Friday, June 29, 2007

Collection: Friday, June 29

I walked down to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store today, and found the madness that is the iPhone. I just wanted to look, but there was probably a thirty minute wait to get in the store. I went at about seven, so I figured that iPhone rush would have passed, but it was still going strong. But apart from that, here is the day's news round-up:
  • The House nearly defunded the office of the VP. Apparently, faced with losing all his money, Cheney realized that he is in the executive branch.
  • An interesting study concludes that wearing a helmet tends to draw cars closer to a bicycler. Safety groups are screaming that this does not eliminate the need for a helmet.
  • More previous government employees are calling for impeachment of Cheney.
Even though I didn't get inside the Apple Store, I must say that the Fifth Avenue store is impressive to say the least.

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11:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Collection: Thursday, June 28

The weather here is unbearably hot. Thankfully, I get air conditioning for the time that I am here. Here's the round-up:
  • There is a short interview/internal Microsoft email about life at Google. It really gives a nice perspective about how people at Google live. It is interesting to see Google compared to a college.
  • A police officer was put on leave after a videographer caught him fighting with a group of young teens for skateboarding. Much of the officer's actions were unprovoked, and it appears that there is no justification for his actions.
  • Headline: FEMA knew!! Um... surprise?
  • Slightly dated news, but Fox News viewers are less informed than Daily Show viewers. I think this is funny as a "news organization" loses to a comedy show. America at its best.
  • There is a cute little story of the 15 year journey of fleet of rubber ducks. The ducks were washed off a cargo ship, an have been floating around the world in the ocean currents.
  • Reports are saying that year-old Apple employees get a free iPhone. Another great reason to want to work for Apple. Anyone who recently quit may (or may not) be upset.
It can cool off in New York City any time now.

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11:05 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Conservapedia: just a little confused

As part of a Daily Show comment, I was looking at conservapedia's article on homosexuality. I say a link for gay rights, and could only wonder what they had to say. I found this tidbit to be interesting:
Amid growing public focus on gays and lesbians, 91 homosexuals were found to be employed in the U.S. State Department. Congressional investigators discovered homosexuals employed in 36 of 53 branches of Government, as well as in the armed forces.
Now, I may be getting the wrong interpretation, but they just said that there are 53 branches of government. Let's see, there is the Executive branch, Legislative branch, Judicial branch, and the office of the VP. Even counting the fake, I only get to four. This is a great example of how backwards people are.

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7:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

FTC shoots down net neutrality

People argue about whether the actions proposed by net neutrality proponents are the best choices, but not many will fight you when you say that something is wrong. The Federal Trade Commission denies that there is a problem.

For being the largest consumer of the tubes, you would think that the US would be on the bleeding edge of network technology. In fact, we a near the end of the tail, with many still passing us. The current median connection speed in the US is 1.97 Mb/s, while Japan flies around with 61 Mb/s. They're over half way to the triple digits while we still haven't made the double digits.

As a developed nation, and a leading one at that, it is embarrassing to see how pathetic this country is. It is sad that we are cheering for a 5Mb/s average. And for what do we blame this: cheap (not price) ISPs.

People are generally satisfied with their 2Mb/s connection because nobody knows any differently. Since ISPs started, the high-speed offerings have changed very little. In the past five years, Charter has gone from 3Mb/s to 5Mb/s. I have even noticed them throttling YouTube. And all of this is because ISPs don't want to upgrade their networks. We are at the same place we were at five years ago.

But things can change. Years ago, long-distance phone calls were extremely expensive. Now, the cost is negligible. How did this happen, phone companies have to compete. Cable companies do not. What we need is something to force the internet carriers to innovate. That "something" should be congress.

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11:46 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Collection: Wednesday, June 27

It's just smoldering in NYC, but it's nice where there is air conditioning.
  • The RIAA buffoons are at it again, but in some of the most disgusting ways. This time, the cronies called a 10 year old's school to intimidate her. The target was the mother, but it is simply gross to see a collective of jackasses that are so disrespectful of everyone. And the other thing I don't get is why congress or judges won't do anything to stop them; oh wait- bribes.
  • Trying to fight copyright infringement, an Aussie ISP regularly deletes media files: any file ending in .mp3, .avi, .mov, and .wmv. This is a prime example of how stupid people ruin things for everyone else. And by people, I mean recording industry goons.
  • Cheney decides that he really is part of the executive branch.
  • Ann Coulter claims that the Edwards are using her attacks as a way to raise money. I think her logic is a bit backward: when she attacks, Edwards' name is all over the news, thus people notice him and then donate. I may offend many with this, but anyone who listens to a word that woman says I deem a babbling moron.
  • Google is complaining about Microsoft, people are saying Google is just jealous, but everyone has a point. I don't like that Google is being so aggressive to get their claim to fame, but I also think that Microsoft is still a monopoly. I mean, not like Vista's market share is large or anything, but Microsoft cannot lock you into their product in the way that they do. Microsoft deserves to be called a monopoly for life because of the way they treat consumers.
  • Warren Buffett, the world's third wealthiest man, asks for a tax raise for the rich, citing that all rich pay a smaller proportion into the system.
  • Giuliani praises Regent University for their "wonderful" influence.
  • The bald eagle is about to be delisted from the endangered species list. While there is no longer a threat of extinction, there is no reason to stop protecting it. Perhaps we need another list for animals that must be protected. Why do people think that it is alright to trample animals and their environment? Cows, sure, we eat them. Eagles on the other hand are simply birds that have no reason to be shot.
I'm beginning to love New York.

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10:58 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Collection: Tuesday, June 26

Another day, another list; a shorty:
  • Dick Cheney was in the bunker before the attacks, and had "orders."
  • Internet radio was silent for the day to protest the outrageous fees from the royalty board.
  • A must watch episode of the Daily Show on Cheney's fourth branch.
  • The BBC reports that the "law-abiding majority" is a myth, but I don't think that there is any way to say that. The governments just have so many stupid laws that everyone is a criminal for living. Under the table pay: who wants to see a third of their money go towards a bridge to nowhere?
If things pan out tomorrow, I may hit the Apple Store, tonight didn't work.

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11:24 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Collection: Monday, June 25

Today is short and sweet:
  • Technology can make or break anything. Elections are a critical event in our country, so an accurate count means everything. In order to insure that, however, the source code must be open. In Florida, the court has ruled that the "secrets" of machines takes precedence over a fair election.
  • Justice works for once: pants case thrown out.
  • George Bush has turned this country in to the worst it could be. Everything about it is backwards. In an ideal world, the people know everything going on in the government, but in Bush's world, the government knows about the people and the people know nothing.
  • We look like fools: librarians are "terrorists".
I might be down at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store tomorrow. I hear people are lining up outside already.

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11:31 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Collection: Sunday, June 24

I'm in NYC now, and it is crazy to chase after a two-and-a-half year old to say the least. Here's my commentary for the last two days:
  • First off is the most disgusting story. The FBI wants to restrict the freedom of students. It may not sound too bad, but you must read the story to see the list of "terrorist behavior." We are going back to 9/11 paranoia.
  • How the police work; sadly, it seems so accurate.
  • Bush ignores a third of the laws that he signs. Why is this man so set on destroying our country?
  • Halliburton accounting hits bottom; I want to see them fall.
  • It is no secret that the Bushies want a war with Iran, but I am worried because this was may very well be nuclear. Bush could easily destroy the world with a blunder with Iran.
  • TV programming sucks, and the cry-babies are the ones who ruin it. One group, Parents Television Council, accounts for 99.8% of all complaints. What's more is that of one program sampled, only one person said that they watched the show.
  • Somehow, the Office of the President has fallen out of the White House.
Internet connections are hard to find.

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12:03 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Collection: Friday, June 22

I really don't have time to do full posts at the moment. For the next couple weeks, I will do "collections" where I will do short commentary on some of the stories that I was reading that day. Here is today's:
  • VP Cheney is still trying to keep his office sealed. Cheney is the puppet master behind the war, and he is still to be held accountable. His handling of affairs is despicable.
  • Congress has an approval rating lower than Bush (!). An analysis of congress has revealed some of the biggest pricks in congress. Dick Cheney shares a position on this list with a KKK member.
  • PCWorld has done a survey to find that best and worst ISPs. On the list, Charter, my ISP, places dead last. I wholeheartedly agree with that rating. The only reason they get our money is because there is no other high-speed option.
  • Congress has voted to raise the fuel economy standard to 35 MPG. Automakers are given until 2020 to meet the standard. My estimate is that they will go until 2018 before anything is really done about it.
  • Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani didn't do much for the Iraq Study Group. Giuliani would rather make money doing motivational speeches. I find it disgusting that this man raked in $200,000 doing these speeches. He was supposed to be serving the people, and here he was serving his pocketbook.
  • Bush's approval rating is now down to 26 percent.
  • Bush vetoed the most recent stem-cell research bill, without even reading it. The newest bill allowed embryos that would otherwise be destroyed to be used for research. Bush's speech made it apparent that he did not read the full text. I don't even understand what this man could possibly be thinking. How much could you advance science if he would step aside from his precious religion and look at reality.
Tomorrow, I am going to be in NYC. I have no idea how much access I will have to the internet.

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11:22 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Alternative fuels indirectly raising gas prices

[Image: Refinery]With talk of higher standards for fuel efficiency, oil companies are using this as an excuse to gouge consumers. The oil industry is planning to scale back refinery expansions because alternative fuels will lead to lower oil demand in the coming decade. Until alternative fuels become the norm, gas prices will rise as supply is not meeting demand.

As much as I am annoyed at government interference, I feel this is a time where someone with power should step in. Oil companies are deliberately driving prices up by not building new refineries and gouging the consumer at the pump. Not only are the production costs going down (fewer operations), but prices and profits are going up. The government needs to step in somewhere.

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10:36 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Microsoft trying to change the laws

The behemoth that is Microsoft is trying to change New York law so that voting machines can use Windows. The current law requires the source code to be open so that it can be easily be inspected to verify its operation. Windows, on the other hand, is closed-source, meaning that only Microsoft knows how the internal programming works.

This is the most disgusting abuse of the electoral process. The people have pushed for, and now have, a law requiring voting machines to be inspect-able, but a corporation is trying to reverse that decision. And judging by the way politicians love their money, a few dollars under the table would likely be all it takes to make them betray the people who elected them.

The strong arm tactics that Microsoft uses is what I would consider to be borderline illegal. You have a company that is already branded a monopoly, yet they are allowed to lobby lawmakers in their best interest. Numerous states have had open-standards bills shot down because of Microsoft lobbying. Microsoft is trying to keep the government locked into proprietary software, and the taxpayers are the ones that come to pay for it.

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12:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Is Obama ready to be a president?

[Image: Barack Obama]The newcomer and front-runner Barack Obama is winning support across the board. But the question remains, is he ready to be president? He has been in politics (senate) for eight years, but does not have the same experience as other candidates.

But perhaps that is what we need now. Maybe this country needs someone who needs a second to think things through before acting. Maybe we need someone who can work with both parties, not split the country. Maybe, just maybe, someone young will have the understanding of technology to veto future versions of the DMCA.

So what if he doesn't have the experience of other candidates? All politicians seem to go corrupt as a function of time. Obama hasn't been is business long enough to be getting the oil money and bribes. So just maybe, we can get someone who cares about the citizens, and not the oil companies.

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10:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Massachusetts lawmakers spur complaints

[Image: People protesting lack of marriage vote]Massachusetts lawmakers decided to throw out legislation that would put a gay marriage ban to vote. The decision has had a mixed response. Some applaud it as a civil rights victory, while others frown upon it as a circumvention of democracy.

But what is this decision? Our constitution at work. The constitution says:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States [...]
The people complaining are those who would like to use their majority status to trample the rights of the minority. I have already seen the effects of such votes. In Michigan, they put it to vote, and gay-marriage was banned. I applaud Massachusetts for protecting the minority.

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12:26 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hologram in Vista DVD to thwart piracy

[Image: Vista hologram]Vista DVDs, as it has been discovered, contain a picture on them which is supposed to help fight disc piracy. How, you may ask, I have no idea. I must only wonder how much money they invested in that little gem.

The way I see this, the image does absolutely nothing. For one, no one knew that it existed until now. Secondly, the only people that would even think to look for this would buy their software from a legit store. And thirdly, if your buying this off a street corner, I doubt you care if the hologram is there or not.


9:36 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Protecting the air, one cup at a time

[Image: Mother and son]Airport security in this country is the biggest joke. A mother was detained over a cup of water for her infant son. Meanwhile, there are consistent stories where agencies will bring in potentially dangerous material, and get through.

In the US, airport security isn't about actually making things safe, but pretending to be doing so. What are the odds that someone will blow-up a plane with a sippy-cup? Toothpaste tube? Nail-clippers? Book? What happened to a little common sense?

I heard somewhere that the reason security is so bad is because it is reactive. Security only checks things that have been used before. Shoe bomb: take off your shoes. Liquids: surrender your water bottle. They don't actively prevent anything, only react to the existing concerns.

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6:42 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A judge and his pants

Roy Pearson, a judge, sued a Korean couple running a dry-clean business in DC for losing his pants. Not only is suing over pants ridiculous, he wanted $65M. Now, the worst has happened: he cried over his pants in court. A disgusting example of a man abusing the legal system. From the article:
As Pearson explained that those weren't the pants for the suit, he choked up and left the courtroom crying after asking [Judge] Bartnoff for a break.
This guy does not at all sound like a stable enough person to effectively preside as a judge. Because of this case, he is making a very mockery of the system he is supposed to be upholding. Based on this, I would suggest that someone from that region push for his disbarment. You can't have a loony like this and expect anything to be fair.

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5:48 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Leopard copies Vista? Who cares?

[Image: OSX vs Vista]
I was reading an article about how Leopard looks like Vista. People in the comments got all riled up about the article, attacking each OS. But the real question is: who cares?

Does it really matter who came up with a feature first? If there is something new and revolutionary, the other would be foolish not to add the same feature. Firefox made tabs great, does that mean that nobody else can use them? No. The question at hand is not how did what first, but who does it best?

I don't care if little minutia details are copied from the other operating systems. The only thing that matters is how well each handles it and whether or not that makes a difference. Sure, Linux had "spaces" first, but Macs have other features too and as a whole, it works better than anything else.

Others may be bound to their own expectations. For some people, Windows works better. My sister refuses to use anything apart from Windows, but her criteria for a good computer is different than mine. She values different pieces more or less than I.

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5:22 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

It's over, no more school, summer

I have only been looking forward to this day since... well, the first day of school. Through bad teachers and general nonsense, I managed to pull off all A's and B's this semester. I still don't have a summer job, but right now I am making money working on my neighbors' yards. Then, I'll be off to New York in about week and a half. I'll do my best to stay connected.

Technically, I still have one more day, but I am the only person in my class tomorrow and the teacher has nothing planned. It would simply be a waste of everyone's time for me to go to class. I may be using that time to take a test anyhow, as I need to do it for a Physics class I am planning to take.

I'm thinking, depending on how things pan out, that I may go for a Macbook after I return. I was reading online about how leopard may be out in October, which is a long ways away. I guess my POS laptop may last that long. Until then, I'm saving my pennies in anticipation.

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2:17 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Hilary Clinton likely won't make it

[Image: Hilary Clinton]Hilary Clinton is ahead of her biggest opponent, Barack Obama, in the Democratic primaries; the polls show that. But what the polls don't show is some reasons why people won't vote for her. I've compiled some idea as to why she won't become the first lady president.
  • Her husband - every blunder that Bill has ever made will reflect on her. People who hold a grudge against Bill will also hold a grudge on her. Either way, some people are refusing to support her based on Bill's prior actions. Some people may see it as Bill's second presidency.
  • She's a woman - as much as we would like to think that the woman are equally as good candidates, they are not. There will be a large number of people who will not vote for her because they fear she will focus on woman's rights, not the big picture. Also, nations where women are counted as property will have zero respect for her.
  • Zero republican support - One of the biggest issues that she faces is the fact that she has no support outside her party. People find her to be aggressive. It has been said that she has a four percent margin of voters who do not already have their minds made up; she has no room to expand her support.
The only thing I worry about are the democrats putting Clinton on the ballot based on democratic support. You need to be a person who can reach across the aisle and be level with people in the other party. Clinton is simply not one of those people.

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8:12 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

WWDC: Jobs presents Leopard, extras

[Image: Steve Jobs at 2007 WWDC]
The most prominent idea at this years WWDC was Leopard. Steve Jobs listed ten new features in Leopard (plus hundreds more unsaid). Of course, that is not to say that everything was serious. The opening feature Johns Hodgman, PC, as Steve Jobs announcing his retirement and closure of Apple due to the tremendous "success" of Vista and the Zune.

He mentioned improvements made to Finder, and iChat; how Leopard is 100% 64-bit. He briefly covered Parallels and Windows apps. He announced "spaces" which received a smaller applause as it has been touted on Apple's site for ages. He also mentioned the dashboard and Timemachine, which makes it much easier to manage backups (works together with Finder).

He finishes the main presentation with more Vista jokes about versions and pricing (all $129). But thinking of Windows, Safari is coming to PCs. I'll have to try it out. At the very least, its speed is touted to be much better than Firefox.

[Image: Apple site redesign]While I was quickly looking for information on Apple, I discovered that they just redesigned their site.[Image: Apple site redesign] Things are somewhat easier to navigate (in my opinion). The most noticeable difference is in the store, where items are more spread out and are more visually appealing.

Now I'm just waiting for Leopard to come out. If I am going to get a Mac sometime soon, I would prefer waiting until the newest operating system is out. Why buy a new machine if the OS will be out of date soon? Hopefully the wait won't be too long because I'm not sure how long I can wait.

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7:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

New obsession: all things Apple

[Image: Apple products]
Since the school year is closing in, there is no homework, thus more free time. I must honestly say that I have spent much of my time browsing through Apple's product line. I've become obsessed with Apple.

It started this morning when I was thinking about a presentation a classmate had done. She brought in her Macbook to play music in the background. I was also trying to think of things to do on my upcoming trip to New York City. The only thing that I have come up with yet is: the Apple Store in SoHo. I got online to browse, and I lost track of time.

[Image: Macbook]I have been looking primarily at the Macbook, as that is most likely what I would end up buying. I must say that I have learned quite a bit about Apple computers today. I found out that Macbooks have remotes, which I assume would control all the media options (music, video). And, Macbooks have a battery life of about six hours, or about five and a half more than my current laptop.

That was all I came for, but why not keep looking. I gandered at the Airport Extreme, which would come in handy if I were to ever get a second computer. The Airport Extreme would make printer/file sharing much easier to manage.

In line with the New York trip mentioned above, I will likely see my brother sometime during that trip, and I am planning to ask him to bring his Macbook Pro with him so that I can play with it. I have to get a feel for Apples before I will buy one. Also, he would be able to answer any questions that I have about them on the spot.

But if I were to buy anything, I would likely do so through my sister as she could get an educational discount, which would save over a hundred dollars. But thinking of such, my local Best Buy carries one iMac display model- that's it- no laptops.

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10:53 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Legal online gambling to return?

There's is talk that the ban on online gambling should be repealed. Instead, they say the government should regulate, rather than prohibit, online gambling. Democrat Barney Frank suggests that adults be able to spend the money they earn however they want. I wholly agree.

I personally don't see where making gambling illegal helps anything. Like everything else, people will find ways around every law. It would make more sense to legalize it; that's what happened to prohibition anyways. It's like thinking DRM would stop piracy.

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7:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Vermont secession gaining support

[Image: Vermont Republic flag]Vermont is still working on their secession from the United States, and the idea is gaining support among residents. Scholars and others believe that the US has become too big, powerful, and corrupt. People feel that the government no longer serves the people. From the article:
A poll this year by the University of Vermont's Center for Rural Studies found that 13 percent of those surveyed support secession, up from 8 percent a year before.
If they can get the support they need, it would be interesting to see this happen, and to see what the rest of the country does in response. I fully respect their idea to break away. Too much of politics is surrounded by money and corruption. If the country could be scaled down into smaller pieces it may be easier to manage and would give people more of a voice against corporations. Who knows?

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7:54 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why do we ban trade with Cuba?

[Image: Flag of Cuba]I was watching NBC the other day, and they had a morning special about Cuba. The show got me to thinking: why do we ban trade with Cuba?

The most common excuse is that Cuba is communist. China is also communist, but we continue to trade with them. China is actually more oppressive than Cuba. Cuba boasts some of the best education, as well as some of the best health care systems in the world. China only has a reputation of censorship. Try searching for tiananmen square:
[Image: Tienanmen Square]

Google even admits the censorship on the page:
据当地法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示 (According to local laws, regulations and policies, some search results are not shown)
If we were to stop trading with anyone, it should be China, not Cuba. You don't hear of this problem in Cuba.

Another excuse I have heard is that Castro shut down american businesses. But the thing about it is that he did so in reaction to the US tension. The US thought they could dictate how Castro ruled. When things boiled, Castro took over the hotels and casinos. The US fought back by banning all trade. The US is still at fault.

So there is still no evidence as to why we have banned trade, when every excuse only points back at us.

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5:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Dick Cheney trying to hide the past

[Image: Dick Cheney]Dick Cheney doesn't want anyone to know who he has been talking to. He ordered secret service officers to destroy all records of visitors. When I first heard of this, I didn't think much of it, but in reading this story, he did so after being sued to release them. Obviously he is trying to cover something up.

The first version I heard of this story, people tried to defend it saying that presidents should have to ability to meet with people in secrecy. I, however, feel that is okay only for a short time after the meeting occurred; after that, the records should be public. Purging those records should not even be allowed, especially with Cheney's controversial ties to Halliburton, among others.

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8:56 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A fresh new look

[Image: Blog before design change]The last time I changed my template, I did so because I thought that I was going to change my focus to automotive. I have since discovered that is not what I want to do. I got so wrapped up in the Gumball that I didn't think very far into the future. After about a week, I got bored, and ended the series I intended to run. Since then, I have found a new topic that I enjoy: politics.

[Image: Blog after design change]It is with great pleasure that I present the newest design. I am trying to keep the layout as clean as possible, but still give plenty of places to browse. There is a list of the presidential candidates that I have written about, so that each is easily distinguished. Not only do politics offer me the opportunity to write about the presidential elections, but there is still plenty to say after the elections. As long as there is a government, there will always be something to say about it.

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3:19 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Surgeon General nominee can "cure" gays

[Image: James Holsinger]Bush has nominated James Holsinger to be Surgeon General. So? Well, this guy is so scientific, he thinks he can "cure" gays. I would strongly object to this man's presence as Surgeon General because I would never want someone in charge of so much if he lacks the general foundation of common sense. Bush says:
As America's chief health educator, he will be charged with providing the best scientific information available on how Americans can make smart choices that improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury.
Because of this man's stance, I question whether "best scientific information" means that it will be biased, or used to push an idealogical agenda. Is this just another Harriet Miers? Either way, I hope this guy gets knocked down before anything happens.

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2:26 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President