Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Browser Wars

A while back I downloaded a browser called Flock.  I had looked at it before but thought it needed some work, with version 1.1 it got pretty good and was very fun to use.  Then, just days later Safari came out with a new update that was incredibly fast, and days after that Firefox came out with version 3 im beta, also very fast.

And then there is AOL Desktop for Mac which seems to be Firefox with a special interface for using AOL to make navigation better.  Then there are other problems like the fact that Gmail does not work in Mac Mail so I tried Thunderbird where it did work pretty well.  Flock is supposed to have support for Gmail and works OK.

All of these are very cool in some ways but after a few weeks of use it comes down to the fact that Safari is by far the fastest and most stable of them all.  AOL, Gmail and everything else still works faster in Safari than the special programs build just for them.  But it has one drawback, I can't do blogging on Blogger with it so I need Flock for that.

It sure would be nice to have one browser for everything, I don't like having 4 or 5 applications open to handle the internet.  For now I'll make Safari my main browser with Mail for all email except Gmail, then just open Flock to do blog entries.  Maybe when Firefox 3 comes out of beta and Flock does an upgrade based on it that will do the job.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Science Kills People

Ben Stein, a truly evil little man. Thanks to Pharyngula for bringing this video to my attention.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Edward Current

Just found out about this guy thanks to PZ Myers at Pharyngula who placed one of his videos on his site. At first I wasn't sure if it was comedic sarcasm or a real Christian video, I've heard Christians say thing even more outrageous than what Edward puts in his videos. But the one above entitled "Jesus Protects Us From Being Poisoned" shows his videos are clearly sarcasm. Wait until the very end because his comments and disclaimers are pretty funny.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Fork Her, She's Done

It was quite a while ago I said to stick a fork in Hillary, she's done. She hasn't followed my advice, sad to say. Now she is REALLY done. She would have to win 67% of the 9 remaining primaries to take the lead in popular vote or delegates. If she won 50% of the next 2 primaries, Indiana and North Carolina, she'd need 85% of the vote of all remaining primaries. And it would be a minor miracle if she pulled off 50% in those two states since Obama is in the lead in both, into double digits in North Carolina.

She is doing a "win at any cost" strategy and flinging out negative ads like crazy, all in the hope that Obama will make some kind of major blunder - something far worse than anything that's happened so far - or that she can convince the Super Delegates that she stands a better chance in November against John McCain. I figure the odds are better for me winning the Lotto.

This has become very sad. When all this started I was excited to see Hillary campaigning for president. John Edwards was my guy but I would have been happy to vote for any of the top three, in fact, ANY of the Democratic candidates, except maybe Mike Gravel. Now I don't like her and don't want to vote for her at all. I think she has gone so far into the negative that she has hurt herself more than Obama and has damaged her standing in the party. If she quits now she might have a chance at top party leadership in the future, like Senate Majority Leader, but the longer this goes on the less chance she will even have a political career.

But let me make one think very, very clear: If she does manage to get the Democratic nomination I WILL vote for her in November. Nothing can be worse than McCain being president, that cannot be allowed to happen. And we know the pubs are going to cheat and try and steal the election like they have in the past, the only way to stop them is show up and vote for the Democratic candidate in overwhelming numbers. So all of us MUST vote for whoever that candidate is, no matter what. And when it comes down to it I actually do think Hillary would make a good president, I just wish she knew when to quit.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Vote's for Obama (if I could vote) Michael Moore

On Michael Moore's website he has a letter about why he is supporting Obama over Clinton. It's a damn good letter and I agree with him 100%.
There are those who say Obama isn't ready, or he's voted wrong on this or that. But that's looking at the trees and not the forest. What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change. My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate.

That is not to take anything away from this exceptional man. But what's going on is bigger than him at this point, and that's a good thing for the country. Because, when he wins in November, that Obama Movement is going to have to stay alert and active. Corporate America is not going to give up their hold on our government just because we say so. President Obama is going to need a nation of millions to stand behind him.

It's an interesting notion that he is voting for Obama The Movement. I wouldn't say I really thought it out that clearly myself but some of that has been in the back of my mind that influenced my support for Obama. But this next segment is even more telling:
Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, "Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for 'spiritual counseling?' THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!"

This is something I have been pissed off about for some time. How dare Hillary attack Obama over Rev. Wright when Bill called him in as a spiritual advisor back in the 90's. Read the whole letter, it will be worth your while.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


There is a new film out called Expelled, a terrible propaganda piece that is complete lies from beginning to end. It's a film by Ben Stein, a very intelligent and well educated person who believes the absurdity that evolution is not true and is willing to blatantly lie in a movie to make his point.

PZ Myers implores everyone to put a link on their site to another site called Expelled Exposed.

Vjack on Atheist Revolution also asks all atheists to oppose this film. At first he thought we should all ignore it and not give it any publicity:
With Expelled, creationists are deliberately trying to mislead the public by making the foundation of modern biology seem controversial when it is not. By dressing creationism up in scientific clothing, they seek to present it as a valid hypothesis which mainstream science is neglecting. Rather than openly complaining that science is destroying their religiously-derived worldview, they find it necessary to pretend that mainstream science is somehow biased against their "scientific" alternative.

Make no mistake, ID (Intelligent Design) is not a scientific theory, it is not science at all and has no place in a science classroom in any way and never did. It is purely creationist propaganda that they hope to sneak in by fooling people into thinking that presenting both sides is only fair. It is only fair to present both sides in a science classroom - if it's science! If it is religion it does not belong in a science class. Vjack goes on to explain an even more alarming reason to oppose this movie:
I am also worried that Expelled both reflects and may help fuel bigotry toward atheists. By attempting to link Darwin, atheism, fascism, and even the Holocaust, we end up with an anti-atheist hate film as well as a pro-creationist propaganda film. This is truly a Christian extremist's wet dream!

So that is the worst of it, Stein equates Social Darwinism such as what the Nazis believed, with actual evolutionary science and equates Darwinism with atheism. I find this incredibly ironic in that the only people today who still believe in Social Darwinism are the rich, right wingers like Stein, who feel the poor deserve to die from illness if they can't afford health insurance. In other words, the rich are rich because they earned it, and the poor are poor because they deserve to be. Social survival of the fittest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama vs Hillary

I'm a Political Junkie. It just dawned on me today as I was watching Keith Olbermann talk about today's debate. I didn't watch it, wasn't sure what channel it was on and I will have all kinds of chances to watch it on the web later. Keith said it had been 50 days since the last debate and did a list of what had happened since then; Rev Wright, Obama's race speech, Bitter-gate, etc. And all I could think of was "What fun all that was!!" That's when it dawned on me.

It's all the fault of the internet which makes so much of this easily available and lets me post on my blog as if I'm talking to the whole world. It's also the fault of Air America and other progressive talk networks, and Keith Olbermann, all of whom have made it easy and entertaining to be immersed in this stuff all day long.

Then there is the fact that I think this is the most important election in American history. Bush has destroyed us, not all by himself, we've been building up to this since Reagan was elected, and Cheney and Rumsfeld helped a lot too. I see Obama as the next FDR, who came in and saved us after Hoover destroyed us with conservative politics. And I am not being facetious, we are no longer the America that I thought we were as a kid, we aren't even the America I thought we should have been when I was a teenager. The ideal is dead, the rich run everything and let people die by the thousands (and I mean the holocaust of no health insurance as well as Iraq) so they can make more money, we torture people and have a new King George who is not subject to the rule of law. Our constitution is shredded and it is what made us America, something which far too many are ignorant of.

There have been dire moments in our past where we were destroyed and we have managed to come through them, but things are different today. The Civil War was an obvious and clear danger, but what we have now is hidden in enough political-speak that most people aren't even aware we've been destroyed. But 81% think the country is going in the wrong direction and a clear majority also think George Bush has destroyed our economy, so some of what has happened has gotten through.

This election might be our only chance to come out of it and so many things can go wrong in the near future. After all, we wouldn't be here right now if Jack, Bobby and Martin hadn't been brought down by the guns of assassins. We are poised on the brink of history and it has been and should continue to be interesting. Which reminds of the old Chinese curse; "May you live in interesting times."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Battling Browsers

About a month ago I did a post on Flock and how much I liked it and that I was going to try it as my main browser. Just days after doing this Apple came out with a new Safari update that made it incredibly fast and suddenly I'm torn. Then days later Firefox comes out with version 3 in beta so I give that a try and boy, is it fast too.

So now I'm really confused as to which one I want to use. Safari is still fastest and is closely integrated with Leopard but I still can't make posts to Blogger in it so I have to use Firefox or Flock.

I've made Safari my main browser with Flock as secondary mainly for Blogger posts, but I find I keep coming back to Flock more and more, it's just so much more fun to use and some sites just don't work with Safari. Firefox 3 was very fast but a bit unstable, Safari is faster and more stable and Flock is more fun and more stable.

In a recent MacWorld they did a review on browsers and both Safari and Flock got the best ratings at 4.5 mice but they didn't say too much about Flock and gave no real reason why they gave it so many stars. They also said Safari was good in Blogger but that's absurd, Safari has never been good for creating posts in Blogger, all kinds of weird things happen if I try and use it and it's never been one of Blogger's supported browsers, and it's never been able to work with any of Google apps except Gmail. Odd. So I still have Safari as my main browser so when I click on a link in Mail or elsewhere I get Safari's speed, but most of the time I spend web surfing I use Flock, as well as for Gmail and Blogger.

The Flock people say when Firefox 3 gets out of beta they will upgrade Flock to it which should add some speed and then I will be able to settle on a single browser. I hope.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

PayPal Warning

Recently, a client of mine sent me a payment via PayPal. It was quick and easy and I thought it was a great idea. Then another client of mine wanted to send me a payment via PayPal as well. Since he's been hard to collect from I jumped at the chance, he was even nice enough to pay for PayPal's charges for me.

Great, I thought, maybe I can get all my clients on PayPal, this is easy and convenient. Then I transfered the money to my bank account which, unfortunately, takes 3-5 days, the one drawback.

Suddenly, I get an email from them today, Saturday, that the transfer has been put on hold. It is under "investigation" but they can't tell me why or when my money will be released. Or even if. Now I have to contact my client and find out if he knows what is going on and can he send me a check instead. I was planning on that money being in my bank account on Monday now I don't know if I will ever get it at all.

So all I can say is NEVER transfer money via PayPal if you have any other method. They can put a hold on it at any time for any arbitrary reason they want and will not inform you of what that reason is. Nor will they say when, or if, the hold might be lifted. I said how can I avoid a problem in the future if I don't even know why the money was put on hold. She just repeated the same robotic phrase which is common these days and would not deviate from script.

So, I've written 2 emails this morning and called tonight when nothing happened in 12 hours have not heard a thing about any of it. So DO NOT USE PAYPAL FOR ANYTHING AT ANY TIME EVER!!! Your money can be grabbed by them for any reason whatsoever and might never get to you, it's a total crap shoot. And odds are not good, this is only the fourth transfer on PayPal I've ever had so it isn't something like a one in a hundred occurrence. Probably better off sending the money by carrier pigeon. They certainly won't be used by me any more.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Horror of it All

Experts estimate that, by 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Blume had survived exposure to approximately 1,700 advertising images of epic banality, at least 35 emotionless interactions with complete strangers without making any real human contact, and more than 25,000 moments of soul-crushing inner emptiness throughout the almost day-long struggle. In addition, he also surmounted the onslaught of more than 150 separate anxiety-producing forces, including credit card debt, weight gain, hair loss, sexual inferiority, loneliness, a dead-end job, geographical isolation from extended family, virus-laden spam, the need to keep his cell phone charged, in-store Muzak, mortality, mounting laundry and dishes, his cable bill, indefinable longing, fear of terrorism, online gossip, the unavoidable certainty of his own unimportance, nostalgia for a past that never was, severe lower-back pain, and general ennui.

Read the full article for a complete list of what this man was forced to survive in a single day - it's HORRIBLE!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Got Hoyle?

Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best. I've long ago developed the knack of enjoying the little things enormously, even when the big things are really, really bad (and they have been for a long time now). One of those things is my new Hoyle Card Games. It used to be one of our favorite games, we had a very old CD of it and it ran in Mac Classic on my OSX machine. The one I loved most was Pinochle, and do you know that no one makes a decent Pinochle game other than Hoyle? Hearts was the other one I would play a lot.

But . . . when I bought my new Intel iMac it was no longer able to to run Mac Classic, so all my old apps became unusable. Most of them I didn't much care about - except for Hoyle Card Games - and it seems they never made an OSX version of it, which I simply didn't understand. But nothing to be done, Pinochle was gone forever.

Then, just yesterday I followed a few web links and discovered that Hoyle just came out with Hoyle Card Games 2008 just a few days ago. I downloaded it and played a few games and sure enough, it's my old pal and buddy come back to life, the same interface and everything! It is not only OSX but fully Universal for Intel Macs.

And then there is Hoyle Board Games, just a huge collection of board games to play with, my favorite was Battleship. And the CD even had Backgammon for Palm OS that I've been playing for years now. They updated that one to Universal as well. I didn't play it very much but it was Darcy's favorite. Unfortunately she's been too weak to even come down the hall and sit in front of the computer these days (one of those BIG things) but maybe this will be incentive for her to work a little harder to regain her strength.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

That Dangerous Philosophy

"It’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!"

That's the part of the outburst from Rep. Monique Davis to atheist activist Rob Sherman in the Illinois State Assembly last Wednesday that really leaps out at me. The entire outburst is quite amazing but I have to puzzle over why she thinks his philosophy (atheism is not a philosophy) is so dangerous, apparently personally dangerous as well as dangerous to her kids. I say personally dangerous because such an outburst can only come from a person scared down to the marrow of their bones. As if she knows, deep down, that her philosophy isn't going to win any showdown with atheism.

The entire text of it can be read at the blog of Eric Zorn for the Chicago Tribune. Zorn himself says this:
I know from experience that many of you will side with Davis (update -- apparently I was wrong! ), but I ask you to consider what the outcry would have been if a lawmaker had launched a similar attack on the beliefs of a religious person.

The "update" has a link to his comment section where to his, and my own, surprise most of the comments are against Davis:
The vitriol spewing from this legislator is shocking, frightening, and, well, frankly makes me incensed.

Who the Hell does she think she is?

Let Monique Davis run for a new legislature - one located in Tehran.
I especially like the bit about her relocating to Tehran. I fully expected to have all the Christians run to Davis' defense against the evil atheist but that isn't what happened. I have to say it's quite a pleasant surprise and one of those things that restores my very faded hopes for humanity, at least for a moment.

She even made Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In The World" today.

Scroll further down Zorn's blog and you will find links to the story on the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post. He even has a link as to whether or not Lincoln was an atheist. I always thought he was but didn't talk about it in order to win elections. Even back then no atheist could get elected to public office. And below that the Council for Secular Humanism chimes in.

An atheist getting yelled at and treated shabbily makes the news and outrages everyone! How ironic when you think of all the times that happens every day across the country and it never makes the news. Even the first President Bush said atheists shouldn't allowed to be citizens.

Monday, April 7, 2008

California Teacher Makes Anti-Christian Remarks

Saw this story in a number of places, first at One News Now:
Sixteen-year-old Chad Farnan is accusing Capistrano Valley High school history teacher James Corbett of making numerous anti-Christian remarks. Farnan claims that while recording class lectures for note-taking purposes, he recorded Corbett stating that "Jesus glasses" obscure the truth and that Christians are more likely to commit rape and murder.
Another one is at the Thinking Christian:
James Corbett “Taught Us How To Think”
And from Webloggin:
Almost without exception, his supporters say that it’s appropriate to crudely insult religion and to use history lessons as a rant against Christianity. Why? Because in their minds he’s speaking truth, and it’s an educator’s responsibility to bring truth to his students, especially the benighted Christian ones. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that there is a problem, not with discussing faith, but with insulting faith.
Each of these has their own perspective that they bring to this that I find interesting. In one they mention Corbett talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster so I have to assume he's an atheist since that is an atheist's joke. It's how we point out how absurd we find people's religious views, often a comparison is made to belief in Santa Claus as equivalent to most religious belief.

My first thought on this is; how many times have Christians been up in arms when someone complained about a Christian pushing religious propaganda in a classroom? They scream like a banshee who has stepped on a nail about their freedom of speech and religious freedoms being taken away. The fact is they always want it their way with no consistent logic or fairness other than "We are right and everyone else is wrong!"

So as an atheist how do I feel about it? Corbett was out of line. I think it is perfectly OK for him to have brought up the subject of religion, especially Christianity if it's a class on European history, and even to express his own opinion on it. Where he was out of line was in trying to proselytize in a public classroom and in insulting the people who believe it. If a Christian had done that inside a classroom as a teacher I'd be screaming like a banshee who had just stepped on a nail.

Worse than just being impolite, he might have ruined what could have been a very thoughtful discussion and alienated the very people he wants to listen to him. If he was anywhere outside of the classroom and outside a position of authority then I think he has the right to say whatever he pleases.

On the other hand I think the entire story has to be taken with a grain of salt. I haven't heard Corbett's actual remarks and I know Christian's often think anything that isn't fawning praise is an insult. So maybe Corbett wasn't out of line. I certainly don't think he should be fired or suspended, but I do think he should tone it down a bit. Read the links and decide for yourself.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Worse Than 9/11

We are in the middle of a holocaust yet few seem very concerned, especially those in government who can actually do something about it. Here is a story from California Healthline:
The report estimates that 19,900 Californians between ages 25 and 64 died because of a lack of health insurance between 2000 and 2006 (Families USA release, 4/3). The report estimated that 3,100 adult Californians died in 2006 because they were uninsured and either could not pay for the necessary care or received treatment too late.
3,100 dead in California alone just in the year 2006. That's equal to the toll of 9/11 but no one seems to care. This happens every year and in every state so 3,100 barely scratches the surface. Where is the outrage? Where are the annual memorials? Where are the troops, taking revenge and making sure this can't ever happen again?

And isn't it ironic that we can't do anything about this but we CAN spend $341.4 million per day in Iraq. Why? The answer is simple, guys like George Bush don't care about the little people. Those who claim to not believe in evolution DO believe in social evolution, that the fit survive. Which means if you can't afford health insurance you deserve to die.

And the worst part of it all is that a large portion of America has bought this absurdity. It's better to spend all our resources killing Iraqis than taking care of our own. But mention 9/11 and these hypocrites turn into drama queens.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rachel Maddow

Anyone who hasn't heard Rachel Maddow on Air America is really missing something. I think she is the best progressive radio personality out there, in or out of Air America (no, Air America does not have a monopoly on progressive talk radio).

She is very intelligent and gives very concise and on target analysis of just about any political situation out there. She's actually a doctor, but not that kind of doctor.

She shows up on Countdown with Keith Olbermann often (almost nightly these days) and is the most energetic and coherent of all his guests and all of them are the best in the business. And the reason for this post is to announce that she will host Countdown tomorrow, Friday the 4th. It will be her first time but I'm sure she will be the best guest host they've ever had.

Here's the biography from her web site:
Rachel has a doctorate in political science (she was a Rhodes Scholar) and a background in HIV/AIDS activism, prison reform, and other lefty rabblerousing.

She shakes a mean cocktail, drives a bright red pickup, hates Coldplay, loves arguing with conservatives, spends a lot of money on AMTRAK tickets, and dresses like a first-grader.

Rachel is a political analyst for MSNBC, and makes irregular appearances elsewhere on the TV machine -- including "The Today Show", "Good Morning America", CNN, LOGO, and other TV outlets. She's been with Air America since its inception in Spring 2004 -- before AAR she worked for WRNX in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and WRSI in Northampton, Massachusetts. There was also a stint with a jungle-themed company called Expresso Bongo [sic], but she doesn't want to talk about it.

Rachel is 34 years old and lives in New York City and rural Western Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.


Glenn Greenwald on wrote an article entitled Michael Mukasey's tearful lies. It's all about the Attorney General giving a speech last week in San Francisco where he says the government's inability to wiretap a call from a safehouse in Afghanistan before 9/11, due to inadequate FISA laws, prevented the government from stopping 9/11.

This is an amazingly outrageous statement and it's absolutely incredible the news media is not covering this, just Glenn. Rachel Maddow, of Air America Radio, had Glenn on her show yesterday, which is how I learned about it. Rachel then went on Countdown to talk about it. You can read the actual transcript here. This is a transcript of the entire Tuesday show so you will have to scroll down a bit to find it, just look for MADDOW. It's well worth the read, I'll just post an excerpt from it here:
MADDOW: The implication of Mukasey‘s story here is that these pesky, restrictive FISA laws kept us from tapping that call from Afghanistan and blocked us stopping 9/11. That‘s complete bull pucky. The laws then, the laws now, the laws since the FISA court has been in existence; the laws have said that you can tap without a warrant that kind of communication from outside the United States into the U.S., particularly if you knew it was an al Qaeda safe house and it had a link in terrorism.

What Mukasey said is either a terrible lie about the law or it‘s terrible admission about the Bush administration leaving us unprotected on 9/11.

Let me translate, she wanted to say bullshit but was on TV. She is also saying that no warrant was ever needed to listen in to that call from Afghanistan since it originated from outside the country. On top of that if they did need a warrant FISA allows them to do the tap immediately and acquire a warrant within 72 hours. So there was no legal reason the Bush administration couldn't have listened into that call and prevented 9/11, they simply failed to do so for unknown reasons (total incompetence would be my guess).
OLBERMANN: And given that Mukasey was working as a judge, if I remember the timing—was working blocks from ground zero. He also said that without telecom immunity, we face the prospect of disclosure in open court the means and methods by which we collect foreign intelligence against foreign targets. Is there even a shred of accuracy in that?

MADDOW: No, that is more bull pucky. He is a federal judge. He knows. Federal courts deal with classified information all the time. They have a whole bunch of different ways of dealing with it. They have closed court rooms. They have ex-parte communications. They hear things in judge‘s chambers.

So Mukasey also said that these law suits against the telecoms would reveal the workings of our Intelligence so Al Quida would then know how we do things. Rachel says bullshit again. Anything involving state secrets is not talked about in open court, it is done in the judge's chambers and sometimes not even the defense counsel is allowed to be present. So clearly, a blatant lie by our nation's highest law enforcement officer.
OLBERMANN: Let‘s put two things together. We heard this book that‘s coming out about the various elements in the 9/11 investigation and the quotes attributed to John Ashcroft, saying don‘t bother me with this; I don‘t want to hear about this al Qaeda again, sometime in June, I guess June of 2001. If we put all these little strands together, the possibility that maybe Mukasey has the details wrong, or—but he‘s got a shred of something. He couldn‘t have made that up out of whole cloth. Something is in there and there are all sorts of other strands. We know about the PDB that nobody paid any attention to. We know about the ambivalence towards listening to anybody left over from the Clinton administration.

So the gist of the story is that Mukasey really let something slip, he let out the information that the Bush administration COULD have stopped 9/11 if they hadn't been asleep at the switch. When are we going to throw all involved into jail?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Proof positive that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists! After all, how could someone picture It so vividly if it wasn't real?

This has been put up outside a Tennessee courthouse:

A sculpture of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the goofball deity cooked up to protest a Kansas legal battle over evolution, went on display outside a courthouse in Cumberland County, Tennessee, late last month.

I bet most Christians won't understand what this means and the few that do will be insulted.

Heh heh.