Monday, June 30, 2003

Bloody job market.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Remember when Bill Frist was going to be the uniting factor in the Senate, a centrist who would smooth over the rifts left by Trent Lott? The guy just announced his support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Man, this guy's got his priorities straight. We haven't found Osama or Saddam, the world hates us, the unemployment numbers balloon every day, the government is hemorrhaging cash faster than Enron, whose high officers are incidentally still free men - but Bill Frist has the courage to ignore these trivialities and protect the American people from what truly threatens their lives, liberty and happiness: the possibility that any two American guys, if they wanted to, could get married and spend the rest of their lives in a stable, loving relationship! Because if we don't ban this now, God will smite us! Jerry Falwell told me so!

I am disgusted on so many levels. First, as an American and a taxpayer, this is a complete waste of government time and money. There are REAL problems to deal with. Every minute they spend on this garbage is a minute the nation spirals further out of control. Second, as someone with a religious/philosophical bent, seeking a ban on gay marriage is morally wrong and totally unjustified. It's the Christian right that's pushing this, right? Last time I checked, the Christian God was a God of tolerance and forgiveness. Jesus taught about turning the other cheek, loving your enemy, and casting stones at no one. But some people insist on twisting and perverting such sacred truths into the cesspool that is so much of our organized religion, teaching us to hate and kill and persecute. I see absolutely no difference - NONE - between the cult of Jerry Falwell and the mullahs of the Taliban. There is NO doubt in my mind that the Christian far right would take any measure in their power to put down those groups they vilify. If there is a God involved here, we must thank him for keeping the halls of power safely out of their hands, for the damage they would wreak is unimaginable. Third, as a student of the constitution, this proposed amendment is an inane corollary to the most revered document in the nation. Look at the constitution. It says you have freedom of speech, that the powers not expressly given to the national government are reserved for the states, that the law must apply equally to all - and oh yeah, let's add one that says gays can't get married. Is anybody else seeing this? How about we add one that says you can't wear socks with sandals? Or maybe that the white zone is for loading and unloading only? The constitution is not for this kind of triviality. Furthermore, does anyone remember prohibition? Remember how well that worked? Has anyone learned anything? You don't put laws in the constitution! It's for the overriding principles of the nation. It’s the check on the government. That's it. The Constitution of the United States is not the playground of the majority du jour.

Now, frankly, I don't even care about gay marriage. It's a free country, man. Live and let live. You're not hurting me, you go marry whoever you want. Actually, I have a thought that maybe the government ought to get out of the marriage business altogether, just issue civil union licenses with loose guidelines and leave the marriage to the experts - priests, rabbis, ministers, justices of the peace, and most importantly the people who do or don't feel that marriage is an appropriate way to seal their commitment to each other. Why on earth should the taxes paid by two people living together be dependent on their participation in a religious ceremony? Separate the romantic and practical aspects of marriage into two separate unions, and I'll bet you'd have a lot fewer loveless marriages and a lot fewer single mothers as well. But that's another story. As long as marriage remains under the purview of the government, I don't want to hear another word out of some self-righteous politico's mouth about his promotion of "traditional values." Join the ministry, bub. Your proselytization has no place in the government. None.
I added a new section to the links, "Clicks for Charity". These sites have sponsors that will donate to certain charities for each person who clicks on a button, once per person per day. The pages are heavily laden with sponsors ads, but you don't have to sign up for anything, and it's a one click process. Maybe they don't actually do anything, but it can't hurt...

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Interesting the way the MoveOn primary turned out. I decided not to vote in it - I just don't have enough information yet. I'm going to give them some more time to talk to me before I make my decision. I'm happy that Dean came out on top, he's tentatively my favorite. The Kucinich vote is disturbing. He's a rabid ideologue, not someone I would want running my country, and it's disappointing to see that so much of the progressive base supports him. He's similar to Nader in a lot of ways, except that Nader had the decency to take his extremism to a third party, instead of embarrassing the Democrats with it. On the other hand, had Nader run on the Democratic ticket instead of Green, he would have been eliminated in the primaries, and his votes would have gone to Gore. That's just a side note, though. I was glad to see that on the question of which candidates the voters would be willing to "enthusiastically support", Kerry came out well ahead of Kucinich. What this says to me is that Kucinich has his rooting section, but little support outside of it. Makes me more confident that the far left hasn't taken over control of the party.

Of the people who are running, here are my opinions. I have no idea why Carol Mosely Braun is even running. Al Sharpton is just Al Sharpton - I don't want to see him anywhere near a national decision. Edwards, while I don't have any reason to dislike him yet, seems like a lightweight. I'll give him some more time, but he seems unlikely. Gephardt is 20 years ago. Go away. I have to respect Bob Graham for voting against the Iraq resolution, but, like Edwards, he seems a little short of Presidential caliber. Lieberman is a republicrat. I can't stand him, between his crowing over the war du jour and his obnoxious moralizing. Electable wing my foot, you don't get elected by being slightly less to the right than your opponent. Conversely, Dennis Kucinich is "slightly to the left of Karl Marx and Bertolt Brecht", to quote a Wally Pleasant song. I'm a progressive, not a communist. That just leaves Dean and Kerry. Kerry's Vietnam references have just turned into bragging, and I'm getting sick of it. Also, he voted for the Iraq resolution, which is close to inexcusable. However, I am 100% behind his energy policy, and he seems like a level headed enough guy. Dean and Kerry are quite similar in many, many ways. I prefer Dean because of his anti-war stance, and his medical program seems logical. But we'll see what he says in the coming months. I need to learn about them in much more detail before I can make an informed decision.

Regarding the MoveOn primary again, it really does seem bizarre to me that they only gave 3 candidates the right to send out letters to MoveOn's members. It makes sense what they said, that as a liberal organization they have the right to lean toward liberal candidates, but this is way to early to be deciding who to support. They should have let everyone's message go out, and let their member base decide who to support. To an extent, it does seem that they were throwing to the election to Dean, a decision that I can't fathom.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Now here's a good point someone brought up regarding Ralph Nader. The guy's platform is the government is in bed with big business, no one's looking out for the little guy, et cetera et cetera. So here's the question: if he's so concerned, where in blue blazes has Ralph Nader been since the 2000 election? Anybody who meant what he said would keep fighting for it whether or not he was president. If Ralph Nader runs again in 2004, I hope the people who voted for him last time will make a note of the fact that he completely abandoned his constituency and his stated principles during the non-campaign season. Fighting for the little guy, my left foot. Ralph Nader's fighting for the greater glory of Ralph Nader.

OK, now I'll leave it open that maybe there's something I'm completely missing here. Maybe there's something he's been doing this whole time that I'm not aware of. Maybe there's an entire dynamic at work here that totally eludes me. But if nothing else, I can say that the reputation he's creating for himself is abysmal, and for someone involved in politics, that's as bad, if not worse, than wrongdoing. Go home Ralph. Your place is on Main Street, not Pennsylvania Avenue.
OK, now I've got a new counter, from Bravenet. These guys have been around for a while and have well known commercial services, so there's a minimal chance of sudden implosion, unlike my old counter, from now seemingly defunct service Servustats. Servustats did give me excellent statistics, but it looks like Bravenet does too, although possibly a bit inaccurate (it listed my own hit as a machine with "Unknown" resolution running Netscape 5, while Servustats correctly identified it as Netscape 6 at 1440x900). Not that it really matters, all I really need to know is if I'm suddenly getting some huge influx of hits and where from.

One thing I noticed about both Servustats and Bravenet's statistics - They'll tell you exactly what version of Windows a visitor runs (95, 98, ME, XP, NT, 2000, etc), but there's just one category for Macintosh. There's a lot bigger difference between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X than between Windows 98 and Windows ME! Oh well. Another non-issue, really.
I decided to add The Onion in the News section instead of Fun. Hey, it's as legitimate as FOX, and they get to be "news" in most circles.
OK, it looks like this new format is working. I can post fine, and the archives even showed up again. I just had to wrestle with it for a while...
My Counter service seems to have ceased to exist as well. Oh well. And I'll tell you what, it was a lot easier to find free remotely-hosted counters back in the bubble. It was a lot easier to find all kinds of doohickeys back in the bubble.
So, this blog is now using Blogger's new technology. Had me down for a while while they moved it over. We'll see if the archives finally show up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

When they signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, I don't think their intention was to replace this guy with this guy.

Note that the first guy's photo does not strikingly resemble a lower primate, as is so clearly illustrated in the second.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Old Nintendo games are fun... you don't even need an old Nintendo.
Well, I finally went and did something I've been thinking about for a long time. Against the advice of at least one family member ("you're young, and there's plenty of time to give your money away later"), I joined the ACLU. It's a cause worth fighting for; it's certainly a cause worth $20. Civil Liberties are really the central struggle. If the government becomes unaccountable to the people, than any other issue - the environment, gun rights/control, health care, you name it - becomes moot, because the government is going to do whatever the hell it wants, and damn the consequences. So, the ACLU is the first organization that gets my money. The fact is, I'm not poor. I figure if I have $30 to buy Master of Orion 3 (which I expect to be a very enjoyable game), then I've got $20 to put toward something worthwhile. Hopefully I'll have the willpower to keep giving to organizations like this. Heck, if the Mormons can donate 10% of all income to the church and come out all right, then I ought to be able to make some regular donations of my own.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Have you written your congressman lately?
It's funny the way words get used. I'm thinking about the words "terrorism" and "terrorist" right now. If you watch the news or listen to any politican, or really anyone who's trying to make a point about anything, you'll notice that anybody that does anything that anyone else disapproves of is a "terrorist". Absolutely everything bad is linked to "terrorism". But really, that's nothing new. Go back a while, and it was "communism" and "communist". Before that, it was "anarchist". Heck, go back far enough, say to the late 1700s, and "democrat" was an epithet flung around by the politicos to describe people whose politics they didn't like. Do I have a point? No, not really. It's convenient to have a central bogeyman to blame everything on. Politicians have used the strategy since time immemorial. I really would expect better from the news media, however. They're getting paid to tell us the objective, unbiased truth. It's a deriliction of duty for them to parrot the junk coming out of the talk shows and the government. Another reason why I don't watch TV news much anymore. They're easily the worst. At least when I read it online, I can skip past the empty parts.