Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Are you serious??

What can you say about this? The Unabomber on a postage stamp. The ironing is killing me (Simpson's quote before someone corrects my spelling of 'irony').

August 31st, 1919. The American Communist Party was created. Let's go celebrate at the Republican National Convention!! Yay, Communism!!!

/I've got nothing today.........

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Updated updates on the updates [updated].

{UPDATE 9/21/04}
{Most everything that I talk about here is long gone, I think the only thing I have left is UnkyMoods and StatCounter. So just ignore this post... -tcl}

Ok, lots of things to talk about. This site has just undergone a major change (if you're a returning visitor, you already know), and a lot of things have been added. Here's a list

1) Added UnkyMoods to the sidebar, right under my profile. I usually hate those "Today I am feeling" mods, but these I actually like. They're done by Marc Lutz, who draws CanHed Comix, which is a pretty good comic strip. Easy to change the emoticons as well, no cut and pasting of code everytime I want a new face. So, if you hate 'em, tough shit, they're here to stay.

2) Added StatCounter to the bottom of the site. That's right, I'm tracking you. And stealing your credit card information as well! Muahahah!!

3) Links! I added a TON of links. I have seperated them into groups:

Shameless Self-Promotion: My business, FerretFrenzy. Say you saw the ad here, I'll give you a discount. Also, my photographs at Webshots.

News: (which is mostly links to Unbiased non-American news sites. I like my information to be correct, and without a right-wing or liberal slant, thank you very much.)

News Satire: (News should be fun!)

Sites of Interest: (My daily lurks, fun stuff like Fark, Fazed, The Smoking Gun, etc.)

Science and Education: (Knowledge is power! Learn!! City Data is an especially cool site.)

Things I believe in: (Things I personally believe in. Freedom of Speech (The Hacker Quarterly), Michael Moore (SOME of his ideas), RIAA Radar (Find out if your favorite band is getting shafted by the RIAA, and whether or not they'll come after you for downloading their MP3's.) and a few more to come.

The Underbelly of the Net: Mostly Not Safe For Work (NSFW); a few of the sites have porn popup ads, dontcha love those? Ogrish is where to go for War photos; anytime someone is beheaded or anytime there is a firefight in Iraq, they have the photos and/or videos. Gruesome, yes, but still very important to know about. It may be atrocious, but it happens whether you like to think about it or not. That's life. Rotten is another place for horribly nasty pictures, stay away unless you are desensetized.

Props: People and companies who have earned my thanks in some shape or form, as well as links to the sites of friends and family.

4) Added a picture of me to the profile. Ugh. I need a better one, and fast!

5) Changed the color scheme pretty drastically. Now everything is in shades of blue and green, and the text is brighter, so hopefully it will be easier to read.

I'll be putting up some art as well as a sig file in the near future, and adding a few other things, but that's the gist of it for now. If you come across any problems or bugs, let me know so I can fix them.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I have GMAIL!!!

Yep, that's right. I have a ton of gmail invites. Close to 20, actually. So, here's the deal. If anyone reading this blog needs an invite, send an email to TheCunningLinguist@gmail.com.

BUT WAIT! Don't get ahead of yourself! There's a catch. I need some art done for either my band, this blog, or my business. If you can provide me with ORIGINAL art, I'll hook you up. Contact me for more details.

That's all for now. I'm still getting over a hell of a cold, and my mind is dulled by the horrible syrupy fog of NyQuil.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

New Items

A little update about the site. I just added a visitor counter, it's located at the very bottom of the page. I also added a tagboard, it's located on the right side of the page, underneath the previous post listings. Feel free to add some comments about my rantings, positive or negative. In fact, I encourage it. I have a few more little things that I will be doing to tweak the site in the next week or so, so stay tuned for updates.


Monday, August 16, 2004

What a stupid bitch

Maybe you've read the story of Flight 327. It's been EVERYWHERE the past few weeks. It originally appeared in the Women's Wall Street Journal on 7/13. In it, the author, a paranoid Annie Jacobsen, claims that she was witness to a "Terrorist Dry Run" while on a plane from Detroit to Los Angeles. Take a sec, and read the story. Just so you can see what a blathering idiot she is....

Since then, the story has shown up countless times on Fark. Salon.com has dedicated a few "Ask the Pilot" pieces to the story, and she has written a few followup pieces, which can be found here, driving home the fact that she is, in fact, a complete twit. Countless bloggers, such as Pandagon, have been ridiculing her. Snopes.com, even debunked the story as being complete BS. A columnist for NRO discovered that the band in question was not even spreading anti-American propaganda, but that they were more like a "Syrian Wayne Newton". Oh, and the agency that booked the band, also booked Carrot Top. Oooohhh! Sceeery terrorist Carrot Top!!

Time Magazine devoted a piece to this story. They interviewed the Air Marshall on the flight who said "Nothing my main partner or I saw on Flight 327 brought us anywhere near a conclusion that we considered breaking our cover or deploying as we've been trained. And we never came close to drawing our weapons."

After all this negative media coverage, countless sources, including the Air Marshall claiming that she is just a hysterical woman, not to mention the federal agents that not only followed the band to the casino, but STAYED FOR THE SHOW, she STILL continues her crusade to outlaw any and all Syrian musicians who travel by plane.


Bathroom chemicals? Uh-oh! Looks like she might have a valid point... Except for the fact that one of the Air marshals went and checked out that bathroom immediately after the "Syrian Pop Terrorist" emerged, and reported that he found nothing out of the ordinary.

She also claims that they gave her icy stares or made no eye contact at all, and didn't speak to her or anyone else on the plane. But they nodded to each other. Apparently, this is unacceptable behavior to her. What she probably doesn't realize is that people from different cultures act differently than we do. Americans are for the most part, forward, chatty, and outgoing. That's just our culture. We were taught to firmly shake hands with people we meet, make strong eye contact and, basically, get in your face. Our speaking patterns are like that as well. We overlap and interrupt each other without even thinking about it. In Latin countries, this is normal; they do it even more than we do. In Japan, this would be considered an HUGE insult. It's rude, and disrespectful. Just because someone non-white acts differently than us non-browns do, doesn't make them a terrorist. It's just a difference in upbringing. Different values. Different CULTURE. Their religion requires women to cover their entire faces. Doesn't that right there strike you as a bit different from the way we run things here?

And did you stop to think that the reason they may have been nodding to each other was because they were the only 14 Arabs on the plane, and they noticed a loony white bitch getting hysterical over their presence? Those nods could have meant "Yep, in 15 minutes we're going to swarm the cockpit". But it also could have meant "Yep, they all think we're terrorists. Laugh it off, Akhmed."

You'd think that once a person was discredited and proven wrong, they would drop things, and get on with life. But not Annie! Oh, no! She is CONVINCED that these musicians were up to no good. Damn them for making her feel uncomfortable during her flight! Damn them, and damn their dark hair and olive complexions!

Hopefully someday she will make a trip to Israel. And on the way home she will be detained for eating falafel and using the restroom. "AAAAHHHH!!! SCEEEEERY WHITE WOMEN TERRORISTS!!! SHE'S GOT A BOMB IN HER MAKEUP BAG!!"

Quick followup, this nutty cunt has just posted Part III of her "Terror in the Skies" article. Baby Jesus wept.

Top 10 reasons to vote Bush.


10. The 17 percent productivity growth from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2004 stands head and shoulders above the growth rate for any comparable period. In the first 13 quarters of the Bush Administration, the basic determinant of our standard of living increased by almost as much as during the entire 32 quarters of the Clinton Administration.

9. The USA Patriot Act brought down the artificial wall separating law enforcement and intelligence officers and allowed them to talk to each other as they work to prevent future attacks.

8. If the Indian tribes sue to get back the land you're living on, which candidate do you want in control?

7. What's more important, knowing how to pronounce "nuclear bombs" or knowing who to drop 'em on?

6. He can't be as dumb as everyone says.

5. He's the only candidate who stands for the principles that originally made this country great - like slavery and denying the vote to women.

4. If Bush had been President, we never would have gotten involved in Vietnam. Especially if he could have been President and still have been "draft age".

3. Big deal, Kerry got the Purple Hearts and Silver Stars. Bush got the Yellow Moons and Green Clovers.

2. Are you a man or not? Our guy - named after a beer. Their guy - named after a character on Sex in the City.

1. Actually, there's no reason to vote for him if you live in Florida. You don't have to. We got that shit under control.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Viewpoint Lemmings

What I Believe In

I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not Green. I am not Liberal, Conservative, Far-Left, Far-Right, Socialist, Libertarian, Anarchist or a Nazi. I believe in a number of different things; I'm not one of the "Party Subscribers". I don't vote for a person just because I believe in "The Party". I think that you should judge a person as an individual, and not as a group of people.

The problem I have with choosing a side is this: I am not entirely happy with what each group has to offer. I like some of the ideals of the Green Party, but I sure as hell wouldn't want Ralph Nader in the White House, especially at a time like this. I agree with some of the things Democrats and Liberals have to say, and I generally stay away from the conservative or Republican way of thinking, but that's just because I have a mind of my own. I think Anarchism would work. In theory. I think people as individuals are intelligent. I think that people as a group are stupid, and in some cases, dangerous. That's why I find it frightening when I see some of the things that people say.

I am an active web surfer, I spend a few hours a day online hitting different news sites, message boards, and porn.... err.... alternative media outlets. I try to get a wide variety of views and opinions, and not just stick to mainstream media outlets like NBC, CNN, CBS or, god forbid, Fox News. I'll usually go to The Drudge Report twice a day, and Fark and Ananova are major players in my daily quest for news, as is the BBC, NPR and Democracy Now! I get local news from Westword, and I frequent other cities alternative papers like The Stranger in Seattle, and The Portland Mercury in Oregon. With so many different sources of news and information out there, to just take the word of a single orginization, even one such as The Associated Press or Reuters, is asinine. No one can get all the facts correct 100% of the time. You have to be able to open your mind to different opinions and thoughts that might not always coincide with your own.

If you conform to a set way of thinking, then you are, in my opinion, lemmings. You fall in line with a crowd of people, set your sights on what seems to be the best course to take, and then blindly march to your ultimate demise. You argue and rage about things that you truely do not believe in. You get so caught up in the group mentality that when the person you have been following goes over the cliff, you don't even realize it, and you keep marching. If only you had turned your head a little bit to the right or the left! You would have seen us on the sidelines, yelling for you to stop, pay attention, LOOK AT WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!! But, unfortunately, you didn't realize you were plunging to your doom until it was too late to turn back.

That is what I think of belief systems. It's perfectly fine to have morals and ethics, ideals and principals. But you have to lift your head up every so often and take a look at what is going on around you. Change happens slowly, and if you aren't aware, and keep plodding along with your eyes down, you could be just feet from the edge of the abyss, and not even realize it. Another good analogy would be a dogsled team. The lead dog has a great view of where he wants to go, and he can change direction at any time. If north doesn't seem like a good direction anymore, he can turn east, or west to conform to the terrain that best suits him. But to the dogs behind him, they only see an asshole. They all started out going in the same direction, and they think they are still headed north, but somewhere along the line they began to drift off course, and no one bothered to let them know. But if one of the dogs were to lift his head up and get a breath of fresh air, he might notice that "Holy shit! This isn't where we're supposed to be! WTF, mate?!?", and let everyone else know what is happening.

Why Did I Make All Those Analogies?

I like analogies. They're a great way to describe things to someone who has no knowledge of the topic at hand. I probably use them way too much, to be honest. But I wanted to use simple, visualizations to show people how fucking STUPID they can be sometimes. Case in point:

I like Michael Moore. Kinda. I think he is a talented author and producer, he has some good ideas about how the current administration has to be changed (I am Anti-Bush, just to clear the air. Some people feel that makes or breaks your argument right there), and I think he is an intelligent person. I liked Fahrenheit 9/11, and Roger and Me. Dude, Where's My Country is a good book, even if it does echo some of the things F9/11 has to say (or the other way around, to be more accurate). HOWEVER... I think he goes way overboard sometimes. I think he's an anti-gun nut, which is just as bad, if not worse, than a pro-gun nut. I thought Bowling for Columbine was, for the most part, a piece of shit.

I live in Colorado (a very conservative, and Republican state); I watched the Columbine shootings play out on live TV, my girlfriend personally knew not only some of the people from the school, but 2 of the people in "Bowling for Columbine" (the scraggly looking kid who goes around with M. Moore to all the K-Marts to get ammo banned). Her parents live less than 2 miles from Lockheed Martin. I knew the person who told Eric Harris where he could get a gun, and I went to a Nine Inch Nails show with him and his wife, Christina, just days before he was sent to jail. He was a real cool guy, and unfortunately, he knew someone who did illegal things. Offhandedly telling a person where he could get a gun got him locked away from his new wife for quite awhile. It sucks to be the example the court makes to intimidate potential criminals, especially when your only crime was possessing information that was used at a later date for malicious purposes. But I am getting off topic. Again.

The point I am trying to make about Michael Moore is that although I like his work, I don't follow him and hang on his every word like some people do. I think that he sometimes skews facts to help support his works. He has a very confrontational approach towards the people he is interviewing, and between that, and his editing style, he can make himself come across as the rational person in a debate. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be trusted, it just means that you should take what he says with a grain of salt.

Some people are obsessed with this guy, and others are obsessed with HATING this guy. And there doesn't seem to be any good reason for it. With all the debates I have been in that involve anti-Moorites, and of all the book reviews I have read on Amazon, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Let me post some of the comments, and see if you can figure out what I mean:

From Amazon.com. The review of "Dude, Where's My Country":

From CrackaJD:
I urge you to not even send a penny to moores books cause all hes gonna do is tell lies about how W. runing the U.S.A. If your gonna buy a book that is about moore buy a truthful book called micheal moore is a big fat stuipid white man. That is a book worth spending money on.

From toughguy:
This book is a clear sign of the end times... BEWARE. TREAD LIGHTLY IN THESE MEADOWS. YOU'LL been warned. And he's so fat.

From a reader, entitled "Dude, where's my cheeseburger:
this book is a plainy distasteful, boring and a one sided and biased misinterpratation of facts by this big fat bully who plainly is biased against the present president.

From a reader, entitled "Hey piggy piggy"
great book, although nothing in it is true or funny. Good job, sandwhich head

From a reader, entitled "Dude, I'm a hypocrite":
Moore makes a living out of blasting the very country that has made him a multi-millionare and has given him the luxury to publish books, make films and eat ample amounts of food.

From Amazon.com. The review of "Stupid White Men":

From Mark Normand:
Moore will stop at nothing to continue promoting his lies and lunacy against the people, country and system which made him a FAT RICH WHITE MAN!

From a reader:
Lies, Lies, and Moore Lies by the Fat Trickster.

From a reader:
I do not think it is fair that Moore can write these insults while shoving a burger in mouth with his chubby fingers, while other everyday AMERICAN citizens are out there protecting us from hostile agressors of the world.

From a reader:
To quote some of Michael's brilliance: "...The rich are wallowing in the loot they've accumulated in the past 2 decades and now they want to make sure you don't come-a-looking for your piece of the pie." Well, don't come a-lookin for a piece of the pie around Michael either; he ate it all.

From a reader:
This book is really funny! No, not in that way. It's funny because he only makes himself look like a stupid white man. When 50 Cent was saying how he loved her like the fat kid love cake, was he talking about you, Michael??

Ok, now on to Fark.com (no names, just an assortment of quotes):

"this world would be better off with that fat ass dead"

"Hopefully, I'll be the first to say it:Michael Moores is a fatass!!!Liar too..."

"moore is fat."

"Screw Moore, he's big-boned, and not in a good way from what I hear. He just hates the country that keeps him in cheese-burgers."

"I think it's time Michael Moore takes on the fast food chains.....it will be a documentary on Jared from Subway and the guy from Supersize Me....only, in typical Moore fashion, he'll show the results in reverse to justify his cause of McDonald's rules, and vegetables are naaaaasty."

"Michael Moore is fat lol"

Do You See What I Mean?

Moore haters focus not on his ideas, not on his values, not on his work... but on the fact that he is fat. How incredibly juvenile and just plain ignorant is this? Saying something like that is just a stone's throw away from comments like "He ain't smart, cause he's a nigger". How are you going to judge someone because of their WEIGHT? You know why he's fat? It's because he's eaten better food than you will ever imagine! He gets up off his fat ass and works for that money he gets. Yeah, he deserves every penny of his millions of dollars. More than a "professional athlete" who gets $50 million to catch a ball and run with it. And I hope that he goes out and spends the majority of it on hamburgers, fried cheese and greasy chicken skin. And by the way, quoting 50 cent while vilifying Mike Moore isn't a good way to get people to take you seriously.

I work with someone who hates Moore. And that's the only explanation he can give. I tried to find out why he hates him, I attempted to debate with him, but he was content discrediting everything with the "He's a stupid fatass" mantra. It's people like this that are dumbing down our nation, and they're part of the reason that the majority of the planet views us as ignorant, uneducated slobs. Stupid is as Stupid does.

So That's It.

That's the end of my tirade. The point I was trying to make (if you haven't gotten it already), is that you can't go through life with blinders on. If you do that, your personal freedoms will quietly get snatched from you, one by one. And before you know it, you'll be living in the midst of some Orwellian society that you helped to create by turning a blind eye to everything that is happening around you. To take a quote from 1984:

"The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought."

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bringing back the old school

I read this today, and I thought I would repost one of my earlier blogs about African Americans, and what the term really means.

Here's the quote from Yahoo News that got me going:

A group financed by a major Republican contributor has begun running radio ads in about a dozen cities, many in battleground states, attacking Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record) as "rich, white and wishy-washy" and mocking his wife for boasting of her African roots.

The D.C.-based group, People of Color United, has substantial financial backing from J. Patrick Rooney, the former chairman of Golden Rule Insurance Co. and the founder of a new firm, Medical Savings Insurance Co.

Another ad attacks Teresa Heinz Kerry, who, at the Democratic convention last month cited her birth and upbringing in Mozambique and who has described herself as African American. In the radio commercial, the announcer says: "His wife says she's an African American. While technically true, I don't believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies.

Here's what I wrote back in March '04:

These days, everyone is something. I know that sounds vague, so let me clarify. People, especially Americans, are not happy just being Americans. Next time you are out and about, stop people at random and ask them what they consider themselves to be. You will get responses ranging from African-American and Asian-American to 1/4 Russian, 1/2 Turkish and 1/8 Samoan with a little bit of Spanish. Not many people will answer with just a single un-hyphenated word. No one wants to be known as just "American". Why are people so desperate to classify themselves as a (insert ethnicity here)-American? Is it a need to set themselves apart from the masses? A desperate desire to be known for who they really are? Or are we so used to labeling and classifying everything these days that it's ingrained into our consciousness?
For instance, there is no such thing as rock music anymore. Now it's alt-rock, punk-rock, heavy-rock, black-rock, death-rock, light-rock, classic-rock, grunge-rock, progressive-rock, stoner-rock, retro-rock, psychadelic-rock, folk-rock, rap-rock, modern-rock, etc. And electronic music is 10 times worse. I could use the entire page and still only list 10% of the genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres out there. But I digress.

I've thought about these classifications a lot, and debated this subject with a number of people, but I still have no answer to this question. So I'm going to bring up a few examples to prove my point, because it has become quite irritating (but most things are to me, otherwise I wouldn't have this blog. =) ).

My main beef is with people wanting to be known as things they are not, or people who self-label. Mexicans do not want to be called Mexicans anymore. Somehow, in the past few years, Mexican has become an insult to them. Now they want to be called "Hispanic-Americans". Or just "Hispanic". Sorry, Paco. If you were born in Mexico, you're a Mexican, whether you like it or not. And no, this doesn't mean that I call all people of Hispanic descent Mexicans.

Another example is Asians. Asians do not like to be called Oriental, and will even get pissed at you if you call them that. But in commercials for air travel, you're always invited to "visit the Orient". I have 3 menues at home for "Oriental food". I believe I have a few different "Oriental spices" in my spice rack. What's up? Why are you trying so hard to escape the term Oriental? Is that too broad a generalization for you? Don't just get angry, give me a reason that you dislike being called Oriental!

And here is the part that is going to anger people. Which is sad, because it's nothing more than an honest opinion, open for any intelligent discussion or rebuttal you might have.
I hate the term "African-American". And here are my reasons why. African-American is a blanket term, used to describe anyone who appears to have Negroid characteristics. (Note: The word "Negroid" is NOT racist at all, it is used to describe one of the major human racial classifications traditionally distinguished by physical characteristics such as brown to black pigmentation and often tightly curled hair and including peoples indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. The other 3 classifications being Caucasoid, Mongoloid and sometimes Austaloid. So keep your angry emails to yourself). Not all people that are black are African. Black people come from Jamacia as well, you know. Calling a Jamacian an African-American is akin to calling a Hatian or a Cuban "Mexican" just because they share the same skin color. Not only that, but there are white people that live in Africa too. I have never personally heard of a white person from Africa being called an African-American. In fact, just recently there was an uproar in Michigan about a student that was given the "Distinguished African-American Student Award". He was born and raised in Johannesberg, South Africa. However, he was white. And apparently that made a LOT of people angry. So angry, in fact, that the student was SUSPENDED from school for 2 days because he encouraged people to vote for him so he could receive the award! Now, he was probably more African-American than any other person in that school, black OR white, and chances are, he is probably more knowledgeable of African culture than the teachers were. But because of this STUPID label, he will never be called African-American without getting some strange or angry looks from people.

Closing statement:

WHITE PEOPLE CAN BE AFRICAN-AMERICAN!!! You don't have to be black to be from Africa! Jesus, is this so hard to understand?!? If she lived in AFRICA, and then moved to AMERICA, she is AFRICAN-AMERICAN! This has nothing to do with social status, color of skin, or anything else. Saying that someone isn't African-American because she wasn't poor and uneducated is just ignorant, and it attaches a horrible stigmata to the word. Basically, what this asshat is saying is that unless you are black, poor, black, uneducated and black, you can not be African-American. Fuck that. Just another example of someone twisting words and definitions to suit their argument. You can be rich in Africa, it's not a crime. Just because she was well-to-do (it comes with being the heiress), doesn't mean she can't be African-American. Retard.

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AND PICK UP A DICTIONARY! There is a BIIIIG difference between African-American and Negroid. I suggest that you research your statements before you come across looking like a idiot. Whoops! Too late.........

Monday, August 09, 2004

Betcha didn't know.....

Live in California? Own a SUV? Guess what? You're breaking the law.


Unless you drive one of the largest SUVs, such as the Chevy Suburban, the Cadillac Escalade, or the Ford Excursion, I'll bet you've watched them thundering down quiet residential lanes and wondered to yourself: Why is that monster allowed on this little street?

Well, here's a surprising piece of news. It may not be. Cities throughout California—the nation's largest car market—prohibit the heaviest SUVs on many of their residential roads. The problem is, they don't seem to know they've done it.
I discovered this secret ban after noticing the signs at both ends of my narrow Los Angeles-area street (a favorite cut-through route for drivers hoping to avoid tie-ups on bigger roads). The signs clearly prohibit vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

I knew a 6K pound limit ruled out a lot of the larger trucks that routinely rumble by my house, unpursued by traffic cops. But then I got to thinking: Could some of those bigger SUVs exceed 3 tons? So I did some research, and I hit the mother lode.

It turns out every big SUV and pickup is too heavy for my street. Here's just a sampling: The Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, the Range Rover, the GMC Yukon, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes M Class, the Porsche Cayenne S, and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup (with optional Hemi). What about the Hummer, you ask? Hasta la vista, baby!

If you look at the manufacturer's specs for these vehicles, you'll discover that they all have a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 6,000 pounds. (Click here for more on GVWR vs. curb weight.) Some are way over (the Hummer H2 weighs in at 8,600 pounds, and its older sibling the H1 at an astounding 10,300 pounds—I'm talking to you, Governator). Others manage to top the 3-ton mark by just a hair (the BMW X5 boasts a GVWR of 6,008 pounds). For comparison, a Honda Accord is about 3,000 pounds.

It's no accident the automakers churn out so many SUVs that break the 6K barrier. By doing so, these "trucks" (and that's how they're classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation) qualify for a huge federal tax break. If you claim you use a 3-ton truck exclusively for work, you can write it off immediately. All of it. Up to $100,000 (in fact, Congress raised the limit from $25,000 just last year). Heavy SUVs qualify for similar state tax breaks in California (up to $25,000) and elsewhere. These vehicles are also exempt from the federal "gas guzzler tax" because they're trucks. (And you probably know that many SUVs are exempt from the tougher gas mileage and safety standards of cars because they're classified as trucks, but that's another story.)

Tax advisers actually warn their clients to make sure they buy vehicles that are heavy enough to qualify for the tax breaks. Some offer helpful lists of which SUVs will tip the IRS's scales.

Here's what few people seem to realize: By weighing in at more than 6,000 pounds, big SUVs are prohibited on thousands of miles of road in California. Cities across the state—including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Santa Monica—use the 3-ton cutoff for many or nearly all of their residential streets. State law gives them the ability to do this for very straightforward reasons: The heavier the vehicle, the more it chews up the roads, endangers pedestrians and smaller vehicles, and makes noise.

This isn't an arbitrary weight limit. 6,000 pounds has long been a recognized dividing line between light and heavy trucks. (For example, the Clean Air Act defines "heavy duty vehicle" as a truck with a gross vehicle weight "in excess of six thousand pounds.")

But local officials either don't realize they've banned big SUVs, or they're hoping no one will make a stink. For example, San Francisco and Los Angeles ban 6K vehicles on numerous streets (including one of San Francisco's main tourist draws, the famously twisty Lombard Street). One L.A. city council member, Janice Hahn (the sister of L.A. Mayor James Hahn), recently proposed that fines for breaking this law be hiked from $50 for a first offense and $100 for a second to $250 and $1,000, respectively. Hahn told me her district, near L.A.'s huge port complex, is plagued by trucks cutting through residential streets.

When I informed Hahn that all the big SUVs also break the 6K barrier, she seemed surprised. "That's interesting," she said.
I asked if she thought the ban should be enforced against them. She answered bluntly: "I don't favor that." Even for 10,000 pound Hummers? "I have my own issues with Hummers and SUVs, but this was not the intent of this ordinance."

She's right—it wasn't the intent. But that's because these weight limits generally predate the 1990s SUV craze that lured suburbanites out of their lighter sedans and minivans. It's the vehicles that have changed, not the law. These ordinances remain on the books and they're not obscure. They're clearly marked on signs in many California cities. In fact, three of L.A.'s affluent neighborhoods have the signs almost everywhere you look.

In Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena, vehicles over 3 tons are prohibited on every street unless specifically allowed. (Click here for a caveat about Beverly Hills.) The exemptions are a handful of larger roads meant to be used as truck routes.

That's right—every single residential street.

It probably won't shock you to learn that Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena are also home to a large number of heavy luxury SUVs.
(Similar bans exist not only in cities across California but in other places around the country. Some examples I found online: Minneapolis and Edina, Minnesota; cities in Wisconsin including Wausau, Kenosha, and Brillion; and the Brooklyn Bridge, along with countless smaller bridges all over the nation. [Click here for more on other states.] The penalty in California is usually a fine.)

However, as I can attest from standing on my front porch, prosecution of the Golden State's ban on big SUVs isn't what you'd call robust. In fact, it's a contender for the least enforced traffic regulation in America. Since realizing the connection between weight limits and SUVs, I've noticed streets all over the L.A. area—including major ones like Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood—where the drivers of metal monsters thunder past clearly posted 6K limit signs without a glance. "I would be surprised if it's routinely enforced against SUVs," Santa Monica's transportation planning manager, Lucy Dyke, told me.
And don't expect to see stickers on new SUVs with warnings like "CAUTION: This Vehicle May Be Illegal On Many California Roads." At a GM dealership in Santa Monica, I asked a salesman (who declined to give his name) whether he informs buyers that the Tahoes and Suburbans he's selling them are banned on most streets in the city. "I'm not aware of it," he said.

I suspect the biggest impediment to enforcing these bans is political will—SUVs are wildly popular, and it will take brave city and state officials to challenge the right of residents to use their own streets. (Of course, like a FedEx truck, heavy SUVs are allowed to use local roads for a few blocks if they have business there—like going to or from a house. But in general, they're supposed to take the shortest possible path between designated truck routes.)
Still, some proponents of heavy SUVs will argue that these weight limits are outdated or that they should apply only to registered commercial vehicles. Nonsense.

Six-thousand pounds does the same damage to roads (not to mention pedestrians) that it did before the SUV craze. I don't know about your state, but California's ongoing budget crisis doesn't exactly leave cash to burn for road repair. (California's Legislative Analyst's Office estimates the average L.A. driver pays $700 a year in vehicle repairs because of crummy roads.) Yet despite the increased road wear their vehicles cause, heavy SUV owners can take tax breaks that mean they pony up much less to the tax system that funds street maintenance.
And frankly, a lot of these heavy SUVs are commercial vehicles by any fair definition. Remember that those owners who take the federal and state tax breaks are declaring they use their vehicles mostly or entirely for work. Often they're doctors, real estate agents, or small business owners. If California and the feds are willing to write off SUVs as work vehicles, why shouldn't the state also regulate them as work vehicles?

As it stands now, big-SUV drivers have it both ways: They use their trucklike status when it benefits them, yet they ignore the more onerous restrictions that "real" truck drivers face.
I think the Golden State has stumbled on a way to end this hypocrisy, and the rest of the country should take notice. Six-thousand pounds is a reasonable and established dividing line between passenger vehicles and trucks. (I even think it's an instinctual dividing line between SUVs that seem large, like the Ford Explorer, and those that seem absurdly large, like the Ford Expedition.)

Why not classify SUVs under 3 tons as passenger cars and regulate them accordingly? Make them meet car gas mileage and safety standards, and let them drive anywhere cars can drive.
For vehicles over 6K, classify them as trucks, pure and simple. Let their drivers use more gas, roll over more often if they want, and take tax breaks. And ban them from residential streets. Make them stick to the truck routes, including truck lanes on highways. (Heck, maybe even require a truck driver's license to pilot one.)

California cities can start by enforcing their current 6K bans, or at the very least making it clear they apply to SUVs. Just as most of us instinctively check our speed when we drive by a police car, these luxury truckers should think twice about cruising illegally down Wilshire past a Santa Monica cop. If a few Tahoe owners got slapped with tickets for driving while overweight, the rest of them might actually start learning where their vehicles are legal.
Update, Aug. 5, 2004: A number of readers have written in to take issue with my use of the gross vehicle weight rating of SUVs as the criterion for whether they violate a 6,000-pound weight limit. While I understand (and have already addressed) their point of view, let me elaborate.

Their argument just highlights the ongoing hypocrisy that surrounds big SUV ownership. The GVWR is the manufacturer's estimate of the vehicle's curb weight, or unloaded weight, plus its maximum payload capacity including passengers and cargo. A number of big SUVs, including the Toyota Sequoia and the Lincoln Navigator, straddle the 3-ton line: Their curb weights are under 6K, but their GVWRs are over (although in the case of the four-wheel-drive Navigator, the curb weight is 5,995 lbs.).

However, those who take the federal and state tax breaks for their heavy SUVs are happy to accept the GVWR as their vehicle's official weight. After all, they must be over 6K to get the write-off. Yet now they're arguing that the actual weight of the vehicle as it rides along California streets may—may—be slightly under 6K. Since the weight at any given time could depend on how many bags of groceries are in the back, and very few residential streets have their own scales, we will never know. (Of course, this isn't an issue for the Hummer and some other vehicles, which break the 6K barrier by any measure.)

In other words, owners say their SUVs are over 6K when it benefits them and under 6K when it burdens them.

Here's my solution: Pick a number and stick with it. If owners of heavy SUVs prefer to use the lower curb weight, fine with me. I won't squawk about them cruising down streets with 6K limits, as long as the feds make them ineligible for 6K tax breaks. But if they want to hold onto their write-offs, and the ability to claim them using the GVWR, they shouldn't turn around and argue the GVWR doesn't apply in other governmental contexts as well.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Yes, this is for real.


This showed up on Yahoo News yesterday. The editor should be fired for this. This is how it originally appeared, I have not altered it in any way at all, I just captured the screen...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Priceless Bushism.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites) told a roomful of top Pentagon (news - web sites) brass on Thursday that his administration would never stop looking for ways to harm the United States.

The latest installment of misspeak from a president long known for his malapropisms came during a signing ceremony for a new $417 billion defense appropriations bill that includes $25 billion in emergency funding for operations in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites).
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we," Bush said.
The Republican incumbent, who is in a tight race for reelection against Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites), a decorated Vietnam veteran, used the 11-minute presentation to underscore his commitment to U.S. troops.
On hand for the ceremony were Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What do you tell a woman with 2 black eyes?

Nothing, you already told her twice.
...someone tried to knock the stupid out of her, but it looks like they didn't hit her hard enough.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

At least they have a sense of humor

Came across a Arabic version of "The Onion" today. Check it out:


Some of the stuff is pretty funny. It's from 2001, and apparently there were only 5 issues released, but they have kept everything archived. Mmmmm, that's good satire!

Company names, and their origins:
My personal favorite: Nintendo is composed of 3 Japanese Kanji characters, Nin-ten-do which can be translated to "Heaven blesses hard work" I find that mildly ironic.

On to business issues:
I was lucky enough to run into someone on Gmail Swap (If you need an account, I HIGHLY suggest this site, I ended up with 8 gmail invites with just 1 ad placed) who made me a logo for my new business (To Be Announced Later). So, I just wanted to say "Thanks" to Amanda, I appreciate the art, and the fact that you didn't want any sort of compensation if I wasn't happy with it.

Back later.....

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Today is political humor

Well, it was only a matter of time before this happened.


Try typing any of these commands:

Miserable failure, flip me off, cut taxes, Mission Accomplished, choke on pretzel, take a bribe, drink, dance, make love, make peace, make war, cocaine, Reagan, Find WMD, Suck your thumb, Secret, Draft, John Kerry, Osama, fight, Saddam, Gun, Guns, Money, Terror, Dick Cheney or Cheney, Constitution, Pray, Invade Iran, Raise Taxes, Provide prescription drug coverage for seniors, Send Money to Halliburton, Torture, Interrogate Prisoner, Get Drunk, Vietnam, WMD, 9/11, Drive Drunk, Screw the Taxpayer, Remove your mask, Constitution, Masturbate, Launch a Nuke, Impeach, Environment, National Guard, Patriot Act, FCC, Pornography, Foreign Policy, CIA, AWOL, Nuclear, Beat Kerry, Michael Moore, Abu Ghraib, Raise terror alert, Show your oath of office, put money in an offshore account, give tax breaks to the rich, reveal valerie plame.

A bit laggy, and you may have to input the commands more than once before he will listen (just like our real president!), but a fun way to kill 15 minutes.

Then, we have this site:

And, of course:

Good times!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Things on my mind

Ok, I'm in a bad mood today, so I'm going to rant about a few things that are on my mind.

1) Church bombings in Iraq. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so sad. Sympathy, condolences, yadda yadda yadda. I say good job on going after the Christians. Keep taking 'em out. There are too many of them as it is. Besides, if you die AT church, chances are, you're going to heaven (if it exists). So why worry?

2) Redneck Comedy. There is ENTIRELY too much of this. First it was the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Then Bill "Here's Your Sign" Engvall, Jeff "You Might be Inbred If" Foxworthy, Ron "They call me Tater Salad" White and Larry "Git-R-Done" the Cable Guy all got their own stand-up specials, some of which were 1 1/2 hours long. Oh yeah, nothing like watching recycled material. As if being overwhelmed by hicks wasn't enough, Comedy Central insists on devoting entire weekends to these social rejects. "Double Wide, Double Feature". "White Trash Weekend". Now, there's a "Blue Collar Comedy Hour" TV series with Larry the Cable Guy. *sigh* Do you remember the Star Wars Kid? That fat dink who taped himself with a light-saber and it got onto the internet? That was funny as hell. But after all the remixes started coming out, it became less and less humorous. That's what is happening here. Too much of a dumb thing.

Look, rednecks are funny... to a point. The Blue Collar Comedy Tour was actually pretty good. However, I feel that hillbillies are to be laughed AT, not laughed WITH. Jeff, you had your moment in the sun with back in the early '90's, when mullets, Billy Ray Cyrus and slutty women with huge hair were all the rage. A young, fat Garth Brooks was taking Nashville by storm. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band popped back into the spotlight briefly. Over-priveledged middle-class white boys were taking their F-150's, and adding 8 inches of body lift and 36" tires. That was the trend. Sell the BMW, get a Chevy, and shower once a week. Take up chewing terbakky! If you smell like shit and have brown teeth, then people will think you work on a farm! Yeah!!

But now it's 2004. Redneck comedy is as played out as Yakov Smirnov, or Yahoo Serious. Move along folks, nothing to see here. Time to put this old dog down. Git-r-done.

3) Denver Police. Fuck you. Why don't you try shooting someone who is ARMED for once? Trigger happy idiots.

4) Temps. Specifically, temps at my job. We get the lowest of the low. We get people who are confused and overwhelmed by something as simple and mundane as putting batteries in a box, filling the box with packing peanuts, sealing it shut, and starting again. Excuse my intolerance for a moment, but if you can't handle something that easy, then I would like to nominate you for a Darwin Award. It saddens me to think that out of 10 million sperm, these rejects were the fastest swimmers. And for the record, next time Piglet (one of the worst temps we have at the moment) asks me where the speech processors are, I am going to punt that fucking midget through the window. PAY ATTENTION!!! Grrr....

That's enough anger for now. Be watching for a few things in the hear future. I am going to turn this into a photo blog in addition to my writing. So check for frequent posts. Also, my business is just a few weeks away from going live, stay tuned to hear more about that. I will be posting the link to the site as soon as it goes up. And finally, I will be tweaking the layout of this site, and adding a place for some links I will be putting up. Fun times.

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