All purpose vertically integrated publishing empire for cynicism, hopelessness and misanthropy. Mild nausea is common when using this product. Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to: dizzyness, headache, homicidal rage and yellow discharge. Rarely, users may begin to hear voices urging them to kill. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek psychiatric attention. Do not read when pregnant or nursing; the author thinks that's gross.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Roland Burris is Inherently Funny

He Really IsSo I wasn't really blogging anywhere when the Roland Burris circus of fun was going on. It was honestly a depressing scene. Here you had an obvious toady of a corrupt governor (he's a lobbyist, campaign contributor and business associate of Blago's, though he thought it was clever enough to do much of that through Blago's wife) being appointed to the same Senate seat that Blago had been caught trying to sell on tape by the FBI.

Yet, most liberal blogs defended the appointment. It looked bad, you see, to block him from being seated... because a bunch of all white Senators would be keeping out the one black Senator, who was replacing the previous black senator, our new black President.

Burris even made sure to get himself photographed in a silly little tableau outside the Capitol, to try and fashion himself into a new Civil Rights icon or some such.

I agree, of course, that the way Harry Reid handled this mess was stupid. The way he handles EVERYTHING is stupid. It's a wonder the man doesn't walk around all day with his fly open.

Reid prevented a special election in Illinois that would have prevented all this. Heckuva job, Reidy. Thus, Blago got his foot, and his lackey, in the door, and...

Here we are this week! Burris was caught lying to the Illinois legislature's impeachment inquiry. Under oath. By the FBI, as it happened. See, he'd said, under oath, he had no contact with Blago's people prior to being seated.

Only it came out, actually before the committee, to whom he had given a written affadavit before speaking, he had met with Blago's best pal/probable extortion cutout/other lobbyist, a man named Lon Monk.

But, technically, he didn't work for Blago, so that was ok. Right?

Ahem. Turns out this week the FBI had at least one tape of Burris meeting... with Blago's brother. So Burris rushes to put out an amendment to his testimony under oath. It goes from "I didn't meet with any blago people" to "I met with 4 Blago people, including his brother, Rob Blagojevich". See, there's a one letter difference in their names. That's how you can tell they're not at all related. Oh wait a second..

But this was ok too! Because he'd turned down the offer to bribe Blago with a campaign fundraiser! Right?

Well, today he had to amend his amended testimony. Turns out, he didn't turn Blago's brother down.. He just couldn't raise the money.


So, this is like perjury squared, or if you count the Monk lies, cubed, now.

Meanwhile, Burris' many former.. not exactly defenders, but... damnit, I wish the Right hadn't ruined the term 'appeaser'.. the Burris apologists on the Left, are almost eerily silent.

You got a lot of excuses for why we should let an obvious criminal into the Senate. Typically these ran to one of a few forms:

1: Ted Stevens was a criminal and nobody stopped him! He was corrupt!
My Response: Very true. Stevens was a Republican, and the GOP protected him. The rest of the Senate largely did too. Is that the kind of government we really want?
In addition, I would note that Stevens' crimes, while heinous, didn't actually involve buying a Senate seat. He was elected to the Senate, legitimately, on more than one occasion.

2: The 'optics' of keeping Burris out look bad! It looks racist on cable news (especially Fox)!
My Response: Of course the 'optics' look bad. Blago and Burris wanted them to look bad. You know what will look worse? When he's expelled from the Senate to start his term in a federal prison.

On another note, for the love of god, can we stop using the mealymouthed, ham-fisted, barely-even-English verbal cudgel of 'optics', please?

It's an assault on the language centers of the brain, I swear. Not everything needs to be discussed as if we're all soulless cogs in some marketing machine.

3: There's no established LEGAL mechanism to stop him being seated!
My Response: This one's a classic. While Al Franken dutifully beat back every petty legal challenge in Minnesota to get the seat he rightfully won, we couldn't put up a single roadblock for Burris, who is trying to steal one with the help of a legendarily corrupt governor. Ok...

Thanks to Often-Wrong Reid, it's true, our legal options were somewhat limited. But the DNC and Obama could have made it very clear to Burris that if he takes this job, he's a dead man walking, politically. No committee appointments in the Senate, no one legitimate will work for him in DC, no campaign support, and in 2010, a vicious primary that will break him into little bitty pieces.

Burris is an operator. He'd take the hint.

Instead... nothing was done. Thanks Reid. Thanks to you too, President Obama.

(I also love the legal 'analysis' here that suggests that you should be allowed to profit from a crime, i.e. the purchase of a Senate seat, merely because the Constitution forgot to mention buying an appointment as a disqualification. Right, right. The fact that, in the end, Burris purchased it for a fundraiser that never occurred only makes him a better criminal.)

Well, ok, fine, fine.

Just out of curiosity.... how does the Burris thing look now, to all the people who thought it best to let him in and be done with it?

Heh. I love being right.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Helpful AI

The Future Is Here and Slightly UnnervingOk, so nobody reads this blog. Even if they did, they wouldn't care about my posts of old links that I want to keep handy somewhere.

Or do they? I just got this comment on an old list of comics and such that I no longer wanted on my blogroll:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Outdated Links":

Monty and Woolley is back!"

That's.... great... Anonymous.

This is from a post from July 20th of 2008.

Wow. Even I had long forgotten I put that up there. Or anything in it.

So, err, to the helpful machine intelligences that now tell me about old webcomics being back:

Please don't kill me. I promise to be useful in the new machine empire.

Nero Watch, Day 33

The Saga ContinuesSo I got a reply, of sorts, from Nero early this week.

It was to ask me to send them information I had already sent about my problem. The guy seemed to have access to only some of the emails I had previously sent.

I resent the information, and got an autoreply a few hours later.

Friday will be 48 hours since that autoreply. Sigh.

This is just going at GLACIER SPEED, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Western Civilization in Flames

Hilariously Awful

Just wanted to preserve a pair of stories for posterity. First, from The Huffington Post, which got it from TMZ, a picture of that freak Nadya Suleman, the woman who had six kids she couldn't support and decided to get in vitro fertilization to have 8 more.

Sadly, she lived.

Then there is this breaking news of our degeneracy from Xinhua, who must just be laughing themselves silly (being as they are an official news agency of Communist China), a story about a 13 year old british boy who's now a father!

How wonderful!

Even creepier, crushing poverty and hopelessness has left him looking perpetually 8 years old and with the most soulless eyes outside of a prison psychward.

Take a gander:

Read the story too, it's heartbreaking, assuming you aren't already dead inside like me.

Oh well.

(Note on image use: I chose to post these images to blogger because this post needs to preserve a record of the decline of our civilization for future digital archaeologists, and newsie sites move/lose these things all the time. I'm providing citations/links to the original sources, so I think I'm on the side of the angels here. If by 'angels' you mean 'devils who laugh uproariously at the suffering of man')

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nero Photography

A Picture is Worth A Thousand WordsAll I have for my original copy of Nero, the one that got deactivated first and stopped working properly a month ago, is a cd case with the key written on a sticker on the outside. I pitched the box and all its bumpf ages ago.

The second copy though, was brand new, still in it shrink-wrap, as of this Friday, when Nero stole it from me via the magic of the internet.

Here are some handy photos!

First we have the ginormous pile of stuff that comes with the Nero Ultra Edition package I purchased. 90% of this is completely useless, or packing material. But I paid for it!

Plus, now, it's all I have to show for my money.

Friday was the first time this copy of Nero had ever been opened. It still has the Best Buy retail sticker on the outside.

Here is the second cd key, blacked out. Note how it says to be very careful to keep track of this information.

There's no warning, however, about Nero themselves ripping you off. Funny that.

Nero Watch, Day 29

A Tale of WoeThis all starts about a month ago, as the title might suggest. My computer, whose Automatic Updates hadn't worked properly since the IU undergrad days, when they did something stupid to my copy of XP using their Domain Admin authority (they wanted amongst other things to force you to take updates at certain, assigned by them times, to spread out their bandwidth demands) got infected with one of the delightful new Eastern European worms.

The simplest course of action was to do a complete reinstallation of Windows, and after a few headaches this was accomplished, and I began the process of reinstalling all the software I need on a daily basis. Everything went without a hitch, from Winamp to Spybot to the various Sony things to make my PVR run, etc.

Everything except Nero.

See, I've installed Nero before. On this very same machine, but nevertheless, I have installed it. So when I installed it this time, Nero checked with their brain-dead DRM server and found that my cd key matched.. my cd key.

It began to nag me about this conflict every time I started it up. Nagware, irritating but not debilitating.

I went to Nero's website and found the email for their US Customer Service department, and fired off a quick message, explaining the situation and asking them to set my key back so that I didn't get nagged at anymore. I was annoyed, mostly by the fact that my dvd player felt it had the right to phone home whenever it wanted. But I wasn't particularly upset; I could even see how this had happened, though it's poor security and intrusive. I was inclined to chalk it up as another minor annoyance of the reinstallation process.

I quickly received an autoreply email from their Customer Service Department, early on January 17th, stating that they had received my message and would be getting back to me.

Days went by, and I forgot all about it, except when I had to click through the nagware screen for Nero. I had a minor surgery to deal with and other things on my mind, so I didn't follow up. I thought it had only been a couple of weeks while a month flew by, etc.

Nero never responded to my email. They did, however, 3 weeks after I initially informed them of their error, remotely deactivate my Nero software.

Now I was angry. I had paid, *retail* no less, for this software. Two copies actually! (We'll get back to that in a bit) I fired off another email, to the new address Nero prompted me to use just for incorrect deactivations. I told them that they had screwed up big time, and had had weeks to fix the problem, but had ignored me, and I was extremely irritated. I told them I expected an answer to this problem shortly.

None came, of course. After waiting another full day, I decided to remove the entire Nero installation, using a special 'clean install' tool they have on their site, so I could use the second copy of the software I had purchased ages ago, intended originally for another machine. After completely uninstalling Nero, cleaning the registry with their tool, and reinstalling, a process that wasted most of an afternoon, I was prompted for the new cd key.

Keep in mind, I had just opened the box on this package. It had never so much as seen the light of day, let alone been used. I put in the new key, off the new cd jewel case, and it accepted it.

For about a minute. Then it popped up a new message, said that key was also in use, and again robbed me of my legally purchased software.

I fired off a *third* email, again to the DRM email address. I was furious, and let them know that. Now I had been robbed twice, and ignored for weeks, and I wanted my cd keys restored so that I could use the software I paid good money for.

I'm still waiting on a reply. Tomorrow is the one month anniversary of the initial problem/email I sent to Nero customer service.

A month. I've literally waited a month for the courtesy of a response of any kind.

I will never purchase another Nero product so long as I live, and I recommend that anyone who reads this similarly abstains. Nero has the absolute worst customer service I've ever seen in my life.

Now I guess I get to spend a bunch of cell phone minutes trying to call a 1-800 number during business hours if I want their crappy software back. I'm honestly not sure it's worth the headache. I'm already using the OEM provided DVD player software now, which isn't as nice as Nero but also doesn't rob me blind. I don't really make backup dvds anymore, since I got a 1.5 TB external drive.

Then again, this is MY MONEY. I have a right to what I paid for.

I will update the blog with any further developments.

It's Alive!

RestartWell, I've been sick quite a while now, but I'm feeling better and getting ready to go back to doing/posting stuff.

With that in mind, here is a filler post to help get old stuff off the front page.