ZeroHedge has been a problem for me because of all the ads; sometimes the browser would lock up solid. Originally, when it would stop responding entirely, I had to hit Task Manager to kill it, then restart the browser. Then I learned that it was Flash that was locking up the system, so I'd go into Task Manager to kill Flash, and that would get things going again. This was the best solution I could think of that stopped short of uninstalling Flash.
Being able to block the plug in on a site-by-site basis is fantastic.
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Back in the days of the USSR, the KGB maintained a facility in Moscow where their victims were interrogated, tortured, and "disappeared". (The ones who weren't merely sent to the slave labor camps, that is.)
Guess what? Chicago has just such a place itself! A place where the public may not go, where lawyers and family members of detainees are not allowed to see or speak to the victims of the police state, where no records of what took place are kept. It is a place where Chicago police take their prisoners in order to extract confessions from them, off the books and off the record, free from the distractions of pesky things like civil rights.
And what newspaper came out with this story? Was it the Chicago Tribune or the Sun-Times? Was it another paper from a nearby city? Was it the vaunted New York Times that published this courageous journalistic expose?
Aw, hell no. It was the Guardian, which is based in England.
ZeroHedge has a post up about it, which is the first story I read on the scandal.
Advice Goddess has a post up today, too.
So, first off: it saddens me to say that I am not even remotely surprised by this. I mean, my reaction was simply to nod and say, "Well, that seems about right." I didn't even read the first article on this that I saw, it was so unsurprising. Wow, the cops in Chicago have a secret interrogation center where they can take people to beat confessions out of them--without booking them or anything--and this is news why?
I'm not surprised because it's part and parcel of the increasing militarization of the police force in this country. It's a component of the increasingly totalitarian state we live in. The police are no longer there "to protect and serve" anything but the state and its interests.
For me to be shocked and surprised by this, I would have had not to be paying any attention whatsoever to what has happened to our system of government over the past twenty years.
Outraged, yes. Saddened, yes. But surprised? No.
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SJWs are unhappy that their totalitarian tactics are failing. Short form: Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb in Serenity and Firefly) is invited to an SF/F con in Australia. SJWs learn of this. Because they want to silence any conservative voices out there, they protest and try to get him dis-invited to the con. Con committee says, "Sorry, he's coming, like it or not." SJWs get butthurt: "But this is so women can feel safe! You have to give us our way because otherwise women won't feel safe! OH NOES BADTHINK BADTHINK THIS HURTS OUR FEELS!!!"
The second paragraph of the article sums up the truth of the matter rather nicely:
Internet petitions demanding speakers’ invitations be withdrawn have become more and more common, and realising that by simply being upfront about their motives for wanting to disallow their target a platform will unmask them for the intolerant, authoritarian drones they are, campaigners have learned to up the stakes, claiming that the presence of speakers they don’t like “threatens the safety of attendees”, when the true reason is that they are banning any speakers with right-wing or even libertarian sympathies. ..."Free speech", to the left, means "you are free to say anything you like, as long as it's something we'd say."
If you’re not left-wing, keep your mouth shut. What’s becoming clear is that under the false premise of making spaces “safe” for minorities, the only people whose safety is really becoming at risk is right-wingers and basically anyone who doesn’t wholly subscribe to the doctrine of political correctness.
And down in the nether recesses of the article is this glorious bit:
Games being pushed by games journalists and the likes of McIntosh tend to be ones given awards by the Games for Change festival, which “shines a spotlight on video games and developers pushing the medium not just as quality entertainment or educational tools but as venues for social justice.” As Joystiq notes of Papers Please, it “highlights the dangers faced by migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.” Playing as a border guard who has the power to turn away or let in would-be migrants with harrowing personal stories about why they should be let in, you must balance your sympathy against the fact if you make too many mistakes, you won’t have enough money to feed your family.Oh, man! Papers Please sounds like an awesomely fun video game, doesn't it? Doesn't the idea of playing a border guard processing entrants just excite the shit out of you? That sounds like it's way more fun than playing a boring old dwarf paladin who's fighting against armies of undead in an attempt to save the world! That just blows the doors off those boring old games where you're a fighter pilot trying to stop an alien invasion, you know? And who would want to drive a race car or fly a helicopter when he could be a paper-pushing border crossing guard? I can't wait for the sequel, What's Your Social?, where you play a bureaucrat who decides who gets social security disability and who doesn't! That's probably going to be a blockbuster!
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Legalization and regulation is the only way to fix the drug problem. Denninger is right. These kids would not have gotten sick if they'd purchased their drugs from a pharmacy, where they would have been labeled and regulated such that any contaminants would result in fines and other consequences for the producer.
Here's the attitude we take:
1) Kids are going to have sex, so we'd better tell them all about it and give them contraceptives, and make it easy for them to have abortions.Apparently we can't stop kids from having sex, but we can prevent them from doing anything else that's not good for them.
2) Kids are going to want to smoke, so they absolutely must never be exposed to tobacco products.
3) Kids are going to want to become intoxicated, so we must never, never, ever let them try it.
4) Kids are going to be fascinated by weapons, so we must punish them severely whenever that interest is expressed.
5) Kids are not going to have sex just because they are exposed to pornographic media.
6) Kids are absolutely going to be violent if we expose them to violent media.
The war on (some) drugs is an abject failure. Not only has it failed by every important metric, but in the process it has made some very bad people extremely rich. Those self-same people want drugs to continue to be illegal, because that way they are not subject to purity or consistency regulations, they don't have to label their product, they can sell it any way they like, and they don't have to pay taxes on their profits. If there is competition, they don't have to compete on the merits and price of their product; they can simply rub it out.
Compare, if you will, the difference between a $1 bottle of ibuprofen and a dime bag of weed. The ibuprofen is made at a factory with USDA oversight, and it must meet certain standards. A tablet that's labeled as having 200mg of ibuprofen in it must, by law, have 200 mg of ibuprofen in it (subject to a certain margin of error) and no other active ingredients that are not called out on the label. Certainly it is not legal for the product to have more than traces of contaminants in it, or any other drugs in it besides ibuprofen.
The dime bag, on the other hand--unless you bought it in a state with legal marajuana use (such as "medical marajuana") then you have no freakin' idea what's in it, unless you trust the guy who sold it to you. It could be 100% weed, or 50% weed and 50% catnip/oregano/grass clippings. Your approximate recourse if sold a bag that's half junk? Well, you can take it back to the dealer, who may or may not give you a refund; otherwise you can simply decide never to go to that guy again. (Though if he's the guy in your town, you'll have to go elsewhere for your stuff.) Most likely the guy has your money and doesn't care if you're unhappy, or if you get sick from his junk, because he can always sell his stuff to other people.
There is plenty of demand.
That, really, is the problem here. You cannot discourage the demand for intoxicants; I think Prohibition demonstrated that rather neatly: as illegal as it was to produce and transport and sell liquor in the US during Prohibition, people could still get booze and they could still get drunk, and the only people who were deprived of alcohol were those who obeyed the law. And if your speakeasy is the only place in town where a guy can get a drink, what can you charge for it?
The notion that narcotics are somehow functionally different than alcohol, thus making their de facto prohibition a possible success, is erroneous. There is no difference; people who want the junk are going to get it, and if they can't get it legally they will get it illegally. And in the process they are making a bunch of criminal thugs into rich, powerful people. Only instead of being Italian immigrants, they're Mexican and Colombian, and they have so much money they have to palletize it.
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The GOP is surrendering to the Democrats because the GOP wants the same things the Democrats want. That's why I'm completely unsurprised that the GOP is caving on funding DHS and everything else; nothing the GOP has done in the past fifteen years has been meant to reduce the size and scope of the US government, to reduce the deficit or rein in federal spending in any meaningful fashion.
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"The more martyrs ISIS creates in heaven, the weaker it will become on earth. Because of things visible and invisible." An interesting read from Elizabeth Scalia:
Can ISIS make a lot of noise? Yes. Can they cut a terrible swath of destruction as they continue? Yes. Can they spill a great deal of human blood? Yes, and they will.There's nothing I can add to that.
But ultimately, ISIS will still lose, because evil always loses. They will lose because, as Osama bin Laden stated after 9/11, they “love death for the sake of Allah, but our enemies love life.”
Yes, we do, and we embrace it all, both here on earth, and in heaven, where we are eternal.
ISIS cannot defeat an enemy that cannot die. They will finally lose. And when they go to the death they love and serve, they will discover the reality of the nothing; the eternity of the empty, because the Creator is the All-in-All, the Light and the Life which draws all things to itself. To separate oneself from that is to cast oneself into the place where God is not.
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Dreary February day today, the skies leaden and pregnant with snow, but nothing's falling from the sky. They say we might get as much as an inch or two tonight.
I'm in the mood to stay in and eat leftovers. We got a deep-dish pizza last night and we still have a significant fraction of that left, to say nothing of the remaining corned beef. Whee!
Tomorrow's a work day and I'm not looking forward to it, not after how Monday went. I'm tired of the soul-sucking, spirit-crushing, sophomoric high school bullshit that I have to put up with at that place.
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The siren song of sleep calls to me, and I only got up because of guilt. I don't know why I let that happen; why don't I sleep when I can and feel like it? Why do I have to feel guilty for getting the rest my body craves?
There are only a few days of February left; then it'll be March. The weather is not likely to change soon but maybe the change in the calendar will improve things.