Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Almost Something Interesting

I almost had something interesting to write about, but we got shut down by some serious rain. Given the general lack thereof and local concerns about drought, it was hard to complain, but it still sucked slightly. We had planned to make a run out to the local hot springs where the manatees spend the winter. Would have been cool. Ah well. I doubt the state park will be open over Christmas, so maybe sometime in January if I'm not buried in taxes.

This is from the Library of Congress photo archives. Apparently a cat wandered in during a photo shoot.

That's one cool cat.

From the What World Do You Live In department:

According to a new study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC), Hollywood is shockingly obsessed with sexualizing teen girls, to the point where underage female characters are shown participating in an even higher percentage of sexual situations than their adult counterparts: 47 percent to 29 percent respectively.

This isn't a Hollywood problem. This is a social problem. Teen girls are sexualized in every way possible in our culture: clothes, magazines, movies, TV, books. Advertisers use sex to sell useless crap to them, and use them as sex objects to sell useless crap to everyone else. Meanwhile, our government works tirelessly to jail any girl caught taking a photo of herself in anything more revealing than a chadri. And people wonder why so many teen girls have mental problems.

If you or I were to dump our trash some random place, we all know what the government would do to us. As if it were needed, more proof that our overlords expect far less of themselves than they do of us:

Bush Stadium in downtown Indianapolis was built in 1931 as a field for Negro and minor-league baseball teams. Today, it’s a historical relic holding hundreds of rusting vehicles traded in under “cash for clunkers,” a spooky memorial to waste.

The perfect monument to the stupidity that flows like an open sewer from Washington DC.

Another great idea in crowdsourcing:

DriveMeCrazy, developed by Shazam co-founder Philip Inghelbrecht, is a voice-activated app that encourages drivers to report bad behavior by reciting the offender’s license plate into a smartphone. The poor sap gets “flagged” and receives a virtual “ticket,” which may not sound like much until you realize all the information — along with date, time and location of the “offense” — is sent to the DMV and insurance companies.

Yea, I don't see any problems here. For every report of someone driving impaired (drunk, texting, arguing with kids in the back seat, reporting to DriveMeCrazy, etc.), there we be fifty from the steady line of asshats acting out scenes from Grand Theft Auto on their morning commute complaining about everyone else getting in their way. I predict this will last until the first lawsuit against any DMV or insurance company stupid enough to use this data.

One reason why I feel voting is a complete waste of time is that so much of what the government does is no longer controlled by elected officials. The FCC's insistence that it must fix a problem that doesn't exist is one high-profile example.

Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government's reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings. In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling. 

This isn't a case where Congress or the courts left things a muddle and the agency needs to make it up as they go along. That happens every time Congress passes one of its 1900-page bills that no one has bothered to read or the Supremes hand down a decision more opaque than their ridiculous robes. No, this is a case where Congress and the DC Court of Appeals directly told the FCC, "Do Not. Do. This." And they do it anyway. Regardless of your position on net neutrality (and nothing the FCC is considering sounds like net neutrality; more like rent-seeking), this is terribly disturbing. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's name has never appeared on any ballot in any election. If he cannot defer to those who have, he needs to be removed.

Speaking of disturbing (and sexualizing teens), Amazon has stopped selling a number of books that contain fictionalized accounts of incest. This includes deleting books already purchased by Kindle owners from their book archive and refusing to refund the purchase price. Here is the dark side of e-books and the cloud. Granted, this particular instance isn't likely to garner a great deal of sympathy, and it is likely that "Erotic Incest Fiction" isn't a category Amazon is eager to blaze across its home page. And as a retailer, Amazon has every right to not sell any particular title or author for any reason or no reason whatsoever. It has the right to remove any title or author that it currently sells for any reason or no reason whatsoever. It DOES NOT have the right to remove previously-purchased items from individual's Kindles for any reason, no more than it has a right to break into my home and remove a physical book that I purchased and Amazon later decided to stop carrying. Sorry Amazon; you are completely, absolutely, 100% wrong on this one. And before anyone gets all prudish, I do find it interesting that Amazon continues to stock countless versions of a popular book that contains what it claims is a factual account of incest, involving likely-underage girls and their father.

Well, time to go apply at potential employers that I'll never hear from again.

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