Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I read somewhere that a picture was worth ten thousand words (Confucius)
.......here's a screencap from the MSNBC.com front page, a short while ago:

Click to enlarge, please. (Someday I'll figure out how to post hi-res, clear, big pics. But not this week, 'cos I'm swamped.)

No further comment necessary, methinks....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary sets new limbo-dancing record

How low can she go?

Well, I guess if you are slime and you can ooze, you can go flat-out low. I am so damn pissed right now.

This is what she is reported to have said today:

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."


Of course the 'apology' followed, but it is meaningless.

In the aftermath of Huckabee's stupid 'joke', in the wake of the devastating news regarding Ted Kennedy's health, if she didn't know that bringing up 'assassination' and 'Bobby Kennedy' is at best in horrible taste and evidences extremely poor judgment, she doesn't have either the diplomatic wherewithal, or common sense, or conscience, or maybe all three, to be president.

Dammit, I expected SO MUCH BETTER FROM HER.

Did I mention how pissed I am right now? Son of a motherless goat. What is freaking wrong with her?


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sic transit gloria Clintoni


So I was sitting on the bed in a hotel room, yesterday, in my old stomping grounds of Pittsburgh, trying not to contemplate what I’d find if I, in a Venter-ish burst of entrepreneurship, isolated DNA from random swatches of fabric from the sheets and pillowcases and sent them to 454 for a ultra-broad sequencing run [I guess an ultra-deep run for certain loci would be fun too, as this is geographical area has large numbers of “hard working white Americans that vote for Hillary Clinton (though mainly for Republicans come November)] and given the increasing and publicly available data on a variety of genomes (of Neandertals, for instance) who knows what manner of phylogenetic trees we might build with hotel-room-sheet DNA from the Pennsyltucky-West Verginny area? But I digress---I was trying NOT to think of these things as I had to sleep on said bed using said pillows and in order to cause sufficient cessation of cranial activity to accelerate my passage into the 8 hours of oblivion, I started channel-cruising on the TeeVee.

Of course, almost immediately I ran into some news station playing a clip of Hillary Clinton’s speech somewhere in Kentucky where she (this is not verbatim but accurately conveys the essence of what she said) claimed that if one tallied up the electoral votes in all the states she had won then she’d have like 300 electoral votes but Obama would have only 217 in the ones he has won. So, she claims, she can win the bigger states and she can win the general election (while Obama cannot) and therefore she is the stronger nominee. Now, we have heard variations of this before; for instance, when Bill asserted a while ago that if we followed Republican Party rules of winner-take-all, Hillary would already have sewn up the nomination.

Firstly, just because Hillary won the NY and California democratic primaries, it doesn’t mean Obama will not win those states in the general election in November; indeed, especially this year, the Democratic nominee is almost guaranteed to win them in November (and I’d further submit that if Obama has significant trouble doing so it will be chiefly due to Hillary’s poisoning of her voting bloc). Also, even if Hillary won the Ohio, Texas and (say) Florida primaries, there is absolutely no guarantee that she will be able to win these states in a general election in November. So, although I can see how her absurd argument will appeal to, and fly with, the addled and biased minds of her voting bloc, Hillary really needs to quit with the non sequiturs. She’s looking silly.

Secondly, we cannot change the rules midstream. Hillary knew (or should have known) the game from the beginning. We are not playing winner-take-all. We are not playing by Republican Party rules. Just because she was over-confident/callous/incompetent then, doesn’t mean she can spin the rules now. The fact remains that Obama, a relative newcomer and serious underdog a few months ago, did a good job of familiarizing himself with the rules of the game and put into motion a pretty fucking good plan to win based on the rules of the Democratic Party nomination process. He beat Hillary at what was supposed to be her strength---political strategizing savvy born from experience. If only for this fact, Obama deserves the Democratic nomination.

Anyway, then I also came across something else that she and her campaign are touting recently---that she is leading the popular vote if one counted Florida and Michigan. This is also on her website, and it cites ABC news as the source.

I have a couple of problems with this claim:

1) You cannot count the votes in Florida and Michigan. They broke the rules, the Party stripped them of the delegates, and the elections there were effectively null and void before they were even held. End of story.

2a) And just because I couldn’t resist, I had to go look at the numbers. And here are the popular vote tallies if one counted Florida and Michigan, using Clinton’s source, ABCNews:

Clinton 16,691,639

Obama 16,648,060

So, according to this source, Clinton is ahead by 43, 579 votes. (As an aside, the state by state voting numbers are different, albeit slightly, on MSNBC.com than on the ABC site--- but since 43579 works out to be 0.13% of the total Clinton+Obama votes I wonder whether it clears any site-to-site error margins. I need to find certified vote tallies. But anyway, that’s an aside, as the more important point follows).

2b) These totals were arrived at by assigning Obama ZERO votes in Michigan. If you recall, Obama (along with Edwards and Richardson) withdrew his name from the Michigan ballot before the primary. Hillary did not. So according to ABC News, this is how the voting broke down in Michigan:

Clinton 328,309

Uncommitted 238,168

Kucinich 21,715

Dodd 3,845

Gravel 2,361

So Clinton gets to add 328,309 votes to her tally, but Obama gets bupkis. As Borat would say, Niiiice!

It is great to see Hillary argue that (the votes in FL and MI should count, as) one shouldn’t disenfranchise any voters. So what about the 238,168 who voted ‘Uncommited’ when they may have wanted to vote ‘Obama’? I guess it is OK to disenfranchise them as they didn’t vote for Hillary, right? In reality, Obama probably wins two-thirds of the ‘Uncommited’ vote if he leaves his name on the ballot---and that puts him comfortably ahead.

In any case, it is pathetic for Hillary to cling to such math. It is really dangerous for her to portray herself as being the popular vote winner and then set up an argument that the nomination may have been stolen from her---this could irreversibly alienate many of her voters from Obama. The truth is that she is about 700,000 votes short as of now, that is all. And that is because the reality is that the FL and MI primaries are meaningless --- they broke the rules, were declared void, and nobody campaigned there.

Absent of campaigning and before the process began Hillary was the shoo-in candidate, remember? Before Obama campaigned in PA he was down by 30 points; eventually he only lost by 9 points and change. He campaigned well in Indiana and lost it by less than 2 points. And so on. Clinton had way more name recognition in the early stages of this process; also Obama has shown that he wins over a ton of people when they get a chance to listen to him. I can make a pretty good argument that if normal campaigning had taken place in FL and MI, Obama could have narrowed the gap significantly in FL and might have possibly won MI.

But the point is Hillary knew the game going in; she got her shot and blew it.

The New England Patriots don’t get to do-over the SuperBowl by claiming that they had a better season record, or that Brady had a better stats day than Manning despite being repeatedly planted into the turf, or that they were leading with less than 2 minutes to go, or anything like that.

Gore doesn’t get a do-over for 2000 even though he won the popular vote.

You are given the rules before the process starts and you figure out a way to win within those parameters. If Obama has more delegates, he should be nominee. And Hillary should quit poisoning Democratic voters’ minds with racist innuendo and electoral spin.


Friday, May 16, 2008

These are our "leaders".....

First, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PArtially senile), needs some perspective adjustment. He has now boldly taken on the NFL, regarding the Spygate issue. An excerpt:

“What is necessary is an objective investigation,” Specter said at a news conference in the Capitol. “And this one has not been objective.”.......
“They are enormous role models for everybody,” Specter said. “If you can cheat in the NFL, you can cheat in college, you can cheat in high school, you can cheat on your grade-school math test. There’s no limit as to what you can do. I think they owe the public a lot more candor and a lot more credibility.”

Senator, when you start an massive investigation with those sentences after having replaced "NFL" with "The highest levels of Government", I will listen.

Another quote from the article:

I’ve been at this line of work for a long time, and no one has ever questioned my integrity...

I don't know about others but I'm not questioning your integrity, Senator, just your judgment and sense of priorities. We have had high crimes going on for 8 years and you want to grandstand on some possible misdemeanors that are irrelevant in the larger scheme of things?
Next, John McCain pulls a random number out of his ass, saying that the Iraq war will have been won by 2013. OK, so it isn't a totally random number---he did stick with the time-honored tradition of pulling out a round '5' when mentally groping for a number; 2008....hmm 5 years sounds like a reasonable period of time.....OK, well we'll have it won by 2013.....YAY!
I guess we will spend the remaining 95 years of our 'presence' in Iraq in a wild, giddly, victory celebration.
Our fearless...errrr.... feckless leader Dubi-ya takes a cowardly, indirect, shameless swipe at Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter by playing the "appeaser of the Nazis" card while speaking to the Israeli parliament.

Then he goes to Saudi Arabia and restores American Pride and Dignity by begging to the Saudis again...."Bush appeals to Saudis to ease oil prices".......YacketyYak has obtained exclusive unconfirmed transcripts of his conversation with the Saudi king....some excerpts......
"Hey, pleeease guyssss! Remember on 9/11 when we grounded all air traffic in the US but we sent out own aircraft to round up like 20-odd of the bin Laden family and let them fly out of the country before the FBI could speak with any of them, all the while fully in the knowledge that one of their own, Osama, was suspect #1 in the worst terrorist attack on US soil, remember that? Remember how we stood proud and appeased you guyz then? Come on... Pleeease guys, could you just knock off a few cents off the price of gas so we may win this upcoming election? Pretty please with sugar on top? heh heh eheh"

Speaking of which, Osama bin forgotten has released another single apparently. Does anyone want to start an inquiry (Looking at you, Arlen Specter) into why that bastard is still free while most Americans are not?


Friday, May 9, 2008

Tradition and progress


If, as part of a fraternity in college, you got drunk silly and participated in, say, the TP’ing or egging of someone’s house, or smashing mailboxes, or some other immature act, people would likely pass it off as a stupid youthful indiscretion. While it won’t be the best thing on your record, it wouldn’t look outright ludicrous either. If, however, you did the same thing when you were 50 years old, you would look pretty ridiculous and it would be safe to say that something was not quite alright in your head.

The same act is viewed differently depending on when it was committed. Things that are excused in infancy or adolescence are not accorded the same indulgence in adulthood. And correctly so, as one is expected to mature with the passage of time and one is expected to exercise better judgment with maturity.

The same should be true of the human race and the human experience as a collective, but this is, sadly, often not the case.

Last Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, a filly named Eight Belles made a strong charge, finished second, unfortunately snapped both her ankles immediately after, and had to be killed right there on the track (Does “put down” or “put to sleep” or “euthanized” make you feel better? Then by all means use those terms; but the fact is, they had to kill the horse to put it out of the misery they had put it in). Expectedly, this raised a bunch of discussion and debate, much of it over the public airwaves. Many people criticized horse-racing as barbaric. And many other people defended it as a ‘noble sport’, ‘grand tradition’ etc, and with the “They love these horses and treat them like royalty” argument----all I’ll say about this latter argument is that the folks at the FLDS church loved their children too, but nevertheless adhered to the practice of having them ‘married’ and raped as soon as they hit the teen years. People routinely exploit the ones they love, often in the name of tradition; in the immortal words of Tina Turner, “What’s love got to do with it?”

So anyway, whenever someone mentions ‘tradition’ my bullshit-meter starts working overtime because ‘tradition’ has been, far too many times over our history, a prime excuse to exploit and discriminate against women, colored people, poor people, disabled people and, really, all kinds of life forms. I know there are some traditions that are good but, for the most part, when I hear “Hey, we’ve been doing it this way for X-hundred years!!” my reflexive reaction is “That’s reason alone to stop it or change it”.

We live in great times. The variety in entertainment/recreation options is incredible and the access to them is easy. We now have video/simulation games that can get your mind racing and heart beating faster than many actual physical activities. Technology has made the world small enough that it is easier than ever to network with people and set up groups/clubs etc for all kinds of regular activity--- outdoor, indoor, you name it. Basically, between the virtual and the real worlds as they are today, one should have no problem finding entertainment and recreation options that don’t involve harming, exploiting or destroying other life-forms. But, as a species, we still love to hang on to our ‘traditions’.

Horse racing is just one example of people unwilling to let technological progress relieve them of their penchant for exploitative or destructive pursuits. Boxing is another good one. A couple of centuries ago (while it was still barbaric) I can see how it became popular---there was little else to do, and beating people--your wife, your children etc--- was not only accepted, it was encouraged!

---Hey, let’s get a couple of guys to get into this ring and beat the living shit out of each other!

---Seriously? Why? What’s the point?

---THAT’S the point, stupid! The object of the whole thing is for them to inflict physical harm upon each other till one of them literally beats the other into submission or senselessness!

---Cool. Although I’m sure that that guy will easily beat that other guy.

---Hey, wait a minute! That gives me another degenerate fucking idea…..how sure are you? How about a little wager?

So anyway, with all that we have at our disposal today, particularly the accumulated knowledge of all this time, it is freaking inexcusable to still have a ‘sport’ where the sole point and the whole point is to inflict physical harm on the participants.

And don’t even get me started on hunting. It is sad that someone should find relaxation and recreation in shooting, say, a bunch of flightless birds raised in captivity expressly for the purpose of being shot by impotent old farts that get off on killing things. It is downright pathetic when old farts who are fabulously wealthy and powerful, and have access to virtually anything this world has to offer, find relaxation in watching living things die by their actions. It is totally fucking tragic when such old farts, who are so fundamentally fucked-up in their heads, are allowed to make policy, start wars and send your children to fight them. Your ‘patriotism’ is their R&R, get it?

But I digress---the point is that even if one is not rich and powerful, today one should be able to find good entertainment options that don’t involve killing other things; one should get past deriving pleasure from seeing something die, especially by one’s hands.

The urges to exploit, harm, dominate or destroy, the primal urges of bloodlust, are all the equivalents of teenage hormonal surges of the human race when viewed within the frame of reference of time; they were never honorable pursuits, but could be rationalized in the context of an earlier, immature time. We now need to get past these infantile and adolescent ‘traditions’, to adopt progressive thinking and to mature into the responsible-adult phase of our species’ existence.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Atomic Nerds Rock!

I'm working, slowly, on a rant of my own about something or the other---hey, I've been busy for a change---but in the meanwhile, check out 'So where's my $500?', a great piece by the Atomic Nerds. Yet another great site that I don't read often enough....

Anyway the post starts with

"All right, I was going to work up a whole thing explaining how luddites were the bane of all reality, that people who cry “The sky is falling” simply because they can’t follow the math required to show why the sky is staying exactly where it has been for the last few decades are just so precious and wonderful that they should be sterilized and prevented from voting, but fuck it. I’m too tired for that shit, so I’m just going to cut to the chase.

As the folks at Gizmodo helpfuly pointed out: Hey Morons! CERN is not going to destroy the earth, morons!

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up*. I know a lot of folks have heard how size doesn’t matter. I would like to show otherwise"

And it only gets funnier and kicks more ass from there.... enjoy!


Saturday, May 3, 2008

The music meme cop-out

I was tagged by Dr.J recently with the song shuffle meme---trouble is, I don't have an iPod/digital music repository, my knowledge of music is spotty at best and my ability to catch lyrics is abyssmal. So I can't participate in any meaningful sense. Thankfully, in response to my plaintive bleating/whining, Dr. J was kind enough to let me off the hook. Nevertheless, since I do love music, I feel a bit guilty about not contributing anything.....so here are some links to songs that popped into my head this Saturday evening.....hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

First off, I love to hear them sing, BluesBoy, Tracy Chapman and Lucille.....esp when Lucille goes solo...

Then, an all-time classic---I was tempted to link the one with Stevie Ray Vaughn (and Salt n Pepa etc), but the recording is poor and too many cooks spoilt the soup in that one eventually, I thought---so let's stick with the original....

But we can't not listen to Stevie Ray either, so here goes a beautiful interlude with Stevie and his singing, crying, guitar....(Bonus: you'll catch some of his 'Superstition' in this clip)........

And for some reason, Satchmo popped into my head....so I'll leave you with the gravelly yet soothing pipes of Louis Armstrong....