Friday, June 20, 2008

Dear Thom,

Ever wonder what a letter from me to Thom Yorke would look like?

Dear Mr. Yorke,

I hope that my letter finds you well, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it.  I am writing to you today regarding a subject very near and dear to my heart.   I wanted to offer a suggestion that I think would prove to be something really special for your band, and I am certain for your many fans.    I think that at some point, you and your mates should get together at a show and play your album Pablo Honey  in it's entirety.   I realize that Radiohead has a large body of work that constantly has pushed the boundaries of what modern rock music can be.   I make my appeal on behalf of your first outing as a band because I feel that the album has never received the credit that it deserves in discussions of the 90's alternative rock scene.   In my humble opinion it is easily one of the top 5 albums released during that time period.   To this day, I have never heard an album as vibrant and sonicly engaging as Pablo Honey.    The sonic progression from the start of the album is perfect with each song setting up the next.   Nowhere is this more evident in the progression from "How Do You?" to "Stop Whispering" to "Thinking About You."   Please consider it a very humble suggestion that at some point you and your mates return to that album and see what new things you find there for you.   Remind us out there just how amazing your band has been from the start.  It saddens me that I often get the impression that you are embarrassed by what I consider to be a work of music genius.  Sure, I can understand why you may feel that way.  I've seen the music videos from the era, and the "Anyone Can Play Guitar" footage from the MTV Beach House.  Just remember.  It was the 90's.  A lot of weird stuff went down then.   I think that if you ever wanted to provide your fans with a concert experience that would become the crown jewel of Radiohead shows an entire run of Pablo Honey would become legendary.

Once again Mr. Yorke thank you for your time, and thank you and your mates for such an excellent piece of music.


Mark Beers


P.S. - I'll be at Lollapaloza.  That would be a great time to do something like that.

The Debate Goes On...

Yesterday in response to my post about the Habeas Corpus issue I received this comment from the Automatic Rebalancer.

Of course if a foreign citizen commits a crime in the civilian world, he'd be subject to hab.corp. I agree. But that's not the central issue here...and that's precisely why McCain is against the Ct. ruling. His imprisonment was as a P.O.W. PoW's and detainees of military actions are not afforded civilian habeas corpus. That's why there's been no complaint from him on the matter. Essentially the Sup. Ct. has overruled Congress' law and said these terrorists, labeled as enemy combatants of a military action should instead be subject to civilian jurisdiction. I say, Horse$hit! They were taken under military jurisdiction, and should remain as enemy combatants under military jurisdiction.

Here is my response:

Well thank you for your response to my article Major.  I understand your points regarding military vs. civilian. I guess I have a problem with the classification of this situation as a time of war.  Surely, it can not be disputed that the Taliban or whom ever it is that Bin Laden is choosing to associate with these days are enemies of the state I feel the situation of war is a special circumstance that our current engagement does not really satisfy.   What nation are we at war with?  Or are we as the Bush administration suggests at war with the concept of terror. I realize that this is primarily a semantic argument, but that is often the case when legal matters are at hand.  Also, another point to consider with respect to this argument is that this ruling while extending to people such as Bin Laden is more intended as a protection for people who have been unjustly detained as a result of our war on a concept.  I don't feel that it should be to unreasonable of an expectation for any human being if they are detained against their will to have the ability to press their captors for a justification as to why our government or any government for that matter has chosen to deprive them of this basic human right to freedom.  I think then when the dust settles what we will see from this is that the people who deserve to be under the lock and key of our government for their crimes will be there because we can explain why it is that they are there.  Also, as an aside.  If this concern that Bin Laden could get off on some legal technicality weighs enough on the mind of our soldiers who are tracking him that when they do find him somebody's finger slips on a trigger.  Well, I honestly can't say that the world would be any worse off.


Okay.  Enough of that stuff.  It's Friday.  Got many of other things to post about later including: TF2 Pyro Updates - My initial impressions, and what the letter I would write Thom York of Radiohead would look like.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I Ain't Got No Body...

Wow.  Lots of talk today in blog land about Habeas Corpus.   My friends at both Automatic Rebalancing and the Cultural Cuisinart have interesting articles looking at the subject from differing points of view.   Now I am obviously no legal scholar, and I promise to return to posting stupid YouTube videos and info about Team Fortress 2 shortly.   However, there are certain things about the recent issue surrounding the Supreme Court's recent ruling stating that foreign nationals detained as enemy combatants in places such as Guantanamo Bay do in fact have the right to seek a writ of Habeas Corpus that bother me.   I would gladly like to be educated as to why my take on this issue is wrong.


Let's start with just a very basic definition of the concept of Habeas Corpus to set the stage.  Wikipedia defines Habeas Corpus in full here.   The reader's digest definition is that Habeas Corpus is a summons with the force of a court order addressed to the custodian (such as a prison official) demanding that a prisoner be brought before the court, together with proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether that custodian has lawful authority to hold that person, or, if not, the person should be released from custody.   This is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest single protections of individual liberties against governmental tyranny.  Basically, if you have been arrested, then you have the right to know why that is.  If the person keeping you in prison can not adequately justify why they are holding you, then the court can order you to be released.   Seams pretty straight forward to me.


This supreme court ruling has a lot of peoples feathers rustled over how we can extend to people who are not U.S. citizens this basic legal right.   To me, it seams hypocritical not to.   Follow my logic train for a bit.   The Automatic Rebalancer throws the name of Osama Bin Laden into his article as a touch point.  The concept that we can entertain the idea that even Bin Laden should be extended to U.S. legal conceit that you are guilty until proven innocent seams to offend him greatly. Now I am certainly not defending Osama Bin Laden.   He has been responsible for committing many great acts of evil in our world and caused a great deal of suffering in our country and others around the world. He should be held accountable for his actions, and I hope some day that he is. However, if he is ever apprehended by U.S. military personnel who are acting as representatives of our country and our government then he should have the same legal rights as anyone else who is subject to prosecution under our country's system of laws.  If our nations top legal minds can't come up with evidence to justify his detention by our government according to our laws then that is a failure on their part.


I am proud that I live in a country where it is acknowledged by our legal system that the laws of our country should apply to all individuals who are subject to them.   Not just citizens.   Bin Laden and his friends are being pursued by representatives of our government largely as a result of the actions that he has taken to cause harm and damage to American citizens and property.   He violated our laws.   Timothy McVeigh committed similar acts against our citizens and was punished according to our laws governing such actions, but also had the protections allowed by those same sets of laws.  As far as I can see the only difference between these two individuals is what corner of the world they happened to be born in.   If we can not afford a foreign combatant legal protections, then we can not hold them accountable to our laws ether.   If our intention is to capture Bin Laden and then have his matter decided by an international court, then those are the rules and protections he should be afforded.


The final point I would like to make regarding this debate is actually that by framing the conversation around Osama Bin Laden unfairly shifts the focus of what I believe is at the heart of this ruling.   This ruling is not about letting a man like Bin Laden go free.   This ruling is a nod to the important necessity that people we do detain, foreign citizen or not are being held for reasons that they are clearly informed of, and being held justly.   As I said before, if our sharpest legal minds can not justify the reasons why someone who deserves to be held is being held then that is a failing on our part.   I am glad that our country can recognize the necessity to ensure that the rules are being followed.


One interesting side point brought up by MadTypist at the Cultural Cuisinart that I find odd is John McCain's disapproval of this ruling.   It surprises me that a man who personally endured treatment far worse then what has been reported at Guantanamo Bay while he was a POW in Vietnam for 5 years can not realize the importance of a ruling of this nature.


(Just a Disclaimer.)  It should be known the while I have often taken issue with the views expressed by the Automatic Rebalancer that I hold him to be one of my nearest and dearest friends.  He is a stand up guy and I respect his opinions even though I may not share them.  Much love to you Major.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Well Major...

Sorry, I'm not posting from a PC so I can't embed this...


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet the Sniper!

The "Meet the Sniper" video is here. Click this link to watch.

Team Fortress 2 Updates and Free Weekend!


It's a big week for us here in Team Fortress 2 Land, and it can be a big weekend for you too. This Thursday the next round of character upgrades will be released and this time the Pyro class will be receiving 3 new unlockable weapon upgrades and 35 new achievements. (All those flame throwers are going to put my Spy training on hold for a bit I guess.) The next episode in the "Meet the..." video series will also drop today and will feature The Sniper. This weekend's update will also feature 2 user created maps for all to enjoy.

So have you still not tried Team Fortress 2? Well, if you get a good internet connection under that rock where you live you can give the game a try for free this weekend. Visit the Steam Website for more details.

WTF! Lolla

The schedule for Lollapaloza '08 came out today.  Someone please tell me why this is happening...


I can not wait...

Watch this now...

In the interests of equal time...

Rebuttal Major?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

So Long Old Friend

Yesterday was a very sad day for myself, and a great many people across the nation.   Tim Russert has passed.   I don't think I can recall a sense of loss regarding the death of a person I've never met the way I feel regarding Tim Russert's passing.    He was a personal hero of mine.   Tim, thank you for all you did for our country and for our mutual home town.  I have always been so proud of the fact that Buffalo was the place where I grew up, and seeing him every Sunday morning on Meet the Press was a constant reminder of the greatness and quality of people who inhabit my home town.   You will be missed Tim.   Thank you once again.

Just had to share


Kitten showed me this today and I just had to share.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Catching up a bit...

Hey folks.  It's been awhile since I've just brain dumped on the internet so I thought today would be as good a day as any.

Topics of the Day:

  • International Relations - Thom York has my girlfriend.  I'm  a little wistful today as I miss my Finch.  She's off touring France and seeing Radiohead.  I am excited for her and sounds like she is having a great time.  I'm glad Radiohead only tours every 5 or so years.
  • Podcast Update - As mentioned in previous posts, the first episode of the podcast that I co-host is available for download.  We should be recording episode #2 sometime this week.  You don't have to listen to it just because you love me.  (But it would rule if you did.)  It is a podcast centering around my favourite video game Team Fortress 2.   If you are interested in listening you can find the show on our website.   We are also available through iTunes.  (We are not searchable on iTunes yet, but if you click this link while iTunes is open on your computer it will take you to where you can subscribe.)
  • Politics - Not news anymore that Obama is the Democratic Presidential Nominee.  He will be my choice for president.  I think that ether way things turn in the election we will have a good man in office.  I choose Obama as my candidate because I feel at this stage in our nation's history the upside potential of Obama surpasses that of McCain.  The way I see things.  No matter who wins things will get better.  Obama is an unproven commodity to be sure.  However, I think that it is a chance worth rolling the dice on.   My good friend and fellow blogger The Automatic Rebalancer has been posting lots of interesting articles pointing out the flaws in my candidate.  My question to him then is why should I vote for McCain instead?  Other then experience what sets him apart as the superior person to lead our country?
  • Music - Kitten sent me this YouTube link.  It's pretty darn groovy.  I can't get this song out of my head.  The band is called "The Wombats".  This is their song "Let's Dance to JoyDivision."  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

And...we're live!


That's right folks our first episode is out!  You can download it from our website. Be gentle!  It's our first time.  Hope that you like it!