Archive for September, 2007

29
Sep
07

Chimps and Humans… Close but No Cigar.

I ran into an interesting article a couple of days ago that kinda left me scratching my head:

 Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to Austria’s Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.

A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp’s behalf.

OK am I missing something? Look I love animals, and I am all about protecting animals, but how did we get from protecting animals to giving them human rights? Chimpanzees are not people. They are Chimpanzees. No amount of legal wrangling will change that fact.

You can give the chimp a name and dress it up in a monkey suit and it will still be a chimp. Yes, they have needs and they have interests, but, by definition they are not human interests, and I’m quite certain that their legal status is not one of them. Neither is being human. Chimps just want to be chimps.

 “It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can,” Balluch said. – [Yahoo/AP]

Avoiding the issue of chimp personhood?!?! Issue? What issue? There is no issue dagnabbit, they are freakin’ CHIMPANZEES, not PEOPLE!! Sheesh!! This whole thing makes no sense to me. If these people want to help out these poor chimpanzees so bad, why not buy out the shelter? Or set up a new one just for the chimps? Or just buy the chimps outright?

If they are so darn worried that they may get sold to someone outside Australia, then someone needs to pony up the cash and buy them before that happens. These chimpanzees can’t exactly get a job. After all (in case I haven’t been clear enough on this), they are chimps, not humans. And someones got to pay for the food on the table…

Court won’t declare chimp a person – [Yahoo/AP]

26
Sep
07

Ya need a “Speak & Spell” with that?

Notwithstanding my recent rant about the qualities I think a good president should have, this gem I ran into today was good for a laugh:

 A quickly remedied glitch momentarily gave visitors to the UN website a version of Bush’s UN General Assembly speech that included phonetic spellings for world leaders, a former Soviet satellite, and at least one capital.

OK, now I do know that teleprompters are a common appearance at public speeches but the text contained in this particular teleprompter elicited a little chuckle from yours truly:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is “sar-KO-zee.” Mauritania should be said “moor-EH-tain-ee-a.” Kyrgyzstan sounds like “KEYR-geez-stan.” And the capital of Zimbabwe President Robert “moo-GAH-bee” Mugabe is Harare “hah-RAR-ray.”

This makes me wonder if he just flat out ignores the teleprompter whenever he is supposed to say “nuclear”. I even found the response from the White house spokeswoman, when asked about the presidents elocutive “difficulties”, hilarious:

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said such phonetic guidance is common but curtly rebuffed a questioner who wanted to know whether Bush has a hard time with certain names: “I think that’s a offensive question. I’m going to just decline to comment on it.” – [Yahoo/AFP]

Oh, come now Ms. Perino.  Exactly how is that question offensive? Is it offensive because he has difficulties or because he doesn’t? I mean, I could see how asking that question of a mentally challenged person could be construed as offensive or insensitive, but our president isn’t mentally challenged is he…? Wait… Err… Mercy…

Speak ‘Bush’ in one easy lesson – [Yahoo/AFP]

23
Sep
07

Presidential ignorance is a curse…

You may remember many moons ago I posted about American citizenship, and whether or not a citizenship exam should include questions on things like sports, world events, and cultural awareness. Now in this bloggers humble opinion, these things are not a true measure of whether or not a person will be a good American.

I would rather have every aspiring American citizen take an ethics test and be done with it. In fact I’d like to see every young American, not just immigrants be required to take a federally mandated ethics test when they reach legal age, before they are allowed to be considered a legal adult. I think the country would benefit from this more than anything else. The rest of it is almost inconsequential by comparison.

Almost. There are many positions where I think a broader, more comprehensive test of ones knowledge, ethics, social awareness and general knowledge of world events and character should be a mandatory requirement. High ranking police and military are a couple that come to mind some of them. Even your average street cop should ideally have comprehensive periodic psych evals, as well as more ethics and social training. But most important of all, President of the United States of America should be one of those positions that requires all of the above.

Before you ever get to see elections, or even start running for president, I think you should, at the very least, be able to demonstrate significantly above average ability on an IQ test, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of social, political and world issues. This should be a requirement for the position.

Why? Because ignorance has absolutely no place in a presidential office. No self respecting IT department would hire a professional bricklayer for their server administration. Nor would a construction company hire a nerd for manual labor. Why does the same not apply for the oval office? People with that kind of power need to know how to use it intelligently. And when I read some of the (many) questionable things our outgoing president has to say, It is clear to me that he is lacking in that department:

In a speech defending his administration’s Iraq policy, Bush said former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s brutality had made it impossible for a unifying leader to emerge and stop the sectarian violence that has engulfed the Middle Eastern nation.

“I heard somebody say, Where’s Mandela?’ Well, Mandela’s dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas,” – [Reuters]

Saddam killed all the Mandelas?!? You know, any country as great as this one really ought to be run by someone who has a modicum of awareness about important world leaders, events, issues, etc. I’m all for presidency being open to any American citizen, but shouldn’t there at least be some sort of IQ requirement? World knowledge? Social awareness? How about the basic ability to form coherent, meaningful and intelligent sentences?

The presidency should be open to everyone, but at the same time, becoming president should be a highly selective process. I don’t believe that it should be solely the domain of highly educated aristocrats though. Lord knows we don’t need more classism. But I think that maybe the presidency shouldn’t be an option for your common, average everyday ignoramus either…

Mandela still alive after embarrassing Bush remark – [Reuters]

20
Sep
07

Litigating the Almighty…

I ran into an interesting article today, about a rather unusual case. It appears that no target is to great for the odd frivolous lawsuit. Or so this Nebraska lawmaker claims:

State lawmaker Ernie Chambers filed a lawsuit Friday against the Almighty — acknowledging he/she goes by numerous aliases — for causing “fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues” and other alliterative catastrophes.

The suit, Chambers vs God, asks the court for a “permanent injunction ordering defendant (God) to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terrorist threats” which affect innumerable persons, including Chambers’s constituents.

Chambers told local media he filed the suit to make a point about frivolous lawsuits frequently seen in US courts, citing a recent one against a judge. – [Yahoo/AFP]

OK, bud, we get the point. Notwithstanding the fact that it is common knowledge that there are a vast number of frivolous lawsuits brought to court in any given week, I fail to see how this particular stunt proves anything.

Any judge in their right mind would throw this out. And that will be that. And he wont have proven anything we don’t already know. Like the fact that he has too much time on his hands…

God sued over pestilence and terror – [Yahoo/AFP]

11
Sep
07

Places that are unwise to rob. Armed or not…

I’ve probably mentioned before my theory about peoples lack of imagination causing them to do some not-so-bright things. Well, either I’m wrong, and this armed robber may actually have had a very vivid imagination, or I’m right and he just ain’t that smart:

A karate academy was not the best target for a robbery, a Colombian thief found when his attempt got the chop from practicing students, police said on Friday.

The robber was recovering in a hospital in Santander province north of Bogota after the martial artists used their combat skills and took away his gun. – [Yahoo/Reuters]

OK, so as I was saying, I can only assume this guy either “imagined” that he could walk into a karate academy and rob them at gunpoint, or wasn’t smart enough to look for an easier target. You make the call.

The wording of the article was funny though: “used thier combat skills”?? That’s putting it a little mildly isnt it? I mean, the man is recovering in a hospital ward! Sounds like he got a sound thrashing…

Gunman gets chop during karate robbery – [Yahoo/Reuters]

09
Sep
07

Anti-MAFIAA Manifesto (v3.03) (V for Vendetta style)

A ran across this little gem while browsing a P2P news site that i visit every now and then. I thought it was a *masterfully* done piece of literature, as the author describes it: “Written in the V for Vendetta style.” I thought it definitely worth sharing:

Market Momentum. A marginal improvement in a massive move of millions of monetary units. Mobs maintaining their millionaire manors with a martial ministry, marauding and muzzling the melomaniacs who made the mistake of mounting multi-user music-sharing programs onto their microprocessors, mostly for an ear-mashing, mundane and monotonous munch of music, with a miserable “remasterized” dynamic range.

The Machiavellian Music Industry, the Movie Masterminds and their malevolent minions, muscled by the majority of the media, masquerade their managers as martyrs to maintain a megalithic marketing model, misleading the masses into malls like mules, macerating -no, milking- their income and molding them: With mesmerizing melodies, moronic mottos, mountains of merchandise and meticulously mannered nominations, those monsters mutilate the masses’ minds, melding them into not more than mere mammals, with a microscopic mental magnitude, matching the mud and the moss.

Myth? Misstatement? Madness? MATERIALISM!

Meanwhile, in their magnificent mansions, the mink-mantled magnates morbidly mock the minorities’ misfortune, while moistening their mouths in martinis under the moonlight, and masticating their meat and marshmallows like no tomorrow.

Those mischievous moguls magnify their monumental monopolies by multiplying their machinery: Digital Rights Management, DMCA, “Trusted” Computing (Mr. Stallman was not mistaken). Maltreating musicians, misusing copyright to the max, mirroring the Matrix by mining the government to monitor communications, marching like the militia to school meetings in the mornings with menacing memos, mirthfully mismatching mortified mothers for maleficent mobsters, mandating most into misspending more and more (or be imprisoned). Their main motivation is no mystery: Money.

Money! A metastatic misery, a muddling myopia, a momentary make-believe, a magnetizing mirage! A manipulating mephisto, which metamorphoses the meek into mercenaries and murderers, making them moan like Midas in a maniacal manner: “mine, mine, mine!!” Is modesty no more?

MONEY! MAY OUR MAKER MALEDICT THEE!

(Meditate my musing for a moment)

This melee, to maximize their market share. Most of mankind’s malignancy is merged into a man-made monster of mastodonic measures. A mammoth called MAFIAA. Months pass, and the multitudes mourn the ever-minimizing mobility of their mediocre minds, amidst marred music, meaningless media transmissions, and miniaturizing freedom. This multinational massacre must be terminated, but most men make meager or no moves, at most mimetizing their communications with muTorrent, masked by the mist of encryption. Is this illegal? Maybe. Morally wrong? Maybe, maybe not (memorize this term: Civil Disobedience).

IT IS MANDATORY THAT WE DO MUCH MORE, OR THIS MACABRE MELTDOWN WILL MOVE ON!!

Militate and manifest yourselves in the metropolis! This is a major command! Miraculous modifications start as a minimal idea in a man or a woman’s mind. Maintain your might! Manly move forward, and donate money to your magnanimous comrades, the EFF and FSF, for their mission is not minor! But if you malinger…

Memorize my message, merciless mice! You might enjoy your freedoms for a minuscule moment – you shall miss them in melancholy for millennia, after they become but a marooned, mummified memory in a mausoleum named morgue. Misunderstand me not: this moderate memento, amusing to many, may be a premonitory ultimatum.

A MAYDAY!

Merry to meet you, I’m merely a man behind a mask with a mystifying moniker. I am M. – [p2pnet.net]

Nicely done. And all the more impressive because it conveys it’s message in both an inspiring and profound way. That’s right. There is a message in there. I hope you got it… 🙂

Myth? Misstatement? Madness? – [p2pnet.net]

07
Sep
07

The Southwest Airlines morality police…

You know it never ceases to amaze me how seem to think that immorality can be controlled by censorship. Censorship breeds ignorance. Nothing more. And if one day those who have been shielded from the  vices of life should come face to face with it,  do you think that their ignorance will provide them with the mental tools to deal with it correctly? I If were to hazard a guess, I’d say… no.

Americans are really quick to claim to our “individual freedoms”. However too often it seems like everybody thinks that the term “Individual Freedoms” extend no further than their own person. On an almost daily basis I see people trying to enforce their view of morality upon others, and in the process,  trample underfoot the very values they claim to hold dear, restricting what others can and cannot say, write or, for that matter, wear:

 23-year-old woman who boarded a Southwest Airlines plane in a short skirt for a flight to Arizona says she was led off the plane for wearing an outfit that was considered too skimpy.

“You’re dressed inappropriately. This is a family airline. You’re too provocative to fly on this plane,” she quoted the employee as saying.

The employee felt the outfit “revealed too much” but was placated after Ebbert made adjustments that included covering her stomach, Mainz said. – [Yahoo/AP]

Now this raises so many issues in my head that it’s almost mind boggling.  Like who determines what is considered too revealing? Too revealing for who? Is there wording in the airline contract that prohibits skimpy clothing? Did this employee have any legal right to even say anything to a passenger about this? Was this employee speaking for the company or was the employee using the airline to back up their own individual moral code?

Now these are all very important moral and legal questions. But what is not so obvious are the underlying assumptions that go into a statement like “This is a family airline. You’re too provocative to fly on this plane.” Are we to assume that family values prohibits the exposure of ones midriff on a plane? And whose values might those be?

And more importantly, shouldn’t the parents of said hypothetical “family” be able to explain to the youth of that family the right and wrong with any given attire? What I am asking, in a kind of round about way, is this: Why do people feel the need to shift the responsibility of parenting to everyone else but the parents? Why did this lady have to endure the humiliation she did?

Notwithstanding that fact that a persons dress code is not an accurate indicator of their morals, I believe that any responsible parent should have taught thier children what is considered appropriate clothing in that particular household, and so this should not have been an issue.

And I mean no offense, but it is only those parents who have not taught their kids what is right and wrong, and how to tell the difference, or who are afraid to openly discuss these topics when they come up (say, while buckling in for a short plane ride) that will have problems with this. And that will be because they are not parenting properly, not because of how someone is or isn’t dressed.

Others should not have to bear the burden of parents who don’t really understand what being a parent means. It is not easy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But no parent should have the right to impinge on anothers’ freedoms just to make the job easier. The end result will be ignorant children, living in a confusing world, without the tools to make the right decisions when faced with crises.

Airline tells woman her outfit won’t fly – [Yahoo/AP]




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