Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Future of Tyranny

AP: "Taking a trip during the holidays isn't the only time that people might get a full-body scan to pass through security. People heading to court to testify, get a restraining order, pay a ticket or answer criminal charges could also face a full-body scan at courthouses.
The U.S. Marshals Service, which is in charge of protecting federal judges nationwide, is exploring their use at federal courthouses. And two state courthouses in Douglas and El Paso counties in Colorado have already deployed full-body scanners that use radio waves to detect all objects on a person, including paper.
A guard in a separate room monitors the gray images with pixelated faces and genital areas, and the images aren't stored on a computer. officials said. All visitors to the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo., undergo full-body scans, while guards at the El Paso County Judicial Center in Colorado Springs use the scanners during peak hours."

The US Marshalls? The same agency that stored the images of 35,000 US citizens photographed with the back scatter devices?? The machines being pushed by former head of 'Homeland Security' Michael Chertoff for his own profit?

All of that. They have lied to us in recent memory, but full steam ahead with more of these uncompromising, malignant machines.

Need an example of what these machines can do(NSFW And if you know any women in your family, this is one heck of a picture to see. If, however, you are unaware of the existence of women upon the face of the earth, please do avoid this link)?
Gizmodo has the scoop, with over 100 individual examples put online, with the identifying features removed from the photos.

Remember, this new wave of pat down horror stories (Like clothes off searches of 5 year old boys) are being created on purpose, designed to push an agenda of the public using the backscatter imaging systems as the lesser of two evils. The obvious way to keep your junk clear of the infections gloves of TSA agents is to just have a machine take a picture of you naked, but unobtrusively and quickly.

The public will settle for the lesser of two evils, and in the mind of many, that is the Rapiscan devices. Its clever, if brutal, manipulation of the crowds by the US government. Even the outrage right now will almost inevitably lead to that. 

The next step? Installing these Iris scanners simultaneously with these machines. Already installed in Mexican municipalities, its easy to see a future for them stateside. Capable of reading 50 individuals a minute, even persons running through the machine at full speed.
Fast Company:
"The devices range from large-scale scanners like the Hbox (shown in the airport-security prototype above), which can snap up to 50 people per minute in motion, to smaller scanners like the EyeSwipe and EyeSwipe Mini, which can capture the irises of between 15 to 30 people per minute.
I tested these devices at GRI's facilities in New York City last week. It took less than a second for my irises to be scanned and registered in the company's database. Every time I went through the scanners after that--even when running through (because everybody runs, right, Tom Cruise?) my eyes were scanned and identified correctly. (...Welcome Austin," the robotic voice chimes.)"

Combine these with the suddenly acceptable-because-they-are-the-lesser-of-evils option Naked Body Scanners in Airports, Trains, subways, and possibly worst of all, courtrooms?
O'Brien would be proud.

When you can no longer enter a court of law to defend or to prosecute, the contract with society and the right to remain an individual with your own secrets is broken. There can be few moral reasons for a government to exist that requires those who formed it to strip naked and identify with a database before having the formal protections of the law.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In America, Head of a Household of 4 Earning Minimum Wage > Earning 60k

This chart really explains it, better then I can hope to articulate. 

Hat Tip to ZeroHedge. An excellent write up as well. 

Please note the disparity of the worker earning the bottom level on the chart, essentially working one week a month at minimum wage is earning 92% of the level of the 60k a year individual, who is presumably working full time. 

Even this seasoned blogger is incredulous. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ron Paul Earns My Respect Yet Again

The best sales pitch for this new bill: (Thank you Cspan for making this all Caps Lockified)

"But the bill that I have introduced will take care of it. It is very simple. It is one paragraph long. It removes the immunity from anybody in the Federal government that does anything that you or I can't do.
If you can't grope another person and if you can't X-ray people and endanger them with possible X-rays, you can't take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail. He would be immediately arrested, if an individual citizen went up and did these things, and yet we just sit there and calmly say, oh, they are making us safe. And besides, the argument from the executive branch is that when you buy a ticket, you have sacrificed your rights and it is the duty of the government to make us safe.
That isn't the case. You never have to sacrifice your rights. The duty of the government is to protect our rights, not to use them and do what they have been doing to us."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seriously, Rapiscan?

Rapiscan is the name of the company making the Transportation Security Administration's vaunted Backscatter-Imaging/Full-Body-Scanner/Naked-Body-Scanner machines. 

I thought this was a joke until just now, when I looked it up. 

But Rapiscan is the real name. 
Apropos, no?

Incidentally, the CEO of Rapiscan is a long term Obama ally and donor. 
Interesting in a different manner is the support the Rapiscan group has received from investor George Soros, (see, and 2004 election) and Michael Chertoff, the former head of the so-called 'Homeland Security'. 

Soros? Savvy investing, albeit with an eye for using government power to further his ends.
Chertoff? Unvarnished conflict of interest with malevolent consequences for America. 

Here's where I think this is going:
The unions will negotiate their way out of this, dulling the outrage that flows from the Flight Attendants, and from the Pilots. 
This leaves the passengers with 2 options, having naked pictures of themselves taken (and stored) by their own government, or be sexually assaulted by their own government. Pretend not that these men and women running the TSA checkpoints are even Law Enforcement, because they are not. If either of these actions were done to you in Wal-Mart, their would be grounds for charges of a criminal variety.

The remaining option? Do not fly. 
That it has come to the point in America wherein we move backwards in the scale of transportation evolution is distressing in the extreme. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.
This is the glory being killed.  

Here's what we can do.
Immediately, November 24 is National Opt-Out day. This will be the busiest travel day of the year, so opting out of the Rapiscanner's can help show the absurdity of our sham system.

If you need further proof of the lesion upon the skin of the American people this is, look no further then a complete lack of probable cause, the compulsive overreaction to children, child abuse & pornography, threats of $10,000 fines for citizens seeking a refund, and forced shoe removal can start off a long list. 

This is an administration that needs to be abolished, if not immediately then with a 30 day notice to the airlines, the airports, and the TSA brown shirts. Let the concerned parties, eg, the Airlines, the Airports, their insurance policies, and the passengers who are actually at risk in these planes, handle their own security.
Better customer service, better security, faster, cheaper, and more likely to actually be effective if there is indeed a threat. 

Until then? Opt out. Every time.  Make this an issue whenever possible.

Dave Barry on Flight Screening

Is worth a laugh. 

Although, the reality of it is far from laughable, sometimes humor is the best way into the hearts and minds of a listless populace.

"The people ahead of me were allowed to go after being scanned, but I was not. I was pulled aside and told to stand in a small roped-off area. After I had stood there for several minutes, I asked a passing TSA person what was happening. He said, quote, "You have a blurred groin."
"I have a what?" I said.
"A blurred groin," he said. And then he walked away.
I tried to sneak a peek at my groin, but this is not easy to do inconspicuously when you are confined to a small roped-off area with many people around...." Link 

Quantative Easing Explained

Expository and concise.
And funny. Very funny.
Worst of all, true.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TSA on Ticket Purchasing

""By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights,""

-Your Transportation Security Administration

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Affirmative Action

Stossel @ Reason: "This week, I held a bake sale—a racist bake sale. I stood in midtown Manhattan shouting, “Cupcakes for sale.” My price list read:
Asians — $1.50
Whites — $1.00
Blacks/Latinos — 50 cents
People stared. One yelled, “What is funny to you about people who are less privileged?” A black woman said, angrily, “It’s very offensive, very demeaning!” One black man accused me of poisoning the cupcakes.
I understand why people got angry. What I did was hurtful to some. My bake sale mimicked what some conservative college students did at Bucknell University. The students wanted to satirize their school’s affirmative action policy, which makes it easier for blacks and Hispanics to get admitted."

Sometimes, its just putting the issues in context that clarifies the world. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Danger of Jalapeños

Scott Adams ( "...The other day, my friend Steve and I had a "Husbands Cook for Their Wives" night in which we hoped to accomplish several things. First, we thought it would be a good way to add to the Husband Bank of good deeds. Second, it was an excuse to drink beer on a Tuesday afternoon. And third, Steve would transfer his vast knowledge of cooking methods to my ignorant self. It was this third objective that went terribly wrong.

Among my duties that night was chopping the jalapeño peppers. I had never prepared a meal with jalapeño peppers, and I didn't know much about them. The conversation went something like this.

Steve: You should wear rubber gloves to cut the jalapeño peppers.
Me: Really? Is that necessary?
Steve: Yes. Do you have any rubber gloves?

I knew we had some rubber gloves somewhere in the house, but finding them would require the help of my wife, Shelly, and I didn't want to bother her on Husbands Cook for Their Wives Night. So I pressed the point.

Me: I could just wash my hands after I cut the jalapeño peppers.
Steve: You really should wear gloves. And don't touch your eyes, or any mucous membranes. And whatever you do, don't take a piss until sometime next week.
Me: I'll just wash my hands when I'm done cutting the peppers. That should be fine.

At this point, an obscure statute in the Guy Code came into play and Steve realized that nagging me wasn't the way to play this. Instead, he decided to let me take a run at the jalapeño peppers bareback. If he was laughing on the inside, he did a good job of not showing it. ..." (More to follow after the link)

This posting in the always interesting Dilbert Blog cracked me up, and even made my girlfriend laugh. Seeing as it was cross culturally humorous, and written from a mans point of view, it deserved the attention of the Grumpy Old Men.

So how about it? 

I've never had a problem cutting jalepenos barehanded before, but I have done a mighty fine number on my eyes.

Men's retreat, 2008, Peckerwood Cabins in the back woods of Oklahoma. Sliced up some home grown jalapeños one of the men brought, and started to simmer them in a man-sized cast iron skillet with half a stick of butter. 1.49 minutes later, my eyes are running like the falls of Niagara, and even with the peppers removed, it was the hottest batch of eggs I've ever served up in my life, hot enough my father refused to eat them. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

BikeBubba's Excellent List

Things for the Republicans to do:
"1.  Eliminate voice votes.  Voters deserve to know how their representatives voted.
2.  Eliminate games to get a majority like the "deemed passed" method Pelosi tried to use for Obamacare.
3.  No more earmarks, period.
4.  Revive the ethics committee--starting with why Barney Frank did not recuse himself regarding Fannie Mae while he was dating one of their executives.
5.  Make John Boehner's plane quite a bit smaller than Nancy Pelosi's.  Use it less often.

The rest after the jump to BikeBubba'sBits

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Long Time Coming

It made me smile to see Vox Day pick up the mantle of Pushing Back the Frontiers of Ignorance this week, with his verse of the week posting.

"As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are."
- Ecclesiastes 10:1-3

In this blogosphere, this has been the title stalwart for going on 5 years now. 
And no, I don't think it really has any significant theological meaning. 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Review: Robin Hood

"Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.
What does it mean?
It means never give up."

I saw this film on its opening night earlier this year, and it was far from what I expected. At the time, it left a bitter aftertaste, if only because I was pining for another Gladiator. Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe were together again, and I hoped for magnificence. I was disappointed.

Watching this again last night, I loved it.
This is the precursor to the Robin Hood of legend, the story of a man disgruntled by the tyranny of Richard the Lion heart in the crusades, who returns home bearing the sword of a noble's dead son. The sword is the key to rekindling memories of who Robin Locksley was before he was a soldier, which for purposes of spoilers I will leave to you to figure out.
As the story progresses, the tyranny of the monarchy is ever increasing, the political intrigue of the Northern Barrons and the Crown thickens, and France moves to invade across the channel. Cries of anguish resound from the people, yet they know not what they demand, other then a change of governance. Locksley steps forward, bearing what is understood to be the Magna Carta, and lays forth a foundation for enduring liberty that is accepted by the monarch and the nobles. It is remarkable how refreshing it is to see an uncompromising hero for the rights of individuals and liberty.

The final battle on the shores of southern England is almost horrific. After the compromise that leads to the Magna Carta it really hurts the film. Prince John riding into battle with Robin and other counselors. Robin's 'pretend' (watch the movie for an explanation) wife. The lost boys of Nottingham. Some medieval version of D-Day by the french.

None of this is necessary, nor is it helpful, and after the intricate story line developed up to this point it is only painful to watch.

That all being said, I enjoyed this movie immensely, and will likely watch it multiple times in the years to come. A man's movie with a hero who is, in fact, a hero. Honest, as well as brave. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Aftermath

Reason: "1. We're still on the fast track to the poor house. When the GOP ran the show with George W. Bush, they spent like drunken sailors (apologies to drunken sailors).
2. Nobody's talking about foreign policy and ending the warfare state. In constant dollars, defense spending has basically doubled since 2000 and is projected to stay at levels hundreds of billions of dollars above what it was before the Cold War ended. " 

(I'll leave 3 after the hop)
Good video as well.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

However, I still think this election has positive results, if only because of the potential for gridlock on the hill. It won't make things better, but at least it can slow down the descent. If that is the most to pray for, then so be it. 
If this gridlock can lead to Americans thinking about reality again, let the bells of liberty ring true once again.
Small steps, but maybe they can lead somewhere. 

In other news, Robin Hood was really good. Review forthcoming.


Worked the polls yesterday for my precinct.

Busier then 00, 04, or 08.

Good sign, me thinks.

In other news, 1200 posts!