Annoying radio commercials that backfire

I’ve been a news and talk radio junkie since about 1999. I’ve enjoyed listening to many shows, going all the way back to TalkNet days. Today, I alternate between two stations in Texas, one of which has been my favorite since I moved to Dallas in 2004: WBAP, along with a few stations I stream from elsewhere across the fruited plain. Unfortunately, my favorite station WBAP is losing me as a listener and they can blame their own short-sighted advertising staff.

Perhaps I’m a little more sensitive to this than other talk radio listeners because I listen almost all day, from about 9:30 am until 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I catch some shows on live radio and others via internet audio streams. You are wise to note that whatever broadcast to which I am listening occurs in the background of my workday. Therefore, I catch only bits and pieces here and there as most of my attention is focused on my work. Nevertheless, I do hear the most important bits.

The problem? Certain commercial formats drive me up the wall and in most cases, make me tune you out not just for that 30-second spot, but for the next 2-10 minutes.

Yes, commercials always suck but most people recognize that they pay the bills for the broadcasters. However, some commercials suck way more than others and that’s when I tune out. I have a little speaker mute button on my keyboard that gets used a LOT.

Overplay:    For as long as I can remember, one of WBAP’s biggest advertisers is a car dealership called Classic Chevrolet. These guys are an advertising salesman’s dream (I should know, I used to sell newspaper ads). They’ve been using the same voice talent for years, some monotone guy who never takes a breath. About once a month, he records one or two spots that WBAP dutifully plays over and over and over and over again throughout the day. Almost every commercial break – there’s Mr. Annoying. Yes, I know you’re the biggest Chevy dealer in America, you’ve told me 10,000+ times. Yes, I know it’s TRUCK MONTH! It’s always TRUCK MONTH! Nowadays, I just mute the radio every time they start talking about traffic conditions because I know what’s coming next. I haven’t listened beyond his first two words in years.

“But look!” Their ad reps will say, “We reached you!” Yes, you did, and I promise you this: if I were ever inclined to buy a Chevy, I wouldn’t buy it from Classic if it were the last Chevy store on Earth. [ Truth be told, I swore off Government Motors forever when they took a taxpayer-funded bailout but that’s beside the point. ]

Fast Fine Print:    Here’s another type of ad that I can’t silence fast enough. You’ve heard them. For some reason, certain companies think they need to have someone read a paragraph of fine print as fast as possible. Audio compression techniques make these ads REALLY annoying. It seems to be mostly sweepstakes and home mortgage commercials. I really don’t care what your address is and no one is even trying to understand what you’re saying but you ARE irritating listeners. Some commercials are fine with saying “terms and conditions apply” or “see for official rules”. I’m cool with that. But the minute you get annoying, I’m tuning out.

Crank It UP!     Nothing says you love your audience like cranking up the volume when they don’t expect it. Years ago when televisions were more primitive, people bought devices that plugged into the TV to stop this nonsense. Thirty years later and believe it or not, advertisers still do this shit. Maybe it helps them get the attention of drunk people at 3 am. I can see no other practical rationale.

Are there any radio commercials I DO like? Not really, but I don’t turn off the radio or mute the stream when they come on. The golden rule that’s lost on advertising MBAs with no experience in the real world is this: Respect me as a listener and I’ll respect you enough to at least not completely tune out your ad. But the minute you get on my nerves by trying to get my attention, I’ll blacklist your ads like I blacklist certain other businesses who treat their customers badly (Target, Walgreens, CVS).

At its root, this is a lesson in psychology. Think about it this way. A pretty lady is sitting alone in a bar. Two guys try to strike up a conversation with her. One is kind, respectful, and takes a real interest in her. The other is more aggressive and dying for her attention. He seems mostly interested in a purely physical encounter. Which guy do you think has a better chance at getting her phone number? The only difference in advertising is the size of the audience.

Does the Quran promote violence?

Read some of this, especially the verses, and tell me again how Islam is a “peaceful religion” and worships the same God as us Christians and Jews. Except… their’s is the world’s only religion that teaches to kill all non-believers. It’s no wonder the “moderate muslims” are complacent and allow the cancer to grow and spread.



Does the Quran really contain dozens of verses promoting violence?

Summary Answer:

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways. Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.

Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Muhammad’s own martial legacy – and that of his companions – along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.

The Quran:

Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…

but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran) The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is thus disingenuous (the actual Muslim words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse). The actual Arabic comes from “fitna” which can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. Taken as a whole, the context makes clear that violence is being authorized until “religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time. From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

Quran (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-” This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes. It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle. Not only is the Arabic word used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption. (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad and this is reflected in other translations of the verse).

Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…” Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?

Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for 2:193). The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj. Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction. The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did). Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition. According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

Quran (8:67) – “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…”

Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

Quran (8:65) – “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars). This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had the power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

Quran (9:14) – “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims.

Quran (9:20) – “Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.” The Arabic word interpreted as “striving” in this verse is the same root as “Jihad”. The context is obviously holy war.

Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. This was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

Quran (9:38-39) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.” This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.” See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them” This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).

Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” How does the Quran define a true believer?

Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.” (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion. The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation. One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (74). However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.” He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son. (Note: This is one reason why honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia. Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.1-2).)

Quran (21:44) – “We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”

Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…” “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context. It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.” This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad’s biographers. It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today’s terrorists do. If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah’s eternal word to Muslim generations.

Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” Those who reject Allah are to be killed in Jihad. The wounded are to be held captive for ransom. The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test.

Quran (47:35) – “Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,”

Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.” Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’ Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

Quran (48:29) – “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves” Islam is not about treating everyone equally. There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status. Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ in verse 16.

Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way” Religion of Peace, indeed! The verse explicitly refers to “battle array” meaning that it is speaking of physical conflict. This is followed by (61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” (See next verse, below). Infidels who resist Islamic rule are to be fought.

Quran (61:10-12) – “O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of ‘Adn – Eternity [‘Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.” This verse refers to physical battle in order to make Islam victorious over other religions (see above). It uses the Arabic word, Jihad.

Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.” The root word of “Jihad” is used again here. The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.

From the Hadith:

Bukhari (52:177) – Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

Bukhari (52:256) – The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” In this command, Muhammad establishes that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy. This provides justification for the many Islamic terror bombings.

Bukhari (52:65) – The Prophet said, ‘He who fights that Allah’s Word, Islam, should be superior, fights in Allah’s Cause. Muhammad’s words are the basis for offensive Jihad – spreading Islam by force. This is how it was understood by his companions, and by the terrorists of today.

Bukhari (52:220) – Allah’s Apostle said… ‘I have been made victorious with terror’

Abu Dawud (14:2526) – The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no god but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist)

Abu Dawud (14:2527) – The Prophet said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious

Muslim (1:33) – the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah

Bukhari (8:387) – Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’. And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally.”

Muslim (1:30) – “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

Bukhari (52:73) – “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords’.”

Bukhari (11:626) – [Muhammad said:] “I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes.”

Muslim (1:149) – “Abu Dharr reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is the best? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause…”

Muslim (20:4645) – “…He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”

Muslim (20:4696) – “the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: ‘One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite.'”

Muslim (19:4321-4323) – Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers. His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”

Muslim (19:4294) – “When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him… He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

Bukhari 1:35 “The person who participates in (Holy Battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty ( if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise ( if he is killed).”

Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

Tabari 9:69 “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us” The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

Tabari 17:187 “‘By God, our religion (din) from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties.’ And they returned to their former religion.” The words of a group of Christians who had converted to Islam, but realized their error after being shocked by the violence and looting committed in the name of Allah. The price of their decision to return to a religion of peace was that the men were beheaded and the woman and children enslaved by the caliph Ali.

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 484: – “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’”

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 990: – Lest anyone think that cutting off someone’s head while screaming ‘Allah Akbar!’ is a modern creation, here is an account of that very practice under Muhammad, who seems to approve.

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992: – “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.

Saifur Rahman, The Sealed Nectar p.227-228 – “Embrace Islam… If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if your refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all of your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.” One of several letters from Muhammad to rulers of other countries. The significance is that the recipients were not making war or threatening Muslims. Their subsequent defeat and subjugation by Muhammad’s armies was justified merely on the basis of their unbelief.

If you’re happy with Kubuntu 14.04, I wouldn’t go jumping to 16.04 just yet

I’m running Kubuntu 14.04.4 on three very different systems. My main PC sports a 6-core AMD FX-6300 CPU at about 4.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, a 2 GB FSX Radeon R7 360 graphics card and 6 TB of HD storage between multiple drives.

The second most-used computer in my arsenal is a Lenovo T510 laptop. It has an Intel Core i5 CPU at 2.5 GHz, 4 GB RAM, and a 1 TB HDD. It also runs Kubuntu 14.04.4.

The third, a much less powerful one works as a web server that occasionally serves up video to a monitor in the bedroom. This computer also runs Kubuntu 14.04.4. This one has a 2-core AMD Sempron 2650 CPU with 4 GB RAM and a small 320 GB HDD. No, this is not the server that hosts this blog. Its purpose is very specialized and is never connected to more than three clients at a time, usually only one.

Canonical, the company that oversees the core source code that goes into all of the Ubuntu derivatives such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Mint, named version 14.04 “Trusty Tahr”. And TRUSTY it has been. I’ve been using Linux on my personal machines since 2010 and Trusty has been the most useful, powerful, and stable OS I’ve had the pleasure to use. Everything is customizable and customize it I do. I’m thankful that it’s a long-term-stable version of Ubuntu and is supported until April of 2019.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about 16.04, code-named Xenial Xerus. This, too, is an LTS (long-term support) version. I tried it on the main machine and laptop both and found it to be rather buggy. Video would flicker, sometimes quite badly, when moving windows around the screen. I tried to change the video drivers but Update Manager hangs searching for updates. I installed an Nvidia driver via the command line but when the computer rebooted, I got a blank screen, which I was able to fix from the command line by uninstalling the proprietary driver (the new Nvidia card died shortly thereafter and was replaced with an AMD card – I should have known better). The DavMail icon doesn’t fit in with the taskbar notification area. Dropbox finally got around to fixing their missing notification area icon (too bad they won’t fix this in 14.04). Every now and then, some process or another would crash for some unknown reason and I dutifully allowed KDE to send the error report. When Private Internet Access could not establish a connection to the VPN, my tolerance for bugs hit its limit and I went back to 14.04.

The process reminded me of some previous *buntu updates. Canonical forces the release twice a year, ready or not. And that’s the sad part. I wouldn’t christen a new ship that still has leaks to fix. Why in hell would I release software with glaring bugs galore? I should have known better. A lot of people won’t upgrade from one version to another until the new version has been out for several months. This usually gives the maintainers enough time to fix most of the obvious bugs. I don’t recall having this many problems with 14.02, but if I remember correctly, I didn’t upgrade until 14.04.2. Lesson learned. When 16.04.2 comes out, I’ll test it in a virtual machine first. At least with Linux, I can reinstall my OS and all of the software I use in about an hour; a chore that would take all evening with Windows.



Hey web developers – what looks OK on my phone looks like shit on my 24″ monitor

Guess where I spend most of my time on the internet?

a) sitting on my couch with my head pointed down toward my phone

b) sitting at my desk at home with a full-sized PC sporing two 24″ large monitors

c) sitting at my desk at work with two (rather crummy by comparison) monitors

This may come as a shock to you, but both b & c are correct answers. Yes, I pull up the browser on my phone on occasion, but truth be told, the World-Wide Web is ALWAYS better experienced on a full-sized screen, even when it’s the puny 22″ monitor I must suffer with at work. Thanks to “pinch and zoom”, websites on my phone are almost as useful (which depends on how well the site is coded…)

My point is this: when I’m on your website on my home PC, work PC, or laptop, I expect to get the most out of my screens. I paid almost $400 for the monitors at home plus another $120 for a graphics card to feed them so I’d appreciate you saving the login and password boxes that take up the entire horizontal width of my screen for the smartphones and even then, only for those who WANT the Fisher-Price layout. Oh, so your boss told you to quit coding for multiple user agents? Well your boss is a dick. It doesn’t take THAT much more effort to code for both. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.

Why I’m leaving Facebook

fakebookIn short: I’m tired of the manipulation. For a long time now, Facebook has been picking and choosing what people see and I’ve had enough of it. I’m tired of the echo chamber. Facebook sucks and I’m done.

As I think most people have noticed, Facebook is constantly trying to shove “Top Posts” down our throats instead of just letting us see the posts in chronological order. “Top Posts” are those posts from friends (and advertisers) that Facebook thinks you’re most interested in seeing. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself constantly having to change the newsfeed from “Top Posts” to “Most Recent” so I can get a chronological feed. For some reason, Facebook hates this because no matter how many times you change the setting, they eventually switch it back to “Top Posts”. I eventually installed a Firefox plugin called FB Purity that put a stop to this nonsense.

But the worst part of the Facebook experience is the newsfeed filtering that we can’t do anything about. Even with “Most Recent” turned on, if you think you see all wall posts from everyone in your friends list, you’re in for a surprise (I was). They have an algorithm that sorts through the wall posts from all of your friends and based on criteria such as how often you interact with those people, what common interests you share, etc., they determine what posts you see. In other words, if you and your Aunt Sally are always exchanging recipes, then Facebook will make sure you see most all of Aunt Sally’s posts. However, your cousin Bob may share a recipe now and then but you’d never see them because you don’t interact with cousin Bob very often on Facebook. In fact, you might not ever see them unless you actually go visit his “wall” page.

This is where the biggest problem lies. Just yesterday, my daughter posted something on Facebook which included a reference to her pregnancy. I’ve known she’s pregnant for the past couple of months but she hadn’t yet posted it on Facebook (at least I didn’t THINK she had). I made the comment, “that’s one way to break the news to the world”, to which she replied, “I already did last week, Dad.” Of course, I never saw it because Facebook didn’t think I’d be interested. Instead, I ended up looking like an idiot. Fuck you, Facebook.

Thankfully, I’m not the only person to notice this. The Guardian did a story on it 2014 when Facebook was caught red-handed using these filters for social experiments by psychologists. Facebook claims that these filters are “Essential”. From the Guardian article:

“Essential? Why can’t Facebook just show me an unfiltered feed?

“Because, it argues, the results would be overwhelming. ‘Every time someone visits news feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all,’ wrote Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom in a blog post in August 2013.

According to Lars, we should be thanking him for saving us from having to stare at our newsfeed for hours on end just to see what our friends and relatives are up to. Of course, nobody does that, right?

“With so many stories, there is a good chance people would miss something they wanted to see if we displayed a continuous, unranked stream of information.”

So you see, according to the wizards at Facebook, you really don’t want to see cousin Bob’s recipes, so they’re not going to bother showing them to you. Meanwhile, poor Bob gets the impression that no one cares for his recipes when in fact, the people who might care never saw them. This is the most troubling aspect of the newsfeed filter: it results in a sort of social engineering, intended or not.

Facebook never asks what you want to see, they just make assumptions based on what you do on the site. It seems to me that a more fair (and transparent) way to keep people from being overwhelmed is to let THEM decide how much of this filtering (if any) they want. Let the USER throttle how many recipes they see from Aunt Sally. Instead, we all end up in echo chambers where we only see and hear from those with whom we agree and that’s fucked up. But no, just like “Top Stories”, Facebook knows best.

Except that they don’t. If they did, people wouldn’t be leaving in droves. I find myself missing the days of GeoCities and MySpace, where people had to put a little more effort into showing the world what’s going on in their lives. At least then, no one was filtering what I saw.

Facebook appears to be a dying fad. I praised it highly for helping me find friends and relatives I hadn’t seen in years. Unfortunately, many of them don’t stick around anyway. You know how it is. Someone you haven’t heard from in 20 years disappears from Facebook just as quickly as they joined. Maybe they got tired of the BS faster than I did.

I’m going to make sure my contact list of email addresses and phone numbers are up to date and check out of Facebook, at least for now. I’m not ready to cancel my account altogether, but I am taking a break. Time will tell if it’s permanent or not. The next time you hear from me, it might be an email, a phone call, or maybe just a blog post here that you took the time to check out. An occasional email exchange or a phone call seems like a better way to keep in touch anyway.

Islam: Satan’s favorite religion


As is reflected in Christian and Jewish theology, it is no secret that Satan wants to destroy as much of God’s creation as he can, most especially the souls of those God created in His own image. Most end-times related texts, such as those found in the books of Daniel and Revelation, describe a being who will deceive a good portion of the world’s population, leading nations into ever more deadly wars as the end times draw near.

Satan is smart enough to know that most people aren’t going to be dumb enough to bow down before and worship him when they know that will only lead to eternal damnation. This is why the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, taught that there really is no God or Satan and that real happiness can be found in hedonism, as that’s basically what LaVeyan Satanism is: hedonistic atheism. That sure beats going to hell!

Some 600 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, along comes a guy named Mohammed who claimed to have a dream where an angel told him that the Christians were wrong, Jesus was not a messiah, and that God’s name was really “Allah”, along with a lot of other nonsense. “Allah”, by the way, was known as a pagan moon god in Mohammed’s time before the name was given a whole new meaning.

Without going into all of the history behind it, Mohammed eventually rose to power in religious and political (often the same) circles. Eventually, he led warriors into battle, fighting for lands and the conversions of people. In my studies of world religions, Islam is the only one I know of that was founded in warfare and that teaches its adherents to murder any non-believer who refuses to convert.

Throughout the past couple of decades, as Islamic terrorism has reached new levels of bloodshed,  there is one question I have asked that no one has been able to answer: If these are just a handful of “extremists”, then why do their own people (the so-called “moderates”) seem so complacent? Many years ago here in America, the Ku Klux Klan claimed to murder blacks and other non-whites in the name of Christianity. However, there isn’t a single Bible verse that advocates such barbarity and eventually, the American people ran the Klan into the history books. Sure, there are still a few loose nuts out there, but we’ve come a LONG way since the days of lynchings and cross burnings.

Islam is different. This is the other question that is never answered, and perhaps an even more important one: How do Muslims explain the verses throughout the Koran and Hadith that teach their adherents to kill anyone who refuses to convert? No other religion does this. All world religions have an attraction rather than enforcement policy toward recruitment. Just because you’re born in Israel doesn’t mean you have to observe the Jewish religion. Ditto the Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and all other religions I’ve ever heard of. Think I’m making it up? Am I taking their “holy scriptures” out of context? Look up a Koran and read it yourself. Here’s a primer, and there’s more where these came from:


Western leaders think they’re in a tough spot politically. Rather than make the bold decisions needed to defeat the enemy, politicians like Barack Obama refuse to recognize and call out the enemy for what it is: an ideology. They’re so afraid to “sound like Hitler” if they call out a religion that they’re paralyzed. This is why Obama refuses to call it what it is. Meanwhile, innocent people continue to die because of his head-in-the-sand policy. In this war, the enemy is being led by religious leaders so it’s hard to threaten a king when it appears to be his civilians acting on their own. Is this strategy working? We need to go after them and destroy them, wherever they are, before they destroy us. Of course, this doesn’t mean we round up the Muslims and gas them. We do need to put pressure on the Muslim population to deal with these barbarians. Sometimes, that pressure may need to come from the point of a gun and we cannot afford to shy away from using our massive forces against them. Sadly, Obama seems to be more worried about passing more “gun control” laws that have never stopped a single criminal or terrorist.

Your easy passwords make hacking easy

I recently acquired some files containing over 78,000 username/password combinations. I won’t say where or how I got them, but I broke no laws in the process and simply possessing these files are perfectly legal. After all, they’re nothing but lists of words and numbers. Sadly, there is no additional information. I don’t know the source of this data. Facebook’s servers? Yahoo’s? Google’s? I have no clue. I loaded them into a mySQL server and have been having some fun looking them over.

Unfortunately, most people who connect to the internet still haven’t gotten the memo about good username/password selection. So without further ado:

A good password does NOT contain words that can be found in dictionaries (of any language), nor should they contain proper nouns (i.e. Steve, Wyoming, Korea, Google, etc.). This is because the first technique used by password-cracking software is a dictionary check. What language are you using? English? Great. English language dictionary loaded. Now, let’s guess every word in the dictionary in combination with some random numbers. This method is called brute-forcing and is very effective because people use passwords such as these (from the actual database):

melissa marie

This is a random sampling of 26 passwords people have actually used on the internet. I literally copied/pasted this form my database. Only ONE is relatively secure. Did you see it? Go look at the list again, the answer is given in the next paragraph.

It’s the last one. But even it sucks because it contains no upper-case characters. This is important because it all comes down to mathematics. The more potential characters that have to be tried, the longer it takes and the harder it is to crack your password. If you use only lower-case letters, I only need to guess with 26 characters. If you use both lower and upper-case, I need to guess with 52 characters. Simply mixing lower and upper-case letters makes our passwords twice as hard to crack.

The most staunch password enforcer will insist upon your use of the special character, such as punctuation ($, %, &, *, !, @, etc.). This is indeed harder to crack. However, their use makes them difficult to remember.

A method I developed over 10 years ago creates a secure password that obeys the above rules AND is easy to use. This method works because it’s based on memorizing a phrase, rather than random letters and numbers.

Most web-based services such as Yahoo!, eBay, Hotmail, etc. require your password be at least 6-8 characters in length. Most everyone recommends at least one or more numbers and some letters should be capitalized. Don’t go over 10 characters for most services. These are the key ingredients to keep in mind.

Next, I come up with an 8-word phrase that consists of at least one capital letter and one or more numbers. A very old example that I’m willing to share publicly is the phrase “my daughter Alex is 12 years old”. Take the first letter of each word to make up the password. This translates to mdAi12yo. There you have it: a more secure password that contains letters, numbers, and no words from any dictionary. It contains no proper nouns. It can be strengthened by inserting punctuation and/or making it longer. I have one such password that is 32 characters long. I can remember it because it’s a longer phrase I memorized.

And of course, never forget, change the password every so often.

The moral of the story is this: If you don’t want your email, bank account, or other services hacked, quit using easy-to-guess passwords! As I have stated previously, my method is not perfect. However, I’ve found it to be quite effective. I’ve been using the internet since its (public) birth in 1995 and have been hacked only twice: on Twitter and Hotmail. I have no idea who or how they got in, but when I was made aware of those hacks, I closed those accounts and changed my passwords everywhere else, immediately. So far, so good

Google pairs with Ford to throw away investors’ money on self-driving cars

Google_Lost  An error I got one day with Google Maps. 2015.
Here’s another fine example of Google wasting its investors’ money on worthless technology that almost nobody wants.

Google wants their computers to drive cars. I think they should get navigation down first. Google would be better served putting its money into something actually useful like its buggy Maps application. Add some options to Chrome to make it useful, like Firefox.

Self-driving cars won’t work because cars need drivers with intuition, something computers just don’t have. Autopilot in the air is relatively easy when the nearest traffic is several thousand feet, if not a few miles, away. It’s a whole ‘nother story on the road, when a sudden decision must be made in a split second that can mean the difference between life and death.

Autopilot in a car may be more palatable so long as the driver can take control whenever they want. But not with arrogant Google. They want to remove the steering wheel, gas, and brake pedals. This is the part that really gets under my skin. In fact, I was all for their autopilot research until I saw this nonsense. You are completely and utterly at the mercy of their buggy software. The pilot in the air can take control of his/her plane whenever they want. Unless the same is true for cars, FORGET IT.

But even still, if I got my wish and they DID wise up and leave the steering and other controls in place, there will be people who rely TOO MUCH on the autopilot and they quit paying attention to the road. Hell, some will take naps. Again, that may be acceptable for a few minutes at 40,000 ft., but certainly NOT when I’m routinely coming within a few yards of other vehicles moving just as fast as I. And even at 40k feet, do you really want your pilot to be napping?