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United States

Journal Journal: State of the union 2

Thoughts on the SOTU speech--

Social security. I'm having a problem with what both parties are saying on this. Some changes do need to be made (despite what the Democrats say) but private accounts don't address what's wrong with it (despite what the Bushies say). I think we need some kind of small, gradual cut in benefits -- either by raising the age, or indexing the increases to inflation rather than wages, or something. But it's not as doomed as Bush says. The trust fund runs out in 2042 (give or take a few decades) and then the program can pay out 70-80% of benefits. Private accounts may be the right thing to do (although I think they're quite risky and aren't really compatible with the purpose of a social safety net like SS), but they're unrelated to the trust fund shortfall.

"protect marriage?" Bullshit. We don't want your stupid marriage amendment.

Syrian accountability act? Guess we know who's next up to be "liberated."

he mentioned Iran... making demands that they must stop supporting terrorism... uh oh.

Iraq. There's the "so we don't have to face the terrorists at home" line again. And talking about the elections over there.

Sophia talib whoever. Wonder how much time Bush spent practicing THAT name. At least he got it right... he should work on "nuclear" next.

He wants Iraq to be a country that is at peace with its neighbors, government represents all people, etc. Wish we had that over here in teh US.

"We have given them training and equipment" what baout body armor?

NBC's commentary now... they mentioned the "playbook" the republicans handed out to help people sell his plan. I think Salon mentioned that playbook earlier today.

Democratic response --

Harry Reid talking. Searchlight blah blah. Deficit. Good point. Birth tax? Is this a new buzzword? End offshoring tax breaks -- good.

Great point on Groundhog Day! Bush does seem to be pushing the same things as 4 years ago.

Dems oppose SS privatization... 40% benefit cut, is this true? "SS roulette" -- sadly, people are dumb enough that investing SS money in the stock market probably would amount to this. Not everyone is as smart as a Senator's personal financial advisor.

Nancy Pelosi --

national security. support the troops blah blah. Staying in Iraq... she's right, Bush doesn't have a plan for what to do in Iraq. Pelosi's plan (a) turn power over to the Iraqis (Bush not training enough iraqi troops) (b) accelerate Iraq's economy (c) diplomacy. Sounds good to me. Smaller american presence... good.

Homeland security -- there's still a lot of unfixed exploits in the system. Old news. Bush hasn't done jack shit about it. Also old news. You think he's listeningt right now? probably not.

Mentioned the military equipment again. Good, don't let people forget Bush didn't give the troops body armor.

Civil liberties. There's something Bush didn't have much to say about.

cingular ad... oh wait, it's over, I should stop typing now.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Google News says it all about the RIAA

This is a copy and paste from Google News. You don't even have to click on the links to get all the insight you need into how the RIAA record companies conduct business. Bold is Google's, italics are mine.

Anyone want to post a link to the inevitable article about 2,000 people being laid off because of "piracy?"

Sony, BMG to Lay Off 2,000 Staffers -Sources
Reuters - 4 hours ago

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - About 2,000 staffers worldwide will be let go as a result of the upcoming merger between recording industry giants Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), sources said.

Bertelmann's BMG Music Unit Posts Record Earnings, Spiegel Says (Bloomberg)

Eurioean Union to make Sony and BMG merger decision (The Scotsman)

EUbusiness - The Age - Undercover Music News - Investor's Business Daily (subscription) - and 16 related

User Journal

Journal Journal: News for nerds?

Whenever a story gets posted that doesn't fall within some troll's definition of "news for nerds," we see comments saying "hey Taco why are you posting this shit, that's not news for nerds."

Anyway, I just looked at the Hall of Fame, and 8 of the 10 most active stories have nothing to do with news for nerds. It's mostly politics and war. So apparently, most people don't share the trolls' concerns about Slashdot posting stories it supposedly shouldn't.

Oh, and feel free to post offtopic comments here. I don't care.

United States

Journal Journal: Presidential IQ Poll

User Journal

Journal Journal: Scary.

Update: Winner.

Londoner bets all on Vegas roulette
Thu 8 April, 2004 15:41

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man from London who has sold all his possessions, including his clothes, will stand in a rented tuxedo on Sunday and bet everything on a single spin of the roulette wheel.

If he wins, he doubles his money. If he loses, he will be left with only the television crew documenting his every move.

Ashley Revell, 32, said he was worth about 75,000 pounds after he sold everything in March.

"I thought I was worth at least 100,000 pounds," he said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas, where he is putting in a week gambling about $3,000 (2,077 pounds) in a bid to raise his pot.

By Wednesday, he was down $1,000.

Revell said he had planned to have a friend videotape his bet-it-all spin, but Sky One television decided it was worth a short reality series, called "Double or Nothing."

Sky will not pay him, he says, but a crew has followed his preparation and will cover the spin live on Sunday at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas. It also plans to follow him for a month afterward, win or lose.

Revell, recently a professional gambler, said he decided to take a big plunge while he was still young and raised the stakes as high as possible, including selling his clothes.

"I like to do things properly," he said.

He had not decided yet whether to place his money or red or black on Sunday afternoon.

"I don't know man," he said. "One of them is going to be the right thing to say and one is going to be the wrong thing."

He added that if he won he would probably take his winnings rather than spin again.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Biased Republican survey

I just got a "survey" in the mail from the Republican Party (actually someone calling themselves the "National Republican Senatorial Committee"), asking me questions about how "President" Bush is doing and what I think about certain issues. They say I represent all the Republicans in my "voting district" (whatever they mean by that) so what the hell, I'll answer the questions and send it back to them. It's funny they sent me the survey at all, since I'm actually a registered Democrat (but I've been a Republican in the past so maybe my name is still hanging around on their list).

The worst examples of biased questions: 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 21

The survey questions (my answers in parentheses):

Part 1 - General Questions

1. In general, are you pleased with the job President Bush is doing? (no)

2. What issues are most important for the Republican Party to focus on during the upcoming 2004 campaigns? [list of topics given; possible responses are very important, somewhat important, or not important]

Economy (very)
War on Terrorism (very)
Education (somewhat)
Healthcare (somewhat)
Abortion (not)
AIDS (somewhat)
Other [what should I put here? Suggestions?]

[Unfortunately, the Republicans aren't likely to focus on these issues the way I would want them to... so maybe I should have said "not important" to everything?]

3. For additional comments about this part, check here and write comments in the space provided at the end. (none)

Part 2 - Economic Agenda

4. Do you agree with the liberal Democrats who have called for more taxes? (yes)

5. How important is a balanced budget? (very)

6. Should the Republican Party push for additional tax cuts to further stimulate the economy (no, we've had enough "stimulus," see also #5)

7. Do you agree with President Bush's plan to eliminate the double taxation of dividends? (no)

8. Which of the following is the most important priority: creating more jobs/cutting taxes/balancing the budget/growing the economy so the stock market rises

Part 3 - Retirement Security

9. Do you favor a plan that will protect Social Security for those who are on it or about to go on it, but will allow younger Americans to invest part of their Social Security dollars? (no, you brought this up in the 2000 campaign and it was a bad idea then, though it sounds good, sort of. Also you're assuming it will do what you say it will do)

10. Do you favor adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare? (no... I assume they're asking about the bill that just passed)

Part 4 - Homeland Security and Foreign Policy

11. Do you believe our nation is too dependent on foreign oil? (yes)

12. Are you concerned about the growing numbers of illegal aliens coming across our borders each month? (no, I don't even think about it much)

12a. Do you believe we should put armed troops on our borders? (no)

13. Do you support President Bush's initiative to promote the safety and security of all Americans? (I wrote "VAGUE" on the survey instead of giving a yes/no answer. I have no idea what the hell, exactly, they're asking about)

14. Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million children have the AIDS virus. Do you support President Bush's plan to provide $15 billion in emergency relief to turn the tide on the global effort to combat HIV/AIDS? (yes, but it's still a biased question. They're obviously fishing for a "yes" answer)

15. Should the United States provide more humanitarian aid to foreign countries? (yes)

Part 5 - Family Agenda

16. Do you believe that every American should have access to quality healthcare? (yes. What the hell is the point of this question? But then, they are surveying Republicans...)

17. Do you agree that teaching children to read and increasing literacy rates should be a national priority? (yes. I hope they don't think more standardized testing is the way to do this, though)

18. Should the federal government provide day care for children under age 5? (no)

19. Do you support a school choice plan that would allow parents to decide which school their child attends? (yes. ok, so I support vouchers. I don't have to disagree with the Republicans on everything)

20. Do you support President Bush's faith-based initiative that would increase the tax benefits for donating to religious or community charities? (no)

Part 6 - Social Issues

21. Should the courts enforce the ban on partial-birth abortion? (no. Why not ask me if it should be banned in the first place? Oh, of course. You get more "yes" answers asking it this way)

22. Should the United States ban human cloning? (no. Actually I'm not so sure, but I don't want to lend support to poorly thought out stem cell research bans by saying "yes")

23. Should the Republican Party continue to fight for individual's Second Amendment rights? (yes. I agreed with them again. Sorry)

Part 7 - Campaign 2003-2004

24. Do you agree that defending our Republican Majority in the U.S. Senate is crucial to America's future? (no)

25. Do you believe that building the Republican Party at the local grassroots level is key to defending our Senate Majority? (no. Actually I had to think about this one a while... and I remembered that it's corporate contributions and $2000 a plate dinners that are crucial to Republican success, not "grass roots" anything. So I put "no")

26. Will you support the NRSC efforts to defend our Republican Senate Majority and build a foundation of grassroots support for President Bush's agenda for a stronger, safer, and more prosperous America? (no. It's pretty obvious they're trying to get me ready to open my checkbook. I don't think it's going to happen)

27. Will you help build a strong foundation of Republican grassroots support for President Bush's agenda by making a generous contribution to the NRSC today? (no)

The next page is a form where they try to get you to give them money. Check out the last option they offer:

[] No. I do not wish to participate in the Survey, nor do I wish to make a donation to help the Republican Party. I am returning my Survey Document, along with a contribution of $11 to help cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing my Survey.

What the hell??? $11 is "no donation?" Maybe to some corporate CEO, $11 seems like nothing, but here in the real world 11 != 0.

If you have read this, please send "no money" to my Paypal account. Thanks.

On second thought, send "no money" to your favorite Democratic candidate. I will too.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 500 Internal Server Error

Slashdot has been running this story a lot lately, but they never have comments enabled for it. I'm going to try to fix that. If you have a comment about this story, post it here. No trolls please.

Also, I never see a summary for this story - there's just the headline. I hope this isn't a trend.


Christmas Cheer


So we have another early Christmas present in the MLB playoffs, this time from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees. Ok. Let's say you're managing a major league baseball team. It's the 8th inning. Your starting pitcher has pitched a good game, but he's in trouble now, having allowed 6 of the last 8 batters to get base hits. Do you...

(a) Call the bullpen and send in a reliever, or
(b) Leave your starting pitcher in the game so the other team can get 3 more runs?

It would seem (a) is the obvious choice... but the Red Sox went with (b), and let the damn Yankees tie the game. And just like the play I wrote about in my last journal, it happened with 1 out in the 8th inning, with the Red Sox being 5 outs away from the World Series.

I'm telling you, these teams are cursed. The Curse of the Goat is for real. The Curse of the Gambino is just as real.

Update: Yeah, they blew it. 6-5 Yankees in 11. Congratulations to Pedro Martinez for pitching 7 solid innings. Goatse to the Red Sox manager for leaving him in longer than that.

Christmas Cheer

Journal Journal: YOU FUCKING IDIOT

Who's the fucking idiot that got in the way of that fly ball in the top of the 8th inning in game 6? Christmas came early for the Red Sox tonight. He's lucky he got out of Wrigley Field alive. The Cubs must be cursed or something.

United States

Journal Journal: Shall ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER be recalled (removed) from th...

You heard it here first - when Californians go to the polls on March 2, 2004 to vote in the Presidential primary, there will be a little something else on the ballot:

Shall ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?


The candidates to succeed (replace) Arnold Schwarzenegger if he is recalled (removed) are listed on this page and the following 6 pages

GRAY DAVIS      Democrat     Unemployed
GEORGY RUSSELL  Democrat     Software Engineer
GOATSE MAN      Independent  Ass Contortionist
ROB MALDA       Republican   Troll Minimization Specialist
MARY CAREY      Independent  Pr0n star
TROLL KORE      Republican   Slashdot Troll
(next 130 names omitted)
COWBOY NEAL     Independent  Obligatory option

It takes nothing to round up 1m signatures in this state, and a lot of people are pissed at Arnold.  For the record, I will NOT be signing the recall petition when it starts circulating (I did sign the recall Davis petition though).

Journal Journal: California - The circus is in town

I'm voting Yes on the recall and Yes for Peter Camejo. Gray Davis needs to go. I'm not particularly impressed with Arnold (Riordan would have been a better choice) so I'm voting for Camejo because he's saying things that no one else has the courage to say - such as (gasp) Prop 13 isn't exactly perfect in every way.

Feel free to discuss among yourselves.

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The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford