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Al Jazeera streaming Egypt protests *live*

Al Jazeera got quite the horrible reputation for us children of the 80′s and 90′s here in the United States. They have, in the last 10 years, improved their reputation dramatically among the few of us who are willing to take them seriously.

Those of you who have turned on the news lately have probably seen a by-line here and there, but nothing quite like the live stream.

Al Jazeera and the many nerds keeping the connection alive: rock on.

Click here to watch Al Jazeera’s live stream of the violence and protests in Egypt.


Photographers: Federal building photos OK again

Thank you NY Times Lens Blog for this nice bit of information today:
It is now, once again, ok to photograph things that happen to have federal buildings in the background–or hell, photograph federal buildings.

Every now and then you come across a building that compels you to snap off a few shots. You need not even be interested in architectural photography and some buildings will have that appeal.

Go forth and photograph. Understand this isn’t full license to be a creepy person taking odd photos of buildings, and that their directive is still to remain cautious of people recording/photographing federal locations, but this directive does push security to be a bit more reasonable with us.

Here is a direct link to the blog posting, complete with a pdf of the redacted directive, so you can print it out and keep it in your bag just in case.

I wonder if this really does apply to train stations as well. Union Station can be rather photogenic from some angles.


neocon frustration

Allow me to preface this a moment.

*counts to 10*

ok, <!–begin rant–>

"obama will raise taxes! zomg!"
-defend that
"well, we have no proof he won’t!"

"obama is a muslim!"
-no, he’s christian. he probably goes to church more often than some of you
"no way, he’s a muslim"
-really?
"yep."

I feel bad for traditional republicans for how badly the neocon mentality has poisoned the party. Where the general welfare and individual rights were once important, you find the same clan of idiots in the white house now spreading the same bad ideology of paranoia that turns us all into frightened pieces of a greater Don Qixote. Even now we are fighting nameless, faceless "evils" in the name of our freedom and safety, being offered little more than the thought that there might be something to this. when that lie runs out we are told that the general welfare of the people in those locales improves when we provide them with the gift of instability.

so tell me again how obama is going to tax us all into oblivion. tell me again how this greatest christian nation of god fearing proper chosen people will prosper righteously under the grimace of job creation as shone down from up on high by John Mccain and Sarah Palin.

I once had hopes for Mccain, but it’s painfully obvious that he understands the mechanics of the republican party and now, just as bush sr. did prior to his attempt at a second term, exercises the wisdom that is "obey the neocons and you’ll always have a job."

I come nowhere close to 250k, have a pretty high mortgage, have plenty of bills, but even I can see where we’re going to need to raise taxes somewhere. In order to provide more exacting scrutiny to all those lossy .gov organisations, you need to hire (read: spend money) people to examine said orgs. it is obvious you cannot count on the orgs to tell on themselves. That being a given, you still won’t be able to cut the fat and just use that "surplus" leftover to fund all these programs they want to put into place. none of their promises are free, none of our services are free, and if you want things to maintain or improve you will have to find some way of putting more money/resources into the hands of the government.

as obama said, nobody likes paying taxes. paying taxes is a socialist act. mccain’s jeers and socialist accusations directed at obama make him (mccain) out to be some tax-ending visionary…and that simply is not going to happen.

let’s go with yet another aspect of the economy right now: liquidity trap. basically the public will watch loan rates plummet and simply not care. the public is presently curled into the fetal position and is waiting for this to blow over. If our only hope is to keep people spending, you won’t be doing it with monetary policy. Taxes cannot be dropped much, if at all, so Obama’s plan remains the most attractive.

but yes, the bulldog bitch in lipstick is a revolutionary and we’ll all benefit from her womb of doom while she supports mccain’s hack and slash transparency drive of country first job creation.

/yeah i know i sound like a less eloquent olbermann. eat me.



bush to america: chill muthafuckas

bush to america: y’all trippin. stop it.
bush: we got the plan. I SAID STOP TRIPPIN
wall street: oh we trippin like a muthafucka, prez

dow fell 150pt immediately following bush’s speach, and now it’s down another 150 on top of that. gotta love consumer confidence.

so, is tossing that much cash into the market going to devalue the dollar and kick off some vicious inflation? we’ll see soon enough


mental health parity section of the porked up economic reform bill

I just think it should be put up as much as possible. Sure there is a ton of retarded wooden arrow pork in this, but the section below is terribly meaningful to anyone with a family member suffering any kind of mental illness.

Quoted from http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c110:5:./temp/~c110TN70tg:e377921::

Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress)

SEC. 512. MENTAL HEALTH PARITY.

    (a) Amendments to ERISA- Section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1185a) is amended–
      (1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:
      `(3) FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS AND TREATMENT LIMITATIONS-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- In the case of a group health plan (or health insurance coverage offered in connection with such a plan) that provides both medical and surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits, such plan or coverage shall ensure that–
          `(i) the financial requirements applicable to such mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant financial requirements applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by the plan (or coverage), and there are no separate cost sharing requirements that are applicable only with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits; and
          `(ii) the treatment limitations applicable to such mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant treatment limitations applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by the plan (or coverage) and there are no separate treatment limitations that are applicable only with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits.
        `(B) DEFINITIONS- In this paragraph:
          `(i) FINANCIAL REQUIREMENT- The term `financial requirement’ includes deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket expenses, but excludes an aggregate lifetime limit and an annual limit subject to paragraphs (1) and (2),
          `(ii) PREDOMINANT- A financial requirement or treatment limit is considered to be predominant if it is the most common or frequent of such type of limit or requirement.
          `(iii) TREATMENT LIMITATION- The term `treatment limitation’ includes limits on the frequency of treatment, number of visits, days of coverage, or other similar limits on the scope or duration of treatment.
      `(4) AVAILABILITY OF PLAN INFORMATION- The criteria for medical necessity determinations made under the plan with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits (or the health insurance coverage offered in connection with the plan with respect to such benefits) shall be made available by the plan administrator (or the health insurance issuer offering such coverage) in accordance with regulations to any current or potential participant, beneficiary, or contracting provider upon request. The reason for any denial under the plan (or coverage) of reimbursement or payment for services with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits in the case of any participant or beneficiary shall, on request or as otherwise required, be made available by the plan administrator (or the health insurance issuer offering such coverage) to the participant or beneficiary in accordance with regulations.
      `(5) OUT-OF-NETWORK PROVIDERS- In the case of a plan or coverage that provides both medical and surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits, if the plan or coverage provides coverage for medical or surgical benefits provided by out-of-network providers, the plan or coverage shall provide coverage for mental health or substance use disorder benefits provided by out-of-network providers in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of this section.’;
      (2) in subsection (b), by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:
      `(2) in the case of a group health plan (or health insurance coverage offered in connection with such a plan) that provides mental health or substance use disorder benefits, as affecting the terms and conditions of the plan or coverage relating to such benefits under the plan or coverage, except as provided in subsection (a).’;
      (3) in subsection (c)–
        (A) in paragraph (1)(B)–
          (i) by inserting `(or 1 in the case of an employer residing in a State that permits small groups to include a single individual)’ after `at least 2′ the first place that such appears; and
          (ii) by striking `and who employs at least 2 employees on the first day of the plan year’; and
        (B) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
      `(2) COST EXEMPTION-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- With respect to a group health plan (or health insurance coverage offered in connection with such a plan), if the application of this section to such plan (or coverage) results in an increase for the plan year involved of the actual total costs of coverage with respect to medical and surgical benefits and mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the plan (as determined and certified under subparagraph (C)) by an amount that exceeds the applicable percentage described in subparagraph (B) of the actual total plan costs, the provisions of this section shall not apply to such plan (or coverage) during the following plan year, and such exemption shall apply to the plan (or coverage) for 1 plan year. An employer may elect to continue to apply mental health and substance use disorder parity pursuant to this section with respect to the group health plan (or coverage) involved regardless of any increase in total costs.
        `(B) APPLICABLE PERCENTAGE- With respect to a plan (or coverage), the applicable percentage described in this subparagraph shall be–
          `(i) 2 percent in the case of the first plan year in which this section is applied; and
          `(ii) 1 percent in the case of each subsequent plan year.
        `(C) DETERMINATIONS BY ACTUARIES- Determinations as to increases in actual costs under a plan (or coverage) for purposes of this section shall be made and certified by a qualified and licensed actuary who is a member in good standing of the American Academy of Actuaries. All such determinations shall be in a written report prepared by the actuary. The report, and all underlying documentation relied upon by the actuary, shall be maintained by the group health plan or health insurance issuer for a period of 6 years following the notification made under subparagraph (E).
        `(D) 6-month DETERMINATIONS- If a group health plan (or a health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan) seeks an exemption under this paragraph, determinations under subparagraph (A) shall be made after such plan (or coverage) has complied with this section for the first 6 months of the plan year involved.
        `(E) NOTIFICATION-
          `(i) IN GENERAL- A group health plan (or a health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan) that, based upon a certification described under subparagraph (C), qualifies for an exemption under this paragraph, and elects to implement the exemption, shall promptly notify the Secretary, the appropriate State agencies, and participants and beneficiaries in the plan of such election.
          `(ii) REQUIREMENT- A notification to the Secretary under clause (i) shall include–
            `(I) a description of the number of covered lives under the plan (or coverage) involved at the time of the notification, and as applicable, at the time of any prior election of the cost-exemption under this paragraph by such plan (or coverage);
            `(II) for both the plan year upon which a cost exemption is sought and the year prior, a description of the actual total costs of coverage with respect to medical and surgical benefits and mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the plan; and
            `(III) for both the plan year upon which a cost exemption is sought and the year prior, the actual total costs of coverage with respect to mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the plan.
          `(iii) CONFIDENTIALITY- A notification to the Secretary under clause (i) shall be confidential.


She didn’t swaller her own tongue!

The restraint and nuance so heavily employed last night by Joe Biden will likely go unnoticed by the denizens of Redneckia: the prime breeding ground of the Palin supporter.

She ducked every question that had no canned answer. She openly subverted the prompts when she had little to say and redirected back into something she actually had notes on.

Biden flubbed a few times and his quibbles were well-documented. The issue there is, however, that even amidst his problems he still came across far more coherent, if not a tad boring. As my attention span can, at rare times, expand beyond the typical 7 seconds, i found myself rather gripped by his answers.

Palin’s thoughts on curbing global nuclear…oh, i’m sorry, nyookyoolur proliferation were, in a single word, terrifying. She gave a response tantamount to endorsing a second cold war. While the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction was not even alluded to, Palin touted her talk(s) with Kissinger as her primary influence and inspiration in all matters nyookyoolur and international.

WELL NYOO THYAT’S NYOT QUITE RIGHT JOE-BABY!

bring your "main st. wasilla" bullshit elsewhere. jesus fucking christ that’s annoying.

Something annoying from early in the debate: definition of marriage and gay rights. While Biden admitted that neither he nor Obama supported federal mandates that open the definition of marriage, they did strongly support equal rights. When asked for clarification on her position, all Palin would commit to was that she felt the same as O’biden on the marriage position–conspicuously ducking the equal rights question. wtfever. There was no chance of me mistakenly voting in her favor.


palin to drop out thursday?

you heard it here second. there’s a good chance palin’s bowing out thursday. don’t go saying it is gospel, but yeah…. go ahead and mention it.

the slim possibility is that she’ll actually debate. i don’t think anyone wants to see that shit happen.


Matt Damon really doesn’t like Palin

Click me for youtube Matt Damon expresses concern over the Mayor of Alaska’s capability to lead the nation after the inevitable pretzel-ends-mccain incident happens in the next couple years. While i still think he’s a goofball, i can’t help but enjoy this video thoroughly.


youtube: late stage abortion

click me

depressing. pilot of a documentary on late-term abortion in russia. I have no comment on this. even my pro choice self has a hard time watching it.


Nancy Pelosi is insane

This is a link to the GMA site news story where Nancy Pelosi talks about how she urged Bush not to attend opening ceremonies.

a choice quote from the beginning of the video:

"…the loss of jobs in america because of barriers to our products going into china. the danger to our medical supplies and our food supply, uh, because of lax regulation in china. the list goes on"

oh nancy nancy nancy, i’m going to have to apologize on behalf of california for how remarkably stupid you’re acting. if you step out from behind the Dalai Lhama’s coattails for a second you’ll see that China makes a good amount of sense to keep on good terms with. You’ll also see that China’s allegiance is more readily purchased than earned, and lost incredibly fast.

Hopefully Bush won’t listen to her. we’ll see.


LA City, 2009: 450mil in debt?

so next year the city of los angeles is projected tobe 450 million in debt. the city is now verifying days worked for each employee as a method of culling the herd. I just passed probation and was about to relax. I need the security of knowing that I have a job for as long as I’m willing to work it. I’m fucking good at what I do and I like the people. Why now should i be fired for being a loyal employee?

-we don’t make any more money than the same position outside .gov. in fact we make less
-we get great benefits, but that’s part of the whole PAY CUT bit. nothing is free

i’m 2 days from 30 and potentially jobless. happy fucking year for me.


g’nite, billary

teamsters back obama… and that was hillary’s not-so-secret weapon. so much for that.

,


anonymous, feb 10th, 11am, all churches of scientology

kroq had someone from anonymous (backup on that info needed, possibly). the skinny on the interview was that the group was moving away from the ddos’s, and going back to old school info scrounging, making everything they find as public as possible.

the rep mentioned a protest on Feb. 10th, 2008, at 11am local time (i believe) at all churches of scientology. wicked. Even though i’m not planning on going anywhere near my local ones, we have a couple of the big ones in hollywood. I noticed they scheduled this on the "not the superbowl" weekend. good move, guys :)

I wish them luck. hell, i *might* even have to run out and take part…but not in my own car


best campaign commercial ever.

Chuck Norris supports Mike Huckabee

fuck. yes.


Huh? I isn’t safes at the li-bary?? SAYS IT AINT SO!

so, y’all should notice I put this shit under everyday life, as well as politics and rants.  Honestly, there’s just no way this will ever stop being such a huge problem until the idiots involved start seeing a real consequence.

Before I get into it proper, click this line to go straight to the article and bypass my ranting. It’s unbearably long-winded and condescending.

I brought out 2 monitors and a keyboard to one branch today to replace tagged ones. Within an hour of opening, one of the new monitors was being tagged and someone had shoved pens in the men’s toilet, then taken a big ass shit all over it–which in effect took that out of order for everyone.

education isn’t the answer. you can’t educate someone to stop being an asshole. when most of these kids grow up, they won’t ever pay taxes, and will probably be on welfare. When there’s no real consequence aside from zero socioeconomic mobility, how are we to seriously show these people that their actions are wrong, and more importantly self destructive? their actions will not remove cash from their pockets. the people thuggin’ and bangin’ all over south central will go to jail, build cred, get more hood, get out, slang a little based on that cred, go back in jail, and repeat that cycle until they get shot to death in a robbed dice game. Even then, nobody would take you seriously if you linked that death with beginnings formed in fucking up the local public establishments.

Just think, if we didn’t have to pour 500+ dollars into each and every tagged monitor, that would be more money for better programs. We don’t have room in our budget for critical programs and updates, let alone HARDWARE that would streamline the entire process, largely thanks to our ever-expanding repair budget.

My side of this is actually quite petty compared to what’s happening to old school librarians. These people came from an era where the library dispensed mass amounts of important, life-enhancing information. They began their lives in libraries where people actually read, and asked for assistance on things a tad more interesting than finding the bathroom, figuring out how to get on a computer (when the directions are plainly set in front of you in analog and digital mediums), and where the fuckin’ dvd’s at, shit.

Most of the old school librarians are just biding their time and waiting for a pension-filled retirement. They’re beginning to really despise the public. These people are in a service-oriented public position, but we have to understand that they bear the brunt of society’s worst, rarely ever seeing their efforts materialize into anything more rewarding than the occasional old lady learning how to read, and one or two kids actually acing a book report. That kind of fall from grace, so to say, is stifling. A librarian, once docent of modern society’s literature and achievements, is now a security guard, bathroom attendant, myspace floodgate, and professional target. Considering the effort they put out to get to that position, the ends are hardly justifying the means, I’d say.

Ok, enough of my rambling. here’s the article:

Quoted from LAtimes.com->California->this story

Refuge for readers can be risky – Los Angeles Times

Some L.A. libraries face increasing disruptions from thugs, vandals and other troublemakers. Plans are underway to beef up security. By John L. Mitchell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 25, 2007 Sara Adler put a real estate book on hold and was about to retrieve some information on California law schools when the lobby of the Mark Twain Library in South Los Angeles erupted in chaos.

From her post behind the reference desk, she heard yelling and looked up to see six men punching and stomping a man on the floor. She picked up a phone and dialed 911.

With police and an ambulance on the way, the attackers fled. Adler comforted the injured young man, who was bloody, shirtless and barely conscious.

His blood was spattered on the wall and floor. A discarded razor blade was found nearby.
(more…)


LA scaling back anti-homeless measures

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeless11oct11,1,6991753.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

Basically, the homeless are once again free to sleep on the sidewalks from 9pm to 6am, so long as they don’t block doorways, driveways, or the entire width of the sidewalk. Local business owners are pissed because this legitimizes all the crap (literally) left on their doorsteps.


Reading way too far into things

Watch Kirk Cameron learn why bananas prove god’s existence

aw, come on, do it.
just click it.

now riddle me this: when someone spots the virgin de Guadeloupe on their toast/dorito/tortilla/birthmark and all we infidels see is a nebulous blob, is that really proof of god’s handywork? I’d venture to say that this would apply to the banana as well. just because we find that a banana has ridges that can be reflected on your hand does not mean god made that banana for your hand.  what happens when you find a banana that doesn’t fit precisely within your grasp? does that unmake god’s presence!? nah, that’s just a fluke.

bananas curve straight for your mouth to better facilitate eating… unless you turn them around so they point away from you–or worse yet, if you eat the bent portion and are left with only the straighter portion! if you do that, do you become some kind of satanic freak because now you have a fruit that forces you to bend your wrist in order to consume it? is that god’s way of making you pay penance for greedily enjoying the crook of the banana? LUST NOT YE TO THE SPINE OF THIS BANANA FOR ALL WHO SUP PAST THE CROOK SHALL CARPAL THEIR TUNNEL IN A PURGATIOUS PURSUIT OF WRIST BENDING AND PAIN!

or hell, perhaps it’s just a fucking banana.


Wear black?

sure, what the hell.
if you still haven’t heard about the Jena 6 then you should read up a bit.
Supporters are calling for all to wear black today in support of these boys.

Now, really, they did do some violent shit. They beat the hell out of this guy and sent him to the hospital. They really should get some minor assault charge thrown at them. So why all the marching, cladding, and fuss? apparently when you’re black, kicking a white guy in the head, your sneaker is now a deadly weapon and your friends are conspiring to commit murder.

Let’s not get into the nooses, the taunts, the fact that there’s a “whites only tree” on the lawn of that school. News of this trial almost fell on deaf ears because most of us were wondering who hopped in the time machine and brought back news from 50 years ago.

Well, good luck. I’m donning my little gamer’s copy/paste tee shirt today.


Fed cuts rate a half percent?

God dam-I say GOD DAMN… methinks this Greenspan-less Fed is going to be a tad too reactionary. Sure it is a good move for the next 2 months, but I’m not convinced that this will benefit us over the coming years. Well, here’s hoping.

NY times article
Article from The Economist

the Economist article is a definite must-read


while I admire this person’s attempt…

link to Croching Tiger, Hidden Dragon review on USAsians.net

Sometimes there is too much of a push within racially-marginalized sectors to compare, contrast, and show false ties between various works of one’s own ethnic background to those of white people. Yes, that statement was a tad unclear, but I will explain.

In this article/review, the writer likens characters and sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to those in various parts of the Star Wars series.

CHENG PEI PEI, a star of films in the 70s is Jade Fox, dead ringer for mysterious menace Darth Maul. Her cause is that she wants revenge againt “those sexist pigs who sleep with us but not train us”. ”

that’s a bit of a stretch right there. I am trying quite diligently to assume some parallelisms, but there simply are not enough to credibly hash out a claim of similarity–or worse, as I am gleening from this, a claim of theft. The core thought in this tidbit is that the west stole pasta from the chinese’ noodles. Thinly-veiled, Mr. Hu’s assertion is that white people, in general, are so infatuated with chinese media and creativity that we simply steal these ideas, touting them as our own. I do not want this blog to turn into an attack, so I will not continue on this thread. I will end this paragraph with one simple thought: there are times when we see gaps in a picture or story, consider what the gaps might be, and then fill them in based partially on our own bias, and partially on our individual experiences (yes, these can be different things).

The review does a fine job of making one good point: that this movie is among the first to portray a uniquely chinese story with a mainly-chinese cast. Hu references Mulan’s abomination of a disney remake as evidential in American short-sightedness. He’s right, you know. White America, still the majority, can’t tell the difference between Japanese and Laotian. This remains true for most of the non-Asian races…and let’s just be completely honest, it is true for a great deal of nisei/abc/etc asians. This amuses me because it isn’t the first time such a thing has happened. I’m looking back at spaghetti westerns and just balking to throw a pie at all of Bollywood for raping American box office hits hilariously.

Hu talked about Bruce Lee movie parodies, but didn’t pursue this train of thought. The norm for the time was to cast white people in non-white roles, and effectively create a sort of nouveau minstrel show. This was not limited to things like Carradine’s Kung Fu shows of the 70′s (a role that should have rightly gone to Bruce Lee, but could not due to the racist nature of the audience). Take a close look at the actors and faces in Lawrence of Arabia. This sort of thing was necessary as the audiences would not have paid real money to see the 60′s and 70′s equivalent of Better Luck Tomorrow. Consider, further, that this era was the very same era of Star Wars’ initial release. See, things like this could have tied Hu’s point together a tad better than saying that Cheng Pei Pei’s character was ripped off by the portrayal of Darth Maul :)

One last annoyance with this review, and the subtitles in general: where the hell did they come up with “Jen”? she’s referred to, throughout the movie (iirc), as xiao long (
?? ) but i did not once hear anyone say “jen”. Hell, I don’t know very many chinese people who would have a reason to say the name “Jen”, or have any context with which to know how to properly say “Jen”. whatever, i guess.

Good lord that was long. If you can’t see the characters, right click on this page and roll over the “encoding” item. Chill a sec, and a list will open up. Choose… probably traditional chinese (big5) and see if they show. Chances are that if you can read the characters, you already know this and do it on a regular basis.