This just in: Grand Canyon created by Noahs Flood

Apparently there is now no sanity left in the Bush Administration. Apparently the National Park Service is not allowed to disclose the age of the Grand Canyon to comply with Bush Appointees wishes:

“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”

This is from “HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY”

The war on Meth

I’ve never done meth and I don’t intend to ever try but you know that making it a crime to buy sinus medicine is not the way to fight the war on drugs. Well.. it’s not a crime, but it’s close to it. Apparently you need to show ID to get a pack of pills and you can only buy one pack a month. Sure you would need 750 tablets to actually make one dose of meth but who cares? Lets just piss off and inconvenience the millions of people who need these pills and like to stock up on them for the season.

I know what’s coming.. soon you will head to your doctors to get prescriptions for these pills and then you will have to pay even more for them and of course theres the added fees to see your doctors, etc. Nothing better than inflating the cost of healthcare in America…

Speaking of the War On Drugs

The Seattle times had this to say in an article named “The Other War We Can’t Win” :

We’d be incredibly better off if we had treated drugs as a public-health issue instead of a criminal issue — as the celebrated Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman, in fact advised us. Friedman, who died last month at 94, witnessed America’s misadventure into alcohol prohibition in his youth. “We had this spectacle of Al Capone, of the hijackings, the gang wars,” wrote Friedman. He decried turning users into criminals: “Prohibition is an attempted cure that makes matters worse — for both the addict and the rest of us.”

Thought of the Month

I’ve had this idea for quite some time but I don’t think I’ve put it down in writing yet. In either case, I’m not going to make this a long post (though it deserves it). Ok. so here’s the thought. Pay attention to the types of conversations that people are having. Either on the cellphone “I’ll be there in 5 minutes”, or just sitting around eating lunch in some diner or on the subway or whatever. You will find that most conversations are completely inane and pointless. We talk about work (not what we’re working on, but office gossip or complaints), we talk about entertainment (and not the topics that are brought up but of the social lives of the entertainers themselves), we talk about society (but not about social issues or problems, but of who is dating who and who said what to who).

Most conversations in America are simply pointless in the big scheme of things. As a good barometer of the importance of a subject, just ask yourself (If I changed the names of the people in the conversation, would it be any different?). We talk about the same shit all the time. We waste all this time together and all this thinking energy doing nothing at all but spinning our wheels. It’s kind of like what I complain about all the time when it comes to political apathy and the local news. We just don’t want to get deep about anything at all.

To do something useful with our existence we as a race need to spend some of our time and our brainpower on things that matter. We need to sit down at dinner with each other and actually talk about something of substance. We need to debate, we need to advance ourselves. If we just did even a little of that we would be better all around. Our brains are what separate us from other animals. We should use them.

So here is my proposal. I don’t have the specifics worked out yet but what if every month we had a national issue raised… Some question that we could all ponder… And that month we as a people would have a responsibility to talk about that issue? Perhaps the local news instead of doing pieces on celebrity gossip could do something about the issue of the month… maybe interviews some college professor about it, etc. Bloggers could comment on it, groups could meet to debate it, etc. Every month we could as a county have something interesting to talk about with each other and perhaps we could solve some problems, perhaps at the least we could focus on things that are useful and important. Perhaps we could transition to a society that uses their brains.

What kind of topics? There are dozens of them. Take almost any of my previous blog posts. Take anyones. “Should we spend more on the space program?”, “Should drugs be legalized?”, “What is the benefit of organized religion?”, “Why don’t people vote anymore?”, “Why is there so much killing in our inner cities?”, “how do we end poverty?”, etc. One topic a month, every month.

Digg!

In jail for legal pain meds

I saw this story on 60 minutes a while ago and just found it posted here. I’m sure this isn’t the only case of this, but a man in Florida who is clearly in a huge amount of pain was put in jail for 25 years for having too much of his pain meds on hand. There are 2 interesing points here. First is that now that he is in prison he is getting a morphene drip (which is stronger than the meds he had before) and second (as someone else on the web pointed out) Rush Limbaugh (who is an abuser of these same meds and was caught in Florida with a bottle of them not in his own name!) got off with barely a hand slap.

She’s a Victim and a Criminal

Yea.. See, this is wrong on so many levels. First of all age of consent laws are simply arbitrary and therefore kind of pointless and unfair. Second, I don’t have the stats in front of me but the percentage of victims of sex abuse that are not attacked by a family member is extremely low. Third, making a felonious sex offense for consensual sex is even more stupid. Isn’t law there to protect us against non-consensual harms? And Fourth, laws like this are tying up our legal system across the country. It’s time to repeal most of these laws or at the least, revisit them and make them more focused.

Sickening

The story that I’m linking to here is not surprising to me in the least. It’s one that I am quite aware of since I follow this kind of stuff, but sadly one that most of America is ignorant of (either on purpose or not). Please try and alert others to this story. It’s far from the only one out there.

 Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who is barred from entering the United States, delivered his acceptance speech for the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award in a pre-recorded videotape. This is a transcript of his speech, which was viewed at the award ceremony hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies on October 18, 2006 in Washington, DC.

The quest for the cableCards

So. As you know from a previous post, I jumped in with both feet and bought a Tivo 3. Now, for the S3 you need to have 2 cableCard devices to make it work. If you look at some of the posts on the S3 and the cards (like here) you will see how much of an issue most people have had with a) getting the cards and b) getting them to work. Apparently it’s mostly Comcast’s fault since most cards are/were defective combined with the fact that they have to do some work on the head end to register them properly so they work and most Comcast reps are clueless as to how (since admittedly cableCards are quite new).

My story is interesting but actually somewhat positive. First off, I called the 800 number and they told me that I could go and pick up the cards and install them myself. I went down to the office on Delaware ave and the lady there behind the 3″ bulletproof glass told me that “the customer service folks give out incorrect info all the time” and sent me on my way with no cards. So began my journey to get an appointment to have them installed.

As an employee, there is only one person in the entire organization here in Philly that can handle my requests. That lady had retired the day before my first call to the 800 number. Subsequent calls to the 800 number were met with reps saying that they could not help me since I was an employee.. Some gave me a new special employee number to call. That number was disconnected. Others gave me the name of someone to call in the company. They, of course, did not exist.

After 2 days of trying to find someone to either send me my cards, or send a guy to put them in I decided to call my HR department. After a chain of calls (“not me, call this person”) I ended up with a lady who was subbing for the retired lady. This lady said “there are lots of employee requests, I’ll add you to the list and the person who deals with the requests will get back to you”. I waited a day, no call. Two days, no call. I called her and she said “the list is long.. Wait until after the holiday” (it was coming up on Tgiving). Friday after the holiday (a full 1.5 weeks after my quest began) I got no call. I called the lady back and begged her for the number of the person who handled the requests. She finally relented and I called the guy. He was out for the day.

Monday rolls around and I call the guy again. He picks up and says “oh.. Ok.. Let me see here”. He types into his computer for a long while and says “yup.. Got you all set.. Is tomorrow at 8am good for you?”. Finally someone competent.

Next morning I’m home from work and the cable guy actually shows up. 2 hours later he leaves. We’ve got one card working perfectly and the second is only getting 10 channels but I’m promised that if I wait a while they will all come in eventually. I’m skeptical.

Of course I wait 2 days and nothing changes. I call the guy I called on Monday and explain it to him. He types into his computer and says “ok..I reset the cards.. Let me know if that doesn’t work”. I get home from work that afternoon and they both are working perfectly.

So.. Other than dealing with my companies incredibly horrible customer service, the cards went pretty smoothly considering. The picture quality from the cards in the tivo is an order of magnitude better than the cable box they replaced. I’m quite pleased.

Today in less than an hour my Pioneer Elite 1140 HD shows up and we’ll see how that looks…