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Sci-Fi

Journal: I finally get it now...

Journal by Penguinshit

I never knew what the fuss was about regarding the upcoming movie "Serenity". This was undoubtedly because I'd never watched the show "Firefly".

I'm watching the Firefly marathon on the Sci-Fi channel now. I'm two shows into it, and I'm hooked.

I finally get it now.

I'm looking SO forward to Serenity now. What a great concept, and the delivery is kick ass!

I'm not usually such a late adopter.. I feel ashamed.
United States

Journal: Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

Journal by Penguinshit

...this happens.

So, with yet another "closest-in-history" and "disputed-by-a-sizable-number" election, Bush has the nerve to say this in public? I guess by that logic the whole "Blue Dress Witch Hunt" against Clinton during his second term should have been a moot point. Whatever happened to all of the recent pandering to America's ignorance and prejudice; now that they are no longer needed, BushCo suddenly feels free to abandon the promise to "vigorously pursue a Constitutional Amendment" banning marriage between gay couples? How used should Red-staters feel right about now?

At this point we have an Administration which has waged pre-emptive war against a foreign country based on false pretenses (no WMDs, no "imminent threat", no connection to al-Qaeda or the events of 9/11/2001) while drawing the majority of American intelligence and expendable military assets away from the real enemy (al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the perpetrators of 9/11/2001, which organization continues to flourish and prosper while the nascent Afghani government holds little power outside of its capital city). In this pre-emptive war based on false pretenses we have lost ~1,500 US soldiers, seriously wounded tens of thousands more, and sent ~$200 Billion extra-budgetary dollars down a spider-hole while our own economy sputters, resulting in impending deep cuts in domestic programs at the same time recording the greatest budgetary deficit in US history. Again, I ask how used and betrayed die-hard Conservatives in the "Red States" should feel right about now.

Meanwhile our civil liberties are being encroached upon at a rapid pace, with police agencies able to invade and search a person's home, tap a person's communications, and investigate a person's financial and social dealings, all without judicial oversite. The man proposed for the new Attorney General (the supposed defender of American civil liberty) is the admitted author of a strategy for evading US and International law. The Bush Administration, by its own admission, is in material breach of a basic tenet of US law (habeus corpus) by holding US citizens without due process (not forgetting the foreign nationals who are prisoner without any plans to charge or prosecute them). This Administration has also twice been found guilty by the GAO of engaging in illegal domestic covert propaganda, having paid unethical journalists to create fabricated, unidimensional, "news" videos ("VNRs") heralding the opinions of the Administration.

Now we have a President who has just said that there is no reason to hold him or any of his Cabinet accountable for past deeds simply because of another suspect election. This man truly believes that he is above any checks and balances.

It is high time that we remind him and his Cabinet of the ultimate "check and balance" and call for Congress to initiate immediate (and wholesale) impeachment proceedings before the damage becomes irreparable.
United States

Journal: Unfuckingbelievable

Journal by Penguinshit
It looks like the Bush Administration has finally driven the bus off the cliff.

Any shred of legitimacy Bush may have had left is now firmly destroyed. We used to be the shining model of human rights and respect for the rule of law. The only reasons still standing for the invasion/occupation of Iraq was "enforcing the rule of International Law" (UN Resolution 1440) and to stop an evil dictator's ongoing human rights abuses.

We now we have human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and reports that the man Bush submitted to replace Ashcroft was the man who wrote the memo that told Bush he wasn't responsible for adhering to the Geneva Conventions.

It's amazing that BushCo isn't even trying to hid their malfeasance anymore. Perhaps Bush is so convinced of his "mandate" that he believes he can do no wrong? With some of the rumblings coming out of Congress, Bush may want to rethink his infallibility.

Can we start the impeachment process NOW before the damage is irreversible?
United States

Journal: Abolish the IRS (and replace it with something better) 7

Journal by Penguinshit

How about abolishing the IRS?

Imagine the impact that campaign platform would have on the American populace. Imagine the mortal blow that would cause to the Republican agenda.

The IRS was a controversial institution from the beginning. It is now widely regarded as the financial gestapo of the Federal government. Not a single citizen looks forward to April 15. The Republican Party has long derided Democrats as "Tax-N-Spend" politicians. The single strong platform of the current Bush campaign is the misinformation that John Kerry will "raise taxes".

Let's do away with the IRS altogether. In its place, institute a Federal Sales Tax of 2% on all taxable goods. Adding a Federal Sales Tax of 2% would be a negligible increase to State and/or County taxes (that exist) on all but the most expensive goods (and those would be goods that are not purchased often, on a repeat basis). However, based on the large volume of commerce that occurs in the US on a daily basis, imagine the income for the Federal Government...

Abolishing personal income tax is a tax cut across the board. The rich, by virtue of more spending on higher priced items, would be taxed their fair share. The poor, by virtue of spending on lower priced items, would retain more of their earnings to pay for their items (making tight budgets easier to manage for working families). The class divide between those with enough money to hide their assets in tax shelters and those without the disposable income to take advantage of these same shelters would disappear overnight.

This, in my opinion, is the best way possible to effect a "flat tax". More money would remain in the pockets of American citizens. The citizens could be rightfully expected to exercise their newfound windfall by purchasing goods they otherwise would not or could not purchase according to their needs, the economy would explode with the surge in consumer spending and confidence, and the Federal government would realize a huge untapped revenue source that would not be felt so acutely and painfully by the American populace (by spreading the taxation out over hundreds, thousands, or even millions of separate small transactions).

I am not an accountant, and lack the exposure to the necessary information to do a proper study on this proposal. But a basic thumbnail sketch of this over the course of a week (largely based on introspective observation of my own spending habits) lends some weight to my intuitive feeling that this could be a win-win situation.

I invite your comments regarding this proposal. Of course, I would beg that you keep the comments to the point of "IRS vs. Sales Tax" such that we all attempt to keep the lid on the fractious political flame-war that threatens to engulf all such discussions.

Thank you.
News

Journal: Petition

Journal by Penguinshit

This message is from moveonpac.org, from the petition to Dubya to accept Kerry's offer of monthly debates on the issues. I urge all (regardless of Party affiliation) to sign this petition. There is even a section for a personal message.

Honest, open debate between the candidates (and not 30-second sound-bites of little contextual significance) is the only way for US Citizens to understand the candidates' stands on issues and their plans for America should they be elected.

Dear friend,

Several weeks ago, Tom Cole, a Republican Congressman in Oklahoma spoke to supporters about the upcoming election. "If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election," he told them. Later, he said that a vote against Bush was like a vote for Adolf Hitler.

These hateful and outrageous remarks -- which neither the RNC nor the Bush/Cheney campaign will repudiate -- are representative of the negative campaign being rolled out against John Kerry. Bush is now airing the first negative ads of the season, which according to nonpartisan monitors seriously misled viewers about Kerry's record.

In response, Senator Kerry is taking the high road. He's asked President Bush to engage in a series of monthly debates on the country's future -- debates on the real substance of the issues that face us. It's a simple proposal that could elevate the campaign and truly educate the country about the positions and records of each candidate. But President Bush's campaign brushed off the suggestion with a snide remark.

Today, MoveOn members and I are asking President Bush to stand up and face a real debate. You can join our petition asking President Bush to debate Kerry on the future of our country at:

moveonpac.org/debate

Thanks.

The Almighty Buck

Journal: Slashdot Personals?!? 3

Journal by Penguinshit

Ok.. excuse me while I ask "What the fuck".

Does anyone else think a "Personals" functionality on Slashdot is.. well.. kindy creepy? I can see the logic from a social, and (probably closer to the reason it was implemented) financial standpoint. However, it still gives me the willies; much like Fucked Company Porno does... (oh, and Pud also has a "Personals" site).

Spam

Journal: More on Spam, and efforts to stop it

Journal by Penguinshit

This is a link to a Reuters story I found on Yahoo regarding a bill going through the Senate Judiciary Committee. I think this represents the start to a fair and balanced method for combating spam while still allowing some sort of responsible commercial email.

Basically what it seems to do is to attack the four methods by which the "penis enlarger" crowd propagate their annoying garbage:

1. Hiding/obfuscation of return email addresses.
2. Sending through SMTP relays
3. Harvesting email addresses from websites, etc.
4. Sending out messages to millions of "dictionary attack" style addresses.

I believe that these "Big Four" will go a long way towards raising the level of accountability of spammers. These methods employed by spammers are what drives people the most nuts - it's like pulling teeth to track down the sender of each and every message. A few who have been tracked down and exposed have been forced to quit due to complaints/threats/etc. If a spammer were no longer able to hide behind layers of deceipt, I'm certain said spammer would think long and hard about how many people he/she were about to anger.

The Internet was never about "anonymity". It does allow use of proxy-by-avatar which is a great communication tool. But true anonymity is too tempting to control the darker side of human nature which lurks in us all.

User Journal

Journal: What is true spam? 3

Journal by Penguinshit

this is my first attempt at a journal.. I'd been meaning to start one, or a blog, but in these days of working 3 jobs in a frantic attempt to stay in the computer industry, I haven't had much time.. anyway:

What is spam?

I recently had an argument with someone, splitting hairs over what we considered true spam.

I considered true spam to be one of no redeeming value (typified by offers to enlarge one's penis, etc.) which typically comes in mass quantities and with no attempt at qualifying the recipient outside of being a "live" address, whereas unsolicited commercial email from a legitimate company would typically be from a highly scrubbed list of addresses, would appear only once, and, based on my demographic, be one which could very reasonably interest me.

My opponent took the view that *any* unsolicited commercial email was spam.

I feel that both views are right, but that in the interest of E-Commerce I'm willing to let the legitimate companies send me what would amount to 3 or 4 honest advertisements per week (similar to what I see in my snailmailbox, and similar to what I used to receive in email prior to approximately 1997).

The trick is, how to define "legitimate" and in such a way that it is difficult for the "penis enlarger" crowd to pervert the regulation.

I certainly don't have the answer, so if anyone is listening and would like to posit, go for it.

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

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