Monday, April 05, 2010

Move completed!

I have now moved over to Wordpress. Point your links to: "".

I'll leave the old one up, but all the posts and comments should have been migrated successfully to the Wordpress site.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

An experiment

Update 2010-04-05: After some consideration and experimentation, it looks like I'll end up migrating to Wordpress. It seems to have more and better features built in. I'll keep posting here for a little while, till I get things set up at the new site and can notify anyone who has me blogrolled that I know about (which may even be before my next real post).

Status Update
: Redirect temporarily disabled while I work on things.

I've been looking for a while now for a way to make my blog more mobile-friendly. I've noticed that, while the layout I'm using works fairly well with my Palm Pre, it's not really optimal. Then one day I went to Gun Nuts Media on my phone and saw they have a mobile version that comes up automatically on my phone and realized that was what I was looking for. Alas, it turns out that Gun Nuts Media is on WordPress, and Blogger doesn't have that option. It seemed I was out of luck.

Looking into it again, in the vain hope that Blogger had joined the 21st century, I found a link to Flurp. Flurp converts a blog to a mobile friendly format (with a couple of different layouts for different phones). You can either insert code in the blog header that redirects mobile browsers to the mobile site automatically, or you can add a link to the mobile version. It's still in alpha, but it seems to work pretty well (though it does cut titles short after only about 15 characters on the iPhone version).

Right now, I've set it up to automatically redirect. I may change that in the future, depending on how it affects my usage and depending on any feedback I get from you, my readers.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Update on Westboro Protest

Image by Robb Allen
Updating the situation:

There will be a counter-protest.
About 30 people circled together inside Owens Dining Hall Saturday afternoon to discuss a unified response. The meeting, led by Student Government Association president Brandon Carroll, tossed around several ideas in handling the church.

“We want everybody on the same page,” Carroll said.


The group voted, agreeing that a counter-protest will be formed.
It looks like the main victim of their protest will be Morgan Harrington.
Church officials said they were not protesting the 2007 shootings, saying they were “coming for the event that happened last month,” referencing slain student Morgan Harrington. A 20-year-old education major, Harrington was found in late January 2010 after going missing in October 2009 while attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Va.
I still find it strikingly coincidental that this will be exactly one week before April 16.

Tech's LGBTA community has taken the opposite approach - ignore them and don't give them the reaction they're looking for.
The LGBTA community has also shown outrage about the church’s protest. Aimee Kanode, a senior humanities, science, and environment major at Tech and president of Tech’s LGBTA said she would not attend the protest, as she has work on the day of the protest.

“These people are awful, appalling, despicable,” Kanode said. “My method is to just ignore them. Me wasting energy on those people is not worth my time.” Kanode said that while the group would not officially organize for the protest, several members and officers would be in attendance. Kanode said she advised her members to “be smart about it.”
The bastards are probably hoping to distract from other events, too.
Another concern for community members is the potential for the protest to take away from other events for the day. Among the events scheduled for April 9 include a memorial for David Seth Mitchell, a US Marine killed in Afghanistan and Tech’s Relay for Life event, which is a fundraiser for cancer research.
They're trying to get their money's worth out of this trip, it seems. Scum.

A Good Start

This is how you fight piracy

NAIROBI, Kenya – Suspected Somali pirates fired on a U.S. Navy warship off East Africa early Thursday in what appeared to be a ransom-seeking attack on an American guided missile frigate, officials said.

The USS Nicholas returned fire on the pirate skiff, sinking it and confiscating a nearby mothership. The Navy took five pirates into custody, said Navy Lt. Patrick Foughty, a spokesman.


The U.S. Africa Command said the five pirates seized Thursday would remain in U.S. custody on board the frigate for now. The Nicholas is home-ported in Norfolk, Va.
Seizing or sinking the mothership and taking the pirates prisoner works a whole lot better than just letting them go. Hopefully, these pirates will go to jail for a long time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Rage-O-Meter is Pegged

Image by Robb Allen

The Westboro Bastards (I refuse to call them Baptist, or a church) are (supposedly*) coming to Blacksburg on April 9 to protest.
Phelps' followers notified town officials in a letter Monday that the group planned demonstrations at three locations around town, including the Blacksburg Jewish Community Center and Blacksburg High School.

Another location, near the Virginia Tech campus, was also identified.

Demonstrating near the high school seems pointless - it's been closed since the gym roof collapsed in February.

After the April 16, 2007, shootings at Tech, Phelps threatened to protest at the funerals of the 32 students and faculty slain that day. Then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell, now the governor, issued a warning that anyone willfully disrupting funerals in Virginia could face charges. Those protests never materialized.

As I remember it, a radio station bought them off with an interview - giving them airtime in exchange for them canceling the protests. While I despise the idea of giving scum like that airtime, it was probably the best thing to do for the sake of the families. (I also think that if they had tried to protest those funerals, someone would have been killed. The pain and grief in town then was a hair's breadth from flashing over to rage as it was - there's a good possibility these bastards would have started a riot just by being there.)Link

It looks like one protest is planned to be across the street from a gift shop operated by a gay couple. I wonder if that's deliberate (they may not know)?

This warms my heart, though:

A Facebook page advertising a counterprotest organized by Tech students and others had drawn more than 4,500 members by Thursday afternoon. More than 1,500 of those members indicated they would attend a counter-rally.

To those planning to attend: Be careful. They have a history of provoking people and then suing anyone who acts out against them, and they carry video recorders.

(* They have a history of announcing protests and then not showing up. Looking at their schedule, I think they do plan on being here - their schedule (I won't link to them. If you want to see it, you'll need to Google it.) puts them in Charleston, WV in the morning, Lawrence, KS from 1130 to 1200, then three separate protests in Blacksburg starting at 1300. I doubt they would go from WV to KS for just a 30 minute protest and fake the 2 1/2 hours planned here. Also, it doesn't leave them enough time to get from WV to KS - it's a 12+ hour drive, and I doubt that group could get through airport security and fly there within the roughly 4 hours the schedule allows. Charleston to Blacksburg, on the other hand, is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive. It's much more likely the Charleston and Blacksburg protests are real, and the KS one is a red herring.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our efficient, well-run government

Phony products by phony companies get government Energy Star approval.

Fifteen phony products — including a gasoline-powered alarm clock — won a label from the government certifying them as energy efficient in a test of the federal "Energy Star" program.
Investigators concluded the program is "vulnerable to fraud and abuse."
Really? It's "vulnerable to fraud and abuse?" No kidding!
But the General Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, said Energy Star doesn't verify claims made by manufacturers — which might explain the gasoline-powered alarm clock, not to mention a product billed as an air room cleaner that was actually a space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached, and a computer monitor that won approval within 30 minutes of submission.
So, in a program involving tax credits and rebates (i.e. taxpayer money), the government doesn't bother to actually verify the claims those credits and rebates are based on. Even worse they don't even bother to find out what it is they're certifying!
"EPA officials confirmed that because the energy-efficiency information was plausible, it was likely that no one read the product description information," GAO said.
And they lie about it!
According to the GAO, the EPA and Energy Department told investigators in briefings that although the program is based on manufacturers' certifying their products meet efficiency standards, that efficiency is ensured through aftermarket tests and self-policing.
Remember, this is the same government that is now in charge of our health-care system. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Monday, March 22, 2010

You'd almost think they were prepared, or something

Another Health Care Bill story that warms my heart.

Less than 24 hours after the House of Representatives gave final approval to a sweeping overhaul of healthcare, attorneys general from several states on Monday said they will sue to block the plan on constitutional grounds.

Republican attorneys general in 11 states warned that lawsuits will be filed to stop the federal government overstepping its constitutional powers and usurping states' sovereignty.


Ten of the attorneys general plan to band together in a collective lawsuit on behalf of Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

It's good to see quick action on this. And Virginia isn't left out, either.

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, said Congress lacks authority under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce to force people to buy insurance. The bill also conflicts with a state law that says Virginians cannot be required to buy insurance, he added.
The governor must have signed that bill in the last day or so - the last time I checked, it hadn't been signed and therefore wasn't the law. Other states are doing the same.

In addition to the pending lawsuits, bills and resolutions have been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures seeking to limit or oppose various aspects of the reform plan through laws or state constitutional amendments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

So far, only two states, Idaho and Virginia, have enacted laws, while an Arizona constitutional amendment is seeking voter approval on the November ballot. But the actual enactment of the bill by President Barack Obama could spur more movement on the measures by state lawmakers.

Maybe this massive government expansion will be killed in the courts.

Health "Care" Roundup

Well, they did it. The Democrat Party bucked the voters, opposed public opinion, and inflicted a massive socialist health insurance system on us.

This story warms my heart. The media is already talking about how this will hurt the Dems.

The initial blush of President Barack Obama's health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality — he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

And that could mean a disastrous midterm election year for Obama and his fellow Democrats.

Some are saying that after the Repubs get control of Congress back, they can repeal this insanity. While I agree that they could, I think pigs growing wings and joining the avian family is far more likely. Obama will never sign a repeal, and I doubt they'll get the numbers to override a veto. By the time we have a President who may be receptive, there will be a massive bureaucracy in place, working against repeal in order to protect itself. Let's face it - when was the last time the government made itself smaller?

And now, here's a quick roundup of coverage by the bloggers I frequent. They'll probably say anything I could, and do it much better.

Nicki at The Liberty Zone is rightfully furious.

Robb at Sharp as a Marble has a simple reminder for us.

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has several posts, reminding us that there should be consequences for those who voted for this monstrosity, that it's not completely over yet, and starts looking to what the next steps should be. He shows us that some are looking to present a united fight against this even after it's signed.

Another rightfully angry post, this one by Atom Smasher at Men Are Not Potatoes.

A Conservative Shemale reminds us that it's not the end of the world, or even the country, and offers us some comfort. I'm not quite as confident about this as the person she quotes, but that's more due to some of the specifics of the bill than the principle that is quoted.

Brigid at Home on the Range has a simple message that we should all remember eight months from now.

Tam at View From the Porch give us a little (but only a little, in my opinion) hyperbole.

Michael Bane posts a quote that shows that wisdom can come from any source, and gives us some other words of wisdom.

That's all I have for the moment, but it's still early this morning. I may do an update later, if I have time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Somali pirates attack a Dutch warship:

Troops aboard the Dutch warship HNLMS Tromp fired warning shots Wednesday off the coast of East Africa as suspected Somali pirates in two small skiffs raced toward their warship, the EU Naval Force said.

After the pirates realized they had made what spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour called a "rather silly mistake," they turned around and fled. EU Naval Force personnel tracked down the two skiffs and a third suspected mothership, finding ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades on board, said Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force.

But that's not the stupid part. This is:

The two skiffs were destroyed and the pirates were set free on the mothership after it had been cleared of weapons. [emphasis mine]
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

Do they really expect that to stop - or even slightly discourage - these human cockroaches from going right back out and attacking another ship? They probably had replacement skiffs and weapons before the end of the day! If you want to stop piracy, you have to actually punish the pirates! Hanging from the yardarm is a good start.

One of these days, someone is going to get really serious about fighting pirates. Until then, well, we have this idiocy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

RIP Capt. Oveur

Actor Peter Graves dies at 83.

Victor has your vector, and you have clearance, Clarence.