Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Good news from SC

As Kos notes, "Good news from South Carolina". On March 6th, South Carolina's legislature passed a ban on abortions. A group calling itself the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families got 38,000 signatures to get a referendum to repeal the ban in the ballot in August.

If you are so inclined, there is a link to the right to donate to the cause. Please do if you can.

Winning the hearts and minds

They shoot pregnant women, don't they? Shoot first and ask questions later seems to be the way to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis? Imagine what it is like to be an Iraqi and to see the news reports about this?

Dems chances in PA

Nothing gets me feeling tingly like watching someone like Ricky "Boy" Santorum going down in a flaming burnout. MyDD, a poll watching blog among other things, has an interesting article here showing that not only is Santorum going down, but two other seats possibly changing to Dems in August. Sweet.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Internet: What a waste

There has been much speculation on what drives, and has driven, the growth of the Internet. I have a theory: people like to wase time. Me? Sure do. I will start a series of posts with my favorite "waste about 2 days of your life" sites.

Youtube: Videos with a mimetic flare. You can spend about 12 days clicking through the favorites. Some standouts here and here.

Also, one of my favorite Queen songs. There is something so weird about it. At Youtube, there are 312 lip sync versions of the song. Not sure if that is good or not...but it does back up my theory.

Here is the description a video of a Japanese female punk band (in name only):
someone said Sasebo and harajuku
I am seeking the orchestra name, other people please do not have to give me trash electricity postal, thanks. I want to know this orchestra is called any name ?

Fascism are Us II

My God, this is ridiculous. Can anybody stop them? Via Daily Kos, the Bush Administration is arguing that it has impunity to do whatever it wants to "protect against terrorists". No. Oversight. Whatsoever.

Let's make sure we've got this straight. The NSA won't grant clearances to DOJ attorneys to look into the program. The FCC refuses to look into whether the phone companies illegally turned over data. SEC rules of accounting and reporting are waived at the behest of the John Negroponte, thus eliminating any "follow the money" trail for investigators.
Dear God, please save us from your believers.

If you voted for George Bush, how DO you sleep at night?

Have pen, will be treasonous

From Daily Kos, a blurb of a speech Bush gave basically saying that the press is "the enemy". Man, this guy is the biggest piece of crap I have ever seen. And I thought Reagan was bad.....

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Simpson's and Philosophy

A good article in BBC Magazine about the parallels of The Simpson's and philosophy. My favorite quote:

The Simpsons, like Monty Python, is an Anglo-Saxon comedic take on the existentialism which in France takes on a more tragic hue. Albert Camus' absurd is defied not by will, but mocking laughter.
I find myself agreeing with this way of delineating a strain of Existentialism that sees life a a sort of tragic farce from a more "Anglo-Saxon" (modern?) way that sees life as, well, just a farce, and worthy of only laughter. I somehow like the latter way the best. The Three Stooges come to mind as a formative factor.

And more then you ever wanted to know about the Simpson's: The Simpson's Archive.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Headlights are on

Anyone that opens a blog post with this much science in it is worth a look:
Four [sic] of my favorite things are development, evolution, and breasts, and now I have an article that ties them all together in one pretty package.
Pharyngula has a very interesting post on the a possible evolutionary role of the female breast and how this role has changed over the ages. Turns out that breast milk "is actually a kind of anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar." It may have started out as a factory for immuno proteins and evolved into a food source for little babminos(as). Fascinating.

The Shrinking Standards of Living

Brad DeLong, at his great blog, has a nice commentary on a particularly dumb NYT piece purporting not to know what "higher standard of living" means. Brad sets him straight.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Origami Master

Take a look at some of the creations by RJ Lang, as pointed out by Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise (a cigar to those who catch the reference).

I will be publishing my blogroll as soon as I get time.

Shhhh! You are in a Library!

Check out this little piece of weirdness, Japanese style. They invented inflicting pain for TV pleasure, and this is a surreal example.

Be ascared. Be very ascared.

Another piece falls into place vis a vis bird flu crossing the species barrier. This is one more step to what will be a very scary possibility: an avian flu pandemic. I believe the mortality rate is more then 50% of those humans who have been infected. *SHUDDER*

Indepth analysis of Iraq

One of the best commentators on Iraq is Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. arguable the best department of Middle Eastern Studies in the country. His post here gives an undepth analysis of where we are in Iraq and it is, as you might imagined, not pretty.

Also, a interesting Q & A with Professor Cole on Daily Kos.

If you voted for George Bush, how do you sleep at night?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Coerced English

I am very uneasy with the anti-immigrant environment lately. Especially problematic is the English-only crowd. Due to principles I believe are important, principles that claim that the government should not be in the business of dictating language use, I find the English-only crowd to be authoratarian to the extreme.

An article by EJ Dione makes a persuasive argument why the English-only crowd are just missing the point. Check it out.

Fascism Are us.

From the NY Times, more evidence that the Bush Administration must take leads from either Richard Nixon or Benito Mussolini (or insert you fave fascist here).

God, please defend us from your most devout worshipers.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Daily Kos: Don't you feel safe now?

A good post on the surreal state of politics in America. Daily Kos reports that 100 security plans due Congress from the "Department of Homeland Security" are late. They just have not turned them in, like a recalcitrant, bored 10 year old who doesn't do his homework. Only so much more is at stake, right?

Throw the bastards out.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

A post at Urban Review, a local, St. Louis blog, noted that yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the last street car that ran in St. Louis. Man, I wish we had those back....

The Engrish are coming!

Japanese have this weird way of co-opting culture from all over the world. One area of particular co-option is a sort of pidgin English commonly referred to as 'engrish'. Even though Japanese take English all through grade school to high school, they are taught by, well, Japanese who cannot really speal the language well.

This site is by roving bands of reporters who take pictures of particulary egregious maimings of the English language prevalent in Japan. This is always good for a laugh.

OPC: Onine Philosophy Conference

A new idea for a philosophy conference that is virtual. From the description:

We hope you enjoy the first ever Online Philosophy Conference (OPC 2006). Here, you can enjoy some excellent philosophical presentations from the comfort of your home, office, coffee shop... anywhere but the cold confines of a hotel conference room. We hope this will be one of the best attended philosophy conferences in history. Please tell your colleagues, students, friends about it to help make that happen.
Check it out here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Angry Bear: the best of its Kind

The blog called Angry Bear, staffed by economists, has the best information of the economy I have seen (though there are close seconds, Namely BRad DeLong's excellent blog).

One recent post at Angry Bear that stands out is related to my previous post about Bush's profligate spending. It shows that if we subtracted Bush's machinations such as the Iraq War, tax cuts, and the Medicare Drug Plan, we would actually have budget surpluses instead of the mess we are in. Check it out.

Chew on this

Have you ever wondered what dire straits we are in vis a vis Bush's reckless fiscal policy? Get a load of this abstract from Gokhale and Smetters paper on Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: An Update:

"This paper provides an update of the U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances that we originally calculated in Gokhale and Smetters (2003), and presents the calculations in several alternative ways. We find that a lot has changed in just a few years. In particular, the nation’s fiscal imbalance has grown from around $44 trillion dollars as of fiscal year-end 2002 to about $63 trillion, mostly due to the recent adoption of the prescription drug bill (Medicare, Part D). The imbalance also grows by more than $1.5 trillion (in inflation adjusted terms) each year that action is not taken to reduce it.

This imbalance now equals about 8 percent of all future GDP and it could, in theory, be eliminated by more-than doubling the employer-employee payroll tax from 15.3 percent of wages to over 32 percent immediately and forever – assuming, quite critically, no reduction in labor supply or national saving and capital formation. Equivalently, massive cuts in government spending would be required to achieve fiscal balance: The total federal fiscal imbalance now equals 77.8 percent of non-Social Security and non-Medicare outlays. "

Note the money notions: Double the payroll tax immediately and forever. Holy Baby Jeebus! Or, cut 77.8 percent of discretionary spending (non-Social Security and non-Medicare).

Let that sink in, folks. In order to stem the red ink Bush and the Republican Congress has foisted upon us, us and future generations are, well, in deep crapola.

If you voted for George Bush, how do you sleep at night?

Via Angry Bear.

Bubbles and Michael.

Man on Monkey sex: what our ancestors did for fun.

The Next Frontier

Via Slashdot, CNN is reporting that a solar system with three, Neptune-like planets has been found which is relatively close to us (41 Light Years). Now if we can just get that light year speed ship going......

New Apple store in NYC

Checkout the new apple store in NYC on 5th Ave at 59th. Very cool.
There is also a time lapse video of the throngs of patrons going to it.

Also, check out the review of the new Macbooks from Ars Technica, one of the best geeky sites out there. Hell, they are too geeky; ever read a 5 page review of motherboards? Feel like you are missing out? Ars Technica is here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Who the hell is Wholeflaffer?

Art Wholeflaffer is a character from one of the most prolific avant garde comedy troupes to ever grace this universe, the Firesign Theater. They crafted aural landscapes that have not been duplicated. I would say that they surpassed the "Golden Age of Radio" serials by adding top-notch sound effects you have to hear to believe. Art appeared on the album Everything you know is wrong, one of their best and his raison d'etre was being the manager of a Nudist Trailer Park in Heater County, CA.

I am not sure why Art Wholeflaffer is my alter ego. Maybe I just like the sound of the word 'wholeflaffer'. Either way, it has been my virtual persona as long as I have been cruising the environs of the Internet since 1995. It is the name I hang all of my identity on when interacting in cyberspace.

About this blog: sometime futile, narcissistic endeavors are worth doing. My main interests in life is philosophy (I am working on my Masters), politics, technology, and Japan, So expect posts about that sort of stuff. Don't take it too seriously; I won't. However, I will use it as a way to work out thoughts and to simplify complexities, mainly dealing with academic philosophy. I have always found that if I cannot explain something to somoene with no philosophical background, I cannot presume to say I know it well.

So, without further adieu, we begin.