Addons Aren’t Just For Raiders

I was telling a story at dinner today. The people I was having dinner with were asking me why I wasn’t interested in the game they were playing now that they had given up World of Warcraft. Why won’t you come join us doing this new thing? So I went through this parable about a know-it-all player who insisted that while he had a particular add-on installed for the game, he didn’t need it for the dungeon fight we were in even though we had failed in the attempt to complete the dungeon three times already. We were failing because this player and his fellows in our pick up group couldn’t manage the mechanics of the fight. The player informed me this is my 4th 90, so I know this fight. To which I responded well this will be my 8th 90, and I should have 10 by the end of the week; and I always run and pay attention to Deadly Boss Mods for this fight. The part I left out of the dinner conversation was his riposte of well, that sounds like overkill.

Wait a minute. So four characters leveled to max level in the game is informed, but ten characters is overkill? I wonder what his response would be if I told him I ultimately want to have twenty-two max leveled characters in World of Warcraft? He’d probably be sending the guys in white coats to look for me. Never mind that discounting the higher number of end-game characters as overkill introduces some logical fallacy or other into his original argument that experience grants skills that rule out the use of addons. After all, it’s the principle of the thing.

But this story does answer the question of why I wasn’t interested in the game they were playing. Have you noticed the way I play games? I really don’t think I should start in on any more MMO’s or games that might take up my time. I simply don’t have time for another game to play.

Facebook status updated backdated to the blog. And I achieved that twenty-two character goal, just FYI.

Lincoln & Slavery; What are the Nay-Sayers Really Saying?

 Was on Facebook the other day (months ago, actually) after having just watched the movie Lincoln (now available streaming from Amazon! lol) and stumbled across an image posted on the wall of Free Talk Live a libertarian syndicated radio show / podcast that I’ve always considered a bit of a train wreck, unfortunately I don’t have time to sit around listening to train wrecks these days.
  
Someone had taken one of Lincoln’s quotes out of context and edited it.  It ran like this;

I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.

But that quote was a part of a larger speech; and even the partial quote is internally edited. I won’t reprint it all here, but it’s available at the National Parks Service website; Lincoln-Douglas Ottawa Debate.  The paragraph the partial quote comes from runs like this;

Now, gentlemen, I don’t want to read at any greater length, but this is the true complexion of all I have ever said in regard to the institution of slavery and the black race. This is the whole of it, and anything that argues me into his idea of perfect social and political equality with the negro, is but a specious and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. [Laughter.] I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. [Loud cheers.] I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. [Great applause.]

As is shown in the pasted complete paragraph, the contextual relationship of offered quote changes the meaning of the quote, completely.  The anti-Lincoln types (and most critics of historical figures) rely on the average person’s lack of context for the words, so that the people they are trying to convert to their negative views will be outraged by the statements alone, and never look to see the bigger picture, let alone read a book or several of them on the subject, just to get a feel for the perspective in which this debate was held.  

Yes, he said those things; that blacks and whites were too different, that he had no intention of ending slavery in the South; and yet he worked to make these things so. Could it be that he was disseminating in order to put at ease those who would never have allowed negro equality before the law had they believed that it would lead to full equality? Maybe the naysayers, and those who would be persuaded by them, should study history with an eye for the real truths rather than parse it for statements that can be used to indict men whose actions have proven to be just in spite of their words.

The truth is, it was not Lincoln’s war. The South started the war because they could not abide the presence of Northern force on their territory. Had they not been ready and willing to exert force themselves, the tally would have come up differently.

Had the abolitionists admitted at the time that they were for black suffrage (let alone the ad absurdum of women’s suffrage) or any other form of political equality no progress towards ending slavery would have been achieved, and we would probably still have legally enforced ownership of people today.

Libertarians often talk about how “Lincoln ended black slavery, only to enslave all of us”.  The enslavement that libertarians like that suffer under is ideological in nature. They are enslaved to their own ideology more than they are enslaved to some external force. It forces them to denounce actions that conflict with their espoused beliefs, even when those actions can be shown to benefit all of us. The ending of legal slavery set up the possibility for average people to make a living being employed by another.

The question we should be asking today is not whether the actions of the first Republican President were just; but exactly how the last involuntary servitude, prison labor, is different from what was abolished in 1865? How are free men to compete with this, when the full cost of ‘maintaining’ this workforce is not present in the purchase price of the goods made with their labor? How are we to compete, as a labor force, against entire national populations that are kept almost as prisoners in their own countries? Why do we as a people not rise up and demand that the laws be changed? Will we spend precious time fighting over past ills, rather than prevent our own demise in the near future?

When you object and say we are all slaves, you offer the unstated observation that we should return to the preferable state of owning other people in order to save ourselves. When you trumpet the virtue of JW Booth, you place back-shooting conspiracy as a higher value than diplomacy and negotiation.

JW Booth did a disservice to the South with his bullet. Reconstruction under Lincoln would have looked nothing like it did at the hands of his inheritors.

I consider it the height of hubris to hold historical figures to modern standards as if they could be anything other than a product of their times. Such is human nature and the human condition. As goes Lincoln, so go we all, in a nutshell. Either we choose to participate in the world around us, or we withdraw and demand the world meet us on our terms. I don’t consider the latter to be much of a life.  

Do Something?

I still wonder why we aren’t required to submit to strip search since the underwear bomber. I mean, everything else that’s happened makes the government think they have to do something to make us feel safer. Why aren’t we strip searched? Why are there still guns in untrained hands?

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

Netflix Hates Firefly Fans

It’s kind of been done, with Serenity, but yeah as a series. Let me give you one broad statement about these recovery shows. In almost every case the cult around the show gets more intense and smaller as time goes by. Arrested Development was the rarest of birds in that the audience of the show grew larger than the original broadcast audience because people came to discover it years after it was cancelled. The Firefly fan is still the Firefly fan from when it was on TV and there’s fewer of them and they’re more passionate every year. Whereas with Arrested Development we’re going to be serving a multiple of the original audience. Any of the other shows we could bring back would be a fraction of the original audience.

Stuff.TV, Ted Sarandos talks

Seriously? Perhaps The Stand deserves chance to be seen but Jericho? That series went nowhere after the first season, and I never need to see that again. Arrested Development? More people talk about that show than ever saw it or would sit down to watch it again.

But the Firefly fan base continues to grow, and that isn’t rocket science. Joss Whedon may not actually walk on water, but with the success of The Avengers under his belt (as well as Buffy) it’s hard to say he was wrong in creating Firefly and I can’t think of a better property that could be revisited given the chance. The problem isn’t Firefly, it’s Netflix. Imagine just for a minute that there were more than thirteen episodes to watch in the first place? It’s kinda like imagining that you could watch Babylon 5 as J.M. Straczynski first outlined it. What kind of show would that be?

The leadership at Netflix clearly lacks the imagination to create Science Fiction content on that level.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. They still don’t do SF on Netflix. Superheroes? Yes. SF, no.

Obama the Capitalist?

Teanderthal Party on Facebook

Sharing only to share the following comment;

The system that he figuratively leads isn’t really capitalist, or the stocks would actually represent real values produced in real markets not imaginary dollar figure values for companies that in the end produce very little aside from stock market gains.

…So while he has presided over some of the largest profit-taking in recent history by the richest 1% of the nation, disqualifying him as a socialist; he has also presided over one of the most financially corrupt governments this country has ever known. Continuing corporate financial bailouts started by his Republican predecessor, while ignoring the suffering of the average American.

The only nice thing I can think to say about the economy in the US under Obama is that the Republican policies would only make the pain worse for working class Americans. So at least there is that.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. Looking back from 2017, I am reminded of why I voted for Obama in 2012 while still having this opinion of him. As bad as I thought he was in the office, he was worlds better than the two men who served before him. With the OHM in office, he looks even better than he did in 2012.

Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s ‘Fairy Godmother’

“Pritzker introduced Obama, the neophyte state senator, to the Ladies Who Lunch (that’s really what they call themselves) on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Obama got lunch, gold and better — an introduction to Robert Rubin. Rubin is a former Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs and former co-chairman of Citibank. Even atheists recognized Rubin as the Supreme Deity of Wall Street.”

Truthdig, Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s ‘Fairy Godmother’

This is nothing more than proof that the Democrats and Republicans are in the pockets of the same wealthy contributing class. All of the finger pointing by elected Republicans is simply sour grapes because it isn’t them selling us down the river.

…Prove I’m wrong Republicans. Reject this nominee, and even further, back any number of grassroots attempts to change Washington politics forever by getting money out of elections.

Facebook status backdated to the blog. As expected, the Republicans in congress had no problem with this 1%er and convicted predatory lender getting the commerce job.

Buying Elections

In their (and the current systems) defense, they spent the money and failed; but the problem is that Romney was the candidate because that’s what the moneyed elite wanted. The base would have probably nominated Santorum in the end. Who knows? Do you really believe the base of the Democratic party wanted John Kerry as their nominee? The money speaks louder than the voices of millions.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

TxTag; It’s Not Very Friendly.

The Wife has been driving to Lockhart for the last three days, using the toll roads. So TXtag, in their infinite wisdom, disabled online access to our account because the increased activity drained the account down into a negative balance. No emails saying “account suspended”, or more wisely, no email saying “here’s how to pay, pay now”.

Even better, when I finally get to talk to someone at TXtag (the first operator hung up on me, she apparently had virgin ears) manage to figure out what the toll charge was per day, and got the account back open, there isn’t any way to check usage and see what the current charges are. Most annoyingly, while waiting on hold, I’m told every 30 seconds about how I can go online and pay, when I wouldn’t have been hearing the message if that were true.

I don’t know which petty little modo thought it was a good idea to disabled online access when accounts go negative, making it harder for people to actually pay their tolls, but I don’t think that person is qualified to sweep floors, much less make important decisions of this nature. Yes, I’m looking at you Governor Perry.


I scalded both sets of ears of the people I talked to. I got the account reopened and all additional charges dropped, but I have a real problem with the way they’re doing this stuff. The State should be handling this themselves if they want to charge us for the roads, or at least have the contractors answer to the state (which they don’t do know. They only answer to the gov) it has to change and the only way to change it is change who is running the state.

Facebook status and comment backdated to the blog. I still don’t like TxTag, and it is getting harder to avoid toll roads.

Residents Who Are Not Citizens Should Be Citizens

“I think the president wants to campaign on immigration reform in 2014 and 2016 and I think the reason the White House is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is because the White House knows that insisting on that is very likely to scuttle the bill.”

CBS this morning profile on Ted Cruz

No, Senator Cruz. The President is insisting on a path to citizenship because that’s the only way to deal with the problem of residents who are not documented. The way to prevent future undocumented residents is to craft a guest worker program that will work in the real world, not the paranoid delusions of the average Republican.

…You and your kind are on your way out, Mr. Cruz. Enjoy your 6 years, because it’s all you will have as Senator unless the GOP wises up.

Facebook Status backdated to the blog. The Austin American Statesman moved their blogs. Archive.org has a First Reading summary here. Beto O’Rourke almost got Cruz’s seat in 2018.

Our Hearts Weep for You West, Texas

Being Liberal on Facebook

Yes, I KNOW that this is a cheap shot, but I simply cannot resist. On April 17th, 2013, a fertilizer storage facility exploded, killing fifteen people and injuring more than 160. The people of West deserve more than to be remembered as the point of a political meme, but this example of corporate largesse begs to be stated as bluntly as possible.

For the last 40 years, corporations have successfully brainwashed the voters, most of whom now believe “regulation” is a bad word, and believe that governments who want to prevent corporations from maximizing their own profits, regardless of consequences, are evil. How many times have you heard the mantra that OSHA interfered with my business? Staffing and funding OSHA has been demonstrably reduced because of calls for deregulation.

Corporations are not evil any more than government is evil. However, they do exist to make profit, for themselves and for their stockholders, and they exist for no other purpose. It is up to government to ensure that corporations function within the parameters of protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of innocents who just happen to live nearby. It is long past time that we stop viewing government regulation as a bad thing. What the current US and Texas state governments needs to embrace is the notion of smart regulation, regulation that serves the higher purposes embraced by the majority of humanity. This includes protecting the environment and public safety, something wholly lacking in current Texas regulations.

The Senator from Canada and the congressional rep for West, Texas and the surrounding area have made the issue a political football because of their stands against Hurricane Sandy relief, while simultaneously asking for aid for this. This hypocrisy cries out to be corrected.

Facebook Status and related edited comments backdated to the blog. A h/t to a Facebook friend is also in order here. As of this posting (04/23/2018) changes to the regulations that lead to this disaster in West have been completely inadequate to keep another such tragedy from occurring. The state government still doesn’t know where these kinds of storage hazards exist. Roger Williams remains the representative for West, Texas and my representative here in Austin. Here’s hoping both he and Ted Cruz are replaced in the upcoming midterms. Changes made to the US regulatory codes by the Obama administration following this disaster have been weakened by the administration of the Orange Hate-Monkey.


Texas Standard, Five Years After the Explosion in West, Texas, Very Little has been Done to Prevent Another One