25 May 2010 @ 7:22 PM 

Chipotle shrimp tacos – oh, the burning…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 May 2010 @ 07:22 PM

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Categories: Food
 22 May 2010 @ 2:26 PM 

Senator Barack Obama, 2006:

Most of us have been willing to make some sacrifices because we know that, in the end, it helps to make us safer.  But restricting somebody’s right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.

Of course, as President in 2010, Obama has now won the right (based on a DC Circuit Court of Appeals) to do just that. His administration has decided that detaining arbitrary people at Guantanamo was beyond the pale and not to be perpetuated, but detaining arbitrary people at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is perfectly reasonable. And, the Circuit Court has said that, unlike the decision in Boumediene v. Bush (2008), no habeas appeals are needed for detainees in what any administration defines as a war zone. This ignores that Congress is the only organization allowed to declare war and they haven’t done so since 1941. So, war zones are arbitrarily defined by the executive branch, and any prison or detention facility they put there is out of the reach of all US justice, including the incredibly simple right to just have the judicial branch confirm that the executive branch has indeed detained someone with reason rather than without reason.

Change you can believe in.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2010 @ 12:23 PM

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Categories: Civil Liberties, News, Political
 19 May 2010 @ 10:11 AM 

According to an in-depth AP article today, the War on (some) Drugs is an abject failure. This should surprise just about nobody, although apparently there are some who remain shocked to find gambling at Rick’s Cafe as well.

The current Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, even admitted on record that “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful.” Naturally, his predecessor, John Walters, takes the opposite tack: “To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven’t made any difference is ridiculous. It destroys everything we’ve done. It’s saying all the people involved in law enforcment, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It’s saying all these people’s work is misguided.” Sorry to say, Mr. Walters, but you can’t change reality just by wishing it wasn’t just a giant waste of time and money.

One trillion dollars spent over forty years, in order to prove that Prohibition was not an anomaly? We’ve been inundated with “Just Say No” and DARE and other programs, yet high school kids have the same rate of drug use today as in 1970, when Nixon kicked this thing off. $450 billion has been spent to incarcerate drug offenders in federal prison (no mention of how much states spend in addition), where most data indicates incarceration leads to increased drug usage when released.

Portugal decriminalized drug use in 2001. Decriminalization is not legalization – it just means a user won’t go to jail for doing drugs; the drugs themselves remain illegal to deal. I know, strange but that’s the legal system for you. In the years since, HIV infections from dirty needles have dropped by 70%, and drug overdoses have dropped by 30%. Also, the rate of young people using drugs has dropped, and the number of people seeking drug treatment has doubled. 10% of Portuguese have used marijuana in their lifetimes; in the USA that number is close to 40%.

The United States has 5% of the world population but 25% of the world’s prisoners. We must be doing something wrong.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 May 2010 @ 10:12 AM

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 17 May 2010 @ 1:20 PM 

Anyone who has flown in the past 8 years or so has grown accustomed to the ever-increasing indignities inflicted on the airline passenger of today. We can’t have more than 3 oz of liquids, we have to remove our shoes, we can’t have a knife as dangerous as the ones they hand out in Business Class to spread butter with, etc.

There are a few things that most people don’t know but may cause you to wonder if the security apparatus is really intended to do anything other than look impressive, while failing utterly to be impressive once investigated more deeply. For example, airline pilots and crew must go through the exact same security screening to get on the plane as passengers. Some pilots and crew find this a bizarre and pointless ceremony, but at least there is consistency. In the inconsistent column, airport workers don’t have to go through the same screening as passengers and crew. They undergo background checks, and then are essentially given the keys to the back rooms of the airport. You’d think, if maniacally checking everyone that enters the plane and stays onboard is so important, checking the people who enter the plane and then get off again would be more important.

But, there’s a great story out today that is even more mind-boggling than inconsistent and simply silly security rules: a man piloted jumbo jets for thirteen years with no passenger pilot’s license.  Back in the 1960s, Frank Abagnale was able to bluff his way into such situations, but that was in the days before Google. To be fair, Thomas Salme did indeed have an expired commercial pilot’s license, but that’s for things like UPS planes. He racked up over 10,000 hours of accident-free passenger flights over his thirteen years, so I guess we could do worse.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 17 May 2010 @ 01:20 PM

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 14 May 2010 @ 9:02 AM 


Youtube Video for the Facebook folks, since apparently Zuckerberg strips out the video embeds.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 14 May 2010 @ 09:02 AM

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 13 May 2010 @ 7:37 AM 

Here are a couple families that I can only assume will host every sleepover for a couple of years.
A man built his son an AT-AT loft bed with escape hatch in the play area above.

Another man decided to go completely insane and built a three-bed bunk with an even more-detailed model of an AT-AT.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 13 May 2010 @ 07:37 AM

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Categories: Geek, Video
 12 May 2010 @ 8:13 AM 

I can’t relate to this comic at all.  Nope, not me.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 12 May 2010 @ 08:13 AM

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Categories: asides, Funny Stuff
 11 May 2010 @ 10:13 AM 

Elena Kagan – uninspiring choice or “change” you can’t detect?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2010 @ 12:23 PM

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Categories: News, Political
 10 May 2010 @ 3:38 PM 

A fishing competition in Texas ended in accusations of cheating, which is probably common. What is less common is that the guy accused tried to get away with making his “winning” catch heavier by putting a one-pound lead weight in it.  I can just imagine how busted he felt when the fish sank when it was dropped in a tank at the judging booth.  Oops.  And, since it was a contest with a $55000 boat as the prize, it’s a felony.  Double oops.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 May 2010 @ 03:38 PM

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Categories: Funny Stuff, Stupid People
 06 May 2010 @ 8:43 AM 

Produced by Robert Rodriguez, starring Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan…and Danny Trejo in Machete!

Update: 20th Century Fox removed the trailer.  Way to destroy the buzz for a movie, you marketing masters!
Update2: Ain’t it Cool still has the clip on their site.

This is one seriously bizarre-looking killfest of a movie. And I think Robert Rodriguez dislikes Arizona’s new law.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 07 May 2010 @ 06:47 PM

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 04 May 2010 @ 1:16 PM 

Senator McCain, a man I once thought a decent and honorable human being, has become so enmeshed in the GOP machine he decried and rebelled against in previous decades, that he now says the law should be ignored when arresting American citizens for crimes in the USA. Astonishing.

Specifically, McCain says we should not inform suspects of their Constitutional rights if we think they’re guilty of terrorism. He says nothing about other crimes. What proves he’s engaging in simple “dog whistle” politics instead of actually saying anything of substance is that “Mirandizing” a suspect does not imbue them with any rights they didn’t already have. The only thing reading that list of Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights does is immunize the police from having confessional evidence thrown out in court. McCain must know these things, or he’s lost so much of his mental capacity the people of Arizona should remove him from office.

Let me state this very plainly for those who can’t remember their social studies and civics classes. The suspected incompetent NYC bomber, Faisal Shahzad, possesses certain rights from the mere fact of his being a legal resident and naturalized citizen of this country. Not telling him of those rights does not remove the rights. And, if he’s anything like the rest of us, he’s heard a version of the “Miranda Statement” a jillion times, besides being a naturalized citizen means he probably has actually studied the Constitution more than most natural-born citizens. But, and this is an important point, if the police fail to read him his rights and he then says something which could be considered incriminating, a judge may (not must, but may) disallow that statement from testimony. It all comes down to doing things the right way, so as to be more certain that a trial will bring about justice.

Meanwhile, Representative King (R-NY) says we should carefully consider where to place Mr. Shahzad before we indict him. I suppose that means the Congressman wants to leave open the possibility of sending Shahzad to a military detention facility and face a tribunal instead of a trial. Interestingly, those tribunals are incredibly inefficient, convicting only 3 people in nearly a decade – two of those people were later released during the Bush administration. During that same period, over 300 people were tried and convicted of terrorism charges in federal civilian courts. Sure seems to me, if you want to actually lock someone up for terrorism, you should try them in a federal court and lock them up in a federal super-maximum security prison when convicted. Nobody has ever escaped from a supermax prison. Ever.

Senator McCain would like to leave open the possibility that Shahzad will be released due to a piece of legal legerdemain, and Rep. King would like to lock Shahzad up in the most bizarre excuse for a legal system ever. Could the GOP come up with someone else to speak for them, please? It’s embarrassing, really.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 May 2010 @ 01:16 PM

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AZ

 
 01 May 2010 @ 10:07 PM 

Say you’re a Latino living in Arizona, who has a “contact” with the police.  They think you may be an illegal alien, and ask for your identification.  Turns out, there’s no law requiring any citizen to actually possess or carry identification with them.  What’s the next step for the police?

Oh, and by the way, police have always been allowed to check the immigration status of suspects, this just allows them to check the status of other people who have “contact” with the police.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 May 2010 @ 10:07 PM

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