Bluff, Gimmick, Or Flaw?

Morr Wackee Spam

I got some more interesting unsolicited non-commercial email yesterday. Anyone willing to spam and not make any money off it usually has something interesting to say. I think I posted a while ago about the guy who sent me some "peak oil" spam. This one isn't nearly as eloquent. In fact, I'm not entirely certain what it means, but I think it's weird enough to share.

From: Subject: Dear People. Date: January 20, 2006 12:21:19 AM GMT+02:00 To: <...> Cc: <...>

How much more could a child learn if laugh was laf, phone was fone, psychology was sykalligy, & so on?

Why should the most fundamental part of our education continue to be the hardest to learn?

What about all those children that will never learn to read or write?

Doesn't it make more sense to make better sense? Aren't there better things a child could be learning? What does the good Dr. think of this?, What about that oath?

I'm sure that some of you know; I have been trying to get Dr. Phil to talk about this issue on his show for quite some time. How many has to ask?

We can do so much. Why do we do so little?

______Lets work together______

If we continue to hold on to what we were, and what we are, we will surly never be what we can be.

It's not as if we would change over night.

Thank You. LW&P
David Bradley

Santa Claus

Facts about St Nicholas according to Wikipedia:

  • St Nicholas was an ordained priest.

  • St. Nick is a patron saint of children, yes... but he's also the patron saint of prostitutes, pharmacists, pawnbrokers and prisoners.

  • St. Nicholas was a Turk. He was from Patara in the province of Lycia which was on the mediterranean coast of Hellenistic Asia Minor.

  • In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas sails up from Spain with his little buddy, a freed slave named Black Pete. He gives bad kids bundles of sticks. Those wacky Dutch.

  • In the early 11th century sailors stole St. Nicholas's remains. They were said to exude myrrh.

Why ______ de Coverley?

"The meal was served in enormous helpings on damask tablecloths by the skilled Italian waiters Major ______ de Coverley had kidnapped from the mainland and given to Milo."

Why do all those old-timey writers (like Joseph Heller?) use underscores for a person's first name all the time? This has baffled me for years, and I'm tired of being in the dark. Can someone help me out here?

this is sad

dipfortress role call:

they WON!!

Well it happened. The Sox won the Super Bowl. Chicago gets a temporary rest from its sports anxiety until the Bears face the Blackhawks at Wimbledon. That is if the NHL can manage to last an entire season without falling apart.

I am happy. Very very happy.

Crooked chickens come home to roost

Tom the "Hammer" DeLay has been indicted by a Grand Jury in the Texas Campaign Finance Probe. Finally, the most crooked man in Washington next to Jack Abramoff (a lobbyist now under arrest for wire fraud among other things) has finally been indicted. I could dance a jig. DeLay helped re-destrict Texas in 2003 and it was such a scam to give the Republicans more power that Texan Democratic Representatives fled to Oklahoma to deny the Republicans a quorum to vote on the issue. That's not to mention ethics violations that Delay has been admonished for in the past several years. The Republican party is now reaping what they've sown with crooked deals and cronyism. Just so you don't think I'm too partisan, I'm sure there are plenty of crooked Democrats, but the Republicans are the ones that hold all the chips right now. They've been leading our country down the wrong path for too long and now their senior leadership is under siege. Maybe some real accountability and/or leadership will come from this. I really hope that man goes to jail. He is a symbol of everything wrong with American politics.

Hopeless bleak despair

This is the text of a speech thats supposed to be presented by President Bush in Beaumont, Texas. Read through it and you might feel a little hope about the future for our country, because its got some damn good ideas.

Good morning. This is a special day for me. Exactly two days ago, on September 25, 2005, I went to the Gulf. LINK
I promised you a president who is not isolated from the people, who feels your pain, and who shares your dreams and who draws his strength and his wisdom from you.
During the past five years I've spoken to you on many occasions about national concerns, the energy crisis, reorganizing the government, our nation's economy, and issues of war and especially peace.
Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?
It's clear that the true problems of our Nation are much deeper — deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession. And I realize more than ever that as president I need your help. So I decided to reach out and listen to the voices of America.
It has been an extraordinary several weeks, and I want to share with you what I've heard. First of all, I got a lot of personal advice. Let me quote a few of the typical comments that I wrote down.
This from a Southern governor: "Mr. President, you are not leading this nation — you're just managing the government."
"You don't see the people enough any more."
"Some of your Cabinet members don't seem loyal. There is not enough discipline among your disciples."
"Don't talk to us about politics or the mechanics of government, but about an understanding of our common good."
"Mr. President, we're in trouble. Talk to us about blood and sweat and tears."
"If you lead, Mr. President, we will follow."
Many people talked about themselves and about the condition of our nation.
This from a young woman in Pennsylvania: "I feel so far from government. I feel like ordinary people are excluded from political power."
And this from a young Chicano: "Some of us have suffered from recession all our lives."
"Some people have wasted energy, but others haven't had anything to waste."
And this from a religious leader: "No material shortage can touch the important things like God's love for us or our love for one another."
And I like this one particularly from a black woman who happens to be the mayor of a small Mississippi town: "The big-shots are not the only ones who are important. Remember, you can't sell anything on Wall Street unless someone digs it up somewhere else first."
This kind of summarized a lot of other statements: "Mr. President, we are confronted with a moral and a spiritual crisis."
Several of our discussions were on energy, and I have a notebook full of comments and advice. I'll read just a few.
"We can't go on consuming 40 percent more energy than we produce. When we import oil we are also importing inflation plus unemployment."
"We've got to use what we have. The Middle East has only five percent of the world's energy, but the United States has 24 percent."
And this is one of the most vivid statements: "Our neck is stretched over the fence and OPEC has a knife."
"There will be other cartels and other shortages. American wisdom and courage right now can set a path to follow in the future."
This was a good one: "Be bold, Mr. President. We may make mistakes, but we are ready to experiment."
And this one from a labor leader got to the heart of it: "The real issue is freedom. We must deal with the energy problem on a war footing."
These several weeks confirmed my belief in the decency and the strength and the wisdom of the American people, but it also bore out some of my long-standing concerns about our nation's underlying problems.
I know, of course, being president, that government actions and legislation can be very important. That's why I've worked hard to put my campaign promises into law — and I have to admit, with just mixed success. But after listening to the American people I have been reminded again that all the legislation in the world can't fix what's wrong with America. So, I want to speak to you first tonight about a subject even more serious than energy or inflation. I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.
The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America. Simply put, there is a malaise afflicting America.
The confidence that we have always had as a people is not simply some romantic dream or a proverb in a dusty book that we read just on the Fourth of July.
It is the idea which founded our nation and has guided our development as a people. Confidence in the future has supported everything else — public institutions and private enterprise, our own families, and the very Constitution of the United States. Confidence has defined our course and has served as a link between generations. We've always believed in something called progress. We've always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own.
Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy. As a people we know our past and we are proud of it. Our progress has been part of the living history of America, even the world. We always believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself called democracy, involved in the search for freedom, and that belief has always strengthened us in our purpose. But just as we are losing our confidence in the future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.
The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years. Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.
As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning.
These changes did not happen overnight. They've come upon us gradually over the last generation, years that were filled with shocks and tragedy.
These wounds are still very deep. They have never been healed. Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our nation's life. Washington, D.C., has become an island. The gap between our citizens and our government has never been so wide. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.
What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.
Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don't like it, and neither do I. What can we do?
First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans.
We know the strength of America. We are strong. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence. We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and awesome than those that challenge us now. Our fathers and mothers were strong men and women who shaped a new society during the Great Depression, who fought world wars, and who carved out a new charter of peace for the world.
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.
All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem.
Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny.
Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. This is the direct cause of the long lines which have made millions of you spend aggravating hours waiting for gasoline. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation. The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.
What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important.
From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 2000s, for I am today setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade.
To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel — from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun.
We will protect our environment. But when this nation critically needs a refinery or a pipeline, we will build it.
I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every state, county, and city and every average American in our energy battle. This effort will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost you can afford.
I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. To further conserve energy, I'm proposing tonight an extra $10 billion over the next decade to strengthen our public transportation systems. And I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense — I tell you it is an act of patriotism.
Our nation must be fair to the poorest among us, so we will increase aid to needy Americans to cope with rising energy prices. We often think of conservation only in terms of sacrifice. In fact, it is the most painless and immediate way of rebuilding our nation's strength. Every gallon of oil each one of us saves is a new form of production. It gives us more freedom, more confidence, that much more control over our own lives.
So, the solution of our energy crisis can also help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country. It can rekindle our sense of unity, our confidence in the future, and give our nation and all of us individually a new sense of purpose.
You know we can do it. We have the natural resources. We have more oil in our shale alone than several Saudi Arabias. We have more coal than any nation on Earth. We have the world's highest level of technology. We have the most skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have the national will to win this war.
I do not promise you that this struggle for freedom will be easy. I do not promise a quick way out of our nation's problems, when the truth is that the only way out is an all-out effort. What I do promise you is that I will lead our fight, and I will enforce fairness in our struggle, and I will ensure honesty. And above all, I will act. We can manage the short-term shortages more effectively and we will, but there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice.
I will continue to travel this country, to hear the people of America. You can help me to develop a national agenda for the 2000s. I will listen and I will act. We will act together.
Little by little we can and we must rebuild our confidence. We can spend until we empty our treasuries, and we may summon all the wonders of science. But we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources — America's people, America's values, and America's confidence.
I have seen the strength of America in the inexhaustible resources of our people. In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy secure nation.
In closing, let me say this: I will do my best, but I will not do it alone. Let your voice be heard. Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country. With God's help and for the sake of our nation, it is time for us to join hands in America. Let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the American spirit. Working together with our common faith we cannot fail.
Thank you and have a good day.

Now, didn't that make you feel better? Now for the sad part. It's totally fake. As reported on Wonkette and on AmericaBlog this is a slightly tweaked version of Jimmy Carter's famous "malaise" speech. I'm too young to remember Carter as a President at all so I didn't see it. You can now return back to your usual mode of hopeless bleak despair and be assured that the President will not make a speech like this and that those who will benefit from the Katrina rebuilding are politically connected companies.

Mr. Bush, are you a fucking cartoon villain?

Maybe no one else has seen this but my blood boils when I read these two stories. #1: Halliburton subsidiary KBR hired for storm cleanup in NOLA.

Well thats not surprising. I mean, who better to clean up a mess that you helped create by putting political cronies in key posisitons in FEMA (& FDA, EPA, etc...) and helped exacerbate by giving taxcuts to wealthy Americans while gutting social programs than your old pal Halliburton As they say in Texas, "You dance with them what brung ya.."

It makes sense though, Halliburton needs more avenues to steal more money from the American Taxpayer, I mean they're so good at it, look at the Iraqi Fuel Delivery Scandal These are obviously the right guys for the job if you're looking to pad the pockets of your friends while reconstructing NOLA.

But then it gets worse, dear reader:
Now Bush has signed an executive order allowing contractors to pay below prevailing wage in affected areas Now how does that make any fucking sense at all? Can someone please help me understand this? Obviously we're going to have to put a LOT of people to work cleaning up and rebuilding NOLA and redesigning and rebuilding the levee system to withstand bigger storms. One of the best suggestions I've heard is to have many NOLA residents/evacuees come and help with the reconstruction. So now after they've been forced to leave their homes and have lost everything, we're going to let them be shortchanged by Halliburton et al so that the corporations profit while rebuilding instead of the people. I think Bush took a line out of Dr. Evil's playbook here, because he can't be stupid enough to think that the people will not recognize this as some seriously stupid shit. The true character of Bush comes out now, a man using the disaster of Hurricane Katrina so that his friends in the corporate world can PROFIT on the rebuilding. Absolutely fucking sickening.

Moving on up to the B-Side

Last night was my first night in my new apartment. I used to live in I-41 but now have moved to B-71. If you look in the gallery, you can see some pictures from the balcony of I-41. The windows of my room faced Golf Road and therefore I got a lot of noise from the street early in the morning which kept me from sleeping properly. That's not the worst of it though. Evidently, there's a huge pack of dogs that lives in the residential area behind Golf Road. Whether or not they made it their personal mission to keep me from getting to/staying asleep by howling for hours I do not know, but I know I've been sleeping like crap for several weeks now. So I whined to Suresh who takes care of placing foreign Thoughtworkers in apartments.

The View From Afar

There's not much going on here at the moment. I've been on Beachball for two weeks and the first week was kind of boring because the non-new members of the team didn't have enough time to pair with us because they were pushing a release out the door. Now I'm refactoring unit tests for consistency and removing code duplication. Not the most interesting task, but I'm enjoying working on something period. My Danish friend Jonas returned to the United Kingdom this evening. It sucks making friends and then having them all scatter, but thats the way this whole thing works I guess.
Speaking of the United Kingdom, my Resource Manager e-mailed me about whether I might be interested in working in the UK for the short term or long term. I let them know I was interested in the short term, but not quite as much in the long term. While they've got nothing concrete for me yet, they're starting immigration procedures to get me a work visa for when/if the time comes. I'll need to return the US for a short while first.
It will be interesting to return to the United States. From over here, it looks like theres a lot of disgust and frustration with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I watched a press conference with the FEMA director where he basically said that "a complete failure of the levee" wasn't even considered in the plan.
Maybe I expect too much out of our government, but I think that's not a completely crazy scenario when a category 4 hurricane hits a city with levees rated for a category 3. There's also the issue of the increased development of the marshland in the area which acts as a buffer against any surge of water from the ocean.
Having said that, the current framework for disaster recovery as I understand it involves local & state resources being backed up by federal resources. Too bad the local resources were totally overwhelemed the instant that levee broke. That still doesn't explain the 2-3 day gap of real focused federal attention on the area. The coast guard and national guard crews have saved thousands of lives and they should be applauded for their efforts.
Those higher up in the chain of command still need to explain that delay. My heart goes out for the people that were and still possibly are stuck in the Superdome and the convention center in New Orleans though it would seem the majority have been evacuated. Bush has gone on record as not being pleased with the response either, but I'm still waiting for some real leadership from anyone in this current administration, or anywhere.
Real leaders don't just empathize with the people suffering, they figure out a way to stop that suffering as soon as possible. Why weren't the buses and national guard supply trucks already on their way once the hurricane hit? Someone needs to accept the responsibility, but I doubt that anyone high up in the administration will. They seem unable to admit any mistakes as far as I can see. This kind of prolonged incompetence should not happen in response to a major disaster in the United States. It is both depressing and enraging that something wasn't done sooner. Alright, I guess that's enough of a rant.

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