news

“And I am also a popular show!”


Yesterday afternoon I was given the task of translating a fine-print legal document into Spanish.

This cannot end well.

But before I leave LJ to go cry about it, a PSA from our good friends at Red vs. Blue. Most of you will be able to enjoy this, but James, Stephanie and Caitlin: I think you will enjoy it most of all…

Now go. Forum. Post…

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Hm. From above the center pic on Drudge:

“OBAMA VISITS WESTERN WALL IN OLD CITY JERUSALEM… ARRIVES AT 5:08 AM LOCAL TIME [10:08 PM ET]… SUNRISE… SHOUTING MAN: ‘JERUSALEM IS NOT FOR SALE, OBAMA’… MOB SCENE… CHAOS… BOWING HIS HEAD IN PRAYER… PLACES NOTE IN WALL… POSES FOR PHOTOS… LOTS OF SHOUTING… LEAVES 5:20 AM… DEVELOPING…”

First of all: What’s with the CAPS? Yeesh.

Second of all: Yowch. I would not want to be in that man’s on-the-ground entourage on a day like today. Or in his security details. Yipes!

Black Holes and Raging Idiots


This video is so painfully funny I don’t know whether it’s actually funny, or just downright painful. Like- “Science and Vocabulary Police” painful.

If you’re somewhere where you’re unable to watch the video, or if the link is no longer good, here’s what happens in it:

There’s this meeting going on in Dallas someplace where you’ve got a bunch of guys sitting around a table talking about parking tickets coming in and then not being processed correctly and just… disappearing. One of the guys says the place they’re going is like “a black hole” because of the way they all come in and then disappear like things do when they get sucked into a black hole.

All of a sudden two black members of the conversation start getting on that guy, some local white guy, saying that “black hole” is a racist term and demanding an apology and asking how he can say something so insulting at a table “with so much diversity represented” and blah blah blah. (Sorry, but where I come from, if you’re going to say something racist then you’re a jerk, no matter what all different groups are within earshot of your racist ass.)

The local news guy reporting the story talks with one of the two offended guys outside to ask him about his thoughts on the issue. The offended guy compares the white guy’s use of “black hole” to his own hypothetical use of the phrase “Jew you down” and goes on to say they’re equally inappropriate.

From Wikipedia: “A black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon. The term “Black Hole” comes from the fact that, at a certain point, even electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light) is unable to break away from the attraction of these massive objects. This renders the hole’s interior invisible or, rather, black like the appearance of space itself.”

From Urban Dictionary: “jew you up: To totally f*** someone else up.” and “Jew’d: also spelled “jewed”, this slang term for being cheated or outdone in trade came from the stereotype of the Jewish people as shrewd bargainers and pennypinchers. Not recommended to use this term in front of a member of the religion, as they may be quite offended.”

See how they’re the same? A scientific term and an ethnic slur: Totally the same thing. Yup. Totally.

I was reading a blog the other day about a similar “town hall meeting” type situation where there was a group of folks discussing budgetary concerns and one of the people said he was tired of his opponent’s “niggardly behavior” towards spending more money on area schools.

The opponent became outraged at this blatant use of what he thought was a racist epithet, especially in a public situation like this.

From Wikipedia: “”Niggardly” is an adjective meaning “stingy” or “miserly”, related to the Norwegian verb nigle. It is cognate with “niggling”, meaning “petty” or “unimportant”, as in “the niggling details”.”

For goodness’ sake, folks. Read a book.

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My dad is talking in very technical terms with his foreman, entirely in Spanish, in the other room. Sometimes I forget he can do that.

He just asked me how to say “shrink” in Spanish. *shrugs* I ‘unno. The best I can come up with online is “encoger.” Carlos buys that.

“Very different, very diverse…”


Item #1

How “very different, very diverse” can an album be that’s the work of an 18 year old pop tart? Especially when it premieres on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show…

Do the music world a favor and stick to whale songs, Panettiere.

Item #2

Biggest oil price drop in 17 years

Crude falls $6.45 a barrel – 2nd largest price drop in dollar terms – as Fed chief indicates inflation and high fuel prices will cut into U.S. demand for oil.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Oil prices plummeted by the second-largest margin on record Tuesday as investors feared a further decline in U.S. demand after hearing comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Light, sweet crude fell $6.44 to settle at $138.74 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. …

On Tuesday morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that high energy prices have helped to limit the purchasing power of U.S. households. High energy costs will remain a drag on the U.S. economy for the rest of the year, Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday. That could result in businesses pushing a greater percentage of their high fuel and commodity costs through to consumers, he warned.

Every week my dad’s roofing company gets another letter in the mail from yet another vendor saying that due to the rising price of petroleum they have to charge more to ship everything, and the cost of making a lot of the materials has increased as well, ex. asphalt shingles.

So if a year ago he charged you $20 for your roof– $11 of which went to materials, $2 to labor, $3 to taxes, $3 to insurance, and $1 to profit– you sure as heck had better believe he’s going to raise his prices when materials go up to $15, or else what does he not get to pay for anymore? His workers? His taxes? His insurance?

Oh wait, that’s right. He’s supposed to not make his profit any more so that we can force the country to become less oil dependent… and he can still be $3 short on the bills… or pay his laborers less… and still be short on the bills…

Immediately following Bernanke’s speech, prices dropped more than $9, sinking below $136 a barrel, before recovering some. … Gasoline prices in the U.S. maintained record highs at $4.109 a gallon Tuesday, according to a daily survey from motorist group AAA.

It was $4.11/gal at the Speedway by my folks’ place yesterday morning, then some time between 11 and 1 it jumped to $4.23. Then first thing this morning the area pumps were back down to between $4.11 and $4.19/gal. Let’s keep up that trend, folks…

Item #3

Pricey gas: Fewer cops, more potholes

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com)  — In what seems to be a perverse reaction to high gas prices, some cities are cutting back on public transit – at a time when their citizens need it most.

… The Montana Highway Patrol, after failing to find enough police recruits, is using $300,000 that had been set aside for more officers to pay the gas bill instead. Sheriff’s departments in Maryland and Florida have also reportedly cut patrol routes or officers.

“It’ll mean more speeding, more drunk drivers, and more fatal crashes,” [said Ronald Reucker, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.] Less lucky are city bus departments. …

“We’re planning on laying off some staff and cutting some routes that are poor performers,” said Jerry Masek, a spokesman for the Greater Cleveland Regions Transit Authority. “People will still have service, but not as much.”

…Cleveland has seen its bus fuel bill go from $5 million a year in 2003 to a projected $21 million in 2008. Out of a total budget of $230 million, that’s a lot of cash.

“You just can’t absorb that without doing something,” said Masek. He… said a combination of fare hikes could spare some neighborhoods. “[Riders] would rather pay more than lose service,” he said. “No matter how much we raise fares, it’s still cheaper than driving.”

And undoubtedly easier on your car, especially if the road repair crew is in a situation like New Jersey’s. It’s not the cost of driving those big dump trucks that’s straining the budget at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. It’s the price of paving.

What many people don’t know is that asphalt is made largely from oil. It’s the heavy oil at the bottom of a barrel that can’t be refined into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel or other lighter products. And it’s risen in price right along with gasoline. The price for the main component in asphalt has jumped nearly 90 percent since last year. …

*guh*

Letting the crazy in


I’m watching Keep the River on Your Right, eating a hot dog, blogging, and wondering how hard it would really be to take a trip to India or Peru…

Probably harder than eating hot dogs in front of two screens. :P

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Oh my God… “So I guess the parenting lesson to learn from this is that if you spank the gay out of your kids, you might let the crazy in.”

Beyonce and Jay-Z Take Out Marriage License

High School Graduation Rates Plummet Below 50 Percent in Some U.S. Cities

Seventeen of the nation’s 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released Tuesday.

Researchers: Asteroid Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah

A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness’s account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.

How a child prodigy at Oxford became a £130-an-hour prostitute

With the intellect to win a place at Oxford at the age of 13, Sufiah Yusof should, by now, be carving out a high-flying career for herself. But a decade after hitting the headlines thanks to her remarkable aptitude for mathematics – and days after her father was jailed for sexually assaulting two teenagers – Miss Yusof has been exposed as a £130-an-hour prostitute.

Teen’s Donated Organs Spread Cancer to Four Recipients, Killing Two

The family of a 15-year-old New York boy thought they were helping him to live on by donating his organs. Instead, the organs spread a rare, undiagnosed cancer to the four transplant recipients, according to a report from WCBSTV.com.

Police: Teacher Told Class to Hit Tardy Student

A Delta high school English teacher punished a student who was late for class by ordering him to do push-ups and sit-ups and letting other students hit him when he failed to complete the exercise, police said Monday.

Student Sues Wisconsin School After Getting a Zero for Religious Drawing

A Tomah High School student has filed a federal lawsuit alleging his art teacher censored his drawing because it featured a cross and a biblical reference. … The student, a senior identified in the lawsuit by the initials A.P., added a cross and the words “John 3:16 A sign of love” in his drawing. … Later that day, assistant principal Cale Jackson told the boy his religious expression infringed on other students’ rights. …

A Buddha and Hindu figurines are on display in a social studies classroom, the lawsuit claims, adding the teacher passionately teaches Hindu principles to students. …A replica of Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Man” is displayed at the school’s entrance, a picture of a six-limbed Hindu deity is in the school’s hallway and a drawing of a robed sorcerer hangs on a hallway bulletin board. Drawings of Medusa, the Grim Reaper with a scythe and a being with a horned head and protruding tongue hang in the art room and demonic masks are displayed in the metals room…

RIP: Gary Gygax


D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away

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Finding FARC
An important victory for Colombia sparks a major diplomatic spat.

By Aaron Mannes

…[W]hy is Chavez taking the lead in bashing Colombia?

There are several possibilities:

First, the hard drives captured from the FARC camp are absolute dynamite. So far the documents reveal that the FARC was negotiating with the Ecuadorian government at a very high level, that the FARC had given Chavez $150,000 while he was imprisoned after his 1992 coup attempt, and received $300 million from Chavez in return. …

Second, Chavez is deterring possible Colombian attacks on FARC leaders in Venezuela. It has long been an open secret that the Venezuelan frontier regions were open territory to the FARC. …

Third, Chavez is looking for an international crisis to distract the Venezuelans from their domestic crisis. This is the oldest play in the book for dictators the world over. … Venezuela’s economy has been booming due to high oil prices, but there has been little trickle down. At the same time many of Chavez’s polices – particularly price controls on staples – have led to the predictable shortages and to popular discontent. …

Fourth: Hugo es loco. There have been many rumors about Hugo’s mental health and some of his recent acts (such as calling for the exhumation of his hero Simon Bolivar’s remains for tests to see if he was assassinated by the oligarchs) are increasingly loopy. …

… [A]s more intelligence about the FARC emerges from the late Raul Reyes’s hard drive, the nations of Latin America may be forced to make some tough decisions. Ecuador’s President Correa will have to decide if he wants to play Syria to Chavez’s Iran. But more broadly, the nations of Latin America, many of which have suffered from violence linked to the FARC, will have to decide if they can tolerate a state sponsor of terrorism in their midst or if that state should suffer the consequences of supporting terror.

“I shot an arrow into the air…”


“I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car’s headlights and tell you exactly which way it’s coming.”
– Mitch Hedberg

“I shot an arrow into the air, and it stuck.”
– Graffiti in L.A.

So is this a job posting or a personals ad? Who does this guy think he– where does he think he is? What– this is Brookfield, man! What a– Ugh.

Chavez Warns of War With Colombia

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Warning that Colombia could spark a war, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent tanks and thousands of troops to the countries’ border Sunday and ordered his government’s embassy in Bogota closed.

The leftist leader warned Colombia’s U.S.-allied government that Venezuela will not permit acts like Saturday’s killing of top rebel leader Raul Reyes and 16 other Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas at a camp across the border in Ecuador.

“Mr. Defense Minister, move 10 battalions to the border with Colombia for me, immediately- tank battalions, deploy the air force,” Chavez said during his weekly TV and radio program. “We don’t want war, but we aren’t going to permit the U.S. empire, which is the master (of Colombia) … to come to divide us.”

He ordered the Venezuelan Embassy in Bogota closed and said all embassy personnel would be withdrawn. It pushes already tense relations between the South American neighbors to their lowest point yet, with potentially far-reach effects on billions of dollars in cross-border trade.

See Also: South America on brink of war

Police baffled as human feet wash ashore in Canada

OTTAWA (AFP) – A severed human foot has been found in Canada’s westernmost Gulf Islands, marking the third such discovery in six months stumped police said Saturday, noting all three are right feet, size 12, male and shod in sneakers.

Cook County Board Approves 1% Sales Tax Hike

Early Saturday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger struck a deal with board members, who approved a 1 percent increase in the sales tax – driving Chicago’s overall sales tax to double digits at 10.25 percent, easily among the highest of any big city. And it will be enacted just in time for the Christmas shopping season. …

Business leaders and others predicted immediate negative ramifications.

“Chicago now has the unfortunate notoriety of having the highest sales tax in the country, and our region will now be a more expensive place to visit, live, work and operate a business,” said Jerry Roper, head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “The people of our region should be outraged.”

Iranian Internet users face blockage during coming election

The Iranian government might block private access to the Internet for the general legislative election on March 14, two Iranian news outlets reported Monday. …

Iran has placed many restrictions on the Internet, but it has never shut down the Internet on such a scale. Several million Iranians follow political news on the Internet, and political parties have their own active Web sites.

In 2006, the authorities banned download speeds on private computers faster than 128 kilobytes per second.

The government also uses sophisticated filtering equipment to block hundreds of Web sites and blogs that it considers religiously or politically inappropriate. Many bloggers have been jailed in the past years, and dozens of Web sites have been shut down.

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Met with our health insurance guy this morning to review a few things. Wow. What an amazingly, intricately, over-priced bunch of hassle ‘n’ nonsense.

Did you know that health insurance costs are generally the second most expensive bill for most employers, second only to payroll itself? For us it’s number 3 in line after workers’ comp, which is atrociously high for most construction fields, roofing included. So if you ever feel you’re being ripped off by a construction company with a  bill that’s clearly higher than the cost of the materials themselves, relax and just sign on the dotted line. They’re not screwing you over to gain enormous profits. They’re paying their insurance…

I could never in good conscience vote in favor of universal health care. Nope. Now that’s not to say I don’t want people to be able to be cared for when they’re ill or injured or whatever, but universal, government sponsored health care? That is NOT the way to do it. Not in a million years. In fact, I don’t think I can think of a single worse way to do it. Oh good Lordy Lordy.

I was meandering through a page of old SU links today and came across this one by the now late William F. Buckley Jr. on one of John Edwards’ old speeches about wanting to provide universal health care coverage. Interesting article. Definitely one worth reading. A bit lengthy for a casual glance, but follow it start to finish for a glance at a few of the bumps in the road that *must* be reviewed before you can really proceed in any kind of conversation about universal care. Worth the four minutes you’ll put into reading it, anyway. :)