Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy [chat]sgiving.

Remember to take a moment to think about all you are thankful for. I am thankful for pies and term limits.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stupidest Litigation Evar

The Romantics are suing Activision for covering their song too well. Activision is not being sued for music they did not pay for, but are instead being sued because their cover sounds too much like the original.

I can't imagine this going too far, especially considering that GH denotes that it isn't the actual band in question at the start of the song. I'm just amazed at the gall of this band.

Second Amendment.

While I am not a Constitutional Scholar I am a native speaker of the English Language. So I think that with regard to sentences written in English I have some ability to assess them and discern their meaning. That being said, here is the Second Ammendment to the Constitution:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

It does not seem to be a sentence so much as it is four clauses:
1 A well regulated Militia
2 being necessary to the security of a free State
3 the right of the people to keep and bear Arms
4 shall not be infringed

Is that even a sentence? I know that it is four clauses. But do these four clauses a sentence make? And since there are four clauses, which is the main clause? What are those other clauses doing?

Here are some possible combinations I have devised in the three minutes in which I have thought about this:

A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, shall not be infringed.
A well regulated Militia, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

Which is the correct read? I think it depends on what is the main clause and what the other clauses are doing. Is the primary focus on militias? Is the primary focus on the right to keep and bear arms?

I think the "being necessary to the security of a free state" is the primary focus, the main concept being stressed. The rest of it modifies and clarifies, through a lack of clarity, what is necessary.

My guess is that the focus is not "Everyone ever ought to have guns always" but rather "States need to be Free" and the result of that is that gun ownership is required. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog of Agglutination

Entry #8

Well, if Mike Franc says it's true...

I was reading the conservapedia and found a link to an article entitled, "The Reality of Thanksgiving" on (Leading the Conservative Movement since 1944).

I was surprised to learn that the Conservative Movement had access to the tubal interwebs since 1944 but more surprising was the information that Thanksgiving is actually a celebration of the triumph of Plymouth Colony over communism. From the article:

"But the Pilgrims’ triumph over hunger and poverty at Plymouth Colony can be traced to something more than the charitable gestures of a few local Indians. Rather, it involves their courageous decision to replace a failed, socialistic agricultural system with one informed by the free-market principle of private ownership of property"

Note the use of the word "Indians" as opposed to "filthy savages". The Conservative movement has truly come a long way.

Anyway, the article explains that Plymouth Colony suffered great hardships until "the colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called 'communism'.” I always thought that the problems of Plymouth Colony were malnutrition and death, but apparently a socialist ideology was the true culprit. This evil force was that solved by applying liberal (get it?)amounts of free-market capitalism which allowed the colony to thrive.

The article cites no external sources to verify its claims which is fine I guess. I can't imagine that Mike Franc, vice president of Government Relations at The Heritage Foundation, would lie to anyone about anything.


One mother's epic Attempt to Boycott China is covered in this article.

This thing is gold. It's drenched with alarmist idiocy, irrational self-imposed rules, and has enough "but I meant well" to absolve Hitler of everything he ever did minus that one painting of a boat.

And people wonder why no one wants to join the military!!!

This was on Fark. I'm outraged at the U.S. Government because of crap like this. If this were any other job wouldn't we give them disability pay or workman's comp. This is just ridiculous!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Maus is in da house!

This wont last long....

Mike Huckabee: Hates your Freedom

Mike Huckabee is running an ad featuring Chuck Norris as his plan for Securing the Borders.

Before you start thinking of Mike Huckabee as a jovial guy with whom you would share a beer and swap Chuck Norris jokes please read the political positions of Mike Huckabee.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Mike Huckabee would personally rape you and force you to keep the child. But...

Q: South Dakota had some proposed legislation to outlaw all abortion except saving the life of a mother, no exceptions for rape or incest. You said you'd sign that. Why?

A: I always am going to err on the side of life. I believe life is precious. I hav been in the pro-life camp since I was a teenager. It's because of my view that God is the creator and instigator of life. But those of us in the pro-life movement have to do also some expanding. Life begins at conception but it doesn't end at birth. And if we're really pro-life we have to be concerned about more than just the gestation period. [My administration] passed pro-life legislation, but we also did things that improved the environmental quality that would affect a child's air and water; that he had a better education, & better access to affordable health care. So I think that real pro-life people need to be concerned about affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, access to a college education. That, for me, is what pro-life has to mean.

Source: Meet the Press: Meet the Candidates 2008 series Jan 28, 2007

Animal Rights

I don't understand Animal Rights. So when I read that Japanese whalers are hunting Humpbacks and hear my fellow employees talk about the deer they shot over the weekend I become confused and irritable as a result of not knowing what I think of these activities. I am sad that a deer died. But is this saddness rational? I am sad that whales have harpoons thrust into them. But is this saddness rational? Let's find out.

I enjoy eating venison. This means that I condone the killing of deer for to eat venison and not condone the killing of deer is absurd. But surely the basis of Animal Rights cannot be what I do or do not enjoy; "I like it so it is ok" is nonsense. So what precident would allow me to accept and condone the killing of deer? Ducks.

Ducks are ominvores. This means that ducks devour everything. One can argue that the existence of ducks sets a precident for beings consuming other beings. If a duck can devour a snail, or, hell, a deer (I don't know what ducks eat) then it ought also to be fine for a human being to devour a deer. This follows for anything else one would consume. Since ducks devour everything all things exist in such a state as to be devoured by ducks. Since ducks are not the only omnivores it seems sensible to say that all things exists in a state such that omnivores may devour them.

So, ducks, and by extention human beings, can devour everything. But with regard to "rights" one must ask whether or not beings ought to or should devour everything. This brings us to whales.

Japanese Kamikaze Moon People consume whale. I assume this is the result of being stuck on an island and basically stealing their entire culture from China, but I digress. So what of the Japanese Whale hunters? Greenpeace is attempting to sabotage the hunt. But why? Why would killing whales be "bad"? I don't know.

And that's the problem. I don't know what the foundation is for determining right and wrong with regard to harming/killing/eating animals. Is it a question of cuteness or neatness? Whales and otters are neat so we oughtn't eat them; cows are not neat so they may be consumed. Is it a question of killing/harming living beings? Then what of slugs, carpenter ants, termites, or brown people? If killing or harming living beings is bad oughtn't we never kill or harm a living being? Is it a question of rarity? Humpback whales are decreasing in number so we ought to avoid killing them? Is that a sensible system? Why not just kill all of the whales to simplify everything?

What of dog fighting? What of abusive pet owners? What of gigantic chain pet shops which mass-produce small woodland creatures for the purpose of suffering neglect while spurring the sale of pet foods? How does one assess these things?

Is it based upon empathy? Is it based upon rationality? Is it based upon an ideal, a hope, a desire? Is it based upon utility? Is it even possible to use ducks as a precident or are the actions of animals somehow divorced from our system of establishing rights? But then, if the actions of ducks are not a part of the system by which rights are established how could ducks themselves be a part of that system of rights?

It does not seem as if there is any sensible rule by which one can make decisions of this nature. Thoughts?

Reason's to love Fark

Thus Spoke Screen Cap of the Day:


Sunday, November 18, 2007

I hate things.

Let's clarify from the beginning that I am not attempting to incite a flame war but rather I am simply hateful.

A few weeks ago my mom was struck by clarity and rationality and so decided that all of her problems could be solved by recarpeting the entire house. This means that every room must be emptied so that the old carpet can be removed and new carpet can be laid upon the floor. As a result of moving all of the everything inside of the house this past week I have learned a few things about myself and the world.

1) Aesthetics are dumb.
I've said it before but now I fully believe it. Aesthetics which do not also have utility are dumb. Doorjams with chunks missing are still doorjams. Walls with deep rips and tears in them still serve the purpose of walls. Stained carpet can still fully exhibit whatever utility carpet has. And FUCK wallpaper. Paint your walls white and be done with it. And if we aren't to the point where we can collectively throw aesthetics off of the social boat then some rich, popular asshole needs to declare that it is now "in" for houses to exhibit the "post modern" quality of being ripped to shit.

2) I don't want heavy things.
My dad and I had the pleasure of moving all of the heavy things in the house. Doing so has led to the realization that one does not need these things in order to live. So among the things I will never own are large televisions, pianos, dressers, desks, wardrobes, sofas, billiard tables, or anything else that weights over 200 pounds. If I cannot lift it by myself then it is not going into my room/apartment/house.

3) I don't want things.
Right now my room contains a mattress and a box with my laptop on top of it. This is enjoyable. This is pleasant. So it is entirely possible that sometime this week I may sell/give away/throw away/burn all of my worldly posessions and keep my laptop and my box. I may fill my room with plants. I'm not sure yet. But everything I can easilly get out of the house is going to Goodwill. Because I'm pretty sure that none of those items ever made my life any better.


With the imminent release of the Dragon Ball movie, I've been wondering what kind of precedent there is for feature-length and widely distributed live-action movies based on anime. I can think of a few, but only a few, and on the whole I would say that they were not very good, regardless of whether they were made in Japan or America.

In the interest of giving these things another chance, I watched Tetsujin 28, the 2005 live-action Japanese movie based on the late 50s manga / early 60s anime series with the same name (known in the US as Gigantor). It was a fairly poorly constructed film, but I have to give it some credit for not trying too hard to "update" Gigantor, an effort made by many moviemakers in adapting an older property to film.

Not that there's anything inherently wrong with updating a story for a modern audience, so many stories are, after all, little more than modifications of ancient forms, but the problem as I see it is that the movies are attempting to update something that is still relatively modern, and so the updating seems largely unnecessary and therefore unwanted.

Take Casshern, for example. The hero of the original spends most of his time fighting against an artificially intelligent robot and its army of robotic creations. The hero of the film adaptation fights against genetic experiments who find an army of robots. There are still plenty of robot fights, but I can't figure out why they decided to make the principal antagonists non-robotic, unless they felt that gene therapy was "in" and would therefore "speak" to "today's audience" the way robots did thirty years ago. I don't agree with their decision, but I think I can see what they were trying for. Make the property relevant, or something. And really, if they had made it better than the original, then I'd probably be all for it, but it's significantly worse, and relies on plot points like "and then they fucking find a robot army".

Tetsujin's updates aren't nearly as offensive or poorly executed. The robot gets a few extra abilities and an improved method of control (Tetsujin is operated via remote control, so it's critical that the operator find a place to stand where he is both safe and able to see what's going on. (See: Robot Alchemic Drive for an accurate simulation of this control scheme) The film puts a camera in the robot's head and it transmits visual information to a headset worn by the operator. A smart move). Those changes make sense, and anticipate and address some of the suggestions a 2005 viewer might make for the 1950s design.

But frankly I would rather they not put even those sorts of changes into these movies, and just leave the damn thing alone. This is mostly because I can't help but think that whatever movie is made is the one shot at film these properties are going to get in my lifetime, so it'd better be good. Obviously this may not turn out to be the case, but I can't understand why they would make "updated" versions first instead of doggedly accurate ones, when there is the rest of mankind's future to make those reimaginings.

So here's hoping Dragon Ball gets a little respect, and some guy who thinks he knows more than the creators did doesn't cock it all up (See: Peter Jackson's Faramir).