You have to be kidding me...
Bush to lead inquiry into Katrina
George didn't have time to help deal with the problem itself as it happened, he was too busy holidaying (day one) and fundraising for the Republican Party (day two), but now that it's all blown up in his face he's "going to find out over time what went right and what went wrong."
Here's what went wrong George: YOU did.
Your presidency has been one joke after another and now you've managed to top it all by sitting on your ass whilst your people died. Sure, other things went wrong too, but YOU are the President of the United States of America, YOU are the one in the White House (well, you are when you can be bothered to show up for work), and it's YOU who should be saying "the buck stops here".
Of course you don't want to "play the blame game", because you know that YOU are very much to blame. It's the failings of YOU as an individual (it's called "leadership", George) and YOUR administration that has cost thousands of lives that need not have been lost.
Yes, there are other people who have failed the citizens of New Orleans, of Louisiana in general and its neighbouring states, but it is YOU who is ultimately responsible. Yes, some death was unavoidable, but YOU were asleep at the wheel despite all the warnings and it's YOU whose hands are covered in blood. It's YOU who are a disgrace to your office, your country, and, ultimately, your people.
Compassionate conservative? Try showing some compassion then, and I don't mean just for the cameras.
To anyone who thinks I'm being too harsh on the man, well, on his watch he has:
1. Sat around in a classroom whilst his nation was clearly under attack;
2. Attacked a sovereign state and started what's (under international law) an illegal war on what proved to be patently false info, and reduced it to near anarchy; and
3. Failed to act for days when faced with the worst natural disaster to ever hit the US (something I bet he wouldn't have done if the state concerned was Texas, or if this was an election year).
Sorry, but to me that's three strikes. As far as I'm concerned, you should be out George (well, as far as I'm concerned, you should have been out a long time ago) and if you had any real honour you would have tendered your resignation already (and so would a great many of your disgraceful administration).
I'm sure some revisionist historians will paint a pretty picture of you, George, and talk of the "great" President George W. Bush, but I'm sure many more will agree with me: you are, without a doubt, the worst President ever.
You played, while other people paid. With their lives.
King for a day...
Just imagine you were King for the day. What would you do? What wrongs would you try to put right? What ills would you seek to cure? How would you change the world around you for the better?
I ask this on the eve of the second US Presidential candidate debate. Bush and Kerry are seeking election to the ultimate throne of power, and one of them will eventually be King for four years - 1461 days - so I'll be watching tonight to see their duel of words.
The President of the United States is as close as anyone has been to being ruler of the planet. He- and it's always a he, and he's always a white christian - has the power to affect every living person on the face of the Earth, be it a schoolkid in downtown Detroit or an African tribeswoman on the edge of the Sahara. He has more power and more influence on the world than Caesar, than Alexander the Great, than Ghengis Khan, than any of the Holy Roman Emperors, than Napoleon, than Hitler, than Stalin.
Fortunately, such power isn't anyone's to take. It must be given, and it must be given democratically. So, to those of you who can vote in this election and who haven't made up their minds as to who to vote for, I say this: watch the debate, and the subsequent one, and pick the candidate who you believe will do the most to put wrongs right, the most to cure ills and the most to make the world a better place.
Am I letting life pass me by?
Am I letting life pass me by? Have I not made the most of my youth or my opportunities?
(Warning: If at anytime you're feeling bored with what's below, or - ironically - just plain lazy, then console yourself in knowing that following six paragraphs are loosely summed up by my parting sentence. Read on or skip them: it's your decision.)
I ask these rhetorical questions here because I seem to ask myself them with alarming frequency. I've squandered a lot of opportunities through apathy, ignorance and laziness, and I've had a lot more stolen from me as a result of what was at one point a life-threatening illness.
Striking whilst the iron is hot hasn't ever exactly been my forte, thanks to the one-two combination of indolence and sheer bad luck. But I'd like to change that, and I'd like to start changing it now. Yet looking at the past and reliving it is a burden that I can't seem to shake: the ethereal emotional baggage of living with the knowledge of what might have been and what should have been is as much of an obstacle as anything more material. What holds me back is as much mental fortitude as it is physical strength.
When I started writing journal entries I said that I wasn't going to write anything of a personal nature in them, but I guess that that self-imposed rule has, to some extent, now gone out of the window. So, I ask you - well, I ask all two of you that are bothering to read these words that, even as I type them, sound like drivel - just what do you do to get back into the saddle when you feel that life's tossed you out of it?
How do you motivate and empower yourself to achieve your goals when you feel that motivation and empowerment themselves have deserted you? How do you get the will to pick yourself up off the ground when life seems to continually knock you to the ground and then repeatedly kick you when you're down there?
What started this introspection-cum-appeal, was reading a BBC News article about the death of funk singer Rick James, and the sudden death of a close relative, both from heart attacks. The two men had nothing in common (definitely not nine kinds of drugs in their system), apart from the rather salient fact that they both lived life to the full, which is more than anyone would be able to say of me if I were to drop down dead today.
I'm not suicidal or anywhere close to it, but I do want to emulate these men, at least in their full appreciation for life up until their dying breaths. I feel like a runner, in a desperate race against the clock, falling at every hurdle, retarded by life's maybes and should-have-beens, and I want to feel like a runner in full stride and with an open road ahead of him.
What it boils down to is that I want to be Forrest Gump. I really do.
I see that Bush wants less US reliance on oil imports...
I see that Bush wants less US reliance on oil imports: "To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy", he said in his recent speech at the 2004 Republican Party convention.
So then, Dubya, when exactly do you plan on announcing that Iraq has become the 51st state? You sure have created enough American jobs there (especially for your oil industry friends at Halliburton, etc), and we all know that Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves. So I guess adding Iraq to the Union is just a formality now.
After all, once Iraq's part of the family, Iraqi oil won't be imported, will it? It'll just be domestically produced, just like the oil from Texas. Finally, after all those fruitless years with Harken*, Dubya will be able to say he's struck oil!
So, expect the official announcement any day now. I wonder what the Iraqi state bird will be?
(*Fruitless for most Harken stock holders, but not for Dubya, who violated SEC rules by failing to publicly report his sale of Harken stock before it plummeted from $3 to $1 after disasterous losses. But, hey, when your Daddy's the President you can do what you damn like. Remember, rules are for little people.)
When you see moderation like this happening...
When you see moderation like this happening, then you know that someone is abusing the moderation system for his or her own nefarious reasons.
Let me elaborate.
A few days ago, I posted this comment to a frontpage story. The story summary was completely inaccurate because it twice mentioned ZDNet when the actual culprit was Ziff-Davis media, which is now a totally unrelated company with totally seperate ownership.
Now, it doesn't take a genius (not that I'm claiming to be one) to realise that when you accuse someone of doing something that they didn't do then you're screwing up. And it doesn't take a genius to realise that when you do that sort of thing in public then you're slandering them (if it's speech) or libelling them (if it's in print). Furthermore, it doesn't take a genius to realise that if you're slandering or libelling someone then that someone might take legal action to both clear his or her good name and gain some form of compensation for the potential damage done.
Slander and libel laws are good things. They protect the truth. If someone goes around town accusing you of being a rapist when you're not then slander and libel laws are on your side, there to help you stop the accuser of spreading malicious lies that will sully your good name and potentially get you physically (and emotionally) hurt. Slander and libel laws mean that when you say or print something then you better be prepared to back up what you say, even if what you're saying has been told to you by someone else: heck, especially when what you're saying has been told to you by someone else.
And, when it comes to slander and libel, you need to realise that a retraction or apology isn't enough. If the person accusing you of rape later retracts his lies and apologises then that doesn't undo all the damage: there's still going to be people out there who think that you must have done something bad, because "there's no smoke without fire", and you're still going to be living in paranoia for a long time, looking over your shoulder and jumping at shadows in fear of someone out to beat your head to a bloody pulp.
So, even when someone admits that they got it wrong, the damage has still been done and can't be totally undone.
Unfortunately, on Slashdot, this kind of casual treatment of truth and libel is an everyday occurance. (Show me the stories from any one day as they were originally posted and I'll show you a bunch of holes and mistruths to stop a herd of charging elephants dead in their tracks.) One of these days, that profligate attitude towards the truth will have the editors hoisted by their own petard. Or, to put it less eloquently, printing bullshit is gonna get the editors in real deep shit someday.
Anyhow, I've digressed. This jounal entry is meant to be another editorial abuse: moderation.
My comment, unsurprisingly, had two types of people replying to it. The first type are those that have something constructive to say, and whose comments enrich the debate. These people, although CmdrTaco repeatedly fails to acknowledge it, are the ones that have made Slashdot: without their insightful, informative, interesting and/or funny comments (add whatever other adjectives you see fit), Slashdot would just be a very bad news aggregation site more notable for being plagued by duped, faked, outdated, inaccurate and/or badly written stories. Without them, Slashdot would wither and die.
The second type of people are those that have nothing constructive to add to the debate. We all know what I mean by that so I won't expand on that comment beyond adding that I don't think they make a positive contribution to the Slashdot experience.
Anyway, let's get back on track. (Again.) Moderation abuse.
The first reply to my initial comment, by srwalter (39999) was off-topic. No ifs or buts, it was just simply off-topic, because it had nothing to do with the story being discussed. And obviously, having been dragged off-topic, my reply to it was off-topic too. But, which of these two do you think got moderated as such?
Well, within a couple of hours of my reply it had been moderated as off-topic. Twice. Yet the post that originally strayed off-topic and all other posts under that thread were unmoderated. The original offending off-topic post was still at +2 but my reply had gone from +2 to -1. In effect, my post had been deliberately buried by someone who didn't want it to be easily visible and read.
Who that "someone" is I'll leave to your own imagination. By the way, did I mention that the editors have unlimited moderation points, and can do what they want to a comment? The potential for abuse is shocking, isn't it?
Anyhow, in the last day or two srwalter's comment has been moderated as a troll, probably by someone who saw it after I posted an entry in one of FortKnox's JE's about the new site that we're hoping to build. But this isn't about trolls being moderated as trolls. It's about truths being surpressed.
I find it ironic that, having posted my original comment to alert people (including the Slashdot editors) to the true facts, the truth about many Slashdot regulars wanting away and actually putting together an alternative site is too much for some people to handle.
To the person (or people) that surpressed my comment, I say this: the very fact that you try to deny the existance of things that you find threatening shows that you can't be trusted not to abuse your powers and responsibilities. It also shows that you're scared.
Face facts. You can try to bury the truth but you can't change it.
President tells the real truth in speech...
As reported by BBC News
President gaffes in terror speech
In his latest gaffe, President George W Bush has appeared to suggest that his administration is forever thinking up ways of harming the US and its people.
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful - and so are we," the US president told a high-level meeting of Pentagon officials.
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people - and neither do we."
His comments came during a signing ceremony for a $417bn defence bill.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that Mr Bush's mistakes should reassure rather than alarm.
"Even the most straightforward and plain-spoken people mis-speak," he told the Associated Press.
"The American people know this president speaks with clarity and conviction, and the terrorists know by his actions he means it."
'Liked for his flaws'
According to Jacob Weisberg, who has made it his job to catalogue the gaffes commonly known as "Bushisms", even when Mr Bush trips over his words he does not always fall flat on his face.
"I don't think it does him any harm, because people who are appalled by the way he speaks tend not to like him for other reasons," he told the BBC's World Today programme.
Indeed, he says, his flawed public performances should not be misunderstimated - to borrow a "Bushism" - as they actually strengthen his bond with ordinary people.
"I think his inarticulacy is part of it, people identify with his problem. You know, its hard to speak in public - one makes mistakes, it can be embarrassing. And this bonds him to people."
Well, he was honest about the fact that him and his administration "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people", wasn't he?
Now that's what I call a police car...
As reported by BBC News
Italian police to have supercar
Traffic police patrolling a motorway in southern Italy have a tough decision to take: who will get to drive the force's first Lamborghini Gallardo?
The gift from Lamborghini has been unveiled in all its blue and white glory, marked with the word "Polizia".
With a top speed of 309 kph (192 mph), it should have the edge in any chase on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway.
However, the car is just as likely to be used for emergency deliveries such as human organs for transplant.
The sleek two-seater, topped with a flashing blue light, was put on display in Rome at a police event before entering service on the notorious motorway in the south.
It is a six-speed luxury vehicle with a 500-horsepower engine designed to go from zero to 100 kph (60 mph) in four seconds.
Donated by the Lamborghini factory in Bologna, its list price is US $165,000, probably making it unlikely that the Italian police force will actually buy any for its fleet.
Other traffic police forces which cannot boast a Lamborghini resort to devices of their own against speeders: in Russia, for example, officers have been known to shoot out the tyres of offenders with machine-guns.
Check out the picture of the car that accompanies the BBC story. I tell you, if all police cars were like this then we'd all be cops.
Corporate Censorship: Yet Another Reason To Hate Disney
As reported by BBC News.
Disney 'blocks' Moore documentary
Controversial director Michael Moore has said film studio Disney is refusing to release his new documentary, which heavily criticises President Bush.
Fahrenheit 911 was to be distributed by Miramax, a division of Disney.
But Disney has "officially decided to prohibit" Miramax from distributing the film, the director said on his website.
Moore, who won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine in 2003, questioned whether in a "free and open society" Disney should be making such a decision.
Fahrenheit 911 links Mr Bush with powerful families in Saudi Arabia, including that of Osama Bin Laden, and attacks his actions before and after 11 September.
Miramax, run by Hollywood moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein, agreed to distribute the documentary but Disney signalled it was not happy with the deal.
Disney bought Miramax 10 years ago but retained the rights to block films it deemed against its interests, such as adult-rated films.
But the New York Times said Miramax did not agree this was a situation where that clause should be invoked.
"For nearly a year, this struggle has been a lesson in just how difficult it is in this country to create a piece of art that might upset those in charge," Moore said on his official site.
"Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show.
"But there's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer - because, after all, it is a free country."
Miramax spokesman Matthew Hilzik told the New York Times: "We are discussing the issues with Disney. We're looking at our options and look forward to resolving this amicably."
But Zenia Mucha, a Disney spokesman, said: "We advised both [Moore's] agent and Miramax in May of 2003 that the film would not be distributed. That decision stands."
Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, accused Disney and its chief executive Michael Eisner of fearing a loss of tax breaks if it backed the release in the US.
Moore will give Fahrenheit 911 its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but no date has been set for a US release.
I don't know about you, but I'm fed up of this bullshit.
Whatever you think of Michael Moore, you have to agree that there's something fundamentally wrong with allowing a filmmaker (or writer, or artist) to create a piece of work and then apply corporate standards of what's right and what's wrong (ie, money, money and money) in deciding whether or not that work is suitable for public scrutiny.
Let an individual's work stand (or fall) on its own merits. Stop this corporate censorship now.
Happy Birthday Mr Baseball Cap (plus bonus rant/plea)...
The baseball cap as we know it is 50 years old. Rejoice.
On a related note, I'd love to get hold of decent US sports clothing (a Steve McNair Titans jersey, perhaps a Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell Astros jersey, nice Titans and Astros caps) without breaking the bank. There are one or two UK importers of US sports merchandise but they all seem to charge an arm and a leg: prices more than twice those on the official MLB, NFL, etc websites are pretty typical, which to me is a rip-off.
All I want to be able to do is to buy a cap and have it shipped to me for a fair price: that's not too much to ask, is it?
Anyone who can help me support my favourite NFL/MLB/etc teams without having to sell a kidney will be on my friends list for life.
Is intelligent debate dead nowadays?
I posted this comment to a story that's on the frontpage at the moment in reply to what someone else had to say.
As I write, my post has had 17 replies (I was expecting about ten or so, based on past experience), yet less than half of the replies actually seemed to grasp the question that I was asking (which, by the way, was asking why it's OK to operate by one set of rules when tracking down spammers but it's not OK to operate by the same set of rules when tracking down copyright infringement).
One described my post as "a rant": I would ask him how pointing out irony and asking a question can possibly be considered ranting but I doubt I'd get an intelligent reply. Is it me, or to rant don't you actually have to do more than make a quip and raise a question?
Another opined that my "sense of morality has obviously not developed to an adult level": interesting when you consider my vocal opinions in my journal entries and posts on subjects such as the war on terrorism, big business, copyright extensions, gay rights, xenophobia, etc. Yep, if there's anything I've shown through my posts on Slashdot it's that I don't have a well-developed and mature moral compass. (Not.)
Yet another didn't grasp what I meant by "without resorting to the kind of language that you wouldn't use in front of your mother", and proceeded to let me know that I should "Fuck off you corporate fuck. Fuck you and all you stand for. The French Revolution MK II is coming to a neck near you soon." Or, perhaps he did grasp what I meant but his mother's ears are less sensitive than that of my own. Frighteningly, the AC (he didn't have the courage to post using his own account: quelle surprise) was modded up.
(By the way, if you live in the UK, don't forget it's Mother's Day in two days time: if you haven't bought that card and gift yet, you've still got time. Run to the shops now.)
Others just seemed to miss the point of my post entirely, which was not only to point out the irony of the situation but to highlight how the actions described in the story summary were no different to those taken by spammers/spammer-hunters.
My point (or is it yet another "rant", I'm not sure now) is this: why is it that when you ask an intelligent question, and you ask it politely, there's always a significant group of people who feel the need to either: i) take what you've said out of context; ii) twist it to mean something else; iii) not bother reading what you've written beyond picking up a few key words; iv) just use it as an excuse to insult you; or v) any combination of the above?
Is this the world that we're living in now? One where even intelligent debate is too much to ask for? No wonder the world's crumbling around us, morally, socially, politically and environmentally.
Serious Pocket Change?
This story courtesy of BBC News.
US woman shops with fake $1m bill
A US woman has been charged with forgery after trying to use a fake $1 million bill at a supermarket.
Alice Pike, 35, pulled out the note at a Georgia Wal-Mart store to pay for $1,672 worth of goods and asked for change, police said.
The cashier immediately noticed the bill - bearing the picture of the Statue of Liberty - was fake and called her manager who alerted the police.
The US Treasury does not make $1m bills, which only go as high as $100.
In 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System discontinued banknotes in denominations of $500, $1,000 and $10,000 due to lack of use.
"This is the first time in my law enforcement career I've seen someone trying to use a $1 million bill," local police chief Almond Turner was quoted as saying by the Houston Chronicle newspaper.
"It was green, but you could tell it was not a real bill," Mr Turner added.
Ms Pike had three of the $1m bills when she was arrested at the store in Covington on Tuesday, police said.
Mr Turner said she claimed she got the bills from her husband
A fistful of these and you could buy a country! Perhaps we should be sending them to Nigerian 419 scammers and other spammers?
Who's for Fantasy Baseball? Anyone? Anyone?
OK, so it's that time of the year.
I know some of you are into baseball, and I know some of you are into fantasy sports. So who's up for a little fantasy baseball?
I've been playing fantasy baseball for a couple of years now and it's only hightened my appreciation and enjoyment of the game. Yahoo has a nice system, which can be played for free, with either public or private leagues, default or custom scoring, rottiserie or head-to-head.
So who's up for a private head-to-head league? I'd favour Yahoo's default scoring system, but I'd probably replace AVG with OBP (on base percentage) so that walks counted for something, albeit in a small way.
So, that would be a league that scores Runs, Home Runs, RBIs, OBP (instead of AVG) for hitters and Wins, Saves, Ks, ERA and WHIP for pitchers.
(By the way, head-to-head is more fun, in my humble opinion, because you're matched up against a different opponent every week, thus presenting you with a fresh challenge every seven days, and because it avoids the "unwinnable race" type scenario that occurs way too often in rottiserie.)
So, who's up for it? Anyone? Anyone?
WTF? Not guilty but still incarcerated indefinitely?
I've just read this news article on BBC Online: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3487958.stm.
For those of you too lazy to click a link, here it is in full.
US 'may hold cleared detainees'
By Nick Childs
BBC Pentagon correspondent
Pentagon officials have confirmed that Guantanamo detainees may still be kept in detention, even if they are found not guilty by a military tribunal.
They say detainees could be kept prisoner if they are considered a security risk.
If found guilty, they could also be held beyond any sentence laid down by the tribunal.
The Pentagon this week laid the first charges against two foreign detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.
'Not common sense'
The US military officials argue that there are two processes underway.
Detainees are being held because they are suspected of being enemy combatants in an ongoing war.
Separately, some may be put before tribunals accused of specific war crimes or other offences.
But the officials say it would not be common sense to release detainees after the tribunals if the so-called war on terrorism were still under way and it was thought they might launch new attacks on US interests.
The officials add that anyone convicted of war crimes would have to serve out their sentences, even if the other detainees were released because the war was deemed to be over.
All of this looks like further evidence of how difficult the issue of detainees is.
So, you've not been proven of any crime, even in the most hostile of courts, despite having no access to a lawyer or other representation for the two plus years that you've already been detained, yet you still aren't free to go? You're still going to be detained indefinitely? What was the point of the trial in the first place?
Is this justice in 21st century America? Please, say it ain't so.
There's nowt as queer as folk...
That journal title, by the way, is an old proverb from the north of England. For those of you that require a translation, it means "There is nothing as strange as people". And, as people go, there are few in the public eye as strange as George Walker Bush.
Sir Winston Churchill, a leader who stood up the worst horrors that man can inflict upon his fellow man, yet who never lost track of the principles for which he fought, once described encryption as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Had he lived in our times, he might well have used those words to describe the 43rd President of the United States.
Here is a man who knows that he was the beneficiary of the most unconvincing election decision in American history; an election so close that he had his brother Jeb, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanon, butterfly ballots, chads, illegal disenfranchisement, and who knows what else to thank for his eventual "win" in Florida and elevation to the presidency.
A man who knows that he gained fewer votes nationwide than Al Gore in 2000 and who'll have to perform even better than he did then if he's to win this time around. A man who knows that his opponent this time around won't be afraid to come out swinging, and who'll have more to defend than to attack.
A man who's record in office has had few highs (the overthrow of Saddam Hussein the only notable one), but many lows (September 11, the PATRIOT ACT, Camp X-Ray, the at large status of Osama bin Laden, an illegal invasion that's turned into a quagmire even after he proclaimed "Mission Accomplished", the non-existance of the Iraqi WMDs, the deterioration of US-World relations, rising unemployment, a tax cut that really only benefits the rich, failing schools).
In short, a man who needs every vote he can get.
Yet what does this man do? He attacks gays by calling for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, a mistake that's potentially fatal to his re-election campaign.
By most conservative estimates, three percent of Americans are gay. That's three out of every hundred people of voting age, Dubya, just in case you weren't sure. That three percent is, broadly speaking, more educated, more affluent and more politically-aware law-abiding citizens than the norm. In short, gay men and women are smart, rich, astute and likely to vote. So why would you do something that's guaranteed to get them turning out for the other side?
If every gay man or woman plus, say, just one of their non-gay friends or relatives felt strongly enough about this issue and voted accordingly, then that's six percent of the electorate you've just lost on one issue.
Six percent in what will probably be a close race? I'm sorry, Dubya, but that's probably the ballgame right there because you've just misfielded the ball on an issue where you couldn't gain votes (most people have bigger priorities when they vote, and even those that'd vote for you solely because of your same-sex marriage stance would probably have been voting Republican anyway) but sure can lose them.
Sure, if I'm a gay man I'd worry about the economy, terrorism, etc. But I'd worry a hell of a lot more about a President that wants to make me a second class citizen in my own country. Heck, even non-gays must be worried about where all this is leading: first Camp X-Ray, the abuse of the Constitution, privacy and due process for even American citizens, proposals to legally discriminate against gays, what's next?
Bush's advisors must know all this. So why let the idiot open his mouth on the issue? Why not just keep shut? If had to say something then why did he have to say something so explosive? Couldn't he just say he was against it?
Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps waivering voters will see this as an example of "moral leadership" from a former alcoholic and cocaine user who was busy dodging National Guard duty whilst others of his generation were busy dodging bullets.
I doubt it though. And I'm sure that there are some in the White House that share that view, which makes me wonder why, why, why did he turn something so small into something potentially so big. Just what's going on in that head? To me, it's a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. How this can help him more than it hinders him is hard to see. What a strange man.
It just goes to show, there's nowt as queer as folk.
Some geeks go to far...
BBC News story.
Seriously, the fact that people like this are actively propagating their genes is worrying. When will people realise that calling their kids "2.0" or naming them after a brand is nothing short of moronic?
This is your kid's name. It's not the name of your car, your PC or even your dog. It's your child; a living, breathing, human being who will have that name for (probably) a good 60-100 years.
Anyone who's so self-centred in the child naming process that they haven't thought through how society (especially high school society) will react to a kid named "2.0" or "Monster.com" or "Wal-mart" should be taken out back and given a baseball's perspective of a baseball bat.
Pixar cuts ties with Disney...
BBC News story.
Yay! Now I won't have to feel guilty when I walk into a cinema and pay to see a Pixar film!
I know the split was about money rather than ideological issues but I'm glad Pixar is going down another route. I can't stand Disney. In fact, I detest them. Some of the shit they pull is unbelieveable.
Sometimes is rains, sometimes it snows, sometimes it whales.
Stuff like this is so surreal you couldn't make it up if you tried:
Seriously, when was the last time you got caught in a whale shower?
Nintendo's bring new twist to Pac-Man - for free
BBC News Online is reporting that Nintendo (and Namco) are bringing back Pac-Man , the arcade classic, but with a novel twist. Called Pac-Man Vs, the new game pits one player playing Pac-Man on a GameBoy Advance against up to three other players playing the Ghosts (Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde) on a GameCube. The best bit is the price: the game is being given away for free with Namco's upcoming GameCube releases, including R: Racing Evolution, and I-Ninja!
I've just submitted this to the Games section. Let's see how long it takes to get published.
George Bush and the real state of the Union...
Front page, The Independent, 20 January, 2004.
Original article: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=482947.
(Don't forget to remove the space that the Slashdot has added in "story.jsp" to break up long character strings if you're forwarding the URL onwards.)
George Bush and the real state of the Union
Today the President gives his annual address. As the election battle begins, how does his first term add up?
232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004
501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far
0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945
0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed
0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq
100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003
13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President
10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest
2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House
9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion in March last year
1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since hostilities began
16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war
10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the conflict
$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003
$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October
36%: Increase in the number of desertions from the US army since 1999
92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago
60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable water today
32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not precision-guided
1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs
45%: Percentage of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks on the US
$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001
$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003
1st: This year's deficit is on course to be the biggest in United States history
$1.58 billion: Average amount by which the US national debt increases each day
$23,920: Amount of each US citizen's share of the national debt as of 19 January 2004
1st: The record for the most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) was set in 2002
10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33
1st: Rank of the US worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita
$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, setting a record in American electoral history
$130 million: Amount raised for Bush's re-election campaign so far
$200m: Amount that the Bush-Cheney campaign is expected to raise in 2004
$40m: Amount that Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser among the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, amassed in 2003
28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second longest holiday of any president in US history (Recordholder: Richard Nixon)
13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each year
3: Number of children convicted of capital offences executed in the US in 2002. America is only country openly to acknowledge executing children
1st: As Governor of Texas, George Bush executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern US history
2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the three years of the Bush administration
221,000: Number of jobs per month created since Bush's tax cuts took effect. He promised the measure would add 306,000
1,000: Number of new jobs created in the entire country in December. Analysts had expected a gain of 130,000
1st: This administration is on its way to becoming the first since 1929 (Herbert Hoover) to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office
9 million: Number of US workers unemployed in September 2003
80%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce now unemployed
55%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war
43.6 million: Number of Americans without health insurance in 2002
130: Number of countries (out of total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with an American military presence
40%: Percentage of the world's military spending for which the US is responsible
$10.9 million: Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet
88%: Percentage of American citizens who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes
$42,000: Average savings members of Bush's cabinet are expected to enjoy this year as a result in the cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes
$42,228: Median household income in the US in 2001
$116,000: Amount Vice-President Cheney is expected to save each year in taxes
44%: Percentage of Americans who believe the President's economic growth plan will mostly benefit the wealthy
700: Number of people from around the world the US has incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
1st: George W Bush became the first American president to ignore the Geneva Conventions by refusing to allow inspectors access to US-held prisoners of war
+6%: Percentage change since 2001 in the number of US families in poverty
1951: Last year in which a quarterly rise in US military spending was greater than the one the previous spring
54%: Percentage of US citizens who believe Bush was legitimately elected to his post
1st: First president to execute a federal prisoner in the past 40 years. Executions are typically ordered by separate states and not at federal level
9: Number of members of Bush's defence policy board who also sit on the corporate board of, or advise, at least one defence contractor
35: Number of countries to which US has suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court
$300 million: Amount cut from the federal programme that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes
$1 billion: Amount of new US military aid promised Israel in April 2003 to offset the "burdens" of the US war on Iraq
58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging and drilling
200: Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has attempted to downgrade or weaken
29,000: Number of American troops - which is close to the total of a whole army division - to have either been killed, wounded, injured or become so ill as to require evacuation from Iraq, according to the Pentagon
90%: Percentage of American citizens who said they approved of the way George Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 26 September, 2001
53%: Percentage of American citizens who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 16 January, 2004
Saddam Hussein's capture...
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.
Saddam Hussein was captured Saturday 13 December at about 2030 local, in a cellar in the town of al-Dawr which is about 15 kilometres south of Tikrit.
Before Dr Pachachi, who is the acting president of the governing council, and Lieutenant General Sanchez [the top US military commander in Iraq] speak, I want to say a few words to the people of Iraq.
This is a great day in Iraq's history. For decades, hundreds of thousands of you suffered at the hands of this cruel man. For decades, Saddam Hussein divided you citizens against each other. For decades, he threatened an attack on your neighbours. Those days are over forever.
Now it is time to look to the future, to your future of hope, to a future of reconciliation. Iraq's future, your future, has never been more full of hope. The tyrant is a prisoner. The economy is moving forward. You have before you the prospect of a sovereign government in a few months.
With the arrest of Saddam Hussein, there is a new opportunity for the members of the former regime to end their bitter opposition. Let them now come forward in a spirit of reconciliation and hope, lay down their arms, and join you, their fellow citizens, in the task of building the new Iraq.
Now is the time for all Iraqis - Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis, Shia, Christian and Turkmen - to build a prosperous, democratic Iraq, at peace with itself and with its neighbours."
US administrator Paul Bremer's opening statement during the press conference announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Well, I'm glad that Saddam Hussein is no longer at large, but am I the only one who's a little bit disappointed that, in a news conference in which Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez (the US commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq), talked about "closure", there was no mention of weapons of mass destruction?
Sorry, but weren't WMDs what this invasion was supposedly about? Or has that all been forgotten?