Sep 25, 2012

Be the better fans

Dear Packers' fans,

You lost. Yes you were screwed and even the most die hard Seahawk fan knows this, but there's one thing you must do, get over it. I know that's easier said than done, but remind yourselves of one thing, you're fans of the Green Bay Packers, which has one of the greatest storied history in the NFL. Be the bigger person here.

I used to live in Seattle and had to hear Seahawk butthurt for most of my life, and there's nothing more annoying than a bunch of fans, who can't even tell you what a 4-3 nickle defense is, bitching and moaning about a game they know little about. After the Steelers-Seahawks Superbowl fiasco I had to listen to the whining of how the refs screwed Seattle, but none of them, not one, could tell you how the outcome of the game would've been had the calls went in Seattle's favor. Both teams played terribly that day and it was a real low point in the history of the game. Difference is most Steelers fans will admit the calls were bogus, but then again Steelers fans are better informed about football than Seahawk fans.

In your case it's clear who would've won had the replacement refs done their job correctly, but you can rise to be the better person here. Seahawk fans keep calling it karma for offenses laid against them, never mind that the Packers had nothing to do with any of it. Yes they're being douches and they at least should have some class and admit how ridiculous their win was, but remember who you are and who you root for. The Seahawks and their fans got this win and are gloating about it, but they're still Seahawks, a fate no one deserves.

In Seattle's defense, they held the hell out of your offense for a lot of the game and deserve some credit for making it a close one, but that's still no excuse for their douchiness, from the players and the fans as well.


"Probably not. I would have been honest. Obviously, the film shows, the video shows that I obviously didn’t catch the football. I wouldn’t have owned up to catching it, if I didn’t catch it." - Victor Cruz

Sep 24, 2012

Epic rant

I never have hated Apple products. Sure I think they're overpriced for something that's underwhelming, so I choose not to buy them. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad never seemed like a good value considering many other competitors had just as good products, if not better, for far cheaper. Apple does a lot of things right, mainly selling really expensive devices for people who have little idea of how to navigate a computer efficiently.
The other day my wife was working from home and was frustrated as to why her work assigned Mac couldn't offer something as simple as a Snippet Tool. She searched the internet for one, downloaded a few, but all came up with an error that was neither informative nor helpful. She missed the tool greatly and was none to happy that Apple couldn't make something similar for her needs. She has many complaints about working in a Mac house, but she lives with it and has cursed the phrase "Once you go Mac you never go back."
I posted about her frustration on FB and how I found it amusing. It then sparked a one sided debate about how Apple sucks balls, which was dominated by my friend Alec. It was too good not to share, for it was funny and informative at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Alec's epic rant against the computer giant:
Seriously? Fine. I'll start with the argument that always seems to piss of Fanboi's the most. Microsoft products are all about freedom and choice. If you use Apple products you'll have neither. If you want a photo manager on Windows, you'll have dozens to choose from. Most are free, some are opensource. You can use any of them, and they'll all output to your "My Pictures" folder, or whatever folder you want really, so that other applications can use them. You can even use two different apps concurrently if your spouse prefers one and you prefer another... and they're totally compatible. Compare this to Apple.

On OSX you have one choice of photo management, iPhoto. There are no other real alternatives. Sure you might find some, but they all have a fatal flaw: incompatibility. Say you want to make a DVD slideshow of your vacation to Disneyland. You'll have to use iMovie, which can only import photos from iPhoto. So if you used any other application for photo management, you'll still have to import them into iPhoto before you can do anything else. If you want to add a music soundtrack to your slideshow, iMovie will do that... but only if the song is in iTunes... and lord help you if it's an older track with iTunes DRM. If you tried to use a different music player, which there are very few, you wouldn't be able to import from that app into iMovie. iMovie won't let you pick files from finder! And if you did want to try a different media player or a different photo manager, you're screwed. Why? Because iPhoto and iTunes store their content in their own file structure and won't let other apps use it. Well... other apps that weren't made by Apple.

While on the subject of apps, lets talk about the new OSX App store. Apple won't let competing products into the store, and makes it nearly impossible for anyone to publish a free app in the store. Apple wants to control you and keep you in their walled garden where you have no choice, no freedom.

Have you ever tried to use Safari as your default web browser? It's awful, and horribly incompatible with a number of common plugins (i.e. Flash, Java). But don't delete it. Don't you ever delete Safari. Because if you do, you'll never be able to set the default web browser for your OS. I learned that the hard way. Downloaded firefox, and then deleted Safari. Can you set the default browser in the OS settings? Nope, it's hidden in the Safari Preferences page, which isn't there if you deleted Safari. So even though you'll never use their PoS browser, you have to keep it around so that you can modify default software actions. Even Microsoft allows you to purchase (albeit not easily in the US) a version of Windows without Internet Explorer.

Apple makes nice hardware, but maybe you prefer a different form factor. Even though hackers have found plenty of ways to run OSX on any PC hardware, will Apple let you do it? Nope. You want to use their OS, you have to use their hardware.

Now, would you like me to point out all the flaws and inconsistencies in the user interface as well?
Next lets discuss hardware. I know I said I'd talk about UI next, but I'm waiting for my mac to update to the latest version of OSX to verify these issues still exist.

Now I'm not going to blast Apple hardware for being too expensive. It's not. Compare a high-end laptop from Lenovo and you'll be in the same ballpark as a Macbook Pro. What Apple doesn't have is a low-end product, but I can't fault them for that. I won't attack them for overcharging for accessories or upgrades either. Dell will also charge a stupidly high price of $200 for an 8GB memory update to a laptop. $20-$30 for an adapter isn't uncommon either. No, what I want to discuss is hardware design and how Apple is retarded.

90% of the world is right handed. Oddly enough, Apple has never managed to capture more than 10% of the market. Coincidence? I don't think so. Apple products are designed for left-handed users. Look at your macbook, and imagine you wanted to plug in a mouse. All the USB ports are on the left side of the macbook. If you wanted to use a mouse and are right-handed, the cord would have to wrap all the way around the computer. So what, the cord is long enough right? No. The cord on an apple mouse is less than 2 feet long! So go wireless. Fine, but only if you're using an Apple wireless mouse. OSX is almost totally incompatible with any third party wireless mice. You can make most work with some additional software, but you don't need any of that on a PC. And 3rd party mice come with long 5 foot cables! Any peripheral you want to connect, from a camera to a printer to a DVD drive... they all need to plug in on the left side of an apple product, even though most of us have better fine motor control with our right hands.

Where is the lock slot on a mac? On the right hand side, so your lock strap will interfere with your mouse if you're right handed. Brilliant. Where's the power button on an iMac? It's hidden in the back on the left side. So when you need to press it, you're using your left hand.

Why does Apple put an Enter and a Return key on their keyboard? What's more frustrating is that these keys do the same thing 99.9% of the time, except when Apple decides for some reason that they're different... and you'll be pounding away on that Return key and be confused as to why the product keeps saying "Press Enter".

Speaking of keys, why is there an Eject button on the keyboard that only ejects a DVD? Why doesn't it eject attached drives if I have it selected? No, I still have to drag those icons to the trash can instead of pressing that perfectly good key on the keyboard.

Why must every edge on a macbook be as sharp as a knife? The company that patented "rounded corners" can't seem to use them on their own products. When I have to use my macbook for any length of time I walk away with bruises on my wrists. People probably think I'm trying to kill myself... but no, I'm just using a mac.

Apple's power adapters are the worst I've ever used... which is a shame, because the design is awesome. I love the way the clips fold out and you can easily wrap up the cables. But they use the cheapest cables available. The ends near the plug always crack and fray. I spent many nights soldering my plug back on. You used to be able to find 3rd party power bricks which used better quality cables, but since Apple switched to the magsafe plug I haven't seen any.

Apple makes the least upgradable or user serviceable hardware on the planet. If Apple could make their product only work with Apple branded electricity, they'd probably do it. Take for example the new Macbook Pro line. You can't replace the battery on your own, and that's the one thing that has a 100% chance of failing. You can't replace the hard drive, because Apple uses a proprietary hard drive size and interface. You can't upgrade the memory, because it's soldered onto the motherboard. No PC maker in the world does this. Once again, if you have a Windows machine you have freedom and control. If you own a Mac, you'll have neither.
Apple has the second worst user interface for a desktop computer, beating out Linux for the worst. It's married to designs that only made sense when the Mac had a single 9" monitor. It has UI controls that have seemingly random effects depending on the application you're using.

The Menu Bar (that thing at the top of your mac) makes sense only if you have a small, single monitor like the original Mac did back in '84. It fails once you move to a larger screen. If you have a large monitor, and the app you're running is in the lower right you have to move your mouse cursor all the way to the opposite corner just to select "Print" from the menu. It's even worse if you have multiple monitors because the menu bar is only available on the main display. So if the app you're running is on the second or third display you now have to cover a ton of real estate just to select a different tool from the menu. That's really hard to do when your 2 foot mouse cord restricts you to moving the mouse 1 inch at a time.

Apps have totally different look & feel. Some apps have leather like borders for some reason, others are brushed aluminum. There's no reason for the different appearances. Even the brushed metal ones are different. Some are pinkish in hue, others are blueish in hue.

The min/max/close buttons had different effects depending on what app you're using - assuming they even have those buttons at all. Afaik, every Apple app has a minimize button and they all work the same. The close button though, who knows. Some apps, like Chess, don't even have a close button. I guess they never want you to stop running those apps. In some apps the close button only closes the window, but the application keeps running (i.e. iTunes, Safari). But in other apps it actually shuts down the program (i.e. iPhoto, DVD Player, Facetime). The maximize button feels totally random. In some cases it maximizes the app to show all the available content (i.e. Finder). In others it maximizes the app vertically but not horizontally (i.e. Safari). Some expand to take up the whole screen (i.e. TextEdit, Appstore). Others do nothing (DVD Player), and some (iTunes) don't get bigger but instead turn into a mini version of the app!

If you want to command-tab to a minimized window... guess what? It's stays minimized. Seriously, who the fuck thought this was a good idea?

If you want to resize a window you can only do it by selecting the lower right corner of the app. Except in cases where Apple decided that it was perfectly ok to let you select any corner to resize. It's so random I don't even know where to start.

You minimize windows to the dock, but they're not grouped with the app associated with them. So you start Safari and you have one window open. You minimize that window, and now you have two instances of Safari in the dock... but you only have one window running.

If you want to eject a DVD or Floppy, you have to drag it to the trash can, which in any other case deletes whatever you're dragging to the trash can. So every new user says, "But I don't want to delete it... I want to eject it." They've heard this for decades but refuse to fix it. It's a broken concept.

When an application hangs, there's no equivalent to the task manager to kill it. Yes, you can bring up a menu with Ctrl-Alt-Esc (again, this combo is done with the left hand. Ctrl-alt-del on the PC is done with the right hand), and if you're very lucky it will kill a hung app. Most of the time you have to drop into terminal, run "top" to find the offensive app and then kill the job with a command line. If you have to go to the command line to make your GUI work you've already failed. Your other option is *GASP* to reboot.

Oh... something I totally forgot on the hardware rant... Why don't I have any Page Up, Page Down, Home or End keys? Has no one at Apple ever done text editing? Ctrl-Shift-End to select an entire column in excel, or Ctrl-Home to jump to the top of a document. Really useful stuff that I just can't live without.
Oh, just remembered Apple's awful screen-sharing/vnc solutions. So crappy. You can't tweak it for a slower connection, you can't disable certain UI elements to speed things up. Microsoft's Remote Desktop is generations ahead of the game. You can copy/paste between the machine you're using and the remote machine you're connected to. And it's not limited to text, you can copy entire folders over Remote Desktop. It's awesome.

XCode... I'll give them props for including not one but three development platforms for free with every mac: XCode, Automator, Applescript. Microsoft charges hundreds of dollars for full versions of Visual Studio and only recently made slightly-crippled versions available for free to non-commercials. But XCode is by far the worst IDE I've ever used. Like the rest of the industry, Apple likes C. But they want objects in C. Everyone else uses C++... but no, Apple has to make Objective-C, which even Mac developers say is a pain to use.

Lets say you want a simple app. It has a button and when you click that button a message pops up and says, "Hello!". In visual studio you draw the window, drop a button on it and then double-click the button to write code for it. In XCode you have to launch a second app called interface builder. You draw a window, and drop a button on it. Now you have to go back to xcode, write your code and then create a click-event from another window of Interface Builder, and draw some wacky pipe diagram from your code to the click-event and then to the button. This somehow implies that you might one day want to write code for a button that is not dependant on a click-event, and that this scenario is just as likely to happen as writing the much more common click-event for a button. It's retarded and stupid, and Visual Studio kicks so much ass over this. But again, Visual Studio costs hundreds of dollars and XCode is given away for free. You get what you pay for here. Too bad XCode is the only way to write apps for iOS devices.
"As a longtime Mac user, I've never been bothered by the USB ports' location on the left. I use a wireless Microsoft mouse (I don't like the mice Apple ships with). I've used other third-party mice without any trouble either. It's my opinion that the ports are on the left so that there isn't any clutter on the right to interfere with the precise mouse control of my right-hand. I'm also right-hand dominant and in no way feel ostracized or discriminated against by Apple's USB port placement. I could say a lot more about my opinion of Apple products, but I'll spare everyone from another Apple/Microsoft diatribe." - Mike

Sep 18, 2012

Texas or Washington?

Let's play a fun little game called Texas or Washington? Below are a some interesting facts with a brief description and you have to guess whether it takes place in Texas or in Washington state. Scroll down to see the answers.

1. This wedding pic of a bridal party was shot in Texas or in Washington?

2. This is the infamous Coon-Chicken Inn, which was a restaurant that resided either in Texas or Washington.

3. The state government of either Texas or Washington implemented a plan to not charge sales tax on all items to assist parents who need to purchase back to school items for one weekend a year.

4. One of the most popular online and public access shows regarding atheism, The Atheist Experience, is broadcast out of Texas or Washington?

5. Which state, Texas or Washington, spends the most in public education?

6. On average, which state, Texas or Washington, pays the most in property tax?

7. According to Wikepedia's page concerning police brutality per state, which state, Texas or Washington, has the most incidents listed?

8. Which state, Texas or Washington, has the highest incarceration rate?

9. Which state, Texas or Washington, has the most rainfall per year?

10. Martin Luther King Jr visited this state's major metropolitan area once, which they later named the county after him.
1. This was in Washington. I went to high school with this guy. Some clues that may have helped you should've been 1) there's an actual fire in the fireplace 2) no tan lines 3) real cowboys don't smile.
2. Coon-Chicken Inn started in Salt Lake City, UT, but the owners opened a restaurant in Seattle (Lake City Way) and in Portland (Sandy Blvd). The owners then retired from the business in the late 50s. Sambo's had a diner in my hometown.
3. Texas implemented tax free holiday as does many other states, but oddly Washington doesn't.
4. Yep, this is broadcast out of Austin Texas.
5. Texas spends $37,810,969,302, while Washington spends a little over 9 million, according to last year's data.
6. Texas narrowly beats out Washington at a cost of $2,141 to $2,127, respectively.
7. Washington get the dubious honor of being #1.
8. This may come as no surprise, but Texas beats out Washington by a large margin, according to 2007 data.
9. Shockingly enough, Texas wins this one.
10. Washington has this honor. There is a King county in Texas, named after a fallen Alamo soldier.

Sep 12, 2012

My favorite poltical movies

With the political season in full swing people are bemoaning the long process of listening to whines and mudslinging of ambitious men who crave power above principle, and I don't blame them. It gets old, and for the most part I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't know who'd they vote for already at this point.

As frustrating as it can be, it can be amusing to see politicians in action, whether it be infamous blunders or exposing their ignorance. Sometimes it is incredible to watch the skill of any speaker sway a crowd, or even a nation, as we saw in 2008. Politics can be fun if you have the right attitude.

It's of little surprise that I enjoy political movies. At their best they can entertain as well as inform one about the process. They can show us the great possibilities of this nation and expose the horrors of what people will do for an ounce of power and fame. Listed below are some of my favorite political movies:

  1. Bob Roberts: A mockumentary directed and starring Tim Robbins, it shows a ficticious campaign in Pennsylvania, where the title character is a conservative folk singer turned Senatorial candidate running against a long time Democratic incumbent. The story is told through the lens of a British documentary filmmaker following the Roberts campaign and viewing the corruption and naked ambition of a man posing as a candidate of extraordinary values. The soundtrack is hilarious as the comedy is dark and it's something I highly recommend. It's hard to think of this as satire anymore, sadly.
    2. Mr Smith Goes to Washington: Sure this film is old, but Jimmy Stewart plays the title role masterfully as the idealist Congressman ready to enact positive change, but finds himself in a rat's nest of corruption that he never realized existed. The climatic speech is worth watching alone.
    3. All the King's Men: Based on the life of Huey Long, this film chronicles an good natured idealist politician turned into a corrupt megalomaniac. With great action and marvelous direction, this Oscar winner doesn't disappoint, unlike the remake:
    4. Power: A cynical behind the scenes look at how campaigns are run. Richard Gere is a ruthless, corrupt campaign consultant who'll go to great and despicable lengths to get his clients elected. While the film's strength largely resides in its first hour, it does give you enough suspense to keep you hooked to see what happens. Some great performances by the aforementioned Gere, Denzel Washington, and Gene Hackman to name a few. (Can't find a trailer on Youtube sadly:

    5. Nixon: When Oliver Stone isn't pulling facts out of his ass, this film is an amazing, and incredibly sympathetic portrait of one of our most corrupt Presidents. Anthony Hopkins plays the role with expected enthusiasm and grace.
    6. All the President's Men: Released two years after Nixon resigned, this is a great portrayal of Woodward and Bernstein's Washington Post investigation into the Watergate scandal. Chronicling the conversations with a then anonymous character called Deep Throat, this film shows the power of media as being a watchdog group, something today's journalists could stand to learn from.
    7. The War Room: This documentary goes behind the scenes of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, and follows the work of George Stephopolous and the ragin cajun James Carville as they work to get their candidate defeat the incumbent, George HW Bush.
    8. A Perfect Candidate: Like the aforementioned The War Room, this is another documentary about Oliver North's run for Senator. Yes that Oliver North. Fascinating in its look at how candidates are run as a product, rather than a person.
    9. Election: A funny parody of a high school election about an ambitious high school student and her morally bankrupt teacher/advisor, which could be any political setting when you think about it.
    10. Reds: Probably the most epic film on this list, this movie tells the story of John Reed, the American journalist and communist that sought the presidency and chronicled the Bolshevik Revolution. It humanizes historical characters that textbooks often overlook, and the powerful acting and direction is the direct result of the amazing talent of Warren Beatty.
Other notables are Bulworth, Gandhi, Downfall, and the Manchurian Candidate (original).

What are yours?

"But it is Stewart’s Jefferson Smith, with a drawl as wide as the Missouri and, despite everything he’s seen, a bedrock trust in the essential decency of his fellow Americans — and in the turbulent, boisterous American political system itself — that lends Mr. Smith its enduring, inimitable charm." - Ben Cosgrove

Sep 10, 2012

They did it.

As you're all probably aware today marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Rather than create another rant about the politics of fundamentalism I bring you an old post. Dated years ago I wrote down the feelings I had that day when the terrorists forever changed our world. I know I'll never forget the attacks, but the thoughts going through my head on 9/11 may slowly fade.

It's actually my favorite post to date. Enjoy:

I seem to be jumping the bandwagon of bloggers who are posting about the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but I figured it would be nice to write down my thoughts if only for myself. The remembrance of that day is slowly going fuzzier with age and I pray I won't forget the feeling that the events brought me.

I was in my normal before work routine of eating breakfast. I flipped on the news and I saw the billowing smoke coming from the World Trade Center. My then girlfriend came out of the room and I looked at her.

"They did it," I proclaimed. "They finally did it."

"Did what?" she asked.

"Terrorists struck two planes into the World Trade Center. We're under attack."

She didn't say anything. She looked at the television and watched with confusion.

It took me forever to realize why my first words were 'they did it, they finally did it.' I then recalled a conversation back in the late 90s with my friends Corey and Joe. We discussed one of our most loved political subjects and that is Israel. The conversation then went into terrorism and unto Osama Bin Laden. We were unsure at the time if Osama was a real threat, but all of us agreed that soon terrorism would be at our front door steps and it would be larger than the embassy and USS Cole combined.We had no idea just how massive it would become.

The phone range. It was Corey.

"Hey are you watching the news?" he said.

"Yeah," I replied.

"The shit is going down," he observed.

"It sure is," I said. "I'm going to call the folks. They don't have television."

"Tell em I said hi."

"Will do. I'll be online soon. If I hear any more news I'll send it to you."

"Same here."

I called the folks and updated them on what I knew at the time. Mom tried to make some reasonable explanation about why our country was under attack, inciting what she believes is our country's lack of godliness.I was annoyed. Here I was calling her about a terrible situation and she had to go Pat Robertson on me. I could've have asked why Amsterdam gets a free pass, but really I didn't want to argue and just let it go. People all have their way of coping with tragedy and I just as well let her have her's.

I left for work shortly thereafter. I was tuned into the radio when the news announced the first tower collapsed. After I got to work the second tower then plunged to the earth taking numerous lives with them.

I got inside the building and people were talking over each other about what just happened. I sat at my cube and was being bombarded by IMs with news about the Pentagon and Flight 93. My inbox was flooded from friends I haven't heard from in years wondering what my thoughts were on the whole mess.

As one could imagine the phone volume was really dead that day. Then after being at my cube for hours without a call the phone rang. It was a customer who was having trouble with her word processing software. She was angry about her support options and hung up on me. I wasn't all that polite given what was going on and she took the time to call in and bitch about typing a letter.

Since it was so slow my boss let a few of us go home early. I came home and sat on the couch, eyes being glued to the tv. My then girlfriend came home, said nothing, sat on the couch beside me, and rested her head on my shoulder. I threw my arms around her and we sat in silence for what felt like forever watching the terrible tragedy unfold before us.

Five years later I think about this eternal conflict of a fearful empire clashing with civilizations that can't seem to bring themselves out of the 7th century. I could go on about the politics and war that has been brought and my analysis on it, but this day I choose to remember one thing about 9/11 and that being my first words when I comprehended what was going on.

"They did it. They finally did it."

"After 9-11 there was a body of literature from people like Baudrillard and Chomksy who wrote very eloquently about what the hell was going on, but they didn't pitch a solution." - Ben Nicholson

Sep 7, 2012

Why I won't vote Republican this year

It may not surprise anyone that I don't think I know anyone in Texas who will vote for Obama. While this claim may cause my Seattle friends to go into a stroke, I'm pretty sure I'm alone in how I cast my ballot. I don't really care how someone votes, even if it's contrary to my own, as I try to respect how personal politics are, similar to religion. If all my Texas brethren feels the President is not qualified to run the country for another four years, that's fine. They may be wrong, but I won't sweat it.

As I've stated numerous times before, if the Republican party reflected the values of one of my favorite presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, I would proudly proclaim myself a member of the GOP. Sadly they don't reflect his, nor my idea of how the government should be run.

The GOP claims they enjoy liberty, unless you're gay or choose an abortion or want to enjoy recreational drugs. That's not to say the Democrats don't have their issues they're self righteous about, such as gun control and driving a gas guzzling muscle car at 120 MPH, but I've always subscribed to the idea that those who sacrifice liberty for safety, or at least the illusion of it, deserve neither.

From the Republican Party's 2012 platform: "That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions." It doesn't take a law scholar to recognize how ridiculous this is, nor is it hardly the work of a smaller government ideal. Liberty to marry should be the right of all adult consenting parties, not just those you think are not icky.

"We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. We recognize that an unconstitutional effort to impose “national popular vote” would be a mortal threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the presidency." Does any of them remember the election of 2000? Is voter corruption really as widespread as they claim? The answer to both questions is no.

"The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge. We condemn the actions of those who deny our children the means by which to show respect for our great country and the constitutional principles represented by our flag." While I respect the flag and what it stands for, giving it special status under the law is in direct defiance of liberty, and no judicial act that I'm aware of has ever denied anyone from saying the pledge, it only gave them the right not to say it, which again is an individual's right. If I bought a flag it's my to burn, even if I use it to light my barbecue, I should not be held as a criminal for an ideal I want to express, especially if it's not considered obscene by the Supreme Court.

These are but a few reasons why I think the Republicans don't honor liberty like they claim. The fact that they hold onto broken policies of the Bush administration such as deregulation of markets, extending tax cuts, and spending more than they bring in, is flat out ridiculous and solidifies my vote for the Democrats. We all know how well those ideas turned out, and our country has suffered great consequences because of it. Why they think they're going to win this year based on that is truly baffling.

Now I understand people who want to vote Republican as they generally want the same thing we all do; freedom, prosperity, and low crime, nor would I look down upon someone who does cast their ballot for Romney. But I look upon the economies of GOP Presidents for the last 100 years or so and it seems this country has done far better under Democratic rule. Why that is I can't say, but if you let history be your guide the choice for me is obvious.

I can't say I've been entirely happy about the Obama administration, nor am I excited about the possibility of another four years with him at the helm, but I do think he's far more qualified than his opponent. He's taken down more terrorists, given tax relief to manufactures who will keep jobs in the states, and given Americans an opportunity for better health care, among the many things he's accomplished. Here is a scorecard for Obama's promises kept or broken, as opposed to the GOPs in the last four years.

By all means read through the Democratic party platform, or you could even go so far as the Libertarian as well, or any other third party for that matter. Make an informed choice when you go to the polls, and trust in your conscience and intellect. We have the power to enact change in this country, and sitting idly by and not doing anything is one of the most anti-American acts one could do.

"Today, our economy is growing again, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11, and our manufacturing sector is growing for the first time in more than a decade. But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started. We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth—the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us." - Democratic Platform

Sep 5, 2012

The world is glad to be rid of her

In the news yesterday it was reported that Griselda Blanco has perished as the result of a motorcycle assassin in her native Columbia, a technique credited to her for creating. You may not be familiar with the so called Godmother, but during the 70s and 80s she was the most feared, and possibly successful drug tycoon in the US, leaving a wake of numerous dead bodies. She was largely responsible for the cocaine cowboy slayings that dominated the Miami area.

Supposedly Griselda made her first killing at the age of 11 in the slums of Columbia, but somehow rose to power in Columbia as a drug kingpin. She took her business to Miami, then a sleepy town with little going for it, and helped turn it into the main port of the cocaine trade. Reportedly she made as much as 8 million dollars a month, but for whatever reason money didn't satisfy her, and she ordered the death of over 200 people, including children.

She eventually was caught by the DEA, but after serving a ten years in prison the case against her collapsed on a technicality and she was deported to Columbia in 2004. After years of being free, her crimes finally caught up with her and she paid the ultimate price for being a murdering psychopath.

Now I'm against the death penalty, but when news such as this appears I feel no remorse for someone as despicable as her not being able to breathe. Granted she has a family, most notably a son named Michael Corleone (yeah, you read that right), who made an appearance on Deadliest Warrior, who is no doubt mourning the death of his mother, but still, she was behind some of the most brutal killings this country has ever seen.

She had no conscious, and even ordered the death of children so she could hold on to her power as the queen of the cocaine trade. Anyone who may have crossed her, whether they did or not, faced an ugly death by one of her goons, and even their families weren't safe from her wrath. It was a dark period for Miami and the country as a whole, and her reign of terror was worse than Capone's.

So I question my own morality today, as I stand firm by the fact that again I think it's morally wrong to kill a person against their will, and that is an absolute I have no problem declaring, but when people like this leave the world I'm glad to be rid of them. It's a strange duality, similar to the feelings I had when it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was thankfully taken from us, but I guess I shouldn't dwell on it.

“It's surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies. When you kill so many and hurt so many people like she did, it's only a matter of time before they find you and try to even the score.” - Nelson Andreu

‘Cocaine godmother’ Griselda Blanco gunned down in Colombia: Reports