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Page Two is a blog, but the headings have possibilities. Below is a list of older headings from the current year. Since I sometimes update earlier entries, the list includes the date of the most recent post. The most recent heading is always first, both in the blog and the list below.
List of Headings
- Greetings From Egypt - Nov. 8, 2010
- Planet NewsKing Discovered (Gliese 581g) - Oct. 2, 2010
- Moog Music's New Synthesizer - Oct. 1, 2010
- "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" - Sep. 27, 2010
- Frankenfish: Genetically Engineered Salmon - Sep. 26, 2010
- Mitchell Heisman - Updated Sep. 27, 2010
- Shootout at the Discovery Channel - Sep. 5, 2010
- I Guess I Work for MTV Now... - Updated Aug. 17, 2010
- Japan Returns 1st Asteroid Sample Ever / 1st Rocks Since Moon - Jun. 14, 2010
- Dick Cheney's Energy Plan "Too Liberal" - May 13, 2010
- Arizona's Immigration Law - Updated May 5, 2010
- Oil Platform Explodes, Kills 11, Still Leaking Oil - Updated Jun. 16, 2010
- Ex-Military Thugs Now Enforce Genetic Patents - Apr. 24, 2010
- The Internet Is Here to Stay! - Apr. 17, 2010
- Obama Space Summit - Apr. 15, 2010
- The Separation of Church and State - Apr. 11, 2010
- So You Went to College? - Updated May 4, 2010
- Now Is the Time to Ban Assault Weapons - Mar. 23, 2010
- Congratulations Democrats! - Mar. 22, 2010
- Forget the Alamo: Texas Bans T.J. - Mar. 18, 2010
- Rally for Healthcare Reform - Mar. 16, 2010
- Onward to Mars! - Mar. 14, 2010
- Pentagon Shooting - Mar. 12, 2010
- Fatwa Against Terrorism - Mar. 12, 2010
- USA-PATRIOT Act Renewed - Feb. 28, 2010
- Joe Stack's Letter - Feb. 18, 2010
- The 2010 Vancouver Olympics - Feb. 10, 2010
- I'm a Fucking Retard - Feb. 9, 2010
- Corporate Personhood Revisted - Feb. 5, 2010
- Scott Brown's Truck - Updated May 5, 2010
- Democratic Beer Summit - Jan. 20, 2010
- Yum Extender - Jan. 16, 2010
- Democrats Are Gonna Re-elect Bush All Over Again - Jan. 15, 2010
- Making Poor People Feel Sick - Jan. 13, 2010
- I Support the House Healthcare Bill - Jan. 7, 2010
- Happy New Year - Jan. 1, 2010
- 2009 (Front Page)
- 2009 (Page Two)
- 2008 (Front Page)
- 2008 (Page Two)
- 2007
Page Two Blog

Greetings From Egypt - Nov. 8, 2010

Greetings from Egypt!

Only kidding, I'm not in Egypt. The pyramid photo above was actually taken in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I took the picture while I was on a bicycle ride at the Fredericksburg Battlefield National Park. I was on my way to the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rally in Washington, D.C. By the way, I thought Stewart's closing remarks were really good. You can read them HERE.

So why's there a pyramid in Fredericksburg, Virginia? The pyramid was actually built sometime around 1897. The president of the railroad in this part of Virginia erected the marker at the point where General George Meade's Union division penetrated General "Stonewall" Jackson's Confederate lines in 1862, during the American Civil War. It is commonly known as the "Meade Pyramid." The railroad is actually a few feet behind where I was standing when I took the photo. To the right and left of the pyramid, restored cannons from the war still stand on the battlefield.


Planet NewsKing Discovered (Gliese 581g) - Oct. 2, 2010

Recently, astronomers announced the discovery of a planet that may support life orbiting a nearby star. In fact, it is the most Earth-like planet ever discovered, and the climate on parts of the planet may be "just right" for life. Some people even call it a "Goldilocks planet." But astronomers call the planet Gliese 581g because it orbits the nearby star Gliese 581. That's not really a name, so I decided to call it Planet NewsKing. Maybe it'll catch on...

Planet NewsKing was discovered by the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey after more than a decade of observation. One of the things people wonder about when they hear of Planet NewsKing is whether or not humans could live there. Well, based on what scientists know so far, the answer is yes, but there are some differences between Planet NewsKing and Earth.

First of all, you'd be about three times heavier on Planet NewsKing. So, if you weigh 200 pounds on Earth, you'd weigh 600 pounds on Planet NewsKing. We know people can handle three times Earth's gravity (or 3 G's) because that's less than many roller coasters produce. Another (more incorrect) way of looking at it is to say that since a 600 pound human can walk around on Earth, people should have no problem walking around on Planet NewsKing (walking would be great exercise, too!). One person already said, "I'd want a power scooter..."

Second, Planet NewsKing probably has "eternal sunshine" and "eternal darkness." In other words, night time never comes for one half of the planet, and the other half never sees the light of day. People would have to live on the "sunny side," probably near the "twilight zone" where the dark side and sunny side overlap. That would take some getting used to. But if you live on certain parts of Earth, the conditions are similar during certain times of the year. And for better or worse, modern life on Earth has changed what people can do during a 24 hour period, so living on Planet NewsKing would probably be similar.

Third, based on what scientists know so far, only part of the planet will have the right climate to sustain life. Obviously, the "dark side" of the planet would be too cold, and certain areas on the "sunny side" might be too hot. But it also matters how close to the equator or poles you are if you decide to move to Planet NewsKing. However, since the planet is much larger than Earth, these "habitable areas" should be quite large.

Finally, a lot of people are also wondering if they would meet any aliens when they get to Planet NewsKing. Scientists think the likelihood is high that life exists on Planet NewsKing, and technically that would mean alien life. But is there any intelligent alien life on Planet NewsKing? I think there is, but it's so far away we're going to have to go there to find out!

Artist's conception of Gliese 581g (Planet NewsKing). Go there!
(This is actually an artist's conception of the first phase of terraforming Mars that I embellished.)


Moog Music's New Synthesizer - Oct. 1, 2010

In 1964, Bob Moog basically invented the music synthesizer as people know it today. Much of the music of the late-twentieth century - as well as the music of today - is in part due to Moog's invention. Now Moog Music has created the MiniMoog Voyager XL in celebration of the 40th anniversary of one of Moog's most popular synthesizers: the MiniMoog.

After doing a great deal of research on synthesizers, I'm in love with the interface! And as I've learned more about Moog's synthesizers, I think I'm in love with the MiniMoog, too. As the Moog Music website puts it...

Fat oscillators and warm Moog filters give it that unmistakable Moog sound and the rugged construction and intuitive user interface design immediately tells you that you’re playing a high-quality musical instrument. From the current Voyager lineage, the XL inherits a 100% analog signal path with stable oscillators, patch storage, touch surface, pot mapping and extensive MIDI control functionality. To all this, add a ribbon controller and 61 note keyboard and you have a monster analog monosynth built on a 40 year legacy of sonic exploration.

The 2010 MiniMoog Voyager XL


See Also:
- The Moog Synthesizer (Updated Sep. 30, 2010)

- Piano, guitar, trumpet, baritone... it's been quite a while, though...

"Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" - Sep. 27, 2010

"Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" is a famous quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Virginia Convention. It was given on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War.

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786. A prominent figure in the American Revolution, Henry is known and remembered for his "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech, and as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was instrumental in forcing the adoption of the Bill of Rights to amend the new U.S. Constitution.

When Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech in 1775, he was living in a house in Virginia known as "Scotchtown." It was from Scotchtown that he rode in 1775 to journey to St. John's Church in Richmond to deliver his speech, and again in 1776 to be elected first governor of Virginia.

I had the opportunity to visit Scotchtown while on a bicycling tour in the area around Ashland, Virginia, and I took this photo. (This is the rear elevation - or "back" - of the house.)

"Scotchtown" - Home of Patrick Henry

Scotchtown is located in Beaverdam, Virginia, about 10 miles from Ashland, near Richmond. Parts of the house are thought to date from 1717 to 1719. Evidence suggests the house was expanded to its current size in the 1750's. Patrick Henry and his family lived there in the 1770's. It is currently owned by APVA Preservation Virginia.


Frankenfish: Genetically Engineered Salmon - Sep. 26, 2010

A company called AquaBounty has applied for U.S. government approval of a genetically engineered salmon that is larger and faster-growing than ordinary salmon. I'm 100% against the idea for a number of reasons, but I think the most obvious reason to be against it is the way the debate and approval process has been framed.

For starters, the approval committee is only going to evaluate the salmon as an "animal drug." I can't believe that's the best the U.S. government can do!

But what's really bugging me are some issues that I've brought up before with regard to food and agriculture. The arguments the American public hear are mainly about the virtues of science and helping society...

"If you can imagine it, scientists can try to do it," said David Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty, says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon and could be located closer to towns and cities to help feed more people. The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.

Bullshit. Are people starving for salmon? Nope. And couldn't regular salmon arrive on your plate in a way that protects wild salmon populations? Yep. As for the virtues of science and its role in the public imagination, I think the scientists at AquaBounty are probably imagining large profits.

Although the potential... profits ... are huge, many people have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.

A wild salmon swimming upstream

I think most people are against the idea of eating genetically modified foods, including salmon. That's why AquaBounty is trying to keep it all a secret. They can potentially own the market for genetically engineered salmon, just like Monsanto owns the market for genetically engineered crops (click HERE for an earlier post on this).

No one knows about Monsanto (except farmers) because there is no labeling requirement for genetically engineered crops. AquaBounty is arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered.

The AquaBounty CEO said, "The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist." Current FDA regulations require modified foods to be labeled as such only if the food is substantially different from the conventional version, and the agency has said that the modified salmon is essentially the same as the Atlantic salmon.

Maybe some people just want a label because they are honest American consumers...

What AquaBounty has is a product that generally turns people off and that the world doesn't need, but the company will be allowed to cover up the truth to not only make it profitable, but to attempt to control the market. Wow! I wonder what else the biotech industry will imagine?

Approval would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including a pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease. Each would have to be individually approved by the FDA. "For future applications out there the sky's the limit," added Edwards.

There are, of course, many other reasons to be against the approval of genetically modified salmon... It may not be safe. The FDA has approved numerous foods and drugs that later turn out to be unsafe. There is also the chance that the genetically engineered salmon could mate with wild salmon and cause all kinds of ecological problems. Check out the links below for more information and let the government know you don't want to eat genetically engineered animals!


See Also:
- Ex-Military Thugs Now Enforce Genetic Patents
- Animals and Vegetarianism

Mitchell Heisman - Sep. 25, 2010

[UPDATE - Sep. 27, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

On September 18, 2010, Mitchell Heisman shot and killed himself on the steps of Harvard's Memorial Church. He left behind a series of writings totaling more than 1900 pages, which he called "Suicide Note," and posted them on his website ( | PDF copy). My condolences go out to his friends and family.

Heisman's writings appeared to contain a touch of humor, and he challenged readers to read and comment on them. He would probably say the summary I wrote below misrepresents his writings, but I decided to skim through what he wrote. Here is my summary:

For a number of reasons, modern liberal democracy needs to create a God somehow made out of technology who possesses artificial intelligence. Because of various social problems, this "God-AI" will be flawed and cause further social problems. Consequently, liberal democracy should be (or eventually will be) abandoned, and replaced (apparently) with a more primitive society. That part was very confusing, but it was, after all, a "suicide note" and I think it was intended to be humorous.

Although Heisman did talk about going to outer space as pointless in the long term, he did seem to admit that going to space could work in the short- and mid-term. He did not mention going to Mars...

I wonder what Heisman would think of an "absolute bottom" (a set of social programs) instead of a "God-AI?"


Shootout at the Discovery Channel - Sep. 5, 2010

On September 1, 2010, a man by the name of James Lee entered Discovery Channel headquarters with a gun and took several employees hostage. Lee was eventually killed by a sharpshooter after pointing his gun at the hostages during police negotiations. The hostages escaped unharmed, and there were no law enforcement injuries or casualties.

Many employees of the Discovery Channel were already familiar with Lee, as he had been arrested for protesting years earlier. Lee had strong views on human overpopulation and many of the other problems that affect our planet. For whatever reason, he appeared to believe that the Discovery Channel (and its affiliate channels) were encouraging human reproduction and leading the world to human overpopulation.

I don't want to appear to make fun of some of what Lee had to say, and my condolences go out to his friends and family. I also have great respect for the Discovery Channel and its affiliate channels. But I cannot resist playing a song...

- Bloodhound Gang - Bad Touch (Discovery Channel)
Click HERE to watch the music video on YouTube.

I hope everyone can enjoy this little bit of humor and encourage everyone to read more about what happened.


I Guess I Work for MTV Now... - Aug. 15, 2010

[UPDATE - Aug. 17, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

The rumors are true. I'm on the road again. But I do still get to watch TV every now and then. And while watching MTV one day, I noticed they recently hired a new "T.J." On MTV, T.J. stands for "Twitter Jockey." It's sort of like a "D.J." or a "V.J." A D.J. is a "Disc Jockey" that plays music, and a V.J. is a "Video Jockey" that plays music videos. So I guess a Twitter Jockey has something to do with Twitter. Something to do with T.J., for sure... But it's better than T.J. Maxx, right?

By the way, I took a bunch of photos, and managed to email myself one from my mobile phone today...

False Cape State Park, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Japan Returns 1st Asteroid Sample Ever / 1st Rocks Since Moon - Jun. 14, 2010

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa returned from its seven-year trek to the asteroid Itokawa on Sunday. The capsule landed without a hitch and is expected to contain pieces of the asteroid. The capsule was recovered in the Australian outback Monday morning. The mission was the first round trip to a planetary body beyond the moon, and the fourth space-sample return mission in world history. We hope the final results are good! Congratulations JAXA!

Hayabusa returns to Earth

Hayabusa after landing (with its parachute still attached)


Dick Cheney's Energy Plan "Too Liberal" - May 13, 2010

The American Power Act is now making its way through Congress. The bill aims to lower carbon emissions roughly 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. It's almost like doing nothing...

Could someone find the quote from Dick Cheney - The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are good at finding quotes like this - where Cheney said the U.S. would move to clean energy by 2025 (or maybe in 2002 he said 25 years from now)?

The American Power Act seems to have the same timeline as the Cheney plan, and it will probably get worse as it moves through Congress. And when all is said and done, they'll put Obama's name on it.

Don't get me wrong. I support the government's effort to build a clean energy economy. But they're ignoring science and calling it liberal. I guess Dick Cheney is just too liberal for today's Democratic Congress...

Arizona's Immigration Law - Apr. 30, 2010

[UPDATE - May 5, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

On April 23, 2010, Arizona's governor signed a controversial immigration bill into law. One of the many problems with Arizona's new immigration law is that it appears to leave the door open for profiling, discrimination, racism, and abuse which would mainly affect Latinos and Mexicans living in Arizona. The law also appears unconstitutional. The Arizona state legislature attempted to modify the law in response to some of the criticism it received, but it was unsuccessful.

In the time since the law has passed, America's response, along with the response of other nations, has been dramatic. There are currently protests, boycotts, and lawsuits aimed at doing away with the law. Participants include religious leaders, Arizona police officers, and officers in other states, all of whom are trying to get rid of this new Arizona law. Local governments and state officials in Arizona and in other states have also joined in, along with numerous federal officials. And this week, members of the U.S. Congress proposed a new framework for immigration reform. Both Democrats and Republicans have spoken out against the law, along with students, artists, civil libertarians, and the American President.

The fight to stop Arizona's new immigration law has only begun, and I want to add my voice to efforts to stop its implementation.

Woman Protests Arizona Immigration Law


Oil Platform Explodes, Kills 11, Still Leaking Oil - Apr. 25, 2010

[UPDATE - Jun. 16, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

On April 20, 2010, a massive oil platform explosion left 11 workers missing and presumed dead, and released an undetermined amount of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the shores of the southern U.S. After the oil platform burned up and sank, the underwater oil well to which it was attached continued to release oil into the Gulf. Early in the disaster, some estimates for the amount of oil being released were around 250,000 gallons of oil per day (five times higher than estimates that came out right after the disaster occurred). Even newer estimates are as high 2.5 million gallons per day. One government estimate of 798,000 gallons per day was used to calculate a 31% reduction in the oil spill after a temporary flow-reducing cap was successfully placed over the leak on June 3. The leak is expected to be fully stopped in August. Cleanup will take years, even decades.

As the oil slick began to wash ashore on April 30, environmentalists and fishermen became increasingly alarmed. Thicker oil began reaching the shoreline on May 4, while animals began turning up dead or covered in oil days earlier. The fragile ecosystem along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico - which spans from Florida to Texas - has been devastated, both environmentally and economically. The effects of the devastation are already being felt worldwide.

On May 19, concerns grew over the oil slick reaching the Loop Current, which is a powerful ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico. So, the Florida coastline could be hit even harder. The Loop Current also converges with the Gulf Stream (another ocean current along the eastern U.S.), and as a result, the risk of marine life contamination - including fish and seafood - could extend from Florida all the way up the eastern U.S. coast. In addition to contamination of marine life and the environment, tourism could suffer even more than it already has.

Clearly, despite remarkable advances in the safety of offshore drilling over the last several decades, it remains a risky business - both for people and the environment. There was another disaster as recently as 2007. Yet proponents of drilling offshore in the U.S. argue that we must rush toward more drilling. Some state governments seem concerned only about competition from other states, and are hoping people won't notice the explosion, deaths, and the oil geysers that continue to pump oil into the ocean and could take months to stop. But many states are backing off drilling for oil off their shores.

States like South Carolina, California, and Virginia have been pushing offshore drilling platforms, but citizens remain very concerned about the idea. Leaders are becoming more concerned, too, since tourism and fishing dollars are strongly related to a pristine coastline.

In South Carolina, a state Senate panel approved a bill to drill offshore right after the oil platform exploded, but leaders say passage of the bill remains a long shot.

And in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ended his controversial campaign to begin offshore drilling on Tranquillon Ridge, off the coast of Santa Barbara.

But after campaigning on an offshore oil-drilling platform, Virginia's governor announced that his plans to drill off the coast of Virginia by 2012 would not be delayed, despite new short-term delays put in place by President Obama. Obama responded by putting more permanent bans in place.

Environmentalists said the oil platform explosion and oil spill should push the nation to develop new energy sources. "This should be a wake-up call," said David Helvarg, the president of the Blue Frontier Campaign, a marine conservation group, and author of Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes.

The oil platform was still burning on Earth Day (two days after the explosion) and it continues to leak oil. It could take several months to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

These oil platforms seem to have problems every few years, and they are harmful to people, wildlife, and the environment. Not to mention the fact that these exploding offshore oil platforms will never be able to pump enough oil to stop the oil wars in the Middle East. Offshore oil drilling in the U.S. only prolongs America's addiction to oil from the Middle East.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Platform Fire One of the underwater oil geysers pumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico

A dead sea turtle that washed ashore after the oil spill A dead fish that washed ashore following the oil spill

A bird mired in thick oil from the spill Caring for a Northern Gannet bird covered in oil from the spill

An oil soaked shoreline along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. A beach contaminated with oil near the mouth of the Mississippi River

NASA shows the oil spill from space (the oil is shown in bright blue) The BP logo covered in oil


See Also:
- Dangerous Profits: Energy, Economics, Environment
- The Petroleum Industry
- Don't Get Fucked by Big Oil (updated May 5, 2010)
- Scott Brown's Truck (updated May 5, 2010)
- Hydrogen Fueled Cars
- 350
- The Copenhagen Accord
- Coal Mines or Windmills? (updated May 5, 2010)
- The Oil Crisis

Ex-Military Thugs Now Enforce Genetic Patents - Apr. 24, 2010

I just finished watching the latest episode of a documentary series called Point Of View (POV) on PBS. It was entitled Food, Inc., and included parts of the 2009 film with the same title. An independent film entitled Notes on Milk was also shown at the end of the documentary. I thought both films were pretty good!

Part of the documentary was about genetically modified organisms (GMO's), which mostly refers to seeds used in agriculture which have been genetically modified. For example, the "Roundup Ready Soybean" has been genetically modified to tolerate the pesticide commonly known as Roundup.

Nearly all GMO's in the U.S. are patented by a single company: The Monsanto Corporation. The way seed patents have been interpreted, farmers are not allowed to save the seeds produced by the crops that they plant. And Monsanto has hired a small army of ex-military and ex-police thugs to "investigate" farmers. Farmers described the "investigators" as "large, intimidating men; probably ex-military or ex-police." These hired thugs do things like tail the farmers' vehicles, trespass on the farmers' land, and conduct illegal interviews.

But it doesn't stop there...

Farmers are put under enormous pressure to plant Monsanto's seeds. And farmers who refuse to plant the seeds can still be intimidated by Monsanto's thugs. If the wind blows pollen from a neighboring farm using Monsanto seeds across the fields of a farmer who refused to plant the Monsanto seeds, the Monsanto thugs descend. The way U.S. patent law is interpreted, the farmer has to prove their innocence. And these lawsuits can run into the millions of dollars. Most farmers just pay a settlement offered by Monsanto because the fight is so expensive... and intimidating...

In the U.S., we're told to let the free market decide. Just buy foods labeled "non-GMO" and let the free market work. But there is a thug army involved.

And the free market has decided not to require labels on foods that contain GMO's. Actually, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided that. The California legislature passed a bill requiring GMO labeling, but Schwarzenegger caved into the thugs and vetoed it. It was a sad day because the whole country looks to California to be progressive on issues on like this - they grow more crops in California than in any other state...

Farmers who refuse to plant Monsanto's seeds have it really hard. If the wind blows the wrong way, they not only get harassed by Monsanto, the USDA denies them the "organic" label even if they are organic farmers. And the non-GMO community denies them the non-GMO label. These farmers can sell their crops alongside GMO's with no labeling, but they're still going to be harassed by Monsanto. So, the free market is on the breeze? To be fair, the non-GMO community has developed a decent labeling system for non-GMO products, but it would be nice if the federal government would place regulations on GMO farmers to prevent contamination of non-GMO crops, along with a GMO labeling requirement for farmers who deliberately plant certain GMO's. That would solve most of the problems, and I think it represents the spirit of what they were trying to do out in California...

Can this really be happening in America? A thug army intimidating farmers into helping Monsanto maintain a monopoly on the U.S. food supply? The "Roundup Ready Soybean?"

You'd think the federal government would do something, but the federal government is partly behind it. There are all these government officials in Washington who used to work for Monsanto.

Most of the world - including Japan, Europe, and Australia - has pretty much banned GMO's.

Non-GMO foods taste better and are better for you. So buy them. I'll work on getting the thugs to fight Monsanto...

Artist's Depiction of a Monsanto Thug
(It's actually TV's "Dog The Bounty Hunter.")


See Also:
- Animals and Vegetarianism

The Internet Is Here to Stay! - Apr. 17, 2010

You can do whatever you want on the Internet. It's taken over 40 years for Americans to sort through it all, but the Internet is all about free expression. President Obama famously advised Americans to watch what they say on the Internet. And I was glad an American president finally called it all out. Who knew what the Internet was?

Yet, every American president since the invention of the Internet back in the '60s pretty much agrees with the Constitution. Americans can say whatever they want on the Internet, and they still have a right to the basics - things like food, shelter, safety, healthcare, and a decent job...

You have a right to enjoy expressing yourself on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as anywhere else on the Internet...

And you're having an Internet experience right now...

Obama Space Summit - Apr. 15, 2010

President Obama announced his plans for the U.S. Space Program in a speech he gave at Florida's Kennedy Space Center today. Although I was disappointed, Obama managed to leave me feeling hopeful. I was pleased to hear that putting humans on Mars remains a major goal. And I was relieved to learn that parts of NASA's Constellation program will be retained in order to build an American spacecraft to be used for space rescues.

Obama went on to talk about ideas for reaching the International Space Station without a "space shuttle," as well as the end of the American Space Shuttle Program. The Space Shuttle will be retired soon, and it will be missed. The Shuttle has been in service for 30 years, and will have the distinction of being the world's only true "spaceship" for the next 30 years or longer...

- Obama's Speech

The Separation of Church and State - Apr. 11, 2010

Why don't more Christians in the U.S. support the separation of church and state? The separation of church and state is whole reason we have a country. Without the separation of church and state, we'd still be stuck in a world of witch burnings and witch hunts...

Of course, most Christians aren't like that. They're good people. But the fact remains that there are a group of Christians who don't support the separation of church and state.

Jesus-bashing would screech to a halt if Christians would just debate political issues without whipping out their Bibles. So one would think more Christians would support the separation of church and state. But for whatever reason, too many don't. Instead, many of them are on a self-righteous crusade. And they appear to have lost touch with what their religion is really about by choosing to fight every battle so darkly...

Of Interest:
The artwork shown above is from the album cover of Nirvana's In Utero album (1993).


It's looking like some controversy has sprung up around the artwork used in the post below. The photo shows a mannequin wearing a Doctorate of Theology gown. I found the photo by typing "cap and gown" into a search engine and clicking around. The "formula" I used to choose the photo was "cap and gown + current events = higher ratings." It was not meant to be disrespectful to religion.

Tomorrow is Easter. I think this year I'll pray. I'm going to pray that I can continue to run this blog and include a little humor without offending anyone.

So You Went to College? - Mar. 28, 2010

[UPDATE - May 4, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

So you went to college? Did you have to get student loans? Because if you did, you're not gonna turn out like the other kids. All those friends you had don't really have to worry about working or making money on the Internet, so they get the best jobs. In the U.S., some people think that if you don't have $100,000 to spare, you don't belong in college. It's kind of elitist...

You can see it all play out in the blood-red state of Oklahoma. Last week, a Republican senator from Oklahoma blocked passage of legislation that would allow unemployed people to stay in their homes for six more months. So, Oklahoma believes in the $100,000 beat-down...

People in the military get free college in the U.S., but it's not really free. There isn't a soldier alive who can get in Oklahoma's face...

Student loans leave you in debt. In Europe, college is typically included in your public education, and it makes a big difference...

If you're feeling pissed off about all of this, you'll be happy to know that the new healthcare legislation that just passed includes improvements to the student loan program. But it's just a start...

An Indebted American College Graduate

Now Is the Time to Ban Assault Weapons - Mar. 23, 2010

Gun control has never been mentioned on NewsKing before. But in the last few days, right wing extremists - "tea partiers" and other right wing nuts - have shot at the offices of members of Congress and engaged in other hateful acts, including hate speech. Their actions are contemptible. This new rash of hate follows months of similar behavior by these groups, including instances when guns appeared at town hall meetings.

Groups like the "tea partiers" who continue to use guns to try and intimidate people cannot be allowed to continue their behavior. That's why now is the time to pass a newer, stricter law similar to the AWB (Federal Assault Weapons Ban).

These groups have demonstrated that they are incapable of responsible gun ownership, and members of these groups should have their guns confiscated.

Any group or individual providing aid or comfort to these groups should also be under suspicion.

"Tea partiers" engaging in violent hate speech


Congratulations Democrats! - Mar. 22, 2010

Congratulations to the Democrats on passing historic healthcare reform! America is eagerly awaiting final passage of the legislation after this historic victory. But after everything is said and done, America will expect even more from the Democrats. America is eager for even more change on a number of other important issues. And America is counting on the Democrats to get the job done!

Forget the Alamo: Texas Bans T.J. - Mar. 18, 2010

You may have heard by now that the Texas State Board of Education recently decided to downplay T.J.'s ideas about the separation of church and state. "T.J.," of course, refers to America's founding father, Thomas Jefferson...

But if Texas gets rid of Jefferson, it means that they're probably going to get rid of Sam Houston, too. Sam Houston was sort of the founder of Texas, but he was originally from Virginia. Houston was born close to where Thomas Jefferson made his home in Virginia.

After Texas was defeated at the battle of the Alamo in 1836, Sam Houston took control of Texas' army and eventually became president of the "Republic of Texas" (this was before Texas was a state). Houston then led the charge to make Texas a state, becoming one of Texas' first U.S. Senators. He also served as the governor of Texas.

As a civil war broke out in the U.S., Houston was against the idea of Texas seceding from the United States. But Texas responded by removing Houston from office and joining a "confederacy" of other states in the southern U.S.

Texas (along with the other southern states) lost the civil war, and rejoined the United States after the war.

Sam Houston famously predicted Texas' defeat in the civil war. In other words, Houston stood for the separation of church and state... and I know Texans know what I'm talking about...

The civil war in the United States was all about slavery, and Texas is trying to enslave its children by teaching a false history of the United States. But I don't think the kids will stand for it. And neither would Thomas Jefferson or Sam Houston...

Samuel Houston


Rally for Healthcare Reform - Mar. 16, 2010

Let's all rally behind the Democrats for healthcare reform! This is an important opportunity for any generation that wants change!

Onward to Mars! - Mar. 14, 2010

There are a number of conferences and summits coming up soon that will likely include a discussion about the future of America's space program. The first conference I've heard about will take place tomorrow in NYC. And Obama is holding a summit in Florida next month. I'm looking forward to what comes out of all of the conferences and summits.

One of the topics I hope comes up is rocket science. Because I'm wondering if it will take a rocket scientist to figure out that NASA makes the best rockets...

But seriously, I am interested in everyone's ideas... And what's a space conference without a little rocket science humor?

Anyway, onward to Mars!

Pentagon Shooting - Mar. 12, 2010

Two Pentagon guards were recently shot by a man who left behind numerous posts on the Internet. The man who shot the guards was named John Bedell. The guards received minor injuries, and Bedell eventually died from injuries he received after the guards returned fire. But Bedell's Internet posts remain. His posts contained a lot of audio and video. Below is a "stick-man" graphic from a YouTube video he made in which he presents some of his theories about private property, "information currency," and the government.

A still-frame from Pentagon shooter John Bedell's YouTube video

To some people, Bedell's posts appeared to have had some anti-government views. And some people have linked Bedell's apparent anti-government views to his decision to shoot two Pentagon guards. The strange twist in this story - and the bit of information that may have prevented the shootings - is that the whole idea of private property depends on the government...

Fatwa Against Terrorism - Mar. 12, 2010

In one of best stories I've heard in years, His Eminence Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a highly renowned Islamic scholar and recognized authority on Islam, has issued a fatwa against terrorism. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri posted the preface and introduction to his fatwa on the Internet for free, and I think it is worth reading. You can read it by clicking HERE. His entire fatwa is 600 pages long, and will probably be analyzed extensively. Excerpts from the preface and introduction appear below.

[This] work is meant to leave no doubt, and leave no stone unturned, in order to remove any possible justification for the suicide attacks that the perpetrators or their supporters may offer. [...]

[This] decree will provide clear, categorical and comprehensive injunctions that will dissuade the confused and impressionable young Muslims, whether in the East or West, from embarking upon the path of extremism and radicalism that eventually leads to the deadly and horrific outcomes we have all tragically come to know. [...]

The damage to Islam and the Muslim world is that Muslim youth, not completely and comprehensively aware of Islamic teachings, and under the influence of the media, regard terrorism and extremism as emanating from religious teachings and attitudes of religious people. [...]

Western policies are instrumental in producing and inducting potential terrorist recruits and supporters, with no end in sight. [...]

Islam is a religion of peace and safety that champions love and harmony in society. According to Islamic teachings, only such a person will be called a Muslim at whose hands the lives and properties of all innocent Muslims and non-Muslims remain safe and unhurt. [...] Terrorism, in its very essence, is an act that symbolizes infidelity and rejection of what Islam stands for. When the forbidden element of suicide is added to it, its severity and gravity becomes even greater. [...]

The importance Islam places on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow indiscriminate killing even when Muslim armies are engaged in war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, infirm, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The public cannot be massacred. Likewise, places of worship, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed. [...]

The objectives of mercy cannot be achieved through cruelty and oppression. [...] So a terrorist's actions speak of his intentions. His killings and destructive activities refer to his foul intention and condemnable ideas and beliefs. His heinous actions cannot stem from pious intentions and beliefs. The bloodshed he causes refers only to a cruel man inside him and not any kind and merciful soul. It is, therefore, evident that whatever false implications and foul justifications these rebels, criminals, evil-mongers, and tyrannous brutes may put forth to prove their atrocities as acts of Jihad, they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

Image from the cover of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri's Introduction


USA-PATRIOT Act Renewed - Feb. 28, 2010

Congress has decided to renew the USA-PATRIOT Act for another year. This was supposed to be a big deal. There was supposed to be huge debate. But it has just been brushed aside until next year. There are several reasons Congress has acted this way, but most people have narrowed it all down to a single reason...

Someone from a foreign country - Australia or someplace - concealed an un-authorized Toyota floor mat aboard a U.S. commercial airliner. If the floor mat had made it to the U.S., chaos would have ensued. Amidst all of the panic, NASCAR quickly ordered Congress to renew the Patriot Act, saving America from the Aussies once again!

The latest Saturn floor mats...

Of Interest:
- The logo on the floor mat pictured above has nothing to do with Saturn. It is actually the new online logo for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The new MDA logo briefly sparked controversy this week as some thought it resembled a crescent moon, while others thought it resembled the Obama campaign logo. I think it is supposed to be the dark side of the Moon passing in front of the Earth, but in an abstract way...

Joe Stack's Letter - Feb. 18, 2010

On February 18, 2010, Joseph Stack flew a small commuter plane into an office building in Austin, Texas. Prior to the event, he posted a letter on the Internet. Information about the event is still being sorted out. I've posted excerpts from his letter below. The full letter is available HERE. I'm not going to make very many comments about Mr. Stack's letter. I do want to say that it isn't clear what the government was trying to accomplish with the tax law Mr. Stack quoted. I also want to say that it appears as though there were a number of other factors that may have influenced Mr. Stack's tragic decision.


[T]here isn't enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. [...]

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it's time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country's leaders don't see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political "representatives" (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the "terrible health care problem." It's clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don't get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in. [...]

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I'm sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age. [...] I was off to a terrifying start as a 'wet-behind-the-ears' contract software engineer... and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives... we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.


(d) EXCEPTION - This section shall not apply to [...] an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work. (1986 Tax Reform Act).

[...] For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report ( regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here ( [...]

The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren't going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect. [...]

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. [...] Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. [...]

By this time, I'm thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I'll try Austin for a while. [...]

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. [...] But [the government] didn't notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection, so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. [...] When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the year's information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of [my wife's] unreported income... To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn't have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster... Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is... well, just look around. [...]

I know I'm hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn't limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. [...] The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing at, and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

----- END -----


The 2010 Vancouver Olympics - Feb. 10, 2010

On February 12, the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada will begin. Let's join in support of all the athletes that have worked so hard to get there! Best of luck to everyone!

I'm a Fucking Retard - Feb. 9, 2010

It's true. I'm a fucking retard. But I live in a country populated mostly by fucking idiots. I'm trying to fit in. It would take a fucking genius to notice the difference between a fucking retard and a fucking idiot. Should I be fucking worried?

Corporate Personhood Revisited - Feb. 5, 2010

I first wrote about corporate personhood back in 2007. Actually, I didn't really write about it; I merely brought it up and provided a link to - an organization that knows a lot more about corporate personhood than I do. is calling for a Constitutional amendment to get rid of corporate personhood, and I agree with them. I also think it's interesting that when people look at issues as complicated as this, the Constitution always comes up. Personally, I've gone so far as to criticize legal precedent, the U.S. Code, Congress, and the stability of American democracy. And the Constitution always comes up. Corporate personhood is one of those issues that dredges up all of this...

"The idea of corporate personhood" basically says that corporations may have the same rights as citizens. But there's a lot more to it...

Last month the Supreme Court made a ruling influenced by the "idea of corporate personhood." The Supreme Court ruled that corporations may be able to spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads. I say the decision was influenced by the "idea of corporate personhood" because there is no law (that I know of) that describes corporate personhood or what it means. Instead, it's just a patchwork of legal decisions going back over one hundred years, along with some random laws passed by Congress.

I want to put this in words everyone can understand. A judge rules on something over one hundred years ago, then another judge rules on something else, and somehow that can make or break a case in the present-day. That's legal precedent. There is no talk of right or wrong or anything else. Get it?

After legal precedent has done its damage, Congress gets lobbied by the winners (or losers, if they're loaded) of the court case to pass some weirdly worded law that makes no sense at all, and only pertains to the specific court case. I say weirdly worded because the law Congress passes will say something like "the words 'to be' in line 10038 of the U.S. Code shall be struck, and the words 'of which shall be' shall be added, forthwith." There are very few places where the law is actually "laid down." The Constitution is one of those places where it is.

Anyway, maybe corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections now, but maybe there's some genius lawyer out there who can get us out of all of this... using legal precedent!

A judge from the 2005 film Idiocracy.
The courtroom is wallpapered in corporate ads.

A photo of the 2010 Supreme Court judges posted at
Corporate ads have been added to some of the judges' robes.


See Also:

Scott Brown's Truck - Jan. 22, 2010

[UPDATE - May 5, 2010: The text below has been edited for accuracy.]

Scott Brown just won a big Senate election in Massachusetts. In his campaign, he mentioned that he drives a truck. The way he said it made it seem like a big deal; like there was some sort of Massachusetts liberal bias against people who drive pickup trucks. So, I want to congratulate Scott Brown on his purchase of a GMC Canyon.

I've been to Massachusetts and I've lived in Boston. I've even been to Harvard. And I drive a Prius. But I have no problem with trucks like the GMC Canyon.

However, I don't want to spend trillions of dollars on oil wars to fill that truck with gas. And I don't want to sacrifice American lives. I guess this is where this debate breaks down... Why can't the GMC Canyon be powered with hydrogen? Is the debate really even about trucks and Priuses?

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Corporations like Fox News have done a great job confusing Americans about trucks and SUV's. These vehicles have a lot to offer - without all of the sacrifices Americans make to fight wars on behalf of the petroleum industry. America can't afford to fight the battle this darkly, and the Australian owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, knows it. Fox has us fighting over leaded vs. unleaded gas... (that's a '70s reference).

We should be preparing for gas prices to rise along with global temperatures, but "Rupert the Australian" has us fighting over trucks. And we're doing next to nothing about it. I want to sell Scott Brown a 2010 GMC Canyon H2 and watch the American economy soar!

In the meantime, Scott needs to be in a Prius so he can stop campaigning for the petroleum industry!

The GMC Canyon

The 1983 Wagon Queen Family Truckster...
Does that GMC Canyonero have 8 headlights?

Democratic Beer Summit - Jan. 20, 2010

The Democrats should hold a beer summit to start 2010 off right...

Democrats Hold A Beer Summit

Of Interest:
- The photo used in the artwork above is from Obama's first "State of the Union" address to Congress in 2009. I Photoshopped the beer kegs and cups into the photo. The beer kegs say (clockwise from background): Stout, Hef (for Hefeweizen), Lager, IPA (for India Pale Ale), Pils (for Pilsner), and Ale. The last one just says Beer Keg.

Yum Extender - Jan. 16, 2010

Linux just got easier than Windows. You can install whatever software you want on Linux, and it's as easy as searching for something on Google. Check out the Yum Extender (shown below). All you have to do is type in the software you want and click the binoculars to search. Then, select what you want, and click "Process Queue." That's it. No complicated downloading, no My Documents, no ".exe" files, and most importantly, no viruses; the Yum Extender only installs software from "software repositories" trusted by the user. And it always installs the version that works with your computer!

Just look at how easy it is to install software on Linux (click HERE for a larger image)...

Click HERE for larger image of the Yum Extender.

Democrats Are Gonna Re-elect Bush All Over Again - Jan. 15, 2010

Polls show that the Republican candidate is ahead in the Massachusetts Senate race. It could kill healthcare. But Vice-President Joe Biden has to give it his seal of approval before anything's official.

The Democrats will probably wimp out, though. They'll put the Republican in office, just like they put Bush in office in 2000. Even though they have an opportunity to do the right thing for America and get healthcare passed, they'll almost certainly blow it if the Republicans win in Massachusetts.

It's almost Biblical, and I think it's hilarious...

Making Poor People Feel Sick - Jan. 13, 2010

In December of 2009, I read the Senate and House healthcare bills, and said that I thought the "expansion of Medicaid" politicians had been talking about made more sense to me. I said I wished it had been explained to me sooner.

I also went on to say that my comments about the expansion of Medicaid in an earlier post were wrong. It looked like Medicaid would be expanded to cover people living in poverty or living close to poverty, even if they aren't pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged. (Medicaid is currently unavailable to most people living in or near poverty unless they are pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged.) But it looks like I misunderstood some of the language of the legislation...

For me, the issue comes down to whether or not Americans care about each other. And it looks like the politicians and insurance companies are going to allow the abuse to continue.

They're going to try to force many individuals living in or near poverty to purchase a private healthcare plan from an exchange instead of providing Medicaid to those individuals. It turns out expanded eligibility for Medicaid depends on factors other than living in or near the "poverty line" (1). Some of the requirements are really strange. In some cases, you can't qualify for Medicaid if you put a donation can in a local shop asking for help with a medical problem. But if the government forces you to purchase a private plan through an exchange and you put that same can in a local shop, the rates you pay in the private exchange could stay the same. I'm sure they'll close that loophole in a way that makes things worse for those living in or near poverty (but I hope they close the loophole in a way that truly expands Medicaid).

Unfortunately, the way many parts of this legislation are worded, it seems like they want to kill off poor people. The kind of thinking they're doing - if that's what they're doing - has even stranger effects. If you are eligible for Medicaid but qualify for the private exchange, the government will still try and steer you towards the exchange. There's a notification clause in there, but it reminds me of the free credit report scam.

There's a lot of work left to be done on healthcare reform. America needs a strong public health insurance option, and stricter regulation of insurance companies. We also need to pay for the reforms without taxing middle-class healthcare plans. And we need to make sure subsidies reduce the costs of healthcare realistically, so that people buying health insurance can afford it without having to sacrifice everything they're working for. Employers need to pitch in their fair share, too. A healthcare plan that takes a huge bite out of employees' paychecks - and has huge deductibles that have to be paid at the doctor's office - is not fair!

- Senate Draft Bill (H.R. 3590)
- First House Bill (H.R. 3200)
- Second House Bill (H.R. 3962)

-1) It looks like they're still doing away with the "pregnant, disabled, blind, or aged" requirements, unless I'm misunderstanding that, too...

I Support the House Healthcare Bill - Jan. 7, 2010

On December 24th, 2009, the Senate voted 60-39 in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). Negotiations between House and Senate leadership are now under way to reconcile significant differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The House bill is called the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962). I strongly favor the House version for its approach to cost containment and use of private sector innovation and competition to improve the quality and value of care...

Happy New Year - Jan. 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

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