Friday, September 30, 2005

Senators Find the Right Law

From Senators Turning Up Heat on P2P Pirates:
'Our mind-set is to go after those who are distributing the bulk of the material,' said Yang, who chairs the new Subcommittee on Cyber Crime and Intellectual Property of the department's Advisory Committee.
That failed to mollify Specter or Feinstein, who appeared to want her department to be much more active.
'Why not go after both levels?' Specter asked. 'Why not get tough? That's what Sen. Feinstein wants to do, and I think it's a good idea.'
It's a bit puzzling that they've found religion so fervently on this issue that they're willing to drag the Justice department before hearings and demand that they go after big AND small (i.e. YOU) violators. I mean, of all the things to waste their time on.
I wait with baited breath for when they give illegal immigration the same attention.....

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Classy


From Xinhua - English:
A popular new ashtray on the market is generating criticism from some female consumers. These women say they feel insulted by ashtray's shape, which is topped with the figure of a sexy female's upper half.
Many women think the makers of the ashtray have exaggerated the beauty's chest, which makes them feel uncomfortable. Meanwhile, they condemn the act of using a woman's body as a selling point to attract customers.
Maybe they should try condeming it because it's cheezy and nasty looking...

The Hunt for the Closet Elephant

(I really shouldn't post crap like this, maybe the 'real' news will grow up some day)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:
Nearly half of all children in Cleveland -- black and white -- are investigated for possible abuse or neglect at least once by the time they reach age 10.

But black children are taken from their homes and placed into foster care at almost twice the rate of white children.

In suburban Cuyahoga County, the story is a bit different. About two of every five black children -- almost 44 percent -- are investigated for possible abuse or neglect, compared with 13 percent of white children.

And 13 percent of the black children in the suburbs are taken from their homes, compared with 2 percent of white children.

The numbers, from a Case Western Reserve University analysis of county data, bother Cuyahoga County commissioners so much that they gathered child advocates and others Thursday to talk about how to reduce the number of children who are taken from their homes.
All right! So they're going to bring up personal responsibility issues withing the black community which are probably causing this disparity right?
HAHAHA!
Continuing:
Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones called the "overrepresentation of African-American children in the child welfare system" a crisis. He added that the Case analysis shows that even when white and black families are in similar financial and life circumstances, black children are more likely to be removed.

"It's not just an issue of class but race," Jones told the more than 40 people who met Thursday. "We can take some comfort we're not alone, that this is a state and national problem,"
Why, this racist attitude has found a way to be evenly distributed across the entire country, it must be a conspiracy!
A majority of the investigations involve neglect, not abuse, and experts say poverty is a major contributor to the problem.
The old poverty boggy man. But didn't they just say that "even when white and black families are in similar financial and life circumstances, black children are more likely to be removed"? Why would poverty be the major driving force then? Or is this an excuse to keep from looking at what the real issues might be?
Juvenile Court Judge Allison Floyd said that black families are more likely to require resources from the county and go to public hospitals. She said that because of that interaction, black families are more highly monitored than white families.

"It's just been easier to remove black children," said Ray in an interview before the Thursday meeting.

Once in county custody, black children are less likely to be returned home, county numbers show. More than 85 percent of the children in custody waiting for adoption are black.
That's a lot of numbers, but it's like saying there was a 15% drop in the production of apples. Why? Who cares! Just look at that number- %15!

Where are the numbers on WHY these kids were taken?

The word 'racism' never gets mentioned, and probably with good cause. Mrs. Sandmich and I took adoption classes down at the Cuyhoga county family welfare office (or whatever they call it) and I felt that the people there were a hard working lot who cared about what they did. They were also, by and large, black.

Meanwhile, Steve Sailer notes the following AP article:
Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees'[from hurricane Katrina] pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.
But pay no attention to those numbers as they must be completely unrelated.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Bento Watch #26

On the right is my wife's bento of leftover fried rice with snow peas and teriyaki'd lotus root; while the small dishes are mine. On that, there's the unprocessed miso soup (I put hot water in it at work), rice with soy sauce-marinated daikon (along with some fukiyaki on top), grapes, and shrimp, snow peas and the same lotus root.

(On a related note, I've attempted to buy fresh lotus root on a couple occasions, but it either didn't last terribly long, or I didn't know how to pick them out (or both). A while back when I was at the Asian market, I watched a Chinese man try to find a good lotus root, hoping to discover his secret. I was discouraged when he threw back several that I would have considered takers. At that point, I bought a preparred variety that comes packed in water. The color and consistency is spot on, so good deal! Unfortunately, the 'taste' and consistency is not too far off from one of my most hated foods: the water chestnut, or as I like to call it, 'the plant roach')

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Let's Review

American movie poster...




French movie poster...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bullshot

I was looking for something on Internet Explorer when I cam across this piece of glorified marketing material by one Sandi Hardmeier, a Microsoft MVP and spyware and Internet Explorer expert from Australia:


Sandi pic 1

A redheaded, female tech? Something must be up, I mean, besides being an 'Internet Explorer expert'. And it turns out, something is. Here's a shot of Sandi from a different site that links to the same personal page as one that sports the above photo:


Sandi pic 2

Now I expect some divergence from a publicity shot to a candid shot, but jeez! Doesn't the photo have to be from the same decade to be fair?

(I can hear it now: "So Sandmich you jerk, why were you even looking for her photo?" , to which I say "This discussion is closed!")

'Unhappy Warrior'

Peggy Noonan lays it on thick!:
George W. Bush is a big spender. He has never vetoed a spending bill. When Congress serves up a big slab of fat, crackling pork, Mr. Bush responds with one big question: Got any barbecue sauce?
Sing it sister!
Republicans have grown alarmed at federal spending. It has come to a head not only because of Katrina but because of the huge pork-filled highway bill the president signed last month, which comes with its own poster child for bad behavior, the Bridge to Nowhere. The famous bridge in Alaska that costs $223 million and that connects one little place with two penguins and a bear with another little place with two bears and a penguin. The Bridge to Nowhere sounds, to conservative ears, like a metaphor for where endless careless spending leaves you. From the Bridge to the 21st Century to the Bridge to Nowhere: It doesn't feel like progress.
Ahh the Bridge to Nowhere. It will be a monument to Republican hubris. Of course it doesn't help when every malcontent in the country is running around saying that they too need cash from the government for x,y and z. Of course demands for goods and services is infinate, and apparently some in government (and those that vote for them) have determined that this is an obtainable number, but they'll learn like Argentina that it is not (should Argentina ever come to that conclusion itself, I guess I should say "we'll learn like we learned from Argentina).

Jonah Goldberg also writes:
Sure: Bush’s response to Katrina wasn’t racist, and not nearly so incompetent as it seemed at first, but it was still far less than sufficiently competent — and it was indisputably politically disastrous. As we look to the future, what are we supposed to say? Hell no his overspending isn’t irresponsibly lavish! His overspending is simply responsibly lavish! The porkbusters fight is fun now, but not since early cave men tried to train grizzly bears to give them tongue-baths has a project seemed more obviously doomed to end in disappointment. Expecting Congress — of either party — to give back pork which has already been approved and passed into law is like expecting crack whores to give refunds days after services have been rendered.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

J Gum

I finally worked up the nerve to buy a little Japanese gum pack that they sell down at the local Asian market:


My 'fat Italian chef Chinese noodles' provide scale'


Ultimate Muscle!

I love the toon (the art and character are from the first few episodes, which would have aired many years ago in Japan, how old is this....), but upon opening the package, I thought my worst fears had been realized when the smell of 'deranged toxic apple' hit my nose. My experience with foreign candy (apart from most European candy) has been decidedly mixed. It seems to range from edible (i.e., nothing special, but perfectly edible) to absolutely horrific (i.e. the hard 'candies' from the Caribbean and Japan that tasted like cough drops, yum!).

Fortunately in this case, the candy tasted nothing like its scent, so I might collect a couple more the next time I'm out.

(On a side note, my buddy pointed out this game. Pretty amazing for a web game, though it's too bad it doesn't support a gamepad).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Screen Shot

Firstly, what is up with the Control Panel interface in Windows XP:

I know this is something only a tech loser like me would do, but since I was amazed this interface didn't get upgraded in Windows 95 from Windows 3.x, I'm even more amazed now: IT IS THE SAME INTERFACE FROM 13 YEARS AGO! Who keeps recompiling this? It would actually be easier to use the new APIs! I guess with all the work they're doing stealing whatever interface Apple is using, they don't have time to redo everything.

Secondly, I was looking for a product called Norton Ghost (an obscure product outside of tech circles). I did a search on our vendor site and turned up this:


666? Spooky!

As is typical for Insight's search engine, none of the results matched the actual product that I was looking for.

Lastly, I was working on a home PC about two hours past my bedtime and I decided to upgrade the BIOS in a (successful) effort to keep the machine from powering down while doing full screen 3D. Now if a BIOS upgrade goes bad, you've basically turned your machine into a brick - permanently (some newer systems have some failsafes to prevent this). Of course my half awake brain had trouble with this:


What Daye is it? Press 'OK'? I dunno, maybe I'll press 'Exi..', oh nevermind.

Insulin Time

http://68mingyue28.blogspot.com/

No really, I don't think you're obsessive at all honey.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

You Boys Know How to Pick 'Em!

From Robert Novak:
Rep. Peter King of New York, named by Republican leaders to become the House Homeland Security Committee's chairman, was not pressed to explain two decades of support for the terrorist Irish Republican Army (IRA) and association with the left-wing Sinn Fein, the IRA's political arm.
King is the only member of Congress in at least five years to travel at Sinn Fein's expense, taking such trips to Ireland in 2000 and 2001. King's pro-IRA posture goes back to 1986. President Reagan declared that Irish-Americans condemn the IRA, and King responded: 'When Reagan went to Ireland, he might have spoken for some Irish-Americans. But he didn't speak for me.' The 2005 State Department report lists the IRA among terrorist organizations.
'There is no comparison between the IRA and al Qaeda,' King told this column in defending his suitability for the Homeland Security chairmanship. He contended the IRA 'didn't target civilians, although civilians were killed in attacks.' He also said he dealt with Sinn Fein, not the IRA, and that he had called for the IRA to disband.
This is actually kinda surprising given the big time snub Bush has rightly given Sinn Fein. As a note, the only people who say that Sinn Fein and the IRA are two different groups are people who are idiots, and people who sympathize with the IRA. The fact that Mr. King thinks the IRA has something against harming civilians leaves me more confused as to which group he belongs to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ethnic Zing!

From Mark Steyn, Terror war all but forgotten on home front:
Only a tiny minority of Muslims want to be suicide bombers, and only a slightly larger minority want actively to provide support networks for suicide bombers, but big majorities of Muslims support almost all the terrorists' strategic goals: For example, according to a recent poll, over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under sharia in the United Kingdom. That's a 'moderate' Westernized Muslim: He wants stoning for adultery to be introduced in Liverpool, but he's a 'moderate' because it's not such a priority that he's prepared to fly a plane into a skyscraper.
Mildly unrelated, but from a Derb article too hot to be published:
I nearly fell out of my Barcalounger Sunday morning, watching The McLaughlin Group. The old Jesuit had Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Tony Blankley, and Clarence Page (who is black) sitting around. They were talking about Hurricane Katrina, of course. Suddenly, McLaughlin turned to Page and said: "Why the correlation between black and poor?"

Good grief, I thought, you can't ask that. People get taken off the air for less. Poor Clarence Page didn't know whether to spit or wind his watch. He mumbled something that wasn't even close to being an answer. McLaughlin, realizing his gaffe, quickly and deftly steered the talk to other topics. Everybody in the studio, and all of us out there in viewerland, started breathing again. You can't ask THAT. Nobody wants to hear about THAT.
As well, James Taranto notes a poll:
Let's look more closely at these two questions, which are questions 14 and 3, respectively, in the poll results. By 60% to 37%, blacks think the government was slow in rescuing Katrina victims for racial reasons; by 86% to 12%, whites do not think so. By 72% to 21%, blacks think President Bush does not care about black people. By 67% to 26%, whites think he does care.
Now, taking for granted that the polls are somewhere near correct (a bit of an if at times) pieces that site them don't look on the bright side: that 40% of British Muslims (whom I would guess are more radicalized than their American brethren) don't care one lick for sharia (a number large enough to build a consensus) and that somewhere around 20% of blacks think the President cares about black people. This number may seem low at first, but considering that Republicans regularly get less than 10% of the black vote, I'd say they're making progress. Is it also fair to say that 21%-37% of American blacks think the racist demagoguery some lefties are applying to the hurricane relief effort is as disgusting as I think it is? Probably.

(On a side note, on 9-11 of this year, I had better than a dozen hits on this photo. Must'a showed up in a Google image search orsomething.)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Beisbol

Seven baseball games in one season is a low number to the devout I'm sure, but to someone who is mildly indifferent to the sport, such as myself, it's a high number (it can be entertaining in person, but I can't make myself watch it on TV, and certainly can't listen to it on the radio. And while I'm on the topic, what's up with people who listen to Nascar races on the radio?) So it was when I attended my seventh (a personal record), and no doubt final game of the season; courtesy of Mr. Kendall.



They had a fireworks display after this game, and I took a couple of shots...


The rest of the Indians pictures are here.

When I went to put the pictures up of the Indians game, I realized I hadn't posted any pictures from the White Sox game I attended ($33 for a standing room only ticket, I'd knock it, but the standing room only 'seats' were better than half the seats in the stadium)...




I also snapped the following picture of a young lady with an elaborate tattoo on her back...

I can kinda understand why women get these tattoos, but I don't know why they get permanent ones. The one pictured is already starting to 'bleed' and by the time she's 40, there will be nothing but a black mess on her back that will look like the result of someone's effort to draw a cartoon with a worn down Sharpie. Why do they get a permanent ('bleeding') marker of something that is basically a fad?

More Chicago pics here, here, and here (last is baseball game and a little China Town).

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Lament

Over at Cox and Forkum they have a 9-11 cartoon that started with one panel, and each subsequent 9-11 they add another panel on top of the previous, so that the newest one is on top:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Obviously the cartoonists are of the opinion that Bush hasn't done enough and isn't forceful enough. They see a desperate conflict between the west and Islamists and they despair that Bush might not be taking it seriously enough.

There is room for this criticism of course. Two relatively minor episodes spring to mind: the incident where they military lawyers said not to shoot Mullah Omar's car and not shooting looters in New Orleans Iraq; but at least these things are on the table with Bush. The phrase "good enough for government work" comes to mind when thinking about anything related to the Bush presidency. When it comes to America's self defense, it's a shame that for many Americans even that low bar is too high.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Starve Them Out!

More ugliness. From here:
For me, Major Garrett's report that the Red Cross was barred by LA state officials from delivering food, water, and supplies to the Superdome on Monday (the storm day) is the great missing link of the saga. As I watched the events unfold, the one thing I couldn't understand was why the evacuee situation at the Superdome was so dire, as I clearly remembered from the weekend pre-storm coverage that the people who couldn't get out of the city on their own were being told to go there. Why send people to a facility, but then not bring them what they need to survive? Garrett's reporting tells us that LA state officials, answerable to the Governor, not the feds, didn't want the Red Cross to bring supplies in on Monday because they wanted evacuees to leave the area.
If this happened in China, the local officials would be dragged in front of a firing squad and dealt with promptly. They should be grateful if all they lose is their job (Though citizens should lament if even that does not come to pass).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rollin'

This thing is screwed up, an unrollable screen from Phillips:

Is this pie-in-the-sky rubbish? I guess not, from here:
Philips e-Reader Readius - Availability : Always hard to project, but according to Philips we are talking reality. Not only are they showing a prototype, mass production will start in the third quarter of 2006 and the first devices are expected to be available before Christmas 2006.
And it'll be cheap as free, right?

Although the first iterations are black and white plus '4 shades of gray', on the manufacturers web site, they have Photoshop 'protypes' of products that have color screens (I'll go out on a limb and say those are a bit pie in the sky-ie, at least as they're depicted). However, it shouldn't be unusual to see MP3 players and possibly phones sporting this technology before too long.

The Racial Skeptic

I've taken to reading Steve Sailer's blog, but he's not really a man who wants any friends. He appears conservative, but he seems to have a near passionate hatred for Bush and a loathing for the Iraq war that borders on 'Michael Moore-ish'. I hadn't read this piece, but I guess it's making waves on the net (as a lot of his stuff does); from VDARE.com: 09/03/05 - Racial Reality And The New Orleans Nightmare:

And of course nobody, despite what they may say, is all that much startled that, when the city's whites and more prosperous and/or foresightful blacks left, New Orleans quickly turned into its demographic analog, Haiti-where 2004's Tropical Storm Jeanne unleashed similar mayhem and chaos.

Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola of New Orleans who represents political prisoners in Haiti, stayed behind with his wife, who is a nurse. He noted:
"I had always hoped that Haiti would become more like New Orleans, but what's happened is New Orleans has become more like Haiti here recently."

In contrast to New Orleans, there was only minimal looting after the horrendous 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan-because, when you get down to it, Japanese aren't blacks. For example, the per capita imprisonment rate for Asian-Americans is about 1/30th that of African-Americans.

Like skeptic's of other stripes, Sailer seems not to care that he offends, but that's not his intention; his intention, like many other skeptics, is to push his set of unpleasant facts out into the general public in an effort to help them better plan for reality. Of course it goes without saying that Mr. Sailer's obsession over his tight pool of facts sometimes limits his worldview into the way things 'work'. For instance, although I understand his dislike of Bush, he seems to want to hold the man to some otherwordly standard; many other Americans wouldn't exactly be shocked beyond belief to hear that Bush is 1) A politician and 2) holds views that run counter to theirs - any politician is less their own 'man, than they are an amalgamation of compromises.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Paypal hits bottom, digs

I always considered Paypal a semi-necessary evil. Why no legitimate bank hasn't ever stepped in to compete against this slimy organization is beyond me.

Anyway, one of the sites I check in with rather frequently, Something Awful, has been out since the big hurricane because their site is hosted in New Orleans. Rich Kyanka, who runs the site, has been biding his time and posting updates and collecting donations for hurricane victims using the odious Paypal; that is, he was...until Paypal shut him down for rather arbitrary reasons. From SA (9/3/05 - 9:36PM post)
I'm pissed off and I can't stop writing. You guys were donating nearly $3,500 AN HOUR before Paypal locked the account. Let me repeat that again: $3,500 AN HOUR. You guys were exceedingly awesome. You were going above and beyond being gratuitous. It was amazing, I was wearing socks and they were blown off so hard that they slammed into my sock drawer and all the other socks flew out. Now it's like everything collided head-on with a brick wall, and it's all smoldering mess.

It's bad enough I'm losing money and customers every single minute of every single hour I have no business. All of that is very crappy. But this charity drive, having Paypal step in and shut it down... that just makes me beyond angry. I can't stop writing about this crap, and I'm afraid I'll be here venting my fury at this despicable corporation until my wife saws off my arms. I'm going to stop right now, because I'm just repeating myself at this point.

Here's all I want: you people at Paypal send every single dollar donated to the Red Cross. Then you give me these peoples' mailing addresses so I can reward them for donating by sending them free merchandise, which I pay for out of my own pockets. That's all I ever wanted to do, and I'm sorry you won't allow this.
Let's hope Paypal takes a break from screwing over their customers to find a clue on this.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Guest Appearance

Here's a little something for Mr. Kendall that I came by in one of my 'Japan only' Mame games...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina Lessons

Man that is an UGLY situation going down in New Orleans. I don't know what type of situation the local government thought they had on their hands, but I agree with this guy here:
How do you send 88 police officers to the Convention Center to stop a mob from raping people and beating others only to have them beat back by the angry mob itself?

At some point, people in charge have got to come to their senses and realize that anarchy has reached the point beyond which order can be restored through civilized means and now must be restored at the point of gun by people willing to pull the trigger.
Lesson 1: Looters and other bringers of chaos in a situation like that need to be shot. It's nice to see that the failed policy of not shooting Iraqi looters applies to Americans as well, but it's still a failed policy.

The fact that this blow was telegraphed for days before makes it all the more puzzling: what in the hell did the authorities expect. One news crew went into the Super Dome cum gulag and said they couldn't find anyone in charge, which is pretty much the impression I get from up here about the whole situation. This is quite discouraging from a Homeland security perspective, those f@cks really dropped the ball on this one: communication systems are dead and emergency plans are (almost) non-existent (what in the hell did they plan to do if the mayors in Texas didn't finally pick up the ball to take in refugees? Wait for people to start dying (more) so that they wouldn't have to worry about it?). And this, like I said, from an emergency they knew was coming; it makes the mind shudder as to how competent they would be in an unforeseen national security crisis!

Lesson 2: There's only one Rudi Giuliani people, and he can't be mayor of every city in the country.

There was a woman on TV who was complaining about how the U.S. can get stuff to Iraqis and Tsunami victims, but can't get anything to New Orleans. This is usually a stupid cop out discussion point when someone is trying to get an unrelated item (ex. "We can feed Iraqis, but we can't pay for our kids football teams"); but she has a legitimate point! Where are these command and control 'federalies' who appear to be better at organizing elections in the most nasty places on the planet, but can't manage to subdue an American city!?!?

Of course one big issue in the back of everyone's mind is: is it worth spending a bucket of money to bring the city back to it's pre-hurricane state? A similar question came up after the great Mississippi/Missouri river flood many years ago. "Why," the question is asked "are we paying for these idiots to rebuild their homes in the same location when we're just going to be back there in a couple years, paying to rebuild it again because they insist on living on a flood plain where they can't afford the insurance?" Of course in New Orleans it's even worse since many of these places are places that should be wet, and only constant pumping keeps the areas from reverting back into swamp land. Many a person, even before the hurricane, pointed out that if the swamp land still existed, the hurricane wouldn't be as much of an issue since there would then be a buffer between the city and the ocean. Of course then you'll also have the business interests and rich white people who lost property as well, and will be looking for a handout in order to avoid any odious insurance claims (that is, if even they have insurance).

Lesson 3: Although painful in the short run, people need to be exposed to the full financial risk of where they choose to live; otherwise, you'll have a never ending parade of people and their local government enablers who will build in the most idiotic of places with the full expectation that Uncle Sam (i.e. YOU) will bail their sorry asses out.

I'd suggest taking a similar tact to the one the government used for the Mississippi flood victims: tell them you'll buy them out. One could certainly argue that even that step shouldn't be taken, but it's ridiculous to think it's a wise step to have people of very limited means live in a glorified refugee camp the rest of their lives. Buy them out and revert that land back to swamp.

Something should be said, as well, for self-governance, or in this case, the lack thereof in the citizens of New Orleans. Reports of rape teams and thugs knocking over hospitals for drugs seem like things you’d be reading about in some god forsaken, hell-hole of a country. Jonah Goldberg sums it up nicely:
Look: Looting for personal gain is reprehensible and should be swiftly punished. But when people fire weapons on doctors and rescue vehicles, it is a sign of profound moral decay more grotesque than words can describe. That these images are being beamed around the world is a source of deep shame. Even copkillers like Mumia Abu Jamal can have a perverse morality to them, in the sense that in their worldview cops represent oppression or some such. I think that's an attitude that runs the gamut from profoundly misguided to profoundly malevolent and copkillers should get the death penalty, period. But shooting people as they try to save the lives of babies and old women is an act so base and vile that it cannot even support the veneer of a pernicious ideology. This is so depressing.


Lesson 4: Goldberg lists his post as “END OF CIVILIZATION CONT'D”. This is no joke. One might like to think that American success has come about by some amount of chance, but it’s the heart and soul of the citizenry that makes it work. Want to know what citizens with no soul look like? Look at New Orleans.