Category Archives: politics

U.S. attorney general pledges ‘going to take action’ after Florida shooting

U.S. attorney general pledges ‘going to take action’ after Florida shooting:

I’ll believe it when I see it.  Since 1999, America has had more than 400 fatalities related to school shootings.  That’s JUST school shootings, not any other gun related crime.  Let me state that again, more plainly:  More than 400 children and adults have been murdered in their schools

Many of these shooters used some version of the AR-15 rifle.  That’s the semi-automatic version of the combat rifle used by the American military for most of the last 60 years.

After the first military model was produced, Colt (the manufacturer) produced a virtually identical weapon for the civilian market and called it a “sporting” rifle.  The only functional difference is that the civilian version can only fire one bullet per trigger pul, while the military version has a selector switch that allows 3-round bursts to be fired with one trigger pull or to fire continually as long as the trigger is being held.

The standard AR-15 fires the same round that the M16 uses: Remington .223 also known as the 5.56×45 NATO round.  The muzzle velocity of the round is about 3300 FPS and is traveling at speeds around 3x the speed of sound.  The round causes an entry wound about the size of your pinky finger and makes an exit wound about the size of your fist.  As the round travels through the body, it causes a shock wave that turns bone to small shrapnel and causes soft tissue to essentially turn into hamburger.

There is no need for a civilian to have that kind of firepower.  Anyone who says that’s for target shooting is lying to either you or to themselves.  This model of rifle is designed to cause massive bodily injury with every round, and to be very accurate up to 500 yards, even in the military machine gun configuration.

The Republican Debate: Bad Lip Reading

Um, I’m pretty sure that there is nothing that I can say that would improve this.

This is why we can’t have nice things

Ok, first, here’s the FFRF ad:

Video © Freedom from Religion Foundation

As far as I am concerned, this ad is somewhat less upsetting than pretty much any TV ad for the ASPCA that shows abused animals. It is also little different than ads that I’ve seen for the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the United Methodist Church

According to the ad was submitted to pretty much all of the TV networks, but was rejected by everybody but CNN (and Comedy Central, last year), which I have no significant issue with, though I think it’s pandering to the Christian Right Wing, but whatever. They’re perfectly within their right to air (or not) pretty much anything they want.

Anyway, I tagged a friend with this on Facebook, and got a comment back, which I started to reply to, then thought better of it. My extended response to the comment is behind the jump. Continue reading

EFF member 2014

2014 members circle

I joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation this year. I agree with their mission, to protect the Internet against encroachment on the rights of free speech, fair use, innovation, PRIVACY, and transparency. Continue reading

Absolutely unconscionable

In November 2012, Minnesota resident Byron Smith made his home an inviting target for a couple of kids after he had a couple of previous break-ins. Then he hid out in the basement with audio recording equipment and firearms, and waited for someone to break in.

17-year old Nick Brady and 18- year old Haile Kifer did just that and were, in essence summarily executed by Smith, who admitted to delivering a coup de grâce to Kifer by placing his .22 caliber handgun under her chin and firing into her head because he “didn’t want her to suffer.” What’s worse, he didn’t call police until the next day.

As if that wasn’t enough of a human travesty, Fox News personality Sean Hannity went on the air on April 30 to DEFEND this monster, saying that the slaying was reasonable and justifiable! Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself:

At least Geraldo Rivera had the decency to be outraged at the obvious malice with which the event occurred, but Hannity and Fox Business producer Bernard McGuirk had the balls to suggest that it was not only justified, but laudable. Since when do citizens have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner in this country? What happened to due process? What happened to being tried by a jury of your peers?

Simple: On April 29, 2014, Smith was tried and convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder. This despicable human was held accountable by his peers and sent to prison for the rest of his life, without parole. There is nothing laudable about lying in wait with the intent to commit murder.

Why do we keep doing this?

Stupid leadership

Setting up a Raspberry Pi as an ad-blocking privacy server (Privoxy)

Why do we need another ad-blocking server for Raspberry Pi? This one uses Privoxy to act as a ” non-caching web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy, modifying web page data and HTTP headers, controlling access, and removing ads and other obnoxious Internet junk.”

Please follow these other tutorials in order:

  1. Install the OS onto your SD card

  2. Boot the Pi and configure it
    Don’t forget to change the default password for the ‘pi’ acccount!!!

  3. Verify that you can reach the Internet through your Pi: Execute


    to make sure that you can see the outside world.

Install Privoxy on your pi with the following command:

sudo apt-get install privoxy

Install Privoxy on the Raspbery Pi

Edit Privoxy configuration file as appropriate for your situation. I like to set the “hostname” and “enable-remote-toggle 1” settings since I run several servers at home and like to be able to toggle Privoxy on and off without logging into the server itself.

sudo vi /etc/privoxy/config

Search for “listen-address” and edit as appropriate. If you are using your Pi as a proxy for other computers, make sure that you change “localhost” to reflect the address of the interface that you want to listen on.

Edit the listen-address in the privoxy config file

Restart the Privoxy service with the following command:

sudo service privoxy restart

Restart Privoxy Service

Configure your web browser as appropriate to use the Privoxy server at the address you chose above, with the port 8118. Then, open a browser window and enter the address to go to the proxy configuration page. Here is what my screen looks like:

Privoxy Config web page

You will notice that my server name is “onion-pi” (as I configured the “hostname” setting in the config file above) with the IP address of The standard port for Privoxy to run on is 8118, though you can change that in the configuration file. I highly recommend reading through it at some point, and fine tuning your proxy to best suit your needs.

Once you have Privoxy running on your Raspberry Pi, the final step is to make it run at boot time. To do that, enter the following command:

sudo update-rc.d privoxy defaults

Install Privoxy to run at boot time

The final check is to reboot and make sure that Privoxy comes back up. You can do this by either going to the configuration web address, the shortcut to that address p.p or by checking from the command line with ps -ef|grep privoxy

Ed Asner explains it all…

You know, I’m actually all for returning to the effective Regan tax rates… Which were much higher overall than they are now. And we were much more prosperous as a nation.




So looking forward to the election happening

It’s only a couple of weeks until the election for 2012. Frankly, I’m glad that it will (hopefully, if there are no shenanigans) be over and we can go back to our regularly scheduled TV viewing.

I’ve decided who I will vote for, at least for the major offices. Tori has, I think, decided as well, though I am not sure, since she’s so completely over the election bull shit. Kristen’s politics are well known to me, so I am pretty sure she’s decided. Kirk, though? Who knows. He’s a teenage boy, so anything is possible. 

I appreciate and understand how important it is to vote and have a say (somewhat) in the election of our representatives in government. I’m just tired of all of the interruptions in the mail and at the door asking for my vote. 

Soon, though, it will be decided, for better or for worse. I hope for the betterment of everyone.

You know something’s crazy when…

First things first: Sometime around 1998 or so, a subsidiary of Fox Television went to court for the right to make shit up. Read the decision yourself, on FindLaw. No, I’m not making it up.

It’s established that Fox has the right (and practices that right, despite any ethics associated with real journalism) to alter substantive facts and report them as news.

So, when a “news outlet” that is known to make things up calls you a liar, you might have a problem.  That’s exactly what FOX News did on August 30, 2012: They called Paul Ryan’s speech at the Republican National Convention “deceiving”.  In fact, they specifically said that “Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

The used three words to describe Ryan’s speech: Dazzling, deceiving and distracting. When a group that has gone to court for the right to make stuff up calls someone else “deceptive” it really gives me pause. I mean, my first inclination in that case is to dismiss the “deceptive” title as, well, made up. But they followed up the claim with several point/counterpoint statements that contradict some of Ryan’s statements. you know, like the one where Ryan blamed a Janesville, WI auto plant that was basically shut down in 2008 on President Obama… You know, the guy that stepped into the office of President in — What was it? Oh, yeah! 2009!

Oh, and did you hear about the RNC attendees who threw nuts at a black woman and said “this is how we feed animals” the other day? Yeah, check out the story here. The fact that the candidates weren’t heard to decry the act is not encouraging. This sort of race baiting is endemic to the ultra-right wing of the Republican party.

And it’s despicable. 

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