French Revolution and Modern America

A while back, Melissa and I watched the movie “Marie Antoinette“, starring Kirsten Dunst as the eponymous role.

I thought the movie was pretty good — Melissa was a bit more critical, but she disapproves of most things. ( :) )

For those of you completely unaware of historical references, the movie was about the brief period of time before the French Revolution began. In a nutshell, the French Revolution occurred because the wealthy ruling class was so far divided (both financially and socially) from the servant / lower class that a Peasant uprising occurred. Other factors believed to be involved as causes were:

  • the exorbitant national debt of france (partly due to Louis XV & XVI’s warmongering / overseas military activities)
  • the “conspicuous consumption of the noble class…despite the financial burden of the populace”
  • “High unemployment and bread prices”
  • The ineptitude of the leader, Louis XVI, to deal with any of these (and many other) problems

[Source] Continue reading

What the hell is going on in America right now?

Ok.. first off – Check this out. It’s from CNN, “the Cafferty File”. Apparently there’s a bill in legislation right now (I HOPE it hasn’t passed yet) that has, buried deep in it, an exculpatory clause that pardons the current administration for ANY and all instances of liability concerning torture, detention, and atrocities committed since Sep 11 2001. GTMO, the Iraqi prison scandal, all of those. Wiped clean.

Pretty effed up! I really hope this doesn’t pass.. next thing you know, he’ll be trying to get immunity for breaking the law with his signing statements!

Next up on the chopping block: the MPA has shut down OLGA and other Guitar Tab online archives. This is ridiculous. The RIAA is the epitome of money-grubbing dogma, clinging to an antiquated business model, and throwing red herrings at the public news media about why their sales are slumping. I haven’t purchased a CD from an RIAA-affiliated company in over….3 years. (The last CD I bought was directly from a band, who is on an Indie label). I found a very informative and active coaltion called DownHill Battle, they are at the forefront of a movement to help breakup the monopoly of major labels. It’s worth checking out, they have a nice site. Rants aside, I really am sick of the RIAA and their bullshit. Ick.

*deep breath*

Ok. In *other* news, Melissa and I are doing well. The baby is slowly hardening into a fetus that you can feel from the outside. I was touching her stomach this morning and it was really amazing to think that the lump under her belly button is our baby. Really mind-blowing. Her next OB appt is next week. We’re having some difficulty with Medicaid right now, and are still kind of up in the air on the logistics of how to get the baby from the inside to the outside, but we’ll get it figured out.
The house has been kind of on hold right now — I want to finish painting the kitchen and hang some things up on the walls, perhaps we can do that tomorrow.

I just started my new job on Monday. I like it — I get a cubicle, I have a three-monitor display, my co-workers are all real nice, and the pay is great (twice my last salary!). My only complaint is that I have to deal with .NET. Granted, it IS C#, but even so, I have to program it in Visual Studio. Microsoft has this habit of wanting to do everything THEIR way — the idea of “compliance” is completely foreign to them. (case in point: Internet Explore v.7, which was JUST released, is only ~20% compliant with CSS 2.0… wtf?) My biggest complaint about VS.NET though is that it distances the developer greatly from the code itself. When I program in PHP, I manually type out every single line — I am aware of everything my code does; If it burps, it’s because I told it to, if it crashes, it’s because I made the typo or logic error. VS.Net is all about the point-click-drag model of development. You just drag widgets into the “designer screen” and then pseudo-HTML is rendered from that. (I say “pseudo” because .NET uses ASP objects, which then render HTML entities upon serving the page) I’m sure it has its place, and for people who were developers first and are now doing web development, it’s probably right at home for them — but it’s UGLY. It’s like using an F-14 Tomcat for Deer hunting.

I suppose a lot of my frustration is coming from the fact that learning new languages is difficult, and I’m merely transferring my frustration at myself onto the cause, but even so! I’ll learn it eventually, and I’ll probably be better for learning it, but I think I will ALWAYS prefer PHP to .NET for web development.

President Bush: Lawbreaker?

Wow. When I used to joke about the president being a playground bully, I had no idea how dead-on I was. Check this out. What can we do about this?

From this link

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

President cites powers of his office

WASHINGTON — President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ”whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research. Continue reading

Ever Get Shot At?

Ok. One of my coworkers’ brother is in the Army, and is currently stationed over in Iraq. I don’t know much about his qualifications, or distribution, exactly where he’s at, etc. All I know is that it’s near Baghdad.

He’s on MySp!

And he keeps a blog. (http://blog.myspace.com/soldierjac )

You really have to check this out, it’s absolutely phenomenal. Some of the things he talks about are just crazy! Getting shot at all the time, going on missions *to be shot at* so the snipers can eliminate their target, constantly waking up and being paranoid… I just can’t even imagine a life like that, where you’re constantly knowing that at any moment it could all be over.

I have completely the utmost respect for these guys. I don’t know exactly why it took reading someone’s blog to really define this for me; maybe it’s because that makes it more personable… it’s easier to trust the word of someone you know is being genuine than it is of the media.

I still hate the government. They keep putting other people’s sons and daughters under the knife while they sit back and find new ways to capitalize on the opportunities created by those very same sons and daughters. Disgusting. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain…he wrote “Tom Sawyer” & “Huckleberry Finn” which were both made into [I think] Disney movies, one of which starred Elijah Wood, who was Kevin in “Sin City” and co-starred with Michael Clarke Duncan, who was in “Green Mile” with Tom Hanks, who was in “Apollo 13″ with… yes…… Kevin Bacon), so Samuel Clemens once said “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it,” and I fully believe that.

In any case — go check out his blog, he hasn’t had a lot of time to write in it, but the few things that are there are definitely worth reading. (Especially the stuff about that Iraqi kid, too funny!)