Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gadget review: Nook Color


After nearly clubbing me to death over my indecision, Mrs. Poolbar got me a Barnes & Noble Nook Color for my birthday to replace my Sony Reader model PRS-300 which I'd purchased earlier in the year somewhat impulsively. The Sony is a good entry-level reader at a low price point. I knew it lacked any kind of wireless connectivity, but I was OK with that. But I found I was a bit disappointed in its lack of any kind of text search capability or even highlighting. Still, it served me well enough in its primary purpose of carrying lots of books around without, you know...carrying lots of books around.

My indecision revolved around what to replace it with. The Nook Color was a front runner early on once I found out it was an Android-based device, but then I saw the Velocity Micro Cruz tablet at Borders, which gave me pause. While the Nook is Android-based, B&N has locked down the OS so that it is still, first and foremost, an e-reader, with a couple of games and a web browser thrown in. At $249, the Cruz is the same price as the Nook Color, but offers a more full Android experience with the Borders book store/reader app just another app running on the tablet. But then I saw some negative reviews on the Cruz and it was indecision time again. I briefly considered the Samsung Galaxy Tab but just about gagged on the $500+ price tag, not to mention that at present it's only available with a monthly subscription with a cell phone carrier. A WiFi-only model is due out soon, but will still cost around $500. In the end I finally decided that since I'd use such a device about 80% of the time as a reader, the Nook Color made the most sense.

The Nook Color sports a 7" capacitive touch screen and offers a most impressive display. The Nook reader app manifests itself on the home screen with a scrollable bar of recent titles on the bottom. Titles (displayed as book covers) can be dragged from the bar onto the home screen.

Upon opening a book, you're taken to where you left off, or the title page if you're opening it for the first time. You can turn pages either by swiping right to left (forward) or left to right (back). You can also turn pages by tapping on the right side of the page (forward) or the left side (back). Tapping in the center of the page brings up a menu for browsing the title's contents, text searches, sharing (more on that later) and adjusting text size and display brightness.

The reader also has a "Lend Me" feature which allows you to lend a book to another Nook owner. Not only is this a nice feature for the consumer, it's smart for B&N. I'm seriously considering getting Mrs. Pool Bar a Nook simply because we read many of the same authors and this solves the problem of buying duplicate titles.

Now, about the sharing features. You can link your Nook Color to your Facebook, Twitter and Google Mail accounts. You can tweet or update your Facebook status with quotes from a book. The update or tweet will include the quote, plus a link to the B&N store for the title you're reading. Here's an example. You can also rate a book and post reviews, which I believe (since I haven't tried it yet) post to the B&N e-book store under that title.

The web browser is the standard Android browser, and runs well on the Nook. Web pages, particularly when viewed in landscape mode, are rendered very well, with only Flash content unavailable. While there's no YouTube app as found on standard Android devices, YouTube clips are viewable. When you click a YouTube link the video is played through the Nook's media player. The media player plays MP3 and AAC audio files, and MP4 and M4V video. I loaded an MP4 file I'd recorded onto my Nook and the media player rendered it very well.

Under a menu category called "Extras", you'll find a few games (Sudoku, chess and crossword puzzles), as well as Pandora Internet Radio, your Google contacts, the media player and your media gallery (photos, videos and music).

Having used the Nook for a few days, I've encountered absolutely ZERO issues. Performance is snappy and so far at least, I couldn't be happier with it. The docs for the Nook Color say that the unit won't charge while connected to your computer via USB. The docs lie. While the charging indicator on the display doesn't come on, the unit IS charging. What you can't do while connected to the computer is actually use the device, except for transferring files between your computer and the Nook. The Nook Color is fully functional when connected to outlet power.

Now for the best part...the Nook Color is rootable, and it's a very simple root procedure compared, for example, to my Motorola Backflip Android phone. Locked inside the Nook Color is a pretty awesome Android tablet just raging to break free. The current stock Android 2.1 implementation on the Nook lacks nearly all the standard Android apps, and doesn't allow access to any Android market apps. It's not even possible to sideload apps. Word on the street is that B&N is releasing a software update in January which will be Android 2.2-based and allow some very limited access to market apps, so I'll wait for that update before deciding to root. But I'll probably root it at some point, regardless. It'll be awesome to have nearly Samsung Tab power at half the price.

Update: I went ahead and rooted it without waiting for the update from B&N. Rooting took me all of 5 or 10 minutes, including the time it took to create the bootable SD card. The folks at xda developers who created the custom ROM and the root procedure and scripts did a bang-up job and everything went flawlessly. My Nook Color is now one bitchin' Android tablet. :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The ugly truth about my dog


My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day. He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants, 24/7/365. His meals are provided at no cost to him. He visits the doctor once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise. For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him. He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep. If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up. He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep. He receives these accommodations absolutely free. He is living like a king, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever. All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day. I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head...
My dog is a Democrat!

(Thanks to my buddy AB for e-mailing this to me. And yes, that's really my dog up there.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Christmas humor

Yeah, I'm way too lazy to be bothered with posting content of substance, so here's another Christmas joke...

An international chess club was holding their annual meeting at a hotel. During a cocktail reception several of the attendees were gathered near the entrance bragging about their mastery in various chess tournaments. After several minutes of this, the hotel manager threw them out.

When a bellhop asked the manager why, he explained, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting by an open foyer."

Christmas humor

Santa had just finished loading up his sleigh and was climbing on board for his annual flight around the world when a man with a large hunting rifle hopped into the right seat.

Startled, Santa asks the man, "Seriously? You're gonna rob ME on Christmas Eve?"

"Sorry to give you a fright, sir", the man replies. "I'm Bill from the FAA. The powers that be decided earlier this year that you must be subject to an annual check ride so that we can certify your airworthiness and emergency handling procedures."

Santa, looking a bit puzzled, asks Fred, "Well, OK, but what's with the .30-06?"

Fred leans in and whispers, "Well, I'm not supposed to tell you, but you're gonna lose one on take-off."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The latest TSA abuse outrage

Well, maybe not the latest because of the age of the incident, but it doesn't seem to have been widely publicized at the time.

Yeah, I know. Everyone's sick of hearing about TSA enhanced pat-downs and such, but this story is a bit different. This seems to have occurred in February of this year so it took place before the junk-touching policy went into effect, and in fact has nothing to do with junk-touching or full body scans. Rather, this is about the mindset of some TSA security screeners who, out of pure spite, wield their petty authority over a citizen with the audacity to challenge them to follow their own published policy.

The video below weighs in at over 11 minutes, so here's the gist of it:

A new mother evidently pumps her breast milk while away so that she can feed it to her son upon her return. Armed with a printed copy of TSA's policy, she asks that her breast milk not be x-rayed and that TSA follow their alternative inspection policy on medical liquids, which applies to baby formula and breast milk.

Thus challenged, the TSA screener sets her belongings aside and confines her to an inspection holding area for nearly an hour, resulting in the young mother missing her flight home.

Here's the clip:


Now, here's what the Transportation Security Administration's own web site has to say about breast milk (emphasis theirs):
When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) for explosives.
Now maybe, just maybe, the TSA screeners here gave her a hard time about it only because she wasn't actually traveling with her baby. Maybe. But that doesn't negate the petty vindictiveness of the TSA employees shown here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shiva Obama


According to a Foxnews.com piece, Americans of Indian descent are a bit rankled over a recent Newsweek cover depicting Barack Obama as the Hindu god Shiva. (Cue obligatory jokes about media deification of Obama!)

The article to which the cover refers, though, is more of an apologia for Obama, rationalizing his administration's utter ineptitude in terms of the job being too big for any one person - even a deity! - to handle:
Can any single person fully meet the demands of the 21st-century presidency? Obama has looked to many models of leadership, including FDR and Abraham Lincoln, two transformative presidents who governed during times of upheaval. But what’s lost in those historical comparisons is that both men ran slim bureaucracies rooted in relative simplicity. Neither had secretaries of education, transportation, health and human services, veterans’ affairs, energy, or homeland security, nor czars for pollution or drug abuse, nor televisions in the West Wing constantly tuned to yammering pundits. They had bigger issues to grapple with, but far less managing to do.
I guess I must have missed all the sudden changes that must have occurred during Obama's inauguration in January last year, because I don't recall a single Newsweek article laying blame for George W. Bush's supposed failures on the size of the presidency. So I guess Bush must have served during a completely different era when things were so much simpler.

Oh, and I'd be derelict in my duties if I didn't point out that Shiva is known in the Hindu religion as the "destroyer of worlds". Heh.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jon Stewart and Glenn Beck: Beside the point

Comedy Central's "Rally For Sanity and/or Fear", billed as a (wink, nudge) non-partisan event, was obviously anything but. And as the putative response to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, that's perfectly OK since I don't think many attendees at Beck's rally will be pulling the "D" lever on Tuesday even though that, too, was billed as non-partisan.

I can't comment much on the rally since I didn't attend nor did I watch any of it on TV, but I did catch Jon Stewart's closing remarks here. If you didn't see it, it's worth following the link and watching all 13 minutes because Stewart's closing is actually pretty good. Mediaite's Frances Martel correctly points out:
Those who paid attention to Glenn Beck’s speech at “Restoring Honor” will be hard-pressed to find much of a difference at the core of both their speeches, that core being that Americans are truly good and care for one another, and that the only way to get through these difficult times is working together.
But neither Beck nor Stewart put their fingers on the real problem, which is not Stewart or Beck. The real problem is a ruling party with leaders who actively and routinely attack and disparage roughly half of all Americans. President Obama himself, when he's not telling half of all Americans they're fearful and ignorant, says they need to sit in back because they can't drive. More recently he's referred to that same 50% as "enemies".

Mr. President, dude (hey, if Jon Stewart can call him dude, so can I)...smearing half your constituents is not a good way to unite the country. And neither is ramrodding an agenda opposed by roughly 60% of Americans.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alan Grayson: Gone in 60 seconds

Last week, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) released an ad which plumbed the depths of lying douchebaggery, in which he slanders opponent Dan Webster by claiming Webster dodged the draft during the Vietnam war. In fact, Webster duly registered for the draft and received a series of academic deferments while attending college. He was in the ROTC during his college years and upon graduation attempted to enter the armed forces but was rejected for medical reasons and ultimately ended up with a 4-F classification. FactCheck.org roundly criticized the Grayson campaign for their patent dishonesty.

Just days later, Grayson released another ad calling Webster "Taliban Dan", smearing him as a religious fanatic and repeatedly playing a video clip of Webster quoting a biblical verse, saying "she should submit to me". Hot Air provides the full context of that clip here, and suffice it to say, FactCheck.org was once again not amused:
We thought Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida reached a low point when he falsely accused his opponent of being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, and of not loving his country. But now Grayson has lowered the bar even further. He’s using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said.

[ ... ]

Webster’s positions on abortion and marriage, and his religious views, are certainly fair game. But Grayson crosses the line when he uses manipulated video to cast Webster’s views in a false light, just as he did when he concocted a false accusation that Webster had been a Vietnam draft dodger.
Personally, I think it's perfectly OK to go negative in a campaign ad about one's opponent. Campaigns are just as much about one's opponent as they are about a candidate's own positions. But if you're going to go negative, tell the fucking truth.

Those two ads totaling a mere 60 seconds just might sink Grayson's campaign. According to The Blaze, the backlash against the Grayson campaign has already begun, and it's probably just getting started. I half expect to see a contrite (yet totally insincere, of course) Alan Grayson call a press conference announcing the dismissal of several "over-zealous" campaign staffers who released ads without his knowledge in an attempt at damage control.

But as he himself says in both those spots, he's Alan Grayson and he approved these messages.

Update: It seems Grayson himself has closed the window of opportunity on any such press conference.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How a stimulus package works

Actually, I don't even think stimulus packages as conceived by Democrats work even this well, but this is still pretty funny. With thanks to my buddy AB.
It's a slow day in the small Saskatchewan town of Pumphandle, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs before he picks one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything... However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a difference nine years makes

My memories of 9/11/2001 are as crystal-clear as the weather that day. I remember every detail of that morning. I remember my shock and horror, and the seething anger that came later.

I remember, too, the brief period of political unity that followed. With the horrors of that day so fresh in everyone's mind, there was little disagreement that we were, in fact, at war. We knew that this would be a war like no other, one without geo-political boundaries or even a clearly defined end.

But predictably, that didn't last long. As the Bush administration responded first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, the Left saw political opportunity in the president's handling of the ineptly-named "War on Terror". Outside of Afghanistan, everything Bush did was wrong in their eyes. Iraq? Wrong. Gitmo? Wrong. Intercepts of calls placed to terror suspects overseas? Wrong. Just two years after 9/11, Lefty icon Michael Moore told his fans "there is no terrorist threat". Everything was framed by the Left as an indictment of George W. Bush's evil intentions around the world.

So here we are, nine years later and 20 months into Barack Obama's presidency. The Obama administration is desperately trying to return to the pre-9/11 school of thought, treating global Islamist terrorism as a simple law enforcement matter. With each new attempt by radical Islamists to commit mass murder of Americans (last Christmas Day's attempted knickerbomber, the failed Times Square bombing, the too-successful Ft. Hood shootings), we're assured by our betters on the Left that these are just lone nutcases. They're not really representative of Islam. It's all cool now. As for Afghanistan - the theater of operations the Left considered far too important to divert resources to Iraq - well, never mind that now. Let's just leave Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

A dark running joke following 9/11 went something like this: "Why did radical Muslims kill 3,000 Americans? Because they couldn't kill all 300 million of us." Never forget that if they could, they would.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Will he or won't he?

The burning question ahead of the President's address on Iraq tonight is whether he'll credit his predecessor George W. Bush with any of the undeniable success in Iraq. The word from Obama's spokescritter is that the President will phone Bush before the address, but there's no telling what that means.

Obama's in a real tough spot with this, one he enthusiastically made himself:



If he doesn't credit Bush at all, he implicitly takes credit for policies and strategies he previously (and repeatedly) said would not and did not work.

If he does give Bush any credit, it's an admission that if it had been up to him, Iraq would be in a complete shambles with the US watching helplessly from afar.

Either option provides ample fodder for his political opponents to pummel him.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pictorial metaphor of the day


Twitter buddy @RickSheridan posted a link this morning to the above picture which first just made me chuckle, until I realized what a perfect metaphor it is...

Obama is, well, Obama. The umbrella represents the economy, and the far side of the gate is the recession. Since Obama hasn't the first clue about economics, he can't figure out how to bring the economy to recovery, represented by the near side of the gate. Michelle represents the drawing out of the recession, which will keep going while Obama fucks with an umbrella.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

About that "Ground Zero Mosque"

The debate rages over the planned Islamic Center and mosque "at Ground Zero". I put that bit in quotes simply because the actual location - 45 Park Place - is a couple of blocks up Broadway from the site of the former World Trade Center. So it's not actually at Ground Zero.

Opponents say it's "insensitive" to permit construction of the center, and maybe they're right. But who cares? Since when is sensitivity a prerequisite for legal use of property? I'm a believer in property rights, and if the present owners of 45 Park Place wish to build an Islamic Center there, that's their right.

Some opponents also say this is a giant "fuck you" from New York's Muslim community to America, and maybe they're right, too. But so-called conservatives who ranted - correctly - about the Supreme Court's Kelo decision then turn around and say they want eminent domain invoked to prevent construction of this building are being hypocritical in the extreme.

We're not at war with Islam, the religion. We're at war with Islamism, the political-military movement. I know that to many (both Muslim and "infidel") the two are inseparable, but unless we're willing to discard the notion of religious freedom, we should just shut up about this.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Noted lefty truther demonstrates economic skillz

The Daily Caller provides Exhibit 839 in the case against putting progressives in charge of the US economy.
...former White House “green jobs” adviser Anthony Van Jones said it was time to stop worrying about budget deficits and pressure Washington to take more money from American businesses to fund larger social and infrastructure projects.

“This is a rich country. We have plenty of money, and if you don’t believe me, ask Haliburton,” Jones told a group of progressive bloggers and activists at the Netroots Nation convention Friday. “There’s plenty of money out there; don’t fall into the trap of this whole deficit argument.”

“The only question is how to spend it,” he added.

American corporations currently face the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world, according to the Tax Foundation.
What Jones and his fellow travelers on the Left completely fail to grasp is that businesses don't pay taxes, they collect taxes. From you and me in the form of higher prices.

This is why progressives should never, ever be in control of government.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Three men, three pictures

Posted without further comment:




Via e-mail from my friend AB.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Green Lies And Ham


I got this via e-mail from my buddy AB (who furnishes me with an endless stream of blog fodder, if I only spent more time blogging). Author, unfortunately, unknown.

I do not like this Uncle Sam,
I do not like his health care scam.
I do not like these dirty crooks,
or how they lie and cook the books.
I do not like when Congress steals,
I do not like their secret deals.
I do not like this speaker, Nan ,
I do not like this 'YES WE CAN.'
I do not like this spending spree,
I'm smart, I know that nothing's free.
I do not like your smug replies,
when I complain about your lies.
I do not like this kind of hope.
I do not like it, nope, nope, nope!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another media fabrication


The howler monkeys in the media have done it again. Remember when Toyota cars by the score were suddenly accelerating on their own and it was all you heard about earlier this year? The media piled on, and eventually Congress hauled Toyota executives in for the rubber hose treatment.

“There are a variety of causes -- pedal entrapment, sticky pedal, other foreign objects in the car” and “pedal misapplication,” Michels said yesterday in a telephone interview. Asked how many crashes were linked to pushing the accelerator when motorists thought they were pushing the brake pedal, he said, “virtually all.
A nearly identical thing happened to Audi in the 1980s, and it was years before Audi successfully reentered the American market. From a 1990 Manhattan Institute piece:
The Audi story is by now, dismally familiar. "Sudden acceleration" accidents occurred when the transmission was shifted out of "park." The driver always insisted he was standing on the brake, but after the crash the brakes always worked perfectly. A disproportionate number of accidents involved drivers new to the vehicle. When an idiotproof shift was installed so that a driver could not shift out of park if his foot was on the accelerator, reports of sudden acceleration plummeted.

But a story to the effect that cars accelerate when drivers step on the accelerator doesn't boost television ratings or jury verdicts. And driver error is understandably hard to accept for a mother whose errant foot killed her sixyearold son. So with the help of such mothers, CAS and CBS knitted together a tissue of conjecture, insinuation and calumny. The car's cruise control was at fault. Or maybe the electronic idle. Or perhaps the transmission.

"60 Minutes," in one of journalism's most shameful hours, gave air time in November 1986 to a selfstyled expert who drilled a hole in an Audi transmission and pumped in air at high pressure. Viewers didn't see the drill or the pump—just the doctored car blasting off like a rocket.
How much did this media fabrication, aided and abetted by the most anti-business American government in history, cost Toyota?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Non sequitur

The headline on Andrew Malcolm's LA Times blog post on Obama's speech last night was pretty amusing: "There's a pipe spewing a gazillion globs of oil into the gulf, so let's build more windmills". As non sequiturs go, it brought to mind the kid who, when asked what he thought of the fair responded "I like turtles!":



As the more cynical among us have come to expect, the President used the crisis to push for green energy solutions which are not yet fully developed nor will produce sufficient energy at a reasonable cost. But last night was not the time for such a speech. As Malcolm points out:
Instead, Obama was like a Harvard-trained nurse talking vacation to a new patient bleeding all over the ER floor. Hello, could we please stop the blood flow here before we discuss the long-term recovery?
We know, Mr. President. You want to move the country to alternative energy sources...we get it already. But how about dealing with and actually resolving the crisis at hand? We'll be happy to hear your take on solar and wind energy after oil stops gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and the crap is mopped up.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Watch the World Cup, you racists!

From The Nation by way of NPR, über-enlightened opinionator Dave Zirin explains why righty wingnuts hate soccer...it's because they're racists, of course:
Among adults, the sport is also growing because people from Latin America, Africa, and the West Indies have brought their love of the beautiful game to an increasingly multicultural United States. As sports journalist Simon Kuper wrote very adroitly in his book Soccer Against the Enemy, "When we say Americans don't play soccer we are thinking of the big white people who live in the suburbs. Tens of millions of Hispanic Americans [and other nationalities] do play, and watch and read about soccer." In other words, Beck rejects soccer because his idealized "real America" - in all its monochromatic glory – rejects it as well. To be clear, I know a lot of folks who can't stand soccer. It's simply a matter of taste. But for Beck it's a lot more than, "Gee. It's kind of boring." Instead it's, "Look out whitey! Felipe Melo's gonna get your mama!"


But that's just the NFL! Major League Baseball is nothing but white guys! Oh, wait...



And David "Big Papi" Ortiz is from Dominican Republic. He's a twofer! Not shown here are Hideki Okajima, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Junichi Tazawa, all from Japan.

Ace makes some great points about why soccer hasn't exactly caught fire here as a spectator sport.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

How to plug the damn hole

This oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is, to say the least, horrendous. The environmental impact to wildlife and the coastal ecosystem is sure to last for decades to come, not to mention the economic impact on coastal residents. We're now approaching Day 50, and oil continues to spew into the ocean, so here's my inexpert, wholly uninformed idea on how to stop it.

First, construct a form and drop it so that it surrounds the wellhead (or whatever it's called). This would need to be a little bit higher than the "plumbing" from which the oil is now pouring.

Next, lower a pipe roughly the same diameter as the size of the leak directly over the opening, and just start dumping dry concrete inside the form until it completely fills the form. Yes, concrete will set underwater.

Let the tankers queue up to capture the oil.

Obviously this is an over-simplification of what would be needed, but seriously...how difficult would it be?

Monday, June 07, 2010

The mask slips

On the occasion of Helen Thomas' abrupt retirement from her perch in the White House press room, I suppose it's only right to offer her our gratitude. Without her jarring expression of her opinion of Jews in Israel, we might still be laboring under the assumption that the Left is every bit as tolerant and unbigoted as they claim to be.

In case you missed it, here's what Helen Thomas had to say about Israeli Jews in Israel:


Earlier today I caught this tweet from a liberal on Twitter, @Shoq:


I was stunned. I shouldn't have been, but I was. I've long known that Lefties are mostly hostile to the policies of the state of Israel, but not necessarily to Israeli Jews. Yet here was a pretty popular Lefty on Twitter (he's got well north of 8000 followers) agreeing that we all might be better off if Israeli Jews were forced back into the Diaspora.

Yeah, I know...that's one guy. So I checked Daily Kos and came across this post from a barely-literate subscriber, who of course blames the evil Jews at AIPAC for Helen Thomas' downfall:
Whether you believe her statements or not, Thomas knows that saying things like that in public would come with the risk of dealing with a mob like Henry and all using the chances they can get to rid of her once and for all. Especially when AIPAC always hovering around. There just seemed like there was no way she was going to survive this one.

Still though, thank you DC Stenography society of stupidity for going after an 89 year respected wonderful journalist instead of doing your job and calling out your other colleagues who said controversial cringe like things about Muslims over the years.
So, that's two guys, plus the zillion or so commenters on the post. I'm sorry, but looking for more support for these sentiments is just too depressing because there's too much of it out there.

Monday, May 31, 2010

An imperfect analogy, but I'm going with it

Let's say that back in August 2005, a flotilla of ships carrying relief supplies was headed to New Orleans to help ease the suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Let's also say that all the ships originated from nations inimical to US interests...Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, and so on.

One would understand if US authorities wanted the ships to dock at a specific location so that the freight could be inspected and then transported where it was needed. One would also understand that if those wishes were communicated to the ships and the ships' captains disregarded them that we would impose our wishes on the ships' captains, by force if necessary.

In a nutshell, that's just what happened when Israel's navy commandos intercepted the ships bound for Gaza. Israel ordered the ships to sail for Haifa, where the cargo could be inspected for weapons before legitimate humanitarian supplies could be sent along to Gaza.

The "crews" of these ships - far many more than you'd expect to see on a legitimate cargo ship - set out to provoke Israel into a military response. If they're looking for sympathy, they can find it in the dictionary somewhere between shit and syphilis.

Update: The port Israel ordered the ship to may have been Ashdod, and not Haifa. The first article I'd read said Haifa, but others mention Ashdod, and that's closer to Gaza and seems to be where routine (read, actual) humanitarian aid shipments arrive.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New politics...yay!

Barack Obama campaigned on the idea of a "new" kind of politics, full of transparency and free of corruption and the old political hackery. But after months of stonewalling, the White House has finally admitted to trying to coerce Joe Sestak into dropping his primary bid against Arlen Specter by offering him alternative employment.
President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, people briefed on the matter said Friday.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Clinton to explore the possibilities last summer, according to the briefed individuals, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the politically charged situation. Mr. Sestak said no and went on to win last week’s Pennsylvania Democratic primary against Senator Arlen Specter.
The White House is trying to spin and mitigate the seriousness by (1) saying that someone not officially in their employ communicated the offer and that (2) the offer was for an unpaid position.

As for the first "mitigating" factor, the communications medium is irrelevant. It doesn't matter whether the offer was made via messenger, a phone call, an e-mail, or by Pony Express, the offer was still made by the White House to Joe Sestak.

As for the second, again, it makes no difference. They may be trying to get around the language of Title 18 of the US Code which refers to "anything of value" in such a quid pro quo, which brings to mind Whoopi Goldberg's defense of Roman Polanski (it wasn't rape rape!). In any event, I have serious doubts that this administration would be stupid enough to offer an unpaid position in exchange for giving up a chance at a Senate seat.

And this is just the corruption to which they're admitting. What other sleaze do we not know about?

New politics, indeed.

Update: Verdict, GUILTY.
Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Update 2: I think the "made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress" bit might be the out, IF in fact the position offered was an unpaid one, and not SecNav as has been speculated.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A night at the movies

I don't go out to the movies much. Since the days of the VCR, I've found I much prefer to wait for the video release and watch at home. Just the same, Mrs. Poolbar occasionally gets me to agree to catching one at a theater, so last night we went and caught "Robin Hood" at the new Muvico Village theaters here in Fredericksburg. I'll come back to the movie in a moment, but first a quick word about the theater complex.

Muvico is in the new area being built at Spotsylvania Towne Center mall. Besides the theaters, it also boasts bowling alleys and the Chatterbox Lounge, a bar that's part of the "Premier VIP" movie theater seating. You can grab your alcoholic beverages of choice at the bar and bring them with you to your oh-so-spacious and comfortable lounge chair for the movie. If you don't mind spending $15 for a movie ticket, it's great. My only complaint is that the air conditioning seemed to be running at full blast, and there I was in shorts, flip-flops and a t-shirt. Anyway, back to the movie.

I don't do movie reviews, so this isn't one. I don't really have a critical eye for cinematography and the like, and short of pathetically poor acting, I can't tell an Oscar-winning performance from a ho-hum average one. For me, movies get one of three ratings: "Great", "OK" or "Sucks". A "great" movie is any of the Lord Of The Rings movies, or The Caine Mutiny or something like that. Most romantic comedies Mrs. Poolbar puts on the tube are "OK", except for those that "suck". Other movies that "suck" are Mulholland Drive and Punch-Drunk Love.

Now that you have a basis for what movies I like and don't like, I'll tell you that Robin Hood is "great". It's fun with good action scenes, a good story line (and a more historically plausible back story for the Robin Hood character than traditional tellings) and has villains you love to hate and heroes you want to cheer on. If some of the sub-plots are a little hurried and a bit sketchily filled in, they can be forgiven for the ambitious effort of laying out the complex medieval politics of the day.

I'm not going to give away any plot spoilers, but DON'T READ THIS PART if you want to keep something of a visual surprise near the end. When France invades England in the film's climactic battle scene, Ridley Scott pays a bit of an homage to Saving Private Ryan, complete with 12th century landing craft suspiciously reminiscent of those used in World War 2. Truth be told, they look just like those boats, but with oars. The homage is made complete with underwater footage of disembarking French soldiers dying under a shit-storm of arrows, blood-streaked water and helmets and what-not sinking to the bottom.

As I said, the Robin Hood back story is more historically plausible to me in this telling than in the traditional ones. The whole movie is about what turned a man into Robin Hood, and ends where the traditional tellings begin with Robin Hood, Lady Marian and the Merry Men living as outlaws and leaves open the possibility of a Robin Hood movie franchise to continue the story.

Fun stuff, highly recommended.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

You don't see ads like these anymore

Got these from a buddy today via e-mail. I'm old enough to actually remember a couple of them, and some of them just scream "What the fuck?!".

I vaguely remember these ads. Nothing too outrageous for the day.

A typically deliciously sexist ad from the late '60s-early '70s.

Remember when I said some of them scream "What the fuck?!"
Seriously, I have NO idea what this ad is about.

Here's another one I sort of remember. The text reads:

Though she was a tiger lady,

our hero didn't have to fire a shot to floor her. After one look at

his Mr. Leggs slacks, she was ready to have him walk all over

her. That noble styling sure soothes the savage heart! If you'd

like your own doll-to-doll carpeting, hunt up a pair of these he-

man Mr. Leggs slacks. Such as our new automatic wash wear

blend of 65% "Dacron®" and 35% rayon-incomparably wrinkle-

resistant. About $12.95 at plush-carpeted stores.


You don't even SEE cigarette ads anymore, let alone something like this

I definitely remember this ad campaign. Love's Baby Soft was popular
with young teens, and only now does this ad seem really creepy.

Gloria Steinem, please call your office

Kellogg's vitamins for women? Really?

I wasn't sure at first if this was an ad or a Village People album cover

You don't hate your wife, do you? Now go and buy her some of this crap.

Who knew there was a "Soda Pop Board of America" to make sure we got hooked young?

I've been a very naughty girl for buying stale coffee, and I deserve a spanking!
I may have to start watching "Mad Men" to get a glimpse of the guys who came
up with ads like this one.

Smoke two packs and call me in the morning.

More "get 'em while they're young"! An excerpt from the text:

this young man is 11 months old - and

he isn't our youngest customer by any means. For 7-Up is so pure, so wholesome,

you can even give it to babies and feel good about it. - By the way, Mom, when it

comes to toddlers - if they like to be coaxed to drink their milk, try this: Add 7-Up

to the milk in equal parts, pouring the 7-Up gently into the milk. It's a wholesome

combination - and it works!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sovereignty? We don't need no stinkin' sovereignty!

When the Arizona state legislature passed an immigration enforcement bill which Gov. Jan Brewer subsequently signed into law, the public reaction was immediate, predictable and fierce. With images of cops randomly stopping people and demanding their papers, Arizonans were instantly branded as racists and fascists, and accusations of "racial profiling" were tossed around like confetti.

The Obama administration piled on before the DoJ even reviewed the new law, using it to demogogue the hell out of their political opponents. Municipal governments in other states jumped on the bandwagon, laying boycotts on Arizona, with San Francisco going so far as barring all but unavoidable official travel to the fascist state. One girls' high school basketball team even cancelled their participation in a tournament there.

And for what? A state law that requires police to check up on the immigration status of individuals in the course of "lawful contact" when an officer has reason to suspect the person's immigration status. Nothing in the law authorizes a cop to demand "papers" from people at random, and the law does nothing to expand the definition of "lawful contact" into areas incompatible with constitutional rights. Here's a link to the bill (SB1070), and you can see for yourself.

My own misgivings about the bill were around cops who might target Hispanics for "lawful contact" on some pretext, until it occurred to me that cops who are predisposed to that kind of thing don't need this law in order to do that. A bad cop is a bad cop, and this law won't turn a good cop bad.

I suspect the most vociferous opponents of the law fall into one (or more) of the following categories:
  • La Raza: These are the folks (and their sympathizers) who view California and the Southwest United States as their own land, and all you white honky fuckers are on their soil.
  • The Open Borders crowd: The idiots who don't believe in such archaic concepts as national sovereignty, artificial political borders, and - hey! pass the bong, dude!
  • The average, garden-variety Leftist: Many of these also fall into the open borders category, but most of them simply view everything - everything - through the prism of race. And you're a racist right-wing pig for even thinking of enforcing immigration law.
What they all have in common is that their opposition is less about common sense than it is about driving a political agenda.

And, just as I was ready to hit "publish", Hot Air reports that California has had strikingly similar language in their state laws for years.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Faisal Shahzad, heartbreaker

When the identity of last weekend's Times Square (would-be) bomber was revealed as an ethnic Pakistani Muslim bent on killing Americans, hearts all across the Lefty world were shattered. Oh, how their hopes soared when initial surveillance video suggested the perpetrator was a white male; surely this was their Great White Teabagging Hope who would prove their thesis that Teapartiers are a rabid pack of violent racists. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speculated idly (and spectacularly irresponsibly) that it might be “somebody with a political agenda who doesn’t like the health care bill or something."

But when the distinctly non-WASPish sounding name Faisal Shahzad surfaced as the prime suspect, their hopes were dashed on the rocks of their own hatred. MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer - evidently as stupid as she is beautiful - actually gave voice to her incoherent thoughts of disappointment and frustration:
I mean the thing is is that and I get frustrated and there was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country because there are a lot of people who want to use this terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.

And so there was part of me was really hoping this would not be the case that here would be somebody who is not the defined. I mean he’s accused he’s arrested you know I don’t want to convict him before it’s time to do so. He’s the guy authorities say is involved. But that being said I mean we know even in recent history you have the Hutaree militia from Michigan who have plans to let’s face it create terror.
Yes, Contessa, I do want to write off "people who believe in a certain way" if that "certain way" is that innocent people must die just for being Infidels. But in Contessa Land, it's just dandy to want to write off as violent, teabagging racists anyone who opposes their political agenda.

While Brewer was wetting herself over the possibility of a militia or Tea Party culprit, a contributor over at Lefty blog Daily Kos put up a now-embarrassing survey asking readers who they thought was responsible for the attempted bombing. The early results - before the suspect was known - are about what you'd expect:
An al Qaeda terrorist ---4%

An American sympathetic to al Qaeda ---5%

A militia wackjob ---30%

A teapartier ---32%

A religious (anti-abortion) wackjob ---9%
Got that? Before Shahzad was implicated, 71% of Kos readers were pretty excited about a right-wing connection to the Times Square bombing attempt. Here's a screen shot of the poll results from this morning, days after Shahzad became known...not a big improvement:

Even after the facts were known, there was too much stupidity to overcome to get the poll results to even approach reality.

But the poll is revelatory in one respect:


Religious whack-job (top or left depending on screen res) and not-a-religious-whack-job (right or bottom depending on screen res).
(Source: Leftist's Guide To Modern Thought)

Yeah, I made up that "source". So sue me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I obviously don't get it

The Daily Caller has an amusing story about a Pennsylvania state house Democratic party primary race in which Gregg Kravitz claims to be bisexual while his opponent, Babette Josephs, counters that Kravitz is a "closeted straight man" trying to curry favor with gay voters.

The part I don't get is a quote from Kravitz:
I want to be completely open with how I am proud of my bisexuality.
Why does one feel the need to express pride in their sexual preference? Isn't that a bit like expressing pride in your preference to, say, brunettes over redheads?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Linux tech talk

Since I'm between jobs at the moment, I'm also between laptops. And since Mrs. Poolbar wanted a new (smaller) laptop, we went out and got her a new one, and I took her 2-year-old Toshiba Satellite, which is a great machine but roughly the size of an aircraft carrier. It also had the misfortune of coming with Windows Vista.

As soon as I got all her e-mail, files, pictures and music transferred to her new laptop, I installed Ubuntu Linux 9.10 on the old one. I've used Ubuntu off and on for the past few years and found it to be by far the easiest Linux distribution to deal with. And since it's Linux, it's FREE.

Installation took about half an hour and required only a minimal amount of Q&A, nearly all up front so that once it began the install routine took over and did the rest. The installation was flawless, and much to my surprise, this version recognized every bit of proprietary hardware on the system, including all the external controls for audio volume and media playback (play/pause, reverse/fast-forward, etc.). I'd found with earlier versions of Ubuntu that those things typically didn't work and you'd just have to either live with it or hunt down manufacturer-specific drivers to make them work, which often involved a lot of tedious effort.

Boot time is unbelievably fast, especially when compared to most Windows-based systems. The laptop goes from a powered-off state to fully up and usable in about 60 seconds.

Ubuntu installs Firefox as its default web browser, but since I'd become fond of Google's Chrome browser, I installed that one and set it as the default. I noticed right away that page loading was unbelievably slow. So I tried pulling up some pages with Firefox, and observed the same behavior. But when I ran network speed tests, the throughput was right where it was supposed to be. Further confusing me was that, once a page finally loaded, embedded YouTube and other video clips loaded in a snap. I obviously wasn't having a network performance problem, so I started paying closer attention to what was happening when loading a web page.

I noticed almost immediately that the status bar of the browser would get stuck on "resolving host" for extended periods of time. Now, the DNS settings coming from Comcast had never been a problem in the past, and didn't seem to be an issue for any other computers in the house. It had to be a problem with how DNS was implemented with this version of Ubuntu Linux.

This morning I finally got fed up with the problem and started poking around on the Ubuntu forums, and came across this discussion thread. As I suspected it was a DNS issue, but only because of Ubuntu's implementation of IPv6. From the discussion thread:
It has to do with DNS lookups via IPv6 occuring before DNS lookups via IPv4. So the workstation (or app) has to timeout on the IPv6 request before it will make a new request on IPv4. OpenDNS gives an immediate response for the AAAA record query which eliminates the timeout problem.
In short, most DNS servers right now only resolve to IPv4, and not to IPv6. But since Ubuntu first attempts an IPv6 lookup, that request has to timeout before the IPv4 lookup can occur. The OpenDNS fix mentioned in the quoted comment is described here, and after making the changes web pages are loading nice and fast.

At least I didn't have to deal with firmware cutters this time around.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Consequences




Got this in the e-mail today and had to post it. Unfortunately, I don't know who gets the credit for producing it.

Thanks again, AB!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Smart power

These three images from this week's Nuclear Security Summit tell us all we need to know about Obama's foreign policy stance:

Here's Obama bowing before a Communist dictator:

And here's Obama embracing the Marxist president of Brazil:

And finally, here's Obama lecturing the Prime Minister of a close ally, Canada:


Thanks and a hat tip to my friend A.B. for e-mailing me these pics.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Red Sox watch


I had to stay up last night to catch the end of the Red Sox's win over the Evil Empire on opening day...it was just too sweet to miss.

It started rough for Boston, with Josh Beckett giving up two home runs in the second inning, one each to Jorge Posada and Yanks newcomer Curtis Granderson. It got downright ugly by mid-game, with the Evil Empire extending their lead to 5-1.

But thanks to a miscue or two by the Yanks and some heroics from Pedroia and Youkilis, the good guys prevailed, 9-7. Nice way to start the season.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Banditos



It's been a while since I've posted a music video, so here's a blast from 14 years past.

The Refreshments' most-played song is probably the theme music from "King Of The Hill", but this is unquestionably their best song, and one of my personal all-time favorites.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama..."

A friend e-mailed this to me today, and it was tagged "Author Unknown":
The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to an electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.
If you know who wrote it, please leave something in the comments.

About those Tea Party "racists"...

Ever since the Tea Party thing launched about a year ago, Democrats and their loyal media have attempted to paint the entire movement as a pack of racists. The theme has become so pervasive that casual observers have come to believe it, upholding Vladimir Lenin's theory that "a lie told often enough becomes truth".

Last Sunday during the health care debate on Capitol Hill and the attendant Tea Party demonstration there, a number of black Congressional leaders claimed to have been jeered with racial slurs, and one even claimed to having been spit upon. Not to be left out, Rep. Barney Frank claimed to have been targeted with homophobic epithets. Naturally, the media took every unsubstantiated claim, packaged them up nicely, and reported them as undisputed fact.

Now supposedly, these acts occurred repeatedly as the accusers were walking to the Capitol building from a nearby Congressional office building on the Capitol grounds. Since the underground tunnels connecting the buildings is the preferred route, their presence on the grounds was unusual enough that there were dozens of members of the media and their cameras covering their walk. And yet not one video tape of any of these alleged incidents has surfaced. Not one.

Someone given to conspiracy theories might even think that their very choice of an outdoor route among the Tea Partiers was premeditated just so that they could make such accusations.

But not me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

File under: "Told ya so"

Nearly four years ago, I wrote a post here in which I speculated on a "take no prisoners" policy forced upon us by the Left's (and the Democrats', but I repeat myself) position on Guantanamo Bay. Well, kiss my ass and call me Nostra-fucking-damus.
Without a location outside the United States for sending prisoners, the administration must resort to turning the suspects over to foreign governments, bringing them to the U.S. or even killing them.

In one case last year, U.S. special operations forces killed an Al Qaeda-linked suspect named Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter attack in southern Somalia rather than trying to capture him, a U.S. official said. Officials had debated trying to take him alive but decided against doing so in part because of uncertainty over where to hold him, the official added.
It's not that I'm going to shed any tears over these guys, but it'd be nice to squeeze a little intel out of them.

Barack Obama campaigned on this issue, and one of his very first acts after taking office was to issue an executive order to close Gitmo. I can't believe 53% of American voters wanted this walking disaster as President.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pelosi: Do it for the Bohemians


If you ever thought that the health care reform debate was simply about health care, this little bit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow should put that to rest:
So, you can‘t—everybody has so much to gain from this, small businesses, as I said, seniors, young people, women, our economy. Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance or that people could start a business and be entrepreneurial and take risk, but not job loss because of a child with asthma or someone in the family is bipolar—you name it, any condition—is job locking.
That's right, folks. Your Democratic betters in Congress think ObamaCare simply must pass so that artists can quit their day jobs. Left unsaid, of course, is who shoulders their fair share of the cost burden.

Pelosi's little slip of the tongue reveals that this is more about creating permanent wards of the state.

Friday, March 12, 2010

File under: "What if Bush did it?"

Yet another entry in the WIBDI file, this one coming from Wired.
Now there’s DNA sampling. Obama told [America's Most Wanted host John] Walsh he supported the federal government, as well as the 18 states that have varying laws requiring compulsory DNA sampling of individuals upon an arrest for crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. The data is lodged in state and federal databases, and has fostered as many as 200 arrests nationwide, Walsh said.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims DNA sampling is different from mandatory, upon-arrest fingerprinting that has been standard practice in the United States for decades.

A fingerprint, the group says, reveals nothing more than a person’s identity. But much can be learned from a DNA sample, which codes a person’s family ties, some health risks, and, according to some, can predict a propensity for violence.
Note that this is upon arrest, not upon conviction. Setting aside for a moment the question of civil liberties, this would be a hideously expensive proposition. As noted over at Ace's place, there are around 38,000 arrests per day nationwide not counting traffic violations, so this would require massive infrastructure.