Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rockefeller Plaza and Me (kinda)

TheWife snapped this at my request this evening as proof I went out of the apartment. :)
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

@MeanBot Sorry, don't follow y...

@MeanBot Sorry, don't follow you--are you puzzled, too?

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Police Raid RNC Protesters HQ Arrest Nobody

Capped this on my iPhone just a few minutes ago. I guess I'm not surprised this kind of thing still happens. In fact, I'm a little surprised I didn't hear about anything like this happening to DNC protesters last week. Then again, I was sick all week so I might have missed it. I'm going to have to catch up on my broadcasts.

Anyway, so let this be a lesson to you! Don't even think about speaking out unless you don't mind cops with guns ransacking your headquarters, detaining and photographing you before you do it.

Funny how they claimed there was a search warrant but said the cause wasn't public "at this time."

Big brother can be kind of dickish, can't he?
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Hurricane Gustav Heading Right for...New Orleans

The above is a screencap of the cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Gustav taken on my iPhone. Now, please tell me it doesn't look like that son of a bitch is heading right towards... New Orleans!

I'm always talking about being an Atheist, but if you're not, please start praying for those folks, just in case I'm wrong about the whole "no god" thing. In the meantime I hope all of us non-believers will start sending positive thoughts toward the Gulf in hopes that Gustav runs out of gusto long before landfall.

Scary stuff for sure...

If you're down there and you're reading this, good luck to you!
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Sarah Palin Game Changer or Scandal Bringer?

I'm a little confused about this blurb CNN put on their main page tonight about Sarah Palin, John McCain's choice for his VP running mate. CNN makes it sound like this woman is pristine and amazing--the only thing the Obama camp can say that is bad about her is that she's got no foreign policy experience--which is kind of a useless criticism since Obama doesn't have much more and McCain has scads more than either of them.

This might put the idea in people's heads that she really is, as the blurb suggests, a "game changer."

The truth seems to be that she's just like a lot of politicians--in trouble for ethics violations. I know--someone in politics under investigation? Incredible!

Well, it's true, and she is. Simply News-Googling for "Sarah Palin ethics investigation" led me to a bunch of articles about Palin's recent problems. The following tidbits about Sarah Palin's ethics investigation were reported at

A state ethics probe that was launched just a few weeks ago is already drawing attention in the opening moments of her debut as the Republican vice presidential pick is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

An independent investigator appointed by a panel of state legislators earlier this month is looking into whether Ms. Palin dismissed a top law enforcement official in her administration because he failed to fire a state trooper, Mike Wooten, who went through a messy divorce with Ms. Palin's sister


Now, granted, to a campaign like McCain's, lying and firing for political or personal reasons is no big thing, but for those of us who still have morals, an investigation is an investigation. Sarah Palin may be adorable, but if she's being investigated she's probably not a good bet for a VP candidate right now. However, she's young--just 44 there's always 2012 if she's innocent of these charges.

Personally, I don't think this is a huge deal and while I do admit we don't live in an ideal world, surely, we can expect our potential leaders to not be under ethics investigations while running for one of the highest offices in the land.

Given McCain's habit of looking like he's copying the Bush Administration's behavior, he might try a little harder to find a running mate that has a spotless record, regardless of gender or ethnicity. Then again, this is the world of politics so maybe I am asking too much.

Still, I don't think it's right for CNN to completely ignore this investigation on it's home page--after all, most people probably aren't going to bother reading past the main page, so they'll never know the truth.

Hell, to me, McCain picking a woman is such an obvious stunt, anyway. It's like the Obama/Biden ticket has an old white guy and a minority, and now, so does the McCain/Palin ticket. By mirroring the demographics of his opponent, McCain is forcing people to make a gut decision based on race and/or gender. Now, the entire country will have to make the decision the Democrats just finished making:

Do I want a black guy or a woman in the White House?

I mean, come on, you don't really expect the majority of the American people to look past the surface issues, do you? If they did that, they'd realize how incredibly similar the two tickets are to each other. Then they might demand actual candidates that could deliver actual change.

Nobody wants that! Come on, John! What are you thinking?? You're going to ruin it for everyone!

Well, "everyone" except for the American People. We might have a chance to elect leaders who want to solve the actual problems we're facing.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

@kevinthompson happy birthday,...

@kevinthompson happy birthday, Mr. ! I hope it's a good day for ya!

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@splitdocDOTcom Actually, a wo...

@splitdocDOTcom Actually, a woman VP nom isn't historical, the Dems beat them to the punch--remember Geraldine? 1984, I think it was.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

#DNC08 I love the way Biden re...

#DNC08 I love the way Biden reacted to Obama thanking him as if to say: "Aw, YOU REMEMBERED ME! Thanks, buddy!"

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#DNC08 I'll refrain from sayin...

#DNC08 I'll refrain from saying: "Hey! There's the guy America wanted as president back in 2000!" Oops! I said it.

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All of my LiveBlogging from DNC08

Want to read everything I've posted while live-blogging the Democratic National Convention 2008? Go here:

I'll be live-blogging the final night of the DNC08 (well, the interesting bits, anyway) and will do the same for the RNC next week. Can you feel the excitement????

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barack Obama Kissed Mrs. Biden on the Lips!

And if that wasn't enough, he then invited all these lovely young ladies on stage and proceeded to kiss them! Man, I wanna be president now!!!
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Wait--his dad said he couldn't...

Wait--his dad said he couldn't get a new dad, but when his mom died they now call her mom and call their family "re-built"? Whaaaa?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wow! At the DNC they played a ...

Wow! At the DNC they played a song from Back to the Future & then introduced a guy called Strickland! Had to be on purpose! Had to be!!

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Whoa--Pink Lady at the DNC! M...

Whoa--Pink Lady at the DNC! Ma'am, can you please turn down your jacket? Thanks.

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What the FAA Fail Whale Looks Like

Still sick in bed, but not quite back in that cold-coma yet when I saw this on my iPhone's browser (note the battery sucking 3G network is engaged and already sucking juice). The first thing I thought when seeing the picture CNN put on their website was:

"So, that's what an FAA Fail Whale looks like."

Then after reading a bit of the article I thought:

"I didn't know the FAA sent ALL of their communications through the Twitter server!"

But seriously, shouldn't the FAA have reduntant back-ups? I mean, what if a single computer glitch hit that one system and... OH, WAIT.

Is it me, or have there been a LOT of airplane problems lately? TheWife mentioned this recently about just the past few days, but if you look at the past few months you can see there have been quite a few emergency landings and crashes around the world.

Is it the aeronautics gods that are angry or the computer gods (since most of the bigger planes use computers)?

Just tell me which to sacrifice a chicken to so the scary stuff can stop.
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Cancer Vs. Al Qaeda

While sick in bed, I was browsing through my iPhone's photos and I came across this screencap from TheUSA Today's website that I capped last week. Since I'm down with a cold, I figured now would be the perfect time to post it along with just a few words before my cold-coma envelops me once again in its embrace.

So, here we go:

Which kills more people each year worldwide, cancer or terrorism?

I'm betting that you know more people who have been harmed by cancer than by terrorism. Yet does the USG spend a trillion dollars on cancer?


Yet here's another young woman who has had both breasts removed due to cancer.

For me, a week rarely goes by without hearing reports of another person getting or dying of cancer. Celebrities, politicians, friends and/or family, I hear MUCH more about cancer victims than I hear about terrorist victims.

Yet all the money goes to protect us from something that has no odds of harming most of us. Good plan, America! Makes alotta sense.

Just my two yen.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fox News Praises Biden for Decency

As if I didn't already have enough reasons to be unhappy about Obama's choice for VP, Fox News has to come out and praise him for his rare political trait of "decency."

I think it was back in 1988--when Biden was running for president he got in trouble for lifting bits of his various speeches and addresses from other people's various speeches and addresses. I don't remember the specifics, but I remember him being all but drummed out of the race for borrowing from JFK and MLK.

Yeah, smart move, dippy. We didn't have Google back then, but we did have RECORDINGS.

More recently, he got in trouble for referring to Obama, himself, as being "clean" as though a black person running for president might forget to bathe on occasion.

In general, Biden is good at, not just sounding like a fool (like the current White House occupant), but completely putting his foot in his mouth.

Is Biden a bad guy? I don't think so. However, he is stricken with the same virus everyone else in Congress has--the urge to keep their jobs--as opposed to the urge to risk their jobs by, you know, actually doing their jobs.

Did Biden vote for the war? Did Biden speak up when voters' rights were getting mashed? Is Biden someone we can trust to bring actual change to government?

Or is he just more of the same white-manism that has favored big business at the expense of we citizens since almost the beginning of our country?

Obama wants to stave off the accusations of not having experience. The thing is, he doesn't need some old white guy for that. He just needs to say: "You want what passes for experience in this country? Vote McCain. You want some innovation? You want something new to be brought to Washington? Vote Obama. Guaranteed fresh ideas, every day."

Seriously--the LAST person I want to see in the White House is someone who looks and sounds like someone who's been in government for thirty years. Sure, many of Obama's policies are pretty damn (sometimes neo)conservative-sounding, but at least he LOOKS different. It's a step in the right direction. Maybe next time we can get someone who is ACTUALLY going to bring difference to the White House.

Is an Obama/Biden ticket better than A McCain/Anyone ticket?

In my opinion, hell yes.

But I don't think I want to vote for someone who represents an awful lot of the same old crap.

Then again, maybe I should vote Obama since this country moves with baby steps.

I guess I just feel like quoting that old saying: When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.

I reeeeally wish we could have a "none of the above" circle to fill in with our Ink-a-vote pens.
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Meh, both new iPhone video app...

Meh, both new iPhone video apps save locally, which I like, but neither lets me email, which is what I need. So, IMHO, neither is ready yet.

Orignal From: Meh, both new iPhone video app... Obama Chooses Biden!

What an incredibly bad idea! Biden got in trouble back in the day for plagerizing bits of his speeches during a previous presidential run. He's also really good at saying stuff that makes him look dumb.

Plus, his energy policy is way less comprehensive than mine. I mean, come on Barack! Did you forget my stance on troop withdrawal from Iraq? Don't get me wrong, Biden's an ok guy, but I'd make a MUCH better running mate, man!

If you change your mind (and I hope you do) I'm here, my friend! Just waiting for your phone call!
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Thursday, August 21, 2008 George W. Bush Wa... George W. Bush Wants WW3 or Does He?:

The above screencap comes from an articl..

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George W. Bush Wants WW3 or Does He?

The above screencap comes from an article at (here:…story.html ) and after getting a paragraph into it, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote waaaay back in July of 2002 (here:…w3-clearly ). It was a post about how Bush was saber-rattling, saying that the world had become more dangerous, post-911 and that Iraq was the number one threat to America.

Would he invade Iraq? It sure looked like it to me and a lot of other folks at the time. This was despite the complete lack of any persuasive evidence that Saddam actually *was* a threat.

At the time, Bush had said, "We are going to respond in a determined, focused, effective way by defending freedom no matter what the cost, and that includes understanding we cannot let the world's worst leaders blackmail the United States or our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons."

This inspired me to write in a post dated July 29, 2002: "What is the proof of this 'blackmail?' Who has publicly threatened the use of 'the world's worst weapons' against America and her friends? I challenge anyone to quote one leader who has publicly said 'America? She's a bitch and we're gonna put her down,'"

"Okay, so they don't need to have used those exact words, but even Saddam hasn't said 'We plan to nuke the USA.'"

Since then, he's stuck to that general plan of throwing American weight around. Sure, the packaging has changed, but his behavior has not. Anything to escalate. Anything to keep hostilities going.

Now that Iraq wants us out and the threat of Iran can't be trumped-up (though I don't think Bush has completely given up on that possibility), here comes the Georgian Invasion of Russia.

Bush and Pals have jumped on this opportunity to sell a missile defense system to Poland. A move that Russia does not appreciate and feels will escalate things into another cold war. The catch with Cold War II is the same catch that existed with Cold War I: the chances of a cold war turning into a World War rise dramatically.

If history books are to be believed we came insanely close to wiping out planet Earth during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Do we need a Poland Missile Crisis?

It might distract us from our shitty economy. It might actually help our economy. It might cripple our economy further, as our last two wars have.

Of course, any kind of military build-up at all causes deaths. But that's all beside the point for a person like Bush who is acting like a spokesperson for the American Military-Industrial Complex.

Think about it:

Saddam never did threaten us. Neither did the Taliban. Nor is Russia threatening us, today. So, why does Poland need a missile "shield"? I can understand why Poland might want a missile shield, but in the great scheme of things Russia invading Poland would be such a serious instigation that would *definitely* provoke World War III. Russia couldn't manage to take down Afghanistan in all of those years--how can they expect to fight a World War?

With nukes is the only answer I can think of. But I don't think the Russians want to nuke anyone. They just want the race back, which seems to be what Bush wants, too. However, I don't think Putin's Russia wants WW3. That's George W. Bush's interest and it has been since before I wrote that post back in 2002.

If you recall, in the months before 911, an American spy plane crashed in China (jog your memory here:…ina.plane/ ). Bush was freaking out--making all sorts of demands and I was pretty sure back then that he wanted things to escalate. The irony for us, today, was that while the mainstream news was covering the China Spy Plane story, China was also annoyed at the Bush Administration for their talk of a nuclear missile shield (and possibly putting one in Taiwan). They were afraid that America was becoming too bold, like they might just start bombing any place they feel like bombing (source: ).

No seriously. They said that back in 2001. Here's a quote from the New York Times: "Once the United States believes it has both a strong spear and a strong shield, it could lead them to conclude that nobody can harm the United States and they can harm anyone they like anywhere in the world."

Of course, seven years later, Bush goes to China and enjoys the Olympics. Seven years later, there's no talk of a missile shield in Taiwan, but there is about one in Poland.

And now Russia doesn't like it.

So, let's look at Bush's track record.

He was all fire and brimstone about China giving back the American crew of that spy plane.

After 911 (which he allowed to let happen) Bush said he'd get Bin Laden, dead or alive.

He invaded Afghanistan because they wouldn't give up bin Laden. The catch was that the Taliban barely had control over their almost non-existent country after years of a devastating war with the Soviets.

Then Bush invaded Iraq because it was a threat to us (somehow). While Saddam is dead, no WMD were found, and bin Laden has gotten away with 911.

Finally, using Russia's invasion of Georgia (after Georgia invaded their own version of Kuwait), the US convinces Poland to pick up one of our cool missile defense shields. This is a move that Russia has already said will cause a new nuclear arms race--a new cold war, much the same way the Chinese complained back in 2001 when Bush was first blabbing about a missile shield.

Personally, I think it's obvious that at every point above, Bush could have made different, more peaceful choices to reach the same (or better) results, without using military force or threats. Yet here he is, in 2008, still saber-rattling, still trying to trump-up threats that don't exist.

The world can't just be at general peace. We can't just force the Military-Industrial Complex to scale back and make a reasonable living, instead of making a HUGE one.

While websites propagating art and music (like suffer for lack of funding, the companies that make bombs and bullets are making bank. While people are sick and dying from diseases like AIDS and cancer, the folks that make you die much faster are making much more money.

So, it all goes on. What's also interesting is in that article I linked to above (here again: ), they actually referred to things Clinton's administration did--like, bombing Kosova and Yugoslavia.

So, maybe it's not even Bush who wants World War III. Maybe it's just all of us, who would generally prefer to live in fear, with the threat of World War III hanging over our heads.

Like the German citizens who elected Hitler, having someone to fear gives us focus, drive, purpose and maybe even a sense of satisfaction. You feel superior to those nasty Jews/Muslims.

Maybe that's why aliens don't visit us. We're a planet full of yappy little lapdogs. Barking like mad at any perceived threat, but quietly, secretly enjoying the drama.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Conservatives Consider Waterboarding Cool?

I saw the above image just moments ago at the top of and found myself a bit offended. While I definitely lean liberal, I did four years in ROTC and got as close as my pilot physical to joining the military, so I feel like I have a fair-sized conservative streak in me. The thing is, who ever thought that the phrase "I'd Rather be Waterboarding" would be great on a T-shirt aimed at conservatives really needs to study his history--or at the very least his dictionary.

Waterboarding has been defined as torture for centuries. I believe we tried and executed Japanese soldiers who had waterboarded US soldiers, so I don't understand how anyone could think joking about waterboarding or seeming to endorse it could POSSIBLY be a conservative value.

There is precisely ONE kind of person who thinks waterboarding is cool and that's an asshole.

A selfish, shortsighted, hypocritical asshole who wants one set of laws for himself and another for everyone else.

A person like this does not deserve to be in control of a salt shaker, let alone anything substantive.

Here's a great test if you're not sure if what you're doing to a suspected criminal and/or terrorist is torture (or even right):

Ask yourself if you'd want what you're doing to them to be done to you, *even if you were innocent*.

See, because that's the risk we run as imperfect humans--we get things wrong all the time. Real conservatives know this--it's why our government was designed the way it was--to move very, very slowly. Change things, like Congress did by handing over power to Bush to wage war on Iraq, and you end up going against all of the values the Founding Fathers had in mind. This sounds like the very opposite of conservative, to me.

So, conservatives need to speak up and say what they're for and against--I know it's against a conservative's nature, generally, to be loud with their opinions, but their views are being misrepresented. ANY kind of torture is NOT a conservative value, or else this country would never have been founded.

Just my 2 yen, of course. I could be wrong.
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Just sent off two emails prodd...

Just sent off two emails prodding potential employers for a yay or nay. Fingers crossed!! (Tho' I'm trying not to think about it, canUtell.)

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ThePeteTV for August 17th, 19:29


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ThePeteTV for August 17th, 19:27

QIK|Streaming video right from your phone

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ThePeteTV for August 17th, 19:25

QIK|Streaming video right from your phone

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ThePeteTV for August 14th, 13:48

ThePete's Latest iPhone Vid!

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I'm looking for a WordPress pl...

I'm looking for a WordPress plugin that automatically creates a post for every new YouTube video I post. Now, if I could just find one!

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‘How To Build An Audience - ...

'How To Build An Audience - And Keep It'

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Simeon Margolis: Business Plan...

Simeon Margolis: Business Planning without a Plan

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

@MariAdkins Haha, I'm SUCH a s...

@MariAdkins Haha, I'm SUCH a silly Atheist! But hey, if shopping is immoral, why doesn't the church mind it on Christmas, hmmm? ;)

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Moron the US Economy--I mean--More On the US Economy

I was inspired to write this post by a combination of things. First, my post on that IMF guy saying another of our banks was going to withdraw itself from existence and then a reply to said post on Utterz by Maharet (listen to it here: ).

As I responded to Maharet's post, I realized something about the complexities of what our country is facing. In fact, I recognized that there are NO complexities to these problems at all.

Sure, the news likes to talk about sub-prime mortgages and greedy lenders and people who can't pay their loans back and selling off bad loans as investments and blah, blah, blah, but I think it's much more simple than all of that.

I feel like the strongest, most stable systems are the most simple systems. Our system is not simple.

In a nutshell, though, the problems, themselves do seem very simple. Check it out:

Unending inflation (devaluing of the dollar) combined with unending outsourcing (devaluing of the American worker) equates to an empty country, economically speaking.

Unemployed workers with no money (or money worth very little) to buy with, leaves the United States completely wiped out as any kind of economic power.

It seems to me like that scenario does in our very way of life.

Not that I want this to happen--hell, I don't even want to be right on this. But to me, I feel like a few failed banks should not crush our economy like they seem to be threatening to. If our economy was strong, and hadn't given away most of its jobs and much of the value of it's currency, we'd have, you know, an actual foundation to stand on in case the scaffolding of banking falls on our heads. Since we don't have a solid foundation of value and labor in our country, when our banks fail, there's nothing else left.


I really want someone to tell me I'm wrong!!!

Just make sure to include clear explanations a child could understand. I went to film school. ^_^

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Another US Bank to Crumble?

Weee! It's so hard to not be cynical when things just keep getting worse.

So, the above is a screencap of an article capped just moments ago at and it talks about how an ex-IMF guy (that's International Monetary Fund, not Impossible Mission Force) says that another US bank is about to tank and that the US economic crisis is only half over.

The Fed and the USG have been trying for months (years?) to get this thing under control and this guys says it's only half over?

Half over???

All I feel like saying to that is...


(You know, it's like that feeling you get when you're on a roller coaster that is hurling toward the ground!)
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Why Must the RIAA Harm All that is Good?

This morning I saw a Twitter post that said simply "Say it ain't so, Muxtape!"

My heart skipped a is my favorite site for sharing music. It allows users to upload twelve songs from their computer, then creates a playlist and a URL they can share with there friends. I've been dutifully waiting for their iPhone app to arrive but after seeing the above screencap, can we believe we'll ever see an app or even their website again???

Why must the RIAA be so draconian? I understand protecting copyrights, but I'm not sure how Muxtape makes their money, so I can't imagine what grounds the RIAA has for threatening the site when all it ends up being is a site that allows users to share mixes of the favorite audio tracks--hell, at I have a handful of straight audio clips that aren't even music.

And is it me, or does behavior like this from big business just make them look bad? What about the folks that actually buy music that they hear for the first time on Muxtape?

Something similar is happening with Rather than looking at the site as a massive commercial for music, Sound Exchange (the group in charge of collecting royalties for musicians) is now demanding royalties so high from online music sites that the peole behind Pandora are considering shutting down.

Pandora is a site that allows you to create your own custom radio station based on the artist or song name you enter. Essentially, it's exactly like the process you go through when choosing a traditional radio station--you know, you pick the one the plays mostly music that you like (if you can find one). does this all for you--pretty cool, huh? Except the royalties has to pay, I've heard, are twice what traditional radio stations have to pay. I think the excuse is that on the web so many peole can listen to the music.

I'm just going to come out and say it: fuck the free market--it is stifling the growth of music and is cutting off innovation.

The system as it is now creates boring, unrisky, music that doesn't push art (and therefore humanity) forward. I gave up on traditional radio over a decade ago and have been getting introduced to new music through movie soundtracks and friends who are musicians. Thanks to sites like Pandora and Muxtape, I'm actually listening to new music again. Well, I WAS.

Who thought greed would be a good business model, anyway?
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Monday, August 18, 2008

@beep love your new avatar--I ...

@beep love your new avatar--I think I'll stop by, too. Maybe a nice Bram Stoker for me?

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Killswitch for the Killswitch on the iPhone

So, I was checking for updates for my jailbroken iPhone last night and lookie what I found! Boss Prefs v2.12b was available on Cydia (one of the alternative "App Stores" you can use after jailbreaking your iPhone)!

BossPrefs is a cool little utility that allows you more control over settings on your iPhone--and more settings to set, too. This latest version gives users a cool new button to press that claims it can beat the killswitch Steve Jobs says he has at Apple HQ, at the peak of Mt. Doom, in the heart of Mordor.

Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the gist of it is true--Jobs has admitted to having this killswitch (…-my-iphone ) and therefore I'm mad.

I may not fully own my iPhone outright, yet, but when I forked over my $200 last month, I did not agree to Apple having the ability to reach onto *my* iPhone and turn stuff off. The ability for them to do this is positively anti-American.

Imagine GM being able to reach into your car and change the radio station or turn off the headlights or disengage the seat belts. I could be using my iPhone to call for help after an accident and he could go "hey, you're using Fring, an app that lets you use Skype over the Internet connection on your phone! Not cool!"

He cuts it off and you're left with having to redial the call for help--or worse if you happened to have canceled your voice plan.

Of course, they don't *let* you cancel your voice plan and Fring doesn't work on 3G iPhones yet, but you get my point.

After all, who is Jobs to tell me what I can run on my phone and what I can't? Can I control what he has on his phone?

No, so that's all there is to it. If I had the ability to wirelessly shut down apps on my own phone remotely I might not mind as much that he could do it to me, but, essentially, he has more power over something that sits in my pocket than I do.

Not cool.

Also, if he had only overtly warned us that he had the ability, I could have made the choice of whether to accept the killswitch or not, before I even bought the phone. Instead, it's probably buried in the contract someplace.

Again, not cool.

So, enter the Boss Prefs app for jailbroken iPhones. If it's to be believed, activating it shuts down Jobs' ability to shutdown any app running on your iPhone that he doesn't like.


We, the Jailbreakers, SOLUTE YOU!

OK, well, *I* solute you. I assume other jailbreakers appreciate it, too.
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Orignal From: Killswitch for the Killswitch on the iPhone

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whole Grain Popcorn???

Saw this at Target a couple weeks back and was very puzzled by the "WHOLE GRAIN" claim on the box.

I guess, based on a technicality, corn is considered a "grain" but is there any real value in calling it "whole grain" since the "grain" part would be the actual corn kernel? Thus making ALL corn "whole grain" since corn isn't usually "bleached" and/or "enriched" like other grains. I'm not a nutritionist, so don't quote me on this.

To top it off, this corn doesn't pop well in our microwave. Stay away from this stuff.
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Orignal From: Whole Grain Popcorn??? Review: TheVerdict: Useless for Me

So, the other day, I posted on my site about my huge-ass iPhone bill and did my best as a vaguely educated (I went to film school) person to decipher what I was being charged for. You can check out this post here:…ned-huzzah but only have a look if you feel like reading my confusion as to what the hell's going on with it. It looks like there's both state AND city sales tax assessed on it and I don't understand how that can be legal.

Regardless, a commenter called "lsoc" explained that: "Dude, this website could not be more perfect for your issues. they analyze all these charges and explain them to you. In a lot of cases the charges are wrong and they will even help you get a credit on your account."

Dude, really? That's funny, because when I signed up for their "free trial", their site told me that I could save NOTHING (see above screencap).

I'm just going to guess that "lsoc" is a comment spammer for the people. Especially considering the site was of ZERO HELP AT ALL.

There's a "free trial" link on their main page, so I signed up, followed the video on how to download my bill from the AT&T site (said video is out of date, BTW--AT&T has changed the layout of their site) and then uploaded the PDF of my bill to the site. What I then saw, after their "Validas software" was done "analyzing" my bill was the above image.

0% Yearly Savings

$0.00 My Savings Annually

$0.00 Savings With A New Carrier

About the only helpful thing this "free trial" did was show me how much my iPhone will cost me over twelve months. The catch is, THEY'RE WRONG.

This, my first, bill $167.23 multiplied times 12 months works out to $2006.76, right? However, my first bill was prorated 2 extra weeks (who knows why--AT&T is like God, they work in mysterious ways) and there's a $36 "activation fee" added.

So, that means that my next bill will be at least $56 cheaper than it was the this bill and it'll probably be cheaper if the other taxes and fees that we all get stuck with are percentage-based, which I believe they are.

So, in the end, the service is useless.

Oh and FYI, when you click on "Start Saving" you end up going to a page where you can actually start paying--the cheapest plan with run you $5 and it covers a one-time audit. The cost goes up for more in-depth plans. Check 'em out:

For $24 (adorned with the "Best Value" ribbon) you get, and I quote (comments in brackets are mine):

* Includes 24 reports ($120) value [<--Illegal use of parentheses!]

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm" [<--Why would I want that???]

* Monthly Newsletter with $ Saving Tips and industry information you should know. [<--Your service won't save me enough already?]

* Audit every line on your bill and continue auditing every month to ensure the highest savings. [<--Wait, so is the $24 a monthly charge or what?]

For $20 you get (and, again, I quote):

* Includes 12 reports ($60) value [<--again with the illegal use of parentheses! Is English even your native language??]

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm" [<--Again, WHY WOULD I WANT THIS?]

* Monthly Newsletter with $ Saving Tips and industry information you should know. [<--this is just like the $24 plan. BORING.]

* Audit every line on your bill and continue auditing every month to ensure the highest savings. [<--Same here, for just $4 more, why WOULDN'T I go with the $24 plan? Ohhhh... that's just what you WANT us to think!!]

So basically, you can pay for 12 months of the service for $20 ($1.66666667 per report) and for four bucks more you can get 24 months of the service (for $1 per report). That other crap beyond the reports seems like, well, crap. Who cares about a newsletter? Who's got time for it? And the listing in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill" thing?? Who's idea was this? Why would you be proud of being taken to the cleaners by your cell phone carrier?

But wait--there's still the bargain basement plan:

* One time bill auditing and savings report. Save on average 25% per year with one report.

* Entry in the "Worst Cell Phone Bill in Americatm"

Wow--with one report the average savings is 25%?? I think that must be a LIE or they have precisely ZERO iPhone customers to skew the average.

I can see how over a couple of months, this would be a good idea to do just so their service can get an idea of what your calling habits (and your carrier's charging habits) are like. But one month isn't enough and more than a few months seems like it would be pretty useless, to me.

Considering you can get 12 months for $20 (a $60 value!) and 24 months for $24 (a $120 value!) it would seem like these reports cost very little to actually produce--for one report it's $5 and for 24 it's $1 per report. That's 500% mark-up for the low-end plan. Seems like they could probably charge $6 for three months and both make money and be of, you know, actual service to their customers. Right now it seems like a rip-off--especially since their "free trial" told me exactly nada.

What's amusing to me is how overkill this service even is. When I saw Lsoc's comment, I figured it was just somebody linking to a blog post they read someplace. That's all that is really needed here--or at most a wiki that allows you to search your for your state's legal carrier charging practices (ie, what is legal to charge in your area). I'd do something like this, myself, if I had the time or the technical knowledge, or the willingness to keep the thing updated.

For now, it looks like I'll just have to pay this whole damn bill since it's due today. I just reeeally think that there's something wrong with getting charged both city and state sales tax. o_O

Oh and note to anyone considering a new Internet startup company. Try to come up with a name for your company that is both memorable AND has not had it's domain name bought by someone else, already.

For instance, This website "" is actually for a service called "Validas." It turns out that the founders of this startup used neither of my suggestions.

The only way "Validas" is memorable to me is if I imagine an extra "s" on the end of it making the company name "ValidAss". I just have to remember to remove that extra "s" when going to their website. EXCEPT, they're not at "" they're at "". How lame since I've never imagined myself having a Validas (maybe a valid ass, but...) so how can I just roll into the concept of wanting to discover "MyValidas"??? It's just bad marketing, in my mind.

OK, enough complaining out of me. Just don't bother with this service, dear readers. It makes more sense to do the research yourself and based on their free trial, I have no proof that your service works at all.
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Orignal From: Review: TheVerdict: Useless for Me

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Faced My Manga

I finally got around to swinging by and I must say that I'm quite happy with the accuracy of this one. It took surprisingly little tweaking on my part and they even let me have facial hair that was a different color from the hair on the top of my head (the way it really is in real life).

It also pretty accurately matches my mood at this very moment :\ which is nice, I guess. :P

The only trouble I had was that the Flash UI kept freaking out--the labels on the customizing tabs would swap between their values and "UNDEFINED" over and over. Very strange. Then I stopped using Firefox 3 and pulled the FYM site up in Safari and it was fine. Sometimes it's hard to be on a Mac ;)

(Not really.)
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IMG_0128, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

Yep, that's their 800 number. Three lawyers (none of them Latino, by the looks of them) form a law firm and advertise on the New York City subway--what phone number do they pick for potential clients to have an easy time remembering it?


You know, I'm a practical man, but sometimes Political Correctnes just doesn't go far enough.

Orignal From: 1-800-MARGARITA

Friday, August 15, 2008

Got Subway for dinner, going t...

Got Subway for dinner, going to grab a comfort hot dog from Papaya, then home.

Orignal From: Got Subway for dinner, going t...

@bbittner Haha, thanks--I was ...

@bbittner Haha, thanks--I was kind of commentating (word?) on how sad our media is for covering this story at all while impeachment isn't.

Orignal From: @bbittner Haha, thanks--I was ...

@angelasauceda You don't know ...

@angelasauceda You don't know me, but I'm a writer, too--congratulations on your first writing gig! Kick ass!! I hope it goes well!

Orignal From: @angelasauceda You don't know ...

And Now for Something Fairly Personal

Some of you may have noticed on my microblogstream (Twitter, Jaiku, etc.), a few posts about getting in touch with my high school sweetheart again. It was very random and ironic since the night before I happened to be doing a typical guy-thing by Googling ex-girlfriends. Although, I evolved my technique that night by moving from Google to Facebook. Lo' and behold, there I found my girlfriend and, really, my best friend from high school. I looked at her picture, and the fact that she had a new last name (cringe!), and decided not to send her a friend request. She partially represented my past on the east coast (where I once again live). It is a past I have large, bad memories of. Not that my childhood was particularly rough, it was just something I was really quite happy to move on from.

Seeing all of these familiar sites, living in New York, is very surreal. I was excited at first--seeing my first A&P supermarket in about two decades was a strange thrill. Passing the sign pointing to the mall I was a rat in brought warm waves of nostalgia to my heart. For some reason, though, when I got to Manhattan-proper, those waves of nostalgia were replaced with much more negative feelings. It felt like regression, now--like I was "falling" back, instead of simply making a mature, adult choice to move with my wife to the Big Apple so she could pursue a career on Broadway.

The negative feelings got worse when I realized I'd likely have to take a dayjob I really didn't want to take. I remember, when I was in high school, my step-dad was out of work for a while. I couldn't understand why he couldn't just get a job someplace. I understand now a bit more of what he was going through. I'm not an old man (and neither was he), but I do feel like I shouldn't be doing certain types of jobs at my age--like retail--like temping--like anything entry-level. So, this added insult to injury.

Then throw in CRAZY heat and CRAZIER humidity (and us not having an air conditioner), a landlord who decided the first 6 months we paid up front would cover the last 6 months instead (eventually we worked it out), on top of being in a huge, unfamiliar city (along with a few other things I won't even go into) and you've got a recipe for one depressed ThePete.

Then, there she was--looking a bit older, but still beautiful--not too different from the way I remembered her.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

[TheiPhlog] iPhone Video Crossposting test


Posted By ThePete to TheiPhlog at 8/14/2008 02:=
20:00 PM

Orignal From: [TheiPhlog] iPhone Video Crossposting test

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 01:07

iPhone Video Crossposting test

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 01:07

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:42

iPhone Video Crossposting test

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:42

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:41

Recorded about 16 hours ago

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:41

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:37

Recorded about 16 hours ago

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:37

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:35

Recorded about 16 hours ago

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:35

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:32

My 2nd iPhone vid (how does it work?)

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:32

TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:30

My 1st iPhone Vid!

Orignal From: TheMicroBlog for August 14th, 00:30

My iPhone Bill Mysteries Explained! (Huzzah!)

Up until July 11, 2008, I was a prepaid customer at T-Mobile. I had two phones with them--a (product) RED Motorola SLVR and a Sidekick 3. Loved them both, but needed GPS in this new city I live in called New York (note to Mayor Bloomberg: How about tax incentives to the Thomas Guide people?). Plus, I'm a gadget freak, so I was happy to choose GPS over, you know, a map, anyway.

The thing is/was, I HATE contracts. When I was with Sprint they were the biggest dicks in the world about paying late. Yes, I'm a struggling artist. Yes, I often have little money in the bank. But, yes, I always end up paying off my bills (yes, it wasn't always that way, but that was more than 7 years ago, so my credit report should be none-the-wiser!). Yet, when I would be late with my payment, Sprint would often suspend my account. I'd be out, suddenly finding a huge need to call my wife but unable to.

"Good thing this wasn't an emergency," I'd say to myself.

Sure, I could call 911 in that case, but not my wife. That seems odd to me.

ANYway, so something else I always hated about mobile phone service with a contract was that I never really knew how big my bill would be from month to month. I knew approximately, but with taxes and fees and whatever, all I knew for sure was that it would cost me more than I initially signed up for.

Likewise, when I signed up for my iPhone's voice and data plans, I knew going in that there would be extra fees attached. But I was awoken this morning to a worse surprise--I got charged more than just "taxes and fees."

But first things, first. Here comes the mystery charges--the stuff that always seems to change from plan-to-plan and even month to month (that conveniently goes away when you go pre-paid):

iPhone bill pt1

The above is a screencap of part of my bill. That top part is a $0.60 charge for three text messages because I didn't want to pay extra for something I hardly ever use. Of course, that was before I realized there wasn't a reasonable IM client for the iPhone yet--but that's another story. Below that are the fun fees for my home state of New York. Well, plus the $36 "Activation Fee". That kind of fee always cracks me up. We have to pay extra for them to "turn on" our account. Just a wee bit greedy there, Mr. AT&T!

Then we've got a true puzzler:


The county I live in needs $3 per bill? Why? I just moved here, but I wonder if this fee is something that my neighbors voted on. I mean, what person in their right mind would be like "Yes! I think the county should be able to charge my wireless carrier $3 for... for... something, knowing full well that my wireless carrier will pass that charge onto me!"

Couldn't we just get an extra $36 taken out of our taxes every year?

Same goes for the following:


What the hell does this even mean??? Seriously, I have no idea.


Uhhh, the only MTA I know of is the company that runs the subways. Why would they be charging me money? From what little I could find on the 'net about this, it seems like the MTA charges cell phone users in the NYC area for the MTA. WOW, that's LAME. So, rather than taxing EVERYONE for MTA they punish JUST the mobile phone users. Weak. After all, mass transit helps everyone--cheaper bus and train fares encourages more people to stop driving and therefore helps cut down on traffic--so everyone benefits from everyone helping.


Looks like another tax, this time from the state, instead of the county, that the AT&T is charged but passes on to us so they don't lose any money. Still sounds like it should come out of taxes.

Oh, this is probably my favorite:


OK, this is likely one of two things:

1) It's the money AT&T spent in complying with regulations.

2) It's the money the state/county/USG charges AT&T to help the state/county/USG pay for regulating wireless carriers.

Those are my guesses and either way, it's pretty lame to charge us for the cost of business.

So, all that equates to $47.60, but since this is my first iPhone bill, the $36 "activation fee" should be missing on my next bill dropping the cost of this section down to $11.60--possibly less if the fees in this section are based on percentages. That's not too bad, but wait--there's MORE! You also get:

STATE SALES TAX $5.99 (!!!)
CITY SALES TAX $6.55 (!!!!!)
TOTAL $14.04

WTF is all that?? More damn taxes including TWO WAVES OF SALES TAXES!! How does both the state AND the city get off charging us sales tax?? That's just not fair!! I should get a PO box out in Jersey and change my mailing address to that on my AT&T account and see what happens.

When I buy a bag of chips, here in Manhattan, do I get charged city sales tax AND state sales tax? I don't think so. I think I'll ask for a receipt next time just to be sure.

So, there's the big mystery part of the bill solved--total charges for seemingly-unrelated-to-mobile-phone-service fees? This month: $61.64. Next month (sans activation fee): $25.64. That's still an awful lot of money on top of a $70.00 basic charge. Hopefully that's a little high, but we'll see in 30 days.

The thing is, that's not the end of the rude surprises in my first iPhone bill. I'd imagine the next surprise hit every single person who bought an iPhone on July 11, 2008. I can't imagine why this would happen at all, but on those grounds, I can't imagine that this happened to just me.

Check this out:
iPhone bill pt2

Isn't that nice? For some unknown reason AT&T decided to push my billing cycle back to the 26th of each month, rather than just having it start on the 11th, which happens to be the day I actually started using the service.

So, sure, those two weeks they're charging me would have been charged to me anyway, but who said I wanted to pay for those two weeks in my first bill?? Why not just do a billing cycle of 7/11 to 8/10? Why play games like this for no apparent reason and without my permission (or knowledge)?

See, this is why I hate contracts. When I prepaid my minutes with T-Mobile, they may have cost more, but--hey, wait a minute. I wonder if they really do since all those taxes and fees are folded into the prepaid minute charges. I can't be sure, since my AT&T voice account was divided into day minutes and night/weekend minutes, but considering I spent about $30 a month on my Sidekick and about the same on my SLVR, I definitely think I came out ahead on that. Which means I'm probably paying more than I'd have to.

Sure, you could argue that AT&T should charge more since they've got 3G (which I turn off because it sucks battery and actually gives me crappier reception) and I use my data plan a LOT more than I did with the Sidekick. Then again, do you think they're really charging us what they should? Do you think AT&T is charging us just enough to survive? Or do you think their goal is to get rich?

So, the same way that it's their right to charge what they want as business people, it's our right as consumers to pay as little as we can get away with. If AT&T were about innovation, their 3G network would be everywhere and Apple's phone wouldn't have so many glaring flaws.

To top it off, I only found out about this "bill" because I got an email from service that keeps track of things like your cell phone bill and your bank accounts. So, AT&T's default setting for people who opt into the "paperless billing" feature is "no email." Isn't that nice? My bill is due in three days.

Yes, I know that I'm an adult and I can tell how long 30 days is, but enough apologisting for the giant corporation! It takes NO effort whatsoever to program a script that will automatically email customers when their bill is ready.

So, there you have it.

Mobile phone carriers never fail to depress me. :) As soon as there's a way to unlock the iPhone and as soon as I have that $175 early termination fee, I'm jumping ship on AT&T and returning to my contract-free ways. Hell, I might not even wait that long since GPS works without a carrier and open wifi networks aren't that uncommon here in the big city.

Why must cell phone companies suck so much?

And don't ask me "why are you so cheap?" or "why don't you want to pay for anything?" because I'm being just as economical as corporations are.

I'll probably end up back with T-Mo on one of their month-to-month plans. The 1g iPhone worked on their network. I'm sure eventually the 2g (3G) iPhone will, too.

The really sad thing is, I didn't use anywhere near my total minutes! So not fair!

Orignal From: My iPhone Bill Mysteries Explained! (Huzzah!)

So, my I became aware of my AT...

So, my I became aware of my AT&T iPhone bill this morning: just south of $170--up from a $70 base charge. I'm a SO ditching them ASAP.

Orignal From: So, my I became aware of my AT...

[TheiPhlog] iPhone Video Crossposting test


Posted By ThePete to TheiPhlog at 8/13/2008 10:45:00 PM
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[TheiPhlog] iPhone Video Crossposting test


Posted By ThePete to TheiPhlog at 8/13/2008 10:17:00 PM

Damn, this was supposed to be a video clip I shot on my iPhone using Qik, but it looks like Qik doesn't play nicely with Utterz :(

I wonder if Utterz would ever do an iPhone app...
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bush Admin Fakes Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection

The above is a screencap from today. They did an entire hour with author Ron Suskind who's new book, in part, quotes (and names) government officials as admitting that the White House ordered that a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda be faked in various ways.

Remember that letter from the head of Iraqi Intelligence explaining that the guy who lead the 911 attacks had trained in Iraq? Well, Suskind says that this was one of the things the USG did to fake an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection.

I know this is not coming as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads my stuff, but, like it or not, this is even MORE evidence that Bush and Co. should be impeached.

Please check out the whole transcript of the interview here:…_world_ron

Check out Ron Suskind's website here:

Let's just hope the House and the Senate do something about this.
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Most Recent Mugshot: http://ti...

Most Recent Mugshot:

Orignal From: Most Recent Mugshot: http://ti...

Jesus Already Saved Earth, So Why Should We?

The above screencap comes from an article at (here:…fault.aspx ) which I found after reading a blog post at (here:…stionblog/ ). It turns out that OneNewsNow.Com is a Christian news site so, it makes sense that they would include Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's comments on Nancy Pelosi's quest to avoid new drilling in that third paragraph.

For the search engines and for anyone listening to this post, here are her comments again: "[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that,"

This is why religion is such a freakin' scary thing!!

Pelosi is talking about not making things worse for the environment and Bachmann, the idiot Christian, is claiming Jesus saved the Earth two-thousand years ago. This is a woman who votes for or against laws, people!!

First off, Jesus (if you believe) did NOT save the "Earth". OK? He saved US. He died for our sins--what does this do? It saves us from going to hell after we die. It doesn't do shit for us now.

Did I mention I'm an Atheist? Yeah, so, when an Atheist knows Christianity better than someone invoking Jesus on the House floor, you know the invoker is one right moron.

So, if you're going to be a believer GET IT RIGHT. Jesus promised us *eternal* salvation--but it will be our kids that suffer *mortal* damnation if we don't get this planet in order.

Then again, Christianity pretty much gives us no reason at all to give a crap about anyone or anything since everything is cool in heaven--all will be forgiven after we die, right? So, why does any Christian care about the Earth?

On a completely unrelated note, I had to giggle when I first saw the name of that Christian news site. I misread it as ""

Very odd name for a news site. :)
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Orignal From: Jesus Already Saved Earth, So Why Should We?

Fairness Doctrine's Return to Control 'Net?

Oh, so now we lowly bloggers are journalists after all?

Careful, Mr. FCC-man! You're looking a little hypocritical!

Here is just another stupid government guy in a suit who doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

How in the world could the Fairness Doctrine even be enforced on the Internet? You're going to fine EVERY blog that claims to be a news source? What about those that are news sources but don't claim to be?

Just stick to regulating what you can control--the airwaves and business practices. I think the Fairness Doctrine is fine for corporations (who exist as government-recognized entities and are therefore beholden to the will of the people) but for individuals on the 'net?

Oh yeah and Net-Neutrality has nothing whatsoever to do with the Fairness Doctrine governing the Internet. Both are about regulating big giant corporations with lots of money and power--power to convince thousands, even millions of people to buy Coke or support a war. When my blog has that kind of influence I'll be happy with that kind of regulation.

If one day it is and I'm not, please point me at this blog post.
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SOMEbody's Lying About the Georgian War

The above is a partial screencap of my Twitterstream from this morning. If you read it from bottom-to-top, you're getting it in chronological order. However, it doesn't matter how you read it to know that either Russia or CNN is lying about Russian troops invading Georgia (and that it rains a lot in the UK--sorry to drag you into this Jazzybam!).

Is it just me, or does it seem like Russia is trying to bait us into getting involved?

Or maybe Putin thinks he can do whatever he wants since theUSMil is too over-extended.

Either way, it's a scary time to be a Georgian...
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

If US Defends, Russia Nukes in Georgian War

Snagged this off of, specifically from the transcript of yesterday's interview with retired Air Force Colonel, Sam Gardiner (read it all here:…_killed_as ). He said some disturbing things in the interview regarding his take on the mess over in Georgia. For starters, he said that it's Russian policy that if the US attacks them (ever) they'll use tactical nukes in response. This, Gardiner says, is because we're such bad-asses with the conventional weapons. This is the first time I ever thought I'd be happy to hear that. I NEVER want to hear that we're bad-asses with the nukes. What's frightening is that the Ruskies may earn that description themselves, if the USMil gets involved over there.

More from Gardiner, in the transcript (not pictured in the screencap above): "At a news conference on Sunday, the deputy national security adviser said we have noted that the Russians have introduced two SS-21 medium-range ballistic missile launchers into South Ossetia. Now, let me say a little footnote about those. They're both conventional and nuclear. They have a relatively small conventional warhead, however. So, the military significance, if they were to be conventional, was almost trivial compared to what the Russians could deliver with the aircraft that they were using to strike the Georgians."

What that means is that if those SS-21 missiles were used with conventional warheads, they'd be less destructive than missiles fired from aircraft. So, if this is true, it's only logical that the Russians have nuclear warheads on those SS-21 missiles.

Gardiner also mentioned that Russian Military forces have been training for situations like this one where America does get involved, thus forcing the Russians to follow through with their policy of using tactical nukes against the hypothetical US forces.

Ignoring all the other reasons for the US to not get involved in the current Russian/Georgian War, I think this is another good one. Something about Putin makes me think he'd actually use nukes. I don't know if you can trust those ex-KGB guys...
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I Can Haz Stoopid WhytHows gai at lympix

I hope PixelFish sees this--I imagine she'll get as big a kick out of it as I did. :)

For anyone who enjoys seeing the LOLcats treatment AND likes to see Bush made fun of, you might want to check the a collection of pictures at (the above is just the first).

Check them all out here:…12/bushlol

These days I feel kind of gross making fun of Bush since I feel like he's such a horrible man. However, I also feel that laughing in his face can be somewhat pleasant, so I'm going in that direction for now.
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