Tuesday, March 30, 2010


In these horrible days of economic recession and budget cuts where your total disposable income can maybe buy three chocolate bars and a Harry Potter book if you have a decent credit rating, school funding has to come up with ways to pinch pennies. School District 51 has to cut 1 million dollars from thier spending by next year.

Now I look at the dozen or so big yellow twinkie school-buses with maybe three dozen students between them and I wonder if maybe using taxi cabs or less buses could save money. But it seems that the school district can only find a way to do that by cutting an entire day off the week. That doesn't mean school will be any less hours or teachers will be paid less, but it means less days (by virtue of extending school hours) and thus less bus trips and heating.

However, there are doubts about the effectiveness this would have on actual budgeting, and concerns over the amount of damage it would do to extracurricular activities and family wellbeing.

I personally think that having to cut edjucation is stupid. Money could easily be made (and incarceration rates drastically reduced) by simply legalizing marijuana or cocaine for non-medical use and taxing it until its parts turn black and fall off. Druggies will get jobs and become productive (if unsightly) members of society so they can satisfy their expensive luxuries and eventually the stuff will lose appeal as forbidden fruit. OH, SO YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO COMPROMISE YOUR DRUG ABUSE POSITIONS BUT WILLING TO LET MILLIONS OF AMERICAN CHILDREN FALL DOWN THE EVER WIDENING SEWAGE HOLE THAT IS THE AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM??

Well, maybe you're right. America has been the big dog around for a while so maybe a generation of second-rate bastard scientists and getting beat in the science race like a limbless kindergartner at tether-ball would be good to curb our rising policy gridlock, jingoism, and stupidity.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Because if you Beat a Dead Horse enough, its Twitching Corpse will at least have a Semblence of Life

But really, the health care debate isn't over yet.

Last week, Govenor Sonny Perdue filed suit against the health care plan.

Despite its flaws, the legislation does take a decisive step toward improving access to health care for the uninsured, including those locked out of coverage because of pre-existing ailments. That should help lower costs by using preventive care to help stave off expensive illnesses.

Uninsured people are a danger to the entire population: everyone pays if an uninsured person needs to use an emergency room, and people living in the same city pay when an uninsured person develops an infectious disease.

Yes, if the uninsured kid down the block contracts tuberculosis and can't afford treatment, there's the possibility that he can spread it on to your potentially unvaccinated child.

One aspect of diseases is that they mutate. Everytime a virus enters a cell and transcribes its DNA, the possibility arises for mistakes in the encoding. That's called mutation, and it happens every time a new virus is made, and millions of new viruses are made over the course of an infection.

And if a disease mutates enough, it can bypass the immune system because it looks like a new disease. That's why pennicilin is no longer the miracle drug. Anyway, imagine if our Polio vaccines became ineffective because one uninsured child developed it. In these enlightented times it is impossible to imagine a grainy 1930's town where children had to wear casts on their legs or breath through Iron Lungs, but it would be scary.

However, in Conservative's defense, this health care bill doesn't exactly solve the problem of the Infected. ahem:

"Insurance lawyers maintain that, while they would be required to pay for conditions of any child they insure, they are not obliged to take on the child in the first place. According to the newspaper, this could mean entire families get rejected if one of their children has a pre-existing condition, or that the policy simply specifies that it will not cover costs associated with it."

Well done you souless capitalist gits. Kick all the crying babies in the world so you don't have to give up your 2nd private jet.

7 of the top 12 insurance companies are in the top 500 richest companies in America, with UnitedHealth Group ranked at 37 and WellPoint at 38. Even if health insurance isn't the most lucrative industry in the world, WellPoint reported earning 61,579.2 million dollars in 2008, not including the money stashed away in foreign bank accounts. Profit margins were reported at 4.07%. That still means they have over 2,500,000,000 dollars profit. With 42,000 employees and an annual Income of 30,000 required to live relatively luxuriously (1,260,000,000), that still leaves a maximum buffer of over a billion dollars left for the occasional deal they loose money on.

It's probably a bit more complicated than that, but 1 billion dollars is a wide margin.




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Then of course there's Minesweeper.

A.K.A Videogames pt. 2

If you took the time to read yesterday's post and agree with everything in it, then you've found some new depth of boredom incurable by Youtube and Solitaire or you're Mr. Coit. Hi Mr Coit! If not, please disregard the previous fifteen words.

So first of all, I'd like to clear up a bit on how yesterday's rant relates to politics. You see, there was this one California guy who wanted video games to have health warning label's attached to them or something. Anyway, here's the new Senate Bill.

But anyway, for you people devoid of all purpose in life, the reason why videogames should be available


I could go on about games that are good for your creative thinking or conductive to your periphery learning or good for you to let steam off of: think of how much you learned about Greek Gods by playing games from one of the many developers who treat the murder-and-incest-filled bin of Mythology as a free Idea bucket or how you learned the creative uses for a fishing pole in those obsolete adventure games. Imagine if Charlie Manson had Prototype to blow off steam: dozens of young Milwaukee gay boys would be alive and uncanibalized today. But really, most of those points are a bit arguable and I don't want to get into a lengthy ordeal with them so:

Games are Art

First of all, there really isn't much difference between Video Games and other forms of Media: it's like an interactive Movie that writes a book as you play while occasionally flashing provocative canvases of story(if done right, of course).
Some opponents of video games have tried to classify violence in them the same way as obscenity. Barring the fact that they're all ignorant twats, etc., even some forms of obscenity are treated as protected as having cultural value.

Art is defined as "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance." By that definition, some of the more abstract video games would certainly qualify: journeys through the swirling gyres of geometric environment from the hallucinations of Frederich Chopin certainly offer 'more than ordinary significance', as do all those open to interpretation games that sacrifice fun for sending a message, and with the Playstation 3 having arguably the most advanced graphics system in the world (So much that the military buys them up for cheap processing power) meaning most of the games for it have ridiculously pimped-out graphics. For everyone else, there exists caricatures for games that want to paint a picture or send a message.
But I think art means something more than just pretty shapes and hidden messages. Books and Movies, the other literary art mediums, immerse you in a different world, assuming they're done right of course. Magical Schools? Rebel Alliances? Both offer an immersible world and interesting characters that provoke a response in the viewers. Whoever directed Wrath of Kahn said something along the lines of "Well, of course you can kill Spock, as long as you do it right", and Bill Waterson said "Entertainment can shock us, discust us, or provoke us, as long as it doesn't bore us". The goal of any entertainment is to entertain, whether it's through fear (horror), interesting facts (non-fictions) or green-skinned space aliens (sci-fi) etc., and that's what many games do.
Rather than rant further about those particualr attributes of those particular games, I encourage you to just check a "Games R ART!" forum or play some yourself. One game I will mention, however, is Bioshock. 18 hours of mucking about in an Objectivist distopia shooting people in the face after setting them on fire satisfies with immersive, well-developed worlds you get to discover all generated by a hormonally-supercharged evironment engine generating the imagination of several abstract artists satisfies all the definitions of art provided, so screw you Michal Atkinson.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More than Slightly more than Solitare

Let's get right into it. There has been raised the question of whether boyish fantasy violence in video games leads to violence in real life and by extension, whether games should be banned for such. There are also many other reasons why games should be banned.

I respectfully disagree, and I consider the argument misinformed.

There. You don't need to read any farther and get upset by a violent outburst of passion, because god forbid anyone get upset on the internet. And forgive me for not restraining myself in a blog that gets maybe skimmed maybe once a month by someone who's maybe awake.

:::::::WARNING: the following pages of text may contain great inarticulation, mild language, graphic metaphors, and blatant abuse of first amendment privileges. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNNNNNNNED!!!:::::::


Games depict women negatively

I listed this one first because I find it has the most backing to it. Yes, the game industry has a problem with depicting women as sex objects, allowing the lesbian romance choice but not the gay option, or equating "Strong, independent woman" with "Violent Psycho Bitch". I know there may not be many good arguments, but I'm going to ask you all to remember all the female marines, female professional football players, and favorable depictions of women in other media. Recall any? OF COURSE NOT. You can't assume any one aspect of culture will be a great degree progressive when most people's moms won't buy anything
An Excuse: Videogames are marketed to the young male demographic. Statistically, half of all gamers are female in the same way that statistically the average income of the average American is enough to by a slightly-more-than average Yaght, but while a good deal of male gamers are fat, bespectacled, socially-retarded nerds fighting trolls in real time in their parent's basement, most female gamers are sweaty moms playing yoga on Wii Fit or little girls living homoerotic fantasy in the Sims 3.
And 2: Video games are created by the same corporate conglomerate that has the same antediluvian mind point and discriminatory attitude, who hire mostly male game writers and I'm going to leave out the predictable masturbating social reject joke. No one blames 14-year-old fan fiction writing girls from author-inserting themselves into an orgy with Harry Potter or Spock, do they? Anyway, they usually make a point to be equal about it, with sickeningly muscular men as an alternative, which brings me to:

A Point of "You're looking at it one-sided": Yes, Lara Croft is featured with impossibly large melons (That Angelina Jolee couldn't measure up to even with the benefit of toilet paper) and every female character in the discustingly mispelled Mortal Kombat has greater than D cups, but the men in those games always look like walking triangles, with biceps larger than even their thick manly chins and enough steroids , but always the men are featured in more idealistic terms as well. Reminiscing about the time when heroes didn't need biceps larger than their faces, I sometimes find myself playing female characters (For ONLY that reason, mind your) or elves.

And lastly, there are a few games that feature decent female characters, like when you play Princess Peach instead of the fat Italian plumber.

Video Games Promote Violence

No, and I consider your argument misinformed, you ignorant scaremongering sperm-sandwich.
So every so often in the teenage world a young paragon of self control get's called a nasty name and decides murder would be the wittiest rebuttal. It's then found out he/she stood next to a video game sometime in the past because after events like the Columbine shooting and the murder of Stefan Pakeerah, everyone always looks for something to blame, and it's easy to pick on fat bespectacled social rejects in their parent's basement. WE HAVE FREAKING RIGHTS TOO.

People like to point out that the number of violent crimes has gone up in the last fifty years in conjunction to the number of violent videogames and other media. I would like to point out that many other things have gone up too, like POPULATION and OVERCROWDING IN PRISONS DUE TO PRISON SENTENCES FOR MINOR DRUG USERS. Life is turning to shit, being flushed away in the chunky quagmire of terrorist attracts, economic recessions, politics, the fact that 50% of families spend at least a year in poverty, that 51% of marriages end in divorce, and the numerous, small ways your life is made a unique hell.

So let's look at these arguments case by case:

Video Games Depict Violence as Good
: Wrong. Games, like most media, often feature violent crime as a tool of Italian Mobsters, the Oppressive Military and the general Bad Guy. They will almost always be punished for such (and a measure of an effective villain is how violently you want to crush his face for burning down a churchful of people or shooting the dog), and if they don't you feel disappointed and start to hate the film. Videogames too are the same way, and good guys use guns for the same reason police officers and soldiers do; to kill bad guys, who in most games are crudely-rendered aliens or expy's of Russians or Iraqis and who gives a shit about them? So I guess what I'm trying to say is that games don't do anything that TV or Political demagouges don't do either, and while I don't condone linking evil with a specific nationality that's not the Nazis, that point is not much brought up much and most games feature an actually reasonable enemy. Like evil gods or Ayn Rand.

I also would like to bring up the fact that not all games include violence, and that I do not support all kinds of violence. Yes, there are some otherwise-wonderful games that catch flak for their blood and gore, but Sturgeon's Law dictates that there are many irredeemable gore-fests. In that case, the resolution is simple: Don't buy the game. It's just like how you shouldn't buy movies of things you don't like. No one is forcing you to buy Manhunt for your 12-year old, and that's even condemned judging by the 'Mature' Rating of the game.

Video Games Cause Violence
: Alright, this one is a bit harder (not really, but I wanted to acknowledge that the arguments have gotten slightly, slightly, slightly less scare-mongering pants-on-head retarded) but I will extend the above argument, and divide this into:

Video games Teach Violence: Former West Point psychologist David Grossman wrote a few books specializing on "killology" (No joke), notably On Killing and Stop teaching our kids to Kill that defamed videogames for unethically training children in the use of weapons and desensitizing children to violence. His first argument has led me to conclude he's too busy writing crappy fiction and neglecting his wife to actually notice that pushing the 'A' button on a play station is as far removed from shooting a gun in real life as my ass is from Uranus. Arguing that

Video Games convince Children to Imitate their violent Acts: Assuming you're not talking about MySims or Barbie Horse Racing, Yeah, they do. Talking about garrote wire and shotguns is a great way to win friends in Middle School, as was learning to brawl in Middle School earlier this century when Body-Building was in or emulating a Gladiators in ancient freakin Greece. All of these fall under the heading "Being Male" and the only reason there is an alleged link to violence and emulating media is the 1987 Hungerford massacre, when Michal Ryan shot 16 people with an AK 47 while wearing a Headband, and apparently this was enough liking to Rambo for people to blame First Blood for the massacre and for less ethical Journalists, meaning all of those mainstream attention whores, to televise the link between violence and videogames. One documentary investigated it, and it is not known whether he actually owned a video recorder or even rented videos. Other cases exist where a purported link has been founded, most notably the Sefan Pakeerah murder in 2004 of the UK, conveniently in time for the UK general election, was linked to the game Manhunt. Now yes, in Manhunt you can take everyday objects and stab or bludgeon people to death with them, and Warren LeBlanc was described as being "obsessed with the game" and that his murder was done similarly to the methods employed by Manhunt's protagonist. This may look incriminating before I slap you and ask you to think of how many ways you can hold a knife. Essentially there are two, and stabbing people takes a general thrusting motion. You could probably hold it with your feet or while jacking off, but if so you've got other problems and the young California tard you're trying to kill will get away. There are even less ways to hold a gun, unless you're a tard etc, but games don't prepare you for the recoil or weight of an actual gun, and many games feature fictional guns, so unless your weapon was manufactured by Matel, then you'll have to ask a cop or something. And in regard to the Manhunt, "‘The prosecution and defence barristers insisted at Leicester Crown Court that the video game played no part in the killing’ (The Leicester Mercury, 3rd September, 2004).".

Video Games arouse people to violence who are mentally predisposed to: Avoiding the obvious joke, yes, I'll admit that games may do that, just like football and political shouting matches arouse people to anger. However, none of the studies looking at how children are affected by the arrival of television found much change at all, despite all the talk of violent TV increasing crime. The last case was St. Helena, a British Colony in the South Atlantic Ocean which received television for the first time in 1995. Before and after studies
showed no change in children’s anti-social or pro-social behavior. On top of this, the most
comprehensive analysis looking at whether violent crime rates changed alongside the growth of
television in different countries have concluded there has been no link.

Video Games Desensitize us to Violence
: Why? You surely won’t feel less upset if you are mugged, or less angry if your neighbour is or less distressed by the next brutal murder of a child today than you did before watching all the video violence that you have to watch in your job. Will you? In any case, as we’ve seen, people are far more likely to report less serious violence these days than they have ever been. Those who don’t like screen violence often look away and hide their eyes when they expect something nasty. If you get them to look, they will usually agree that it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be. We might get ‘used’ to screen violence but I really don’t think this has anything to do with our sensitivity to the real world.

And Lastly: Banning Video Games will help these problems, assuming they exist: No. Assuming that videogames are spawns from Satan and turn people into ninja zombies the moment you touch a copy of Lego Batman, and Assuming that banning violent games is not a restriction on First Amendment rights or I am forced to recall the recent politcal attempt to regulate the media: the V Chip. In theory, the chip would scan channels and shows and block ones the parent's set as too obscene and stuff. Partly because it took time to create a rating system for all the shows, partially because the rating system was shit, after 3 years only 1 in 12 households used the system.

In short, I'm not saying that violence in videogames is good, just that it doesn't cause violence in gamers, and that any legislation denouncing videogames as causing violence is completely stupid for more than one reason.

(This blog took way too long)

(Also, the proponent will be tomorrow)

(In the meantime)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quake 3

(The epicenter was in Mindaro, which is right at the center of this map)

A magnitude 6.0 (ish. Estimates vary slightly) earthquake struck the northern Philippines on Tuesday.

There have been no reported casualties. Actually, there haven't been very many reports; look at what Travelagent:

"A 6.1 earthquake hit the Philippines today, Thursday, March 25, in the Mindoro region of the country. The epicenter was approximately 86 miles from capital Manila and was felt in Quezcon City on the island of Luzon and also in Lubang Island, according to CNN."
At this time there is no immediate report of damage or injuries.
Stay tuned for more updates."

I could link six news sources and they won't tell you much more than that. They too seem to have my idea of filler by taking space to describe the Richter scale or the Philippines.






But anyway, this is the third earthquake this year. 2012 is approaching alright. But considering the US's chummy relationship with the archipelago, one might think we could spare some aid if it turns out some buildings were destroyed or people found dead. Yay foreign policy

For Quake 1, check here.

For Quake 2, try here.

No relation to the actual game Quake.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Should have used a Resurrection instead

So stop the party! The health care bill still isn't in the clear!

So I've been brushing up on my post-war presidents for May. Not that you actually care about it, but it means I have grown some respect for the Republican party, at least as they were at mid-century when they weren't passing bills declaring communists and homosexuals to be second-class people. But I guess I can't blame them, really, everyone hated communists and homosexuals for understandable reasons and at least they were branching out from the usual butt-monkeys; women, black people, and the poor. But really, Eisenhower was a pretty great president.

Which makes modern day Republicans look to azsholes what azsholes are to normal people. Seriously;

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana -- herself the target of scrutiny for securing a so-called "sweetheart deal" for her state -- blasted McCain's amendment as purely political, the Hill reports. She reportedly called the amendment "for television or the Internet... not for any serious debate."

"It is beneath the senator from Arizona, who at one time was a candidate for president of this country," Landrieu said. "Normally the only time I see the word 'sweetheart' is when my husband sends me a dozen roses on Valentine's Day... To actually draft an amendment like this that uses the words 'sweetheart deal' is really an insult to the people of our country, and I would expect more from him."

That was a reference to the republican stalling tactics used on the reconciliation bill that needs to be passed to appease and fix all the problems with the original manuscript.

Although i feel there are legitimate reasons to oppose the health care bill, I have not heard any of them from the Republicans. I'm sure there are some competent Republicans out there, otherwise I'd just move to Australia and put up with their silly hats and exorbitant video-game tariffs, so in the name of hope I believe that the media must assume that smart people don't sell news as much as strawmen.

Although this just in: abortion and stuff: with the bill released, states will have the ability to ban policies that subsidies abortion from their transactions. Amendments are currently being proposed by conservative democrats to ban abortion from the exchanges altogether. In short, this bill promises to seriously erode all reproductive rights gains made in the past century.

I don't really know much about the abortion debate but some people I sometimes pretend to respect care very much about it, and with the passage of this bill they are all totally fu- screwed, and forced to conceive any cross-eyed bastard result of the ungodly union and contribute to the enormous messed-up child rate. In my outsider point of view, I view this setback as worth a society a bit closer to Utopia, but that makes me comparable to the Nazis, so I should feel a bit offended that such discrimination has infiltrated such a necessary bill.

(And if you're nerdy enough to get the title, I congratulate you for being bored enough to actually read this blog)

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20001018-503544.html

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back from the Dead

"Widely viewed as dead two months ago, the Senate-passed bill cleared the House on a 219-212 vote. Republicans were unanimous in opposition, joined by 34 dissident Democrats."

"This is what change looks like," Obama said a few moments later in televised remarks that stirred memories of his 2008 campaign promise of Change we can believe in"

"Summoned to success by President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled Congress approved historic legislation Sunday night extending health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and cracking down on insurance company abuses, a climactic chapter in the century-long quest for near universal coverage."

"change we can believe in."

So after I tried to brainstorm other blog topics, I wondered if some obscure bill passed in a land has any relevance to my life as an ignorant dependent student.

So, I looked it up

For me, if I move out of my parent's basement and fail to find a job due to IT STILL BEING AN ECONOMIC RECESSION, I can still be covered on my parent's plan as a dependent until I'm 26. By 2013, presuming I can get a job cleaning the accumulated dust from sugarless vending machines, then, because I'm not worth employee health coverage, I can be eligible for state subsidies for health insurance assuming my employer doesn't pay me more than four times the poverty level (and what a weird employer that would be.)

For my parents, by the end of this year they will recieve a $250 rebate on their keeping-old-people-alive pills. Assuming the pills work, by 2020, the doughnut hole gap will supposedly be completely closed and they will only have to pay 25% of prescription drug costs.

So lets talk about complexity. It was recently brought up, rhetorically, in one of the rooms full of mewling zombies with which I'm forced to coexist with, that the Highway Act of 1956 created the most revolutionary acts in history, revolutionizing the way individuals travel from one shining sea to another, while the Health Care bill takes up over 2,000 pages. I didn't answer by calling them an ignorant twat and pointing out that the myriad manifestations of unhealthiness and the even greater number of ways to deal with them that is affected by every possible age, gender, relationship status, business ownership, employment, and how you squeeze your toothpaste, and every combination thereof, was definitely NOT comparable to pouring asphalt over a road for people who drive either cars, trucks, or motercycles (although I'm not sure of the latter was invented yet). In short, medicine is complicated, and medical insurers manage to muck up the system even more by discriminating against different demographics. It's good to see that all that work has not been to waste.