Posted by: on Apr 30, 2004 | No Comments


Tonight, ABC’s “Nightline” will pay tribute to U.S. troops killed in Iraq by airing a 40 minute special – the names of the fallen will be read by anchor Ted Koppel as their photographs appear on screen. But Sinclair Broadcast Group – the country’s largest owner of TV stations – will not allow its ABC affiliates to air the show. In a statement, Sinclair claims the special “appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.” While Sinclair claims it is pre-empting Nightline because it is an attempt to “influence public opinion,” the record shows that Sinclair media has repeatedly leveraged its control over the airwaves to manipulate public opinion in favor of President Bush’s right-wing agenda.


Twins Be Testifyin’

Posted by: on Apr 29, 2004 | No Comments

Ok, so all the news stories I’m seeing on the Bush/Cheney testimony today at best speculate that, yes, they’re testifying together to “keep their story straight.”

Um, why is this news? I mean, isn’t this how it always is? For all we know, they had danishes, coffee, and ordered up some strippers from Scores.

Fucking bobblehead media.

Look, there’s three big known issues which they’re conveniently ignoring about the whole thing:

  1. Why is Bush lying — again — about wanting to testify. They tried their damnedest not to testify at all, but only succumbed after a public outcry. Furthermore, he’s lying — yet again — that he didn’t previously insist on only testifying for only one hour.
  2. What the hell is up with the wussy commission even agreeing to these Rovian terms? Insane! No outcry over that. Nope, none at all.
  3. Why is the White House lying about Clinton and Gore’s testimony, claiming it was also in the same fashion — not taped or transcribed. That’s, in fact, utter crap. Transcripts of their testimony will be released.

Instead, we get crap quotes from Bush like “I answered every question they asked.” Well, Jesus H, isn’t that fucking special. Meanwhile, we’ve got Bob Kerrey saying “It was a good meeting.” Um, hello, except for the bullshit circumstances under which it was held? And to think I liked you Bob.



Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted by: on Apr 23, 2004 | No Comments


Clothes can make a statement. Urban-bag designer Tom Bihn has discovered that labels can, too. Bihn’s sales have doubled since a French-language presidential insult mysteriously made its way onto the bilingual washing instructions for hundreds of his laptop bags and backpacks.

The labels read: “Nous sommes desoles que notre president soit un idiot. Nous n’avons pas vote pour lui.”

Translated into English: “We are sorry that our president is an idiot. We didn’t vote for him.”

Up Yours, Diebold

Posted by: on Apr 22, 2004 | One Comment

Advisory panel here in California votes 8-0 to ditch Diebold e-voting machines for the Nov. 2nd election.

These machines produce no paper trail, which is in-and-of-itself monumentally stoopid, but their attempts to screw Maryland when they raised the same issue, along with their constant Bush fellating, means these jokers should of been kicked to the curb long ago.


An e-mail found in a collection of files stolen from Diebold Elections Systems’ internal database recommends charging Maryland “out the yin-yang” if the state requires Diebold to add paper printouts to the $73 million voting system it purchased.

The e-mail from “Ken,” dated Jan. 3, 2003, discusses a (Baltimore) Sun article about a University of Maryland study of the Diebold system:

“There is an important point that seems to be missed by all these articles: they already bought the system. At this point they are just closing the barn door. Let’s just hope that as a company we are smart enough to charge out the yin if they try to change the rules now and legislate voter receipts.”

“Ken” later clarifies that he meant “out the yin-yang,” adding, “any after-sale changes should be prohibitively expensive.”

Perhaps the GOP won’t be spewing that “We can win California!” crap now that their secret weapon is gone.


Posted by: on Apr 18, 2004 | 2 Comments

schmeeveTV.jpgI found out the Comcast HDTV box will output S-Vid/Composite even on an HDTV channel, letterboxed and lower-quality, while still pushing high-def through component. Nice. So I present a quick and dirty diagram of how all my TV crap is hooked up, partly to prove my own insanity, and partly in response to Michael’s comment in the last item about not knowing how it’d all hook up. Maybe this’ll help…

(Click for larger image)

UPDATE: I’ve read several complaints that these HDTV cable boxes do not include DVI out. This one does. It’s also got a variety of other as-of-yet-undetermined-use ports: Ethernet, USB, smartmedia. I assume some of this may bake-in with an upcoming PVR, unless that’s an all-in-one box. The Comcast guy encouraged me to go that route, but I told him I ain’t giving up my TiVo for their sanitized/ad-filled experience. Can’t tell you much about the box except it’s Comcast- and Motorola-badged.


Posted by: on Apr 18, 2004 | 3 Comments

Had Comcast drop by a high-definition box yesterday. I was skeptical, as I knew my TiVo wouldn’t play with the high-def component signal, so I’ve got this weird setup now that includes two cable boxes going into the same TV. There’s only a handful of channels in high-definition right now, including ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, ESPN, HBO and Showtime. The picture is noticeably sharper, and 16×9 is a beautiful thing. But you can tell Comcast is still compressing the signal too much as some artifacts show. DVD quality it ain’t… closer than ever before though.

So the HD TiVo is supposed to be out by now, dammit. So where is it guys?


Posted by: on Apr 18, 2004 | No Comments


Flat Taxes

Posted by: on Apr 16, 2004 | 5 Comments

Around this time of year, I always get in little tiffs with friends over “flat” taxes. Natch, the “fairness” club is hauled out early and often.

Kevin Drum’s got it right: (in reference to this article in the National Review.)

But what really gets me is how they always present these things as if we need a flat tax because the tax code is too damn complex. Well, the tax code is too damn complex, but the least complex thing about it is the part where you look up your adjusted gross income in the tax table to figure out how much you owe. The complex part is figuring out your adjusted gross income in the first place, something that has nothing to do with whether the tax rate for millionaires is higher than the tax rate for those at the poverty line.

It is columns like this that cause me to lose patience with the tax jihadists on the right. It is dishonest to pretend that flattening tax rates has any connection to simplifying the tax code. It is dishonest to pretend that a flat income tax is “fair” while conveniently forgetting to suggest the same for Social Security taxes. It is dishonest to pretend that “income” is the same for everyone while failing to even mention capital gains, tax shelters, corporate perks, deferred compensation, pension contributions, stock options, or the thousand other options the wealthy have for making money that doesn’t quite count as “income.” It is dishonest not to mention that simple arithmetic guarantees that any flat income tax proposal would raise taxes for practically every middle class family in the country.

Semi-related: Back in December, this Plastic article really drove the point home with me about what’s wrong with our current (er, uh, Republican) tax policies (which aren’t flat, but getting there):