Saturday, May 14, 2005
My hands are sweaty. I'm jittery. I can't concentrate on anything.
No, it's not the shakes from quitting smoking. I'm in lust.
I want a PSP!
I don't need it. I don't travel enough to make watching movies on it worthwhile. Right now the only available games I might want to play are Spider-Man 2 and Tiger Woods. And I haven't even mastered Tiger Woods PS2 game! I have an MP3 player, so I don't need to store music on a PSP. I don't need to store my photos on it, either.
I do want it. The PSP could be the future of personal electronic devices. All Sony needs to do is add phone capability and a browser so I can surf the web. wherever I go.
So, the question becomes, do I become an early adopter, and drop $300 on something I will use sparingly? Or do I wait to see if Sony cuts the price when Microsoft comes out with a similar product?
Or do I use what little self control I have, and just don't buy it?
Fortunately, I don't have the cash just now, so that makes things a bit easier.
Friday, May 13, 2005
I had an interesting chat with Discover Card recently. My payment was due on the 5th. They called on the 8th. I told the guy I would make an online payment that day. He offered to let me do it over the phone to "get me caught up." in other words, he wanted me to pay last month's bill and this month's bill. I said no thanks, I'll pay last month's this time, and in two weeks I'll pay next months. He told me that that wouldn't get me caught up. I said, "Exsqueeze me? If I pay on the 8th and on the 22nd, I will still be late when the due date of 6/5 arrives and I don't owe anything?" He said, "That's right." So I said, "So next month, on the 3rd, you'll be calling me to tell me I'm behind?" He said, "Since the billing cycle for last month has closed you've been charged a late fee, and unless you pay the full amount today, you won't be caught up." So I asked, "Then why do you send me a bill that says the payment is due on June 5 when it's really due today?"
Thursday, May 12, 2005
"Your papers. Show me your Papers!"
Well, this is it. It's over. The fat lady is singing. The lights have been turned out, because the party's over. Congress just passed the REAL ID bill.
I read about the passage on FARK, and moaned aloud. A national ID card? Ah, crap!
I have no problem with parts of the bill. It will establish national standards for obtaining a state ID. No problem there. Prove your identity to get an ID card. Seems straitforward.
But there are a couple of potential problems with the bill. Title I Section 102 of the National ID bill is titled "WAIVER OF LAWS NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF BARRIERS AT BORDERS." Section 102 part c, subsection 2 removes judicial review of any action made by the Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security to build a wall between San Diego and Mexico. A wall. In a National ID bill. How in the name of the United States of Jebus can a wall be an aspect of a National ID card?
Right now, the bill restricts this immunity to just this item. But someday, a future DHS Secretary will make a decision and use this bill as his justification. The decision will stand andwe will have elevated DHS to a position above the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch, and, by extension, the Exuctive Branch of the government. Can anyone say "secret police?"
The second problem is Section 203, allowing the linking of databases of the States and the Feds. The Federal goverment has wanted to create a database of personal information since 9/11. The two Patriot Acts couldn't get it done, so we have the REAL ID bill. You want to be scared of this? Read The Moderate Voice. He suspects that we will have to show this new machine-readable id card, with all the sensitive data--including your social security number--to cash checks, use a credit card, or any other occaission when you have to show your drivers license. This gives the people who accept them access to this data. When they collect it, they consider is saleable information. So they'll sell your purchases to advertisers, so they can target ads to what you buy. And, since not all employees are honest, someone will steal the social security numbers and credit card information and go off to the races!
And the potential for abuse doesn't end there. If county prosecuters can use the Patriot Act to close Adult book stores, imagine how they can use this.
Finally, the whole bill is not needed. "In October 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was signed into law. That law included stronger security measures for driver's licenses, the security measures recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report. That's already done. It's already law," writes Bruce Schneier. He argues that this is a power grab by the government and the first step into a "Show Me Your Papers" police state. (My words, not his.)
I hope they also train the police and clerks who require the ID to click their heels smartly and to use a crisp German accent when they demand, "Show me your papers!"
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The Keys to Your Heart
|You are attracted to those who have a split personality - cold as ice on the outside but hot as fire in the heart.|
|In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.|
|You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.|
|You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.|
|Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.|
|Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.|
|You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.|
|In this moment, you think of love as something you thirst for. You'll do anything for love, but you won't fall for it easily.|
How they heck did they come up with this?
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Do you realize that in this country, there are people who are concerned that someone, somewhere, is having fun? These people can be on the Left and on the Right. Politics has no bounds when it comes to stamping out the activies that they object to.
This new Puritan movement can often turn on itself. A few years ago, these new Puritans were concerned that people weren't wearing seat belts and were dying in crashes. So they had seat belt laws passed and they got airbags in all cars. Then when children were being killed by the airbags, they lobbied to get a Federal law that allows people to turn off the airbags!
Some New Puritans are convinced that homosexuals are going to get their own checkout lane in the supermarket (or something) and they're trying to stamp that out.
Most states have very strict no smoking laws. In New York a couple of years ago, the New York Post reported that the city's health department searched Players Club and found, in the manager's office, three stacked, clean ashtrays. That's it. No cigar or cigarette butts. No matches. No lighters. And no ashes, either. The club removed all the ashtrays when New York passed its smoking ban in public places. The health department had received a tip that "smoking was occurring in that office." The club now faces a fine from $200 to $2000 as a result of these clean ashtrays simply being on the property. In New York City, ashtrays are like WMDs.
You want to know where these New Puritans are going next? Here's a link to a page from Trust For a Smoke Free Texas. Notice the waitress holding a bottle of beer and a glass? That's what they are going to aim for next.
Giving up a right, any right, puts us on a slippery slope that endangers all of our rights.
Monday, May 09, 2005
| You scored as agnosticism. You are an agnostic. Though it is generally taken that agnostics neither believe nor disbelieve in God, it is possible to be a theist or atheist in addition to an agnostic. Agnostics don't believe it is possible to prove the existence of God (nor lack thereof).
Agnosticism is a philosophy that God's existence cannot be proven. Some say it is possible to be agnostic and follow a religion; however, one cannot be a devout believer if he or she does not truly believe.|
Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com
Well this explains a lot!
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Recently, high tech biological research has been fleeing Texas and heading for California. Last month, Texas Monthly magazine published an interesting analysis of just why that is happening.
Long before it was fashionable, Texas school textbooks downplayed evolution. They didn't include "Intelligent Design," or as I like to call it, the "God Done It Theory," they just avoided the issue as much as possible. As a result, The State of Texas gets a "C" in nationwide science tests. Not content with that, there are factions that are pushing that "God Done It" be included in textbooks. Apparently, these groups are envious of Alabama's "D" score or Oklahoma's "F" score, and hope to get our students at the bottom of the list as fast as possible.
The problem is that the Thoery of Evolution (which is not a law, but a theory, esactly like the Theory of Gravity is not a law, so apparently a "God Done It" Theory of Gravity is in the works) lies at the backbone of today's cutting edge bilogical research. Since "God Done It" doesn't get things accomplished nearly as quickly in the research lab as in a public school classroom, Texas has fallen behind in bological research. And the "God Done It" backers are doing everything they can to make sure we don't catch up.
The "God Done It" camp has also said the Earth was created 6,000 years ago. Yet geologists, who beleive the Earth is billions of years old, use their estimates of the age of the Earth to find oil and other underground treasures. Are we expected to beleive that the billion-year model is a convenient fiction to allow us to find oil? That's the same logic used by St. Augustine when he said Earth is at the center of the universe and everything revolves around it. After all, The Holy Bible showed Joshua stopping the from moving (Joshua 10: 12-13), not the Earth from spinning:
12 Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai'jalon."
[I can just see Lurlene and Wanda Jo at the bowling alley discussing this:
Lurlene: Take this here bowling boall Wanda Jo. I'm gonna spin it. Now you stop it.
Wanda Jo: Shore thing. *UFH* That heavy ole thing took both hands to stop from a'spinnin'.
Lurlene: Now run down the alley. I'm gonna give this a heave at ya.
Wanda Jo runs down the alley, turns to face Lurlene. Lurlene rolls the ball down the alley like she was going for a strike. Lurlene: Stop it now, Wanda Jo! Wanda Jo: OWWW! My fingers! My toes! My ribs!
Lurlene: See, Wanda Jo, that just shows how powerful God is. Mohammed or Buddha coulda stopped the Earth from spinning. But it takes a real diety to stop the sun from movin'!]
The Aritotlean model of the universe, given as fact in the Bible (and the Bible is literal truth) stated that the planets rode on celestial spheres in a circular movement around us. Except for Mars, which had a disturbing tendacy to move backwards in its movement across the sky. To explain this motion so that sailors could navigate, Tycho Brahe suggested that the planets moved on little spheres on the big spheres that moved around the Earth. Since this new model had the advantage of keeping the Earth at the center of the Universe, and helped fewer ships from getting lost, the Church accepted it as fact.
When Johannes Kepler came along and established his Laws of Planetary Motion (with the sun at the center of the solar system and the Earth orbiting it), navigators around the world latched onto it because it fit their observations of the night sky perfectly! The church allowed the navigators to use this model, but warned that it was only a model, and not the Divine Truth.
Since it contradicts Joshua 10: 12, and the Bible is literal truth, the Copernican solar system model must be considered a Theory. Since it violates the idea behind "God Done It," therefore, it can only be taught in schools alongside the Aristotlean model of the Universe. Right?
I've been trying to find references to atoms and molecules in the Bible, but have failed, so, by the "God Done It" rule, besides teaching the math behind chemical reactions, chemistry teachers should teach that God willed the reaction to occur.
It's good to see the "God Done It" crowd moving us closer and closer to the Islamic Shiara rule of law: Only what's in the Bible can be taught. Seems they have more in common with Bin Laden than they realized. They both want a religious based government.