Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twitter Improving Indiana

Mother Jones: "On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn't end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: "Use live ammunition."
From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."
Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana...
In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator's mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball. But he evinces contempt for political opponents—from labeling President Obama an "incompetent and treasonous" enemy of the nation to comparing "enviro-Nazis" to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi "brownshirts" on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as "a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up" by local police. A "sensible policy for handling Afghanistan," he offered, could be summed up as: "KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!"" -H/t Hit and Run

Next time you feel like knocking Twitter as a nonsense platform of nothingness, remember, when the fail whales are out to sea, we begin to see who people can be. 

Or something like that.
Good riddance. 

Also, follow me at RobertDWood. :D


I am more then a little annoyed by the amount of influence John Stuart Mill has had upon my micro economics text book.
Quantifying Utils... bah. 
Thank you, that is all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Fighter

The Fighter (Trailer)is a movie strongly rooted in pain. Not the pain of romantic flicks, not the angst of teenage drama, not the pain of terrible film making, but real pain that bruises the heart. 

Friends hurting. People hurting. Families hurting. 
Not just hurting, but actively inflicting more pain upon nerves worn raw by constant use. This is The Fighter. 

Loosely based on a true story, the focus is placed squarely on two boxers in a Boston suburb. Christian Bale plays the older, almost has been who is filming a documentary with HBO on his comeback. Mark Wahlberg plays the younger brother, struggling to be free from his brother's shadow. And his family. And his fights. 

Stellar film work, delightfully eclectic sound work, and powerful acting from the main characters. Bale is brilliant in his character, Amy Adam's plays her complex role exquisitely.  Wahlberg makes his character work, and is very believable as a prizefighter trying to avoid missing his prime. 

The R rating is earned in this case, as the rampant abuse of the English language in ceaseless. Drug usage plays a predominant role in the story and screenplay, but the usage is deplored without exception. If your ever interested in trying to show a lady why she should drop chugging beers and burning through cigarettes, the female ensemble of this cast is a marvelous deterrent. 

While this movie does end well, it is not in the form of Rocky. Its unique and earns its place as a just ending for this story.
The Fighter should also serve as a reminder for my fellow Chrisitians that this world needs love, and what lives devoid of love for one another do to one another.

Excellent movie, easily a 7 of 10.  I will likely watch more then one more time. 
...Now that I just finished this, I want to see it again.

Bringing Down the House

SFWeekly: "The SFPD and DEA found no piles of marijuana money at 243 Diamond St., one of six addresses raided simultaneously in San Francisco that morning. Instead, they found Clark Freshman, who rents the penthouse at the two-unit building. Freshman, a UC Hastings law professor and the main consultant to the television show Lie to Me, was put into handcuffs while in his bathrobe as agents searched, despite Freshman's insistence that they had the wrong place and were breaking the law…

Soon they may be called defendants in a lawsuit. A furious Freshman has pledged to sue the DEA and the SFPD for unlawful search and seizure of his home…

[Officer] Biggs describes 243 Diamond as a "two-story, one-unit" building in the warrant. There's no mention of Freshman or Larizadeh's son-in-law or seven-months pregnant daughter who were detained in the downstairs unit that morning. But property records — and a quick visual scan of the property — reveal it to be a three-story, two-unit building. That mistake alone may be enough to invalidate the search warrant."

This story bears watching.
The best line:

""I've been on the fence for years about the legalization of drugs ... and now I'm a victim of this crazy war on drugs," says Freshman, who pledged to sue until "I see [the agents'] houses sold at auction and their kids' college tuitions taken away from them. There will not be a better litigated case this century.""

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TSA Gangsters, Like All Gangsters, Incompetent

Some news stories write themselves. NY Post:
"Two TSA agents were busted today at Kennedy Airport for stealing $160,000 in cash from bags, authorities said.
Davon Webb, 30, and Couman Perad, who turned 36 today, were arrested after admitting they had regularly stolen from checked bags, sources said.
Perad and Webb would screen bags looking for loot, then swipe the cash once the luggage was opened in a private screening room, sources said.

...Also today, the TSA confirmed that a string of security lapses took place at Newark Airport within the past month, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.
A knife inside a carry-on made it past a checkpoint and two passengers were allowed to board flights despite issues with their full-body scans, TSA officials told the newspaper.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two incidents were among a string of five security lapses at Newark within the last 30 days."

Molesting people embarking on legitimate business? Check.
Stealing from the molested? Check.
Performing security theater for nigh a decade? Check.

Keeping the tubes of flight safe? No.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: The Eagle

I entered this movie with trepidation, expecting it to be a miserable effort rife with hackneyed scripting, a clearly definable story, and terrific action. 

The plot is simple. Roman legions have their eagle. Dad and his legion loose their eagle in north Briton. Son takes his slave to take it back. They have to switch roles. They get back. Along the way, they become friends and have chicken mcnuggets upon arriving home. 

Sadly, what this movie fulfilled my dire expectations. It is an out of tune piano concert. It just feels wrong. 

Stereotypical Romans, stereotypical 'barbarians', stereotypical action sequences, shoddy and spandex-tight camera work, atrocious character motivation, poorly conceived plot lines and a scalding amount of dark earth tones. All are included in vapid abundance. 

Redeeming features, as they exist, is the lack of any important female characters to further destroy a semblance of realistic plot and a somewhat eclectic soundtrack. 

Perhaps it doesn't feel wrong, but it does feel different. Once the credits began to roll, the reason became steadily more apparent, as well over half of this film crew is Hungarian. Film a  movie about Romans in Briton with Hungarians in Hungary. Marvelous. 

Never seeing this again, 3/10. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Isn't Over

Time: "He directed me through the nearby metal detector (the one that would have been good enough if I'd just chosen another line) and motioned for me to wait for a pat-down agent: "Female opt-out!" A female agent led me to a table where she set my bags and then skeptically asked if I knew what the pat down involved. Yes, indeedy (thanks, Jeff Goldberg!) "Do you want to do this somewhere private?" No, thank you. The agent calmly explained what she was going to do before she performed each part of the procedure, and very briskly but thoroughly went through the pat-down. The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes and was a completely professional experience.
Or it was, until a male TSA agent walked behind us and hollered: "Hey, I thought she was mine! I was gonna do her!"
And that, buddy, is exactly why I'm opting out instead of standing in the see-through picture machine. Thanks for validating my choice."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Terrorists Win Again

Daily Express: "According to Kirksville Police Chief Jim Hughes, a passerby stopped a Kirksville Police officer and said they had seen an individual acting erratically in a truck in the Wal-Mart parking lot shortly before 2:30 p.m. The passerby believed the individual had a gun to his head.

"We don't take these things lightly," Hughes said, "especially nowadays."

KPD responded to control the scene and ordered a lockdown of the store both to keep shoppers in and prevent the individual from entering the store.

After identifying the vehicle and person in question, Hughes said a decision was made on the scene for police to attempt contact. They were able to communicate with him and he voluntarily exited the vehicle. No weapon was found and the individual was taken into custody without incident less than 20 minutes after police arrived on scene.

The individual was talking on a cell phone at the time of the incident. It's likely that is the object the passerby identified as a gun."

There will be more stories like this in the years ahead of this. This climate of fear we live in at the behest of a fraudulent education system and government fear mongering presents a dismal specter of the future. One constant in the great works of dystopian fiction (Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Orwell's 1984, Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Huxley's Brave New World) is the constant, relentless, and persistent fearful observation of the individual by the neighbors within the society. There's a reason this conjures dread and misgiving within our spirit. When the vindictive and vengeful nature of man has the ability to wreak havoc upon others with only the suggestion of another's wrongdoing, man all to often destroys others with it. 

Simply put, closing down a Wal-Mart because a man walked across a parking lot talking on his phone is evidence that the terrorists have won. The fear is instilled, perhaps by Muslim terrorists, more likely by the unwavering hand of political expediency. 

Janet Napolitano:

"“We are partnering this year with the NFL on our ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign and launching that NFL partnership right here at the Super Bowl,” Napolitano said during a press conference on Monday at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas where Sunday’s game will be played.
“The idea is simple,” Napolitano said. “We are simply asking the American people to be vigilant, recognizing that our security is a shared responsibility that all of us must participate in.”
“If a fan at the Super Bowl or any other American at any other place sees something that is potentially dangerous, then say something about it to local law enforcement or someone in authority,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano announced that DHS has trained some 1,200 stadium staffers as “first observers” and that cargo going into the venue also will be screened using “non-intrusive inspection equipment.”

Pat downs are in store for all attendees as well, both inside and out of the stadium. Star Telegram reporting