Archive for July, 2009
Just a small announcement to let all of you know that Shits And Giggles’ debut LP “Trick Or Treat” is finally available and can either be obtained directly from Vas Deferens Organization’s new label Free Dope And Fucking In The Streets or from distributors like Forced Exposure, Aquarius Records or Fusetron, whom it will reach within about 10 days and also to inform one and all that the new Vas Deferens Organization site has launched simultaneously with this. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
(CNN) — Two days before Sarah Palin steps down from office, a new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of the outgoing Alaska governor. But the ABC News/Washington Post survey released Friday also suggests that seven out of 10 Republican voters maintain a positive opinion of last year’s GOP Vice Presidential nominee.
Fifty-three percent of those questioned in the poll view Palin negatively, with four in 10 holding a positive view of her. The survey is the second this week, following a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released Thursday, to find more than half of all Americans viewing Palin in an unfavorable light.
The ABC News/Washington Post survey suggests that there is doubt about Palin’s leadership skills and her understanding of intricate issues. Fifty-seven percent say they don’t think Palin understands complex issues, and 54 percent do not feel she is a strong leader. The poll finds that Americans are split on whether Palin shares their values and understands the problems most people face. A slim majority of people questioned in the poll say Palin is honest and trustworthy, with four in 10 disagreeing.
Aussie artist Sam Jinks sculptures
On the 103rd story of the Sears Tower, you will find a balcony 1,353 feet off the street that will wilt even the most stout of hearts – a balcony made completely of glass. Measuring an inch and a half thick, the glass balcony is so strong that it can hold over five tons.
Forced Vaccinations — A Real Threat Against Your Health and Freedom
A review of the documentation Burgermeister provides makes at least one thing crystal clear, and that is this: there are enough legal provisions already in place to make a mandated, forced vaccination program a reality, giving certain agencies the authority to go as far as using deadly force to ensure compliance.
And, in return for your submitting to the jab under duress, there are no actual guarantees of the safety of the vaccine, and if things do go wrong, you have no legal recourse whatsoever to sue anyone, anywhere, for damages.
This would be an absolute nightmare and nothing short of a crime, no matter how “legal” and “in the best interest of the people” it has been set up to appear.
So no matter how you feel about Jane Burgermeister or her allegations in totality, the real and urgent problem we face right now is the possibility of forced vaccinations against the swine flu – a threat that is being unreasonably hyped by WHO and health agencies around the world, despite the fact that your chances of being struck by lightning is 2,300 percent higher than your risk of contracting and dying from the swine flu…
Even former Presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul (who is also a doctor) has gone on record stating that the swine flu is little more than hysterical hype for financial gain. In his video address he also reminds you about the outcome of the last swine flu vaccination program, which took place in 1976.
At that time, one person died from the actual flu, while 25 people died by adverse reactions from the supposed life-saving vaccine, and several hundred people developed crippling Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
In his opinion – and I agree – when the swine flu is put into perspective of regular flu deaths, tuberculosis and other contagious diseases, the swine flu is a total non-event.
These massive, international, multi-agency and military countermeasures are absolutely out of proportion to the actual threat of this flu.
When you really consider all the facts and risks, the current crisis response to the swine flu does raise questions about motive. Why the overkill “precaution” of a mass vaccination program against a disease that causes MAINLY mild symptoms and has an extremely low risk of death?
Jane Burgermeister believes she has the answer, and that she can prove it. According to her findings, which are part of her package of criminal charges, the vaccine itself may pose a far greater danger than the virus itself.
Whether or not to believe it is up to you, and I recommend you review the evidence she provides for yourself, such as the criminal charges document and her bioterrorism evidence documentation.
But whatever the truth is, avoiding the implementation of a forced vaccination program is of high importance if you value your life and health and that of your children, friends, and family.
Via Boing Boing comes a video from the Australian comedy show “The Chaser’s War on Everything,” that shows a man dressed as an Abu Ghraib prisoner disrupting one of John Yoo’s classes (he currently lectures at Berkeley and Chapman University). Yoo, formerly of the Department of Justice, played a key role in the Bush administration’s justification of torture.
The actor climbed on a desk while Yoo was discussing constitutionality and said, “I’ve got one question, how long can I be required to stand here ’til it counts as torture?” When Yoo ended the class and a student yelled at the actor to leave he said, “I’d love to move but every time I do my balls get buzzed.”
He was later physically escorted out of the classroom by a school official.
The industry that helped scuttle health reform 15 years ago with its “Harry and Louise” ads is back, voicing support for a central element of the Obama administration’s plans: making sure everyone is covered.
That does not mean the industry is backing the administration. Indeed, the leader of the insurance lobby has sent lawmakers a message: Be careful what you change, because “77 percent of Americans are satisfied with their existing health insurance coverage.”
Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), invoked the statistic to argue against the creation of a government-run insurance option. But the polls are not that simple, and her assertion reveals how the industry’s effort to defend its turf has led it to cherry-pick the facts.
The poll Ignagni was citing actually undercuts her position: By 72 to 20 percent, Americans favor the creation of a public plan, the June survey by the New York Times and CBS News found. People also said that they thought government would do a better job than private insurers of holding down health-care costs and providing coverage.
In addition, data from a Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year, compiled at the request of The Washington Post, suggest that the people who like their health plans the most are the people who use them the least.
Those who described their health as “excellent” — people who presumably had relatively little experience pursuing medical care or submitting claims — were almost twice as likely as those in good, fair or poor health to rate their private health insurance as excellent.
The level of satisfaction expressed with private insurance was essentially the same as that with Medicare, the government program for the elderly and disabled.
The industry’s stance against a public health plan revives shades of 1994, when it was instrumental in blocking President Bill Clinton’s health-care proposals.
“A government-run plan would turn back the clock on efforts to improve the quality and safety of patient care,” AHIP has argued. Such a plan “will ultimately limit choices and access,” the big insurer WellPoint contends.
But systemic problems have persisted for 15 years, and it is not clear how much private insurers have done, or can do, to solve them.
“Insurers promise choice, they promise innovation, they promise a lot of things, but I think they’ve delivered very little,” said Alan Sager, professor of health policy and management at Boston University. “I think net they give us very bad value for the 10 to 20 percent share of the health dollar they skim off the top.
Steele Struggles To Name His Own Health Care Provider
As liberal protesters marched outside, Sen. Max Baucus sat down inside a San Francisco mansion for a dinner of chicken cordon bleu and a discussion of landmark health-care legislation under consideration by his Senate Finance Committee.
Says not the “greedy rock pigs and luddites” file-sharers claim them to be, and that he’s “proud” of what the band did, and what they “stood up for.”
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is every bit the “greedy rock pig” and “luddite” he claims not to be in a recent revelation he made to Kerrang! expressing his profound pride in spearheading the campaign that eventually took down Napster in July of 2001.
Ulrich, who admitted to illegally downloading “Death Magnetic” using BitTorrent this past March, and despite the obvious futility of taking Napster down being that file-sharing is more prevalent than ever, insists that taking down Napster was the “right” thing to do.
“Being right about Napster doesn’t mean that much to me,” he says. “I don’t find any particular glory in being proved right about it.”
Right about it?
Geoff Taylor, head of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), and former RIAA CEO Hillary Rosen, who led the RIAA during the Napster era, both disagree.
“I, for one, regret that we weren’t faster in figuring out how to create a sustainable model for music on the internet,” said Taylor this past June when asked about the 10 anniversary of the birth of Napster. He says the music industry would be in better shape now if it had engaged with Napster rather than fought it.
Rosen said at the time of the Napster affair that the music industry, despite its concerns over how they would be compensated, should’ve embraced Napster regardless.
“I’ve been quoted as saying the record companies should have jumped off the cliff and signed a deal,” she also said on the 10th anniversary of Napster. “But it would have been jumping off a cliff, and people have to understand that.”
“There were 100 reasons not to do it, and only one or two to do it. Those one or two reasons were more compelling in the long term, but a much bigger decision and tougher decision,” she adds.
Perhaps Ulrich knows something record company execs don’t, but when it’s not likely being that his success in shuttering Napster did absolutely nothing positive for Metallica, artists, or the music industry as a whole other than to drive file-sharing to thousands of different platforms outside their control.
If the music industry had embraced Napster it could’ve eventually developed an iTunes of its own where it gets to set prices and keep all the profits. The only person happy that Ulrich was “right” is Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Ulrich also credits file-sharers for having been so successful in making the band look bad even though Metallica did a great job of this on its own.
“You have to give props to the other side because they did run a brilliant campaign, and they did portray me and Metallica as being greedy rock pigs and luddites who were completely behind what was happening technologically,” he adds. “But I am proud of what we did, and what we stood up for.”
Multi-millionaire artists angry that teens aren’t paying the requisite $19.95 for an album makes them look like “greedy rock pigs” without any help. Trying to somehow stop P2P again makes them look like “luddites” without any outside help.
Sadly enough these latest comments finally cement who Metallica, or at least Ulrich if you want to name names, really is. It makes his comments this past March about warming up to the idea of file-sharing and alternative forms of reaching Metallica’s fan base seem meaningless.
“We’ve been observing Radiohead and Trent Reznor and in twenty-seven years or however long it takes for the next record, we’ll be looking forward to everything in terms of possibilities with the Internet,” Ulrich said back in March.
Maybe it needs to look backward first instead, for as George Santayana wrote, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
t was a somber day for the Dvorak family recently when my son switched to the Mac, likely never to return to the PC. I saw this coming. The family flag is flying at half mast.
“He didn’t want to tell you because he was afraid you’d get mad and talk him out of it,” said my wife on a dreary Washington state morning. “What? I wouldn’t talk him out of it!” I retorted as I gritted my teeth.
I was lying—I probably would have tried. That said, his was a smart move, since he was following the advice of pundits, technology writers, and everyone who ever gave advice about what to buy and why: “Buy solutions, not hardware.” In his case, the solution was a stunning piece of software called DEVONthink, which he needs for a book he’s writing.
This thing sucks up PDF files like crazy, first organizing and then sorting them into manageable database blocks. I’ll leave it to reviewers to fully explain its features, but let me just say that it’s about as close to a killer Apple app as anything I’ve seen since VisiCalc in the late ’70s.
You’d think there would be a PC version, but no.
Anyway, he ended up with a new MacBook Pro, one of the few laptops being sold that actually impresses me. It’s got that hard aluminum unibody that makes the thing feel like a rock. There is none of the flexing and bending of a typical laptop.
Apple had added multi-touch, developed for the iPhone, to the track pad. Two fingers on the pad and you can do all sorts of fancy moves that are slick and interesting. The display is gorgeous and crisp.
All these whiz-bang features make me realize that I have fallen behind. First of all, I have not assumed the position and moved to a laptop as my primary computer. I prefer a desktop machine loaded with memory and power. I still write reclined with a keyboard on my lap and my feet up on the desk. These days, everyone is hunched over a laptop.
When I do use a laptop, I prefer the lightest machine I can get hold of. I continue to use an old Toshiba R200 weighing in at 2.2 pounds. Toshiba pretty much owned the market for extremely lightweight machines but seems to have lost interest in the business altogether. Their ultra light machines are too expensive to sell well in the current market, and the rest of the line is moribund. The company has also totally missed the boat on the netbook, although the Libretto from years earlier could probably have been the genesis of the netbook. But the company cannot bring itself to mention this to anyone, so it is out of the game.
Then we have Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Somehow Dell found its way up the ladder along with HP and Lenovo. My son originally was considering one of the highly recommended Lenovo machines. That’s what I was going to talk him out of. I think the Lenovo machines are ugly and weird. On Cranky Geeks, I was moaning about all the holes they have on the bottom, when I was told that you can spill a glass of milk on the keyboard and the liquid gets flushed out through those holes. I was aghast. While I’ve heard of people carelessly spilling a drink on the keyboard, I have never done it in 20 years of laptop usage—why would anyone design for such a happenstance? Make the thing bullet-proof why don’t you? This is just dumb.
I was also thinking about the gorgeous $675 Gateway laptop. My other son nixed that idea, saying the thing flexed too much and it would undoubtedly result in failure. Nothing was as good as the MacBook Pro, and it had the DEVONtechnologies software.
He pulled the trigger and got it for $1,050 with a free iPod thrown in. If I was going to buy a machine this minute, it would probably be what I’d get, too.
His only complaint, and thank goodness he had at least one, was his experience at the Apple Store, which is evolving into a place where you have to endure structured sales. It’s like a car dealership in the ’70s, with layers of various salespeople, each trying to screw you. A recent episode of The Simpsons poked fun at the ridiculous pretension and snooty attitude of the store and its sales staff.
I actually think that the Apple Stores are barriers to sales, and people only buy Macs because the machines have clearly moved ahead in genuine usefulness. Overall, it’s a pathetic indictment of the entire PC scene.