that the diamond industry has been exploiting greed for a very, very long time. A very large number of people have died and have been horribly maimed because of the quest for diamonds and at least one country has been enslaved because of it. PETA, by glamorizing this woman, dressing her in nothing but diamonds just serves to reinforce the belief that diamonds are cool and beautiful and make a woman more beautiful. This encourages us all to avert our gaze when presented with the idea that people have died to provide us with the diamonds we or our significant others wear. So, which is worse? The exploitation of animals or the exploitation of the human animal? Seems pretty hypocritical to me to discourage one while obliviously encouraging the other. And really--does she need to be wearing those diamonds to get our attention? I'm all for stopping the exploitation of animals--but I think we should include ALL animals in the equation, not just the ones we call "lesser" animals.



    Yep--you read it right. The US Government is keeping undocumented immigrants in detention centers. You may have read [|my blog entry] from February 20, 2007 about it. However, Democracy Now has done more reporting on it so I thought I'd do some more blogging on it. The funny thing about all of this is that last week in [|the final Big Brother Week post] I made the below comment in relation to how we're socially not allowed to compare the Bush administration to Nazis:
    Sure, the comparison is a lazy choice, but the main reason for that is because it's incredibly appropriate. After all, [|Halliburton got the contracts to build detention centers almost a year ago], should we wait until history calls them concentration camps before we act?
    It looks like the USG hasn't waited for Halliburton to get their act together. They're already keeping people in concentration-camp-like conditions already. It seems that people are being kept in holding centers--one of which is made up of a large number of circus tents in a camp in Texas. The others are former prisons, that authorities claim have been de-prisonified, but with a prison-cell-style door and a toilet in the center of your 8-foot-square "apartment" it's hard to imagine people not feeling like they're in prison. Then, there's the whole "not being allowed to leave" thing. Then there are issues where the "detainees" aren't given enough food and some of the food they are given is spoiled. Apparently people have gotten sick on spoiled milk. In the middle of Democracy Now's broadcast on Friday ([|transcript]) they had a call in from an Iranian man who had been stuck in one of these centers with his wife and child. The thing that is really crazy about this guy's case is that he wasn't even trying to get into America. He and his family were flying to Canada--on a non-stop flight to Toronto, where they've lived off and on for years, when a man on their flight had a heart attack. They landed in Puerto Rico and everyone aboard was made to deplane. Then, according to him, authorities told him he had gotten into America without a visa, so they grabbed him and have been holding him for weeks. This is just one example--there are others. The point is, people are now being held in, what could be called, concentration centers. I'm not suggesting that gas chambers are next, but how is this helpful to America? Since when is trapping everyone who might be trying to get into America and holding them indefinitely going to solve anything? It's just going to make America more hated. If we don't want to let anyone in, then fine--let's lock down the borders and keep everyone out. But this bullshit middle-area we're dwelling in only serves to make things more difficult for everyone. Yes, the chief reason for these centers is to stop families from being broken apart. The thing is, that's the ONLY thing they're doing right. Process these people and either let them into the US or kick them out. Do it FAST. Hire more people to help the process move more quickly. Or just kick everyone out. I don't care--just stop imprisoning people. America is supposed to be the land of the free, not the land of the free-until-we-get-around-to-deciding-if-you're-a-terrorist-or-not. So, let's take a tally on just how fascist America has become: 1) Detention centers are being used to house tens of thousands of people who may or may not be trying to enter the United States, causing one to wonder how much longer it will be before the populace of said "centers" is expanded to allow other undesirables in. 2) Journalists are being imprisoned for not complying with governmental requests for information, harming the right to free speech. 3) Habeas Corpus is gone for non-Americans (so much for the "All Men Are Created Equal" thing) which means non-Americans (and those mistaken as non-Americans) can't challenge their detention in a court of law. 4) Posse Comitatus is gone--which means Bush can declare martial law when he feels like it, allowing the US military to enforce the law instead of trained law enforcement officers. 5) Secret prisons have been (and possibly still are) used to torture people whom the USG believes are terrorists (but, let's face it, probably aren't). 6) Our government insists on waging a war that has no real/clear enemy and has already failed to do what it was supposed to do. [|I could go on] but I won't. I'm sure your Monday is already depressing enough as it is...

    Orignal From: THE CAMPS ARE HERE


    I bet those pics above got your attention--probably even if you're a straight woman or a gay guy. They're [|the latest ad campaign] from PETA--the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They believe that wearing fur is bad and exploits animals. I totally agree with this. The thing is, I think PETA is missing the point here. They're running around protesting unethical treatment of animals yet in their ads they exploit the human animal. First: They exploit and objectify women by using their naked bodies to get our attention. Personally, I enjoy this. However, just because I enjoy something doesn't mean it's good for me. I've always heard that illegal drugs can be quite enjoyable, yet we all know that can be bad for your physical and mental health. Second: The objectification thing is not a big deal to me, since I simply wish men would be objectified in the same way. This second issue is much larger to me. In those ads, did you notice that the model is not entirely nude? You don't have to have seen Leonard DiCaprio's latest film to know that the diamond industry has been exploiting greed for a very, very long time. A very large number of people have died and have been horribly maimed because of the quest for diamonds and at least one country has been enslaved because of it. PETA, by glamorizing this woman, dressing her in nothing but diamonds just serves to reinforce the belief that diamonds are cool and beautiful and make a woman more beautiful. This encourages us all to avert our gaze when presented with the idea that people have died to provide us with the diamonds we or our significant others wear. So, which is worse? The exploitation of animals or the exploitation of the human animal? Seems pretty hypocritical to me to discourage one while obliviously encouraging the other. And really--does she need to be wearing those diamonds to get our attention? I'm all for stopping the exploitation of animals--but I think we should include ALL animals in the equation, not just the ones we call "lesser" animals.



    So, Friday night I'm checking my favorite news sources (not the same as what I feel are the best news sources) and came across DrudgeReport.Com. They had posted a picture of a pro-Dick Cheney group in Australia. Beneath the pic was the caption "OZ LOVES CHENEY" Check out the screengrab I took below:
    Nowhere else on the page did it point out that this wasn't exactly the case. I had been hearing for days that Australia, in fact, did not like Dick Cheney. To prove that I wasn't getting my news from leftie-libbie sites, I did a search at News.Google.Com, which, in theory, grabs news from sites all over the place. Check out the screengrab from the search I did immediately after seeing the first headline on Drudge:
    Hm... to readers of Drudge, you'd think no one in Australia had a problem with Cheney. Now you can see why I enjoy going to Drudge (because he's full of it) and why he's not on my list of best news sources.


    Dolce & Gabbana Rape Ad or Metaphor Ad?

    The above image is an ad appearing in various places over in Spain. It's for some company called Dolce & Gabbana. I have no idea what they sell. Could be clothes, but who knows, these days? Ads can be so cryptic and vague. I saw and ad once featuring a bunch of naked women. Turns out it was advertising a jeans store in Hollywood. Now, we see this ad showing up in Spain. The good news is that a lot of people are up in arms about it (read about that [|here], [|here] and [|here]). It's great that people are speaking out against this ad because it is pretty terrible. Like western culture needs another message sent on how white men force women to submit to our will. I don't quite agree that this ad automatically equates ! to rape, but I can see how people could read it that way. Personally, I see it as an accurate portrayal of how men have treated women for centuries--millennia, even. My only wish was that there were more women being held down and more ethnicities represented in the picture because, believe it or not, suppressing women is not solely a Caucasian sport. To the best of my knowledge it wasn't the white man who invented female circumcision. Still, I like the image because of what it says about humanity. Too bad the odds are good that the photographer just wanted to sell... whatever it is that Dolce & Gabbana sells.

    Orignal From: Dolce & Gabbana Rape Ad or Metaphor Ad?

    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Fewer Freedoms Friday: BYE BYE POSSE COMITATUS

    Posse Comitatus is a latin phrase that has come to represent the concept that a country's military cannot be used as a police force. Until 2006, the United States had a law on the book that would remove this law from the books only in cases of an extreme emergency, like a Katrina or a huge earthquake. However, thanks to the podcast from DemocracyNow.Org, I stumbled across the fact that George W. Bush has signed into law a little piece of legislation that would give him the ability to call in the military (aka declaring martial law) pretty much when ever he wants. Here's the nitty-gritty, folks. Buried inside HR 5122, which was passed last year by both the House and Senate, is a neat little provision that goes, in part, like this:
    `Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law `(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies- (1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to-- `(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that-- `(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and `(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or `(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2). (2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that-- `(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or `(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
    The problem here? Well, it's the part that gives Bush the ability to decide for himself what constitutes a situation where the military is needed. He determines whether or not a state requiring the military exists. The ONLY condition he has to meet is that something is going on that "opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws." In humanspeak, that means, if the local authorities are having trouble enforcing the law. This law taken literally means that Bush can declare martial law when ever he sees fit. Now, I'm not saying there are going to be soldiers on every corner, but even if there is one around, wouldn't you prefer the law be enforced by a person trained in enforcing the law, as opposed to a person trained to kill people? PLEASE read more about this!! Check out [|the headlines from February 20, 2007] at DemocracyNow.Org to read a very short blurb about this story. You can also check out [|the entry for the Insurrection Act] at (check out the section called "recent changes". Read [|the text of the law] at and decide for yourself. Please tell people about this story. Combined with the revocation of Habeas Corpus, we are starting to seriously lose some rights. Of course, most of us won't notice they're gone until we reach for them. This is why we need to start reaching for them now.

    Orignal From: Fewer Freedoms Friday: BYE BYE POSSE COMITATUS

    Thursday, February 22, 2007


    And here's why: O_O Gay roommates, pro-choice and now this? Sheeeit, an ice cube in hell has a better chance than America's "Freaking out the Christians" Mayor. No offense to transvestites. I'm sure some of you would make a great president. I just doubt most American voters will be able to look past the lipstick and stubble.



    Wow, the big brother news never ends these days, does it? Check out this cutting from the promo page for this week's episode of PBS' Now show:
    This week, NOW reports on new evidence suggesting the existence of a secret government program that intercepts millions of private e-mails each day in the name of terrorist surveillance. News about the alleged program came to light when a former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, blew the whistle on what he believes to be a large-scale installation of secret Internet monitoring equipment deep inside AT&T's San Francisco office. The equipment, he contends, was created at the request of the U.S. government to spy on e-mail traffic across the entire Internet. Though the government and AT&T refuse to address the issue directly, Klein backs up his charges with internal company documents and personal photos.
    This hub in SF, according to the show, itself, essentially keeps track of every bit of Internet traffic on the west coast of America. Now, some might argue that this data would be simply too voluminous to get anything useful from. The catch is, the USG can send in search algorythms that will seek out incriminating data. Those algorythms are flawed (they were written by humans, after all) and might result in false positives. In other words, they might bag someone like you just for talking about your pal Osama, whom you are only referring to in jest as your pal. Or are you? See what I mean? Sure, you may not go to jail, but think about the crimp in your social life an arrest would cause. Then, there is the privacy issue where government should not be allowed to look at your personal email despite the fact that it's technically legal for anyone else to do it. The idea here is to keep the people more powerful than the government. It seems like most people what it the other way around...



    I remember when the pilot for the TV show 24 was first floating around. This was before 911 and I actually got to screen it for some folks back when I was still a projectionist. I didn't watch it because it was one of those days where I had to ready a print for the next screening or maybe there was someone else in the booth at the time, I don't recall. Still, I remember thinking the premise was cool so I made sure to find a review of it when they started popping up. Before I could find one 911 happened. At some point later I found a review of 24. I couldn't tell you who wrote it or even where I found it. What I can tell you is what stuck with me from it. The critic said something to the effect of this: "I saw the pilot before 911 and it found it to be slick and gripping. After 911 I find it trite and contrived." Over the following years I came to hear how great the show was. This made me want to stay away from it even more since I didn't want to get addicted to a TV show. No time. Then I heard something a politician said. He was explaining that torture was acceptable in cases where authorities knew there was a bomb about to go off and they had in custody someone who could help authorities stop it. I remember smirking and wondering where that politician learned his morals. Then I heard that the scenario he described was common on the show 24. Over the following weeks and months I managed to see a clip or two of the show. One featuring some sort of weapons deal gone wrong and a scene where Kiefer holds a gun to a dark-skinned man's knee and yells at him. Understandably, I got really concerned about the show. I decided that it could easily have a very negative effect on people who watched it. If it glamorized that kind of "interrogation" which basically boils down to a form of mental torture (and physical torture if Kiefer had pulled the trigger) people watching the show might think torture was OK if it meant saving lives. The thing is, torture is NOT OK, EVER. Even if it's to save lives. What good is a life if you saved it by removing someone else's freedom? There's an old saying: "Live free or die." Here's another old saying: "Give me liberty or give me death." I believe in that kind of principle. Living without morals isn't living, in my opinion. It's surviving. It's what the animal kingdom does. So, I have put off and put off watching 24. Now, my viewpoint has been validated by an unlikely source--the US Military. Yeah, go fig. Check out this blurb from's [|movie/TV news column from February 14, 2007] available at
    The US military has criticized the producers of TV hit 24 for featuring too many scenes of Kiefer Sutherland's character Jack Bauer torturing suspects for information. Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently visited the set of the hit show in California to speak to the show's makers. Finnegan is concerned about the effect the torture scenes are having on US troops abroad as 24 is popular among members of the American armed forces. According to the New Yorker, Finnegan told the producers, "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires. The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24?' The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do." Human Rights First spokesman David Danzig says, "I think there is no ques! tion (that torture scenes are having an effect). We have spoken to soldiers with experience in Iraq who say, for young soldiers, there is a direct relationship between what they are doing in their jobs and what they see on TV. The image of the US and its military is being affirmed."
    That's something I hadn't even considered. The military is probably the first group of people I should have been concerned with since they're in the perfect position to live out anything they see on 24. And right there is proof that there is reason for concern. Luckily, there's good news. Check out another blurb from's [|movie/TV news column from the very next day] (also available at
    Although denying that he is reacting to growing international criticism, Howard Gordon, an executive producer of Fox's 24, has disclosed that the show plans to cut back on torture scenes. "What was once an extraordinary or exceptional moment is starting to feel a little trite. The idea of physical coercion or torture is no longer a novelty or surprise," Gordon told today's (Thursday) Philadelphia Inquirer.
    On the surface this is good news but leave it to me to find a shitty lining to this silver cloud. If you read Gordon's quote you can plainly see that he gave little thought (if any) to the concern that the events he puts in his shows might have a negative effect on his audience and even the greater world. He simply looked at his choices on the show in simple terms of drama. If only we lived in a world that was so simple. Where you could literally say or do anything and there would never be any consequences for it. Just thinking about how little emboldening of terrorists we'd be doing. But I digress. There's a bit more from that column:
    "It's not something that we, as writers, want to use as a crutch. We'd like to find other ways for Jack to get information out of suspects," he added. Gordon's comments came after the New Yorker magazine reported that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an eminent military lawyer, had flown to California to meet producers of the show. Finnegan reportedly told the producers that promoting illegal behavior on the show was having a damaging effect on U.S. troops in Iraq. Finnegan told the magazine, "The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24?'" In response, Gordon told the Inquirer,"The thesis that we are affecting our soldiers in Iraq in their treatment of prisoners is being exaggerated, I think. Hopefully, there are a lot of filters between their watching 24 and their work in the field."
    Nice, so now he's assuming something that makes no sense. How many filters are there between you, the TV shows you watch and your job? Is there anyone telling you to remember that what you see on TV is fictional? I'm not saying human brains are empty vessels, but with all the money spent every year on those repetitive TV commercials you must accept that they have some kind of effect on us.


    Tuesday, February 20, 2007


    Holy cats, this number is astounding. Check out this blurb (available here: ) from the headlines of the podcast from DemocracyNow.Org:
    Report: Record Number of Undocumented Immigrants Jailed in U.S. The League of United Latin American Citizens says the number of undocumented immigrants currently detained in the United States has reached a record of over 26,000. Many of the detained immigrants are being denied access to legal assistance. In Raymondville Texas, two thousand immigrants are being held in a compound made up of a series of big tents without windows. Brent Wilkes of the League of United Latin American Citizens said "It's like Guantanamo Bay, but these people are not terrorists. They are just immigrants."
    26,000!! That's an insanely large number of people. That's more than half the size of the Rhode Island National Guard. Ironically, that number also represents the number of white Americans who care.


    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Keith Henson Arrested for Sounding Terroristy

    And you though ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week was over! Sadly, big brother isn't going anywhere... This story is a riot--unless you happen to be Keith Henson. Turns out he made some smart-ass remarks about a Tom Cruise Missile during an anti-Scientology rant on a newsgroup (of all places) and somehow his comments were translated into terrorist threats. Seriously. Check out this cutting from [|a February 4, 2007 post] on the 10ZenMonkeys.Com blog:
    On Friday, Arizona police arrested a 64-year-old man — a fugitive since 2001 in a bizarre war that mixes free speech, copyright law, and the Church of Scientology. Keith Henson's journey began seven years ago while innocuously watching another critic mock the group on an internet newsgroup. In a gonzo discussion about procuring a "Tom Cruise missile," they'd joked about working with "Secret Agent 99, wearing a stunning black leather biker outfit." Other posters joined in the internet discussion, asking whether Tom Cruise missiles are affected by wind."No way," Keith joked. "Modern weapons are accurate to a matter of a few tens of yards." The police were informed of his "threatening" posts, and Henson was arrested.
    It turns out that Scientologists had been reading the discussion and reported Henson's comments as threatening. However, did the "authorities" actually bother with any research? Clearly not. They simply arrested the guy. There's plenty more to the story, including his conviction (on hate crime charges, not terrorism) and his self-exile from America. Check out that 10ZenMonkeys.Com [|post] for more. I suppose America is still a mostly free country...

    Orignal From: Keith Henson Arrested for Sounding Terroristy

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Final Big Brother Week Post Late

    Sorry folks, but the final post in ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week with have to wait as my bus schedule got changed around all to hell and I can't spend my lunch hour on the post like I had hoped to do. As I type this on my Sidekick I'm standing at a bus stop that I think is about a half-mile from where my bus stop normally is, waiting for the 1:05pm bus to pick me up. The sad thing is that it's almost 1:25pm. I've got to get that motorcycle! I should have the final Big Brother Week post up by Saturday evening. Sorry for the delay.

    Orignal From: Final Big Brother Week Post Late

    MST3K Fun At the Expense of Johnny Mathis

    Anyone remember the last episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 hosted by Joel? I saw this at and was reminded of a quip:
    "Oh, man--it's Johnny Mathis! Get my gun!" "Chances are...HUH?"

    Orignal From: MST3K Fun At the Expense of Johnny Mathis


    OK, so that's not exactly what the National Journal said, but they might as well have. Check out this screengrab I took of a recent PDF they put out displaying the results of a poll they took of politicians inside Congress:
    Yep, you're reading it right! I wonder if these guys think cigarettes are bad for you (duh) or that AIDS is transmittable by tears (oh, come on!). Yes, I know there is no direct link between global warming and human's behavior, but sometimes you can't always link things directly--science isn't perfect. However, since there are a number of ways we individual humans will benefit from treating the connection as real, it would seem pretty thickheaded to continue this line of BS that thinks we're not responsible for the damage being done to our planet. This kind of denial also shows us (once again) how Republicans generally like to pretend that denying something is the same thing as making it not exist. What else are they telling us isn't a problem but is actually killing us? Oh, let me count 'em! Damn, too many and I got a bus to catch! Have a good morning everybody!


    Project365 day 046

    Project365 day 046
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Moxie... is a drink that my friend John sells at the Boba Loca he runs here

    in Westwood, CA. One of the many old-skool soft drinks he sells. I tried

    Moxie for the first time tonight and didn't care for it so much. However,

    it's such a bizarre, unique taste I'm glad I gave it a shot. Still, I'd go

    with the original formula Dr. Pepper ;) All with cane sugar so it's not as

    bad for you as modern soda which has refined sugar. When in Westwood, CA,

    why not stop by and give one a try? :) (And tell 'em ThePete.Com sent ya!)

    (No, I don't get a discount/kick back if you do!)

    Orignal From: Project365 day 046

    Thursday, February 15, 2007


    Welcome to part 4 of ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week! Today, I'm going to cover how our technology can be turned against us. Well, it's not always "our" technology as you'll see. One of the sucker plays big brother pulls in order to get us to give up our freedoms is by telling us something is for our own good. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you how you had to eat your spinach? I remember mine telling me it was for my own good. Then they used Popeye as a reason for me to do what they told me. Well, as adults we need things to be a bit more subtle before we fall for this kind of scheme. One of the things big brother is always said to be horny for is playing the uber-voyeur. In George Orwell's book, 1984, the government would place these view-screens in everyone's homes. Citizens could be looked in on, but they couldn't look back out at those watching them. After 911, cameras started popping up all over the place. We were told they were for our own good--they'd fight crime, lower traffic accidents and keep us safer. Of course, we didn't think of these cameras as the view-screens from 1984 because we all own cameras and these were all in public places. If you didn't want to be recorded, you just don't go to where these cameras are. The catch is, these cameras could be anywhere. Hell, reasonable quality cameras are in almost every cell phone now. They use nightvision cameras in movie theater to stop bootleggers (but don't get frisky with your date!) and cameras almost intentionally hidden in traffic light posts to allow authorities to keep an eye on high crime areas--or where lots of people travel on foot. The reason this is bad is because it turns us all into suspects. Each one of us are looked at as potential criminals and should the people watching us make a simple mistake of misidentification, it is the citizen who pays the price. Sure, he may not be convicted in a trial, but it's totally unjust that he got arrested and detained in the first place, isn't it? What's even worse is that some people want to see even more of an uber-voyeuristic reality come true. Check out this cutting from [|a February 14, 2007 post] at
    The folks in the UK aren't laissez-faire about this Big Brother thing one bit, them and Germany are throwing £25 million (bout $49 million US) at the "problem" of monitoring airline passengers with small cameras and microphones in every single seat back to monitor for suspicious behavior. The system will be able to detect rapid eye movements, excessive blinking, twitches, whispers or other symptoms of somebody trying to conceal something, and check the data against individual passenger profiles for alerting the crew to a potential terrorist.
    Nice, so not only can you not sneak a little nookie from your significant-othery travel companion, but if you exhibit signs of nervousness or fidgiting, you just might get tagged as a terrorist. Too bad you were only upset about the dead uncle whose funeral you were flying to Bristol for, or perhaps you just got fired and are flying home to mom's. You could even be afraid of flying and find yourself showing off the symptoms of being a mad bomber. But you know, it's for your own good. Their might be a terrorist on the plane. Don't you want him to be caught? Of course, odds are that you will NEVER EVER fly with a terrorist aboard the same plane as you. Once again, cameras and microphones in every seat turns every single person who flies into a suspected criminal. Switching gears back to a technology I blogged on [|earlier in the week], [|another February 14, 2007 post] at reports that RFID chips are about to get smaller. MUCH smaller. Check out this cutting:
    As if the various other permutations and teensyness of RFID weren't wild enough, here comes Hitachi with its new "powder" 0.05mm x 0.05mm RFID chips. The new chips are 64 times smaller than the previous record holder, the 0.4mm x 0.4mm mu-chips, and nine times smaller than Hitachi's last year prototype, and yet still make room for a 128-bit ROM that can store a unique 38-digit ID number.
    Yeah, that's right--they're calling it powder. You could dust a donut with this stuff and make a fat cop trackable anywhere there is a RFID chip reader without him even knowing he's being tracked. Once again, according to the Engadget post, we are told this powder is for our own good--it will be used to help prevent counterfeiting. However, the potential nefarious uses are obvious. Speaking of cops and tracking people without there knowledge, check out a cutting from [|a February 4, 2007 post] at
    Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals "ruled against a defendant who claimed that the surreptitious placement of a GPS tracking device amounted to an unconstitutional search," essentially giving the coppers the green light to add a GPS module to a suspicious ride sans a warrant. While we're sure the privacy advocates out there are screaming bloody murder, the district judge found that they had had a "reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity," and it seems that a well-placed hunch is all they need for lawful placement.
    The quote from the Engadget post says it all. If they think you're up to something, they can track you. Forget the fact that they are humans and that all humans can make mistakes. These guys can follow you where ever you go because, well, it's legal now. Don't forget that bigbrotherists don't have to be members of the government. In the ultimate nightmare scenario corporations and government are one in the same, only appearing to be separate. In that brand of bigbrothery you will see corporate folks wanting to "keep prices down" by "foiling bootleggers", aka, doing it for your own good. A recent example of a corporation overextending it's reach into it's customers privacy is reported [|in a February 12, 2007 article] at InternetNews.Com:
    Google's YouTube and a company called Live Digital will offer no refuge to users who uploaded pirated copies of Fox Television's "24" and "The Simpsons" onto their video platforms. In an e-mail to, a 20th Century Fox Television spokesperson said that Google and Live Digital complied with subpoenas issued by the U.S. District Court in Northern California and disclosed to Fox the identities of two individuals who illegally uploaded entire episodes of "24" prior to its broadcast and DVD release.
    So, to protect Fox's copyrighted material, they're willing to go to the government and get them to demand that Google, a company that promises to do no evil, give up the names of anyone who posts said copyrighted material. And for what? Can Fox prove how much money they're losing when someone uploads an episode of 24 to They can't. Yet they're able to go after you like it's a crime anyway. Imagine if you told the police that someone had stolen a painting of yours. You painted it and you saw it through the living room window of your neighbor. Yet, you still have your painting on the wall of your living room. So, how have you lost money, exactly? So, in the end we see that the very technology we thought would help our lives is actually turned against us by the very companies that provide said technology to us in the first place. OK, be sure to swing by tomorrow for the final installment of ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week where I present ways how Hollywood is worshiping at the temple of Bigbrothernity.

    Orignal From: Big Brother Week: OUR TECHNOLOGY WILL BETRAY US


    [asin: B00003CX5P]
    Positive Experience/Entertaining? Taken on it's own, as the first part of a six-episode saga, this is a really un-positive experience. Lots of neat explosions and FX, but as far as "good" goes? There's not much in this film (I know, big surprise).
    Technically any good? You know, I saw this movie back in 1999 a BUNCH of times. I watched it once on DVD with friends. We made fun of it. For Valentine's Day (yesterday), my wife downloaded Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy's commentary track for this film from and decided to watch it again. While the commentary track is definitely worth the $2.99, I think we'd have been better off just listening to it, rather than watching the film, too. It's unbelievably worse than I remember it ever being. There is NO character development WHATSOEVER. ZERO. NADA. No backstory for ANYONE. The FX, obviously, were passable for the day, but actually do seem a little crappy by today's standards. The acting is pretty stilted, as though they know how crappy this movie is.
    How did it leave me feeling? Stunned. If it weren't for our love of the original Star Wars films, there is simply NO WAY we could have enjoyed this movie back in theaters. In fact, if Lucas had started his saga with this film, he would have finished it there, too.
    Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See - unless you're interested in hurting yourself mentally (or if you download the Rifftrax!)

    Orignal From: PHANTOM MENACE (1999)


    Competition. They always say it's good for capitalism but how is it for world powers? America has had a free run of planet Earth (for the most part) since the Soviet Union crumbled under it's own weight back in the late 80s/early 90s. Generally speaking, we haven't been too dickish (although I wish we had been more isolationist since we had plenty of problems at home to be dealing with--and still do), but since the Neo-Cons were able to get control of the White House (all according to their [|Plan for a New American Century]) America, it seems, has been excessively dickish. This isn't (just) my opinion, ask the India, China and Russia who, according to [|a February 15, 2007 article] at, are meeting to form an alliance to stand up against American domination. Here's a cutting from said article:
    India, China and Russia account for 40 per cent of the world's population, a fifth of its economy and more than half of its nuclear warheads. Now they appear to be forming a partnership to challenge the US-dominated world order that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War. Foreign ministers from the three emerging giants met in Delhi yesterday to discuss ways to build a more democratic "multipolar world". It was the second such meeting in the past two years and came after an unprecedented meeting between their respective leaders, Manmohan Singh, Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, during the G8 summit in St Petersburg in July. It also came only four days after Mr Putin stunned Western officials by railing against American foreign policy at a security conference in Munich. The foreign ministers, Pranab Mukherjee, Li Zhao Xing and Sergei Lavrov, emphasised that theirs was not an alliance against the United States. It was, "on the contrary, intended to promote international harmony and understanding", a joint communiqué stated.
    Of course, that last bit can only be achieved by providing a counter balance to America's weight in the world. Of course, those countries might have realized that Globalism is favoring western countries like America and on behalf of their own country's corporations they want a bigger piece of that Globalist pie. If that's the case, I'm concerned we'll enter a new dark ages here on Planet Earth. You don't expect corporations to look out for what is in our best interests do you? Hm, I really hope these guys just want to counter-balance us. We could use it, in my opinion...absolute power corrupt, as they say...


    Wednesday, February 14, 2007


    Isn't it cute how Bush says he's not planning to invade Iran? Isn't it equally cute how these news stories reporting on the apparent involvement of Iran in Iraq-based violence come along at just the right moment for Bush? Isn't cute how both the New York Times and the UK's Telegraph weren't able to cite the sources for their stories on Iranian weapons in Iraq? Well, check out more cute in [|this February 14, 2007 article] from that reports on how authorities in Iraq say insurgent bad-boy Muktada al Sadr is in Iran, but his own lackeys say he's still in the big "B", Baghdad. Which is it for realz? Doesn't matter--this is another case where an "al Sadr in Tehran" story is just too convient for Bush right now--just like the very fictional story of Al Qaeda meeting with Saddamy types in Baghdad used, in part, to justify the Iraq Attack. As always, don't believe the hype on Iraq Iran. Oh, and do believe that Bush wants an Iran Attack. Watch for it by spring. You know, when hope is eternal ;) OK, so that joke doesn't totally work, sue me...


    John Torres Performance he rocks like an angel

    Just got a message from my friend, John Torres, who sings beautifully and writes a lot of his own work.
    Hey There Everyone, First things first many of you heard me perform of my new song, "Halleluiah" this passed weekend and were asking about the song. So I just put it online at my myspace account ( You can also purchase an mp3 copy of the song on my website at (I should have that updated very soon!) Hope you enjoy it. A lot of people have been asking me when I¹m going to play some shows again. To which I have replied ²Soon, soon, I promise.² Well, I¹m I man of my word. I wanted to make the announcement that I will be playing a show on March 22nd at Genghis Cohen. It¹s going to be a great night. Also performing that night are Shane Mills of ³One Silver Astronaut² and Jason Joseph. I¹ll be playing with some good friends as well. Also for the first time ever, I¹ll be performing on Piano so look out Billy Joel, I¹m coning ta getcha! I¹m very excited about this one, so if I haven¹t seen you in a while, this is a show not to miss. I hope it will kick off many more shows this year. Below are the details: Genghis Cohen 740 N. Fairfax Ave. Hollywood, California 90046 US A Cost: $8 (Limited seating so get there early) 8PM - ³One Silver Astronaut 9PM ­ John Torres 10PM ­ Jason Joseph Looking forward to seeing you there. John

    Orignal From: John Torres Performance he rocks like an angel

    LILITH: The Rock Opera Part 1 Broadcast

    Hey ThePete-sters, I did lead vocals as Lilith in this musical. This is a broadcast of the CD, as well as an interview with its writer, Thomas Kugler. I was interviewed myself by Brian Lush -- that transcript will soon become available. In the meantime: ROCKWIRED LIVE WITH YOUR HOST BRIAN LUSH PROUDLY PRESENTS THE RETURN OF LILITH - THE ROCK OPERA PART ONE SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2007 AT 5:00PM (PST) ON WWW.KTSTFM.COM VISIT US AT WWW.ROCKWIRED.COM READ THE ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LILITH CREATOR THOMAS KUGLER HERE SEE THE OFFICIAL ROCKWIRED PAGE FOR LILITH - THE ROCK OPERA HERE

    Orignal From: LILITH: The Rock Opera Part 1 Broadcast


    So, 24 year-old Josh Wolf attends a protest rally with a camcorder and documents the event. At the protest things got a little violent. A San Francisco police officer ended up with his skull fractured and his car on fire. The city decides they want all of Wolf's footage. Wolf says he didn't shoot anything of value to the prosecution and refuses to turn over the tape to authorities. He is put in jail for contempt of court. He's now been there for months. He did offer to show the tape to the judge, so he/she could determine whether there is evidence of any crime on the tape. However, this offer was refused. Wolf believes that he has already posted to the web all the footage of any news value. Thanks to the government disagreeing with him, he's in jail. The real story is that that the police want to use him as an arm of big brother. They want to be able to grab evidence gathered by reporters to help them do their job better. The catch is, reporters must be able to protect their sources or they won't have any sources and therefore no way to report certain stories involving what may considered illegal acts. Ultimately, in my opinion, what this boils down to is the police/government not wanting to do their job and gather their own evidence. If Wolf wanted to help them, great, but since he doesn't, they shouldn't be able to put him in jail, they should shut up and do their job--find evidence elsewhere. Why? Because the next time any protesters see a camera on them, they'll run--whether they're committing a crime or not. That's the effect this has. Read more about it in [|the transcript from the February 12, 2007 podcast from Democracy Now] available at Or you can check out to follow his adventures trying to get out of jail. Good luck, Josh! All of us independent journalists are pulling for ya! (Hey, according to Webster.Com, [|I'm a journalist], damn it!)

    Orignal From: Big Brother Week: DISSENTING JOURNALISTS


    Surfing DrudgeReport.Com on my Sidekick last night and saw this:
    I'm sure Matt Drudge thinks he should get the Pulitzer Prize for irony after posting a headline like that. What's really sad is that usually the irony Drudge employs on his site is accidental. Take the below screengrab from a few months ago:
    So, Americans and Iraqis are dying by the truckloads and his "news" site decides Russia making animals do sports is sick. What's sick, Matt, is that you make buckets of money on your site and I make a couple hundred a year off of it. That doesn't even pay my hosting fees. Now THAT'S some irony!


    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Project365 day 045

    Project365 day 045
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    OK, I need to buy a tripod for my SLVR. Stupid phone. How do I speed the

    shutter up on these damn things? Do camera phones even HAVE shutters?

    Anyway, this is me at the dayjobcube wondering why the hell I've be asked to

    sit in on this online/phone meeting. Very puzzling since I'm a temp.

    Orignal From: Project365 day 045

    Project365 day 043

    Project365 day 043
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Here's one for TheWife... and any other ladies out there ;) I'm SO modeling

    American Apparel right now. Can you tell? This is me in my homecube when

    the LIGHTS ARE OUT, BABY!! Seriously, I am wearing pants.

    Orignal From: Project365 day 043

    Project365 day 042

    Project365 day 042
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Here's me in the homecube again. Check out Treebeard behind me there--he

    looks really mad, doesn't he? I think he's going to pounce on me!

    Orignal From: Project365 day 042

    Project365 day 041

    Project365 day 041
    Originally uploaded by thepetecom.
    Here's me facing south on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood. I'm facing Sunset

    Blvd and way behind me on that hill, if you squint, you might be able to

    make out the Hollywood sign. It's soooo tiny, though. If I were to turn

    around and walk up the street I'd reach Hollywood Blvd. WAHOO. Actually,

    I'd pass the Theatre of NOTE where TheWife performed in A Mulholland

    Christmas Carol
    (a great show written by the all too talented Bill

    Robens and directed by the equally too talented Kiff Scholl) and once I

    reached H'wood blvd I'd be just a few blocks from the Paul Gleason Theater,

    where my first play premiered back in August of 2005. I have too much

    history in this town. I GOTTA MOVE!!

    Orignal From: Project365 day 041


    Because I will spend money there again! I'm SERIOUS! I'LL DO IT! (A longer post on this will follow later today!)



    WOW, there's all this absurd talk of Iran and nukes and Iran and Iraq. Well, when the press starts talking about Iran helping the craziness in Iraq, consider this cutting from [|the February 12, 2007 podcast] of Democracy Now! (I've emboldened the important parts):
    U.S. military officials are accusing the highest levels of the Iranian government of sending sophisticated roadside bombs to Iraq that have killed 170 coalition troops since 2004. On Sunday, reporters in Baghdad received an unusual briefing on the allegations. The news conference was led by three US military officials who refused to be quoted by name. No TV cameras or tapes were allowed in, and journalists" cell phones were taken away before they entered the briefing room. Iran is denying the charges. One Iranian official said "We ask those who are claiming such evidence: Show the documents in public." The bomb allegations f! irst appeared on Saturday in a front-page article written by Michael Gordon titled "Deadliest Bomb in Iraq is Made by Iran, US Says." The article relied almost entirely on unnamed government sources. Several media critics compared the piece to Gordon's articles from 2002 alleging Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
    OH yeah, the stuff the US officials said in that "press conference" was PERFECTLY RELIABLE, I'M SURE. As if. Then comes [;jsessionid=JPKY4R41A1KIBQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/02/13/wiran13.xml|this February 13, 2007 article] that reports:
    Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned. More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids. The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year. The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops. Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.
    Well, then obviously, the insurgents could ONLY have gotten the weapon from Iran! That is the ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION! The bad guys couldn't have stolen it. The bad guys couldn't have bought it elsewhere. US forces sure couldn't have planted it! IT HAD TO BE IRAN! Right, well, let's nuke the bastards and get this shit over with already! Why pussy-foot around, Bush? Declare yourself emperor and bomb 'em!



    This is part two of the ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week series. This one talks about the homogenization of something almost every adult in America carries and why its homogenization is a bad thing. Ready? Here we go! So, waaaay back in 2001, on the eleventh day of September, something very big and scary happened in New York City. Perhaps you're familiar with 911. if not, you probably haven't attended any Republican rallies since then. Ha. Anyway, so one of the myriad big brothery laws that the USG passed post-911 was the Real ID Act. He can [|read all about it] at The Library of Congress website ( In short, here's the official description of what this law is to do:
    To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.
    Wow--if that's not big brothery enough for you, I don't know what is! OK, now those of you non-believers may wonder just what the big deal is here. What could be wrong with making it easier to "prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States?" Well, let's assume for a moment that our beloved United States Government (USG) is not perfect. I know--hard to believe, but, please, for the sake of argument, let's just say it is. What this law does is say that every state in the union must adopt the same standards--standards established by the USG. You can probably see where I'm taking this. So, now that the law is passed (it is, this isn't hypothetical) every state must adopt the USG's guidelines for how to design and handle their drivers' licenses. However, what if the guidelines from the USG are not good guidelines? What if they're flawed or vulnerable to weakness? One of the proposed changes to IDs is to include an RFID chip into each ID card. The pro-argument says that this will allow a lot more info to stored on the card. The catch is, RFID chips are about as secure as a prostitute's chastity belt. With $100 and the nearest Radio Shack I could build a device that could steal all the data on an RFID chip and encode it to a new RFID chip, thus stealing your identity. I wouldn't even need to see your card, I could read the data from a couple feet away in most cases. Sure, you could use a wallet that shields your RFID chip from being read, but I could just wait until you were about to pay for something. When you pull your wallet out, BUZZ! There goes my scanner. Now, the Real ID Act doesn't allow for states to veto any of the requirements of the law. This is essentially our government (big brother) forcing every state to adopt flawed plans. Seems pretty lame, huh? So, why would our government want to put our personal identities (and therefore our finances and therefore even our lives) in danger? That's a question to ask your leaders. In fact, some states aren't even bothering to ask--they're putting their foot (feet?) down to say no way. Check out this cutting from [|a January 25, 2007 article] from Reuters.Com available at News.Yahoo.Com:
    Maine lawmakers on Thursday became the first in the nation to demand repeal of a federal law tightening identification requirements for drivers' licenses, a post-September 11 security measure that states say will cost them billions of dollars to administer. Maine lawmakers passed a resolution urging repeal of the Real ID Act, which would create a national digital identification system by 2008. The lawmakers said it would cost Maine about $185 million, fail to boost security and put people at greater risk of identity theft. Maine's resolution is the strongest stand yet by a state against the law, which Congress passed in May 2004 and gave states three years to implement. Similar repeal measures are pending in eight other states.
    So, there ya have it! The USG is trying to tell the states what to do. Another time this kind of disagreement happened it resulted in the Civil War. Let's hope big brother the US Government comes to its senses and repeals the Real ID Act. OK, stop by tomorrow for DAY TWO of ThePete.Com's Big Brother Week when I'll be going into how big brother tactics are being used to make sure the press plays along with the Bush 43 Administration's plans for Iran. They're actually putting journalists in jail for not cooperating. Don't believe me? Check out tomorrow's post or to get all hardcore, check your local PBS listings for the first episode of Frontline's new documentary miniseries "News War" which premieres tonight. You can also check out their special preview page here: This is all for real, people. I'm not making this up. I really wish I were.

    Orignal From: Big Brother Week: REAL ID ACT AND STATES' RIGHTS

    Monday, February 12, 2007


    Think slavery was abolished back in the 1800s? Well, it's still around--and not just the literal kind, either. Technology is sneaking in and filling the void left when slave masters were banned. Now, some say (myself included) that technology is watching us the way only Big Brother could. In this first in a series of Big Brother-related posts this week (one a day) I'm going to go into how technology, specifically biometrics is playing the roll of watchdog in ways that you'll hopefully find a bit unsettling. The reason I am hopeful for this is because we all need to be more concerned about the big brotherification that is happening all around us. Today's edition will be about biometrics in the workplace. Now, most of us, so far haven't had to deal with this. I know for my temp dayjob I have to carry around this little card that I swipe to get into the building every morning and again to get into my department. This card seems fairly reasonable to me. The one thing I think is odd is that they ask us to swipe in at the front door even if someone is holding the door for us. This is clearly to know who is inside the building--or more specifically, who is in the lobby. Once we swipe again to get past the lobby they can track us only that far. Still, it seems odd that they want us to swipe no matter what. Of course, the don't force us, so things at a cancer lab aren't too big brothery. In other words, I'm not complaining about that. However, Biometrics is apparently expanding into new corners of some people's lives. According to [|a January 26, 2007 article] at, hand-scanning is how workers at certain New York City government agencies are allowed to get to their desks every morning. Here's a bit from that article:
    Every morning Dennis Colson, a surveyor at New York City's Department of Design and Construction, begins his work day by placing his hand on a scanner to log his time and attendance at the office. The use of hand geometry and other biometric data, like facial and iris recognition, is not new -- the University of Georgia pioneered the use of hand geometry when it installed scanners in its student dining hall in 1974. But the planned roll-out of hand geometry scanners in all New York City government agencies has sparked union cries of "geoslavery" and assertions that technology developed for security will be used to track, label and control workforces. "It's frustrating, it's kind of an insult," Colson, 53, told Reuters. "They are talking about going to voice and retina scanners and that's an invasion of privacy in that they can track you wherever you go." Jon Forster, of the Civil Service Technical Guild, which represents Department of Design and Construction workers, said the biometric systems gave the city a license to obtain personal, uniquely identifiable data to track workers. "It's really a matter of this kind of technology having far outstripped any legislation or even case law in the United States in terms of what are the restrictions," Forster told Reuters. "On the one hand I think people might all agree that if you put a GPS system in ambulances then that's a good thing. On the other hand you have an employer in Ohio who has demanded that two of his employees have chips implanted in their bodies."
    Yummy--that last part sounds GREAT. I want to be tracked EVERYwhere I go! See, that's where we're headed. In most corporations the bottom line is put at the top of everyone's priorities. The company I temp at is so cheap they won't pay for facial tissue. They already give us more work than we can possibly do in a day, the next logical step would be to make sure we take a certain number of breaks and to make sure we don't dawdle on them (or dawdle while talking to people in other departments) they'll want to track us inside the building to make sure we stay in line. What better way to do this is there aside from fingerprint/iris/palm scanning? There's no pesky card which we might lose (I've lost mine once) and there's nothing invasive like injecting a tracking chip. So, I can see a corporate reality where bigger profits insist that something like this be done. That is, unless we all refuse to put up with it. Of course, refusing to put up with it may not be an option. Engadget.Com posted [|a February 8, 2007 entry] about a company called the Sarnoff Corporation who:
    has recently filed a patent application that spells out a snazzy method of quickly photographing a helpless individual's facial region multiple times in order to (hopefully) capture one solid look at the iris. This newfangled manner of jacking biometrics from clueless pedestrians is actually being requested by the American government, as it apparently hopes to use it to run constant background checks with the information on file in order to peg a threat as they're strolling through.
    So, even if the USG fails to use it, there's no law on the books that says your employer can't set these bad boys up around the work place to spot and ID you without even asking your permission. Isn't Big Brother fun? Tune in to ThePete.Com to learn how the USG is trying to make every American carry the same kind of driver's license and how that's a quiet chipping away at state's rights. Weeeee!

    Orignal From: Big Brother Week: BIOMETRICS AND MODERN SLAVERY


    Wow, I really wanted to blog more this weekend, but I got distracted by all sorts of stuff. Actually have an agent who wanted to see some of my latest novel, so I had to whip the first 35 pages of it into shape, do all sorts of chores around the apartment (laundry, dishes straighted up a bit of the living room, blew off Quicken--not good) and then tried to keep up with the news. Did manage to squeeze in some time with friends Jen and Britt, which was great since I never spend enough time just having fun these days. Oh yeah--I also managed to spend about an hour playing Lego Star Wars for Nintendo DS. That game is buggy as hell, but it's still a lot of fun. I've worked out where many of the bugs are, so I just avoid them. I still can't finish the first Endor level. Another thing I managed to sneak in time on is discovering a nice little alternative to MySpace.Com. One of the thing I despise about MySpace.Com is just how sucky MySpace.Com is. It's almost as buggy as Lego Star Wars for the DS and it's REALLY poorly laid out. I mean, it looks like a website someone with no design sense put together with coding from 1998. Add one large picture to your layout and BOOM suddenly you're sidescrolling all around trying to figure out what the picture even is or what a commenter said because the text isn't wrapping. Well, enter HumbleVoice.Com. Just at glance HumbleVoice.Com more pleasing to the eye than MySpace.Com. The next thing you notice is how the site is divided into interests--music, video, photograpy, art and word. It seems fairly easy for the user to make submissions into each category, unlike MySpace. This is where it's like DeviantArt.Com, a little, too. From what I can tell, your posts to each section end up in some central viewing area that I haven't found just yet (hey, I'm still exploring!). I managed to piss someone off by posting a musing about how using a "featured text section" was over a blog section (HV offer both) and got a slightly snobby anti-newbie post from a fellow HumbleVoicer. I guess newbs get no respect where ever they are on the 'net (she must be a Mac User). So, if you hate MySpace as much as I do (or just want to find an alternative that plays home to a varying group of artist-types) check out HumbleVoice. So far so good, I say regarding my experience there. It's only been a couple of days, but I think I'll stick around and see how things go. It seems like a smaller group of people than MySpace which I think can have it's advantages. OH yeah--I almost forgot. It looks like every time you post to HV (whether it be a picture, work of art, blog entry or anything else) you get points which you can eventually redeem for actual physical items like electronics or even a Vespa. Pretty cool huh? So, check out my HV page at: http://HumbleVoice.Com/ThePete HV's slogan: "It's not just your space."