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3361  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
3362  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
3363  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 20, 2005, 07:45:55 PM
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
3364  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
3365  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Okay, how do you post a picture in these forums on: December 19, 2005, 11:16:42 PM
It's similar to quoting someone, except the tag inside the brackets is IMG instead of QUOTE.

So, if you wanted to post a picture, you would type .  There should not be any spaces at all.

-Autistic Angel
3366  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 19, 2005, 11:12:37 PM
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?

-Autistic Angel
3367  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 19, 2005, 04:53:39 AM
I'll give a small anecdote from the DA of my small Texas county who's a friend of a friend. This guy's been the DA of two rural counties for about 13 years. He has never had to try a case where the death sentence is a possibility. The main reason for this is the fear of the Death Penalty by the accused.

Example. Take a case of someone accused of a crime where the Death Penalty can be saught by the court. The accused knows that he is guilty. He can claim innocence and go to trial by jury. If found guilty it's quite possible to get the Death Penalty. If this person pleads guilty to get a lesser sentance (life/30 years/whatever) most of the time they do it. This saves the state many trials. I don't know if this savings of time/trial costs is worth it in the end, but it is something new to think about.

This is an interesting perspective I haven't heard of before.  I'm not sure what I think about it just yet, but thank you for sharing it -- it is indeed something new to think about.

-Autistic Angel
3368  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 18, 2005, 10:51:27 PM
Clintons BJ, didnt really hurt anyone but the group of people involved.


It shamed the US to the rest of the world.

You have *got* to be kidding.

First of all, no it didn't.  The United States of America is far, far more uptight about human sexuality than just about any other country on Earth.  Even the most extreme muslim sects, ruthlessly enforcing the policy of keeping women cloaked from head to toe in public, didn't care about Clinton's infidelities.

Second of all, which would you say is more shameful to this country: a president who gets a blowjob in the Oval Office, or one who violates international law to disarm a tinpot dictator without any weapons, engages in "extraordinary rendition" to torture U.S. prisoners in other countries, vows to veto any bill seeking to *reaffirm* the fact that torture is illegal, refuses to comment on the existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe, and says things like, "I think the jury's still out on that 'evolution' stuff."

The Bush administration's foreign policies have abolished sixty years of international good will from our allies, replacing our image of a country that holds itself to the highest standard of human rights with the image of one which routinely ignores international law and engages in barbaric acts of torture.  The idea that you could look at our current status in the international community and say that **CLINTON** was the one who shamed you honestly feel the United States built its global reputation on the fidelity of our leadership?

And I don't see what the big deal is with this latest "problem"
We've been doing this type of shit for years, it was just kept more quiet.

Are you seriously prepared to argue that commiting a crime in secret makes it less of a crime?

-Autistic Angel
3369  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Xbox 360 Update on: December 18, 2005, 03:57:59 PM
You and I just posted at the same moment.  Otherwise, I would have put this in this thread instead.

Sorry you came up empty, too.

-Autistic Angel
3370  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sunday th 18th: Camping Out? When? on: December 18, 2005, 03:55:14 PM
Congratulations, Sparhawk.

My local Best Buy was listed as having 30 for sale, so I felt pretty good about being #26 in line.  Then the manager arrived this morning and said they only had 19 systems for sale.

This is beginning to feel like destiny.

-Autistic Angel
3371  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 17, 2005, 08:03:03 PM
George W. Bush isn't Adolf Hitler, and it does a serious disservice to any discussion of the real, legitimate problems with his administration to make any such comparison.  It's similar to when conservatives try to compare the Iraq War to World War II or the American Revolution: no matter how carefully you try to pick out their similarities, the differences are so numerous and so pronounced that it'll never, ever stand up to any scrutiny.

I think I'll probably be accused of "just hating Bush" for simply pointing out that commiting a felony is, by definition, an impeachable offense.  Attempting to compare Bush to Hitler is pretty much guaranteed to alienate you from any serious discussion here.

You're free to express your distain for the Bush administration in any way you like, unbreakable, but if I could presume to offer some advice, I think you'd have a better experience focusing on constructive ways to drive home your points.

-Autistic Angel

Edited to add:  For example, I thought your contributions in the Tookie Williams thread were very well stated.
3372  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush Admits Authorizing Domestic Spying on: December 17, 2005, 06:49:45 PM
I'm not usually in the habit of starting policial threads, but this situation seems like a big deal to me.  I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up yet -- as far as I can tell, this is an honest-to-God textbook example of an impeachable offense.

From the CNN article:

The NSA eavesdrops on billions of communications worldwide. Although the NSA is barred from domestic spying, it can get warrants issued with the permission of a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court.

The court is set up specifically to issue warrants allowing wiretapping on domestic soil.

The FISAC, in fact, exists for the sole purpose of issuing such warrants, and the fact that they will statistically almost never turn down such a request has made them a target of the ACLU and other civil rights advocacy groups for years now.  *If* it holds true that the Bush administration didn't even bother to seek such a warrant -- or worse, were actually turned for one -- the President of the United States has now confessed to a felony.  On the other hand, if the FISAC did issue a warrant -- the court is notoriously secretive and is not subject to any congressional oversight -- this could trigger a major change in how domestic espionage is handled in the future.

I'm curious to hear other people's reactions to this.

-Autistic Angel
3373  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Apprentice - What do you think? on: December 16, 2005, 02:55:44 PM
I was fine with the idea of Randal winning.  He's an exceptionally smart, well-spoken, and even-keeled person with a proven track record of success.

I would have been fine with Rebecca winning.  She's an exceptionally smart, well-spoken, and *incredibly* dedicated person with a proven track record of success.

Either one of them could have won and left me happy.  What makes me unhappy is that after he had already been declared the winner, Randal was offered a chance to be a little bit magnanimous about it and to show his (alleged) respect for his teammate by lobbying on her behalf.  Instead, he slammed that door shut, arguing that it would hurt the "integrity of the competition" to hire Rebecca that same night.

Apparently, being declared the winner was actually less important to Randal than making sure that Rebecca lost.  I think that's unfortunate.  The fact that Felicia and Alla were waving their arms in the background calling out, "No!  No!" when Trump suggested that he might hire Rebecca too...I kind of expect that from a pair of nasty back-bitters.  But from Randal, it's much more disappointing.

I have a friend who swore that if Rebecca and Randal were both hired in the finale, he would *never* watch The Apprentice again.  I tried to point out to him that it's the journey -- the competitions, the strategies, the interesting people, the Board Room brawls -- and not the destination that makes The Apprentice an entertaining show.  Like Randal last night, my friend insisted that unless the last five minutes of the season reveals one winner and fifteen losers, all of the fun he had watching every episode every week would be instantly invalidated and the entire series would be destoyed.

The Apprentice is not the Super Bowl -- the final two competitors do not enter a head-to-head battle, and there is not always a clear-cut winner.  In the final analysis, the victory really only matters to the victor, and it seems petulant for that victor, once crowned, to do everything in his power to kick down the competition.  Randal's a great businessman, but last night I lost some respect for him as a man.

In other words, I don't see any poll choices that match my thoughts, so I haven't voted.  Cool

-Autistic Angel
3374  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Well Ebgames really has lost me as a customer.... on: December 16, 2005, 12:06:28 AM
I also checked with my local Electronics Boutique about the status of the 360 preorder I made in early July.  I'm currently listed as about the fourtieth person in line which is just about exactly where I was 2.5 weeks ago.  frown

-Autistic Angel
3375  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Silent Storm Gold' Available...Where? on: December 16, 2005, 12:03:41 AM
EB had one copy left when I called, so I was able to get them to hold it for me until I arrived.

Thanks again for the advice!   Cool

-Autistic Angel
3376  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Silent Storm Gold' Available...Where? on: December 15, 2005, 02:40:00 PM
I'm going to try Electronics Boutique again today, but yesterday I checked out the closest CompUSA and GameStop and came up with nothing.

Thanks for the tips, everyone!

-Autistic Angel
3377  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 15, 2005, 05:09:48 AM
When I say, "someone like Tookie living down the street," I thought it would be evident that I was referring to someone who:

A. Is an unrepentant murderous sociopath
B. As far as I know went through a fair trial and was found guilty of murder
C. Exhibited such heinous behavior that he/she was sentenced to die for it after being found guilty

I must not be understanding this're saying that you felt the need to write, "I don't want serial murderers let out of prison for no reason!" in this thread?  Who exactly is supposed to be taking the other side of that argument?

The only reason Stanley Tookie Williams would have been let out of prison "by official sanction" would be if he were exonerated of his crimes.  The only way he would escape from prison would be if he were cellmates with Michael Scofield.  Do you really feel he had to be put to death in order to prevent him from moving in to a home on your (or anyone else's) street?

-Autistic Angel
3378  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 14, 2005, 11:03:11 PM
How many of these cases were overturned because of the advent of being able to check DNA? I'd be willing to venture that the vast majority of these cases were from before the time when DNA evidence was even a twinkling.

As of September 2004, fourteen exonerations had come about as the result of DNA evidence.

-Autistic Angel
3379  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 14, 2005, 10:17:15 PM
To put it another way, I don't want someone like Tookie living down the street from me, nor do I want to pay for providing him with food, shelter, clothing and healthcare for the rest of his natural life. Plus, while he is still alive and even though he is in prison, there is always a chance that he will get out. Either by official sanction or by escape, which brings me back to my first item...I don't want someone like Tookie living/hiding/on the lamb down the street from me.

When you say you wouldn't want "someone like Tookie living down the street" even if he was released "by official sanction," you're effectively advocating the death penalty for *all* prisoners.  After all, if serving out their sentence isn't sufficient for them to earn their way back into the world, the only solution left would be to execute all of them.

Secondly, if your goal is to save money, you should be demanding an immediate cessation to the death penalty.  As I've already pointed out, the time between the sentencing and the execution is far, far more expensive than keeping the prisoner alive for the rest of his natural life.  Even *seeking* the death penalty is significantly more expensive -- in 2004, the state of Tennessee issued a report which found that the cost of death penalty cases are 48% more expensive than those where the death penalty is not sought, and that's *before* the appeals process.

According to several people in this thread, the solution to that seems to be to eliminate some or even all of those pesky appeals and put people to death much more quickly.  Let's look at some facts about that:

As of November 2005, there have been 121 inmates who have been released from death row after having their convictions overturned.  The rate of those exonerations has also been sharply increasing, despite an overall downturn in the number of death penalty sentences in the United States in the last eight years.

Since 1977, 230 death row inmates have been granted clemency based on doubts over the defendant's guilt due to errors in the legal process.  167 of them came in 2003 when Illinois governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of all death row inmates in the state, citing the fact that flaws in the Illinois sentencing process has resulted in more exonerations than any other state except Florida.

Anyone arguing that we need to reduce the number of appeals or to "use the death penalty more" is effectively arguing that an exponential increase in the risk of executing a innocent man is a small price to pay to save some time and money.  That raises the question: what percentage of innocent men can be executed by the state before the monetary savings are no longer sufficient?

-Autistic Angel
3380  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 14, 2005, 07:14:14 PM
Nice strawman, but there's a *slight* difference between someone who is simply terminally ill and a convicted unrepentant multiple murderer.

Yes, I agree: if your primary motivation is to save money and you can justify giving up on someone who is "beyond saving," killing the terminally ill patient is a *far* more effective way to save money.

If, on the other hand, your primary motivation is to find the greatest good for society, I can point out that giving the terminally ill patient every fighting chance is exactly the sort of value I'd like to see reflected in our society.  Again, can somebody point out the societal good acheived through the death penalty?

-Autistic Angel
3381  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Account of the execution of Tookie Williams on: December 14, 2005, 03:20:33 PM
It seems to me like our laws should have some specific purpose to them.

Our judicial system helps society by giving the accused an opportunity to face their accuser, and presuming the defendant is innocent unless the prosecution can prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.  It isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than systems we've seen around the world in the past.

Our penal system helps society by punishing people for breaking the law by restricting their freedom and separating them from normal society.  This is done as much to enhance the safety of our communities as it is to punish the guilty, and while there are lots of repeat offenders who will get themselves thrown back into jail after serving their terms, there are also lots of people who do their time and strive to live better lives afterwards.

Can somebody please point out one measurable way in which the death penalty helps society?  What is the purpose of this punishment?  

To further deter violent crimes?  Statistically, implementation of the death penalty has absolutely no affect on the frequency or severity of those crimes.  

Saving money?  As..."interesting" as it is to argue that people should be killed so the state can save money, the time between sentencing and the actual execution is substantially more expensive than keeping someone in prison for the rest of their lives.  A far more effective money-saving tactic would actually be to require "terminally ill" patients to end their own lives within one week of their diagnosis -- the Medicare savings alone would be astronomical.

Making society safer?  Keeping someone in jail is as good as killing them off: either way, they aren't commiting any more crimes.

Somebody, please point out to me the measurable, definable benefits that the death penalty offers society.  I just don't see them.

-Autistic Angel
3382  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Serenity DVD out the 20th! on: December 14, 2005, 02:53:47 PM
Joss Whedon has said in interviews -- one of which appears on the Serenity DVD itself -- that he put out the very best movie he could and had no intention of releasing any "Director's Cut" of the film.  It's possible that on some future project, due to time restraints or interference from the studio, he might want to issue a Director's Cut of something, but he intensely dislikes the practice of changing a finished, published work in any way.

I can't guarantee whether or not Universal would ever decide to reissue another edition of the Serenity DVD, but if that ever happens, it won't include any changes to the film itself.

-Autistic Angel
3383  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Final Fantasy IV Advance [gba] on: December 13, 2005, 06:57:01 PM
3384  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hammer & Sickle Demo on: December 13, 2005, 06:46:49 PM
My local Electronics Boutique had a few copies of Hammer & Sickle available.

-Autistic Angel
3385  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 'Silent Storm Gold' Available...Where? on: December 13, 2005, 06:45:21 PM
Does anyone know of any brick & mortar stores which are carrying Silent Storm Gold?  Electronics Boutique and GameStop both seem to disavow any knowledge of this package, and although my local EB had copies of Spellforce Gold, Gothic II Gold, and The Guild Gold on the shelves, but nothing for Silent Storm.

Does anyone have any tips on where I could pick up this package?

-Autistic Angel
3386  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / X-Men Legends 2 (RoA) - Ruined by Mikhail battle on: December 12, 2005, 12:14:11 AM
I've been playing X-Men Legends II over X-Box Live! with a friend, and we beat Mikhail without any problem at all.  For the record, we've been using Colossus, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, and Jean Grey pretty much exclusively since the beginning of the game.  (We started with Iceman in place of Jean Grey, but while Iceman was a superlative support character in the first X-Men Legends, he seems much more like an all-purpose fighter in the sequel.)

Those boss fights are typically multi-stage -- is there a specific segment you're having a lot of trouble with?  Maybe we could help out with some tips....

-Autistic Angel
3387  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hammer & Sickle Demo on: December 10, 2005, 10:12:45 PM
Dave didn't like H&S, but we'd like to hear more of why you did. I don't think Dave is dumb for not liking it, its just his preference.

I like the fact that Dave panned Hammer & Sickle for being so rife with bugs that he found it completely unplayable, and the low score is classified as a "preference."

-Autistic Angel
3388  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 360 Dilemma on: December 10, 2005, 05:14:43 PM
If someone I knew were making me that offer, I would take it.  I have no expectation of finding an X-Box 360 for myself before next year, and considering the prices I would have to pay most sources to fix that, $100 over retail is pretty reasonable.

-Autistic Angel
3389  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Updated Backwards Compatability List on: December 09, 2005, 09:50:40 PM
I'll be interested to hear if any current or upcoming emulator updates fix the widely reported slowdown problems in Ninja Gaiden: Black.  I'm operating solely on what I've read from other people, but a lot of people have complained about a choppy, unplayable framerate in that game.

Any inability to play Ninja Gaiden on the X-Box 360 will ensure that I buy a brand-new X-Box before they go out of production.  (My system's Thompson drive is making some nasty sounds and isn't long for this world....)

-Autistic Angel
3390  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / DVD Tuesday - 12/06/05 on: December 08, 2005, 04:20:07 PM
I'll definitely be picking up the second season of Gargoyles.

-Autistic Angel
3391  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gizmondo RULES!!!!! on: December 07, 2005, 06:29:18 PM
Oh, I never mistook it for a serious advertisment.  That would have been hard to do with a line like, "...why not pick up an obscure system that no one has heard about or seen!!!!"

The overly enthusiastic pitch about the features of a poorly marketed system just reminded me of those Nokia "special forces" people (or whatever they were called).

-Autistic Angel
3392  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gizmondo RULES!!!!! on: December 07, 2005, 04:19:29 PM
Wasn't Nokia doing something at one point where people were trained to annoy the hell out of other people on the street about why they should go buy themselves an nGage?  Maybe this is like the internet version of that?

-Autistic Angel
3393  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Animal crossing reviews and hopefully impressions! on: December 07, 2005, 01:25:48 AM
Does anybody know if there are still K.K. Tunes in the game, or will we have to wait until Saturday night to find out?

-Autistic Angel
3394  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / POLL: XBOX 360 - Report problems or lack thereof on: December 03, 2005, 08:11:15 PM
For the few people who might not be aware, it seems like a good number of people have solved lockup and crashing problems by making sure the 360's power brick is properly ventillated.  If you're having trouble with your unit, try elevating the power supply, perhaps even using a string to suspend it in mid-air so it can use its entire surface area for cooling.

-Autistic Angel
3395  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] 'second shipment' = Absolutely Nothing on: December 02, 2005, 02:48:37 PM
Now if we could just get him to admit his intention to marry a carrot....

I think it is a big plan by MS to keep demand for the 360 very very high not just through Christmas but until the PS3 comes out.

That seems like an awfully risky plan to me.  The original X-Box was launched significantly after the PlayStation 2, and the more powerful hardware typically assured that multiplatform game looked and played better  on the X-Box.  It seems to me that this time around, Sony has a chance to reverse that trend by using the extra development time to ensure their system is more powerful and designer-friendly than the 360.

Microsoft's best strategy is to establish as large of an installed user base as they possibly can over the next year -- that's the whole point of being first on the scene.  The fact that the hardware shortages are severely limiting sales of the system makes me think that this situation is more the result of incompetence than some stroke of machiavellian brilliance.

-Autistic Angel
3396  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] 'second shipment' = Absolutely Nothing on: December 02, 2005, 02:10:59 AM
In addition to my listing in Purge's Seeking 360 List, I've been doing my own legwork to see if I can save someone else the trouble.  Despite scattered reports in my area that Wal*Mart and Best Buy have received their second shipments, I couldn't find one to save my life.  Some of the sales representatives have gone so far as to say, "We're not going to be getting any in at all; we don't carry that any more."  I've also had to give up on phoning around since, no matter how politely I phrase the question, I'm usually given a terse, "Out of stock!" and then swiftly hung up on.

The part that's really starting to bother me is that when these stores *are* getting new stock in, there are still people who are successfully buying two, three, four 360 units and then turning around to sell them on E*Bay.  I get that people recognize a hot commodity when they see it and are taking advantage of the situation, but when someone who was desperately seeking a 360 for themselves suddenly posts that they found not only one, but also five more they can sell for a profit, it's extremely frustrating.

Unless some kindhearted people decide to give up a potential profit in order to fill some of the Christmas wishes in Purge's thread, I don't have any hope of finding a 360 for a good long time. frown

-Autistic Angel
3397  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Tonight's 'Lost' spoilers on: December 01, 2005, 10:36:38 PM
In fact, there is NO mention of anything 'bad' as far as the incident was concerned. He says there "was an incident, and since that time the following protocol has been observed"- where is the mention of anything 'bad'? They could have changed the protocol because 'the incident' showed them that they had overlooked a flaw in the system and needed to fix it to protect the validity/credibility of their experiment- nothing 'bad' about that.

Here is a transcript of the part in question, typed from the original film in Episode 203: "Orientation."  The emphasis shown reflects Francois Chou's tone of voice -- you can see the video for yourself here.

You and your partner are currently located at Station Three, or "The Swan," and will be for the next five hundred and forty days.  Station Three was originally constructed as a laboratory where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from this sector of the island.

Not long after the experiments began, however, there incident...and since that time, the following protocol has been observed:

Everyone one hundred and eight minutes, the button must be pushed.  From the moment the alarm sounds, you will have four minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer process-

[film skip]

-duction into the program.  When the alarm sounds, either you or your partner must input the code.  It is highly recommended that you and your partner take alternating shifts.  In this manner, you will both stay as fresh and alert-

[film skip]

-utmost importance that when the alarm sounds, the code be entered correctly, and in a timely fashion.  And do not attempt to use the computer for anyth-

[film skip]

Congratulations.  Until your replacements arrive, the future of the project is in your hands.  On behalf of the DeGrutes, Alvar Hanso, and all of us at The Dharma Initiative: thank you, namaste, and good luck.

Although Francois Chou's character does not explicitly say, "...or else something horrible will happen," it definitely sounds to me like a fairly dire warning about the consequences of not maintaining the status quo.

-Autistic Angel
3398  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Tonight's 'Lost' spoilers on: December 01, 2005, 05:48:16 PM
As Mike himself said, the only reason they are pushing the button is because they believe it's necessary due to what Desmond told them, and what Desmond told them is based on that movie(or what his partner told him, but the partner is motivated by the same movie so it's the same thing). Now here's the key part- There is NO mention in the movie about any bad ramification to not pushing the button! None, zero, zilch. It just says that the experiment or whatever is in their hands.

The original movie alludes to an "incident" which was bad enough that, in order to prevent a reoccurrence, the 108-minute timer and number code needed to be introduced.  The reasoning behind this, like everything else in the film, is incredibly vague, but the implication is that something bad happens if they don't maintain the system.

Consider this: even if the only consequence of letting the timer lapse is that the facility shuts down, the survivors would still be losing a source of electricity.  The timer doesn't have to destroy the world for the consequences to be bad for the people on the island.

In fact, because they believed pushing that button was so important, logic would indicate that the FIRST thing they(Locke & Co) would do is train EVERYONE on how to enter those numbers. So that if anyone was sick, died, or unavailable for some reason, those numbers would still be pushed.

But because they showed us Locke having to explain it all to Mike, we see that apparently they haven't told anyone beyond their inner circle and have been keeping it on a 'need to know' basis, which makes absolutely no sense. Especially since they let a unknown newbie like Eko wander around freely, even around their weapons. If Eko was allowed free hatch access immediately, why haven't all their original co-survivors been brought up to speed?

Just because Michael didn't know about the button until he spoke with Locke, I wouldn't infer that nobody else knows about it.   Locke explained in this episode that he'd set up a series of six-hour, two-person shifts to press the button, and that "everybody" is on the schedule.  I didn't take that statement to be limited to the series main cast -- if it were a secret, he would have specified who did or did not know about the button.

When the discovery of the hatch was being kept a secret, Locke explicitly told Boone (and the audience) that nobody else was to know about it.  When Kate discovered Sun could speak English, Sun explicitly asked her to keep the secret from everybody else.  This show is pretty good about making it clear who is privvy to what information, so unless we hear otherwise, I think its safe to say that all of the survivors know about the button.

-Autistic Angel
3399  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Tonight's 'Lost' spoilers on: December 01, 2005, 04:37:56 PM
First off, because there was onscreen acknowledgement of certain issues. Such as Mike pointing out there was no reason to keep pushing the button....

They're trapped on an island where compasses don't work, invisible monsters tear trees out of the ground by their roots, two unrelated inhabitants (Danielle and Desmond) rant about a mysterious illness whose only cure is a gunshot to the head, entire seventeenth-century slave galleons can be found intact in the middle of the jungle, and a tribe of barbaric "Others" sweep out of the wilderness every once in a while and drag people away forever.

What exactly makes you so sure that there's no reason to keep pushing the button?

edit: oh yeah two other things: As per usual, we find out no one has been telling anyone anything. Mike is all over that bunker, finding blast doors no one else saw, but never asked or was told about those numbers ticking down?

Michael did speak to Locke about the computer console and the timer, which was why he started examining all the other equipment in the room.  The conversation probably could have gone on another five minutes as Locke provided a detailed on-screen explanation of everything that had happened in the first three episodes of this season, but then people would be complaining that they wasted too much time on recapping things the audience already knows.

-Autistic Angel
3400  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [RP] Bush says "Not leaving" on: December 01, 2005, 02:08:50 AM
Once the Bush administration was forced to admit that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no involvement in 9/11, and no ties to al Qaeda, the mission in Iraq was revealed to be an attempt at nation building: taking an area of deep ethnic and religious divisions and establishing a peaceful representative democracy.  In order to do this, the United States must train and supply enough Iraqi troops that they can maintain the current level of "peace" and defend the government we've created after we leave.

Democrats have asked how many Iraqi troops will be required, but the Bush administration won't answer.

Democrats have asked how long it takes to train a battalion of Iraqi troops to "Level 1" operational status, but the Bush administration won't answer.

Democrats have asked how many Iraqi battalions we're training at a time, trying to determine how many could potentially be ready "soon," but the Bush administration won't answer.

During sworn testimony in front of Congress, General George Casey testified that the number of "Level 1" Iraqi battalions has gone from three to one in the last few months.  Considering that this is the closest thing we have to measure our progess in Iraq, we know that we've lost 66% of the progress we've made in the last 2.5 years.

By every standard, the War in Iraq is a tremendous failure so far: two thousand American servicemen killed in action, scores more *seriously* wounded with life-changing injuries, and absolutely no idea of where we stand, where we're headed, or how long it will take to get there.  The failures in the planning and execution of this operation on every level, from failing to establish order in the weeks after the invasion to the lack of body armor and ammunition for troops on the front lines, are on a scale so epic that it may take decades to fully grasp the level of incompetence at work.

Unfortunately, pulling out is not an option.  For better or worse, Iraq is our responsibility now, and we don't get to abandon it just because Paul Wolfowitz's predictions of flowers and chocolates didn't come true.  We *desperately* need a new strategy, increased participation from other nations, a massive increase in the number troops on the ground to establish order, and a set of measureable goals we can begin to work towards, but shattering this country and leaving its people for dead is not a choice we can make.

-Autistic Angel
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