Friday, January 20, 2012

Marvel Variants Turns 50 !!

My ex-boss, who runs the Bronze Age Marvel Variants website, has turned 50. 

We still work for the same company, but Mr. Variants recently hired an Operations Manager to handle his old responsibilities.  Then he promoted himself into the stratosphere so he could do things like go to Brazil and search for new business. 

Here's documentation of his efforts in Brazil. 

For those of you new to my site, Mr. Variants makes a lot of money seeking out rare Marvel comics and selling them for a small fortune.  Every time he does particularly well, I get a snarky email from him about the sale, about how he found the comic at a yard sale for 25 cents, about the overall profit margin, and about how many emails it took to separate some geek from his $459 in exchange for a 1978 Howard The Duck comic with a variant cover. 

Here's a paragraph from one of Mr. Variant's recent posts.  It's about an online comic book auction:
 I think the auction was kind of hit and miss in regards to pricing as some of the books, like the spidey (Spiderman) variants, went for bargain prices, while others did very well.  The auction was competing with the World Series and football.
Trust me, Mr. Variants.....The comic book auctions don't compete with the World Series or football.

Battlestar Galactica, Adventures of Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius, Doctor Who, or SuperFriends might have been on TV at the same time as the auction though. 

Anyway, Mr. Variants turned 50 today, and we dedicated most of our morning meeting to that milestone.  So many of our employees wore all-black clothing to the party that the room looked like the crowd at an early 90's art gallery. 
Here he is wearing what looks like the Hogwarts sorting hat, holding all his loot.

We had a guest from China in this meeting, BTW.  I bet she thought we'd lost our minds. 

The sorting hat sent Mr. Variants to Slytherin. 

Please hit this link and use the comment fields of his site to wish Marvel Variants a happy 50th. 

Quote of the day

I found it on Samizdata:

"And, make no mistake, Marxists did lose a big argument, one we now know as 'the 20th century'."

- Will Wilkinson

Poster came from here. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Would you vote for any candidate who promised to do all of this?

There's been a minor media whirlwind for the last few days about the latest Newsweek cover. 
It features a piece by Andrew Sullivan about how freakin' stupid Obama's critics are. 

The funniest part is the little slogan about "the man with a plan".  Heh.  I don't think he could plan a lunch for four at McDonald's, but that's just me. 

Here's the best response I've seen to the Newsweek piece.  It's from Conor Friedersdorf with the Atlantic Monthly.  It hurts.  Go here to read the whole thing. 

How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican (or any other resident of this planet) had promised to do the following: 

(1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (13) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (14) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.
Amazing, isn't it? 
Newsweek magazine, R.I.P. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia and Reddit go Galt.

Go to Wikipedia.  They've shut it down. 
Go to Reddit.  They've shut it down. 
Go to Google.  It's still up, but they have a black "Censored" bar over their logo. 

In protest against Texas Republican Lamar Smith's anti-piracy law, these companies have "Gone Galt".  (If you're not familiar with the Galt concept, look it up on Wikipedia tomorrow.  Not today.  Wikipedia has gone Galt. 

This is what democracy looks like. 

Here's a link to Lamar Smith's website.  He's the author of the now-infamous SOPA bill (Stop Online Piracy Act.)  Piracy being potentially defined as stuff the government doesn't like. 

As of January 18th, there's some hilarious crap on Smith's site about job creation: "We know what will help create jobs in this country –lifting the burden of regulations that is strangling small businesses."   Good work today, Lamar. 

Here's a link to the site of the Libertarian who ran against this Statist last time.  James Strohm. 

Sign came from here

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A strange endorsement from Don Wildmon

Here's a statement from the Faith Leaders Coalition, penned by Don Wildmon, of the Campaign for Decency:

Atlanta, GA - Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition National Co-Chair Don Wildmon released this statement today:

Perhaps you have heard a rumor that I have changed my support from Newt Gingrich for President to another candidate. I want you to know that is not true. To suggest that I have switched my support is inaccurate.

Without question, this election is the most important in the history of our nation. Our culture has become saturated with corruption and immorality. I firmly believe the future not only of our nation but all of Western Civilization is at stake. Voters in South Carolina will help decide if we can return our nation to its Judeo-Christian roots, or continue to slide down the slippery slope?

In the past, Christian conservatives have split their votes among three or four candidates. This has allowed the moderate-liberal wing of the Republican Party to capture the nomination. It appears we might do the same thing again.

The only way to prevent this from happening is for evangelical Christians to stick together and vote for the same person. I have decided to support Newt Gingrich and I hope you will rally behind him. I believe that the former Speaker of the House is the best qualified electable conservative candidate to make the changes needed in Washington.

If conservatives split their vote three ways, then liberal-moderate candidate Romney is a cinch to win.

I fully realize there are other very good candidates in this race. But if you have not already made a decision, I hope that you will consider Newt. If we will vote as a bloc, we can defeat the moderate-liberals.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lamar Smith, author of SOPA, on being a copyright violator

The SOPA Act is a legal monstrosity supposedly designed to stop online piracy and to protect intellectual property. 

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for 10 such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.

In other words, anyone bringing a frivolous lawsuit against, say, a political opponent or an unpopular opinion could get a site shut down for a long, long time. 

The bill was introduced by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith. 

This is where it gets good.  Delicious good.  Juicy good. 

Here's an old screen shot from Lamar Smith's website, compliments of a blog called Vice Beta. 

See the beautiful photo in the far margins?  It was taken by someone named DJ Shulte. 

Lamar Smith didn't credit Shulte for the photo. 

Here's Shulte, once again from Vice Beta:
"I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me). So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith's organization did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against"

Here's Vice Beta again:
We've contacted the office of Lamar Smith and are waiting on a response.

I was kinda curious myself, went to the Smith website and asked about the copyright violations on the website of the dude sponsoring the Draconian bill against copyright violations.  This is what I got:
“A past iteration of was built by an independent contractor for the 2010 election cycle.
“Texans for Lamar Smith relied on that independent contractor to provide a product in keeping with all applicable laws, as the campaign does with all entities providing goods or services.
“Design, development and management of was last October placed in the hands of a company that assures all images are being properly used.”

- Mike Asmus, manager
Texans for Lamar Smith
In other words, somebody else did it.  It's not Lamar Smith's fault.  But if you made the same mistake, Smith and Uncle Sam want to shut your ass down. 

Here's a link to the site of James Strohm, the Libertarian who I hope will run again for Smith's seat, just in case you want to send James some money.  

A Fresh Coat Of Whitening to the great Radley Balko for the first link.