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The Reclamation Of Independence August 31, 2009

Posted by Michael in Man Laws, Philosophy, Politics.
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If you cannot stand run-on sentences, go no further.  The author of this tract is a lawyer.  Apparently he can’t control himself when composing a sentence.

Still, I think this is well worth reading.

WHEN IN THE GENERATIONS SUCCEEDING the one that pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to usher in the birth of the world’s only truly free nation, Liberty’s Progeny incrementally ceded their birthright to the government conceived and designed to serve a free people, and not be its servant, this generation is awakening to the terrible mistake that we, and our ancestors allowed to happen.

OK, that was bad enough, but the following blockquote is the next one sentence.

Charged with the terrible knowledge that comes with opened eyes, we now take up the long abdicated duty to rouse our fellow citizens and actively wrest the power and the liberties that have been progressively talked, cajoled, threatened, wheedled, and extorted from us, not only by those who ostensibly served us, but by their supporters and enablers who, by accident or design, saw fit to usurp and disdain such freedoms, that they might be withheld, and where impossible to withhold, might be condemned, until a corrosive contempt for these liberties, wrapped in velvet gloves, might so suffocate the circulation of them that this nation, conceived in liberty and the providence of a wise and benevolent creator, might indeed perish from the earth, plunging the rightful heirs of a proud and noble heritage in the the darkened waters of chaos, despair, and evil that surround them, a dank deluge that even today, other human beings actively seek to escape from in the inspiring embrace of this blessed and free country.

The rest is here:


Jeebers, BiW, that might almost be eloquent if you learned how to use this little thing right here >>>  .

Also, I recommend paragraph breaks, topic sentences, and transitions between paragraphs.  More information about effective composition is available here.

Nevertheless, I suggest that all you folks read this screed.  Forget his compositional errors.  You have to give BiW credit for some raw passion about the condition of our country, and he makes numerous cogent observations about what we have become.

The Internet Is Changing Everything August 31, 2009

Posted by Michael in Economics, Food, Politics.
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Anyone can connect to all the information, and all the markets, that the world has to offer.

Check out Nong Pai, Thailand.

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In case you missed it, there is more about the rewards and risks of the internet here:  The Revolution Is Now.

Remember When Flying Wasn’t Like Getting On a Train To Dachau? August 30, 2009

Posted by daveintexas in Crime.
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Yeah, me either.  Ok, vaguely.



Greatest. Artwork. Evah! August 30, 2009

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Economics, Entertainment, Family, Handblogging, Heroes, Man Laws, News, Sex, Sports, Terrorist Hemorrhoids, Travel.
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A few weeks ago, my wife had me come to a birthday party for the daughter of one of her friends. Ugh. And it was booze free.

Double Ugh.

But they had a craft project where all the children could paint a square, and then have it glazed and fired sometime down the road. Well, they had a few extra squares, and they asked me if I wanted to paint one.

My wife didn’t know what was happening, but then she saw me and uttered a 99 decibel scream of “Oh God! You didn’t let HIM get ahold of one, did you?!”

I didn’t disappoint. And when it came back after the firing process, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Behold the raw awesomeness that is a buffoon and his art.


Seriously, Ace should start selling these. They would certainly rival his T-shirt drive for financial gain.

Short Stories August 30, 2009

Posted by skinbad in Literature.
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Last week I was skimming a book of short essays Dorothy Parker wrote for the New Yorker. Parker has some great quotes. She’s very funny.  Since I’m still thinking about one of the essays, I guess I’ll post something in the hope that my gray matter will then free itself for other uses.

She said the best American short stories (the book was published in 1970) are:

She also praised Chekhov’s “The Darling.”

I read them all except Lardner’s. Conclusion? She likes stories where the men are men and the women (if they exist) are pretty dim. The only semi-deep thought that occurred to me from reading these came from The Killers–which seems kind of dated and mild, in a way. We would expect any self-respecting modern-day movie or book killer to be ruthless enough not to leave witnesses alive. Of course that would screw the plot up completely. Nick has to go see Ole Anderson and get a heaping dose o’ fatalism. Death is coming for all of us. We can lie in our room with our face to the wall or we can “make up our mind” to go out and live. Either way, you can’t run. It will find you. So why not meet it on your terms? She also said Hemingway wrote the shortest short story ever: “For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.”

I’m having a hard time thinking of favorite short stories at the moment. The Storyteller by Saki is the only thing coming to mind. Have a nice Sunday.

I’ve Changed My Mind About Obamacare August 29, 2009

Posted by Michael in Economics, Politics.
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Boy, was I stupid.

It turns out that socialized medicine really is a great idea. See, socialized medicine is just like the Coast Guard or your local fire department.  It will mean more money to provide health care because the system won’t be handicapped by rich people who want a profit and executives who want big bonuses.

Who knew that this kind of crap was going on in the current system?!?

Now I really feel embarrassed.  Thank God this guy Andy made a video to explain to me how wrong I have been.

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One Single Payer System August 29, 2009

Posted by Michael in Entertainment, Music, Politics.
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100 Famous Guitar Riffs August 28, 2009

Posted by Michael in Music.
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This is amazing.

Wait a frickin’ minute. Did he just do 100 famous guitar riffs with no Santana? Which number was Santana?!?

If he did Santana, I missed it.

UPDATE: I listened twice, and I still didn’t hear Santana! How can you do 100 famous guitar riffs and skip Santana? Jeebers, that’s almost as bad as skipping Clapton — which he did not do, Clapton appears at #5 (Layla) and #30 (Sunshine Of Your Love).

I mean, dang. I think that’s Dave Matthews at #3, and he is just an average rhythm guitar, plus Iron Butterfly at #36 is so dull it does not even deserve to be called a “riff.”


Oh well, at least Mark Knopfler finally showed up at #82 (Sultans of Swing). Probably the best riff ever. I also like that he got some real vintage classics in there, like the riff from House of the Rising Sun (Dylan, Eric Burden and the Animals, others). See if you youngsters can recognize which one that is.

The Revolution Is Now August 27, 2009

Posted by Michael in Economics, Science.
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Maybe the internet is about to change everything. Again.

Social networking is making a difference.

The internet has been incredibly efficient at accomplishing what economists call “disintermediation,” i.e., cutting out the middleman in buy-sell transactions, and thereby removing links from the supply chain. The best example is eBay, which is basically a highly efficient global junkyard. Sanford & Son has been rendered obsolete by servers and search algorithms. We don’t need junkyards any more. Online, eBay can directly connect buyers and sellers of junk. Companies like FedEx and DHL have minimized the cost of moving the junk, in part by using the internet to bleed cost out of their transportation networks.

The internet also is amazingly good at creating the “network effect,” i.e., the value of the network infrastructure increases exponentially with each new user supplying free content.

The ultimate disintermediation is on our doorstep — cutting out geography (and borders) in human social interactions, in addition to economic transactions, while the network effect goes wild.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn may be the vanguard of a new revolution.

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It all sounds good to me. It’s IP technology, monster chipsets and fiber optics enabling free speech and free markets in powerful new ways, the consequences of which we can barely imagine. The consumer demand for bandwidth is multiplying every year, especially from mobile devices like smartphones and netbooks.

The technology that makes all this possible creates an equally huge issue — privacy. All this personal information online can by misused by someone — thieves, corporations, governments. The cookies that litter your hard drive right now are child’s play compared to the really sensitive technologies — like deep packet inspection.

The Chinese government uses Deep Packet Inspection to monitor and censor network traffic and content that it claims harmful to Chinese citizens or state interests. This material includes pornography, information on religion, and political dissent.[21] People within China often find themselves blocked while accessing Web sites containing content related to Taiwanese and Tibetan independence, Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre of 1989, political parties that oppose that of the ruling Communist party, or a variety of anti-Communist movements.[22] China also blocks VOIP traffic in and out of their country (though skype seems to work without problem),[18] as well as visual media sites like YouTube.com and various photography and blogging sites.

Wikipedia: Deep Packet Inspection

So, maybe you are wondering — Michael, what is deep packet inspection?

OK, I’m not really a technology person, but I’ll try to explain. Internet data travels at the speed of light in little chunks called packets. The first part of that chunk, called the header, is basically an address that tells the internet where that chunk is going. The rest is the content of the chunk generated by the user. DPI is software looking, and possibly filtering and collecting, the data behind the header. It’s sort of like your mailman is not just reading the address on the envelope, but opening the mail and glancing at your letter, except your mailman is really just a computer and no human beings actually look at this stuff. This could be done for valid reasons, like detecting virus attacks, or for censorship, like the Chinese are doing.

Telecom corporations worldwide have been looking at ways to serve ads based on deep packet inspection and “behavioral targeting” techniques, but so far have largely backed off based on privacy concerns and the lack of clear regulations or agreed industry standards. Still, this could be a good thing. If you are a golf nut, you would probably prefer to see ads about golf gear on your TV or PC screen, rather than just random stuff that you ignore. On the other hand, you probably don’t want ads being directed at you because the network knows you are a Nazi or you have an S&M fetish.

The opportunities and threats posed by the internet are mind-boggling.  We’ve only just begun to learn what it entails.

Learning To Fly August 27, 2009

Posted by Michael in Gardening.
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Really, it’s just a zipline in the Texas Hill Country, but it’s an engaging video.

The money quote:  “We forget that we are in communication constantly with this green stuff, and to remember that is kind of a sacred thing.”

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The Death Of Classical Music In St. Louis August 27, 2009

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Entertainment, History, Movies, Music, Science.
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Here in St. Louis, radio station KFUO-FM has been playing Classical Music, Opera, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for over six decades. Unfortunately for the station, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod owns it and needs to generate cash to fill major revenue shortfalls. So, guess what the Lutherans want to do to plug the gaps? Hold a tuna casserole dinner? Recruit new people into their re-education camps? Sell beer at their services? Charge ad revenue on certain commetning sites with the proceeds to get laundered back to the re-education camps? Sell the radio station?

Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner. And the most depressing aspect of the sale? The buyer will probably not air Classical Music after they buy it, much to the dismay of many in town.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which has contracts with KFUO to broadcast live performances and other programming, has expressed alarm over the proposed sale.

The orchestra’s president and CEO, Fred Bronstein, said it would be difficult for a classical music station to build a viable business model with a hard-to-get signal.

“This is a major city, and a major city culturally,” Bronstein said. “It would be a terrible blow to the city to lose (classical music programming). You would lose that consistent voice of arts and culture in the city.”

The proposed sale is also cause for debate within the higher echelons of the church, which is based in Kirkwood but has nearly 2.5 million members and is one of the largest Lutheran denominations in North America.

Of the 15 on the board of directors, 13 live outside the St. Louis area.

Paul L. Maier, the church’s second vice president and a professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, said he is “concerned that the 15 board members do not represent the general feeling of (the church) at all.” Maier and others have asked that the board defer any decision on the future of the station until July 2010, when the full church, with 1,250 voting representatives, meets in Houston.

Maier cited a petition dated May 8, signed by 41 church “VIPs” — most of them in leadership positions — urging the board to reconsider its decision to authorize a sale.

Histwah August 27, 2009

Posted by daveintexas in Crime, Politics.
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Don’t be jackin with me, I was only 14 when this happened.




Time had a few words after the lawyers exchanged


Like Treacher said, if they get to bring up Camelot, we get to bring up the Lady in the Lake.