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(If you linked us and we haven't linked you, let me know and we'll rectify. Heh heh... I said "rectify." It's funny because it sounds like "rectum.")
This page mirrored 6/21/2006
"Gut Rumbles" is one of the longer-lived links in the left column. The author Rob Smith, aka "Acidman," began writing to self-therapy himself through the betrayal of his wife, who he loving referred to as "The BC." He spun many a yarn about his life along the way.
He was invited to resign from his job as a manager at a chemical plant because of his website, so he spent the last couple years retired and spending his severance package.
Even though he was crotchety at times, I never ceremoniously de-linked him as so many others did, because he held the two qualities I find most important in a human being: integrity, and a sense of humor. He was a genuine southern man. That's a punch line in many parts of the country, but I know it for the compliment that it is.
He will be missed.
The Interstate Commerce Clause (also known by its sexier name: Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) of the U.S. Constitution is one of my least favorite parts of the Constitution. Not because of what it says, but because of what it has been used for. The clause is as follows:
The Congress shall have the power... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
Simple enough. One of the roughly 12 powers granted to Congress, it has become the foundation for most of what is wrong with Congress today. Originally it was conceived to make it so that interstate commerce would flow relatively smoothly. No customs-style operations in each state, no "South Carolina banning Georgia goods," etc. Since the New Deal, however, it has been used to justify just about everything: Civil rights, restrictions on home farms for personal consumption, firearms, domestic violence, and the War or Drugs.
Recently, the House approved and Senate has taken up a bill that is actually about Interstate Commerce. It would create a federal franchise authority for television. Currently, each municipality has its own franchise authority. You want to provide cable to Chapel Hill, NC, you see their authority. You want to provide it to Carrboro, NC (0.0 miles away), and you have to visit their franchise authority.
In order to spur competition, regulatory approval needs to be simplified. The content is interstate, and the businesses involved are all multistate or national players. The idea of 50,000 regulatory bodies needing to approve local television providers is ridiculous.
Once again, the Senate has the chance to do the right thing, and use one of the few powers actually granted to it in the U.S. Constitution.
I'm guessing the bill dies in committee.
Every now and then I like to do a comparison of various online news sources to see what they are finding important, today. Sort of seeing "where their heads are at." I affirm that I did no editing of these screen captures.
Google: North Korea's gonna start a war in Asia, and some American Marines murdered some innocent people.
MSNBC: We're all going to die because humans are changing the atmosphere, more Americans died in Iraq, a "leader" in Afghanistan hates us, and all about why Europe hates us, and someone named 'Nelly' performed on the Today show. Hey, I wonder if "Today" is on NBC. Hmmm.
CNN.com: Things are bad in Afghanistan, we're all cooking to death, there's some wildfires "scorching" the west, Marines are ignoring military expert Cher's helmet ideas, and "American Idol" is still front page news, for some reason (no wonder CNN's ratings are down).
FOXNEWS.com: John Kerry's plan for surrender in Iraq was voted down in Senate, there are wildfires out west, and oh yeah, 500 chemical weapons that don't exist and besides Saddam said all chemical munitions were destroyed and have been a major argument for millions of "he lied" arguers... have been found in Iraq since 2003. And before anyone says it... Fox has some entertainment fluff 'news,' but I had to scroll down to see it. Couldn't put it in a top-o'-the-page screen grab.
So yeah. Nothing much happening today.
I'm not sure which side of the political aisle they generally fall within, but it's hard to deny there is a huge faction in the population looking to make everything in the world SAFE FOR THE CHILDREN.
Never mind that it isn't government's job to make things SAFE FOR THE CHILDREN. Historically it has been the children's parents that have been tasked with keeping the children safe. Not any more, unfortunately. The self-described enlightened intellectuals, lacking any other ideas, opinions or campaign tactics have taken it upon themselves to tell us poor, stupid, unwashed masses how to take care of our kids. They want to show They Care, and they take an "if you don't support me then you must Hate Children" stance.
This was highlighted this week in our forum with this thread dedicated to a proposed mandatory labeling of so-called "pornographic" (the definition of "pornographic" being left up to committee, supposedly) websites in order to protect the delicate sensibilities of those who may be.... gasp... offended, and the protection of, of course, THE CHILDREN.
And in other news this week, the web socialization network "MySpace" is being sued by, of all things, a 14 year old girl who alleges she was somehow "sexually assaulted" over her TCP/IP connection. Neat trick, that.
But here's the question I want answered: What kind of parent in their right mind thinks children should be given full, unrestricted use of the internet? Imaging the rowdiest biker bar, the seediest crack house, the most popular mall, the darkest S&M parlor, and the biggest club for pedophiles you can imagine. Run it through a blender. Multiply it by 1000. That's the internet. All day, every day, everywhere. And you think your kids are in some sort of safe "teens-only" haven? Guess again, stupid. Wherever kids "gather" on the internet, so do the predators. This absolutely happens all the time. There is absolutely no way to stop this. I can see no end to it in the near future.
So go on. Put the computer in the kid's room. Don't monitor their internet usage. Put unfiltered PCs in every school, in every classroom, on every desk. Kids obviously can't learn anything without THE INTERNET.
What's the worse that could happen?
Just don't make laws stopping me, an adult, from visiting the rowdy biker bar, most popular mall, and darkest S&M parlor I can imagine times 1000. It isn't your job to raise everyone else's kids, and it sure as hell isn't your job to restrict my behavior.
Hate black people? You're a bigot.
Hate hippies? You're intolerant.
Hate illegal immigrants? You're racist.
Hate Republicans? Well, that's just a natural feeling for a compassionate, good progressive.
And I quote:
And be sure to read the follow-up comments... democraticunderground.com is full of vile, hate spewing bigots.
You know, I've watched some movies from the 60's and 70's, and in those films hippies were all about smoking grass, having unprotected sex, and spitting on soldiers returning from Vietnam.... but when did they get REALLY crazy?
Socialism: Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Communism: Pronunciation: 'käm-y&-"ni-z&m
From Merriam-Webster dot com.
Number of deaths under Joseph Stalin (USSR, 1934-39): Executions 1.5 million, Gulag 5 million, Deportations 1.7 million (out of 7.5 million deported), and POW's and German civilians 1 million. Some estimates go as high as 60 million during his regime.
Number of deaths under Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69): 49,000,000 ("great leap forward" and "cultural revolution").
Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79): 1,700,000.
Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94): 1.6 million (purges and concentration camps).
Che Guavera (Cuba, 1959 - 1965): torture and execution of thousands of people in Cuban prisons, and the murder of many more peasants in the regions controlled or visited by his guerrilla forces.
Now, my question: How is it that some people can say, with true belief, that communism and socialism can work 'if only the right people were in charge,' but capitalism is just plain broken and evil?
Why can't capitalism and corporation and free market be seen as good things, "if only the right people were in charge?"
Why do lefties always want to switch to the systems that have body counts in the tens of millions?
Oh, yeah, because they're stupid and ignorant.
We've not discussed it here on DTMan. As it involves
Marines, and I am one, I will feel shame if it turns out it
happened... and yet I did not want to knee-jerk deny it happened
before I learned some facts.
And then the author does.
In other instances, the father of one of the troops, and a minister, saw no evidence of a massacre:
So I don't know. There's enough circumstantial evidence mounting up that overshadows the lack of any real evidence (beyond hearsay) that the Marines did it that I suspect it's all lies and propaganda. Former Vice President Al Gore did, after all, say that it is ok to lie if you're telling a greater truth (question 6 of the Q&A), such as the war/military is evil, etc etc, and Dan rather taught us that even if the situation is faked, it's accurate.
I'm siding with the Marines on this one.
Non-Spoiler Discussion. NO SPOILERS! Seriously!
SPOILER DISCUSSION. Ye be warned.
Regarding the world outside my property lines, that is.
1. Global religious extremism.
963. The issue of gay marriage.
What the hell?
For those who don't know, "The Pirate Bay" dot org was an indexing website for torrent users (a torrent is a method of distributing downloaded files over many users, thus reducing the bandwidth limitation of any one user). When I say it was an "indexing" website I mean just that.... it was the internet equivalent of a card catalog in a library. No actual books or content, it just told you where to find it.
In the meantime, The Pirate Bay has moved their servers to a
country that as of yet isn't under the control of the American
motion picture industry, and is sailing again, albeit with a new
I never use Pirate Bay myself, of course. In fact, don't click on that picture. It is a hyperlink to the Pirate Bay site, and using their indexing service may not be legal where you live. So don't click on it. Ye be wahrn'd, arrr.
This isn't really a book review so much as a discussion of what I think is a very allegorical story; however I will be discussing plot points from the book, so there will be spoilers.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR CELL BY STEPHEN KING.
In a nutshell, the story is about how, somehow, a "virus" all of a sudden went out over the cellular phone system, and anyone using a cell phone at or after a certain time became, in effect, a zombie. Of course people didn't figure this out at first, so civilization essentially ended at that time when people jumped on their cell phones to figure out what was going on. Small groups of "normies," normal humans, emerged from people who didn't own cell phones, forgot to carry them that day, figured out what was going on before using their phones (etc). Those who were brain-wiped became known as "phonies." The book was excellent and it was a page turner with the end-of-the-world vibe of The Stand. I read it cover to cover in about 20 hours, including 7 or so that I slept. That is atypical for me, any more.
Anyway, what I see as the allegory:
The "phonies" begin to organize, and develop a telepathic hive mind. A group of "normies," heading to Maine to find out whether or not one of the members of the group's 8 year old son survived "The Pulse," as they called the brain-wiping signal, stumbles upon a group of 1000 "phonies" during their daily rest period, and torch them. Being telepathic, though, the group is able to send a signal to the rest of the hive mind describing what happened. This makes our heroes hunted by the hive mind, though really they are to have vengeance wrought upon them.
The hive mind also enlists the aide of other frightened "normies." In exchange for a promise of protection, these "normies" begin to stand guard over the "phonies" during their rest period, so they can't be torched. The "normies" also gladly follow the telepathic transmission to march, like "cows in a slaughterhouse chute," to a certain town in Maine where they can live in peace... though what happens is that they line up in an orderly fashion while "phonies" hand them a cell phone and allow them to "call a loved one." The normal people are so frightened they just do it, Jonestown-style.
The "phonies" kill normal people every day, yet they can still find normal people willing to protect them. If this isn't an allegory for present-day civilization versus radical Islam, I don't know what is. Every single day there are vows from terrorists to kill as many "Christians" and "Zionists" as possible, and yet every single day we are told by our own people with the microphones that really it is the westerners who are evil, and deserve it.
At one point in the story a group of "normies" taunts our heroes, blaming them for fighting back and upsetting a live-and-let-live balance... which is anything but. The 15 year old girl of our group screams back at them, "At least we did something." She is killed by "regular" people for her trouble.
However history writes about America's war against terrorist fascism, at least we did something.
So, it's my guess that King approves of the war against the middle-eastern barbarians, even if he does slam FEMA pretty hard in the book... and this was written post-Katrina, as that event is mentioned. This novel, written after a rumor that he was done writing, seems to speak directly to the present-day situation in the war between Civilization and The Barbarians, and how quick otherwise intelligent people are to march off to the slaughtering pens, and not only that, bring as many of us along with them as they can.
Or it could just be about cell phone created zombies. At the end it has a quick bio, "Stephen King lives in Maine with his wife Tabitha, yaddah yaddah..." and at the end it closes with, "He does not own a cellular phone."
I like political cartoons, but I'm not patient enough to make anything nice. Instead of something nice, here's the first installment of Stick Figure Theatre:
Stick Figure Theatre
Thank you! Thank you very much!
Discussion of this case, including evidence that the black stripper is lying and has a history of making unfounded allegations and that the district attorney bought himself his reelection by pandering to the racist undercurrent of Durham's black "community" and that there isn't any DNA evidence linking any of the college students who have been arrested is already underway in the feedback thread.
This year, citing the Supreme Court's decision, a town in California seized 17 acres of Walmart's land. Had the land been blighted? Had Walmart failed to keep vagrants, prostitutes and drug dealers from taking over their land?
Nope. A Walmart store just isn't pretty enough.
The Hercules, Calif., land in question consists of a 17-acre stretch next to new homes, offering a view of the San Pablo Bay. The city did not want Wal-Mart to be the centerpiece of its planned waterfront.
This Memorial Day weekend, while I continue to mourn the U.S. Consitution, I was planning to spend some time doing home improvements. But, if the land can simply be taken from me whenever the city wants, why bother? Guess I'll just drink beer and eat hamburgers instead.
Dennis Hastert (House Speaker) has stated that the FBI took the wrong path. Justice is the wrong path? Investigating a possible criminal is the wrong path? Or was it just walking through Capitol Hill that made it wrong?
On Monday, both Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Hastert said they were "very concerned" about the search, which was conducted under a warrant issued by a federal judge.
Sure, the FBI, acting on information and HAVING A WARRANT causes concern, apparently more than warantless wire-tapping and tracking American phone calls.
And, it gets worse...
Hastert said the search was the first time a lawmaker's office had been searched in U.S. history. "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years," Hastert said on Monday.
Yes. Hastert is so upset, he's forgotten how to use the English language. Hey Denny, here's a hint.
House Majority Leader John Boehner also chimed in.
House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said Tuesday that "the congress will clearly speak to this issue of the justice department's invasion of the legislative branch. In what form I don't know." "I've got to believe at the end of the day it's going to end up across the street, at the Supreme Court," Boehner said. "I don't see anything short of that."
Invasion? Supreme Court? Have you lost your mind? Are you that far above the law? Is it not bad enough to abuse the Constitution, fail to understand it's constraints on Federal government and basically implement your will on the nation as you see fit?
And lest I be accused of focusing on Republicans, Nancy Pelosi also spoke up.
"Our founders in their wisdom placed this separation of powers into our Constitution, not to put anyone above the law but to protect the American people of the abusive power of the executive branch," Pelosi said.
Yes, having a warrant and searching an office is CLEARLY a violation of the Constitution. Nancy, you wouldn't know a violation of the U.S. Consitution if it bit your liberal, retarded ass.
I'm not a fan of AG Alberto Gonzalez, but I have to agree with him on this matter:
"It is true it's never been done before, and the reason isn't because there's never been corruption in Congress ... but because before, we were able to reach accommodation or agreement to get the information, the evidence we needed through subpoena," Gonzales said. "And through variety of reasons, that could not occur here." "At the end of day, the decision was made that this was essential to move forward with that investigation," he said.
Congress, listen up. It's called Justice, and all 435 of you could use some.
Why do I constantly hear about schools needing more funding?
About athletic programs, music classes, and even physical education being cut because some school levy or another didn't pass?
Why doesn't anyone realize what horseshit that is?
Why doesn't anyone realize that for the better part of 200 years Americans kids could expect an outstanding education in government schools that receive a fraction of the funding they get today, even with inflation figured in?
How much do you really think it cost per student to run a 1-room schoolhouse in 1880 which lost kids after the 8th grade to become farmers but already with an education a high school graduate doesn't receive today?
I have my own theory, but it will upset people. I'll keep it to myself and maybe mention it in the feedback thread.
Nah, screw that: most parents no longer give a shit, and bloated school boards made incompetent by protective teachers unions and impotent by the threats of lawsuits brought on by money seeking, new-age hippy "hugs not spankings" idiot asshole hippy "I have 2 dads" parents. Most parents (when they have time to be parents) don't give a shit about the 8 hour daycare their kids attend and the schools can't properly raise and discipline them for fear of getting sued.
At least the illegal Mexicans bring with them some sort of work ethic and familial structure.
This country is fucked. Truly. I think it's beyond fixing.
Been seeing a lot of Cannes coverage via diffusion lately, discussion about past "darlings" like the "Best Fantasy" winner Fahrenheit 9/11, etc. It got me to thinking about how easy it would be to make a movie that would fit into that particular crowd, and Hollywood in general.
First and foremost, call your picture, Every Intelligent Person Knows America Sucks. This is absolutely certain to win an award in France even if the entire movie consists of an opening title shot followed immediately by closing credits. Nobody in Cannes will need to see the movie because every intelligent person truly knows America sucks, so it must be a good and accurate movie made by an intellectual, just like them. People like to hear their own opinions backed up by other like minded individuals. Helps keep them from having to deal with their prejudices being attacked. By saying "every intelligent person knows..." you eliminate having to consider anyone with an opposing viewpoint as a person. They obviously aren't intelligent, and are therefore inferior to you, and please pass caviar.
In EIPKAS, we need some content. Easy targets will include people who enjoy NASCAR, drinking beer, hunt, vote Republican, are Christian, or otherwise don't live in a large city, or, god forbid, the fly-over states. These people don't have easy access to the big media outlets so it is easy to attack them with impunity. All they can really do is vote with their... votes... at election time, so what we also need to do is put in a lot of baseless allegations that Republican-won elections are fixed by coercion, fraud, and rigged electronic voting machines. Make sure we erode symbols of America's strength. When people think of cowboys, make them think of buttsex in a gay cowboy movie. When they read the name John Wayne, make sure they read "archaic symbol of 50's celluloid manliness" with it. Hell, when they see a thunderstorm make them think about global warming, Halliburton, and the unsigned Kyoto Protocols. The more we repeat these things the more we make them true. The elections are obviously rigged, and if they aren't then the voters obviously are stupid and shouldn't be trusted with enfranchisement. They only hurt themselves, poor things. They're really kind of like pets, aren't they? Stupid, NASCAR watching, beer swilling pets. That own guns. Hey, can we talk about evil guns in our movie?
And finally, we need to offer a solution to this problem of America sucking so darned much. The first obvious solution is to see what the rest of the world wants us to do. Since they truly have America's best interests in mind they surely should have valuable input. Next we need to make sure we are patting ourselves on the back, reiterating the fact that we really are very intelligent and obviously know what's best for everyone, and how we need to save Americans from themselves. If there's one thing an intellectual likes it is a cocoa butter handjob from another intellectual while having "you are better than everyone else, and definitely not a loser like all those high school bullies said" cooed into his ear.
Hey, maybe we can cut a deal with the theatres. Everyone who buys a ticket to our movie gets a cocoa butter handjob from one of the actors in that gay cowboy movie. That ought to get the receipts up.
So to speak.
Recently I caught an episode of Surviving Nugent on VH1 (has there been more than one episode?).
It is a reality-type show where various peeps compete for a prize in contests made up by and against the Master of Wang Dang Sweet Poontang and vocal Republican, Ted Nugent.
On the episode I saw there was a man of the homosexual persuasion in the contest. After a particular challenge which saw the gay guy victorious, Ted told the camera (from memory, this isn't exact), "I don't approve of his lifestyle, but he's a strong competitor."
The gay guy then had a moment alone to tell the camera, "Ted says he doesn't approve of my lifestyle, like it is a choice. If I really had a choice, I would have chosen a lifestyle that was a lot easier."
That comment stuck in my mind, and about a week later I figured out why:
Sexual leanings and biological impulses are not a "life style." They are just that, biological functions. Spending your weekends in gay bars looking for your next butt sex partner... that's a life style. Maybe Ted made this mistake when he called the attraction to the same sex a lifestyle. But the gay guy definitely made the mistake. No, he has no choice about who makes his dick hard. But he does have a choice about the life he leads.
I want to bang just about every hot chick that crosses my path (and a lot who don't... I'm looking at you, Salma Hayak), but I make a conscious decision not to pursue it. I chose a monogamous lifestyle.
I think that's the point Ted was making.
The other morning I was walking down the street minding my own business and whistling some Eminem when I bumped into 50 Cent, my old prep school chum.
"Fifty!" I exclaimed. "Long time, old man!"
"Indeed!" 50 replied. "It has been long and long. How are you, GORDON? How's your mother?"
"Mother is wonderful, and I can't complain, for my broker wanted me to sell short on my oil futures last quarter, and I wouldn't let him!" We both shared a hearty laugh.
After our long bout of laughter on the sidewalk, 50 asked, "To where are you perambulating this sunny morning, GORDON? Perhaps I can join you on your quest mysterious, and we can tread once again the paths of our youths in tales fair."
I was loath to answer, but I cherished my friendship with 50 too much to deceive him. "My destination is as uncomfortable as tree in the vicinity of Al Gore. For today, I visit the proctologist."
I should have expected 50's response, but I truly am so jaded by the dregs of mankind that I forget men such as he exist in the world, and walk amongst us as hidden angels amongst the fallen. He said, "I cannot bear to see you troubled so, GORDON. I will join you and we will face the backdoor discomfort together."
"50, my friend, surely I do not deserve the comradeship of one such as you. I welcome your presence and support on this day, when mine nethers will be breached most cruelly."
"Not another word, my friend" 50 replied. "It is no more than you have done for me in the past, many times over."
So we walked the last few blocks to the proctologist, discussing such sundry things as the economy, the world political situation, and quantum physics.
Finally we arrived, and insisted that we be allowed to share an examination room. 50 insisted that he be allowed to go first, in a brave show of bravery.
The doctor inserted the long metal tube into his rectum which would emit forth the camera attached to the long snake into the deepest regions of his bowels.
And really, that's all I wanted to do. I've been seeing these damned commercials for "awesome ring tones from 50 Cent free to download!" and hey show these pictures of the guy... in every one he has this look on his face that looks like he's either getting a long, deep rectal exam, he's trying to do calculus in his head, or he's being gently raped by Ferdinand the Bull and he's trying to put on a brave face.
Plus, he appeared in a video game recently called "Bulletproof," which implies that bullets bounce harmlessly off of his skin; one assumes because he's been shot, what, 9 times? That aint bulletproof, buddy. That's lucky.
Now stop annoying me.
Bill Paxton after he was a Marine but before he was a Mormon.
Was half-watching Twister this afternoon on TBS. I remember seeing it in theatres during the Clinton administration. It struck me that if the movie had been made during W's years there would have been all kinds of commentary in and out of the movie about how Bush doesn't supply enough money for tornado warning sirens, tornado study, how Halliburton gets the contract for rebuilding Wakita, and how Bush didn't sign Kyoto which causes
global warming which causes more storms which causes more tornadoes AND GODDAM THAT GODDAM BUSH.
I'm looking forward to the next Dem president so, among other things, we can have a Man vs. Nature story come out without all the political commentary. I'm looking at you, Day After Tomorrow.
You know the New Orleans movie with the feds as the bad guys
and FEMA keeping the po' folks from leaving and beating up courageous
Mayor Nagin is in the works. No proof, I just feel it like
Yes, illegal. Not undocumented. Not guests. Border runners.
It's hard to avoid the spectacle of Congress deep in a debate about how to best do nothing about the open southern border, and still get reelected. Politicians are posturing for the cameras, and illegals and their supporters are marching in the hundreds of thousands with choice catch phrases like "We are the reconquistadors" and "Excuse me, but Los Angeles belongs to us." Now Mexicans have even gone a step beyond their invasion of my country and are trying to organize a boycott of American-made goods on May 1. They even have a catchy little name for it:
Nothing Gringo on May 1
See, racism is funny and acceptable when it is a white person being degraded.
What is my answer to "Nothing Gringo Day?"
Every year for as long as I can remember I've made sure to go to a Mexican-owned restaurant on May 5 in observation of Mexican holiday "Cinco de Mayo." I'm not Mexican, but hey... one world/yaddah yaddah. This year, and from now on, I'll not be patronizing any Mexican-owned establishments. Even if they only employ legal immigrants in these establishments, I read that a large percentage of Mexican "guest worker" income goes to family south of the border. Screw that, I'm not going to support it.
They can have their little "white people suck" day, but they are no longer getting my money (outside of tax money my government gives them for various social programs).
Spread the word. Don't finance the Mexican invasion this year.
One of the great allies of developers that are the primary benefactors of these actions is usually banks. Without financing, few developers could do much development. And while the development business is small, at least one bank has said it will not support any project that involved land claimed by eminent domain.
BB&T, I am proud to say, is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just like me. After recent discussions in which banks were considered barely less evil than lawyers, BB&T's stance on this issue is a refreshing change.
Admittedly, the bank will not lose much business, but perspectives like this are increasing hard to find:
BB&T Corp., the second-biggest bank in the Washington area, said yesterday [January 25, 2006] that it will not lend money to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens through the power of eminent domain.
Check them out, if they operate in your area. Support those who support the rights of individuals.
I am more often respectful of other peoples' opinions than not. Some people prefer country music to rock. Others like white chocolate better than dark. And some even prefer the Star Wars prequels over the movie Serenity. These people are all wrong, but I respect their opinions because they are generally harmless.
But there's certain opinions I don't respect, and that is of those who maintain that the US government had something to do with the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. These people, either mentally disturbed, easily fooled, or just plain ignorant come up with all sorts of questions (already answered by more intelligent people than they) about that day that they claim are unexplained, but end up just being wrong.
The other day a person said to me, "I was watching TV with my dad that morning, and we watched both towers fall. My Dad is an engineer, and he said that there's no way two buildings would fall the exact same way from airplane impacts, and it had to be a planned demolition." I was not in a good mood that morning because I let him have it (he was also smaller than me). I answered, "Well I hope your Dad the Engineer isn't building anything that peoples' lives depend on, because he sounds pretty fucking stupid." The guy just walked away. Kids.
But this post isn't about witty ripostes. It's about clearing up common misconceptions and explaining to people why they are wrong.
I began mentally formulating this post today when I saw this video, part of Penn & Teller's "Bullshit" program, their preferred method of "Cleaning the Stalls." In it they state that 49.3% of New Yorkers feel the government had foreknowledge of the events of that day, which would mean the government had a hand in it. 49.3%. (On a side note, I'd like to know what percentage of people in NYC voted for Kerry in 2004, though I'm sure it's greater than 50%)
Now, I don't claim to understand the mentality that can be sucked in to this thought process, and therefore I have a hard time understanding "root causes," as it were. I can't point out one thing in the lives of these people and say "Fix this!" to remove the cobwebs from their eyes. All I can do is explain how it happened, and say that no, the buildings weren't designed to withstand the heat of that much burning jet fuel. No, the pattern of collapse does not prove that it was a planned demolition. And no, the Jews were not told to stay home that day.
Two planes loaded with fuel slammed into two identical buildings in approximately the same place, spreading vaporized jet fuel through several floors of each building. The fuel ignited and spread to other items commonly found in offices, namely paper products and lots of hydrocarbon-based plastic office furniture, which gives off high amounts of heat when burning. The identical buildings were built with a steel lattice framework which was designed to withstand the heat produced by the burning aircraft for a couple hours before failure... and no longer. That is exactly what they did.
A few weeks (months?) after 9/11 I remember seeing an interview with the designer of the buildings who claimed that while watching the towers burn, he knew the buildings were going to collapse.
Anyway, here are a few links which will go into great detail that which I just summarized. There are a few "civilian" sources in there to offset the government ones, in order to placate the "well of course government websites will toe the company line" idiots.
Institute Of Standards And Technology (PDF with excellent
diagrams) ( NIST
WTC Main Page )
Do I think I'll change anyones mind? Not really. These same people are likely to believe the moon landing was faked, Oswald didn't kill Kennedy, Gore won Florida in 2000, and Saddam Hussein had no connection to terrorism; nothing anyone will ever tell them will change their broken minds.
But at least now I haven't silently suffered and passively
approved of their lunacy.
Being a fervent capitalist, this doesn't really bother me. What does bother me is when other people's decisions for convenience impact me.
One of the more recent trends in birth is requesting a Caesarean section delivery. Nearly 1 out of 3 American babies are born this way, a 40% increase since 1996 (source). This trend has been driven by the number of women who are increasingly demanding a C-section, instead of vaginal birth.
Why? Let's ask Jamie Seward. (Or, just quote from NPR who actually spoke with her)
Seward says she does not regret her decision. She weighed her options carefully, and in the end she had an easy delivery with a healthy baby. She was able to begin jogging five weeks after her delivery and hasn't had any bladder problems.
So why does this bother me? Cost.
According to this site, a C-section costs $11,361 on average, versus $5,574 for a vaginal birth, more than twice the cost. Someone is making a lifestyle choice, but isn't having to pay for it. Their insurance is covering it, spreading out the cost to lots of other people.
I prefer filet mignon to hamburger. But I don't expect people to pay for the difference for me. It's my choice, it's my money. If you want a non-medically necessary c-section, fine. Just pay for it yourself.
Lots of people are anti-Wal-Mart, mainly socialists and labor unions (like there's a difference).
I've long been... well, not exactly a supporter because I've never attended the mandatory pro Wal-Mart/big business rallies that Republicans hold... but I've never been anti-Wal-Mart.
They say Wal-Mart comes to town and puts small family-owned businesses out of business? I say no, the local townspeople put them out of business because they want to shop at Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart wont unionize? Good, keeps costs low.
Wal-Mart doesn't offer health insurance? I don't really know much about that, but I do understand that it is subsidized health insurance that has made medical costs skyrocket in the last 20 years.
I've even heard it argued that Wal-Mart ultimately drives up inflation due to their practices, which in the long run means higher cost of living in general.
My family buys our groceries bi-monthly at the local Wal-Mart because they have a good selection and the prices are generally the lowest in town.
For all of you fascists who want to control where I can and can't shop, I'll make a deal with you: I'll stop purchasing groceries at Wal-Mart in exchange for a single Wal-Mart protestor covering the difference in cost of my buying groceries elsewhere. This means if I can purchase them cheaper elsewhere, I will pay you the difference for what they would have cost me at Wal-Mart. Conversely, if I need to pay more than I would have at Wal-Mart, you owe me the difference. I won't include the mileage difference since I actually pass another grocery store on the way to Wal-Mart.
I get to choose the grocery store, since I'm already giving up the one I want.
THE DIFFERENCE IN COST MUST BE PAID BY A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL, FOREVER. No organization nor government entity can ever be responsible for the debt... or receive money from my end, which ever way it goes (ha).
So there you go, anti Wal-Mart protesting community. Your big chance to put your money where your mouth is.
As I am a proper member of my family, I like food.... and lots of it.
My tastes could never be confused for those of an epicurean snob... I am a steak -n- fries kind of guy most of the time. I hate salads that contain nothing but weeds. I don't really care for "gourmet" restaurants that confuse a colorful presentation for a good meal. I've never tasted a french dish that I liked.... and I'm a guy who once ate bull testicles.
There is one axiom, however, that I've always found to be true: any given type of food in any given town will be best at a local place, not in a chain restaurant.
That axiom has held true for me until now.
Ruby Tuesday's has leapt to the front of the line for "Best Hamburger" I've found in this city, and looking back, in any other city I've lived in with the exception of Memphis, TN. There's a bar in Memphis called "The Bellmont Grille" that has a great burger... and it narrowly beats out a Ruby Tuesday's burger due to the fact that it's in a bar in a seedy part of town... my kind of place. However, where the Bellmont Grill has a great burger, Ruby Tuesday's has about 30 types of great burgers of any assortment you can think of, including buffalo burgers (I won't include a vegetarian burger, because those aren't really burgers and anyway... screw non-meat eating hippies). Ruby Tuesday even has a double burger, which is actually too big for a human to bite into. It takes a creature that can unhinge its jaw to take a proper bite into it.
So anyway, if you haven't been there, and you're a hamburger fan, give Ruby Tuesday's a shot.
Things that got linked.
Bringing Down a Nation
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