The president is spying on us

Again, the parallels between the current administration and communist-era Russia are almost frightening

So the administration has been using the guise of the war on terror to spy on its own citizens. Is anyone surprised by this? This is exactly what everyone who was actually paying attention to the Patriot Act language said was going to happen. Americans said they’d be willing to give up some civil liberties in order to be safe. Well, now you’ve given up your liberties and you aren’t any safer. Feeling cheated yet? You should be. What is actually interesting when you get into the details, is that this spying might have even been illegal within the rubric of the wiretapping laws.

It’s time once again for me to ask for a real congressional investigation, and for the Republicans to once again decide that, as President, cheating on your wife is worth of a special prosecutor and hundreds of hours of discussion, but lying to the American people, imprisoning American citizens for months without charges, torturing foreigners, spying on the American people and basically acting more like a dictator than a representative of a Democracy is A-OK.

The crazy-ass thing is that after getting caught at it, he says he’s going to keep doing it and that disclosing it was helping the enemy. These people make me insane. Bush wants to be the national father figure, but he’s the idiot dad with a drinking problem that says way too often “do what I say, not what I do.” The enemy, the enemy, doubting the administration is supporting the enemy, questioning the administration is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Cheney says “debate is good, discussion is good” while simultaneously slamming every lawmaker who steps forward to do just that.

“It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this important program in a time of war. The fact that we’re discussing this program is discussing the enemy.” – President Bush

Get this George, you work for the American people. You work for us and we’ll discuss whatever we want, whenever we want, in whatever medium or venue that we wish until you just declare yourself dictator and we get busy mobilizing against you.

hey, remember these things?

mission accomplished, my ass

The administration receiving many “F”s and “D”s from the 9-11 commission this week reminded me of a couple of other things that seem to have slipped out of the American memory banks. Hey, remember Osama Bin Laden? Remember how he was public enemy #1 after 9/11? Remember how we were going to “smoke him out of his hole”? Yeah, that never happened.

Remember how after Hurricane Katrina George Bush promised that we were going to rebuild New Orleans and the government was going to launch new initiatives to help the poor? Well, with the new rounds of tax and budget cuts, the war on Poverty has turned back into the war on the poor that had been going on since 2000.

A few predictions:
1) Congress will start withdrawing troops out of Iraq next year so that Republicans can hold on to their majority in the elections.
2) In 2008, we still will not have captured Osama Bin Laden. If we have pulled out of Iraq, it will be in full-on-civil war, or if we haven’t, we will still have our soldiers attacked daily.
3) Also in 2008, in New Orleans: The French Quarter, Garden District and downtown will be 100% back to where they were. In the poor outlying districts, away from the tourists, nothing will have changed since Katrina and the levees will still be inadequate.

Follow the bouncing ball

If you connect the dots between the various Bush Administrations failures, you can see the pattern emerge…

Hurricane Katrina showed how devastatingly out of touch and how slow to action George Bush is, right? Maybe you’ll get this realization if you’ve never seen the timeline for President Bush on 9/11. Just as Bush waited days before doing a flyby over what was left of New Orleans, he entered the classroom after the first tower had been hit. Hundreds of people had just died in a major catastrophe in a major American city (it may not have been clear that we were under attack at that point) and the President ignores this to sit down and read to children. It wasn’t until several minutes after the second tower was hit that he stood up to leave the room and only when his staff basically hauled him out. If there was ever any doubt to the lack of engagement of this president, 9/11 should have made it clear. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina just showed that the man still hadn’t learned the lesson that he should actually care about the American people instead of just using their deaths to further his own agenda.

Similarly, if you remember the flap around Armstrong Williams and the Bush administration planting false news reports and paying for favorable editorials in American media, the fact that we were doing the same in Iraq shouldn’t surprise anyone.

What surprises me these days isn’t the fact that our President continues to violate American law and the trust of the American people but that anyone is surprised about it anymore.

Griffin Smart Deck Review

it sux

owned it for less than two hours. It doesn’t work. Tracks jump in the middle without touching the cassette deck or iPod. Pressing FF or RWD sometimes doesn’t change tracks. Griffin really needed to test this thing before foisting it off into the market.

Consolidating chargers

Can I use one charger for everything?

My Ipod charges over USB, my cell phone has a charger with a mini USB connector… Can I use the USB charging adapter for my iPod with my cellie?

The disparity between George Bush and Alan Greenspan’s assessments of the economy

should make every American who voted for W feel like an idiot.

Alan Greenspan says that the economy is doing pretty good at the moment, especially considering the blows from this Hurricane season. However, he looks at the deficit, America’s aging citizens and our debt which is being shouldered by foreign countries and he says “we need to do something about this.” George Bush says that the economy is doing wonderfully and that is thanks to his plan of deficit spending and tax cuts which are producing the crazy debt. He makes no mention of the future because he doesn’t think about the future, he doesn’t give a damn about it. That is the next guys job. He is a dorkus who is condemning the American people and the American way of life to decades of ruin to pay for his excesses. If I were reasonably young (which I am), I’d be making plans to get off this sinking ship and find a place where I won’t be paying off Reagan and G.W.B.’s get rich quick schemes until I die.

Another year, another pile of BS from the religious right

I guess they must raised a ton of cash last year, because the right are again trying to accuse the rest of us of stealing Christmas.

Since there are no recent ACLU battles to point at, this year Falwell, Limbaugh and O’Reilly are just starting to get kooky. Taking aim at retailers who say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Last time I checked, Happy Holidays was okey dokey since it referred to the entire season between Thanksgiving and the New Years and has been used long before the Politically-Correct-Speak of the 1990s. This just shows how much they are grasping at straws. Attacking the retailers and government for having “holiday trees” is also goofy, but I actually think those are dumb too. You aren’t fooling anyone by calling them Holiday Trees, so just don’t insult our intelligence. The most F’d up thing is where Bill O’Reilly claims that retailers are using the word Christmas “to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square.” Last time I checked, dipshit, Christmas wasn’t a Jewish holiday and I haven’t heard word one from you about retailers not wishing people a “Happy Chanukah.” So don’t pretend you give a crap for the non-Christians of the world, ’cause experience shows us way different.

Here’s a link to a Seattle Times story.

DVD+R DL Media

Some informal quality tests

In an earlier article I mentioned how I was burning a lot of dud disks these days. Well, I spent a lot of time trying to diagnose the problem. When I wrote that article I was using a Lacie DL lightscribe burner with my Powerbook G4 867 MHz. After some experimenting, I decided that the issue was a bad firewire cable. I switched to a different firewire cable and got better success rates, but in general I was still only hitting about 30% successful (as in verified) burns to DL discs. Then I did some checking and found out more or less that Toast 6 Platinum has some bugs in it that Roxio couldn’t give a damn about. At the time I was using the Memorex blanks exclusively because they were easy to find and are actually sold in spindles of 25 for around $4 each. There is also TDK and Verbatim discs. I’ve only found the verbatim in packs of 3 for around $7 each and the TDK in packs of 5 also for around $7 each. When I got my quad and switched to burning on that with the built-in Pioneer A110D, I started burning 100% duds. The disc burns would complete successfully, but each verification would fail because a certain sector (usually the same sector on different discs) couldn’t be read. I tried switching to the Verbatim, SUCCESS. I ran out of Verbatim and tried the TDKs 100% success.

AVOID the Memorex DVD+RW DL discs!!!!

sneaky phishers

bastards

I think at this point, the ruse of sending you a message from a bank or paypal saying that your account is suspended and you have to log in at some link is pretty much dead. Even the most naive of internet users should be wary of this kind of thing now. Now they’ve moved on to telling you that your ebay or amazon account is suspended, which is slightly more sneaky, but still kind of obvious. I just got a great (or scary depending on how you look at it) phishing e-mail though. It was a perfect reproduction of a “question from an ebay member” e-mail asking about a motorcycle cover that was for sale and asking why I was selling it when it came for free with the motorcycle. This was the closest I came to actually clicking on one of these e-mails yet. Of course, I knew I hadn’t put up a motorcycle cover for sale, but I immediately worried that my ebay account had been hacked or something. Luckily, I noticed that I got like 5 other of these exact e-mails so I figured it out immediately.

This kind of stuff has gotta be bad for Amazon and EBay, if I were them, I’d have some HUGE teams tracking these people down and either having them arrested or just doing DOSes to their servers.

More hot quad action!

impressions after the first couple of days

I’ve spent most of the weekend installing my software, so I haven’t been working on a new album or DVD project yet to talk about the performance in that respect. I did have to run my own personal benchmark though, heavy-duty Reaktor ensembles. If you are unfamiliar with Reaktor, it is a visual programming tool for creating modular software sythesizers. On my 12″ G4 867 MHz laptop, I can’t run the Heiddegger or Leviathan3 ensembles from the Reaktor user library at all. Firstly, they don’t even fit on the screen. Secondly, even throttled down to the lowest sample rates, they immediately max out my CPU. I can happily report that at 44 Khz and the highest quality settings, Leviathan barely makes my CPUs notice its existence at a paltry 12% CPU usage. Heiddegger maxes out around 28% but seems to be constantly spinning between 20%-28% (I don’t know if Reaktor knows how to measure 4 CPUs). Both ensembles show OS X thread scheduling is well done, Activity Monitor shows that Reaktor’s 7 threads are spread pretty evenly across the CPUs.

My only real complaint so far is with the Mighty Mouse which has already begun to squeak when I click. This is destined to be immediately replaced by something less annoying. Sorry Apple mouse guys…