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3121  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Are you F****** kidding me on: February 10, 2006, 04:24:59 AM
Playing Ninja Gaiden: Black on the original X-Box at the 'Normal' difficulty level, I can start the game and play all the way through the end of Chapter Nine without saving and without dying.  I've done it more than once.

Ninja Gaiden: Black is unplayable on the X-Box 360.  If the frequent and inconsistent slowdown in the first boss area doesn't kill me, the second boss area *always* requires multiple tries.  It's sluggish, the controls are unresponsive, and it just isn't fun.  I recently bought a brand-new X-Box for the specific purpose of ensuring that I'll be able to play this game for many years to come because the 360 just doesn't cut it.

-Autistic Angel
3122  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Hurray! G4 to get even worse!!!! on: February 09, 2006, 04:48:27 PM
Quote from: "Daehawk"
The only thing watchable on that channel is X-Play and then I only tune in for Morgan's legs and boobs.


God, really?

Morgan Webb is one cosmetic procedure away from becoming a walking, talking infringment on the Real Doll patent.  Jocelyn Wildenstein has more of her original parts.

-Autistic Angel
3123  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Lost 2/8 on: February 09, 2006, 04:27:00 PM
Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
Was there a point to the Sawyer backstory? Didn't we already know that he was a con artist?


I agree with Dafones: a better question might have been, "Didn't we already know that Sawyer was a big jerk?"  The answer is yes, but we were also ready to forget all about that because he's also charismatic, funny, and been through some really terrible times lately.

Sawyer has lived his entire life under the belief that he deserves to be mistrusted and hated, so does things to make sure that he is.  It goes back a lot farther than the guilt he feels over the things he's done: Sawyer hates his father for being so gullible, stupid, and weak, getting conned and commiting suicide, so he's devoted his life to becoming a predator himself.  He believes himself to be irredeemably corrupt, despite the fact that his conscience drives him to push everyone else away so that he can't take advantage of them.

A sociopathic con artist has it easy.  Sawyer does not.

Quote from: "ATB"
However, the background story on Sawyer was good if a bit shallow. I'd like to see a bit more dynamics come through in his back story...he's too charismatic and sinister to be that one dimensional.


I'm prepared to agree to disagree about this, but "one dimensional" is just about the very last adjective I would have used to describe Sawyer.

-Autistic Angel
3124  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who Has The Easiest Time With 'Guitar Hero?' on: February 06, 2006, 02:27:50 PM
I'm a little surprised that Real Guitar Players has gotten as many votes as it has.  I don't know anything about playing an actual guitar myself, but I imagine it's about as similar to playing Guitar Hero as professional dancing is to playing Dance Dance Revolution.

Quote from: "Graham"
It can't be a Roomba. My girlfriend has one of those and it doesn't work very well at all.


I don't think it would be fair to the people who already voted if I added a new option at this point, but what if one of the options had been:

a robot from the future



-Autistic Angel
3125  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who Has The Easiest Time With 'Guitar Hero?' on: February 05, 2006, 06:53:06 PM
In your opinion, which of the following types of people would have the easiest time mastering the more difficult levels of Guitar Hero and why?

someone who actually knows how to play a guitar



someone experienced at other rhythm games



someone who excels at videogames, but has never played a rhythm game



someone who doesn't know anything at all about videogames



someone from the future



a robot



Ellen Pompeo

3126  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Farcry Instincts, anyone? on: February 05, 2006, 05:24:46 PM
One of the defining moments for me in FarCry: Instincts was the first time I used my feral powers to leap out of the brush, perform a flying claw attack in mid-air to take down the guard facing me, and slaughter his two buddies before either of them could even get a shot off.

I did have some problems in the game's final level because I couldn't figure out where to go and kept getting my character caught on downed trees, but with that small exception, FarCry: Instincts was a great game.

-Autistic Angel
3127  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jeez! Look at these upcoming PC games! on: February 03, 2006, 03:53:27 AM
Unfortunately, I really doubt Spore will make it to shelves this year.  I'm looking forward to that one which means we probably won't see it until 2008.

-Autistic Angel
3128  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Smallville 1-26-2006 (Spoilers) on: January 28, 2006, 12:01:54 AM
The biggest problem in Season 3 was Lana's amnesiac boyfriend Adam: a character so cliched that he might as well have been named Poochie The Rockin' Dog.

The biggest problem in Season 4 was that the decision to do the exact opposite of what every single fan wanted, including much, much *more* of Lana Lang despite the fact that Kristin Kreuk can't even act convincingly in a Noxema commercial.  Basing a season-long "B Story" around Lana is a bad decision to start with, but making her into some reincarnation of a medieval witch was *way* over the edge.

Season 5 is much better by comparison...but only by comparison.  The biggest problem so far is how the writers will spend two or three episodes setting up some interesting new situation, and then apparently panic and hit the Reset Button to achieve some magical deus ex machina resolution in the course of single episode.  For example

Spoiler for Hiden:
Season 5 starts with Clark permanently losing his powers.  Finally, for once, he's going to find out that being super strong, super fast, and nie-invulerable is really nothing to whine about...but only for one episode because he almost immediately gets his powers back.  There's a price, of course, and Clark spends all season obsessing about it until he conveniently forgets all about it in last night's episode and WHAM! it suddenly gets collected.


-Autistic Angel
3129  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 01/18/06 - FIRST HOLY CRAP of 2006! on: January 27, 2006, 10:35:12 PM
The message of this most recent episode seemed to be: The only thing worse than being a huge loser with a drug problem is to kick the habit, clean yourself up, devote yourself to the well being of a pretty girl, and finally realize that now you're just a huge loser *without* a drug problem.

It's an episode with no redemptive message whatsoever, and I loved it.

From the very first episode, it's been perfectly clear that almost nobody on or off the island liked Charlie, and absolutely nobody respected him.  Even a newcomer like Mr. Eko recognizes right away that Charlie is someone who can be bullied around without any objections.  This was the episode where all of that came to a head and Charlie was finally forced to face the fact that he's a selfish, dishonest, obnoxious twit who is, at best, tolerable.

I like the fact that Lost embraces characters who are flawed or even dislikeable, and this episode was a great payoff in that regard.

-Autistic Angel
3130  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Do you have a video game character crush? on: January 23, 2006, 02:53:16 PM
I always liked Farrah from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  I'd be running along, she'd suddenly exclaim, "Look, a crack!" and as I watched her  wriggle her way into some filthy hole in the wall I'd think, "Man, she *really* doesn't want to hang out with my character!"

Plus, I thought it was funny whenever she'd "accidentally" hit my character with one of her arrows. biggrin

-Autistic Angel
3131  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / FINALLY GET A NEW PC!!!!!!!!!! (sorry for the caps!!!!!!!!!) on: January 21, 2006, 04:58:07 AM
Speaking as someone who thinks FarCry is one of the best shooters ever released, I'd have to warn you that I thought the demo was terrible.  So terrible, in fact, that the only reason I ever bothered with the full version was that a friend of mine picked it up and I decided to give it a second shot.

If you enjoy the FarCry demo at all, you'll *love* the full game.  If you don't like the demo at all, I'd still definitely recommend borrowing the full version from a friend.

-Autistic Angel
3132  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Unchecked Presidential Power on: January 20, 2006, 05:10:15 AM
Quote
Do you think, for a moment, that the very administration [Gore] was a part of was not guilty of abuses of power, that, in fact, every administration for the last 40 years has been secretly keeping tabs on it's populace in the same manner? Why do you think Bush was so nonchalant about it? It's been a given for decades, the only thing his administration is truly guilty of is the arrogance of admitting it.


I don't understand this sort of thinking.  We can't get angry about someone's flagrant violations of the law because other people have "probably" done the same thing in the past?

Republican Connecticut Governor John Roland was found guilty of accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of bribes to steer state contracts to specific contracting companies.  Was he the first politician to abuse his power?  Of course not...in fact, we now know that Democratic State Senator Ernie Newton was guilty of extremely similar behavior during the same time.  Should we excuse both of them because "all politicians are corrupt," or should we hold them each accountable for their violation of the public trust?

George Bush spied on American citizens without a warrant.  There really doesn't seem to be much question that it was illegal -- at this point, the debate is pretty much exclusively whether or not it *should* be illegal.  Regardless of how that turns out, it seems to me that someone who breaks the law should be punished.  The idea that "somebody else" "might" have gotten away with "something similar" "at some point" in the past really doesn't excuse the fact that it's a crime here and now.

-Autistic Angel
3133  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Star Wars - Empire at War on: January 19, 2006, 04:35:17 PM
I'm happy to hear that the build times were sped up for the demo, and I hope the travel times between planets are also exaggerated.  Played at the pace of the demo, Empire At War seems like it would be won by whoever could click their build and move orders the fastest.

This is also one of the rare RTS games where I'm frequently using the ability to give orders while the game is paused.  The space battle in the asteroid field is especially hectic as I try to keep my X-Wing squadrons chasing down incoming wings of TIE Bombers while my Y-Wings target enemy subsystems.

Overall, my feelings on the demo are mixed, but so long as the reviews skew towards the positive, I'm leaning towards picking it up.  The Galactic Conquest mode seems like it could be a refreshing change of pace from most strategy games.  Let's just hope the AI has a variety of difficulty levels so players can find one that'll give them a good challenge.

I am curious about the overall usefullness of Rebel smugglers.  If the Empire can always see when credits are being siphoned from one of their planets, wouldn't the imperial player be able to neutralize enemy smugglers almost instantly?  Or would those "credit lost" icons sort of be lost in the shuffle of trying to manage a large scale war effort?

-Autistic Angel
3134  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Unchecked Presidential Power on: January 18, 2006, 03:36:06 PM
I think I agree with just about everything th'FOOL has said, except for his final conclusion.

Yes, both American political parties are corrupt.  They both accept vast sums of money from special interest groups working to artificially limit the scope of political debate, ensuring that *real* environmental, tax, business, and medical reforms are never passed.  They both use hyperbole and wedge issues to rile people up, and they both work to discredit third parties so they can maintain their own power.

Still, I do not vote for third party candidates.  Not yet.  When I look at how this country has been changed over the last six years my first concern is to do anything I can to stop further damage.  Voting Democrat is currently the best way to do that.  I'm a pragmatist: given the choice between voting for the perfect candidate or the deeply imperfect candidate with a chance of winning and putting the brakes on at least some of these insane initiatives, I choose the latter.

Then, if we can get this situation just the least bit stabilized, putting a hold on the tax cuts, the program cuts, the radical spending programs, the domestic spying, etc, etc, etc, then I can focus on supporting a candidate with the integrity to begin honestly addressing the horrible situation this country has fallen into.

-Autistic Angel
3135  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / DVD Tuesday - 01/17/06 on: January 17, 2006, 10:30:29 PM
Well, Dollman had his chance against the Demonic Toys and he blew it.  Thank God Puppetmaster knows how to get the job done right the first time!

-Autistic Angel
3136  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Unchecked Presidential Power on: January 17, 2006, 07:28:56 PM
Quote from: "mikeg"
100% political.


I'm not sure what that means.  Al Gore isn't allowed to be angry about conduct which is expressly forbidden under the Bill of Rights?  Am I allowed to be angry about the Bush administration wasting intelligence resources spying on pacifist groups like the Quakers, or is that also "100% political?"

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
It's coming from Algore, of course it's pure bullshit with a few half-facts scattered throughout. It's the same as whenever Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity speak up on the right. Those of us in that party wince and say, "Please STFU."


Perhaps you could do me a favor and identify which parts of the speech are "pure bullshit" and which parts are "half-facts."  Your blanket statement is so broad and so vague, I really can't tell which is supposed to be which.

For example, Gore says, "During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place."

Is that "pure bullshit," a "half-fact," or a clearly established fact with supporting evidence which can even be found at WhiteHouse.gov where George W. Bush says, "Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

Quote from: "drifter"
Come on Al Gore the inventor of the internet really; whether it is a democrat or republican giving a speech you think they are going to be fair to the other party?


Yes, in any thread referencing Al Gore, at least one person has to pretend that he claimed to "invent the internet," and at least one other person has to take a few minutes to remind everyone that that allegation has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked.

Quote from: "warning"
I stopped reading when I got to this:
Quote
A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government.


That made me laugh. Of course perjury is okay....


This would probably be a stronger argument if Bill Clinton's purjury had been "okay."  In reality, of course, he was impeached for the crime.

By comparison, George W. Bush has authorized secret domestic spying with zero oversight over the course of several years in explicit violation of the Fourth Amendment.  Perhaps I'm just "100% political," but I can't help but feel like that's a pretty big deal, too.

Quote from: "Vikki"
On CNN's "Larry King Live," Gonzales said Gore's comments were inconsistent with Clinton administration policy.

"It's my understanding that during the Clinton administration there was activity regarding physical searches without warrants," Gonzales said. "I can also say it's my understanding that the deputy attorney general testified before Congress that the president does have the inherent authority under the Constitution to engage in physical searches without a warrant. And so, those would certainly seem to be inconsistent with what the former vice president was saying today."


All right, let's take a look at the exact language of the order President Clinton signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

Hmmm, that does look like the same sort of thing...except for that part about "section 302(a)(1)" of the FISAct.  Let's see what those requirements are all about:

"- the "physical search is solely directed at premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by, or under the open and exclusive control of, a foreign power or powers."

"- and there is "no substantial likelihood that the physical search will involve the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person."


So, in short, Bill Clinton signed an order allowing the AG to condone warrantless physical searches of locations *not* belonging to U.S. citizens and of people who are *not* U.S. citizens themselves.

I guess that's really not the same thing at all.

-Autistic Angel
3137  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Stiffler, and other teachers, is this a good idea? on: January 15, 2006, 01:44:53 PM
Quote
My brother (who was interested in becoming a teacher) changed his career choice simply because he didn't want to deal with that kind of crap in the classroom.


So did I.  In fact, I worked with six different veteran teachers in various urban and rural settings throughout my student teaching experiences, and all but two of them were taking steps to leave the profession within the next couple years.

"Teaching" under the No Child Left Behind Act is little more than repetitive drilling to reinforce rote memorization.  Creative long-term collaborative projects which tie together elements of English, History, Art, Music, and Science are strongly discouraged because they're so inefficient -- regardless of the last 25 years of educational research which clearly demonstrate such projects are incredibly beneficial to a student's *real* understanding of the subjects, intellectual stimulation leaves them poorly equipped to sit quietly in a chair filling in answers on bubble sheets for three hours at a stretch.

The teachers I knew were waking up around 5:00 or 5:30am to be ready for their 7:00am classes, teaching until 2:00 or 2:30pm, and then performing administrative tasks (grading papers and projects, writing up formal lesson plans, planning interclassroom projects with other teachers in their grade, redesigning the classroom to reflect the current project topics, planning field trips, etc.) until 7:00 or 8:00pm.  Additionally, they were responsible for their own continuing education projects, taking classes of their own on certain days of the week as a requirement of renewing their teaching licenses.  On his ABC Special Report this past Friday, John Stossel referred to this as "a six-hour work day" and gleefully reminded everyone that teachers "only work nine months out of the year."

Every single one of the teachers I've ever met was well aware of the fact that they could make significantly more money putting the same amount of effort into a different profession, but they stuck with it because they loved educating kids.  NCLB is taking that away from them, so there's really no wonder that people are fleeing the profession.

-Autistic Angel
3138  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Jade Empire on: January 14, 2006, 03:01:52 PM
I enjoyed Jade Empire quite a lot.  It seems like many people complained that the combat was simplistic, but compared to that of Knights of the Old Republic where you almost never had to interact with your characters at *all* during combat, Jade Empire's basic martial arts combos are still a step up.

(KOTOR is a great game which I've played from beginning to end on more than one occasion, so I'm not bashing it in any way.  I'm simply sharing my opinion that interactive combat beats out non-interactive combat.)

As far as Jade Empire's storyline goes, I'll confess that I didn't care much about the fate of my own character, but I *did* grow to care quite a bit about the other members of my party.  Dialogue and character backstory have always been some of Bioware's strong suits, and this game didn't disappoint.

Actually, there was one party member who was really lame....

Spoiler for Hiden:
...and that's Skye.  I was never even clear on why he would have joined the group in the first place, much less what was supposed to make him an interesting or compelling choice of characters.  Even his backstory goes nowhere!  That guy was as dull and generic as they come, but I really liked everybody else.


-Autistic Angel
3139  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gaming in Hi Def: How do I tell the difference? on: January 09, 2006, 05:14:48 AM
Also, from Knights of the Old Republic II's startup menu, you can go into 'Options' and adjust the game's brightness settings there.

-Autistic Angel
3140  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gaming in Hi Def: How do I tell the difference? on: January 09, 2006, 04:18:41 AM
On my friend's 16:9 HDTV Sony television, I can see a significant difference in the crispness of the 360's dashboard when I switch between 480p or 1080i.  It's difficult to describe precisely in writing.  Beyond the fact that any and all jagged edges are completely smoothed in 1080i, it looks like the image is "more solid"...I'm definitely aware that there are many more lines of video resolution at work.

When I get a chance, I think I'm going to go try Knights of the Old Republic II to see how it looks on my setup....

-Autistic Angel
3141  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Are you F****** kidding me on: January 08, 2006, 05:55:24 AM
I'm actually planning to buy myself a brand-new X-Box in the very near future to replace the old launch unit I've been using all these years.

-Autistic Angel
3142  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Way behind.... Metroid Prime (and Echoes!) on: December 31, 2005, 05:14:37 AM
I tend to be pretty lousy at these sorts of games, but I can honestly say that I beat Omega Pirate on my very first try, and didn't have any problems doing it.  The key, as I recall, was....

Spoiler for Hiden:
...super missiles, and lots of them.  You know: the super attack where you charge up your normal gun and then press 'Y' to unleash a super missile shot which consumes several ammo slots at a time, but deals massive damage to everything in the blast radius.


Quote
For the curious, I believe I finished at 72%. I think at 75% you get a "better" ending (Samus sans helmet?) and at 100% get the "best" ending.


FWIW, I got the Samus-sans-helmet ending, and I'm positive my final completion score was about 64% or so...*definitely* under 70%.  Perhaps that ending isn't based on the overall completion, but just the completion score for a particular category (Pirate Logs, Enemies, Upgrade Tanks Acquired, etc.)

-Autistic Angel
3143  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / A Huge Public Thanks To Purge on: December 30, 2005, 01:48:22 AM
This will probably be moved to a different board almost immediately, but I really need to talk about what a great trading experience I had with Purge, and I think it should be as public as possible.

Most people who've been able to acquire multiple X-Box 360 units have been taking advantage of the huge holiday shortfall to make tidy profits selling them on E*Bay.  Whether you think that's pure greed or simple capitalism, I think everyone would agree that a person who would willingly forego a profitable opportunity in order to help out someone else -- especially a complete stranger -- is a remarkable human being.

After camping out overnight twice, once on 11/22 during the official 360 launch and once on 12/18 for the Best Buy relaunch, I came out empty handed both times.  Fortunately, Purge not only started an X-Box 360 Request Thread on this forum, he was also hunting around on his own time to find systems to help people like me out.

One week ago, Purge sent me a private message that he'd purchased another 360 if I still needed one.  Twenty-four hours later I PayPal-ed him the money for the cost of the system plus shipping, and the system arrived right on time and in perfect condition.  Also, going above and beyond the call, Purge even took the time to gift wrap the system and pen a nice Christmas message inside the shipping box.

I really can't overemphasize what an incredibly positive experience this entire trade was, and considering the circumstances, I wanted to make sure it was said publically.  I've thanked Purge via private message, but I'll do so again here: you've really made this a good holiday!  Thanks again! smile

-Autistic Angel
3144  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Way behind.... Metroid Prime (and Echoes!) on: December 30, 2005, 01:22:13 AM
I played through to the end of Metroid Prime and had a great time every step of the way...but I can't honestly say that I "finished" it since my completion score at the end was something like 64%  :shock:

I *thought* I was doing really well, scanning every enemy, every pirate terminal, keeping an ear out for any nearby missile or energy tanks (since they make a distinctive humming sound).  I'm really embarassed by that score, but I've never had a chance to go back and try to improve it.

-Autistic Angel
3145  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Halo' Widescreen on X-Box 360 on: December 29, 2005, 10:29:32 PM
Yes, having spent some time with it, I would have to classify Ninja Gaiden as being almost completely unplayable on the X-Box 360.  Yes, technically, the game does run, but with such significant slowdown that you *frequently* have to adjust the timing of your button sequences to make up for it.  Ugh....  :?

Conversely, the quick tests I've done with Crimson Skies and the Halo games suggest that they run perfectly on the 360.

-Autistic Angel
3146  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Halo' Widescreen on X-Box 360 on: December 28, 2005, 04:54:17 PM
Quote from: "philosophist_"
I'm not sure that Halo 1 supports widescreen. If it doesn't, it won't magically support it on the xbox 360.


You're correct that the original Halo did not support a 16:9 aspect ratio, but my understanding was that Bungie had written that support into the Halo emulator software for the X-Box 360.

Of course, I'm ready to be proven wrong on that...has anyone here ever actually seen Halo running properly in 16:9 on the X-Box 360?

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
I do believe that this is a bug they are working on. I can check into it, but I'm pretty sure I'm right on this. The last compatability patch 'broke' the 16:9 format for Halo iirc.


Thanks, I'd appreciate any information you have.  It's not really a huge deal -- just playing through the opening on The Pillar of Autumn, I was already accustomed to the normal 4:3 screen -- but I'd like to make sure I'm not missing some obvious switch or toggle someplace.

-Autistic Angel
3147  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Halo' Widescreen on X-Box 360 on: December 28, 2005, 06:34:49 AM
I did a search for this but didn't see anything that touched on this....

I thought I had read that both Halo and Halo 2 would be in a new widescreen format on the X-Box 360, but that doesn't seem to be true for the first game.  Where Halo 2 looks and plays great on my 16:9 TV, the original Halo only displays in a regular 4:3 picture in the center of the screen.

The X-Box 360 is currently using component video cables and is set to display at 1080i.  For testing purposes, I did exit out of Halo and reset the 360 to run at 720p temporarily, but that had no effect.  The system is also properly connected to X-Box Live!, so it should have access to all the latest emulation patches.  Indeed, Ninja Gaiden runs in its proper 16:9 format just like Halo 2.

I thought maybe I'd misunderstood the pre-release info on this topic, but I checked this news story at GameSpot, and it seems to confirm that Halo is supposed to be capable of displaying in widescreen.  Does anyone have any tips?

-Autistic Angel
3148  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / The Official GT Trader Feedback List (updated 7/30) on: December 27, 2005, 06:48:10 PM
Big thanks to Purge: excellent communication, and because the X-Box 360 he sold me at cost was a Christmas present for someone, he even went to the effort of wrapping it up and writing a nice Christmas note inside the box.  *Extremely* positive experience from beginning to end.
3149  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Day after X-Mas Deals from Gamestop on: December 27, 2005, 01:24:25 AM
Thanks for the heads up!  I was able to pick up Call of Duty 2 for the PC for a great price thanks to this post!

-Autistic Angel
3150  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / More 360's at Best Buy this week! on: December 22, 2005, 03:59:45 PM
After reading disarm's post, I hopped in the car to check out my local Best Buy.  They had three X-Box 360 units for sale this morning and sold out all of them in the first few minutes of business.

-Autistic Angel
3151  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 21, 2005, 11:27:33 PM
Quote
Apparently, Bush's illegal activities were not limited just foreign calls. Bush has also been engaged in domestic spying. With zero oversight.

Meaning, of course, that Bush has just been caught in ANOTHER lie, since he just a few days ago he said that all his 'wiretapping' was done, with one exception, on calls with at least one foreign endpoint.


Well, let's be fair: if the NSA is spying on an American citizen who makes some phone calls to his Jordanian friend's cell phone, and then one day his friend brings his cell phone with him on a visit to the U.S., the NSA could very well record a phone call between them without realizing at the time that they were technically both in the United States.  Based on the information in that article, it's a little early to be reading any malicious intent into what could legitimately be honest mistakes.

It does, on the other hand, point out a pretty big flaw in the program: if these calls were so "urgent" that Bush couldn't even be bothered to seek warrants for them after they had already been recorded, why wouldn't the NSA have realized that "Person B" was coming to visit the United States?

It also doesn't change the fact that George W. Bush simply does not have the legal authority to grant himself brand-new executive powers in the first place.  Honestly, the more I read about this, the more convinced I become that this entire affair is a textbook example of an impeachable offense.

-Autistic Angel
3152  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 21, 2005, 10:10:49 PM
In other news, a federal judge who sat on the FISAC resigned that position today, allegedly in protest over Bush's circumvention and potential abuse of that court:

Quote from: "CNN"
The action by U.S. District Judge James Robertson stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program that Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court that Robertson resigned from, the newspaper said in Wednesday's editions.

The [Washington] Post quoted two associates of the judge.

Robertson was one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government applications for secret surveillance or searches of foreigners and U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage.

Quoting colleagues of Robertson, the Post said the judge had indicated he was concerned that information gained from the warrantless surveillance under Bush's program subsequently could have been used to obtain warrants under the FISA program.


(emphasis added)

Now there's an interesting new wrinkle....

-Autistic Angel
3153  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 21, 2005, 09:52:56 PM
Quote from: "Scott"
Anyway, as a few others have told me, time to stop arguing.


At least there's one thing Scott and I agree on.

As far as I can determine, Scott doesn't know anything about the issue of domestic espionage, and he's bound and determined to keep it that way.  When people present him with facts, including facts which are not in dispute, he demands to know the source.  When given a source, Scott dismisses it as not being credible.  When I quote his own posts back to him, he complains that he's being taken out of context but refuses to explain how.

And here's the real kicker: when invited to do some research of his own, Scott complains that nobody else is doing any research, so why should he bother educating himself?

Reading his responses, I'm beginning to question if Scott even believes in the concept of "objective fact."  Maybe he insists on relitigating every minute detail of every statement again and again because he really believes "The Truth" is only a theoretical construct, and maybe he's just trolling for reactions by disputing the existence of posts he personally wrote -- either way, I've decided it's a waste of time to try and continue this discussion with him.

I've read enough of his posts now to feel confident that he'll declare victory here and announce that I'm "just unwilling to consider a different opinion."  Therefore, I'll point out in advance that my *entire* discussion with him has focussed on whether or not the FISAC has denied warrant requests four times.  That isn't opinion -- it's a matter of fact, and since I can't keep rearguing that one point with him forever, the conversation ends here.

-Autistic Angel
3154  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 21, 2005, 04:59:48 PM
Quote from: "Scott"
Quote from: "I"
Because you're claiming that my facts are wrong and my source lacks credibility. When you call someone else a liar, you'd better have the facts to back it up.


No, I claimed Newsweek was mostly a fluff organization. Newsweek is like Dateline news, not really the most credible organization. I don't dispute the numbers nearly as much as Newsweek's claim.


I'm always surprised when people seem to forget that the internet is primarily a written medium.

All right, Scott, let's go back and look at the written record:

Quote from: "I"
The FISAC has gotten tens of thousands of requests for such warrants since its inception, and they've only ever turned down a miniscule handful -- I've *heard* it's only in the single digits, but I haven't found an independent source on that for myself.


Quote from: "Then, quoting the Newsweek column, I"
What is especially perplexing about this story is that the 1978 law set up a special court to approve eavesdropping in hours, even minutes, if necessary. In fact, the law allows the government to eavesdrop on its own, then retroactively justify it to the court, essentially obtaining a warrant after the fact. Since 1979, the FISA court has approved tens of thousands of eavesdropping requests and rejected only four. There was no indication the existing system was slow—as the president seemed to claim in his press conference—or in any way required extra-constitutional action.


Quote from: "Scott"
As far as the Newsweek article, they are closer to People magazine then any real source of news these days, and pander to the same crowd.


Quote from: "So I"
All right, why don't you find a "real" news source and tell us all how many times the FISA court has turned down warrant requests. If Newsweek is wrong, you shouldn't have much trouble proving it.


Quote from: "And Scott"
Why should I find a more credible organization for one of your points? Newsweek's commentary, is just that, commentary from a mostly fluff News magazine, that covers religon and entertainment as much as other stuff these days.


Quote from: "Then, finally, I"
Because you're claiming that my facts are wrong and my source lacks credibility. When you call someone else a liar, you'd better have the facts to back it up.


Clearly, Scott, you were disputing Newsweek's numbers, rejecting the statistic I posted because you don't consider the source to be "a real source of news."  Then, when I invited you to try and correct the statistic with one from a "more credible" source, you refused.  Now you're trying to reframe the entire discussion by pretending we've been talking about something else entirely.

The facts are that the FISA court has been asked for domestic espionage warrants on tens of thousands of occasions, and has only turned down such requests four times.  The fact is that the FISAC is also empowered to grant retroactive warrants, allowing the NSA to eavesdrop on communications and then go to the court afterwards to get legal permission.  The fact is that George W. Bush circumvented the law to eavesdrop on these calls by inventing a new executive power for himself, and decided there shouldn't be any sort of oversight on this new decree.

If you want to discuss facts, Scott, bring some to the table -- I started this thread because I was interested in hearing different points of view.  

If you want to impugne the integrity of someone's source, have some proof to back it up -- even if you're 100% sure that you know Truth from Falsehood, declaring it so doesn't count as proof to anyone else.

-Autistic Angel
3155  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 10:04:35 PM
Quote from: "Scott"
Quote from: "I"
All right, why don't you find a "real" news source and tell us all how many times the FISA court has turned down warrant requests. If Newsweek is wrong, you shouldn't have much trouble proving it.


Why should I find a more credible organization for one of your points?


Because you're claiming that my facts are wrong and my source lacks credibility.  When you call someone else a liar, you'd better have the facts to back it up.

-Autistic Angel
3156  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 09:46:48 PM
Quote from: "Scott"
Quote from: "I"
Yes, by that logic, local policemen should be allowed to conduct random searches through people's homes without a warrant. After all, *I* don't have anything illegal in my home, so if it helps catch terrorists, or criminals, or adulterers, or weird fetishists, what difference does it make to me?


That is an incredible, incredible stretch, from potential wiretaps of "known" Al-Queda agents, to the local police searching random peoples homes.


It most certainly is not.

First of all, having this administration identify someone as having "known links to al Qaeda" is roughly equivilent to having Jerry Lewis identify someone as a "nice laaaaaaaaaadeeeeeeeeee!" -- it's empty gibberish that's so far beyond meaningless, nobody can even find humor in it anymore.  The Bush administration has demonstrated itself to be dangerously incompetent on a frightening number of levels, but its complete and total inability to determine who is or is not working for al Qaeda is near the top of that list.

Secondly, arguing that the pursuit of "security" is so paramount that the President of the United States should be allowed to create new executive powers for himself, including the right to nullify parts of the Constitution and spy on American citizens however he sees fit, is tantamount to arguing that *all* civil liberties should be curtailed in that same name.  What could possibly make us more "safe" than allowing law enforcement officials to investigate anyone at any time to any extent they like?  Do you have any idea how much easier it would be for cops to put criminals away if they were freed from all restrictions?

After all, if the cops say the suspect has "known criminial ties," shouldn't that be reason enough to take away his constitutional protections?

-Autistic Angel
3157  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 09:06:01 PM
Quote from: "Scott"
It is so easy to insult and judge people online just because they disagree with you, and that makes your points worth less.


Quote from: "Scott, ironically illustrating his own point, then"
As far as the Newsweek article, they are closer to People magazine then any real source of news these days, and pander to the same crowd.


All right, why don't you find a "real" news source and tell us all how many times the FISA court has turned down warrant requests.  If Newsweek is wrong, you shouldn't have much trouble proving it.

Quote from: "Scott also"
Were those established procedures updated to reflect the changing landscape of the world, or are they 50 years old, written to reflect a completely different time?

Is it possible somehow, that our agents may have to be fairly flexible with terrorist groups that probably try not to alert us to their intentions, or make it easy to wiretap?


Scott, you may want to consider reading some of that Newsweek article you were so quick to dimiss -- the one paragraph I quoted actually answered both of your questions.

-Autistic Angel
3158  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 08:32:35 PM
Quote from: "I"
The FISAC has gotten tens of thousands of requests for such warrants since its inception, and they've only ever turned down a miniscule handful -- I've *heard* it's only in the single digits, but I haven't found an independent source on that for myself.


Okay, here we go:

Quote from: "Newsweek"
What is especially perplexing about this story is that the 1978 law set up a special court to approve eavesdropping in hours, even minutes, if necessary. In fact, the law allows the government to eavesdrop on its own, then retroactively justify it to the court, essentially obtaining a warrant after the fact. Since 1979, the FISA court has approved tens of thousands of eavesdropping requests and rejected only four. There was no indication the existing system was slow—as the president seemed to claim in his press conference—or in any way required extra-constitutional action.


(emphasis added)

-Autistic Angel
3159  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 07:45:55 PM
Quote
The president is ignoring a law this he is sword to protect simply because it is an inconvience for him. To hear him rationalize it just shows how he feels about anyone questioning his "authority".


The part I don't understand it that it doesn't even seem particularly inconvenient for the government to go to the FISA court and get legitimate warrants.  The FISAC has gotten tens of thousands of requests for such warrants since its inception, and they've only ever turned down a miniscule handful -- I've *heard* it's only in the single digits, but I haven't found an independent source on that for myself.

The big problem for me is that George W. Bush decided of his own accord:

1) Spying on American citizens should be allowed when it's in the interest of "national security,"

2) The President of the United States shouldn't have to get a warrant to authorize such domestic espionage, and

3) There should not be any sort of oversight on this power, since discussing it might tip off "our enemies" to the fact that we're spying on them.

I cannot believe there are people in this country who honestly feel that the President should be allowed to simply invent new powers (which are in direct and explicit violation of the Constitution) just because he thinks they're important for him to have.

-Autistic Angel
3160  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 05:02:29 PM
Considering this administration's track record on correctly identifying who is or is not allied with al Qaeda, what could possibly make you start trusting their judgement now?

-Autistic Angel
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