Sunday, November 30, 2003

I wish I was able to see 60 Minutes more often. It's my favorite news program, along with the NewsHour on PBS. Most of the time, I miss it, for two reasons, both due to its timing. First, I'm out on Sunday nights with some regularity. Second, and I imagine this is intentional on CBS's part, it conflicts with The Simpsons. OK, now let's face it, maybe 60 Minutes is the more edifying choice, but I'm not going to miss The Simpsons for it, and neither is anyone else under the age of 60. If CBS wants to expand their viewership, and maybe expand the appeal of hard news in the process, they should consider shifting 60 Minutes to a more accessable timeslot. Who knows, maybe even put it in a high-class slot and see what happens.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Well, tomorrow, anyway. I'm about to head off to an undisclosed location for Turkey Day, so this'll have to do. It's the ultimate guy holiday - eat a lot of food, watch football, eat more food, and then lie around moaning about how dumb you were to eat that last slice of pie. Woohoo!
I wonder if it was really a good idea to arrest a wanted Iraqi's family in his stead? I'm not saying it's not - I'm not on the ground there - I'm just, you know, saying.
Wow, this is stupid.

You see, in technical parliance, slaving a component to something means taking that component, which ordinarily has an independent function, and linking it to something else, allowing the Master component to give it instructions, which it then carries out. For example, a computer's primary IDE/ATA Hard Drive is referred to as the Master Drive, while the secondary drive is referred to as the Slave, because all the instructions from the computer go to the Primary drive, which then relays it to the secondary.

The City of Los Angeles has decided that this is racist.

Actually, come to think of it, reading my own post, it does sounds kind of bad. Hmm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Been pretty busy lately. You know how it is. Time available for blogging comes and goes...

Still time enough, however, to remember that I really like Billy Joel. I'd pretty much totally forgotten that guy's existence until I heard him playing the other day. Man, Goodnight Saigon is awesome. Allentown too. And The Downeaster 'Alexa'. OK, I'm going to stop now. Really.
Crazy. It went back and forth for a while, and in the end, there's no energy bill this year. As Gregg Easterbrook points out, there were just too many compromises. By the time the Democrats had weeded out everything that promoted increased domestic production and the Republicans had removed everything in the vein of conservation, all that was left was a big ol' pile of pork. The bill was killed in the Senate in a disorganized vote cutting across both partisan and geographic lines. The Northeastern Republicans joined with their Democratic counterparts to filibuster the bill, while farm state Democrats joined the Republicans in support. Votes in the west went basically along party lines, with the usual exception of John McCain taking the anti-pork vote and joining the filibuster.

No bill is definitely better than a bad bill. Congrats to the Senate for taking a principled stand. I do think this shows one thing, however - Tom Daschle's got to go. The Senate Minority Leader can't sell out his party for the promise of a billion dollars in ethanol subsidies. If we need to stick with a midwesterner, how about Tom Harkin (D-IA), or Dick Durbin (D-IL)? Those guys have some cajones. How did sissy-boy Daschle get to be the Dems' Senate leader, anyway?

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I'm a little late on this one. Our Dear Leader was rebuffed in a few of his security demands to the British Home Ministry. Among them:

- Shut down the London Tube system
- Allow US fighters and helicopter gunships to patrol London airspace
- Grant diplomatic immunity to all US snipers
- Turn London security over to the US Army
- Let the secret service carry around one of these

He did, however, secure the services of 16,000 British police deployed around the country for his protection. Recall this is his security arrangement when he goes to visit our ally.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Headline: BLAIR'S VICIOUS ATTACK ON BUSH'S PARTY. OK, so maybe The Mirror is more National Enquirer than Philadelphia Inquirer, but Murdoch rag The Sun, which Dubya himself granted an interview to, is somewhere along the lines of the Weekly World News.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Official White House Statement: "President Defends Sanctity of Marriage". He goes on to excoriate the Massachussetts Supreme Court for violating this "sacred institution" by declaring that the state must grant civil marraiges to straight or couples to comply with the equal protection clause of the Massachussetts State Constitution. Funny, I'm missing the part where George W. Bush gets any freaking say in who Massachussetts allows to get married.
Atrios points out a minor error in an AP article:
"CORRECTION: Because of an editing error, this story misattributed a quote from the speaker on an audiotape purportedly of Saddam Hussein as coming from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota."

Monday, November 17, 2003

Caption under a photo in the Caravan for Democracy (a US-based pro-Israel group) newsletter: "An anti-Israel activist protests as Israel activists promote Israel". Yeah, well, maybe those "Israel activists" need to hire a better writer or something.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

I wish my computer had parts that looked like this.

(From Virginia Tech's "Big Mac" cluster, currently the world's third fastest computer.)

Saturday, November 15, 2003

From MSNBC:
Nov. 14 — When Greenpeace activists illegally scrambled aboard the cargo ship APL Jade, it was the start of a pretty typical day. Convinced the ship was hauling contraband mahogany from Brazil, the environmentalists aimed to draw attention to it by unfurling a banner with this message: “President Bush, Stop Illegal Logging.” Their arrests by the Coast Guard were also part of a day’s work. But the later use of an obscure 19th century law to charge the entire organization with criminal conspiracy has Greenpeace defenders claiming that they are the target of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s attempts to stifle political criticism of the government.

It appears the administration is trying to remove Greenpeace as an active concern by invoking a maritime statue last cited in 1890. While I tend to look at Greenpeace as the PETA of the environmental movement (see my last post below), they still get the same civil disobedience rights as everyone else. John Ashcroft can jail the protestors for illegal entry or whatever the legitimate charge is, but he can't launch an offensive against protest in general. Fortunately, the ACLU and People for the American Way are on board with Greenpeace's defense team. Expect another DoJ/Everyone Else slugfest.
Not usually my sphere of interest, but this has got to be one of the most effective anti-Factory Farm pieces I've ever seen. What is the Meatrix?

I'm sure PETA will show up and demand it be taken down because it's not pissing enough people off. I read an article recently - and unfortunately, I can't remember where - about the animal rights movement, and how its center of gravity has shifted over recent years from moderate ASPCA-type organizations to the PETA radicals. As such shifts tend to do, all they've done is make the cause go supernova, exploding in a great bright flash of high-powered rhetoric and internecine bickering as the great mass of the country that used to form its core is expelled into the void .

Friday, November 14, 2003

So, I haven't been blogging too much lately. Well, what're you gonna do about it? Huh? Huh? Ah, the advantages of not having a boss. Anyway, I figured I'd weigh in on this week's Tom Tomorrow controversy. Sometimes, I just don't get what he's trying to say. This is one of those times. What does he have against warbloggers, armchair or otherwise? They have a right to express their opinions as much as he does. And while he's allowed to make fun of whoever he wants, it seems that this week's point (that warbloggers think they're the equivalent of soldiers) is both too ad hominem and too unsubstantiated for my tastes.

It didn't take long for warblogger and real-life reservist L.T. Smash to register his discontent. In my opinion, such discontent was delivered in a reasonable, if legitimately offended, tone. Tom responded in his usual rather defensive/dismissive tone. No offense to the guy, but he seems to take criticism a bit too personally. Smash, as expected, was not particularly satisfied. And from there, it's been open war in the blogosphere. I'm staying neutral. I think it was a dumb comic. Everyone's entitled to say something dumb every once in a while. This one's not worth fighting over.

On the other hand, I think Ted Rall's been off the deep end for a little while now. As Instapundit Glenn Reynolds puts it, when Rall writes something like this, you almost have to beleive he means it. Rall to me is like Ann Coulter to a moderate conservative. We're supposed to be on the same side, but I think he's doing more damage to the doves and peaceniks with his constant misfires than he is to anyone on the right.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Holy guacamole! Joan Croc just left NPR $200 million!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Next time they're about to complain about the undue attention paid to negative developments in Iraq, certain hawks should read this cartoon.
According to this poll of 800 adults, only 42% of Americans can name at least one US Executive Department (State, Defense, etc) or member of the President's cabinet (Powell, Rumsfeld, etc.). A total of 4% of those surveyed could name 5 or more. That's out of 19. It gets worse if you look at how many could name any specific agency. Just... just look at it yourself. I can't go on talking about it.
It really does seem suspicious that an all-Republican conference committee would remove the Senate-approved anti-profiteering clause from the Iraq spending bill, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Another article about the Russian situation, this one from Matt Taibbi of the New York Press. It presents Mr. Khodorkovsky's arrest in an entirely different light, that of the rule of law making one last attempt to rein in a vicious mobster. I'm a bit skeptical, as it seems a little too zealous about attacking not only a wide array of business and businessmen, but also capitalism in general; a little too accepting of the tools of totalitarianism; a little nostalgic for the days of "the revolution", perhaps. Nevertheless, Russia is a foreign place, and I don't know what the heck is going on over there. This guy's as likely right as anyone else.
Just when you think things couldn't get any dumber, you realize that, by order of the President, we are now observing Protection From Pornography Week.

Monday, November 03, 2003

This editorial on the coming 40-year anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination is, in my opinion, quite a moving piece. It begins with the following paragraph:

Benjamin Disraeli, in a speech before the British Parliament, once said, "Assassination has never changed the history of the world." Some terrible decades later, the sentiment was repeated by Robert Kennedy, who commented upon the death of his brother with the Disraelian observation, "Assassins have never changed history." Benjamin and Robert were both wise men. Both were completely wrong in ways difficult to measure. Robert, specifically, was not just wrong, but dead wrong.

Note: I am entirely unfamiliar with the editorial's author, William Rivers Pitt, or his site on which this is posted, truthout.org. I have no idea if he's a flaming liberal, flaming conservative, moderate, moron or Martian. But, at least in my reading, this editorial isn't about any of that. It's about violence, and the violence that it leads to, and the world we may have lived in had we not allowed any of it to take place. Hopefully, we can still all agree on that.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

In a recent Lewis-and-Clarkian exploration of the internet, I came across re-select.com, a humble purveyor of Anti-Bush bumper stickers. I would have left without much thought, were it not for a link near the bottom of the page, describing a rather bizarre episode involving liberal commentary storehouse Buzzflash. Supposedly, Re-Select wanted to advertise on Buzzflash, which had run some of their commentary in the past, but Buzzflash, after ignoring their first inquiries, told them to buzz off. They then proceeded to use some of Re-Select's copyrighted material to promote their own line of bumper stickers. When Re-Select brought this up, Buzzflash responded with a rude, not to mention unsigned and ungrammatical, dismissal.

Now, I've got no dog in this fight, but I was interested in a sotry that seemed to place a fairly well respected site (Buzzflash) out of character. I decided to send them an email, with a link to Re-Select's accusation and the question "I'd hate to think that you guys ignore your fans and violate their copyrights. I've made no conclusions, but I sure would like to hear your side of the story. Preferably in complete sentences." Buzzflash responded with the following:
we don't violate copyrights. period. we don't have time to engage in nonsense with loose canons. believe what you want to believe. we have work to do.

Now, I've never been a reader of Buzzflash. I can now assure you that I will not in the future either. I still don't know what happened between Buzzflash and Re-Select, but if their response to a member of the public seeking to give them the benefit of the doubt is this kind of blowoff, lacking in even the most basic aspects of courtesy, then I have absolutely no interest in patronizing their establishment.