Category Archives: Political

For annoying political posts

GNOME + Slashdot

So our brothers/sisters at the GNOME Project managed to hit the front page of Slashdot.

There’s a lot one could say about the topic, but I’ll just leave it at this: I think it’s ironic that a project started essentially entirely due to the non-Free nature of Qt (at that time) would decide to separate from the Free Software Foundation and GNU based on Richard Stallman’s disapproval of proprietary software. I guess the times, they are a-changin’.

GOP Candy

It is rather shocking how rotten to the core the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives is. You can read about it by Googling about the Mark Foley scandal, and I’ve already mentioned it besides.

Basically all of the House GOP leaders not named Hastert are trying to pin the blame on Rep. Hastert. Rep. Hastert, on the other hand, is blaming the Congressional pages (and Democrats, of course, who hadn’t even been informed about the emails) for leaking the IMs (guess the pages got the GOP back for covering it up, eh?)

For some reason most of the normal Republican crusaders for children’s safety are strangely silent on the issue, including Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly. What a bunch of spineless weasels, they don’t even want to hold the House leadership accountable for not investigating the first email because they’re so scared that the Democrats will take control of the House this year.

This has been a bad week for Congress.

Kind of as an aside, I’ve moved my blog to some webhosting which I finally got around to purchasing. I plan on moving the rest of the major stuff off my computer someday. Uh, soon maybe? I dunno. Either way, my blog is moved (some links may be broken unfortunately).

Where was I? Oh yes, Congress. First they go and make torture legal (the only things you are not allowed to do are apparently murder, certain types of rape, and killing an organ). As an extra added bonus, they also removed that neato provision of habeas corpus which is so important, it’s right in the Constitution (i.e. it’s not even relegated to the Bill of Rights, it’s right in the text of the Constitution). Habeas corpus is so important to Anglo-American law that it is referred to simply as The Great Writ. You can read more about habeas corpus at Wikipedia. Also I haven’t seen it clarified as to whether it’s OK if the prisoner dies on accident, or if it’s only illegal if the prisoner is deliberately murdered.

I mean, I can’t believe I’m writing this. The Congress has said that torture is OK, when I believe it was just 2003 (after Abu Ghraib) that the Senate passed McCain’s anti-torture bill (for the U.S. Army) 90-10? What the hell changed since then?

I mean, the law is so unconstitutional on its very face that the first court to breathe wind of it is going to overturn it. Even our Supreme Court would overturn it. I mean, it’s clear as day in the Constitution. “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Rebellion? Nope. Invasion? I haven’t seen one. The only conclusion I can think of is political gain (the midterm elections are near after all), but what a lousy, lousy reason to throw away one America’s most cherished civil liberties. Especially with a law that erodes human rights for anyone the President says, including U.S. Citizens. (Basically you just have to be declared an enemy combatant, and your future is no longer in your hands). The interested may read this conservative analysis of the issue.

Best part is that one of the torture techniques mentioned that we might be using is “waterboarding”, which is apparently devastatingly effective (at coercing confessions, not intel). Read all about it thanks to David Corn.

The worst part is that torture doesn’t even work. Someone who is tortured will tell you something to make the pain stop. That’s it. Oh, he’ll throw out names all day, invent plots left and right if necessary. I mean geez, since when did we start adopting Al Qaeda’s interrogation tactics??

In more domestic (but no less depressing) news, one of our intrepid Congressman (Rep. Foley, from Florida) has resigned after lots and lots of evidence came out about him soliciting underage male Congressional pages. Read the ABC News story. That’s ok, I’ll wait. Back? Disgusting, isn’t it?

Know what the best part is? (There’s always a best part) The Republican House leadership knew. This was reported to them a year ago. One claims to have investigated and found nothing. Except, he investigating by asking Foley if he did anything wrong. I mean, I can’t imagine why a Congressman accused of pedophilia would deny it. There was no further investigation. The Republican House leadership left this man to sit as Co-Chair of the “Missing and Exploited Children Caucus”. Of course, that didn’t stop people involved in the Congressional page program from warning one class about Foley (detailed in the linked ABC News story).

This wasn’t just one page either. This man was able to use his position, and the fact that the Republican House leadership did nothing to stop him, to send sexually explicit emails or instant messages to (it seems) at least 3 different pages. I mean, sexual impropriety is one thing, but pedophilia is quite another entirely. But what I just CANNOT get over is the fact that nothing was done a year ago when the House leadership was informed that there were some issues with this man. How does a Party whose whole platform the past 3 elections has been values allow this to happen? (The answer of course, is that they don’t care about values, at least not anymore than their opponents do)

And this one hasn’t hit the mainstream media yet (I assume they’re still trying to digest Foley), but apparently even more Army brass think this Iraq thing wasn’t a great idea.

This entry is long but to throw something of use to Planet KDE, SadEagle has fixed a few bugs with plugins not starting up unless you resize windows in Konqueror. Apparently this was due to a fix for an Adobe Acrobat Reader problem. Either way, plugins should start up correctly now. (Except for one case, if you have plugins setup to run only have you click “Start Plugin” you may have to resize the window. SadEagle provided a patch for it but still has to test it). If you want to try it out, nspluginviewer is in kdebase, not kdelibs as I thought. :-)

Also, I ripped code from my old kdesvn-pywizard program to contribute a PyQt frontend for the upstream log-submission utility (their site may be down. Gotta love PHP). Unfortunately I won’t have time to maintain it, but it apparently actually works, so yay.

Funny video about a translator kicked out of the Army

I saw this hilarious clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, about an Army Arabic translator who was kicked out of the Army for violating the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. (View video here). It also includes an interview with some doctor who is apparently completely retarded.

Apparently if gays were openly allowed in the military then the straight men are at risk of being raped. Also, gay men are likely to be easily distracted and do nothing but think about having sex all day long (according to this doctor). Thank God we straight men don’t have to worry about seeing women and getting distracted ourselves in our job! Oh, wait… we do see women. Hmm. (Actually that’s a teensy lie, there are no women in submarines at this point so that’s not something I’ll need to worry about).

The best part of all is that the Army is in such desperate need even now for translators that according to the latest re-enlistment bonus packages, translators who can read Arabic receive the absolute maximum amount Congress authorizes as a reenlistment bonus. They even get paid more than nuclear-qualified sailors. I guess the Army didn’t need this one bad enough though. Well, I shouldn’t say that, I’m sure the brass would have loved to keep someone with his talents if they weren’t forced by regulations to remove him. :-/

What a hit job

Wow, Fox put quite the hit on former President Clinton. The article I linked to has a 20-minute segment of video from the Fox News Sunday program where they promise to spend half of the time asking Clinton about his recent fundraising initiatives for stuff like stopping global warming, and then half of the time for any other question.

So what they do instead is to ask 2 or 3 questions about his fundraising efforts. The questions were short, and had short answers. They then immediately ask a multipart question summing up to, “Why didn’t you do more to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden while you were President?”

He then interrupts Clinton as Clinton tries to answer the question so that he can really jab in every. Single. Failure. That Clinton was responsible (or in office) for.

Clinton does a good job defending himself, but why are peoples’ memories so short? Most Americans were adults when Clinton was in office. Weren’t they paying attention then?

They ask him about Somalia, why did he pull troops out, although he apparently made the country pissed off by not pulling out fast enough. They ask him about the embassy bombings and the U.S.S. Cole, why didn’t you kill bin Laden then, as if they had never seen the movie Wag the Dog.

And the thing that really irks me is that the interviewers is practically falling out of his chair with a smirk so wide it’s silly the whole time. He interrupts Clinton constantly near the end, as apparently Clinton is answering his question too well. Where do people learn these kind of manners? How do supposedly professional news organizations find these guys?

It’d be one thing if the person you were interviewing were trying to evade your question, to interrupt him and try to lead things back on track. But this guy was trying to derail Clinton as he was answering the question!

I mean, I guess it doesn’t compare to the CNN anchor who drove a woman to kill herself over such an abusive interview, but still.

Other cool news stories: Apparently Rev. Falwell believes that Republican voters would rather have Satan himself in office than Hillary Clinton. I suppose that says enough about the party faithful. Oh, and the IRS is trying to strip a church of its tax-exempt status because of a anti-war sermon it delivered before the last Presidential election.

I can’t wait until people aren’t constantly driven by trying to bring good people down. I just don’t think I’ll live to see that happen. :-(

Oh, and in a week I get to check into my boat and start the process of qualifying (again and again and again). :)