Archive for September, 2004

Once again, political asshattery rears its ugly and sometimes amusing head. This time, the Kerry campaign is whining about the televised debates that are only a few hours away:

Advisers for the Democratic presidential candidate demanded Thursday that the lights signaling when a speaker’s time has expired during debates with President Bush be removed from the lecterns because they are distracting. The commission hosting the debates refused.

Kerry is well known for his rambling there-should-have-been-a-period-in-that-sentence-a-long-time-ago answers to questions. This sort of elitist whining really grates on my nerves. Is Kerry too good to follow the rules like everyone else? Is he afraid of people seeing that he can’t constrain his answers to the limited time allowed him? Is he really that easily distracted? I don’t think I want a President who is easily distracted by pretty shiny things.

As for following the rules:

Kerry’s team threatened to remove the lights when they visit the debate site with the candidate later in the day. . .”We’ll do what we have to,” Kerry strategist Tad Devine said after his meeting with the commission.

I refer the reader to my post a while back regarding the apparent newfound tendency of people on the left side of the political spectrum to violate rules when they can’t get them changed. I think this sort of behavior is the result of people with a sense of entitlement and superiority (“rules are for other people”) coming up against resistance from others about getting their own way.

One might notice the connection between this attitude and that of a 2-year-old child who is denied a demand for a candy bar in the grocery store and who proceeds to grab it anyway and refuse to give it up. Loud screaming and tantrums usually accompany it.

Hey, Kerry. You and Bush agreed to the terms of this debate a long time ago. Why did you wait until the last minute to throw a hissie about something? Did you think the debate commission would fix it just for you, to avoid causing a scene? Guess what? You speak at our pleasure. Many of us won’t even be watching you on TV. Politicians serve at the whim of the people. We owe you nothing, and we do not have to tolerate your childish antics.

Bill Hobbs has created an archive of incidents concerning voter fraud or attempted voter fraud. He invites people to submit links to articles and blog entries concerning any such occurrances around the country. A permanent link will be posted in the right hand column here for future reference. If you have any stories, go over there and check it out.

A very simple and elegant way of folding a T-shirt.

T-Shirt Folding

Try it a few times and you’ll get an idea where to grab to start.

Ever wonder what happens when people talk on the phone and drive at the same time? About a year and a half ago, my car was totalled as a result of someone doing exactly that. I wasn’t even the car he hit. There was a Toyota Avalon between me and him, and I was pushed forward into a van. The three of us were all stopped, and the guy in the Jeep was on the phone. I estimate he struck the Avalon going about 60mph.

By a strange coincidence, my co-worker Holly knew the guy. She used to work with him at another company. She informs me that he was always on the phone and had wrecked several cars. When I walked back to see if he was okay, he was still on the phone. I thought he was calling 911 but later found out he was just ending the call he had been on when he hit us. If I had realized that at the time, I would have grabbed that phone out of his hand and chucked it into the 101 traffic.

The cost to repair my car was $7,000. The car was only worth $7,500, so it was a write-off and is probably driving around somewhere with a salvage title.

So don’t talk on the phone and drive at the same time. Hang up the goddamn phone and keep your hands on the wheel and your attention on the road. Don’t make me kick your ass.

Here’s the Toyota Avalon that took the brunt of the damage. You can see that the rear has a big, square, Jeep-shaped indentation. The front corner is where the Avalon struck my car. The Jeep in question is on the left side of the first pic below. I didn’t bother taking pictures of its damage.

A little over a week ago, I posted here about how a Bic pen can be used to open certain models of Kryptonite bike locks, and other locks that have a tubular lock design.

As it turns out, this type of tubular lock is used on a wide variety of products, including vending machines and gun safes. Concerned that his children might be able to get into his locked gun cabinet, one man decided to test a Bic pen on it:

“I used three different kinds of pens,” he said. “I need to be thorough. I’ve got three kids living in my house.”

After doing a little research on the Internet and reading about the flaw in the Kryptonite locks, the man went to a Staples store to buy a box of the Bic pens that were specifically cited as the break-in tool. He pulled the ink cartridge out of a pen and widened one end of the barrel slightly by scraping it with his pocket knife, just like a Web site instructed.

“I had run home for lunch and was in a hurry,” he said. “Within 30 seconds, I was into the safe with that pen.”

The manufacturer of the gun safe in question, Stack-On Products Co., had assured the man that the safe was secure, and the company boasts about the superior locking mechanisms that their locking tool and security cabinets have. Some of those cabinets use a tubular lock of the kind that can be opened with a Bic pen.

If you own a gun safe, or any kind of locking cabinet, check to see if it has a tubular lock design. If it does, contact the manufacturer and insist on redress such as a replacement cabinet with a different lock design, or a refund. Locking cabinets are often expensive precisely because they are supposed to be secure. If they are not, you’re being ripped off at the very least. In the worst case, a child could kill himself or someone else with a gun stolen from your collection.

Lest people confuse me with a right-wing nutcase (yes, TH, JD, TC, RK, I’m talking about y’all), let me say for the record that this is just asinine. There’s a war on, and this is the most pressing business the Congress could come up with? It’s probably constitutional, but is bad policy on many levels.

This sort of manipulative social conservatism is what’s going to cost the GOP its majority position in the end. I just hope that when it happens the Democrats have recovered from their trip through the fever swamp.

Update: After thinking about this a little bit more, I have a few more semi-random thoughts.

It’s likely that one of the motivations behind this maneuver is short-term political gain in the Presidential campaign. Now that the House has passed this bill, it presumably goes to the Senate — where Kerry and Edwards will be faced with the question of what to do about it. I suspect this may be a popular idea in some of the midwestern swing states where Kerry is currently hurting; if so, voting against it would provide another issue for the Bush campaign to club him with in those parts of the country. If Kerry/Edwards votes to support the bill, they alienate more of their deep-blue supporters and look like political weather-vanes. And if they don’t show up to vote on it at all (which I think is the most likely scenario) they just look like they’re evading the issue.

A second thing to consider is that hard-right social conservatives have talked in the past about using jurisdiction-stripping to rein in the courts on other issues, particularly abortion and gay marriage. But AFAIK this particular maneuver hasn’t been tried before (at least in modern times). If it works in this case, that sets a precedent that makes jurisdiction-stripping a more powerful tool to be used against the courts on more controversial issues in the future.

On the subject of France’s proposed global tax, I offer the words of farker macman37:

“Chirac can eat a dick straight up.”

I could go into a long tirade about what a stupid idea a global tax is, that it’s impossible to enforce, and gee I suppose France wants to be in charge of collection and pocketing distributing the money. But that would require more energy than I have right now, and I dislike having to Fisk things so self-evidently idiotic.

Last week I posted this:

Kyle and I predict that soon, someone at CBS or in the Kerry Campaign will make the claim that the documents were deliberately created by the Bush side in order to make the Kerry-ites look bad when the forgery was exposed.

Today I see the DNC has issued a press release:

Washington, D.C. – In response to false Republican accusations regarding the CBS documents, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe issued this statement:

“In today’s New York Post, Roger Stone, who became associated with political ‘dirty tricks’ while working for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the CBS documents.

“Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what they know about Mr. Stone’s relationship with these forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr. Stone’s involvement? Or for that matter, others with a known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or Ralph Reed?”

Are these people for real? Did we call it or what?

CBS has kinda sorta not really admitted that the memos might have been fake and that they were duped.

CBS said Monday that Burkett did in fact mislead a CBS News producer about the documents. The network acknowledged that, based upon subsequent reporting on questions about the documents, it cannot prove they are authentic and therefore, should not have been used in its “60 Minutes” report on Sept. 8.

Notice how CBS has fingered Bill Burkett (who was the leading suspect) as the one to blame in all of this. The network, and Dan Rather, admit no culpability at all. In fact, Rather “interviewed” Burkett and “reported” his conclusion that Burkett had duped them all.

Duped, my ass. I’ll let a farker (skylabdown) speak for me again:

I love how CBS claims to be the innocent party. Nevermind they practically broke the land speed record getting this story out on the airwaves without checking it completely.

So this is CBS’ angle, is it? Make Burkett (a well-known, vocal Bush-hater) the fall guy who pulled the wool down over the eyes of one of the largest media organizations in the world? How stupid do we have to be to swallow this? How stupid would CBS and Dan Rather have to be to actually fall for a ruse like that? As far as anyone can tell, they didn’t even bother to interview any of the people involved before airing the story.

The really telling aspect of all this is that I know and talk to a number of people in real life and online who usually rush to defend (or at least suggest plausible deniability) the liberals in situations like this.

Those people have all gone silent. All I hear is crickets. No one is willing to defend CBS or Dan Rather, because these memos are such obvious, pathetic, clumsy forgeries. And the network will not come clean about it. Dan Rather still has his job and the network is protecting him. This is disgusting and even the most gullible and stalwart of their defenders are nauseated by the stench of it.

Perhaps CBS believes it has weathered the storm. Time will pass, and the kerfuffle will die down. But CBS’ reputation has been destroyed, and they will eventually come to understand that they have no crediblity any longer. There have been rumblings that shareholders might actually sue the network for malfeasance. I certainly would in their position.

I think Rathergate is a good opportunity to add another new word to the English language, following in the footsteps of “fisking” and “dowdification”. I suggest the following:

rath·er    verb: to assert the truth of an obvious falsehood in flagrant defiance of observable fact.

Example usage: “Oh, ignore him. He’s rathering again.”