Topic: The Inner Grump Speaks

Today's Emergency Alert System test

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The federal government obviously hasn't figured out how to broadcast on these newfangled radio thingies. The national EAS test repeated itself twice, each time ending in "we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming." But the first time, they didn't. Plus, during the first message, some genius left an open mic near a speaker, so the message could be heard echoing itself. Boy, these magic talking boxes sure are hard to figure out, huh?

government dunce

These are the geniuses that want to run your health care.

At last, no more political phone calls

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I suspect we can all share a sigh of relief there.

A few days ago I noticed that my site's bandwidth usage was suddenly up. And I mean way up. Bandwidth is expensive, so I dug into the server logs and found that one particular computer was repeatedly accessing every page on my domain, several times a day. Further research revealed that the culprit is a bot that indexes web pages for a Russian search engine called Yandex.

My attempts to rebuff the Yandex bot using the familiar robots.txt method failed utterly. Yandex bots ignore that file, which causes no small amount of stomach acid online among people like me who don't have money to burn.

I decided to retaliate.

So there I was, watching LOST, enjoying the series finale and eagerly awaiting the explanation for the alternate timeline, and getting all misty-eyed as the familiar and beloved characters have their "reunions" ... and then they all meet in some church to discover they're all dead? Was it all a damn dream sequence or something? What the hell?!?

Not. Amused. At. All.

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5/24 1:30 PM Update: The ever-brilliant Doctor Zero sums up my frustration perfectly.

Time Warner Cable sucks

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Here I sit, trying to watch the premiere of "The Pacific" on HBO, and the signal from Time Warner Cable is hitching, pausing, and pixelated. I signed up for HBO on Thursday just for this. I've been calling customer support all day to demand assistance. The response?

Gee, sorry, our computers are down. Try rebooting your box. Besides, we're working on the "outage" and things should be fine by tomorrow.


Fail. This is what monopolies get you.

11:55 PM Update: This is almost exactly what it looks like. I'll try to record my own video soon.

A bunch of UN bureaucrats threaten to pitch a hissy fit over America's administration of the Internet:

When hundreds of technology experts from around the world gather here this week to hammer out the future of the Internet, the hottest issue won't be spam, phishing or any of the other phenomena that bedevil users everywhere.

Instead, ending U.S. control over what's become a global network will be at the top of the agenda for many of the more than 2,000 participants expected at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, which begins Monday.

...

Yet to many foreign government officials and technology gurus, the United States has too much control over a tool that's used by more than 1.4 billion people worldwide. Brazil, China and other countries have proposed transferring oversight to an international body.

We Americans created the Internet, expanded it, left it untaxed, and left it basically unregulated. Butt out, you sniveling socialist cockroaches. Or would you rather give up a quarter of your juicy budget?

"Freedom For Today" debt reduction scam

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A company called Freedom For Today just called me a few minutes ago and offered me software that will supposedly reduce my credit card debt and boost my credit rating. As annoying as such telemarketing calls are to begin with, this one really got under my skin.

The recorded message sounds almost like it might be coming from your bank's collections department, calling with a "final notice" that you need to act upon. Unless you overcome your alarm and surprise at hearing the phrases "credit card" and "final notice" in the same sentence, you won't realize it's not your bank on the other end of the line.

Worse still, the recording does not identify the source of the call. You have to press 1 to get a human on the line, and it takes some aggressive questioning to get the company's name. But wait. There's more.

My phone number's been on the National Do Not Call Registry since July 1st, 2005. By calling me, this telemarketer violated the Federal Trade Commission's updated Telemarketing Sales Rule. After verifying that my phone number is on the list, I filed a complaint with the FTC against Freedom For Today.

When Freedom For Today calls you, please do what I did and help keep scams like this under control. I'm a big supporter of free markets, and to ensure that our capitalist system runs smoothly the feds do need to stamp out scams like these. It's one of the few things that the federal government should do more of.

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12:05 PM 9/11/07 Update: Unbelievable. They just called again. Time to file another complaint.

Imagine nine straight years of torture

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Here's a sample of the jaw-grinding agony we face from listening to the voice of a President Hillary Clinton.

Beautiful Hillary

If Shrillary wins, you get to bathe in the sweet melody of these dulcet tones. For. Nine. More. Years.

The Democrats have been running Congress for a short time now, but they're already living up (down?) to conservative expectations. The Republican Party is reverting to spinelessness, and high-profile Republicans are scampering leftward in a crass effort to win re-election in 2008. When combined with President Bush's inability to persuasively articulate the many good reasons to continue the war on islamism, the near future looks pretty bleak. Although I remain an optimist at heart, I'm also realistic about human nature and the tendency of modern Americans to be short-sighted and self-absorbed.

I just want to get the following predictions on the record. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm confident that I'm right.

Before 2007 ends, I predict all of the following will happen.
  • The Democratic Congress, with the help of feckless Republicans, will pass a "non-binding" resolution opposing the war in Iraq. Period. No qualifications.
  • A few months later, the Democratic Congress will cut off funds for the troop surge in Iraq.
  • Sensing our politicians' weakness, our islamic enemies will step up their attacks on our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The Democratic Congress will abandon all pretense of supporting our troops, and will cut off all funds for the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.
  • Our troops will be forced to leave Iraq and Afghanistan in disgrace.
  • Afghanistan will return to its default state: general lawlessness, with tribal enclaves controlled by warlords.
  • Iraq will descend into an astonishing orgy of inter-tribal and sectarian slaughter, and will come apart at the seams.
    • The Kurds in the north of Iraq will declare their independence. Turkish and Iranian Kurds will try to secede and join the new Kurdistan. Turkey will attack the Kurds to prevent this.
    • The Sunni Triangle will descend into utter lawlessness, making Somalia seem like Disney Land. Either al Qaeda or some other Sunni group will rise from the ashes and set to work plotting international terror attacks, much like Osama bin Laden did in the 1990s in Afghanistan.
    • The Shiite areas of Iraq will assert their independence, but will end up as puppets of the Iranian mullahs. Grand Ayatollah Sistani will be assassinated by Iranian-backed thugs, lest he challenge the Iranian mullahs for authority.
  • The western world's media will blame President Bush and the Republicans for "angering" muslims and "creating" the problem of islamic totalitarianism. The media will ignore twin truths: that western liberalism and political "realists" are to blame for allowing the long-festering cancer of islamism to metastasize after decades of incubation; and that President Bush was actually the first leader to see the danger and try to stop it. Leftist politicians will share the media's delusional worldview.
  • Military re-enlistments will begin a long decline, and senior officers and NCOs will begin retiring in droves.
2008 will see the following:
  • A Democrat will be elected President, proving that the American public still has its collective head in the sand.
  • Thanks to weak-kneed Republican leaders afraid to express conservative principles and policies, Democrats will solidify their hold on Congress and Republicans will return to their comfortable status as the minority party. GOP leaders will be happy because they will again be invited to all of the popular cocktail parties organized by leftist socialites inside the Beltway. 8 ball
  • Democrats will gut the American military.
    • Defense spending will drop below maintenance levels.
    • Research and development will grind to a halt.
    • Military re-enlistments will plummet.
    • Recruiting will wither.
  • American foreign policy and defense strategy will revert to empty posturing and wishful thinking as perfected by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The all-volunteer military will go back to being a hollowed-out and demoralized institution, and will be misused for UN peacekeeping missions in places where America has no compelling national interest.
  • Once the threat of a Republican President appointing conservative judges evaporates, Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Stevens will announce their retirements. Their replacements will be young, doctrinaire leftists who will cement the Supreme Court's suicidal leftward drift for another generation.
Before 2020, we'll see the following events:
  • "Moderate" regimes in the islamic world will collapse from within. Islamists of both Sunni and Shiite varieties will fill the vaccuum. Formerly "moderate" rank-and-file muslims will swing toward radicalism en masse.
  • Iran will go nuclear. In response, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will start nuclear weapons drives of their own.
  • Israel will pre-emptively attack Iran's nuclear facilities, electrical power grid, and command & control infrastructure to prevent a nuclear strike on Israel.
  • The Middle East will immediately explode into regional warfare.
  • Newly-confident islamists will successfully attack at least one major civilian target on American soil, whether by using a nuke, a dirty bomb, or a biological/chemical agent.
  • American military enlistments will skyrocket.
  • Muslim immigration to America will drop to zero. Non-citizen muslims will be deported.
  • American muslims will be interned like Japanese Americans were in WWII.
  • The media will again blame President Bush and Republicans for "angering" muslims, but this time the American public will no longer swallow the lie.
  • Democrats will rely on their only solution to every problem: negotiation. Predictably, it will only encourage the enemy, by revealing the spinelessness of America's Democratic leadership. Attacks will increase in number and severity.
  • Islamic suicide bombers will hit several soft targets across America like malls, stadiums, movie theatres, and schools.
  • The American public will finally realize that islam is bent on our destruction. Americans will toss Democrats and liberal Republicans from office.
  • A very muscular and militant conservative American leadership will rebuild the military, drastically increasing its size and lethality.
  • America will either suspend all financial aid to the UN, or will withdraw from the UN completely.
  • Congress will reinstate the draft. The Army and Marine Corps will expand to incredible size. Within two years, the draftees will be as lethal as the career professionals among our warrior class.
  • America (with possible help from Australia, The United Kingdom, and India) will finally go to all-out declared war against islam (in its radicalized forms) and all regimes based on politicized islam and/or sharia law.
  • America and the West will remind the watching world what utter devastation looks like. The Flattened Cities Club (remember Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki?) will welcome new members like Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Islamabad, Riyadh, Mecca, and Medina.
  • The western world will not bother to rebuild the destroyed societies it leaves behind, lest the inhabitants there forget that islam has been utterly defeated and discredited. Instead, we will make no bones about our need for oil. We will rebuild only the oil extraction and export infrastructure, and protect it to ensure our own stability and safety. The rest of the erstwhile muslim world will be left in its humbled and humiliated state as punishment.
  • The politicized and totalitarian religion of islam as we now know it will cease to be a major influence on world events.
After 2020:

We will have a few short years of peace until the next popular and poisonous ideology begins to grow. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Charlie Rangel is an asshat

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Just click the image of Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to find out why:

Charlie Rangel

I'm a veteran, and I'm outraged.

I joined up in 1990 because I wanted to serve my country. I had a full ride scholarship waiting for me at a civilian university, but I dedicated my life to the military because I wanted to protect my family, my friends, and even stupendously condescending jerks like Charlie Rangel. I am white. I came from a middle class family. I got a 1430 on my SAT, and that was in 1989 (before they dumbed it down). I have a law degree and have only a few credits between me and a master's degree in bioethics. My four brothers are (respectively) a doctor headed for a fellowship in cardiology, a hydraulic equipment salesman, a petroleum engineer, and an undergraduate physics student headed for med school. My mother and stepfather have MBAs, are former executives in a Fortune 500 company, and are successful small business owners. My father has an MBA and is a successful CPA and financial advisor.

I had tons of options, and I chose the best: serving my country in the military. Charlie Rangel can kiss my ass.

Chinese water torture as advertising

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Hurricane Rita and the race hustlers

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The Revenue ReverendsAs the race-grievance industry continues to hector the public about the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, we've all by now heard the oft-repeated slander that the feds were slow to react because President Bush "doesn't care about black people." Now Hurricane Rita is heading into the Gulf and everybody from New Orleans to Corpus Christi is ducking and covering. Unless I'm misinformed, there isn't any major metropolitan area there that has a higher percentage of black residents than New Orleans.

So ... a prediction. If Rita follows its predicted track and hits anyplace other than New Orleans, here's what'll happen:

  1. Stung by criticism over their response to Katrina, FEMA and other federal agencies will leap into action.
  2. President Bush will fly down to the impact area as always, and will have an extra-sympathetic speech ready to deliver.
  3. The race hustlers will immediately point out the fast response, wryly shake their heads and say "See? Bush only cares about white people."

You heard it here first.

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UPDATE: This post has merged into this afternoon's Beltway Traffic Jam.

An open letter to fellow motorists

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Dear fellow Cleveland motorists,

I'm a pretty easygoing guy, but lately your collective driving habits have tempted me to mount a bazooka on my hood. To avoid further unpleasantness, I offer the following driving tips:

  1. The long pedal on the right is the accelerator. The wide pedal on the left is the brake. Learn the difference.
  2. That double yellow line on your left isn't decorative. It means stay the hell out of my lane.
  3. When coming to a stop on a dry road, don't brake - release - brake - release - SLAMBRAKE. Start braking early and smoothly, and I won't feel the need to put my front bumper through your headrest.
  4. When braking in wet/snowy/icy conditions, apply your preferred dry braking technique from the previous rule, minus the slam at the end. You're in Cleveland, where 99% of primates understand driving in inclement weather. If you can't help doing a 180, don't blame us for laughing.
  5. To turn right, you don't need to drift leftward first. Your car is capable of turning ninety degrees directly onto a cross street or into a driveway if driven by a minimally sentient being.
  6. The yellow light does not mean "Hurry, next three cars! Floor it and squirt through the intersection!"
  7. The green light doesn't mean "sit there gaping." Study Rule Number 1 and apply it.
  8. If you're over 65 and peering out between the top of your dashboard and the top of your steering wheel, get a damn booster chair or take the bus.
  9. That persistent clicking you hear isn't your watch. It's your left turn signal, blinking moronically as you cruise the Shoreway. I'm the guy behind you, anxiously hoping you won't execute a sudden merge into my passenger seat as I try to pass you ... which will inevitably be followed by your outraged explanation to the nice State Trooper: "But I had my turn signal on, officer!"
  10. The posted speed limit is a good guideline when choosing a minimum speed. If you can't bear to get closer than 10 mph below it, take the bus and save my blood pressure.
  11. If I'm driving on the city street you're waiting to merge into from that parking lot off to the side, wait 'til I'm at least even with you before you stake a claim to my lane. Otherwise I'm going to remember my sailor vocabulary, and some emphatic finger gestures too.
  12. If you're under 18, think you're a good driver, and have the keys to anything with more than four cylinders, I have four words for you: Stay. Away. From. Me.
  13. If you're going to drive like a suicide bomber dodging machine gun nests, at least have the courtesy to pass this infidel on the left, okay?
  14. I have no bumper stickers, my license plate is readable from 100 feet away, and there's nothing else of interest on the back of my van. Now back off before I brakecheck you.
  15. Use your high beams only when you're all alone on the road. When I'm coming toward you (or when you're catching up to me), I take it personally when you cauterize every rod and cone in my eyes. If at all possible I'm going to take you with me as I careen off the road into an oak tree.
  16. When a cop has a speeder pulled over on the other side of I-71, you don't need to slow down. He can't jump the concrete barrier and chase you down, even if he's one of Linndale's Finest. Drive on, dummy.
  17. Same goes for accidents on the other side. The authorities are busy over there, so look at it as an opportunity to make up some time on your trip. Gawk at it on the evening news, not here in front of me.
  18. Bumper-to-bumper traffic jams suck, especially when we're all trying to get home on the highway. It's good form to let alternate cars merge into the flow, which is known as "taking turns." When you decide that your destination is more important than mine by one car length's worth, I'm going to step out of my car and smack you upside the head until you can't think past the kindergarten level ... at which point you'll remember about "taking turns."
  19. During those bumper-to-bumper snarls, passing the rest of us lemmings on the shoulder will guarantee 83 calls to the cops with your license plate playing a starring role.

Kindly print out a copy of this little missive and either tape it to your dashboard or have it tattooed backwards on your forehead for future reference. Because the next time you cut me off, the last thing you'll see in your rearview mirror is a speck trailing smoke and approaching awfully fast.

Best wishes,
The Puddle Pirate

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