Text 7 Oct M0$q3@grnd0
Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero.
Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood.

Well Maureen Dowd, you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth. Look at the title of this post. It’s strange, it doesn’t really make sense. No one is denying that 9/11 was horrible, but it seems even more horrible that we’ve allowed it to transform us into beasts that generate the hate that terrorists want us to feel.

I think a lot of what surrounds this controversy is a lack of understanding of Muslims. We need to accept that not all muslims attacked us on 9/11. I’m also upset with the way Obama’s been responding to the whole thing. By being indecisive on the issue, it feels as if he’s giving in to conservative propaganda.

It’s time to show terrorist that we support the values we fight for, and religious tolerance will never be taken away. 

(Source: The New York Times)

Link 6 Oct 1 note 6140: Ahmed Khalfan Ghailini's trial»

6140:

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is currently on trial in Manhattan on charges of conspiring the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people. The trial was set to begin yesterday, but minutes before it came to a start, the judge ruled against the use of a key…

To answer your qualifications question, no one really knows. Guantanamo Bay is outside of US territory, which means that everything from imprisonment to torture is fair game. Prisoners are, in theory, allowed the writ of Habeas Corpus, which is a bare bones trial, but their not allowed to hear the charges against them, or even have their layer with them.

I think that if we’re going to stand up to terrorists and fight for what we believe in, then we need to show terrorists that we really believe in our values, and that means a real trial like everyone else.

via 6140.
Text 6 Oct Firefighters Watch as Home Burns to the Ground

Check the source, it’s not from The Onion. What happened here is pretty disgusting. In Tennessee, the home of Gene Cranick and his family burned to the ground while firemen watched. There are so many things wrong with this that I’m not really sure where to start. Honestly, I can’t even believe I’m writing about this. It sounds to messed up to be true, like something Stephen King would write if he started writing political horror.

There are a few things to clarify here. First, the Cranick family lives, or lived, at least, in Obion County, which is outside the city limits of South Fulton, which had the fire department. People both in and out of the city limits of South Fulton can pay a $75 annual fee for fire services. When the home caught fire, the Cranick family called 911 several times, but services were not dispatched because they were not on the list of people who had paid. Mr. Cranick offered to pay whatever was required to get fire services to rescue his home, but fire services would still not come. Finally they showed up, but only because the fire had spread to a neighbors property who had paid the fee. Firefighters then stayed and watched as the Cranick’s home burned to the ground, also killing their three dogs and cat.

Like Mr. Cranick, I don’t blame the fire department. They didn’t make the decision, it was their job to follow policy. The fire chief has even said that he would rather have there be a standard fire tax. 

Ultimately though this story has become one of success for conservatives. They tout this as an example of properly working opt in government. Any government that allows the homes of it’s citizens to burn down isn’t one I want to be a part of. The government of South Fulton transformed the fire department, an institution who’s job it should be to help people, into a bureaucratic agency that tormented the people they should have helped.  This ties in to another part of the story. Mr. Cranick claims that he forgot to pay the fee. Now, whether he forgot, or he couldn’t afford it, or he could afford it and decided not to anyway, it shouldn’t matter. He’s a resident, and a taxpayer, and Im sure he would have been more than happy to pay for the fire department on his tax form.

(Source: MSNBC)

Link 6 Oct 4 notes Justice Punch: Google read this first»

peterblogz4doug:

There are a number of reasons to have a dislike for many huge corporations. Often times just there size is a drain on other smaller less efficient companies. Some cause poor working conditions and deaths in other countries with external costs. However one of the most directly and personally…

Google has never been anything but transparent with their plans for world domination, in fact, here’s a high res version of their master plan, straight from google headquarters. Im looking forward to the secret council of midgets.

Seriously though, they may log what you search, but thats so they can sell those search terms to marketers and have focused advertising. They are, in a sense, the worlds greatest marketing research firm. Do I hate ads? Yes. Do I love Gmail more than I hate ads? Yes.

Text 3 Oct Video games are art. What else is new?

For many a year, there has been a debate inside and outside the gamer community as to whether or not video games are art. Today, I became so fed up with this argument that I did the unthinkably logical. I looked up the definition of art. Here it is, straight from merriam-webster.com:

the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also :works so produced

By that definition, video games are indeed art (and so are couches, and cakes, but I guess that’s besides the point). Do I think this matters? No. Do other people believe it matters? Yes. I’ve actually always found this to be a bit of a problem. I really hate it when a fellow gamer defends the medium by calling art, as if that’s the best justification for playing a video game. Honestly, if your best justification for playing a game is “it’s art” instead of “it’s fun” then you need to buy better video games.

But these “I will defend my entertainment medium of choice to hell and back” gamers are not the people that have sparked this blog post. This time it’s some slightly more important people, specifically the Supreme Court of the United States.

Let’s start with some background. In 2005, the state of California passed a law banning the sale of video games with violent content to minors. As a minor and gamer, I support this law. Most stores have policies in place that they will not sell “M” rated games to people under the age of 17 or 18 (policy varies from store to store); however, an ESRB investigation found that these policies were enforced only 65% of the time. This is an unacceptably low number. I support the law because the game sellers had their chance, and they blew it. It’s their fault, end of story. Game over.

It’s not up to me though, and so, the law was thrown out and dismissed by every level of court as unconstitutional, stating that it violated the first amendment right to free speech. Even though, the law isn’t limiting what content can be in a video game, just who it can be sold to, and even though It’s literally already existing store policy put into law, it’s still unconstitutional. The only way their sale could be restricted is if the violent content was considered legally obscene. Im not going to get into the details of how that’s decided, but what’s important is that legally, violent video games are not obscene. Why that is, I don’t know, but their not. 

Now California has brought this to the Supreme Court, who decided to get involved in April, earlier this year. Now, If the Court decides to rule in California’s favor, Video Games lose their first amendment rights. This is not something I support. This would mean the government would be able to regulate the content of video games, which means innovation and creativity would be drained out of the industry.

My point is this. California went about this all wrong. Instead of trying to make a case for why violence is legally obscene, which it is, they pushed and morphed their goal into something that I can’t really support. Im sure I’m not the only one they alienated. This whole thing has gotten completely out of hand, and now, instead of punishing the stores that caused this in the first place, their punishing gamers, and that’s not really fair at all.

________________

EDIT - In reviewing the post today, I realized I forgot to include sources. Here they are now:

escapistmagazine.com

cbsnews.com

destructoid.com

Link 30 Sep 5 notes 6140: The Effectiveness of Texting Bans»

6140:

This is another one of those problems where the root needs to be dealt with, rather than the surface issues. It’s important to educate people on the dangers of texting while driving rather than just telling them they can’t do it. Realistically I don’t know how much effect that would have, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt - as texting bans seem to. 

Im not entirely convinced that people are unaware of the dangers of texting and driving. It’s just plain common sense that anything that will divert your attention from the road makes you more likely to crash. That said, I’m still not sure what the solution is.

Then again, maybe there are drivers who fail to make the connection. Maybe they would be best informed by some sort of ad campaign. 

via 6140.
Text 30 Sep "What Is Paladino About?" - Pornography, apparently

Ok, I’ll admit it; I never bothered to learn much about out friendly New York governor candidate Carl Paladino. Yes, I knew he was a “Tea Party” candidate, and yes, I knew he was involved in some forwarding some shady emails, but aside from that, I hadn’t really cared.

Then I learned what the content of the emails were, and like Bob Herbert, I was shocked. Just to get it out of the way, the emails content included: racism, inappropriate depictions of the President and First Lady, a pornographic video clip titled “Miss France [expletive]”, and an image depicting bestiality (there are others as well). 

I think it’s awful that he’s done these things, but that he’s done something like this doesn’t surprise me all that much. There are people in the world who find these sorts of things ok, and for reasons I can’t explain, he seems to be one of them. He said himself that it was “all in fun and merely an example of poor judgment,”¹ but that by no means justifies his actions.

What’s amazing to me is that he’s still running. A scandal of this nature should be enough to shame anyone out of office, if not out of running for one. Are we jaded by the idea that this sort of thing happens all the time? I’m not sure, but it scares me a bit. As pointed out by Bob Herbert, the incident really does raise questions about his ability to be governor of New York. 

Whats even more amazing is how he’s failed to learn a lesson from any of this. If you go to his website right now and scroll down a bit, you’ll see an image ad attacking his opponent…… that references dog fighting. Now, granted, the reference is somewhat subtle, and it could be spun a few different ways, but honestly, I don’t give a damn about that. If he’s still going to have the nerve to run for governor, he could at least try to make it look like he doesn’t approve of slanderous, “funny”, attack ads.

______________________________

¹ huffingtonpost.com

Link 29 Sep 3 notes Oh boy, political things.: The second week of September has been rough for the United States for...»

ohboypoliticalthings:

And the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy certainly isn’t helping things. It’s not a place for terrorists and extremists to plan their next attack, and it’s not a place being built in an attempt to convert every non-Muslim in the US to a different faith; it is a mosque and community center being built in an attempt to bridge cultures, and what’s so wrong with that? Would anyone be this upset if it were any other sort of religious building?

I think the lack of acceptance in this country is very disheartening. And the talk of plans to burn Qurans on 9/11? Absolutely sickening.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these same people who would willingly burn a Quran would also be willing to hold up a sign depicting Obama as Hitler. But Obama’s not the one being hateful towards a religion and organizing book burnings, now is he?

Text 26 Sep Healthcare for Humans

It is no secret that the American economy is built around the investment culture of Wall Street. In this culture, both the investor and the invested in are looking to make money. If an investment is high risk, with a great potential to loose the investor money, the investor can choose not to invest.

Health insurance works in a similar manner, but there remains a key difference between the investor (the customer) and the owners of the investment (private insurers). Where customers are looking to protect themselves in the event they become ill, private insurers are still looking to make money. When the customer gets sick, the insurance policy risks becoming unprofitable for the insurer. To prevent this from happening, insurers look for the healthiest individuals, and decide to only offer coverage them, discriminating against and denying coverage to those who are higher risk. In this system, the customer is no longer treated as a living person, but instead as an investment, or a two way cash pump, ready to be cut off at the first sign it might try to take back out what it has put in. This practice of dropping coverage after a customer becomes sick is known as rescission. Rescission occurs when a customer becomes ill with diseases such as diabetes or cancer if the insurer finds that any other condition, even unrelated ones, were missed.

"A recent Congressional investigation into this practice found nearly 20,000 rescissions from three large insurers over five years, saving them $300 million in medical claims – $300 million that instead had to come out of the pockets of people who thought they were insured, or became bad debt for health care providers."
- healthcarereform.gov

And what about Americans who can’t afford healthcare in the first place? For them we must have a public option, where they won’t be denied coverage based on a preexisting or unrelated condition. We can no longer sit idly by while health insurers abuse the American public. It’s time to start treating people like people again, and not like cash pumps.


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