Bill Maher's Dickheads of the Year

This is brilliant:

My picks for the biggest assholes of 2007 by Bill Maher

A few highlights:

#5 Sen. David Vitter

Caught dead to rights as a customer of the D.C. Madam, and explained it away by saying, “Several years ago I received forgiveness from God in confession.” Oh, well, all righty then, it’s all good, then you’re obviously not a disgusting, horrible hypocrite who runs on family values and then fucks whores at home and in Washington.

#10 Alberto Gonzales

At the Bush White House, a constitutional crisis is when somebody actually reads the Constitution. Gonzales…told Congress, I can’t recall who put together the list of which attorneys to fire. But I stand by the decision to fire everyone on the list. Which I never read. Also, nothing improper occurred. And I know, because I can’t recall.

#13 Rudy Giuliani

A phenomenon I still don’t understand. Rudy says if a Democrat is elected in 2008, we’ll be at risk of another 9/11, because . . . he was mayor of New York when they attacked the World Trade Center the first time? His slogan should be “Not on my watch . . . again…

Bill Maher's Dickheads of the Year

Violence creates — does not solve — problems

Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

I hope the fucking retards that killed this woman find their lives in ruins. If you can’t win without violence, you can’t win. People that choose violence deserve the hell they create.

It makes one reflect — with all the bitterness in US politics, at least we tend to keep violence out of it.

One must also reflect — it is deeply unfair that Bush does not live in the hell he created in Iraq.

Violence creates — does not solve — problems

Saved by the sun

There was a time when whales were the only major source of oil in the world. A huge, expensive and dangerous industry developed to chase whales around the world and slaughter them for the oil in their blubber. At that time, it seemed like there was a shortage of whales. There were concerns about how the economy could grow without finding more whales.

This same situation is occurring today, but instead of whales it is fossil fuels. We are utterly fixated on oil as the major source of energy on earth. We are just like those people in early America wondering if we were going to have to go to war over whales. George W. Bush and the neocons have successful spent more than $479,769,782,781 dollars chasing whales in the Middle East.

According to a new article in Scientific American “the energy in sunlight striking the earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to global energy consumption for a year.” Read that again. There is no energy shortage on earth.

The article outlines a plan for the USA to be powered solely by solar energy by 2050. The government investment in their plan is $400 billion, a number eerily similar to the cost of the Iraq war. In just a few years, nation-building in  Iraq has cost as much as a 40-year plan to get the USA completely energy independent.

Anybody serious about national security has to be serious about energy independence. Our priorities are completely screwed up. We should stop helping oil companies and start investing in renewable energy. The most expensive energy on earth is the energy we need to send our military to protect.

Now, just after the Winter Solstice, when the sun is coming back to us northerners, it is a perfect time to remind you: there is only one long-term solution to our energy problems. The sun.

Saved by the sun

Blog refresh

I have updated my instance of Movable Type, updated the theme a bit and changed the comment policies a bit. It should be easier to comment now. I’ve even turned on anonymous commenting but that will probably go away unless the anti-spam measures are really good.

The location of the feed XML file has changed. I’ve put in a redirect so that readers with the old location should still work. The change has also rendered useless my old permalinks, so links from Google may go to old and screwy looking pages. I am going to work on smoothing that out.

Anyway, let me know if you have any problems.

Blog refresh

Be Kinder

I totally don’t believe in the concept of New Year’s resolutions, but I have been kicking around something New Year’s resolutionist lately. But first a little background. Email and online discussions are an interesting venue for human beings because we are alone physically but not alone when it comes to the discussion itself. So psychologically we are influenced by both those contexts at once: we are alone yet we are speaking, often, to a larger audience. I call this “alone together”.

An in-between example is when you are in your car. You can scream and holler if you want, sing like an idiot, vent your every frustration, and only you hear it. Alone. Yet you are not alone when you are in your car. Your actions are part of a social fabric. So you can scream at the top of your lungs at that mother fucker who cut you off, but you are doing so knowing they can’t hear you. You would never say those things directly to them in person.

Something similar occurs online. This has been often noted. People say things online they would never say in person. They say things in manners that they would never use in person. We are, in a sense, different people when we are online. The other side does this, too. The recipient of our communications interpret what they read with an overlay of what they perceive and invent, basically, in terms of the tone and attitude of the message.

I have been a major participant in this. I have written emails I shouldn’t have, posted messages I shouldn’t have, used the wrong tone, provoked, condescended to and antagonized.

This is my news years resolution. I am a fairly nice person in person. I am generally very diplomatic. I abhor negativity and for the most part avoid conflict. I look for win-win situations and try to get people on the same side of the table.

So it’s a weird thing, to a) “misspeak” online and b) to have innocent things over-interpreted in terms of tone, always, it seems, to the negative. Taken together, I can be a bit of an asshole online.

When I think about this, on the one hand, I don’t mind rustling feathers. I like giving people shit. I like debating and I don’t mind if it gets rough. But I do think it is important that the general vibe of conversations be respectful. With intellectual debate, the point is not that it be a punching match. Ideas have to be the focus.

I heard on the radio that Aldous Huxley was asked on his death bed if he had anything to say to the world and he said “Be kinder.” That sounds like good advice to me and I am going to try to put it into practice.

The other quote I am going to attempt to take to heart is from Serenity.

I should tell you, so that you don’t waste your time… you can’t make me angry.

Be Kinder

A culture of low expectations

I am yet again noting how shitty Windows software is. I’m running Vista on my gaming machine. First of all, let me say that Vista is not nearly as bad as I hear everyone saying it is. I have had some problems but I do not look back on XP as some dream come true. XP was barely adequate and Vista is barely adequate. No big paradigm shift there.

But I am constantly disappointed not just by Microsoft’s software but by almost all software written for Windows. They try to make the software “easy” in totally the wrong way. They hide useful information, they don’t give you options, they infrequently use tool tips. They sort of assume you are dumb and they manage to alienate both the dumb people and the smart people.

Steve Jobs said, if this was just about money Microsoft would make great software. It is confusing to me that Apple can make such great software and inspire such great software and Microsoft manages to inspire a lot of very poorly conceived, poorly executed and hard-to-use software. Some people will claim this is because there is so much more software for Windows, so there is going to more bad software as a result.

I don’t buy it. My latest complaint of shit-ass software was written by Intel. It’s horrible software. It is software to configure and managed RAID. It has told me there is an error on one of my disks. It hasn’t told me what the error is! It has no help for me to repair the error. It’s only advice is I should back up my data. There are no tool tips and the help is incomplete and sucky. It is supposedly logging events somewhere but they are nowhere within the Event Viewer. There are no other logs I can find. Apparently you need to be a Microsoft Certified Retard in order to diagnose this goddamn problem. I know RAID inside and out. I have run Windows for a decade and computers for 3 decades. It is an absolute failure of leadership by Microsoft and Intel that they let shitty software like this into the marketplace.

And yet Windows Weenies will defend this backwards-ass hegemony with all their lives. They love the mediocrity. They love the unintuitive nature of things, the constant annoying little popups, the DLL conflict hell. They love the shit ton of crappy software they can run on their crappy OS and feel they are on the “business” operating system.

This is why Apple is gaining market share and market capitalization. From the very top down, Apple manages quality. Microsoft, from the top down, clearly does not understand their users or the marketplace. The only reason they are surviving at this point is because of Office and because so many business users think they are required to use this inadequate shit.

The only company that is really competing with Apple right now is Google. Microsoft is falling.

A culture of low expectations

Am I a Democrat or a moron?

I heard a woman on MPR who called in about Mitt Romney and she said “I’m a Democrat and I’m a Mormon so I don’t know what I’m going to do — I’m torn!’

Torn between being a Democrat and a moron? By that I do not mean that non-Democrats are morons, I mean that people who make political decisions based on religious affiliations are morons.

Now hold on, moron is a strong word and many people feel that someone’s religious affiliations may indeed be evidence of their character and of shared values. My question to them is: how is that character demonstrated in real life in a political context? Answer: by their views on issues. What are political parties? People who have similar views on issues.

She is choosing between someone who represents her political views and someone who shares her religious views in a political race. That’s like choosing a piano player based on their hockey skills. We’re not electing clergy. The role of the President is not in any way religious. Foreign policy and domestic economics are not issues which rely on a particular religious view. They are hard and in many ways boring aspects of our government. The “moral” leadership of Bush has been a disaster and the last thing we need is people choosing elected officials based on completely irrelevant criteria.

Am I a Democrat or a moron?

Mitt's Nuts

Freedom requires religion — Mitt Romney, 12/06/07

And thus should Romney be excluded from consideration for the office of the President of the United States.

Not to mention Mormonism is completely batshit crazy and you have to divorce yourself from reality to believe in any of it.

Mitt's Nuts