Wednesday, May 28, 2008

House of cards

...except the cards are made from your tax dollars and BushCo plays 52-pickup with them while funding the war on terror.

Speaking of which, have you heard that Scott McClellan, the former White House Press Secretary (post-Ari Fleischer and pre-Dana Perino), has written a memoir detailing his time spent with Bush and his spin doctors? It's titled: What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

The SF Chronicle has an article on it. Some of the highlights:
The Bush White House made "a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed" — a time when the nation was on the brink of war, McClellan writes in the book entitled "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception."

The way Bush managed the Iraq issue "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option."

"In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage," McClellan writes.
The former press secretary — the second of four so far in Bush's presidency — explained his dramatic shift from loyal defender to fierce critic as a difficult act of personal contrition, a way, he wrote, to learn from his mistakes, be true to his Christian faith and become a better person.

"I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be," McClellan writes. He also blames the media whose questions he fielded, calling them "complicit enablers" in the White House campaign to manipulate public opinion toward the need for war.

McClellan said Bush loyalists will no doubt continue to think the administration's decisions have been correct and its unpopularity undeserved. "I've become genuinely convinced otherwise," he said.
We knew that Iraq wasn't behind the attacks on September 11th. We know that the man who was is hiding in the luxurious Afghanistan-Pakistan mountain borne caves. Yet with enough spinning, the American people in their anger, pain, and frustration, found the lies hurled from the collective foul recesses of the neocon mouth bearing enough credence to choose to go to war against Iraq because of supposed WMDs and a (then) questionable link to the Taliban.

We knew Saddam was bad. No question about it. So we went in under the pretense of liberation, and have put ourselves in a position that will make it extremely difficult to extricate ourselves. What benefits have we seen from these actions?

Ever heard of the Wolfovitz Doctrine (aka 'Rebuilding American Defenses')? We let it become policy right:
'...while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for U.S. military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'
We can't blame everything on the war that's lasted over 5 years and has claimed the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers thrown in harm's way not to protect American interests, but to further the goals of a dying leprous breed of politicians. However, given the war's impact on the the stability (or at least perceived stability) of petroleum availability, coupled with the crumbling mortgage industry, the housing market slump, and fuel and food costs increasing, it stands to reason that prolonging current troop deployments and actions to fight the ephemeral 'war on terror' is a bad thing for Americans and their progeny.

This is not a partisan issue. This is an ethical issue. We've been manipulated enough with BushCo spin doctors, but we also need to take accountability for our actions of allowing our country to go in the wrong direction. We've shown the government that we're intimidated by them, when really it should be the other way around. They are elected officials. While we're going to see lots of propaganda from both sides (a certain questionable email that's been circulating comes to mind) we should keep in mind that we control who goes into office.

After so many Orange Alerts, looming shadows of Homeland Security restrictions on traveling, cases of illegal wire taps, we seemed to have been cowed into conformity. A fearful populace is an easily governed populace. When we seem to be perpetually at war, our government has enlisted tools that instill fear in our hearts, so we allow them to send more troops and spend more tax dollars overseas, while we constantly cut out education programs and raise tuition at public universities and put our next generation of engineers, teachers, police officers, soldiers, mothers, and fathers further into debt.

While Scott McClellan's tell-all comes a little late, it no doubt provides more context into the lame duck presidency that will go down in history as the administration that ran 2 terms as a fascist third-world regime while losing ground to other countries, instead of the innovative and progressive force it could've been.

That being said, the end of BushCo is nigh. Even while he campaigns for McCain, John knows that linking himself to the man who put the crack in cracka is a death sentence for the November elections.

Friday, May 23, 2008

No Google Street View for you

Like the Soup Nazi, it would appear that there's the requisite 'soup' and 'no soup for you' with regards to Google Street View's mapped content.

If you haven't seen this, it's Google latest (couple years old) foray into providing 'added value'. The company employs a squadron of vans equipped with a roof-mounted camera to drive almost everywhere and then provide these images on their mapping service, so when you want to map an address, you have the option to actually see what the area looks like: the 'street view' one might say. Clicking on the 'Street View' button brings up blue trails on streets and roads that have been indexed by Google.

It's interesting. If your area has been captured, then someone mapping directions to your house can see what it looks like from the road. I'm sure it makes some people's lives easier, as if you're not a directions-on-paper type person, the visuals fill in the blanks.

How does Google determine which areas are captured? Excellent question. As we see here:
there's a big hole of coverage in parts of Piedmont, Montclair, and Crocker Highlands. Not familiar with Piedmont? It's got stupid money. Huge homes, great schools, embedded (like journalists in Iraq) in Oakland, and it doesn't tolerate all that nonsense that goes down in the adjacent Oaktown streets. The cops shoot at you with platinum bullets. Montclair (the area bisected by Snake and Shepard Canyon) is similar to Piedmont, although it's still technically part of Oakland. Crocker Highlands is another relatively affluent area with gorgeous homes.

Rumor has it that the downtown Montclair village area had a nightclub back in the 80s that was the source for the majority of cocaine for the local yuppies. The area now frequently changes hands and becomes a swanky burger joint or bagel shop every 3 years. I digress.

How did certain parts of Piedmont and Oakland escape the capture?

Google filmed all of Pinehurst Rd in Canyon, but left the 'residential' area alone.In nearby Walnut Creek, there's a similar hole.Almost the entire island of Alameda was left untouched.Was there a request made by the community leaders? A discrete pay-off? Subtle (or not so subtle) legal threats? Montclair is in an elevated location, where the houses are secluded by gorgeous redwoods carpeting the hillside. Maybe the camera on the van can't swivel to get all the non-standard street view perspectives. All of Alameda? Hmmm...

Has anyone ever seen the Google picture van?

It's an elusive creature...fortunately, as the sun sets the vehicle's shadow becomes part of the landscape...keep your eyes open...Coupled with Google Health we should expect some vocal privacy concerns. Kaiser Permanente partnered with Google in order to 'advise' them on HIPAA related concerns.

The new Kaiser Thrive marketing mantra?
  • We believe in instant information
  • We believe that your medical records are great for sponsored listings
  • We believe you can't do shit about us making them available for Google
  • We believe we'll make a great profit from your genetic profile being scanned by the Google AdSense engine
  • We believe that going over budget is the best way to increase profits, since you'll pay for our mistakes
  • We believe we'll thrive on you, the consumer
  • We believe you better pray you stay employed, so we don't have to reject your medical coverage application

Friday, May 9, 2008

Thank you Monty

In light of the recent Duggar news, I just want to salute Jim Bob with this lovely ditty performed by the timeless Eric Idle. Thank you for everything Eric. Jim Bob...thanks for keeping Pampers in business.

Every Duggar Sperm is Sacred

The Duggars have child number 18 on the way. Mom's been pregnant for 11 years. WTF? All the kids are homeschooled...


...the oldest wants to be an attorney, the rest are basically a mix of missionary, carpenter, and midwife...not that these are bad vocations, but 18 KIDS?!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let us hope Amy fails to cut anything on this mirror

How cool does Mirror's Edge look? This cool:
It's an action adventure game that makes me think of Prince of Persia, but done in first-person perspective with the gameplay mechanics showcasing parkour. Check out the French movie District B13 for a good example of this style of physical movement.
Totally unrelated, but it looks like Amy Winehouse has finally completed her descent and completely wrecked her entire train. She needs rehab like Bush needs to line up his coke. Thank you Family Guy.

It's a bit of a downer. Talented girl, Grammys aplenty, fans buying out her tickets within minutes, tapped to do the next Bond theme song, and nothing to show for it but bad press about her thuggish-ruggish man and her addiction-fueled behavior.