January 21, 2005

Well golly, sell the stock then.

I'm all for competition in the browser market and everything, but the phrasing of this article as if FireFox has scored a dramatic victory over Microsoft is a tad bit overplayed:

Microsoft's share of the browser market has continued to slide, according to a new study, indicating a continued momentum for users switching to Internet Explorer alternatives.

Between the beginning of December and mid-January, IE's market share dropped 1.5 percent to 90.3 percent, while the Mozilla Project's Firefox browser rose 0.9 percent to a total of 5.0 percent, according to market researcher WebSideStory. Researchers have shown Explorer's market share falling since June, when WebSideStory had its market share at 95.5 percent.

So, the big triumphant story is that, thanks to FireFox, Microsoft now completely controls the universe to a slightly lesser degree. Ummm.... yay?

On a side note, I have to make the ungodly confession that I still use Internet Explorer, because I want to look at my site the way most other people look at my site, and because frankly I can't stand the FireFox interface. Look remotely aesthetically pleasing, use the same hotkey functions, and make it possible for me to resize my address bar without having to physically edit the program file (seriously, that's how you have to do it) and we'll talk. Until then, I'm fine with Google toolbar for my basic security and switching to Mozilla when I'm looking at porn pictures of puppies and sites about how good it is to be virtuous that just happen to have lots of popups and spyware.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:47 PM

Oh... oh, right. Yeah.

I, as well as many others, caught this gem from Bush's Inaugural speech yesterday. The Daily Show caught it too, but for those of you who missed it or don't get cable, it's worth reprinting this line:

From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth.
Except of course, for the people we owned and the women that weren't allowed to vote.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:26 AM

January 19, 2005

Agenda

I actually am working from the apartment tomorrow, as the Center's office is so close to the White House that security makes getting there next to impossible. Despite being so close to the events, I really have no desire to mill around the Inaugural, even at protest events.

For one thing, it's really, really cold. Which may sound like a cop-out to a lot of you, but seriously, I don't need anyone from Texas or Florida telling me how I should be out there in ten-degree weather waving a "Free Mumia!" sign for no damned reason at all.

For another- and I say this as someone who went to both anti-war and anti-RNC-in-NYC protests- there's really no point. There's no message to be delivered to Bush tomorrow. Despite my disagreement with the electoral outcome, tomorrow really is Bush's day. That's not necessarily a good thing- it's his day because he bought and paid for it, with the most extravagant Bread and Circuses spectacle that a wartime nation has ever seen. I'm waiting for the utmost of irony in the form of Bush to stand at a balcony holding a Kalisnikov while the Iraqi army marches by him.

Tomorrow is going to be a spectacle- a $40 million amplification of the Republican Party clapping its hands to its ears and going "lalalalalalala Icantheeeeeearyoouuuu." I really have no desire to pay any attention, when there's so many things to be done about blocking Boy King's agenda that can be worked on instead. Frankly, I think we'd piss off the Right a lot more if Democrats spent the day going "hey, a parade... what, is something going on today or something? We were too busy working on a plan for Social Security that'll actually pass through Congress to notice."

Of course, if the temperature drops to forty below and hail starts pouring down from the sky, I might just have to tune in to C-SPAN. Other than that, I'll probably just spend tomorrow catching up on my e-mail.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:45 PM

I'm cold and, YES, THERE ARE

Okay, I was warned that this would happen when I moved down to the DC Metro area, but I really had to experience it first hand to understand its inanity.

I'm from Northern New Jersey. For those of you who aren't from the area, let me explain how our handling of weather works around those parts: we ignore it completely. No less than eight inches of snow are necessary to even consider delaying the opening of the public schools. When there's a foot on the ground and the Governor is declaring a state of emergency, in Bergen County the superintendent is arguing if that means us too. Snow days in New York City means everyone can go to the Ikea in Paramus, which has been plowed out to handle cars, most of the time before parts of the New Jersey Turnpike are.

On the other hand, in Washington, apparently a goddamn flake hits the ground and the entire Metro area goes to Defcon 3. There was an inch and a half of snow today, and as a result, trains were cancelled, the Airport delayed everything, and I had to wait around the bus terminal at the Pentagon for an entire hour for my bus to show up, bravely fighting through the torrent of light dusting that caused it to be stuck behind for sixty minutes. I have been told that at three inches, the city may actually close down the subway system. If this is true, I want another Civil War just so the capitol can be moved back to Manhattan.

And so I'm waiting there for my bus, and I look in the distance. On the opposite end of the terminal pavillion, on a patch of grass leading uphill to a highway barrier, a wolf runs through the aforementioned light dusting.

I swear to god I'm not making this up. It snows an inch in Washington DC and wolves are scavenging through Northern Virginia as if a blizzard had claimed the lives of an entire town.

Not to sound like the stereotypical Grandpa, but when I was in high school and at NYU I actually did have to trudge through a half-foot of snow to get to class sometimes. Meanwhile, the very ecological breakdown of Washington DC is a fucking pussy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:28 PM

Why I need to read the TPS Reports

This is exactly what happens when I don't read the office memos. The Center just unveiled its new in-house radio studio this week, and as a combination new-studio-slash-Inaugural-related event, Al Franken's going to be in the studio broadcasting his show straight from the Center for American Progress.

I really wish I had known that so I could have, oh, worn a clean shirt or something while Al Franken sits about ten feet away from me for three hours.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:03 AM

January 18, 2005

No, no, we pulled it out of our birth canal

The clearly objective and non-partisan Life Site News has decreed that Social Security is in crisis because- that's right- there are too many abortions.

�Part of the problem that we're seeing now with Social Security has to do with the fact that 40 to 50 million people who have been killed through abortions have not taken their role as productive citizens,� Church of God in Christ Bishop George McKinney said, as reported by the AP.

(snip)

The Population Research Institute borrows a solution to the mounting dilemma from Washington Post columnist Phillip Longman. PRI says that Americans should agitate for changes to the Social Security system �that reduces the fertility disincentives contained in the structure of Social Security itself, and encourages Americans to bear more children.�

�More children now means more taxpaying workers later to help the system avoid bankruptcy,� the PRI briefing continued.

"There are many reasons birthrates are falling, but Social Security itself is likely a major cause because of the raw deal it creates for parents and the enormous subsidies it provides to non-parents," Phillip Longman explained in his op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday, January 9. �So long as Social Security effectively penalizes people for having the very children the system requires, it contributes to a downward spiral of falling birthrates leading to higher and higher tax rates.�

Dear Life Site News:

1. You actually link to the Longman column without noting that it doesn't mention abortion in any way. Longman's argument is that the Social Security system provides more overall benefits to families with no children. Including it as justification of your anti-choice beliefs are a pure fabrication.

2. Of course the population increase rate has declined in the decades following the baby boom. It was the baby boom- that period following a time in which integral percentages of the national population had died. You're arguing that we don't have a post-world-war population growth anymore becuase social security affects it? We don't have a post-world-war population growth anymore because we haven't recently had an internationl conflict in which hundreds of thousands of Americans died, you asshat.

3. Church of God in Christ Bishop George McKinney's argument makes no sense whatsoever. He argues that abortion has caused 40 or 50 million people to not exist that could enter the social security system. This is because, of course, every child born in this country lives their full life as a taxpaying citizen and no woman that has an abortion ever chooses to later give birth to a child ever again.

There's absolutely no logic in the final argument. It's like saying abortions saved thousands of American lives by eliminating 40 million potential serial killers. By the Bishop's logic, a lack of abortion rights in Saudi Arabia is why Osama bin Laden was born and therefore why 9/11 happened. Furthermore, there's no discussion about how having a baby tends to require the parent to stop working to raise it- so someone actively funding social security must now stop for the sake of raising a child that will start funding it in eighteen years, and that adds to the fund?

To add insult to complete and utter stupidity, Life Site News decides that the conservative "Welfare Mom" argument suddenly no longer exists. For twenty years, the Right has complained that mothers- we don't have any names, but they're out there, trust us- are deliberately having babies just to- that's right- cash in on government welfare. Well, golly, it's a shame we don't promote that. According to astounding research Life Site News just made up, those welfare moms are heroically creating the news generation of Social Security financiers.

Or, since according to this analysis no one ever needs to leave the workforce to raise these future contributors, we could just hook 'em all up in pods like The Matrix, harvesting their roles as productive citizens.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:00 AM

January 17, 2005

Newest comic posted - "Blank check of the people"

I had actually been working on a gag like this since the election, when I was looking for a way to address the simplistic argument of the pro-Bush crowd declaring that we should all apparently accept every facet of the Bush agenda because he scored 3 percent on Nov. 2.

So you can imagine my amazement when the President himself actually said this. I suppose it will take some time to know for sure, but I'm really not sure what's more frightening- the idea that the Leader of the Free World might actually have a midset as simple as that, or that significant portions of the country actually think that winning the election actually does mean the President gets what he wants.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:30 AM

January 16, 2005

We get letters

Craig Gerrard from Liverpool, England, is very concerned.

Dear Mr Pollack

I saw your laughably intense rant about 'right wing' bloggers, who only care about 'winning the argument. You have obviously not won an argument for some long time now. Is this why you are so angry at people who, by virtue of their intellect and verbal dexterity, are able to expose the shallowness of the self-proclaimed intellectuals and 'artists' of the left?

I'm wondering if he read the passage about how right-wing bloggers forgo intellectual and verbally dexterous comments in favor of making insults and snarky jibes before writing me an e-mail consisting of nothing but a petty insult and a snarky jibe.

Not sure, but he may have found the site from the recent post entitled "Carnival of the Commies" that linked to me courtesy of one of the more popular right-wing hate sites. Considering how the response to my post has been, instead of any contrary rebuttal, name-calling and a random reader essentially declaring "I know you are but what am I?" I think it's safe to say they're doing a fantastic job proving my point for me.

And please try to spell my name right in the future, Craig.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:14 PM