Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Got an Xbox!

My brother, roommate, and I went in and split the cost of a used Xbox off of Ebay, with ten games including Halo 2. WOOT! In a related note, I probably won't be online quite so much for a few days. ;)

That is all.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hamas declares war

Reuters, ISN

Well, bloody hell. Hamas' new Interior Minister has all but declared war on Israel, not only stating outright refusal to arrest any Palestinian for "resisting the occupation," but declaring intent to coordinate his security forces with Palestinian terrorist organizations. This means open war with Israel. You'd think Hamas would have learned this was a bad idea from the examples of Syria, Egypt, and Jordan in 1967, but it seems that they have not.

Mahmoud Abbas is continuing his attempts to further the peace process, but it seems that the PA parliament's new ruling authorities (and, as the PA is run on a parliamentary system wherein the parliament appoints the Cabinet, his own ministers) are determined to wreck any attempts at peaceful coexistence. How long before the return of open attempts to push the Jews into the sea? As I said when Hamas won the elections, this won't end well at all. I would take credit for calling it, but that's not a very difficult feat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mmmmmmmm, tax time.

Well, Tax Day is precisely one month from yesterday. (I'm a procrastinator. So sue me.) On Tax Day, I plan to have a long rant about the complexities of the tax code, arising from me having just done my taxes, which, yes, I have yet to do. To preview: The damned thing needs to be simplified. Big time. The only problem is how to do it without throwing out the mess and starting over... if that isn't what needs to be done in the first place.

Look on the bright side. On the other side of all those tax forms is probably a refund of some of the money the IRS has been screwing you out of for the past year.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Arizona National Guard ordered to Mexican border

Associated Press

'Bout damn time. The border is about as effective as a seive. I just wish a border state governor had grown some balls sooner. Border security is essential.

Of course, I've been told Phoenix can't function without illegal immigrant labor. My solution to that: Expand legal immigration while locking down the illegal crossings; make it easy to come get a job but hard to bring in drugs or other criminal enterprises.

I'm just waiting for the inevitable shootout between Guard infantry and drug smuggling Mexican army units.

Chinese Communist Party members take censors to task

Well, a friend of mine asked me to render my opinion on this a couple weeks ago, and I suppose late is better than never. (Sorry about the lack of updates; this is directly due to my current lack of reliable Internet.)

New York Times (registration required to view)

Several members of China's Communist Party, including a former propaganda chief and a former secretary to Mao, have circulated a joint letter condemning the recent forced shutdown of the popular Chinese newspaper Freezing Point by the party's Propaganda Department. (Yes, the government agency is actually called that.) The letter did not reference the recent censorship of Google China or Beijing's other online censorship campaigns.

This is significant not because of the protest itself (Chinese editors and reformists have been protesting censorship for years, sometimes at the cost of their own freedom), but because it is in fact senior Party men who are doing the protesting. This could indicate that the winds are changing in China; if Party officials are attempting to curry favor with the reform movements, then it could mean that they feel threatened by them, which is wildly significant. If my (admittedly cynical) interpretation is correct, and they're doing this out of what they perceive as their self-interest rather than a sudden libertarian change of heart, then it means that Communist control is seriously weakening in China to the point where several of the Party's core members feel that their chances are better opposing the Party than standing silent.

Let's all hope so.