matt | December 31, 2005
So, since I'm commuting, I'm actually listening to the radio for an hour or so each day. I have a portable music player, and have been listening to Tales From The Afternow, but now that I've worked through that, I started listening to AM talk radio. Two weeks later, and I'm tired of that. So, I installed iPodder and hooked up the Hydrogen Economy to grab those. Now, I listen to Rant Radio at work (which I like), but there's just too much crap I'm not interested on on Rhode Island terrestrial radio.
So, I need more. Ideally, what I'm looking for is interesting music, even better, some decent talk radio subjects. Those of you who know me know what I'm in to. Suggest away.
matt | December 29, 2005
Sabin sent me the following:
What does your new religion of “don’t-be-a-dick-ianity” say about this behavior?
‘Honor’ killings shock Pakistan
To which I replied:
My religion doth state:
While Western civilization is not without it’s black marks in this
regard (adulteress == witch, scarlet lettering, etc.), enourmous strides
have been made in the past couple centuries towards curbing this type of
Similarly, the Chinese and Japanese cultures have had changes in the
cultural ideas as “women as property” and the cultural ramifications of
Now, while it is unfair to judge a whole culture by the actions of one
man (and indeed, one who is being prosecuted for his crimes), there is
most definitely a strong opinion of women as property and second-class
citizens in the Arab world (nicely addressed by an episode of “American
Dad” where Stan gets stationed in Saudi Arabia). Indeed, many Muslims
(both men and women) are of the opinion that treating men and women
equally is a bad thing from a cultural and societal perspective.
In this regard (the treatment of women), I think that Western
civilization, non-Muslim Eastern Civilization, and, hell, basically the
rest of the world, while not necessarily perfect, is vastly superior to
Muslim civilization. This may make me a cultural bigot. I am perfectly
comfortable with this.
Now, with regards to this specific individual, I think two in the chest
and one in the head will suffice.
Discuss, if you like.
matt | December 20, 2005
If you travel, for business, and need your stuff covered (Laptops, projectors, etc.) plus some other supplementary coverages, then we just added a new insurance product to our lineup – we are now carrying CSA's “Business Executive” policies.
You can read more here
The big thing about this (not mentioned in the overview linked to above) is that the baggage coverages are $5,000, which is way more than most leisure travel products.
matt | December 19, 2005
Everyone is up in arms about the whole “presidential wiretap” thing. Here's my take on it:
What did people expect? Between the PATRIOT act, and, gee, I don't know, everything that's happened with the FBI and all the other intelligence agencies in the past 75 years?
Think about it – when you give governments the ability to do something, the only thing stopping them from doing it is their own restraint, which invariably erodes over time.
The only way to stop this from happening would be to stop the government from having the ability to wiretap, hence my use of crypto as often as possible. (Here's my PGP key for those who are interested).
“But, but, then the evil terrorists will attack us because we don't have surveillance”.
Yeah, and if we are constantly living in fear and having our whole lives monitored, then they already have.
matt | December 13, 2005
Some items in the news which I feel are worthy of some discussion.
- Yet another study which says that video games desensitise people to images of violence.
For the time being, let’s just ignore whether or not this is accurate, and assume that it is. What is so bad about that? Maybe this is a balancing factor for the ongoing pussification of America. You know, the whole “violence is not the answer/take back the night but no one should have guns” crowd. Maybe it’s just me, and I grew up in a more rural area, and am close enough to the cycle of life to be aware of it. I look at the Peta “meat is murder, look at these poor animals” and I don’t feel anything other than a rumble of hunger in my stomach, because dead animals are good.
- I’ve been listening to AM talk radio on the way home. One of the shows is the Randi Rhodes show. She (and everyone else) is talking about the “Cycle of Death”, because of this Stanley Williams fellow, who started the Cripps and was executed for some murders he committed twenty years ago.
I guess that her basic idea is that since he’s written a few children’s books while on death row, somehow he’s redeemed himself and has some value now, and killing him hasn’t gotten us anything else.
I have a slightly different take on it:
HE KILLED FOUR PEOPLE. For this he was sentenced to die. It is only because of the architecture of our criminal justice system that he sat on death row for twenty years. (I’m avoiding using words like “inefficiency” here, because I don’t have any suggestions on how to improve it. Suffice to say that the nature of it causes there to be a lag from when someone is sentenced to death and when the sentence is carried out). If our system was a little quicker, he wouldn’t have had a chance to write these nice books. However, I’m sure that if that was the case, they would have found something else to complain about with it. Maybe how the justice system is racially biased because the majority of people convicted of crimes are black. Maybe because more black people (for whatever reasons) commit crimes? But no, you can’t say that, that’s politically incorrect.
- The other thing that Ms. Rhodes said was something to the effect of “The world isn’t going to let us get away with our invasion of Iraq, and China/Russia/etc. are going to come and attack us”.
I call bullshit, for a couple reasons. First, I don’t think they care. They have enough to worry about. Second, it would be suicide. It would be as bad as it would have been if we had invaded the Japanese Home Islands in WWII. Hell, it probably would be worse, because we folks in the US are ARMED, wheras the Japanese weren’t.
- Ms. Rhodes also was talking about how much this war was costing, and how bad the deficit is, and how much the Republicans are costing the country, and similar. Now, she’s right, it is costing us a lot. However, in the previous breath, she was talking about how the evil Republicans want to cut back on food stamps, education, medicare, etc.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
– The constitution says that the government has the right to wage war.
– The constitution makes NO provisions for education, welfare, medicare, and all this other socialist shit.
Ergo, the Republicans are actually spending money in line with the constitution.
Now, that said, I tend to agree that we’re spending too much money, but I think that we could cut our defense budget in half simply by good accounting packages. According to some statistics on a GAO report which I read, none of the various facets of the DoD can actually account for what money they spend from their budgets. If this is to be believed, it’s something like three quarters of our federal budget, where we have no idea where it went, aside from “to the DoD”. We, as taxpayers, need to demand more.
I think that's it for now.
matt | December 8, 2005
Maxpedition makes some cool bags. Not sure if I'll get any, because Sportsman's Guide has a pile of cheap stuff (as always), but hey, seems like a decent company to plug.
The community seems interesting.
So, Liz doesn't seem to have a problem with the survivalist stuff. This is good. It means I don't have to feel guilty or hide anything from her, and she'll keep me in line if I get a little too nutty. For example: I realize that I don't NEED an East German AK-47 bayonet. This is not a survival thing, but merely a toy. I don't need a WWI trench knife either, it's just badass.
However, I realize that these things are silly. Bouncing ideas off of Liz, however, makes me realize that the ones that I think are good ideas might be silly.
I dug out my compass today. Why do I have one? Because everyone should. Why did I dig it out? Well, we're talking about going hiking in the woods. Noting the bearing which you head out makes it easier to get back.
We've also talked about maybe getting some lightweight aluminum snowshoes. I found some cheap ones for less than $75. Might do that. Not sure. We'll have to see.