10.21.2004

How nice

In Jacksonville, Oregon, the Secret Service ordered police to clear out protestors before Bush drove by. So guess what they did... Strafed men women and children with paintballs filled with pepper spray. The city government's reaction? "No comment"

Buchanan gives Bush a scathing... endorsement?

Over at The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan has decided to endorse Bush for president. His reasoning is that although Bush is wrong on 95% of things he is right on a couple whereas Kerry is right on none.

Understandable, I suppose, though I notice he's swallowed a lot of the Bush campaign lies about Kerry and thinks the left are statists while not noticing it on the right. I can't tell any difference between the parties anymore except on a couple of issues that I don't care about like abortion, but Buchanan's theory is that no matter how bad it is we have to support Bush because he's a republican and if conservativism is going to rise it will be through the republican party. Yeah right, they'll find Jimmy Hoffa before they find a conservative in the party, other than the good Ron Paul, of course, hallowed be his name.

Buchanan says that "Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values" while kerry is right on nothing.

On taxes he says that Kerry will raise taxes and bring on new programs that will bankrupt us. Um, hello? We've been bankrupt for four years. Bush has created every program there is to create. There's nothing left. Well, other than securing our ports, borders, and airliner cargo areas but as Bush hinted in the debates, that's just too damn expensive.

Bush has pushed through at least two tax cuts that I know of in the past two weeks alone. One was a huge tax cut on corporate jets that seems to not have made the mainstream news (CSPAN radio really pays off). I'm all for tax cuts but, geez, do you really think this is a good time for it? Hell no. We're over the limit on our Master Card and those tax cuts are going to cost a lot more in the long run than I, for one, am going to be willing to pay. If Kerry raises the taxes on corporate jets, who am I to care? I've never been for a single raise in taxes but when you have a lot of bills and you know your car is going to need a lot of work soon, you generally try to save money not take in less. We now have the worst deficits ever so maybe now's not the time for tax cuts, that's all I'm saying...

I hate the talk of judges because politics has entered the courts with one side trying to pass it's liberal judges and the other trying to pass it's conservatives. Wake up, they're all activist judges. I'd prefer good nonpartisan, noncorrupt, nonextremist judges with a bit of common sense but those are going to remain a rare sight in the political climate we live in today. Buchanan says that Kerry "opposed the conservative judges Bush has named to the U.S. appellate courts" but there have been 171 appointed and only six blocked. Not bad considering republicans blocked 60 and only passed 248 total during the six years they controlled congress under Clinton. In fact, on the contrary to republican assertions, Bush's appointees have enjoyed a record setting pace of confirmation. Even Reagan didn't fare as well with a republican congress. It's normal that some won't make it but democrats have actually been surprisingly good at working with Bush it seems.

The third thing Bush is supposed to be right on is sovereignty. Well, unless that means securing the borders, securing the ports and all that stuff, but I assume this means Kerry wants to hand the right to defend America to the French or something. It's funny, no matter how hard Kerry pounds his position home, the soundbites the Bush campaign use are all anyone ever knows about Kerry. "I will never give our right to self-defense to anyone else!!" "See, he wants to give our right to self-defense to someone else".

The fourth issue that Bush "is right on" is values. I have no idea what that means. Is Kerry against values? When the Bush administration lies, blackmails, flip-flops, bribes, sells out CIA agents, and pardons nuclear smugglers, does that mean they're standing for values? Later on there's a mention of "the values of faith, family, community, and country" so that's apparently what he's talking about, but how is Kerry wrong on any of them? On faith, Kerry's religious. And I'll tell ya a couple things; first, if Bush is a Christian he's a damn poor one and second, if a politician has any effect whatsoever on your religious faith, there's something terribly wrong with your religious faith.

Isn't Bush only for family values when it comes to certain types of families? I'm totally indifferent on the issue of gay marriage but if I were preaching family values I'd want everyone to share in them. If gays happen to have kids I think it's great that they raise them in a loving family, no matter the genatalia ratio of the parents is 2:0. What's the alternative? Abortion? Send them to Iraq? No, make a family with what you've got and just love each other and be happy.

Bush talks a lot about communities but what on earth for? Are you closer to your neighbors with Bush in office? If your community spirit is closely related to the actions of the government, you might be living in a communist state.

The last thing in this strange list is country values, or the value of country, or, to tell the truth I'm not sure how you're supposed to say it but I guess it stands for pride and love for your country. You know... patriotism. Well, the thing about patriotism is that it has to do with love of the country, not the government. In fact, I think that fighting the government when it's making mistakes is true patriotism and staying silent as the government harms the country is treason. Our founding fathers were patriots yet they didn't even have a government.

Rudyard Kipling was a pro-war hawk in his day yet G.K. Chesterton criticized him for his "lack of patriotism". As he said: "He admires England, but he does not love her; for we admire things with reasons, but love them without reason. He admires England because she is strong, not because she is English." That's patriotism to me.

I love this country and I damn sure hate to see the government screw it up. That goes for a Kerry government or a Bush one. Conservatives are supposed to agree with me, but alas, there are no conservatives left, only republicans, and party trumps country with that crowd any day.

Having said all this, I want to make clear that I don't endorse Kerry. I think both are equally poor choices. I don't think Kerry will be much different than Bush except on a couple of things that I'm not concerned about. But I will say that Kerry at least represents an unknown change while Bush represents, in my opinion, a real danger, and I think we'd be much better off with a balanced government consisting of a democrat president and a republican congress instead of the rubber stamp partisan hackery we have now. Kerry at least has those small positives going for him while I can think of none for Bush.

Having said that, however, remember: don't vote, it only encourages them. Kerry in November, civil war in December.

Daily Show downloader for Linux

Anyone can go to the Comedy Central website and watch videos of The Daily Show but if you're like me you really hate watching small streaming videos through a browser and prefer to get the actual file and watch it full screen. Here's how to do it.

First go download majormms. It's a small program that downloads video files that use the Micro$oft mms protocol.

The only problem with majormms is that you have to view the html source, find the line that contains an .asx file, download the file and read it to find the actual video file. This script simply does all that crap for you. Remember that it only works for downloads of The Daily Show. It probably wouldn't be very much harder to adapt it to work for many other sites as well, but TDS is the only show I get from the web regularly so I simply don't care.

It's simple to use. Just go to The Daily Show site and click on a video you want to watch. When the page comes up with the little embedded video just hit stop and copy the URL and feed it to this script.

Oh, and uh, make sure the URL is in quotation marks (I can't remember how to fix that silly little problem, dammit).

Example: I named this script "getdaily" so if you wanted to get the video from this pageyou'd just type this:

./getdaily "URL"

Note: Majormms spits out gibberish like this so if you see it, it means it's working. If not, there's a problem:

asf media packet detected, len=2888
[72/2888][1520/2888][2888/2888]get media packet succ
[8/8]pre_header[0] = 16 (22)
pre_header[1] = 0c (12)
pre_header[2] = 00 (0)


When it's done it'll say "Downloaded 9046_headline.wmv". Soooo... without further ado, here's the stupid script...
#! /bin/sh
wget -O .tmpmms "$1"
asx=`cat .tmpmms | grep videoswitcher | awk '{ print $3 }' | grep -v pluginspage | perl -pi -e s/value\=\"//g | perl -pi -e s/asx\"\>/asx/g`
rm .tmpmms
wget -O .tmpmms "$asx"

mmsfile=`cat .tmpmms | grep wmv | grep -v "ads" | perl -pi -e s/\/wmv/g"`

video=`basename $mmsfile`
if mms $mmsfile; then
echo
echo "Downloaded $video"
else
echo
echo "Something went wrong, the video was not downloaded"
echo "Hit CTRL + C to abort"
fi
rm .tmpmms
Enjoy.

10.19.2004

Even more surreal

yet totally unsurprising given the administration's politics over everything else mentality.

A surreal week for Bush

I use the word "surreal" too often but it sums up this political dog and pony show so well that I can't think of anything to take it's place.

First Vladimir Putin sorta endorsed Bush, now Iran has come forward with a formal endorsment and to top it all off Bush's own church writes a lengthy letter of complaint/petition charging him with "crime, immorality, disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The UMC, and dissemination of doctrine contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The UMC" (UMC = United Methodist Church)

I don't know what any of this worth. Probably nothing, but I guarantee you one thing; no one will ever notice any of it. People will be too focused on the Karl Rove smear job that was attempted on Kerry to notice things that actually, really, truly happen in the world.

That's politics in the modern age for you. Some republican hack writes a letter demanding that the Vatican excommunicate Kerry for heresy and people will be too tied up in that fictional controversy to notice that Bush's church really is trying to declare him a criminal and a heretic.

I swear, it's not even worth waking up some days. I don't care who endorses who (though the Iran thing is somewhat interesting), it's the fact that our society as a whole has become so far disconnected from reality that I watched the fake church story about Kerry being reported as fact on television this morning while the true church story regarding Bush is almost guaranteed to never be mentioned in the media at all.

Liberal media my ass.

10.18.2004

Siege Engine Blueprints

This site has information on siege engines (and crossbows and armor as well). Scroll down for blueprints on siege engine construction. Pretty cool. Unfortunately he doesn't have designs for my favorite, the trebuchet, but if you were in Burlington Washington a couple of weeks ago, and hey who wasn't?, you could watch one try to toss a pumpkin over half a mile.

Random blog links

NO RELIGION NOW: And the insane shall inherit the earth?.....
kooky crumbles
Rider on the Storm
CHICAGO: Howtown on the Make
The Flying Car...
marsa
The Dry-Shitty Harold
Sofia
Learning Curves
Arts and crafts
Rodger A. Payne's Blog
Three Sheets to the Wind
this pretty lil thhhing_____x.
Lobster's Blogs
doomed acorns and such
digital trepidation
[ f a d i n g ]
Sam's Blog
Chatter News
Essential AC
Nhung trang web cua Khoi
ieee-ireland

Russian fiction

No exactly Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy or Chekhov but this bit of fiction from Russia today might qualify as an honorable mention beside Eisenstein or Dovzhenko...
"I consider the activities of terrorists in Iraq are not as much aimed at coalition forces but more personally against President Bush," Putin said at a news conference after a regional summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

"International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term," he said. "If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power."
That's what former KGB officer and all around nasty SOB Vladimir Putin said of the upcoming U.S. elections. That may make sense if you live under a rock and didn't realize that these attacks had been going on for a year and a half. Here's a pretty simple exercise, correlate our major offensives and chart them against increased enemy attacks in Iraq and you'll see that this is the same trend we've always seen, not some last minute pre-election spike. Of course, attacks have been rising for many months in a row and they'll probably rise this month too, but it signifies nothing other than the fact that they're tired of being occupied.

Remember tha the military recently released a study that found that despite what the politicians tell us the attacks are 95% homegrown and not the work of international terrorist. (actually they said below 1000 foreigners, which is less than 5%)

I really don't see ousting Bush as a goal of terrorists because he's done everything he can to provide them a plethora of American targets to attack with a near zero chance of getting caught. Sure he's done some things right, Afghanistan was 50% right for example and they've caught some terrorists under him but most of that is the result of people simply doing their jobs, and not because of Bush. Besides, Kerry is basically running on the platform that Bush hasn't done enough. I mean Kerry wants to secure the ports and airplane baggage compartments, how nice is that if you're a terrorist? (I generally consider anything the politicians say to be lies, I am only saying that's what Kerry's saying)

I'm also not clear why they say there's a good chance of a pre-election terrorist attack. It's pretty certain that a pre-election attack would solidify Bush's support. So when they say there's a good chance of an attack, aren't they saying the terrorists want Bush to be reelected?

Ahhh, this is all bullshit, of course. These twerps don't know what terrorists want. They tell us they do when it benefits them. To hear the politicians tell it they "hate freedom" and want to kill us all. Nah stupid, if you can't read Osama's words and follow his actions to figure out his agenda then you're too ignorant to be in politics to begin with.

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