Monday, November 21, 2011

Times like this it occurs to me, we were lied to by The Jetsons

You know, that's the damn problem with this country. People used to throw their hats over walls. People used to have sack.

From Will pay-per-mile be a buzzkill for American road trips?

Ahh, what speaks of freedom more than the time honored tradition of the American Road Trip? Pointing that streamlined hunk of metal towards the unknown horizon and gunning the pedal to the floor. But with gas prices and other various costs associated with maintaining a vehicle on the road, the past time is dying out. And now, in the American 21st Century, for the first time it appears that horizon no longer carries the mystery of the unknown, but rather the final nail in the coffin of the American rite of passage.

You see, the government is worried. The combination of fuel efficient vehicles and increased gas prices keeping people away from the pumps is resulting in a stagnation of flow of tax dollars to maintain the highway system. There is a federal tax on every gallon of gas you purchase, which is then used to maintain the massive spider-web of concrete that keeps our country moving. But with this revenue stream drying up, politicians are looking for new cash cows.

And the answer they've come up with is a pay-per-mile tax system in which motor vehicles will be electronically monitored, and then charged a yearly tax for the number of miles they have driven. OK, that sounds kind of reasonable. Combat rising fuel efficiency by directly taxing drivers based on mileage driven. Simple enough. Until you consider the fact that there are over 250 million vehicles that would have to be monitored around the clock. The enormous task of collecting, processing, and billing citizens based on this data would just put another drain on the system. Many experts are saying that the cost of implementing this new tax system would in itself require a new tax to pay for. Or keeping the current fuel tax to pay for the cost of switching to the new pay-per-mile tax.

Beyond the monetary considerations of such a switch comes the privacy concerns. Honestly, who is comfortable with the thought of taxmen monitoring GPS data of every mile your vehicle drives? What happened to the right to privacy? While many motorists in recent surveys are expressing that they would be more willing to acquiesce to these regulatory changes provided the system did not record specific locations along with its mileage, I simply don't care for the idea of having a little black box in my car ticking data to the G-Men.

All in all, this seems to simply be an effort to place an adhesive strip (that's a Band-Aid for you brand-name shoppers) over a gun-shot wound. The CNN article mentions that by 2020, the cost of maintaining the roads, highways and bridges in this country could be up to 1.7 trillion dollars per year. I would therefore imagine that the proper response to this quandary would not be to generate more funds for a growing beast of a problem, but rather to look outside the box for a new solution.

And for that solution, I submit that we look to the answers provided by children's cartoons. The lovable Jetsons had us all believing that by this time we would all be able to rise above this situation, literally, with the advent of the flying car. After all, who needs highways and bridges when you can have a flying car!

So get to it, inventors of America! Throw your hats over the wall! Your country needs you!!

Three Monkeys Say: Yo yo, get this! We're goin' to the moon!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

American Censorship Day

Remember when "American Censorship" used to be an Oxymoron??

Please take a moment (or 4.3 moments, if you want to be specific) and watch this video that was put together to explain the possible effects of the Protect IP Act should it be passed by the Senate and House.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Now, if you're anything like a good section of the American public, then a lot of that probably sounded like magical interwebz mumbo-jumbo. But let's take a look at some of the quotes provided on the website, which has been devoted to spreading the good word.

From Fred Wilson Union Square Ventures
These bills were written by the content industry without any input from the technology industry. And they are trying to fast track them through congress and into law without any negotiation with the technology industry.

From James Allworth Harvard Business School
It contains provisions that will chill innovation. It contains provisions that will tinker with the fundamental fabric of the internet. It gives private corporations the power to censor. And best of all, it bypasses due legal process to do much of it.

I'll let you peruse the rest of the quotes at your own leisure, rather than taking more of your time here. Essentially what this argument boils down to in my opinion is the point mentioned in the Protect IP Act Breaks The Internet video: How much do you trust your government to not abuse these newly established powers? Or, in the event you do actually trust your government, then how much do you trust the government of other nations to follow suit in a satisfactory manner?

If nothing else, even if you largely agree with the restrictions put forward by this new Act, anything that stymies the free flow of information through social media should put your back up. The last 12 months have shown beyond any doubt the vital role this tools of hyper-space will provide in the future as a means of the common man to speak out against tyranny in all of its forms. And quite frankly, I'm willing to sacrifice the next big summer blockbuster for that tool to stay right where it is, unadulterated by the meddling fingers of big business interests.

Besides, I really enjoy bringing you little YouTube gems, like this one here. And it would make me very sad if I was no longer able to provide this service for the wild and unwashed masses. So please friends, take the time to go to and let your Congressman/woman let you know how much this pisses you off.

Three Monkeys Say:
Internet Freedom and Psychedelic Showtunes
These are a few of My Favorite Things

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coming to an Olympic Games near you!

Following in the longstanding tradition of marksmanship challenges in the Olympic Games, the time-honored traditions of Archery and SharpShooting will be joined by - you guessed it! - ballistic ground-to-air missiles!

From Missiles to protect London 2012 Olympics

OK, so it's not the kind of event that you can take home gold in, but I would at least hope that the boys manning these defense measures are training as hard as the athletes they are charged with protecting.

As the world starts to gear up for the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in London in 2012, the head of the UK Defense Department is having to field a lot of questions from various interested parties. And some of the answers may be a bit shocking. British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond has promised that "all necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic Games will be taken including -- if the advice of the military is that it is required -- appropriate ground-to-air defenses".

Excuse me, but could someone please explain to me how "ground-to-air defenses" and "appropriate" belong in the same sentence? See, I thought the primary objective of defense regarding the Olympic Games would be a focus on suppression of terrorist attempts at causing harm to the proceedings. Installing a surface-to-air missile defense system to protect the grounds tells me, admittedly as a amateur of military defense tactics, that one would thus be expecting an aerial based attack. And again, excuse me if I'm reaching here, but the possession of aerial based weapons systems speaks to me of an organization possessing the military prowess of a government, not a terrorist group. Unless you're planning on defending against hi-jacked passenger airliners - in which case I would think it to be a much more cost-effective solution to have the international equivalent of US Marshalls defending the planes in the sky on that day on an individual basis, rather than be prepared to launch missiles that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars a piece.

But, to be honest, if the disclosure of the presence of military-grade weapons systems defending the London Olympic Games were the only news piece here, I doubt I would have found it worthy of sharing with you fine people. But no, the fun doesn't stop there. The CNN article also mentions a heavy involvement from US security interests regarding all aspects of the preparation, from personnel to planning. The US Government has said it will supply 1,000 individuals, including FBI Agents, to help maintain the peace during the event. Again, my knowledge of government defense tactics is essentially limited to what I'm spoon-fed from Hollywood, but as far as I understood our set-up here, we use the FBI for domestic concerns, and the CIA for international concerns. That's kind of why we have two separate intelligence groups in the first place. So what does the fact that our domestic secret police plan on providing surveillance for the games tell us? I have no idea, friends. But I can tell you this - whenever the government takes an action that doesn't seem to make any sense on the surface, well you can bet somewhere a man in a black suit has a good reason for it. And that reason has your best interests firmly placed at the forefront of its objectives. Trust me.

And the machine, She Grows.

Three Monkeys Say: They Ask No Quarter

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CCTV: Candid Cop Television

Smile for the birdie, kids!

From NPR: As More Police Wear Cameras, Policy Questions Arise

This article from NPR takes a look at the spreading trend of police departments across the nation adopting small video cameras that are attached to their uniforms, and the mixed reactions they are stirring, amongst police unions and private citizens alike.

Produced by private companies with names like Taser and Vievu, these cameras are designed to be worn on the front of an officer's uniform and are capable of recording up to 4 hours of audio and video. The hope of this initiative is to remove the "He said - She said" aspect of police encounters with the public. And with the increased number of accusations of misconduct in departments nationwide, it's a small wonder that many departments were quick to pick up the technology.

Many police officers seem to have little problem with the new addition to their fatigue. For many, the only added responsibility is they now have to begin each interaction with the public by informing the citizen they are being recorded. In fact, the only complaint that crops up according to the NPR piece is that officers are unable to turn off the cameras, even at the request of the citizen being filmed. While the inability to refuse being filmed is certainly unsettling, it is more reassuring to know that the officer can not turn off the camera at will. Of course, until you read the fine text under the picture of the charming blonde from Vievu displaying one of their cameras that informs you that the officer must remove the cameras protective covering to begin filming.

And here is where the dissenters start chiming in. Sure, it may be against department policy to turn off the camera under any circumstance, but it's also certainly against policy for an officer to attempt to hide his name and badge number while on duty. And as recent OWS footage from Oakland has shown, officers have still been known to do this. Also, it is not department policy to use mace or pepper spray against non-violent protesters. But again, thanks to the actions of one of New York' finest - Tony Baloney - we have seen that this is not a policy that is always steadfastly held, either. And since the release informing the public that Tony Baloney's punishment would be the loss of ten paid vacation days when many were screaming for him to lose his position, the public has seen how serious the police take to penalizing those who disregard department regulations.

OK, sure, the cops might flip their cameras closed during some encounters with citizens. Certainly such a problem could be remedied by a small alteration on the production side. But the public misgivings regarding these cameras is not rooted in mistrust of police choosing opportune times to turn on their cameras.

As most anyone who has ever requested footage from the dashboard camera of a police cruiser can tell you, there are two distinct responses for such queries. Either the footage is incriminating against the citizen, and will show up before you even think to ask for it. Or the footage is incriminating against the officer, in which case you would have an easier time pulling teeth from an angry alligator with a pair of tweezers. Odds are, you'd keep more fingers going toe-to-toe with the 'gator, too. Take the example provided of Eric Rachner of Seattle, who spent months before he could even get the department to acknowledge that video footage of his 2008 unlawful arrest existed.

And with the new regulations regarding the Freedom of Information Act empowering the government to knowingly deceive the public by denying the existence of requested information that is deemed to be a "threat to national security", excuse me if I have little faith that these Piggy-cam tapes will be handed over without a fight. The City of Oakland already refuses to supply video footage from traffic stops in which the camera captures an image of the driver's license of registration information unless the sensitive private information is edited out. And since the Oakland PD lacks such refined video editing equipment, any such tape is essentially classified until further notice. And as an aside, who is really comfortable with any discussion of the police having the capability of editing these tapes at their own discretion?

Three Monkeys Say: Never Trust a Pig that Walks on Two Legs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who Pays for these Studies??

File this one under "Weird Shit I Probably Didn't Need to Know"

From MSNBC: Sex With Animals Linked To Penis Cancer

First, let me open by once again thanking the good people over at for so tirelessly laboring to ensure these sort of news gems do not go unnoticed. You people truly are fighting the good fight.

The results of a study taken in a rural area of Brazil, claims to have shown that a history of bestiality can be linked to occurrences of penile cancer. The study, which surveyed 492 men who were either healthy or afflicted by penile cancer, found that 45% of men who suffered from the ailment reported also having sex with animals. Other possible causes mentioned in the study were "smoking, the presence of premalignant lesions on the penis and phimosis, a condition where the foreskin cannot be retracted over the penis."

The article goes on to briefly discuss what it sees as a long standing history of inter-species relations, and how it believes that micro-trauma from prolonged animal intercourse could open the organ up for attack from cancerous agents, providing a possible explanation for the correlated rise of cases of penile cancer in men who engage in bestiality. Fascinating read, provided you can keep your lunch down.

Of course, the article also does a bang-up job of glossing over an alarming statistic. They found that 32% of men who had no outbreak of penile cancer also reported having sex with animals. That's one-in-three for fucks-sake!

Alright, let's play with these numbers a little bit. The MSNBC report states that of 492 men surveyed, 118 of them were victims of penile cancer. Of that 118, 45% - or ~53 patients - reported having sex with animals. Which leaves 374 of the original 492 which did NOT have penile cancer. Of this 374, 32% - or ~120 patients - reported having sex with animals. Meaning there are more men, both healthy and cancer afflicted, who admit to having intercourse with animals then there are total men that have been found to have penile cancer.

I'm not exactly sure what all those numbers might mean in a medical sense. But I'll tell you one thing for damn sure - there are far too many people candidly admitting to having sexually violated the local livestock. And if a total of 35% of these rural Brasillians are admitting to having sex with animals, then I'd say it is safe to hazard a guess that the real figures are somewhere around 65%.

Three Monkeys Say: Love - the kind you clean up with a mop and bucket!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Your Government Knows Best!!

Isn't Democracy neat?

In case you haven't heard, the Obama administration is trying a very nifty experiment in open democracy called "We The People" - a government website where you can draw up your own petition of talking points you would like to see discussed by the administration and have people sign it from all over the country. The Obama administration promised to use this tool to determine which issues were really at the heart of most American concerns, and to use this information to bring about positive change for Americans.

Sounds almost Utopian - a service in which you can raise any topic of concern to your representative political body with the promise that it will receive a detailed look if there is enough national interest. The basic rules of the service were that any petition that received over 25,000 signatures within 30 days of originally being posted would receive an official tailored response by a member of the White House staff.

Indeed, when this website was first announced, it seemed like Obama and his team were making an honest attempt at testing the waters regarding American's feelings on a lot of contemporary issues. That is until some of the responses started being released.

Unsurprisingly, supporters for change regarding marijuana legislation teamed together and gathered a staggering number of signatures for their petition - topping the threshold that would demand an official response in its first day. For half a heart-beat, stoners and sobers sympathetic to the cause shared a brief unifying moment of hope, holding on tenaciously to the dream that maybe someone in power would finally lend an interested ear. That is until the site posted their official response from Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his response Gil basically says "Fuck You, hippies. These are the rules." Which of course is the perfect response for anyone hoping to set the stage for constructive democratic discussion. You can read Gil's response here.

Of course, the legalization efforts for marijuana are not the only petitions receiving lip service from the White House. The website also recently published a response to a petition requesting government transparency regarding decades of insinuation that the government is involved in a coverup regarding the presence of extra-terrestrial life. This time the response was tailored by Phil Larson, who works on space policy and communications at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Phil's response was much the same as Gil Kerlikowske's - Fuck Off. Of course, the White House liasons were much more diplomatic in their announcements of a refusal to investigate topics which had received enough public support to elicit an official response.

These are not the only two topics to be glossed over by the Obama administration. Petitions seeking a removal of the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act - which federally defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, have both tactfully been swept under the rug as a problem for the next group of patsies to seclude themselves in their ivory tower of inaction. Hell, the response to one petition calling for an "Investigation into Allegations of Prosecutorial & Judicial Misconduct in the Case of Sholom Rubashkin" refers the petitioners to a piece of fine print in the terms of participation for the White House's responses, simply saying "We won't comment on this one."

So basically, the timeline goes a little something like this.
*White House launches petition site promising to offer constructive response to any topic that proves to have enough public support
*Americans collectively marvel at the combined wonder of technology and democracy as they begin to believe that politicians may actually start listening
*We the People is flooded with petitions and signatures by the thousands
*White House officials with fancy titles and job descriptions collect a paycheck for sitting down and throwing together what amounts to the same level of effort required by a third grader for an essay assignment (though more likely, these responses were typed up by an unpaid intern and merely signed by those claiming authorship)
*American public once again realizes that their voice and opinion have no strength in the halls of power.
*Life, sadly, goes on.

Three Monkeys Say: Oh Shit! Is Gladiators on??

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Think I'm an Alright Guy

Happy Sunday Morning, freaks.

Hope you all enjoyed that extra hour of sleep today. Doesn't Daylight-Savings kick ass? Thanks, Ben Franklin!

Make sure you take a little bit of time for yourself out of the day. Hell - it's Sunday - take the whole damn day for yourself. You've earned it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

There Be Dragons

Looking for something to amuse yourself with on this Saturday afternoon?

Try this video discussion with author Daniel Pinchbeck and Hollywood actor Russel Brand - There Be Dragons: Daniel Pinchbeck Talks with Russell Brand

Enjoy it, kids.

Friday, November 4, 2011

There has to be a Greek term for something this fucked up

It's not Oedipal...

And it's not Electra-esque...

From Engaged couple discover they are brother and sister when their parents meet just before wedding

Life seemed to be going perfectly for a young South African couple. With the engaged couple's wedding date right around the corner, and her expecting a little bundle of joy, it seemed like they couldn't have been happier. Until the pair introduced their parents to one another and discovered - they're brother and sister!! Holy Fuck!!

Apparently the almost-newly-weds were separated at a young age when their father discovered their mother was cheating on him. The father took the then 2-year old son, and the mother had custody of the 8-month old daughter. The two children were raised completely unaware that they ever had a sibling. Years later when a chance meeting at college had sparks flying, the two blissfully ignorant that something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Or whatever they call states in South Africa.

While the couple has understandably decided to call off the wedding, there is no mention in the article of terminating the pregnancy. The unnamed mother-to-be is quoted as already being quite concerned on how to explain the child's complicated lineage when it comes to age.

Christ though, can you imagine the revulsion at being hit with that kind of bombshell? My stomach is doing backflips just thinking about it. In fact, I would imagine my personal reaction would look something like this:

*insert exaggerated shudder here*

Three Monkeys Say - HOLY FUCK!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Someone Call Dr. Feelgood!!

God Damn God Damn God Damn

God Damn that Pharma-Pushin' Man

From Yahoo! News: Painkiller overdose 'epidemic' strikes US

While the Feds are dispatching gangs of Men in Black armed with Patriot Act garnered warrants and supported by crooked tax-men to try and shut down the nefarious medical marijuana trade around this country, it's business as usual over at Big Pharma. Meaning just another day of sweeping deaths under the rug and shifting blame to ensure that we keep popping these pills like Pac-Man. Chomp Chomp Chomp.

The number of deaths from overdose to prescription painkillers has been on a steady rise for years. And as this new study from the CDC shows, the number of deaths now tops overdoses from both heroin and cocaine combined. With nearly 15,000 prescription pain killer based overdoses in 2008 alone, something obviously must be done.

Of course, the real problem here is the gross over-prescribing of such medications. According to a statistic from the CDC, "Enough OPR (opioid pain relievers) were prescribed last year to medicate every American adult with a standard pain treatment dose of five milligrams of hydrocodone (Vicodin and others) taken every four hours for a month."

Alright, conspiracy theorists - get ready. I'm going deep with this one.

Say you subscribe to the theory that our country is largely controlled by a small group of religious conservatives, who use their money and political influence to control the social climate of our nation. Combine this assumption with the fact that the great majority of these overdoses are found in rural and impoverished areas of the country. Then look at the article's description of the cause of death associated with an overdose of prescription painkillers - "Death typically occurs when the patient stops breathing because the drugs can cause respiratory depression." So essentially, death occurs after a long drawn out period of gradually losing the strength required to control respiratory function, until you are physically incapable of drawing another breath. Markedly similar to the cause of death from crucifixion, which kills the victim by drawing out the body until the person no longer has the strength to move their diaphragm and draw oxygen into their system. Golly, it almost sounds like there is a shadowy interest group handing out crucifixion in a can! Creepy! OK, yeah, maybe this is an unlikely scenario. But it's interesting to speculate on. I did warn you I was going deep there.

In conclusion:
Deaths from overdose on prescription painkillers in 2008: 14,800
Deaths from overdose on marijuana in history: 0

Remind me again which side of the War on Drugs we are on?

Three Monkeys Say: This shit is Funked Up!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Be Honest, You Expected This One

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I am in no way surprised by this announcement out of Germany.

From German authorities plant spyware on citizens’ computers

According to a release from a German based hacker collective, known as the Computer Chaos Club, the German government is involved in the spread of spyware that effectively turns your private computer into a tool of Big Brother.

Computer viruses, spy ware, trojans, and any other number of malicious software infections have been a problem plaguing the internet essentially since its inception. And as the capabilities of our machines escalates, so to do the functions of these hyperspace attacks.

The Computer Chaos Group says it has discovered a trojan horse designed by a private tech firm for the German government to be used in monitoring internet phone calls. Now, while such monitoring is allowed in Germany under certain extreme circumstances, eavesdropping was not the only function of the malware. The hackers found the trojan was also capable of taking screenshots of the infected machine, adding and removing files from the hard drive, and even control the microphone and webcam that now comes standard in virtually every computer on the market.

Of course, the fact that we are now hearing this story out of Germany tells us that most likely these invasions of privacy through our computers has probably been going on for a good long while, and that it is doubtful that the Germans are the only government guilty of the act. Of course, I have no tangible proof for this claim, but what does your gut tell you?

Just another fancy piece to file away in your back pocket.

Make sure you remember, friends - Just because you're paranoid...

Don't mean they're not after you