The Gentlemen Revolutionaries

Dedicated to the Preservation of the First Amendment

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

So the Democratic Response was such a sack of crap. Ok I understand why you selected Kaine but he sucked. I know he isn't up for election in 06 so you are not risking anything there, and I know that he won't run for pres in 08 so he isn't throwing himself to the slaughter, but come on, if you are going to deliver the same tired old message please try and do it without stumbling over the words.

Dems, PLEASE PLEASE it is time to learn that you need to make your own statement rather than just criticizing the Right.

The State of the Union- After

ETHANOL! hells yeah, hit it right on the head, and remember, you heard it here first.

Technology! you got it!

Nothing else I predicted really, however, there was one moment that I, as a political science nerd, found very humours. Bush reintroduced the line item veto (which the supreme court found unconstitutional) to a standing ovation from the Republicans who opposed it in the 90s and to no applause from the Democrats who backed it in the 90s.

I am watching Tim Kane from Virginia right now, will have something on this jerk later.

The State of the Union- Before

So I am going to do before and after posts on the State of the Union. Here is what I expect:

Major policy shifts- in energy (MASSIVE ethanol subsidies), domestic security(defense of wire taps but introduction of a kinder gentler patriot act), and Iraq(bring upwards of 50k home).

Focus on technology, gov sponsored get online programs

The goal will be to take away as much of an edge that the dems could possibly have in 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

Go Corporate America!

Below is my round-up of how great I think corporate America is.

Complaints are running rampant,, that Google is bowing to the Chinese demands by removing blog and mail services in China. Obviously I wish that Google could provide all the services it provides in the United States to those in less free countries, however, I believe that Google has done the right thing. They had two options in this situation, they could play by China's rules, or not play at all.

From a business point of view, obviously the best decision is to play by the rules, but from a vision of bringing democracy to China, it is also a good decision.

Any American influence, however small, brings ever more light to the Chinese people. Google must play by Chinese rules because the Chinese government could care less if Google was there or not. Google is only going to cause problems for China, so them allowing them to arrive at all is a step in the right direction.

Exxon-Mobile! Wahoo! Profits for everyone! 36.1 BILLION DOLLARS! I personally find this to be an wonderful thing. I can hear the gasps from here but I am 100% serious. Why should they not be allowed to make that much in profits? Why is that a bad thing? We are participants in something called "the free market." This so called "free market" means that people can sell their goods for any price they want and we can choose to buy their goods. If we do not choose to buy their goods, then they will readjust their prices. Now if they decide to charge $2.35 for their good (including government taxes) and people decide to buy it, then those that choose to buy it are to blame. From time to time, prices do go hire than the market will bear, for example, when they got closer to $3, the market started to not bear the prices. So they made a ton of money, more than a ton, like a gazillion tons, but that is their deal and if they can pull it off only we are to blame.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Iran, I run, I duck and cover

Iran has become a mythical beast of sorts. They are legitimately scary in that they are a fundamentalist nation that wants to wipe Israel and the United States off the map, they are legitimately nuts when they say the Holocaust did not happen; but the fear of their possession of a nuclear weapon is somewhat exaggerated. A number of factors must be taken into account to come to this result, but once taken into account, this is the obvious conclusion.
One of the most looked over factors is that Iran is a State. They are not a lose collection of tribes and warlords (like the Taliban) they are not a terrorist organization. It is a State. States, no matter how much of jerks they may be, generally do not cavalierly launch nuclear weapons. Though they may want to destroy the "Zionists" doing so at the risk of one's own State is foolish and illogical, even for a State that is commonly seen as foolish and illogical. Iran may be in the hunt for the bomb, but they are not in the hunt for a bomb. This is Iran pursuing a long term national security (or aggressiveness) campaign. This is not a flash in the pan, put one nuke in Israel or DC, and that should not be our concern with the program.

The argument has been made that it should be because Iran does not have the delivery capabilities of the Soviets. But here is a little secret- for a price, everyone in the world, including you and I, have the delivery capabilities of the Soviets. The porousness of the former Soviet bloc is also proof that this is not a flash in the pan operation. If it was, a warhead could be bought much more quickly, quietly and cheaply from the former Soviet military (this is not to say that Iran has not done this, they may have, but the course they are pursuing shows that possession of a singular weapon is not the end of the road).

More dangerous than Iran is Pakistan. This is a country that is a nuclear power, with an enemy across the boarder (India) and that is, as a friend put it, "only one car bomb away from a fundamentalist government." I want you to imagine a map for a moment. First think of this chunk of the middle east, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Now think of the stable governments in that group. There is only one, Iran. Iraq doesn't have a government, Afghanistan could collapse with some force, and Pakistan, as said before is a crap shoot. Right now, US troops are the cohesive force in the region. The risk here is the creation of a Fundamentalist Bloc (to be clear, this would most certainly not INITIALLY contain all Islamic Nations, for example, Jordan, Egypt and other Moderate and Modern States would not be entwined in this grouping. Overtime, however, it may be more likely than not that fundamentalist organizations in these States become more brazen and come to power. This is the real threat to the region, not a nuclear Iran, or a nuclear Middle East, but instead, a Middle East led by a single ideology of removing Israel from the map.

So where do we go, what do we do?
1) Take a measured approach in preventing Iran from going nuclear. The slower the process is for them the more likely it will be that a non-extremist will be in power when the finally get the technology (which is inevitable in reality).
2) Stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq (Duh!)
3) Encourage democratic reforms in Pakistan even if they don't 100% fit our interests
4) Encourage the formation of a Palestinian State, to take that issue off the table.
5) Create economic reform and growth in the region in a sector other than energy.

It seems like a lot but in reality it is. It is a ton of work and long term initiatives and maybe we will get there. Hopefully we give it a shot.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pave it all

In a stunning announcement today the State of California has banned plants. Thats right, California has made the decision to ban plants today after it was discovered that plants are large generators of Methane, a greenhouse gas.
Members of the Sierra Club applauded the decision saying "finally we will be taking a stand against the second biggest contributor to global warming, plants." The Sierra Club is calling on the agricultural industry to start producing more hybrid and electric plants. "Without these reforms blood will be on the hands of the agricultural industry and Mother Nature herself for creating this situation."
A large tree was unavailable for comment today.

Scientists: Plants linked to global warming

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.
The culprits are plants.
They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.
The scientists measured the amount of methane released by plants in controlled experiments. They found it increases with rising temperatures and exposure to sunlight.
"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.
Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.
Concentrations of the gas in the atmosphere have almost tripled in the last 150 years. About 600 million tonnes worldwide are produced annually.
The scientists said their finding is important for understanding the link between global warming and a rise in greenhouse gases.
It could also have implications for the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for developed countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.
Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.
Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.
David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.
"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.
But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.
"There will be a lively scramble among researchers for the answers to these and other questions," Lowe added.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm a jerk

I lied. I am a jerk. I said that I was going to post yesterday. I didn't. Let the public stoning begin but don't do it too long or I will get upset and you won't get a post today either.

Democrats, I think you are doing something unadvisable. I don't mean the Democrats in Congress I mean you everyday Democrats, especially you blogging ones. You are counting your chickens before they hatch. You are all thinking that Delay taking a step back is a huge victory for you. Well you are all wrong. Delay stepping down is a HUGE victory for the Republicans.

When you are done cleaning out your undies I will continue.

1) Any scandal that comes up may only bring down Republicans but when it comes to election time, voters do not discriminate between parties. Incumbents are incumbents and all are corrupt in their view. In that case everyone can be a loser but this won't hurt the Republicans.

2) This will bring new, young (relatively speaking), enthusiastic people into the leadership of the party. The result is that the Republicans will have new faces, which the public will be naturally more appealing to the public. On the other hand the Democrats have stale leadership in congress that isn't going to win them any new fans.

This may not seem like a big deal but this will be a huge advantage in 06. This attacks that naturally would have been launched on all Republicans for Delay's actions are made null and void. This action also protects current seats from challengers in the primaries. Overall they have offset and removed many arguments that could be used against them in 06. "We have done something about the corruption in congress. We have changed leadership and look to take us in a new direction. What have the Democrats done?"

This may not seem like much of an argument to you and I, but in a skillfully crafted campaign this could play very well to anyone and everyone. I see a growing arrogance in the Democratic party that is very very worrying to me. Yes Republicans will go down, yes the President is unpopular, but that doesn't win elections. You win elections by saying something new.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Upcoming posts:
Monday- Why Delay resigning is good for republicans in 06 and 08, and how more going down in scandals will also be beneficial to them
Later this week- Google Video, Google Pack, what it means for the internet, microsoft, and you.

But to keep you entertained until then:

FORT SUMNER, New Mexico (AP) -- A mouse got its revenge against a homeowner who tried to dispose of it in a pile of burning leaves. The blazing creature ran back to the man's house and set it on fire.

Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner said he caught the mouse inside his house and wanted to get rid of it.

"I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house," Mares said from a motel room Saturday.

Village Fire Chief Juan Chavez said the burning mouse ran to just beneath a window, and the flames spread up from there and throughout the house.

No was hurt inside, but the home and everything in it was destroyed.

Unseasonably dry and windy conditions have charred more than 53,000 acres and destroyed 10 homes in southeastern New Mexico in recent weeks.

"I've seen numerous house fires," village Fire Department Capt. Jim Lyssy said, "but nothing as unique as this one."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ridiculous item of the week:

TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior, the Canadian Medical Association Journal said in a study published on Tuesday.

Seventeen homeless adults, all with long and chronic histories of alcohol abuse, were allowed up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day -- a glass an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- in the Ottawa-based program, which started in 2002 and is continuing.

After an average of 16 months, the number of times participants got in trouble with the law had fallen 51 percent from the three years before they joined the program, and hospital emergency room visits were down 36 percent.

"Once we give a 'small amount' of alcohol and stabilize the addiction, we are able to provide health services that lead to a reduction in the unnecessary health services they were getting before," said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, one of the authors of the report.

"The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases... It's about improving the quality of life."

Do I even have to get into how freaking stupid this study is? 17, great sample size. Oh and you are trying to help them get more medical services so you just feed their addiction... GREAT... I am sorry but Canadians just really rub me the wrong way sometimes.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

At 2:14 a.m. August 29th, Google becomes self-aware

The Terminator: The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
Sarah Connor:
And Skynet fights back.

Chances are they are reading this right now. What I really should say is that chances are it is reading this right now. What is it? It is a computer program or computer or set of programs, (however it is defined I am not 100% sure) that roams the internet, updating itself to new links, pages, images, phone numbers, satellite images, scholarly articles, news, blogs, items for sale, classified ad postings, VIN numbers, package tracking, flight information, and anything and everything else that ever hits the internet. It is the first commercially successful stab at artificial intelligence. It is Google and it is slowly yet fundamentally changing the internet, and the future, as we know it. I want to correct myself right away; slowly is not the correct word, it isn’t slow, it is subtle.
I also want to admit to my dependence on Google. I love Google. I love Gmail and will give anyone and everyone an invite. I use Desktop Search which is great but has allowed my own file structure to fall apart. Google maps is amazing. Google news is my default news service and pretty much everything I do on the internet starts there. This blog is no exception, it is run on a Google owned system called Blogger.
So what? So Google has a great business model, it is one of the few dotcoms to really run a profit, it had an amazing IPO, and its stock will probably hit 600 this year and is only slightly overvalued (very little sarcasm here, I really believe that Google is worth almost that much). So what is my freaking deal? (image placeholder)It scares me. Not the organization, not the people, but it. Not the physical Google Bots that roam the web, but instead the idea of Google. The idea of literally compiling all the information in the world, not just knowledge but information, into one place, terrifies me.
They could very easily figure out where I work, the route I take to get there, the gas I use, the type of car I drive, approximately how much I get paid, what websites I frequent, how much time I spend online, the TV shows I watch, medical problems that I research, pictures of me and my friends and family, and that is all without invading my privacy. That is simply from web searches. If they included what Gmail and Desktop search have access to then they have basically my whole life on file.
Yet all of this is still not enough for me to worry about them. It is where they go from here that I worry about.
Rumors have been floating of an upcoming Google PC, I don’t buy them and frankly even with it, I am not concerned about it. A low priced Google PC would simply be a new outlet for advertising, and a different market of advertising (Wal-Mart instead of Wall Street Journal). A Google PC would also be heavily web integrated—possibly with minimal hard storage capacity and instead online storage space? Perhaps a PC “to go” type system… (Nothing but thoughts and speculation) What is coming, I am not sure, I will speculate later, but something big is coming.
Thursday (1/5) marks the launch of the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest venue for showing off new products for 2006. From my cursory research Google has some of the most space at the show, comparable to Microsoft (which has a new operating system to show off). So what are they doing there? What products are they showing off? The only answer I have for you is (image placeholder)something, and that something is most likely NOT a PC. Articles have been written in the past two days that speak of the “Google Cube.” The “Cube” is basically a device that attaches to pretty much everything and then wirelessly networks back to your home network and to the internet. The advantage for Google is that they can monitor every webpage, TV show, DVD, video game, CD that you use then advertise to you based on an algorithm determining your likes and dislikes, couple that in with your demographics and they have the most powerful advertising medium EVER. But for consumers to use “The Cube” it must have some value for them. Just giving it away won’t do it, it has to have a purpose for the consumer. If the Cube is more than myth, we should find this out this week.
So why I am afraid of Google? The advertising doesn’t scare me. Them having a “file” on me really isn’t what pushes me over the edge either. It is how far they are planning to go that concerns me. One of the most important rules at Google is “Don’t be evil,” I do not believe that they are evil, but sometimes evil arises from the best intentions. The improvements in the Google AI (artificial intelligence- which scares the shit out of me just on its own, though Google’s is not like scary sci-fi AI), their ever expanding quest for knowledge, and their ballooning services make it very dangerous should someone decide to be evil, or gets there accidentally.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It appears that the CIA accidently outed some(all) of its Iranian agents. S0 the chances of us invading Iran anytime soon have gone from slim to none. Ignoring the fact that we dont have the troops to do it, now we dont have the intel either, not even bad intel.

The loss of these sources is troubling because we now have a very limited window into Iran when they are apparently starting up their nuke program. Additionally the renewed focus on the hardline is additionally concerning. Now we are pretty much blind as to what is happening during one of Iran's most critical times.

A bunch of nothing

Jack Abramoff, a former senior Washington lobbyist, is on the verge of going down hardcore and he is going to claw at the edge as he slides over the precipice in a futile attempt to keep himself from going under. So the question is, who is going down with him?

Many have implied that many republicans will be going down with him, and I agree, but the real answer in my opinion is who ISN'T going down with him. The list will be long and diverse. There will be an even mix of Democrats and Republicans and it will be big names on both sides. Many are taking the guess that it will be more Republicans than Democrats due to the Abramoff's close relationship with a number of high ranking Republicans, but I firmly belive that due to the way Washington works, there may be many a Democrat involved.

So where does that leave us? Well no where really. The people that are going down won't do so until after the 06 elections, by the time they are forced from their seats it will be 07, the Presidential elections will be underway, it will be a place holder until the dirt on candidates really starts to come out. This is on the fast track to going no where. A few people will lose their seats, some will lose their shirts, some may go to jail but they will probably all get off with a slap on the wrist.

So the end result will be one or two people going down, and that is about it.

What else do we have for 06?
1) an uneventful congressional election.
2) a push at an impeachment which wont happen
3) a new VP
4) an end to scandals from the bush whitehouse
5) interesting moves in a set up for 08