Saturday, May 26, 2007

Some weekend snark...

From Living the Scientific Life:

To Be a Good Republican, You Must Believe ...

  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  • Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
  • Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another American jihadist

Another Muslim extremist was arrested today for planning a terrorist attack in the United States. Shockingly, the attack was to take place at a funeral.

OK, it wasn't a Muslim. It was actually a white Christian good-ol'-boy.

A first-year Liberty University student was arrested in what police said was a plot to detonate explosive devices Tuesday, the day of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's funeral.

Liberty University is the college-like institution Falwell founded to proved impressionable young adults what they think is a college education. It teaches creationism, geocentrism, and denies the existence of gravity. I'm just kidding about those last two. That would be nutty.

"Extremist" and "terrorist" are not how the press will describe this guy, I wager.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fantastic Firefox plugins

Sorry, I just couldn't find a way to make that title alliterative.

Anyway, I just came across two new great Firefox plugins that I'd never heard of before. So I thought I'd make a post about what I use. If anyone else knows of useful plugins, I'd love to know what they are.

  • Adblock and Adblock Filterset.G Updater: Make banner ads a thing of the past.
  • All-in-one Gestures: This is such a simple idea, yet so incredibly useful. Control Firefox just by using the mouse.
  • Copy Plain Text: One of my pet peeves is that cutting-and-pasting from Firefox pastes rich text, with all the text formatting and links retained. This cuts and pastes from Firefox just as plain text.
  • Download Statusbar: Creates a status bar for downloads in progress, rather than a pop-up window.
  • Yet Another Window Resizer: If you ever create webpages, it's important to know how they will look on screen resolutions other than yours. This makes changing the window size a snap.

The stuff nightmares are made of

You know how, when you're out running errands or something, you're in the middle of the store, and it occurs to you, "Wait. Did I remember to put on pants this morning?" And then you actually have to stop and check? Does that happen to everyone, or just me?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I blame his deathstyle

Warning: There are what may be dangerously high levels of insensitivity in this post.

The Lord struck down Jerry Falwell today. Falwell had a tendency to blame the misfortune in people's lives for either their sin or the sins of those around them. So one wonders what Falwell did to bring about the wrath of the Almighty.

Perhaps I take his words a bit personally. But he accused me being the cause of the terrorist attacks five years ago. He pointed his finger in my face and said I helped 9/11 happen. So yes, I take that personally. As of last week, he was still claiming it, even after his so called "apology".

I take no particular pleasure in his death, but I do not mourn him. I am sorry for what his family is going for and, frankly, hope none of them ever read this.

But he was an odious man with vile beliefs who said repugnant things. The world is better off without him.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What if they gave a terrorist attack and no one came?

Remember a couple of months ago, when an ill-advised marketing campaign left strange electrical devices around Boston, causing local authorities to think they could have been bombs? It made the news for days. This week's arrest of five men accused of planning to attack Fort Dix has similarly garnered a great deal of attention, even though the men had not even started planning any attack.

Would it come as a surprise to you if I'd told you there had been an actual terrorist attack in the US two weeks ago? Doesn't it seem odd that this has barely made a blip on the news? This wasn't an theoretical attack in the pre-planning stages, this was an actual bomb, placed where it would kill many civilians, with shrapnel added to maximize casualties. The bomb squad had to detonate it in place.

I suspect it was because the alleged bomber wasn't a swarthy Muslim immigrant, but a white Christian man. I certainly hope it was not because the target of his wrath was a family planning clinic and thus his near-victims were somehow less "innocent."

This isn't the only case. While the Fort Dix arrests have been plastered all over the news, this case of a group of men allegedly planning a machine gun attack also hasn't been widely publicized. They had fabricated about 200 explosive devices.

David Niewert over at Orcinus writes:

Of course, acknowledging that this is the case would require a major readjustment of the media's constructed narrative about the "war on terror." So it continues to turn a blind eye, and in the process it profoundly misinforms the public.

And yet Ann Coulter still gets to complain about terrorists being "ragheads."

More reading:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Go peddle crazy somewhere else

I don't understand the level of credulity among the American people. It seems like every ten years or so, some event of national significance always gets credited to a vast, evil conspiracy. The Moon landing was a hoax, the government killed Kennedy, the CIA created HIV to kill black people. These days, it's all about 9/11 and how it wasn't really perpetuated by Al Queso, but rather by the government, or the CIA, or the Jews. Some say the Towers weren't brought down by planes at all, but by by missiles protected with hologram generators.

Yesterday, Washington Journal had Charles Allen, a (the?) Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence on. (The program is here, and you'll have to scroll down to the correct link; sorry, no permalinks. He starts about 2:00 into the full program, the first call is about 4 minutes in.) I just happened to come across this by chance. He seems fairly reasonable on the investigation of terror groups and talked a bit on how and why people become extremists. One caller asked about the search policies of container vessels, which is a legitimate issue and something we should be having a discussion about.

Allen talked briefly, then the show took about a dozen calls. It must have been Crazy Person Day, because the very first caller, a grandmotherly-sounding woman from Virginia, wanted to know why no one follows up the "Zionist connection" to 9/11, how they were "dancing on top of their cars" as the buildings fell, and how they had cased the buildings to plant explosives.

It was also two-for-one Crazy Person Day. A later caller from Las Vegas claimed the 9/11 attacks were a "false flag operation" in order to goad the US into war. This is the bit of what he said that steamed my broccoli:

Why don't you address what a lot of the people of the country think, that this is an inside job and your investigation, the 9/11 investigation, did investigate up to the point that the building was hit, but how did the building come down because physically, a lot of physicists says it's impossible, your pancake theory doesn't work, it was a free fall, that's a demolition job.

First of all, I'd like to meet these physicists that say a building collapsing is "impossible." Secondly, how do these people thing demolition works? You collapse some of the supporting beams and let the building fall down under the force of gravity. The planes hit WTC1 and WTC2 at about the 95th floor and the 80th floor, respectively. That means that once supporting beams gave way, the equivalent of either a 15- or 30-story building was dropped onto the rest of the tower. It would have been miraculous if the buildings didn't collapse after that.

Last week, a California highway collapsed after a tanker truck caught fire under it. The construction of the highway was probably mostly concrete and steel, much like the Towers. A picture is here, pretty impressive stuff. The tanker truck was carrying a lousy 8000 gallons. Each plane that hit the WTC was carrying the equivalent about one and a quarter tanker trucks full of fuel. Is it really such a stretch that that could have catastrophically damaged the building?

About one in six Americans believe the Towers were brought down by explosives, rather than by the planes. More than one in three believes the US was either complicit in the attacks or knew about them and did nothing. All without any evidence or explanation. Those are numbers I find very frightening.