7/12/2004

7-12-04 - 1

7-12-04

The US and Soviets have created a huge supply of weapons in the world market. During the cold war this would have been complicated to control, but now it's just ridiculous. The US and Soviets are currently in a competition to be the world's largest exporter of arms. This is sort of like competing over who can stab themselves more times in the foot. Our government subsidizes arms exports, and arms development, under the excuse of "national security" and because "competing international companies also get subsidies". We then sell those arms to countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Libya, Colombia, etc. which are sort of our allies at the moment, but that are very unstable, and where our arms are likely to be used against us in the future. In every war since WW2, we have faced primarily US, Soviet, and Chinese weapons. At this point we've created a huge supply of weapons in the 3rd world, but it's not too late. We must 1) make treaties with the other major suppliers to put heavy limits on arms exports. 3rd world countries should not be able to easily purchase arms from "the west". 2) stop subsidizing exports of arms; if anything, they should have extra tarriffs - other countries should be paying us extra for arms, we should not have our taxes funneling cash into arms developers and foreign armies. 3) stop the illegal government programs which allow sales of forbidden arms, like armor-piercing 50 caliber rifles, etc. (these are already illegal under international treaties, but the US continues to export them through non-enforcement). 4) stop the US government loan and grant programs that help foreign countries buy US arms, as we've done in Turkey, Israel, Libya, Indonesia, Signapore, etc. Any argument that these programs are needed to keep our arms industry strong is ridiculous, because the arms sold overseas are not even the arms that our government buys any more, they are solely sold for the profit of the military-industrial complex.


They're showing a new ridiculous Republican attack add on TV here, continuing the line of showing nothing but attack adds. This one is really hillarious, classic political manipulation. It's about how John Kerry has missed all these votes (since he started campaigning). The first nice bit is they say "he has the worst attendance record of any senator", then they show the little asterisk (since he started campaigning); of course they don't mention that that's totally standard practice for any senator or congressman running for President; Bob Dole did the same thing; they also don't mention that our Pres Mr. Bush has the worst attendance record at his job of any modern President!! The next bit is another bit of silly political manipulation; they start mentioning all the "important bills" that Kerry has missed the vote on, as if missing those votes means he's against them, and they turn the bills into silly tear-jerker summaries, like "Kerry missed the bill that supports puppies; do you want a President who doesn't like puppies?". I'm Charles Bloom and I support this message.

7/10/2004

7-10-04 - 1

7-10-04

I'm on the worst poker losing streak of my young poker life. I keep getting all-in with the best hand, and I keep losing. That's part of life in poker, you get some good luck, you get some bad luck, but recently it's been all down hill. Tonight I made another good read; I saw a guy bet too big at the pot, I knew he didn't want a call, so I re-raised all-in. He called me and showed a flush draw. It was a terrible call, he had nowhere near odds, and of course he made his flush. Bad luck is the kind of thing that can make you religious; I feel like god is pissing on me. I take poker too personally; I see it as a way of finding truth and justice in the world; when it's a bad run.

7/08/2004

7-08-04 - 3

7-08-04

The idea that G.W. Bush is a "uniter" or that he would "end the partisan split" is one of the great acts of double-speak by the administration. The reality of course is that GWB is one of the most right-wing conservative partisan presidents we've had in recent history. The country is more polarized, and the Pres is famously unwilling to compromise or change his mind; he's clearly not someone who can listen to all sides and reach a middle ground (which Clinton did, like it or not). The lovely thing is that the republican machine so bald-facedly claims the opposite of the truth.

Some charming moments from the past - the Rove/Hughes have been using the fake new method for quite a while; here's a semi-recent article, link , but the better one is when they pay various staffers to write editorials to send in to the major papers, masquerading as public opinion; there's nothing particularly illegal about this, but it sure is dishonest. This is semi-related link

One of the most disgusting things to me is the blatant Orwellian use of the war and the terrorists as distractions and excuses. There's a great Simpsons where the Principal Skinner and Marge are debating. Marge says "but the children", Skinner says "the taxes"! Over and over. I feel like this debate is turning into "but the jobs" and Bush says "we have to battle evil", Kerry says "the environment", Bush says "evil", anything you say, he says "eh eh, the evil". Anyhoo, the interesting case in point I want to site is when Ashcroft called a news conference a few months ago specifically to say "we've been hearing chatter that indicates there may be an attack soon somewhere in the US". They had no information when or where, or by who, and they didn't raise the terror alert level, and Tom Ridge said he knew nothing of it. Ashcroft is a pure puppet-monkey of the administration, this move clearly had no benefit except to keep the public in fear and focused on the "war against evil".

Perhaps people should have to answer some basic questions about the world in order to vote. If you get your information just from TV adds, you can't vote. I know this is problematic and exclusionary, and would hurt the dems as much as the repubs, but all the morons who pay no attention to world events and then go vote for Reagan because "he seems like a nice man" - that's just sick. We can ask some multiple choice questions about the world, and you only get to vote if you get them right. For example you might ask, what country has the most population (A=China), what country has the largest economy in terms of GDP (A=USA), did Saddam have anything to do with 9/11 (A=no), who provided the majority of the advanced weapons used by the Taliban (A=USA), who has veto'd more human rights in the UN than any other country? (A=USA), etc.

I have great disdain for the average American. I have even greater hate for anyone who takes advantage of the average American, by manipulating them, lying to them, stealing from them, duping/con-ing them, etc.

7-08-04 - 2

7-08-04

I'm a freedom hater. I don't believe that powerful megacorps should be able to push their power to the detriment of the common man; that's un-American. I don't believe CEO's should be able to commit crimes and make themselves rich and then have their corps subsidized and bailed out by the gov; that's anarchist. I don't believe that people who speak out against the government should be smeared or bullied, that's unpatriotic. I believe in the freedom of speech and the right to privacy; that's pro-terrorist. I believe that open debate based on facts is critical to democracy, and speaking out against the government is part of the process. I believe that creating a "time of war" and then claiming the power to break our own country's laws and international law is an impeachable offense; my beliefs are unreasonable in this post-9/11 era.

7-08-04 - 1

7-08-04

I like the way the Bush administration is always publicly saying "we welcome a friendly clean race, without mud-slinging or negativity", and then proceed to immediately do the opposite. The main adds run by Bush/GOP have been attack adds, complete with black and white old-timey reels that they somehow equate with Kerry.

7/06/2004

7-06-04 - 2

7-06-04

Pros always say No Limit Hold'Em is much more a game of skill than Limit. I don't think that's true at all. Very-Low-Limit is indeed a mechanical game. Very High Limit is a game of great skill, it's a very tight tricky game. No Limit games are determined by the blinds. No Limit with very high blinds is a very mechanical luck-based game. No Limit with very small blinds is not really a skill game, it's more just a contest of patience; there's no reason to play anything but monster hands. Any game heads up is much more of a skill game than a multi-way game.

7-06-04 - 1

7-06-04

Why must TV taunt me so? Where do they get these freaking morons to commentate? Seriously, the Sports Center announcers are morons. The old golden days of Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne were pretty funny, but now it's just recycled, pompous, tedious, repetetive, and the people are morons who nothing of their sports. The announcers for the WPT are terrible. Vince Van Patten is a pretty-boy moron, bad at poker and just unpleasant; Mike Sexton is sleazy and also a bad poker analyst. He's an ok player, but he wants to bet every flush draw, and he doesn't really understand the principles of slow playing or inducing bluffs; compare his analysis to Howard Lederer's analysis on Fox and you'll see the difference. Anyhoo, that's nit-picking. The guys who announce the WSoP on ESPN are really morons. You have a talking head guy who's ok and knows nothing of poker, and you have their so-called "poker expert" who seems to no nothing of even the most basic principles of poker (bluffing, slow playing, etc.), he just wants people to bet when they have the best hand - he's also a jealous, bitter ass hole, who makes fun of the players in mean annoying ways, not funny good ways.

7/03/2004

7-03-04 - 1

7-03-04

Bob Roll has got to be just about the worst sports announcer ever. His main event is the Tour de France, which he pronounces "Toor day Frants", which just burns my ears every time I hear it; he's got a giant gap in his front teeth, and he makes ridiculous hand gestures as he talks.

7/01/2004

7-01-04 - 3

7-01-04

Cynbe ru Taren (who did a nice moderinzation of PPMZ2) passes along this link to a nice whitelist - TMDA . Spam is a major problem, the damn government should step in.

Paper is too cheap. It's subsidized by the US and Canadian government, and it leads to shit like an un-asked for phone book showing up at my door. I throw it straight in the recycling bin. That's a hell of a lot of paper to just throw out - that should have cost them a lot, a *fair* amount. Capitalism is a pretty fucked up system when left alone (money moves towards the top, it's bouyant and attracted to other money), but capitalism with corrupt government subsidies and protections is a really really fucked up system that leads to all kind of strange skewing in the market and the world.

7-01-04 - 2

7-01-04

I've been talking to Drew about education recently. When I see elementary school kids bored and frustrated, in remedial classes and needing personal attention, it just kills me, it makes me sick, especially with principals and superintendents who are idiots and bastards that claim they're helping these poor kids. Kids need personal attention, kids need to be engaged and challenged. Those kids can be something, more than their parents, they could be brilliant, special, good people, it might depend on having good schools, good teachers. The modern era of schools really kills me. Schools these days have fixed lesson plans that teachers are required to use. The text books are set by these horrible committes that are dominated by crazy special interests, and teachers are required to teach to them. The pay is horrible and the teachers are bound by beaurocracy and constrains that drives out all the good people. I personally know several good teachers who have quit or been driven out by the system (including my mom), and several great people here in San Luis who would love to teach, but can't even get jobs because the funding is such crap, they have a few teachers teaching very large classes - even here in SLO, the city of huge property taxes that pumps its tax money back into public works projects in a huge pork conspiracy. "Teaching to the test" is a reality - I've seen it - it really is dramatically different now than it's ever been - and it's terrible. As an aside, the Prez, Mr. Bush, has pushed his "No Child Left Behind" program, which was based on his program in Texas. In Texas he touted his success in education; his big example of success was always the Houston school district. Well, guess what? The superindent and much of his staff have recently quit in disgrace, under revelation that they falsified statistics about the success of the school district. My mom has worked in HISD during that time, and my siblings went to school there, and we've seen the schools degrade during that period, with larger classes, more beaurocracy, and the emphasis on teaching to the test. The super claimed that the dropout rate fell during that period; in fact it rose. The TAAS (Texas' Standardized Test) scores rose slightly in the last five years, but how much of that is due to teaching for the test?

Here's a pretty unbiased article- link , and here's an anti-TAAS analysis by the ultra-conservative RAND corporation (famous for advocating anti-communist wars and nuclear proliferation) link , here's one more liberal argument - link , or here link

There's no doubt that you can teach math and test math reasonably effectively. The big problem I have is with other skills - and the focus of education; testing in itself is not inherently bad, it's the importance put on the test, especially in Texas - teacher's jobs and the funding to schools depends on the tests, which means that teachers and schools will put all their focus on the tests. I think education is perhaps the single most important thing that government does - it leads to the future of the entire country. How many people are in jail, the economic success of the country, they come from education, and right now, we are fucking it up.

7-01-04 - 1

7-01-04

In the triple crown I picked any bet against Smarty Jones, he was just too favored, people were caught up in the excitement and overbetting. In the Tour de France I pick almost any bet against Armstrong. Clearly he's the favorite, and I would take him any day at 1:1 against anyone else (not everyone else), but the odds are way off. There's a lot of randomness in cycling, there are lots of factors that could make Armstrong lose. Bet against Ullrich any day - he's a born loser, he may take 2nd or 3rd, but never 1st. If you want to hedge your bets, split Mayo and Hamilton. Personally I would put my bet on Hamilton. That's not saying I pick him to win, I just think he's the money bet; I think Tyler has maybe a 1/5 to 1/6 chance, and he's getting 7:1 odds. Heras might also be a good bet on the odds; he's a superb climber, and this year favors climbers; I would bet Heras to win.

Cycling: To win the 2004 Tour de France 
Closing Date: Jul 03, 2004 04:00 GMT -4  
from Liege(Prologue) to Paris- 3rd to 25th of July 2004
Odds on others available upon request. Place Odds are to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd  
Option Win Odds  Place Odds  
Lance Armstrong 1.8   1.16   
Jan Ullrich 2.55   1.2   
Iban Mayo 5   1.6   
Tyler Hamilton 7   1.85   
Roberto Heras 14   3.6   
Ivan Basso 21   5   
Gilberto Simoni 29   6.6   
Francisco Mancebo 41   9   
Haimar Zubeldia 41   9   
Christophe Moreau 51   11   
Dennis Menchov 51   11   
Levi Leipheimer 51   11   
Oscar Sevilla 51   11   
Carlos Sastre 67   14.2   
Georg Totschnig 67   14.2   
Jorg Jaksche 67   14.2   
Santiago Botero 67   14.2   
Bradley McGee 151   31   

old rants