Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Compelling Necessity

I have been digesting this for a few days now.  Since no amount of "digestion" seems to help, I will just get it off my chest in the usual way.

On 8,  Sept the 9th Circuit ruled that the state secrets doctrine bars a court action for torture.  That means that you (yes you, citizen!) can be dragged away in secret, held for years without charges, tortured etc etc and if the government wants to call their own law breaking a secret (meaning that there are "state secrets" involved) there is not fuck all that you can do.  Full stop.
This case requires us to address the difficult balance the state secrets doctrine strikes between fundamental principles of our liberty, including justice, transparency, accountability and national security. Although as judges we strive to honor all of these principles, there are times when exceptional circumstances create an irreconcilable conflict between them. On those rare occasions, we are bound to follow the Supreme Court’s admonition that “even the most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that [state] secrets are at stake.” United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 11 (1953). After much deliberation, we reluctantly conclude this is such a case, and the plaintiffs’ action must be dismissed. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court. 
From the Jeppesen Dataplan suit.

This is a big deal in that the same branch of the government that is breaking all these international laws, is the same one that defines what should be kept secret in the name of national security.  You do the math.

You can not tell me that the current administration is somehow innocent of this as well - they have pushed for a growth of executive privilege and pledged to ignore the self admitted crimes against humanity from the previous administration.

The ACLU’s Ben Wizner on the decision:
This is a sad day not only for the torture victims whose attempt to seek justice has been extinguished, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation’s reputation in the world. To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture program has had his day in court. If today’s decision is allowed to stand, the United States will have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers. The torture architects and their enablers may have escaped the judgment of this court, but they will not escape the judgment of history.
I need a fucking drink.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The tendency of a principle to expand itself to the limit of its logic.

In reading (whatever the hell I manage to read in my spare time), ran across this.  More to say about it, but want to get it down now.

Korematsu was born on our soil, of parents born in Japan. The Constitution makes him a citizen of the United States by nativity, and a citizen of California by residence. No claim is made that he is not loyal to this country. There is no suggestion that, apart from the matter involved here, he is not law-abiding and well disposed. Korematsu, however, has been convicted of an act not commonly a crime. It consists merely of being present in the state whereof he is a citizen, near the place where he was born, and where all his life he has lived.
Even more unusual is the series of military orders which made this conduct a crime. They forbid such a one to remain, and they also forbid him to leave. They were so drawn that the only way Korematsu could avoid violation was to give himself up to the military authority. This meant submission to custody, examination, and transportation out of the territory, to be followed by indeterminate confinement in detention camps. . . .
A military order, however unconstitutional, is not apt to last longer than the military emergency. Even during that period, a succeeding commander may revoke it all. But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all time has validated the principle of racial discrimination in criminal procedure and of transplanting American citizens. The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need. Every repetition imbeds that principle more deeply in our law and thinking and expands it to new purposes. All who observe the work of courts are familiar with what Judge Cardozo described as “the tendency of a principle to expand itself to the limit of its logic.” * A military commander may overstep the bounds of constitutionality, and it is an incident. But if we review and approve, that passing incident becomes the doctrine of the Constitution. There it has a generative power of its own, and all that it creates will be in its own image. Nothing better illustrates this danger than does the Court’s opinion in this case.
Justice Jackson, wrote this in his dissent from Korematsu v US (starting on page 322 US 243).

Friday, September 3, 2010


So I have been on hiatus for the past six months or so, trying to catch up on work and home and all the other things that people do besides complain to the great indifferent internets.

I have read many things in that time which have caused my blood to boil, yet one small comment from some ignorant fuckwit has pushed me over the edge.  As part of my non-pseudo-anonymous life I keep up with a number of computer security related things which is all good and fun.  Just a few days ago there was some shenanigans about some software put out by some big company - the details are really not all that important.  Looking over the comments I see:
It appears this flaw was irresponsibly disclosed, that is, the vendor was not consulted for producing a hotfix before dumping the details on the web. I think sw vendors should refuse to fix irresponsibly disclosed bugs or exploits and direct users to do whatever they want to the hackers in retaliation. Maybe corporates should even have a policy of hunting down vxers and hackers, who publish zero days. I can't see why a big company, richer than many small countries, shouldn't have the authority to dispose of their enemies with impunity, in the same way any small country can, if they have a secret service.

Anybody here see why big companies (or governments!) should not be able to dispose of their enemies with impunity?  Even if this is a contemporary Modest Proposal, I have had the misfortune of people share this very same notion after a drink or two.

Not sure exactly why this set me off, but with a little luck I might get a few things written in spite of myself.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nuke Oklahoma, or the sancity of baby jebus

Not much time, but this is such vile bullshit.

Tuesday the Oklahoma legislature voted on two anti-abortion measures.  The first mandates that the women undergoing the procedure have to watch a detailed ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus.  The second protects doctors from being sued if they withhold  information about birth defects when the fetus is in the womb.

There are no exceptions for cases or rape or incest.

The Democratic governor attempted to veto the two measures based on the rape/incest problem, the unconstitutional intrusion into a woman's privacy and the idea that: "It is unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform pregnant women in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on a patient."

Both houses voted to override the vetos.

I was profoundly pissed off before I got to the last paragraph of the article.  I make the quote the color of chickenshit, because that is what it is:
“The goal of this legislation is just to make a statement for the sanctity of human life,” State Senator Todd Lamb, the majority floor leader, said in an interview after the vote. “Maybe someday these babies will grow up to be police officers and arrest bad people, or will find a cure for cancer.”
I would like to know when this becomes a civil and human rights issue for women in that they are defacto being denied medical care because it violates the delicate religious notions of a bunch of hypocritical douches. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Useless" Air Marshal Service too busy aiding human-trafficking ring to stop underware bomber

Catchy title, yes?

Well what can I say?  Homeland Security appropriates $860 Million for this agency who have had more air marshals arrested than actual suspects. 
We now have approximately 4,000 in the Federal Air Marshals Service, yet they have made an average of just 4.2 arrests a year since 2001. This comes out to an average of about one arrest a year per 1,000 employees.
Now, let me make that clear. Their thousands of employees are not making one arrest per year each. They are averaging slightly over four arrests each year by the entire agency. In other words, we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest. Let me repeat that: we are spending approximately $200 million per arrest. 
 From here.  Based on what I see on the web site I might have a few issues with Congressman Duncan, but this message is spot on.

If you don't click on the link, the following is a painfully true statement about the nature of almost any response to government RFPs:
Professor Ian Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania wrote last year about the money feeding frenzy of the war on terror. And he wrote this: “Nearly 7 years after September 11, 2001,'' he wrote this last year, “what accounts for the vast discrepancy between the terrorist threat facing America and the scale of our response? Why, absent any evidence of a serious terror threat, is a war to on terror so enormous, so all-encompassing, and still expanding?  The fundamental answer is that al Qaeda's most important accomplishment was not to hijack our planes but to hijack our political system.”
“For a multitude of politicians, interest groups and professional associations, corporations, media organizations, universities, local and State governments and Federal agency officials, the war on terror is now a major profit center, a funding bonanza, and a set of slogans and sound bites to be inserted into budget, grant, and contract proposals.'' 

Back to our regularly scheduled madness...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Where I rant pointlessly about religion and injustice

 A few things have come over my computer in the past weeks, all relating to the repugnance of organized religion.  Odd how when you spell check 'repugnance' you get 'Republican' in the list of options.  Coincidence?

The first I am sure everybody has heard about by now.  It is old news about some stupid inbred church in the stupid inbred backwoods of the cold dark state of Wisconsin.  In this place, we have a less broken priest named John Hartwig who had the indecency of suggesting that within the Lutheran church, perhaps the fundamental belief that "women should not have authority over men" might not be ok.  In response, the men men men in Authority at this particular church held a meeting to fire this infidel evildoer priest at which women were not only not allowed to vote, but were not allowed to speak at the meeting either.
"While congregational leaders acknowledge Mr. Hartwig's fine administrative skills and recognize the personal admiration many parents have for him, our overriding concern is for maintaining sound biblical doctrine and practice," Fricke's said in a written statement.
Women who wanted to ask questions at the meeting were told to write them on a piece of paper and have a man read them aloud. But some, including Hartwig's own daughter, said their questions were never read.
So fuck these people in their little dark age church.  I feel no desire for constructive criticism at this point...

Speaking of the Dark Ages, our friends at the Catholic church have risen to the challenge and provide us with two examples of just how craven and corrupt they are as an institution.

First we start with a favorite subject of the church - child abuse.  More specifically the problems that the church seems to have with priests having sex with children, and the establishment covering up the acts.  In an act of uncontrollable blovating, so brazen that even I was taken aback, the Bishop of Tenerife has taken to blaming the victims of this abuse.  From Pharyngula:

His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.

"There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what's more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you", he said.
 This callus, disgusting attitude provoked a response from our friends at Pharyngula which I reproduce whole cloth since I can not do better myself:
Oh, it is so hard to be a noble heterosexual man in this society, with every woman, every gay man, every child, every moist orifice, every knothole, every small animal burrow on the ground, every lemon meringue pie, every velvety wrinkle in the Pope's cassock, all just taunting and teasing and tantalizing you, begging you to stick your penis in them. And then when you finally give in and let them have what they want, despite all your insistence that you're doing it for their benefit, not yours, what do they do? They cry rape, or lock you up for child abuse, or the Vatican dry cleaning service sends you an extravagant bill.
If only they would lock these bastards up, but somehow that never gets done.

Finally we move to Baltimore where the Catholic church is suing the city claiming oppression because the city is forcing organizations providing services to pregnant women to be overt about the services they (do not) provide:
The ordinance requires that a "limited-service pregnancy center" post an easily readable sign, written in English and Spanish, stating that the center does not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth-control services. A center failing to comply within 10 days of being cited could be fined up to $150 a day.
We are talking about the sort of "services" providers who traditionally post "Pregnant, call us" signs then browbeat or delay services till carrying to term is the only option.  I say screw the church for claiming oppression about not being able to lie to people about what is (not) being provided.

As a last tiny taste, here in WI (again!) there is a sheriff threatening jail time to any sex ed teacher who talks about condoms:
The new law "promotes the sexualization - and sexual assault - of our children," Southworth wrote in a March 24 letter to officials in five school districts. He urged the districts to suspend their sex education programs and transfer their curriculum on anatomy to a science course.
"Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," he wrote. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks."
The sheriff Southworth, it typical spineless neocon jackoff gobldygook bullshit states:
He disputed claims by Roys and Grigsby that he was inciting fear in teachers or trying to promote his political views, saying he had an ethical obligation to tell districts his interpretation of the law.
"If I'd wanted to be ideological, I would have said in the letter you shouldn't have sex before marriage because that's the Christian perspective. I'm an evangelical," Southworth said.
What is wrong with these fucking people?   Even after it has been proven that the sort of bullhsit abstinence only education increases pregnancy and the instance of STDs, we still have $250 Million in the upcoming 5 year budget for this program.

I can take this no longer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I get mail

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Death from Above?

 One of the excellent legacy policies inherited by the Obama administration was the public assertion of the right of the US Government to hunt down and kill, you know, evildoers.  In the excellent tradition of using technology to distance ourselves from messy problems, the US has been (for the better part of a decade) been using unmanned drones to hunt and kill said evildoers.  Or people who look like them.  Or people near them.  Or other folks who happen to be there.  Or folks targeted by accident.  Or accidents, lies or misrepresentations.  But I digress.

Don't think that being a US citizen will help you either, since the US government is an equal opportunity killer.

Well, the ACLU got it in their heads that we as citizenry have the right to be informed about the actions of the military due to that whole "civilian control" thing, and filed a FOI in January asking about the pesky legal basis for such killings. 
In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings.
"The public has a right to know whether the targeted killings being carried out in its name are consistent with international law and with the country's interests and values," said Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project.

"The Obama administration should disclose basic information about the program, including its legal basis and limits, and the civilian casualty toll thus far."
The Defense Department has ignored the FOI request and hence won the right to be sued by the ACLU.

I am dumbfounded that we are even having this discussion, but in a time and place where torture is not denied, but redefined and used on non-persons held outside of legal captivity, it should not really surprise me.  That is a topic for a much longer rant.

But the way, the quote above is from the "myfoxdc.com" web site which titled it U.S. Civil Liberties Group Questions 'Legal Basis' Of Using Drones To Kill and filed it under International News.  That pesky 'Legal Basis'.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MySpace takes your lunch money

Just a data point to keep in mind as we plug away in our web-bound semi-anonymous persona's: MySpace has jumped into "bulk user data sales".  This means that if you happened to post any of the following: user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes for the sales period, it will be available to anybody.

For what it is worth, this does not include friend lists...

In case those Facebook and Twitter users are feeling smug abut now think again.  There is absolutely no reason why they will not do the same since anything you have ever posted - every letter and image - is owned whole cloth by the respective service provider.  It is not like something as quaint as morality has ever gotten in the way of the bottom line.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Free Lunch

There are so many other importaint things to write about than what I am about to partake in, but my willingness to dig deep is curtailed by my tiredness.  I have work to do as well but it involves something called eigenspaces which might give you some idea as to why I am strolling along complaining to the internets...

So my Esteemed Employer, like so many other establishments, will be moving it's email infrastructure to Google.  This is not unusual and represents a growing trend for IT departments within buisness, education and government who are facing huge budget cuts and growing expectations for service and features. 

All I ask for people is to think for a moment - what will Google really get from this?  Ultimately they are a corporation driven by their shareholders desire of maximizing stock value and profitability.   "There is no such thing as a free lunch" a grumpy old Econ teacher used to say and I am wondering where this will ultimately come to rest.

Mrs. set.element has completed another day of study so perhaps we might enjoy a spot of wine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have a brief respite from the snow and cold.  Back "home"...
Stopping for a beer every time my feet became tired.  One pint of "Death and Taxes" at ACME, then two pints of Red Spot at Jupiter.  Yummm.

Back home tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One small step...

The one major study typically touted by anti vaccination groupies has been officially retracted by The Lancet who stated that they should never have published it in the first place.
"It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield ... are incorrect,” the internationally renowned scientific journal said in a statement Tuesday. “We fully retract this paper from the published record.” 
About time.

Friday, January 29, 2010


In my actual adult like existence, I have a job which might be delecately described as belonging in the technology sector.  This should come as no real surprise for all two of my readers...

Anyway with this (somebody) stealing google's lunch money drama, the whole dick swinging kabuki nonsense is starting to get on my nerves.  Then the other day this absurd email drops into my inbox:
Operation Aurora: Prepare for Cyber War!

China had a plan to attack and steal Google intellectual property
and compromise Gmail. Two weeks ago when Google announced they were the target
of sophisticated attacks from China, we were notified a war had begun. The
attacks, known now as "Operation Aurora" took advantage of a Microsoft Internet
Explorer vulnerability. Fighting cyber war without sufficient weaponry is like
entering Iraq with just knives. You cannot win by doing so - after all, who
brings a knife to a gunfight?
Feh.  While there is limited evidence that China may have been involved, people need to take a gods damned break about needlessly accusational language being thrown around.

Just remember that any asshole can start a gun fight.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goodnight Moon

While getting PAK2 to bed this evening, I (as usual) was reciting Goodnight Moon.  PAK1 is too old for this sort of thing you know...

While this story is really quite dark and existential.  In particular the lines:
Goodnight nobody,
Goodnight mush.
Less the mush part but the acknowledgment of nothingness is kinda heavy for such a book.  I mean we say 'goodnight' to the air later in the book so ths is not just some elemental nothingness that we are talking about.  You know what Nietzsche sad about looking into the void:
If you look long enough into the void,
the void begins looking back through you
Reeling myself, however reluctantly, back from this nonsense, there has been something going on which sees fit to coment on.

Earlier this week, the Supreme court in Citizens United vs. FEC ruled 5-4 providing corporations the same rights to influence the electoral process as human beings.   From The Huffington Post
Today, in a radical act of judicial activism, five Supreme Court Justices overthrew 103 years of American statutory and judicial law going back to the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt by ruling that corporations have the Constitutional right to make unlimited campaign contributions.
This is in effect a bloodless judicial coup which turns the American government over to the biggest corporate interests, to the degree that hadn't happened already.
This is a two-part coup. In 2000, in the judicially unconscionable Bush v. Gore ruling, the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to George W. Bush. Bush, in turn, appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, who, in their confirmation hearings, disingenuously promised the Senate and American people to be judicial moderates and avoid judicial activism. Now, in 2010, in perhaps the greatest act of judicial activism in American history, they overthrew 103 years of precedent to turn the US government over to the largest corporations.
 Did not manage to hear much about this decision on the news, but I have mostly given up on that sort of thing.  An interesting (IMHO) take on this was made by Ian Welsh here:

Yesterday’s decision makes the US a soft fascist state.  Roosevelt’s definition of fascism was control of government by corporate interests.  Unlimited money means that private interests can dump billions into elections if they choose.  Given that the government can, will, and has rewarded them with trillions, as in the bailouts, or is thinking about doing so in HCR, by forcing millions of Americans to buy their products the return on investment is so good that I would argue that corporations have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to buy out government - after all if you pay a million to get a billion, or a billion to get a trillion, that’s far far better returns than are avaiable anywhere else.
 I have been thinking about this for a few days and am not really sure exactly how one goes about responding to such a thing.  Those of you who have had the misfortune of reading this blog for the years that I have been whining about the state of affairs know that I have a pathological fascination with boiling frogs (in metaphor ok!).

 Only time will tell if this will really change the sickening state of real-politiks.  A real problem I have regarding this is the real precedent setting situation where corporations have (yet again) been provided rights that have been provided to people.  A corporation is a buisness abstracton and should not be given any additional freedoms.  I mean really who are these privlidges being granted to?  Board members?  They already have full rights (given citizenship etc).

I need a drink...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Monetize this...

So there is this new tab in the post editor at Moronathon - "Monetize" .  WTF?  When the hell did that word even become real?  Ghastly bullshit.

The New Expectation of Privacy

Facebook zygote and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has suggested that people no longer have an expectation of privacy based on the current buisness performance.  Nice to see that the best and brightest minds of our (?) generation are looking out for what really counts.

From eWeekEurope:
Privacy is no longer a social norm, according to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg commenting on the rise of social networking

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook has said that people no longer have an expectation of privacy thanks to increasing uptake of social networking.

Speaking at the Crunchie Awards in San Francisco this weekend, the 25 year-old web entrepreneur said: “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.”
besides saying a big Fuck You out to Mr. Zuckerberg for having such a swarmy little attitude toward our fundamental rights, I would like to remind everybody (oh Vast Readership!) that everything you write and upload becomes the property of Facebook, to do with what wish.

To remind everybody what that really means, need I remind you that the rules for Government acquisition of personal information (assuming that rules are adhered to) are almost non-existent when applied to so called "fourth party" holders.

From an abstract from "Buying You: The Government's Use of Fourth-Parties to Launder Data about 'The People'" :
Your information is for sale, and the government is buying it at alarming rates. The CIA, FBI, Justice Department, Defense Department, and other government agencies are at this very moment turning to a group of companies to provide them information that these companies can gather without the restrictions that bind government intelligence agencies. The information is gathered from sources that few would believe the government could gain unfettered access to, but which, under current Fourth Amendment doctrine and statutory protections, are completely accessible.

Fourth-parties, such as ChoicePoint or LexisNexis, are private companies that aggregate data for the government, and they comprise the private security-industrial complex that arose after the attacks of September 11, 2001. They are in the business of acquiring information, not from the information’s originator (the first-party), nor from the information’s anticipated recipient (the second-party), but from the unavoidable digital intermediaries that transmit and store the information (third-parties). These fourth-party companies act with impunity as they gather information that the government wants but would be unable to collect on its own due to Fourth Amendment or statutory prohibitions. This paper argues that when fourth-parties disclose to law enforcement information generated as a result of searches that would be violations had the government conducted the searches itself, those fourth-parties’ actions should be considered searches by agents of the government, and the data should retain privacy protections.

The entire paper can be found at the link above and I am in in position now to comment on it (have PAK1 and PAK2 to watch), but just wanted to get a few things out there since the number of posts I have skipped is much larger than I would like it to be.

For the record I know that many of the same rules of IP ownership are also in play with the blogger.com site, but I don't have the time or motivation to set up my own site to complain from.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

Emma Lazarus

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Further Breaking of the World

In previous posts I have discussed the heightened tension between the world of the rational and the mainstream left and right.  Nothing has happened over the past years which has done anything but heighten my skeptical feelings on the issue.

Recently an interaction between Mrs. set.element and an old friend of mine made me more aware of the vast gulf between people with an understanding of Science, and those who do not.  The topic was Global Warming and involved an otherwise educated person who just didn't feel right about some of what she was reading about based on the criticism of a social scientist.

I can go on and on about my feelings on just how useful an analysis by a social theorist on complicated data analysis but the discussion was moved to the meta-analysis of the process thereby avoiding the messy process of actually understanding what you are talking about.

What bothered me even more than this was that the whole notion of framing the "debate".  Looking at the arguments there was no hard criticism of the process, just a casting of doubt on some vague points in the exact same way that our Corporate Overlords made thinking that smoking was bad was just a bunch of tree hugging nonsense.   Real Science does not tolerate much in the way of this bullshit.  I have discussed this again and again so will not bore anybody with that noise.

And where does the liberal media stand on this?  Our friends at NPR, who might at best be covered on the absurd notion of equivalence - that is for every bit of information which might be set forward brought to you by actual working scientists,  it is necessary to allow some screwball flat earth advocate to blather there dubious nonsence.

From the NPR Check blog:
"This [link to the Tuesday morning story] may help explain my antipathy towards Kestenbaum this AM. Of all the stories one could file from Copenhagen, he gives credence to hack skeptic Lomborg who has been thoroughly discredited. [link to a point by point refutation of Lomborg's "science."] What a doofus and a tool is the Kestenbum."
There is so much more to say on this topic, but there is so much work to do as well.  By the way, during the writing of this droning nonsense I hear the following on a commercial for some sort of exercise equipment:
...whose friction free track using the momentum of gravity...
I need a drink.