piranha: inui's disgusting red juice dripping out of a glass (penal tea)
not like they'll care one whit, but i am boycotting the olympic winter games this time around. i'm not watching coverage, i am not supporting any athletes, i am not buying tchotchkes, i am not knitting scarves, and i am not gonna talk to anyone about results other than to say that sorry, i am boycotting the olympics.

it's a toothless boycott, i understand. i did my slacktivist duty by signing on to various petitions, and that too isn't much. if i were to travel there, maybe carrying a rainbow flag would make a small statement, but i was never gonna travel there, and even if, i am not sure i'd have the guts to let myself be beaten up and maybe killed. i am not that kind of activist anymore.

i used to get my sports on every 4 years under the conceit that the olympics "brought nations together", and that "regular" people, read "amateurs" could show off their amazing athletic feats. that hasn't really been true for quite a while, maybe not even within my lifetime, but hallowed myths die slowly.

a deeper than usual look behind the scenes when vancouver hosted soured me considerably; the politics, the graft, the cronyism, the disdain for the environment were pretty disgusting.

but the russian government is outdoing themselves by covering an ostensibly positive event with special shit sauce this time, and i've had enough. gay people are being beaten up, low income people's homes have been razed, stray dogs are being poisoned, and i am too sick of it to watch some people (who're not at fault for what is being done in their name) put on an athletic circus. i hope i wouldn't have supported the 1936 olympics either; putin does not deserve my support in any possible way.

maybe next time. or maybe not. i might just be done with the olympics for good.

instead i will be paying special attention to what politicians are doing during this time.
piranha: red origami crane (orizuru)
no big surprises. but i guess voting in a US election, even if i could, would present a huge problem:



the good news is that the paramour, while 3 pts to my right economically, is only 0.56 pts to my right socially. i rub off. ;)

the also -- by now -- unsurprising fact that obama is just slightly less authoritarian and socially progressive than mitt romney is probably something that by now no longer escapes any but the blindest apologists. that's pretty much my own biggest failure of the decade when it comes to political assessment before he got elected the first time. the whole "hope" razzle-dazzle managed to fool me thoroughly.

from the political compass.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
so yesterday i was prompted by an email to check where the 3D printed gun project had gotten too. very timely, since apparently they just managed to print the entire gun (not just the lower receiver, which had been done previously). and shoot it. once. short report from the BBC which is not terribly alarmist. i guess the heat ruins the plastic barrel; i am surprised it actually fired successfully (but then i don't actually know how much heat gets released). cody wilson, the crypto-anarchist, techno-libertarian law student (not sure what he considers himself) helming the project shared the CAD files[*] on the net.

this is all there is to it. simple, eh?

so, predictably, hysteria ensued. US legislators rush to make the technology illegal, the state department demands the site take the files down. which it has; not like there's a lot of choice if your organization is in the US.

but no matter how firmly the barn door is being slammed shut, more than 100,000 people had already downloaded the files. last i checked they were also hosted on mega, kim dotcom's new venture. and however much i think he is a prick, he does enjoy sticking it to the US government, so those files will remain available somehow. also, knowing that it can be done will spur other people on to replicate and improve on the design. and the US government being its usual ham-fisted self, that alone will make some people want to help distribute the files far and wide. i sympathize with that notion; these days it doesn't take much huffing from the feds for me to cheer anyone who defies them.

it's a good time to reflect on how my views have changed from the idea that guns should only be legal for hunting (and that reluctantly). i don't like the US's gun culture; it's full of testosterone-poisoned posturing. i think rabid 2nd amendment fans live in a fantasy world, because if you actually want firepower to protect yourself from the government, go for anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. hand guns are not what wins wars against governments gone bad (cf libya). well-regulated militias? militias in the US seem to be populated by racist, neo-nazi morons; pretty much the last people i'd want to rely on to save me from the government.

i've never owned a gun. i've never really felt the need for one, though living with US gun culture got me close to wondering whether i should get one -- not to protect myself from the government, but to protect myself from the gun-wielding nut cases. i came to north america with lofty ideas about gun control. i've pretty much given up on those. it seems that in every country that's not brutally controlled by its government, the number of unregistered handguns vastly outnumbers the registered ones. ergo, these are laws people don't obey, even if they might not agitate against them. laws people don't obey are worthless. and really, laws are not the best answer to a cultural problem anyway.

so it feels weird to be on what feels like the opposite side from where i used to be, and very firmly so. i am not worried about 3D printed guns. i know now how very easy it is to make your own gun with rudimentary metalworking skills, materials and tools one can get from any hardware store. and that gun will be cheaper, safer, and much more durable. sure, plastic guns can't be detected by metal detectors, but neither can ceramics. personally i have no need to evade a metal detector. and terrorists are not gonna be falling over each other 3D printing weapons that can only get off one shot, for heavens' sakes.

i am hoping cody wilson stays out of jail. if anything, his initiative is showing all of us how dangerous a government with too damn much power is to personal liberty.

no, i'm not worried about 3D printed guns. i am worried about drones, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. i am not terribly worried about terrorists. i am much more worried about governments in cahoots with big business curtailing democracy and my own choices.

[*] not only that link, but the entire server was down when i checked just now.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
happy internet freedom day.

i don't know how "free" it really is, considering certain regime restrictions and crackdowns, and i am anything but happy at this point, but i guess it's worth celebrating that SOPA, PIPA (and ACTA) didn't pass, and that we threw a small wrench into the attempts by greedy and authoritarian scum to destroy the internet.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i don't get particularly het up about politicians having affairs, except that it tends to tickle my hypocrisy bone when they are "family values" people. generally other politicians act like it's a much bigger deal than i feel it is. so per se i don't really care whether david petraeus shtupped other people than his wife; that's between him and her. but now i hear such sentiments coming from politicians.

and what a strange concept some people of honour they seem to have: david petraeus is considered to be ever so honourable for resigning his post as CIA director due to his extramarital affair. i am not impressed. honourable would have been to not have the affair in the first place. believe it or not, most people can resist their hormones, and i expect somebody who is the director of the CIA to manage that, because the stakes are so much higher than for a person who is not in a position to be blackmailed. but since shit happens -- especially when it comes to sex -- if he didn't resist, honourable would have been to come clean with his wife and his president right after he started the affair, and to consult as to whether this was a big enough deal to resign right then and there. it might not have been, because the danger here isn't so much the public's lowered opinion of its hero, but his vulnerability to being exposed. if he prevented that by telling the people who most needed to know, there was no danger of blackmail.

to only resign once caught, and once it was clear the shit was gonna hit the public fan, doesn't strike me as particularly honourable. i guess waiting until after the election is the only honourable thing i see here. if he did even that. i can't be bothered to track the timeline; too many conspiracy theorists already swarming around that.

as an aside, i am kinda amused by the fact that we now need a relationship diagram for the cast of characters in this sordid little morality play.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
best election summation i've seen yet. she is just amazing, a brilliant political analyst.



[*] in the soc.singles.moderated sense, not the actual marriage sense.

relief

Nov. 6th, 2012 21:58
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
romney is making his concession speech, and he is actually being quite gracious. while karl rove is probably still being talked down from the ledge of bullshit mountain. i can sort of understand, because this was nowhere the nailbiter the republican echo chamber and the media aching for a horse race predicted. over so soon. sweeping nearly all the swing states. and republicans are getting hammered in their senate races as well (please, may michele bachmann lose too; that would put the icing on my schadenfreude cake).

what REALLY has me excited is that it was a fine day for my people. in maine and maryland, gay marriage ballot measures have passed, prop 74 is leading in washington, and minnesota struck down a state constitutional amendment to enshrine the "one man one woman" concept of marriage. openly gay, progressive tammy baldwin was elected to the senate.

nate silver's statistical model, vindicated. karl rove's "statistical" model, shown for the piece of shite he is. uh, it is. ahhhh.

will the republican party wake up now and become less extreme? not holding my breath, but it would be nice. maybe necessary. though i am wondering now whether they're not making themselves increasingly irrelevant in a changing electorate.

al jazeera wasn't quick with any projections, but i really enjoyed their coverage; it had no high drama from attention-whoring pundits, just relatively courteous discussion. glenn greenwald was very much... nicer in person than he is in writing. it was interesting.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm watching al jazeera's US election coverage.

because it has glenn greenwald. OMG. can you imagine a US mainstream news network having glenn greenwald commenting on the elections?

but it's more interesting anyway. fewer blowhards, more reportage. and so many cool accents.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
and i hope, very very strongly, that when i wake up, florida is NOT heading towards a recount.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm mostly staying away from it, but if the alternative is kate middleton's bared breasts...

so the mass media is in an uproar over romney's "47%" bit. (if you live under the same comfy rock where i am normally curled up, he was secretly taped at a closed, wealthy donor fundraiser, where he spouted a lot of really lovely crap, see [*] for verbatim quote about this particular bit).

and i gotta say, i see why the uproar is handy, of course (and a nice present for the obama campaign), but it's not like this is news. isn't this what the right wing has been flogging for more than a year already? hasn't there been some anti-"occupy" reference like "we're the 53%" from them? ok, so it's news that the candidate for the presidency said it, with the addendum that he doesn't worry about these people (which will be taken out of context, but he clearly meant it in regards to his election strategy)(well, "out of context" -- i think romney does in actuality not care about most people, but he wouldn't ever say that out loud as president, or act overtly as if he believes it. heck, maybe he doesn't even realize it.).

so some people say "stick a fork in him, he's done". and i say "alas, no".

because his base will gobble it up. seriously. they think it's poor people driving the US to the brink (nothing could be further from the truth, but truth was a victim of republican talking points long ago). they're dead set against helping poor people, because they think they're lazy freeloaders. they have become a lot less compassionate than they were even under reagan (who started the whole "welfare queen" malarkey). they don't recognize who these 47% are. since i know how to, uh, quack (using duckduckgo as my search engine), i looked it up, to be sure i had actual data instead of gut feelings: most of the 47% pay other taxes, just not federal income tax -- they simply don't make enough for the latter. but they pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, state income taxes, etc. most of them are not lazy, shiftless bums lying on their couches eating government bonbons, they're working in menial jobs where they barely make ends meet because they also have children. or they are retired, after a working life of, well, not being a corporate raider; the 47% includes many seniors. the idea that they're not taking responsibility for their lives is preposterous.

and a huge part of his base don't even realize that they are quite possibly part of these 47%. they just don't think of themselves as lazy victims, dependent on government handouts, unlike those obama voters.

so no, romney's not gonna lose those voters. not a chance. in fact he might fire them up some, which he badly needs, since they're not that excited about him. well, maybe a few seniors will stay at home, the ones who're already worried about medicare and medicaid.

he's just not gonna win any undecideds. but i doubt there are many of those left. how can anyone still be undecided? it's not like the republicans are actually fiscally conservative; they just prefer to direct their welfare at the corporate sector. of all the people to rail about debt, romney is their champion? romney, who made his fortune off pushing companies into debt? romney, who has never created anything, and who got his own personal bailout for bain? why paul ryan isn't throwing up every time he looks at him, is a mystery. or hell, not so much. he's a republican; hypocrisy comes with the territory these days.

i mean, for me obama has been a crushing disappointment, but if i could vote, i'd vote for him 10 times over romney. people are supposed to become more conservative as they grow older, but so far it looks like the opposite is true for me. i used to have respect for some republicans, but that group is tiny now, and most of them have already left the party.

last but not least, romney saying anything at all about people not paying taxes? the irony, it slays me.

[*] “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. …. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
in my email box i found an alert from avaaz, one of the groups i support and trust to tell me the truth:

Right now, the Avaaz website is under massive attack. An expert is telling us that likely only a government or major corporation could launch an attack this large, with massive, simultaneous and sophisticated assaults from across the world to take down our site.

[…]

Because of top-notch security, our site is still up, but it's not enough. We need to show these actors that when they attack Avaaz, they're messing with people. And people-power can't be intimidated or silenced, it only grows stronger. Click below to donate to an Avaaz defense fund to take our security to the next level, and show our attackers that whatever they throw at us only makes us stronger:


you can read the whole newsletter here.

i am sorry, but this raises a whole lot of red flags, and i don't think it's the sort of flags avaaz would like to raise. it smells of conspiracy theories, and of scam for money.

now, i don't actually believe the organisation has gone over to the dark side, but i do feel like i am being manipulated. instead of information on the attack -- what form of attack is it (telling us the basics won't compromise security)? who's the expert? is it a knowledgeable third party confirming this? what leads the expert to legitimately believe this is organised by a government or a large, nasty corporation a la murdoch? -- instead of giving me something, anything to lend credence to the claim, their first and only action is to ask me for more money. asking me for money donated via the very site that is under attack -- that doesn't seem prudent to me. and how will my immediate, urgent donation help mitigate this attack? i can't see how. and if it's solely for future prevention of more attacks, then it's not URGENT, is it, and we can have some calm and knowledgeable analysis first.

so yeah. donation is not gonna happen. i have no doubt that it takes lots of money to do all they do, and there is nothing wrong with asking for donations to help with website and network security. but not like this. that sets a dangerous precedent for donating to advocacy groups; and i rather it not get set. i donate to such groups because they do the work i believe in. i don't want hyper-emotional cries for help to guilt me into donating more; and i don't want organizations i believe in behaving like they need URGENT EMERGENCY appeals to cover their administrative costs -- that's what scam artists do.

and yes, i sent this to them. via the web form on their website that's "under massive attack", since that's the only way to contact them online. *sigh*.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
we thought what happened to peter watts was bad?

this is much, much worse.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is holding prisoners in 186 unlisted, unmarked locations, many in suburban office parks or commercial spaces. people are shuttled around without a proper paper trail. their relatives often don't even know that they have been detained. they frequently don't have access to legal advice. they might get deported to wherever ICE thinks they should go, without anyone knowing.

i have no words. whenever i think i must have been too negative about the bush administration's actions, i must have been too paranoid (because some people i respected voted for him twice), something comes out that shows i wasn't even paranoid enough; the people on the daily kos whom i wrote off as mild conspiracy theorists, they were right all along.

and this continues to go on under obama's watch. to say i am disappointed in him would be an understatement. i never expected him to be a truly progressive president. but i expected better from him than allowing this sort of human rights violation to go on. he promised transparency. secret police and people disappearing isn't transparent.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
from avaaz.org:

As the world mounts a desperate effort to stop catastrophic global warming in Copenhagen, Canada should be leading the way. Instead, we're receiving global "fossil awards" for wrecking this crucial summit! And new leaked documents show that while the entire world is increasing cuts to carbon emissions, the government is secretly planning roll back ours.

At the Bali climate summit in 07, a massive national outcry forced Harper to stop blocking the talks. But the oil companies that PM Harper works for know that Copenhagen is the make or break moment for climate. It will not be easy to win this time, but to save the planet and our country we have to.

Let's mount a tidal wave of pressure on Harper with the largest petition in Canadian history - click below to sign:


http://www.avaaz.org/en/harper_enough_is_enough/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK

if you're not a member of avaaz yet, and you care about global issues such as climate change, poverty, human rights, you might want to sign up for their alerts. they keep track of what's going on better than i could, and they've never spammed me with unrelated stuff.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
Todd Stern, the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, said Thursday that he "categorically reject[s]" the suggestion that rich industrial countries owe compensation to the victims of climate change. Stern acknowledged that the emissions of rich nations over the past two hundred years of industrialization had caused global warming, telling a press conference, "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere." But, Stern added, "the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations--I just categorically reject that."

more at alternet.

responsibility? we don't haz it.

i'm looking at you too, stephen harper.
piranha: ruri from nadesico says "idiot" (her trademark) (idiot)
so fictionwise has a new ebook reader for sale. the small print says "Items not shippable to Cuba, Iran, Syria or North Korea."

because... WE DON'T WANT THE AXIS OF EVIL TO READ?
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
peter watts, canadian science fiction writer, was beaten and jailed at a US border crossing, according to him without provocation or reason.

peter's blog entry does not shed any more light on what exactly happened.

dear US of fucking A:

occasionally friends of mine in the US wonder why i no longer travel there. and when i explain, i am sure -- even though nobody has said it out loud -- that they think i'm probably a little paranoid.

i'm not. your damn country is a loose cannon. crossing your borders is not safe for foreigners. yes, thousands cross without incident. but the incidents are many more now than they used to be, and the guards are more petty and vindictive, and more filled with righteous POWER because hey, there's terr'ists out there.

no way am i visiting the US again while this sort of shit goes on. i had great hopes for the obama administration, but obama clearly isn't willing to fix many of the problems introduced by the abominable shrub.

my canadian dollars won't go into your tourist industry. they'll go to a legal defense fund for peter watts.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
thin, bare branches of apple tree with only three tiny yellow ones left hanging; one of them with a wormhole


i am cold. time to bring firewood inside, and clean out the wood stove.


today in palintological news:

the woman of the people who travels the country in her bus, always looks so fresh and full of energy because she ... doesn't actually TRAVEL in her bus as she's claimed. no, she goes rogue in a chartered jet to an airport near the next book signing, hops on the bus, and then makes her grand entrance as if she'd been on it all along.

she is such a pathological liar. nobody would give a damn whether she flies!
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
white paper birch bark, with a bit of it peeling back to reveal the layer below which is an orangey tan


the crud has mostly departed now, though a bit still lingers in my nose.


the US senate advanced the healthcare bill to the floor, 60:39, dems and independents allowing it to go to debate, repubs united against it, one of them absent. mitch mcconnell: YOU LIE.


i am spectacularly disorganized today. don't want to make a list because that will overhwelm me. maybe i just knit -- i started knitting up my grey handspun shetland. i am inordinately proud of it; it really is a big deal for me to be knitting my very own yarn. also, it knits up better than i expected, being that it's so uneven (between DK and bulky); it looks loveably rustic, *heh*.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
single yellow grape leaf with brown spots hanging from grapevine with empty stalks, in front of faded and cracked brick red wooden siding

bright colours are getting very rare now. we're under a deluge, and everything is dubdued. i rather like it, except that i don't really like to be outside for long when it is pouring.


the crud will not completely leave; it's moving back into my sinuses. it just seems intent on staying the standard 14 days, even if it's just hanging on by a thin thread of phlegm.


dear sarah palin. thank you for describing yourself so aptly:

rogue (\ˈrōg\)
n.
1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.
3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.
4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.
5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.

adj.
1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.
2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.
3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls: "How could a single rogue trader bring down an otherwise profitable and well-regarded institution?" (Saul Hansell).

v. rogued, rogu·ing, rogues

v.tr.
1. To defraud.
2. To remove (diseased or abnormal specimens) from a group of plants of the same variety.

v.intr.
To remove diseased or abnormal plants.
[Origin unknown.]


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.

so, it's pretty much never anything GOOD.

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