Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Amp's got a new cartoon!!


Thursday, July 24, 2003

Presidential Paranoia

Okay first, take a look at this cartoon:

Okay, it's an annoying cartoon. As the cartoonist puts it:

Ramirez said that he used the image because it represented to him the "political assassination" of Bush. "President Bush is the target, metaphorically speaking, of a political assassination because of 16 words that he uttered in the State of the Union," he said, referring to the controversy over Bush's accusation that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

But the Secret Service sure doesn't see it that way. They've already questioned him, considering the cartoon to be a threat.

And of course the frightening thing is this is what the Bush Administration does to its supporters. See when a leader is so afraid of threats that he fears even his supporters what is that other than a tyrant?

Okay, maybe I am overreacting here. But Bush's presidency has been one long string of unaccountability and paranoia. This is just one more step.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Anyone who follows baseball as often as me knows about the whole controversy involving Questec. And anyone with as skeptical an ear as me know that they're being bullshitted when QuesTec is being declared by the umpires as just slightly less injust than the Jim Crow laws. Derek Zumsteg has a pretty good article on it over at Baseball Prospectus, but a premium subscription is required. (If you have a premium subscription, I can't recommend Zumsteg's articles enough) He does, though, link to this article written by the Baseball Prospectus people at ESPN.com in June, and it includes this rather informative blurb by Rob Neyer:

Last summer, the World Umpires Association asked Robert K. Adair, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Physics at Yale University, to study QuesTec's PitchTrax system.

And that's the last we heard of Adair and the World Umpires Association.

Why? Because the World Umpires Association didn't like what Adair told them he found.

Fortunately, Adair didn't mind sharing his findings when we spoke recently.

"I've looked at it intelligently," Adair said, "from the viewpoint of somebody who looks at data with some degree of precision, and I seriously doubt that anyone else has.

"There are problems, but it's a pretty good system. They have a limited amount of money. To get the last bugs out of a system can be very expensive, but it's not a bad system."

The umpires have complained that QuesTec's system isn't consistent. Not so, says, Adair.

"The umpire's strike zone and the QuesTec strike zone are consistent, but in different ways. The umpires' strike zone is much wider than home plate: at least a ball width on the outside corner, and half a ball on the inside. And the umpires' strike zone is smaller by a ball and a half at the bottom, and half a ball at the top."

Meanwhile, the QuesTec strike zone does closely mirror the strike zone defined in the rulebook. It's true that the zone must be adjusted up and down for each batter, but Adair says the operators generally do a good job making those adjustments. What's more, while a certain number of pitches do give incorrect readings, "Operators are given leave to kick those out, and typically they tend to throw out six or seven pitches per game."

There's nothing like a bit of objectivity to spice up a debate.

The thing that pisses me off is that I'm actually from the same state as this bitch

Via August:

Warren Buffett has drawn criticism in the past for supporting pro-choice causes, but it never affected Berkshire Hathaway's charitable giving—that is, until Cindy Coughlon, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom in Peoria, Ariz., came along. Now, as a result of her campaign against pro-choice donations, the most powerful man in business (see Cover Story) has terminated Berkshire's entire contribution program, which distributed nearly $200 million over the past two decades to institutions ranging from schools to groups on either side of the abortion debate.

The unusual program—call it a charitable dividend—allowed Berkshire shareholders to designate $18 per share annually for up to three charities of their choosing. Some shareholders, including Buffett via his foundation, used the mechanism to give to pro-choice causes such as Planned Parenthood.

Pampered Chef chairman Doris Christopher initially told consultants in an April e-mail that though "my personal views on some issues differ from Warren Buffett's ... it is not my place to ask or to judge." But her message didn't quell the furor. Consultants were resigning, says Coughlon, and customers complaining. (Coughlon numbers the petitioners at "less than a thousand.") By late June the pressure had become intolerable, and Christopher "went to Warren with a heavy heart," according to an e-mail she wrote to consultants. "It troubled him deeply that charitable donations from Berkshire Hathaway were causing you difficulty." On July 3, Berkshire announced the end of the charity program.

For her part, Coughlon is "just delighted with the decision." But she says she won't be satisfied until the man she deferentially refers to as "Mr. Buffett" stops donating to pro-choice causes. "Now," she says, "the focus is on him."

Okay, I admit there are a few decent pro-lifers, even if I've met very few, but this is the problem with pro-lifers and many right-wingers in general. There is no questioning, no consideration for people who aren't them. Just a thought-free pseudo-morality that lets them eliminate $200 milllion a year from charity and be "just delighted" by it.

Article here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

16 questions

Howard Dean has posed 16 questions for Bush to answer regarding the war in Iraq. They're worth a read.

Via Cal Pundit.

Yay!!!! Hypocrites!!!

This one's been going around:

Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, told a news conference in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that Washington would, however, welcome outside help.

"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq," said Wolfowitz, who is touring the country to meet U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.

Holy crap. I mean, holy crap!

Dangeresque 2: This Time It's Not Dangeresque 1

Check it out here.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Three Quotes: A Haiku

I enjoyed this Haiku by Brian Foley:

"Axis of Evil."
"Bomb them back to the Stone Age!"
"Why do they hate us?"

Via Counterpunch.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

The assholes of baseball

Doug Pappas points to this article about a man interestied in purchasing the Dodgers from Fox, and offers a pretty good summary:

The bidder, Alan Casden, is an apartment developer who dreams of moving the Dodgers to a new park in downtown Los Angeles, near the Staples Center, so he can fill Chavez Ravine with housing. He's not seen as one of the favorites in the bidding for the Dodgers.

This was the most disgusting thing I've ever read. And it outlines the major problem with the game today, where thanks to Selig, someone can own a team and make money whether they run it well or horribly. Casden doesn't give a fuck about baseball. He wants to probably take taxpayers' money to not only destroy one of the best ballparks in the game today but do so as part of a scheme to increase his real estate business.

If baseball had a commissioner with the slightest shred of integrity, Alan Casden would never be allowed to own a team. But then, neither should Jeff Loria.

Update: Okay, I really should pay more attention to key words. I read "He's not seen as one of the favorites . . ." as "He's seen as one of the favorites . . ." That "not" makes all the difference. Still, my comment about Loria lets this stand. Loria was an art dealer who knows nothing about baseball, and who, after nearly running the Expos into the ground, is now allowed to run the Marlins into the ground. Excuse me whilst I growl in anger.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Guilty until proven innocent - and then still guilty

Tom Tomorrow has a post that will just make your skin crawl.

I'm moving to Pluto.

Holy Crap. I mean, really

A friend of mine sent me this article which I really don't know what to say about:

A Catholic priest in New Mexico is being sued by the family of a dead man he said would be going straight to Hell.

Relatives of Ben Martinez claim that, during his funeral, the Rev Scott Mansfield said: "The Lord vomited people like Ben out of his mouth to Hell."

According to the lawsuit, the priest was angry at Martinez for not attending church during the last year of his life.

The suit, filed by his widow, three sons, a daughter and their spouses, claims they were devastated and humiliated by the priest's statements.

It also claims his comments at the funeral in Chama caused relatives of Martinez to have nightmares, depression, anxiety attacks and need therapy.

Mr Martinez's family say he wasn't able to attend Mass because he had emphysema and suffered severe bouts of coughing.

He died at the age of 80 and about 200 people attended his funeral.

The priest was subsequently transferred to another parish, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican.

I'll just say this, you know what's the biggest problem with radical Christians? That they're so certain they're right, those who don't accept their view of truth will be damned to hell.

What this priest did is disgusting, but not altogether surprising.

Republicans succeed in defunding UNFPA

For why you should get pissed off about this, check out Ampersand's posts here and here. And more at Body and Soul.

I'd comment but I really am not able to comment on this with the the eloquence and knowledge of those above.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Dean in Flagstaff

So, Dean was in Flagstaff today, and I was totally excited about it. I've always been inspired by Dean's voice, which is why I've maintained my support of Dean even though Kucinich has better reflected my own views.

And this is what I was expecting when he came to give a speech at Fort Tuthill today. And I was waiting for it.

But it was nothing exciting. He repeated his campaign lines, some of which were still good, but most of which I knew. And following the excess partisanship of the Coconino County Democratic Party preceding his speech, I really didn't have the stomach for it.

I guess as far as a criticism of Dean, I guess "he wasn't inspiring" is the type of criticism you want. Shows the high expectations I have of him to begin with. And I suppose that you have to allow him an off day. He did just fly into Flagstaff, which is not a very pleasant experience (shaky landing since it's 7000 ft elevation), and he was about to fly out on another campaign stop. It's not enough to get me to waiver my support of Dean. I still like him. It's just enough to make me lean more toward the Kucinich camp.

I'll still give him another chance.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Pat Robertson is pure evil

Via Tom, there's this:

TV preacher Pat Robertson has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration over its handling of the crisis in Liberia – without once mentioning his own personal business interests in the country.
In recent days, Robertson has used his nationally broadcast television show to charge that the U.S. government has sought to destabilize Liberia and oust President Charles Taylor. Although Taylor is a brutal dictator under indictment for war crimes by the United Nations, he is a business partner of Robertson.

“Taylor is one of the most brutal dictators in Africa, and it is appalling to me that Robertson would enter into a partnership with him merely to make money,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “Now Robertson is using his tax-exempt Christian broadcast ministry to lobby the U.S. government to keep his crony in power. This is astounding.”

On his June 26 “700 Club” program, Robertson said, “This country [Liberia] has had a close relationship with the United States over the years, but of late, the last, oh, four, five, six years, the United States State Department has tried as hard as it can to destabilize Liberia and to bring about the very outcome we’re seeing now. They had no endgame, they have no plan of what to do, they only wanted to destroy the sitting president and his government, and as a result, the place is being plunged into chaos.”

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The wisdom of Louis Black

I have Tough Talk in the background sort of half-paying attention as I look online, and Louis Black just said the funniest thing ever, I will try to transcribe it here, but I make no promises as to accuracy:

As far as the list of things we need to worry about, gay priests are on page 96, right behind "are we eating too much garlic as a people."

I'd tell you the context, but wasn't really paying attention.

Abortion argument updated

Some time ago, I posted this argument that the concept of life beginning at conception is a fundamentally flawed one by showing it led to a contradiction with (what I think) are axioms that are taken for granted by the greater portion of the population. (read the original post if you haven't yet. You may have to refresh your browser after clicking the link)

So why would someone be unconvinced by this argument?

I wonder this because I'm sure that a pro-lifer would remain unconvinced after reading it.

It's true that human thought is habitual rather than logical, but it would be too easy to assume those who disagree with me have only an emotional, rather than logical, basis for their arguments.

So the question is, what assumption is made by pro-lifers that would allow them to logically conclude that life begins at conception, and is this assumption untrue?

Mind you, when I say assumption here, I mean nothing intrinsically bad. Assumptions are a necessary part of logic. There are certain statements that need to be taken as true without any logical or factual backing for logical analysis to serve any benefit whatsoever. Because without basic premises to work with, logic can tell us nothing.

So, after thought, I realized the best term to give this fundamental concept is that of a "Genesis Point", where all things have some specific point of origin. In the case at hand, if something is alive, then there must be a point where that thing's life first began.

So is this assumption of the Genesis Point fundamentally flawed?

The answer is yes, but I warn you, the following explanation is very mathematic, and borrows concepts from Set Theory, so it may be harder to follow for the layperson than my first argument.

Okay then.

If we consider all points of time as a set, with standard chronological order, then it's easy to see that time is a dense set - which means, essentially, if you pick any two points in time there will always be a point in time in between.

Now, let's define "Genesis Point" mathematically: For any condition that is true at some point in time, there is an earliest point of time where that condition is true.

Which is equivalent of saying that for any subset of time, there exists an earliest point of time in that subset.

Which, mathematically, means that time is a well-ordered set.

But time is a dense set, we've already stated. And a dense set cannot also be a well-ordered set.

Thus the "Genesis Point" assumption brings up a contradiction, and is therefore untrue.

That was easy. Next argument?

Update/Afterthought: This is not to say that life doesn't have a Genesis Point, just that the Genesis Point isn't true in general. But if life doesn't begin at conception, then any other point would seem arbitrary, so I would lean toward assuming that there is no specific point where life begins, but I have no way to prove that, either logically or empirically.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Let's hope they can still get along

Via Baseball Prospectus, comes an interesting disagreement that's occurring on my favorite team:

"I'm a big believer in black-and-white statistics more than I am potential... I hate that word, potential. That word gets people fired. It gets managers fired, it gets GMs fired, it gets scouts fired. I'd rather see stats. I want to see what he's done. Don't show me what he maybe can do."
--Mark Grace, Diamondbacks infielder (Denver Post)

"Unfortunately, statistics only tell you what a guy's done in the past, not what he's likely to do in the future... That's where baseball experience and using your eyes and knowing what you're looking for is probably a more important tool than strictly numbers. If you strictly go by the numbers, that eliminates players like Craig Counsell and a long list of guys who contribute a lot more to winning baseball games than the numbers show."
--Bob Brenly, Diamondbacks manager (Denver Post)

Comics, we got comics

Michael "Savage" Weiner finally crosses the line

Via August, it seems that SavageNation has finally been cancelled:

The popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable channel referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."

"His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.

There was no immediate comment from Savage, according to a spokesman at his office in California.

The brash, tough-talking Savage is one of radio's hottest jocks. His Paul Revere Society advocates closing borders, deporting illegal immigrants, mandating health tests for immigrants and eliminating entitlement programs.

The televised version of The Savage Nation began March 8 despite the protests of such advocacy groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Aired at 5 p.m. ET Saturday, Savage didn't translate into a television hit. He increased the ratings for the time slot marginally, according to MSNBC.

Quick recap in case you haven't been following this:

Shortly before the start of Operation Iraqi Conquest, MSNBC cancelled Donohue, it's highest rated show, because they didn't want any damn liberals on their network (since then, nothing on MSNBC has come close to the ratings that Donohue). Shortly after they hired Michael Weiner to do a TV show. Since then, he's continued his hate-filled propaganda against free speech, homosexuals, and downplayed the effects of autism because, apparently, he's a horrific asshole of assholeness. I doubt this anonymous caller was the first to be called a "sodomite" by the obsequious bigot, but wishing AIDS on someone goes a step too far.

I'll echo August's comment on this and say no kudos to MSNBC until they acknowledge they were wrong to give this guy a show in the first place.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Bush sure cares about the lives of American troups

Via Cursor, comes this happy story:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Wednesday challenged militants who have been killing and injuring U.S. forces in Iraq, saying "bring them on" because American forces were tough enough to deal with their attacks.

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation.

I dunno what to say, besides the sarcastic title to this post. Frankly, what can you say besides the fact that Bush is a supreme asshole of assholeness and really doesn't give a shit about the lives of people other than his own self, and is putting US troops in danger while compromising national security for a huge bloody campaign stunt that he decided to call "Operation Iraqi Freedom".

I guess the only thing to say besides that would be "I hate Bush". So there.

Update: MWO has more.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Which Jhonen Vasquez character are you

Apparently I'm Zim:

Which Jhonen Vaquez character are you? By EmReznor.

It seems the choices, besides Zim, are Dib, Gaz, Squee, Johnny, Happy Noodle Boy, Filler Bunny, probably Wobbly Headed Bob, and I can't figure out the other. It's pretty fun, if you're familiar with Vasquez's work.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Speaking of cartoons

Mikhaela has a good one on the sodomy decision.

In Memoriam: Strom Thurmond

The wisdom of Scott Bateman

Words of insanity from Jewish Bush

Tom Tomorrow points to a section from this article that's just unbelievable:

An aide to Mr. Lieberman said: "Everyone wants a race against Dean. Everyone has looked at the research, and he looks easiest to bring down. He's positioned himself as a liberal, and liberals don't win here."

"What the Democrats want more than anything else in the nominee is someone who can beat Bush — Democrats just want to win," this aide said.

Okay, first of all, since when is Dean a total liberal? Sure he's left of most other Dem candidates, but that's only because the Dems have lost their souls to the mighty GOP.

Which brings me to the second point, as Tom points out, since when is a Democrat being liberal a bad thing? Aren't they, you know, supposed to be liberal? You know, for political balance to keep America from being a total autocracy? (ha)

Ann Coulter has gone mad, mad I tell you

August points to this article by Richard Cohen:

I am happy to report that Ann Coulter has lost her mind. The evidence for this is her most recent book, "Treason," a nearly unreadable slog through every silly thing anyone on the left has ever said. Coulter conflates dissent with treason, opposition with treason, being wrong with treason, being right with treason and just about anything she doesn't like with treason. If the book were a Rorschach test, she would be institutionalized.

My glee in reporting that Coulter is daft is predicated on the prediction that her book, like her previous one, will be a bestseller. This is invariably the case with rants from the right. They tell the majority (non-liberals) that they are being controlled by the minority (liberals) -- and that most of the country's important institutions, particularly the press, are in the hands of leftists. Coulter has now taken this argument one step further. This wee minority is not merely wrong. It is traitorous.

She says the New York Times "issues traitorous editorials." She says, "Liberals relentlessly attack their own country, but we can't call them traitors, which they manifestly are." "Free speech," which those canny liberals often cite to justify their wacko ideas, "is a one-way ratchet for traitors," and "liberals have a preternatural gift for striking a position on the side of treason." The book is a hoot.

It is also good news for liberals. It suggests that the right, at least the hard right, has finally dumbed out. This is the predictable cycle for all movements. They start with a genuine grievance and proceed from there to the totally ridiculous -- or, in some cases, to the downright macabre.

In some ways, the nutso American brand of archconservatism mirrors traditional anti-Semitism. Jew-haters proclaim that Jews control the media, international finance and almost everything else of importance -- but, somehow, Jews have accumulated a 2,000-year history of expulsions, pogroms and, finally, the mass murder of the Holocaust. It is the same with American liberals. They control everything, and yet, somehow, the White House, both houses of Congress and, with the exception of several delis in New York, the entire business community are in the hands of conservatives. It's hard to figure.

There's more, oh how there's more. Feel free to read the rest.

You know, I've often wondered how Coulter could even possibly attain her level of popularity. She's a former constitutional lawyer who seems to to nothing about constitutional law. Her writing is sporadic, and she very rarely can maintain a single editorial point for more than a sentence or two if even that. And, as Cohen so eloquently puts it, she's completely insane. I mean, hell, if I wanted crazy, uber-right, blind unthinking accusations, I'd read Mein Kampf. At least Hitler had a sense of prose.

Cost of War

I've added a Cost of War counter to this blog. Check out their site.

It's been a while since I've received e-mail in relation to this blog. I blame the fact that I'm back home so not continuously connected to a fast internet connection so posting has been pretty scarce, unfortunately. Still, I'm going to ask for a little e-mail survey as to this. Do you like the counter, or is it an aesthetic nightmare? I'm dying to know. Frankly I want to add some pizzazz to this blog, make it look all cool and not just black lettering on a white post. This is sort of a first step.

Update: Having fun with the counter, in Portland, as teachers are agreeing to be unpaid for two weeks due to budget constraints, the amount of money that the city of Portland has given to Operation Iraqi Conquest could, at the writing of this, pay a year's salary to 1719 teachers.

Excuse me as I beat my head against the wall.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Have fun you kids

Bob Harris has a fun little game you too can play:

1) Pay a visit to Google.

2) Type in (without using any quotes): weapons of mass destruction

3) Click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" icon.

You'll see why. Just go...