May 2005 Archives


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To: Seattle P-I Editorial Page, Seattle P-I Ombudsman
From: pudge

In a letter the other day, "More evidence that Bush & Co. used false pretenses," the letter writer wrote:

"With the recent disclosure of the secret British memorandum that substantiates the testimony of terrorism expert Richard Clarke and the writing of ex-Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, it should be abundantly clear that President Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld conspired to lie to justify the war against Iraq."

This is not true. The memorandum does not substantiate anything. To substantiate is to "support with proof or evidence." Every definition of the word has the sense of using facts, evidence, etc. to back up an assertion. But the memorandum merely makes an undetailed claim, without even attempting to back it up.

I know it is a letter, but the letters you publish should not make blatantly false claims. A better rewriting may have been something along the lines of, "... memorandum that reiterated the claims made by Clarke and O'Neill ..."


To: pudge
From: Seattle P-I Ombudsman

Dear pudge: Thanks for your message. I can appreciate what you are saying.

However, the idea of the letters column is to let readers express their opinions. Something that is proof in one person's mind is not proof in another's.

To turn the tables a bit, a person could believe that Newsweek's reporting of a Koran being flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo Bay was proof that the magazine is trying to make the U.S. or its military look bad. Other people would disagree. And that's the basis for printing both opinions. The idea is to further the discussion.

I see you've written this to editpage, so the editors involved will have read your message. We appreciate your interest and that you took the time to write.


I was not offering an opinion. What I said is factually true: the memo offered no evidence. It didn't even try to. Have you read it? It was a report from someone, but it is just his word, and doesn't even offer any details. It just says "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," but provides no basis for this statement, of any kind.

For all we know, he said that because Richard Clarke told him that, which would be not substantiation of the claim, but merely another retelling of the exact same claim. Or maybe it is just a feeling he had, not intended as a statement of fact. Without knowing the basis of the claim, it cannot be seen as substantiation.

My problem here is precisely that your paper printed something that claimed to be a statement of fact but is actually incorrect, and that you just let it slide by saying it is an opinion. But readers will pick it up and assume that because you printed it, that hey, the memo must have substantiated the claims -- or even MIGHT have done so -- when, in actual fact, it did no such thing.

I am all for letter-writers expressing their opinions, whatever they are. No censor am I. But they should not invent facts that do not exist (which, ironically, is precisely what the letter-writer is accusing Bush of doing), and when they do, it is your responsibility to check them for accuracy.

Also, I am not sure how you are "turning the tables;" it appears you mean to imply I might agree with such a sentiment. I would not, as such action alone cannot prove intent.

Maybe Bush fudged intelligence to fit the policy. Maybe Newsweek has seditious intentions. But the Downing Street Memo does not prove the former, nor the article mentioning the Koran the latter.



pudge: Thanks for the clarification. I'll share it with the editorial page editor.
We appreciate your interest.

News of the Day

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Arthur Andersen's conviction was overturned on a technicality, which is like overturning the conviction of Timothy McVeigh: at this point, it doesn't really matter.

France rejects the EU Constitution, because they hate Europe even more than they hate the U.S.

That's not Deep Throat, that's Andy Kaufman!

Lawyers Lie, News at 11

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The Democratic lawyers in WA moved to have the case to nullify the governor's race dimissed, because they said the Republicans did not meet the burden of proof, which was, in their words, to "prove that the mistakes made changed the outcome of the election."

But that is not the burden of proof they are required to meet, and not the case they are trying to make. They are trying to show the result cannot be trusted, not that the outcome was changed.

You cannot prove the outcome was changed, it's not possible, because that requires knowing what the disputed ballots contained, and we can't know that. Of course, the Democrats tried to have the case thrown out from the beginning, exactly for this reason, but have been consistently rebuffed, which itself tells us what the judge thinks of this line of argument.

Of course, the judge did not find for the Democrats on the motion, but said it was because he wants all the evidence in the record, which I think some would read as a tacit admission that the Democrats were right on the motion's merits, but that the case was allowed to move forward at all, in the beginning, given that this claim was known up front, disputes that analysis.

The judge is not showing his hand very much, but I think it is fair to say he is not willing to hold the Republicans up to the standard of proof the Democrats claim, simply because the judge knew from the start that they would never be able to meet that burden, and they never even tried to.
I've been really busy lately, with various personal matters, and have not had much chance to read. And when I have had such chance, my brain has been too tired to read the Federalist (I've been reading Faithful instead). Never fear, it shall return.

Mac-Growl-0.65 Released

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Mac-Growl-0.65 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

0.65  Fri May 27 22:12:20 2005
    - Fix some logic problems in $base stuff, make sure we catch errors
      in loading Mac::Glue, so we don't use it for base even if set

Posted using release by brian d foy.


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In case you were unclear, due to the media onslaught and lies from the Democrats:

There is no evidence John Bolton ever cherry-picked or fudged intelligence, or that he tried to get someone fired.


The story is fairly simple, as well-reported by Byron York in the May 23 issue of National Review: Bolton had a speech coming up, back in May 2002, and in it he discussed intelligence about Cuba and a bioweapons progam. He passed the language on to his contact at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), Christian Westermann, whose job it was to get the language approved.

Westermann disagreed with the language Bolton used, and sent the speech along to the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) with Westermann's only language included, with the note "INR does not concur," which is highly irregular.

This would anger anyone. I know it would piss me off. It's not that Westermann disagreed, it is that he did so in an undermining and unprofessional manner. And it's not that Westermann is more qualified than Bolton to make that decision: WINPAC makes the decision, and they cleared Bolton's language, and have in other cases *used* similar language (including Carl Ford, the chief of intelligence at the State Dept., and no friend of Bolton's, who used similar language soon afterward).

WINPAC gets back to Bolton's chief of staff Fred Fleitz and says, which language do you want us to clear? Fletiz didn't know what they were talking about, so he gets ahold of Westermann, who said he wasn't trying to undermine Bolton, only to add "sources and citations to help them de-classify it." But the note was more than that, it said INR did not concur.

So Bolton flipped his lid and said he couldn't trust Westermann anymore because Westermann went behind his back. He no longer wished to work with Westermann and told people that. *No one* says they remember Bolton asking for Westermann to be fired. Ford says he got that impression, but says Bolton might have said something like "I don't want to see him again," which doesn't sound to me like he was asking for him to be fired.

And Westermann was not fired, disciplined, or reassigned, and there is no evidence Bolton ever revisited the issue to try to get him fired, disciplined, or reassigned. They simply stayed out of each other's way, which is, by all indications, what Bolton apparently wanted. As I would have, as most people would have in his shoes.

There really is nothing here. It's just more "I hate Bush and his politics so I am going to smear him and his people."


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My wife tells me I have a terrible memory. She says last year I put an air conditioner in my office window, and removed it for winter. I have no recollection of this. It is quite possibly true, but I don't know. There are no obvious signs on the window itself, though markings exist that could be construed as related to such activity as holding an air conditioner in place.

On the other hand, when the Duelfer report came out in September 2004, I could remember various minute details about Charles Duelfer's appearance on PBS NewsHour (at the time, as a minor State Dept. official) in January 2004, despite not having given it any serious consideration in the interim, except for a mental note in February 2004 when he was appointed to take David Kay's place.

Sherlock Holmes remarked to Watson, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."

I am pleased that, for the most part, my brain-attic stores things most likely to be most important automatically, without my conscious interference.

Either that, or, unbeknownst to me, a space alien is helping me to control my engrams with an e-meter.

But but but but

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Just remember, it is OK to go nuts about campaign finance problems that don't directly implicate DeLay because DeLay is evil. And we will ignore far worse problems by the Democrats in WA and Senator Maria Cantwell, because they are good.

Judicial Independence

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I love Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for National Review. The guy writes with impeccable logic, slicing through the B.S. to get to the heart of the matter.

In Independence Day, he writes about the notion of judicial independence. Unfortunately, you can't read the whole thing unless you're a subscriber, but he makes this important point:

The first thing to note about this kind of judicial independence is that it should constrain judges at least as much as anyone else. If judges themselves allow their political preferences to affect their reading of (or worse, to trump) the law, then they squander what is valuable about judicial independence. Likewise if they place the institutional interests of their courts ahead of the law, effectively making themselves parties to the case. If these things have happened on a wide scale, as we and many other conservatives (and even some liberals) believe, then they have happened at a cost to judicial independence -- and it makes little sense to accuse anyone who wants to do something about it of opposing judicial independence.


Chief Justice Rehnquist gives a more plausible answer: The only checks we have used against the courts, historically, are the appointment and amendment processes. Congress has not impeached judges for their decisions, and has not restricted the courts'jurisdiction over constitutional matters. This traditionalist answer, however, fails to reckon with the possibility that the courts' arrogation of power over the last few decades has been unprecedented. If that is true, as many conservatives believe (sometimes as a result of reading Rehnquist's dissenting opinions), then the force of the traditionalist argument dissipates. New challenges sometimes call for new responses.

Ponnuru, and his coauthor Robert P. George, then go on to back up the argument that the courts have been acting in an unprecedented fashion, in a way at odds with the whole concept of judicial independence. Though that part of the piece is not entirely satisfactory, it doesn't really have to be, as the main point is that the "encroachments" offered by members of Congress, if they are unprecedented, are justified if the courts are acting in an unprecedented manner as well. Whether the courts are acting in such a manner is up for debate; the logic behind the reasonableness of acting in such a situation is, given the arguments in this piece, far less so.

Good stuff.

Big Win for the Democrats

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Howard Dean was just on CNN saying the judicial compromise is a big win for the Democrats.

Let's examine what has actually changed. First, the Republicans get to have a vote on three of the previously filibustered judges. Second ...

Oh wait, that's it. Nothing else has changed.

And this is a Democratic win? I look forward to many more Democratic victories!

I can't join my right-wing friends who are upset about this. Yes, I wish we would have dealt with the problem once and for all instead of putting it off until later, but the Republicans have lost nothing but time. It's possible the Democrats will be better at spinning this in the long run, saying they compromised (even though almost half of them were opposed to the compromise) and how the Republicans aren't compromising, but that argument has not gone very far in the past.

They could also convince people these candidates really are extreme and worth a filibuster: lying about the candidates has proven an effective method so far (like the slander that Judge Brown makes her decisions based on the Bible, when she actually said she reads the Bible and prays before coming to a decision, which is something I imagine most Christians do before making important decisions). But I can't see public opinion really changing to be for or against either party the next time around.

Sunday Thoughts

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Howard Dean was on Meet the Press. He was, as usual and as expected, a train wreck.

Here's one great example: he actually says that the GOP is trying to get rid of the filibuster for all cases, not just judicial nominees, and when Russert calls him on it, he says, "well, I have no reason to think they WON'T do that!"

I was going to go through and explain all the things he said which were lies and dissembling, but it would take too long. And then I thought, I'll just mention the things he said that were true, but that would be hard, since most of it was lies.

I think I'll just invite all you to defend the few things he said which were true, if you wish. Whether it was how the Senate works, or what Bolton did, or what DeLay has done and any legal actions against him, it was almost all lies. Terrible stuff.

On This Week, Joe Liberman was on. Kudos to George Stephanopolous for getting Joe to defend the filibuster ("the 60-vote requirement ... is the last best institutional rule that pressures the Senate to be bipartisan and more moderate") and then showing tape of Joe from 1994, introducing a bill to abolish the filibuster ("the Senate has added to that [list of supermajority exceptions] this filibuster, and it's wrong, and it oughtta be changed"). Joe's response? "Times have changed, and the most critical problem facing the Senate now is not what I worried about then."

Times have changed, so this justifies not only not wanting to abolish what you think is wrong, but actually to engage in what you think is wrong?

And then the whopper: "is it asking too much that the President's nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal courts at least get the support of 60 of 100 Senators?"

According to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the history of the United States Senate which has never once before required this until George W. Bush became President: yes, that is asking too much, clearly.

Well, so long as Dean and Lieberman don't think they're fooling anyone ... the sad thing is that they probably do. And the sadder thing is that they probably are.
The current National Review (May 23) features an editorial which well-expresses some of my views on Social Security reform, to wit:

Many liberals worry that a reduction in benefits for higher-income workers will undermine Social Security politically. ... Everyone pays taxes to Social Security and gets benefits from it, and so everyone thinks that he is getting back what he paid in. Affluent voters do not complain about paying for the retirement of low-income workers because they do not notice that they are. The program would be much smaller and more manageable if it stopped robbing Peter to pay Peter. The liberal fear is that a more openly welfarist program that robbed Peter to pay Paul would forfeit Peter’s enthusiasm.

The Democrats are talking about increasing the payroll taxes on wealthy people, which would not be necessary if we didn't pay benefits to wealthy people in the first place, which is done only because the Democrats fear if we didn't pay it to wealthy people, S.S. would be less politically secure.

The article goes on to note how this fear is not well-founded, as there's no evidence that people would cease to support Social Security, and how the Democratic solution (raising taxes) would be even less-well-supported.

The article then goes a little nutty, though, before returning to sanity:

Under the Bush plan, he would receive $16,417 a year from the government. Bush’s critics say that the same worker would get $19,544 if the current benefit levels are maintained. But they are wrong about what the current system “promises†and are therefore using the wrong comparison. Since the program can’t pay for its promises, an unreformed program would automatically cut benefits. Social Security, unreformed, would give our middle-income worker only $14,267. If we reform the program now, he will come out ahead — and that’s before we add in his opportunities for accumulating wealth in his personal account.

I can't abide by the notion that a smaller increase constitutes a cut, or even that a change in rate of increase is a cut, but not even I would claim this constitutes coming out ahead. Ahead of what would happen if the Trust Fund goes bankrupt, yes, but that's not exactly a great goal to shoot for.

It is, really, neither a cut nor an increase. It's level funding, inflation-adjusted. I think you can make the case that level funding is reasonable -- doesn't hurt anyone, and helps keeps the Trust Fund perpetually solvent -- without trying to make people think their Hydrox cookies are really Oreos.


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Why did the GOP not try to get Bolton passed before starting the judicial fight? It seems he would have been easy to pass before (he has a majority), but might be difficult to pass after (the Democrats might filibuster or otherwise block him if they lose the judicial fight).

I can only think of one reason so far: there's reports that Rehnquist might step down soon, and the GOP really wants to have this current fight won before that happens. I dunno, I feel like there's something missing.


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On McLaughlin Group this week, within the span of a minute or two, two gross misinterpretations were offered by liberals, and no serious correction was offered. So I'll offer them now.

First, they showed a clip of Senator Kennedy saying, if the 'nuclear option' passes, "the Senate majority will always be able to get its way, and the Senate our Founders created will no longer exist."

When asked by the moderator if the Democrats would defend the right to filibuster if they were in control, Bill Press followed up saying, "Democrats were in charge for over 40 years, they did not get rid of the filibuster."

The problem is, Senator Kennedy 10 years ago voted for a bill abolishing the filibuster (for, in his own words today, abolishing "the Senate our Founders created"), because, in the words of the bill's sponsor, "the filibuster is nothing short of legislative piracy." Yes, they did not get rid of it, but Kennedy -- the one who sparked this discussion -- tried to.

And, of course, as noted in my last journal entry, this slippery slope claim (limiting the filibuster in one way constitutes a destruction of the filibuster) is baseless anyway.

Then, Eleanor Clift defended the filibuster, saying, "if under the current rules we got a Clarence Thomas and we got an Antonin Scalia, what are we gonna get if we don't have to get 60 votes? Sixty votes force some sort of consensus."

The problem is, Thomas didn't get 60 votes, he got 52. The rules that Thomas got confirmed under are the same rules as the ones the Republicans want now. (In contrast, Scalia would have been confirmed under any set of rules, since he was confirmed 98-0, but this was pre-Bork.)

This also brings me to something else that's been in my craw about all this: the idea that there is some Constitutional right, or even intent, to provide a partisan balance in the Senate is nonsense. You hear this all the time from the Democrats, and it is incorrect. The Constitution couldn't care less about one party controlling the Senate. It cares about the Senate representing the wills of the respective states, not of parties.

Similarly, the purpose of unlimited debate in the Senate was never to allow a minority to prevent the Senate from acting, but to ensure that bills were not passed without everyone getting to say what they thought needed to be said. This purpose was exploited decades later to prevent the Senate from taking action. To imply that the filibuster -- the ability of a minority to prevent the Senate from acting through exploitation of a procedural side-effect -- is integral to the intent of the Founders is simply incorrect.

Crooks and Liars

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This video of Senator Lautenberg is making the rounds. Ha ha, the Republicans are like Palpatine. Ha ha.

The sad thing is, that Lautenberg's whole argument presented in the video is one big lie. The essential complaint is that you cannot remove part of the filibuster, you have to get rid of all of it, or keep all of it.

Well, maybe he would know, since he voted to get rid of all of it in 1995.

"You can't 'sort of' end the filibuster. ... Beware: once that barn door opens, we're going to see all kinds of changes. You can't sorta end the filibuster, you gotta either keep the filibuster, or you end it. Would the Majority Leader like to rename the Jimmy Stewart film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington Except For Judges?"

What barn door does he mean? We have 26 laws on the books that limit the filibuster. Twenty-six. You can't filibuster a budget resolution, a resolution calling for the use of force, international trade agreements, nuclear waste site approval, and more. There is no slippery slope in regard to limiting the filibuster here: if there is one, it started long before now.

And his expressed love of the filibuster is undermined by his previous vote to abolish it entirely.

Surely Lautenberg knows this. He is just hoping you don't. But now you do.

Republican Things

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Tuesday I went to the Republican caucus for Snohomish County Council District 1. It was not the most useful of events.

The purpose of the caucus is to select delegates to the convention in June, where the county party will select its candidates for the County Council. Useless point #1: we already know it is going to be incumbent John Koster in District 1. Useless point #2: almost everyone who showed up was a PCO, which means they are automatic delegates to the convention anyway.

So on the two most important things, this was useless. However, we also picked up a few new PCOs and other delegates from the attendees who were not already PCOs, so that's useful (not to snipe, but apparently, the King County Democrats are only allowing PCOs in to the convention, while the GOP in King and Snohomish are allowing any citizens to participate, just like the normal party caucus, as long as they only participate with the GOP party system during the election season).

Further, this is a trial run for next year, when we will likely be doing this "for real" in the '06 elections. Plus, the symbolism is good: this is our party, and we will choose the candidate that bears our name.

Thursday I went to the campaign kickoff for another Republican incumbent on the County Council, Jeff Sax. Jeff is in Council District 5, south of where I live, but his seat is going to be the most hotly contested, and Republicans from all over the county are going to be supporting his campaign, even if they can't vote for him.

The Snohomish County Council is the only county council in Puget Sound with a Republican majority, and it is only 3-2. It's important not just to Snohomish residents, but to the whole region, as on a lot of issues -- like land use -- it is only this county council that stands up against the state and other special interests in support of taxpayers.

And Jeff is the one vulnerable piece in that important puzzle, and the broad support he received tonight shows how important his reelection is. Even outside the county, he is getting a lot of notable support. State Attorney General Rob McKenna was there, and former-Governor-elect Dino Rossi was going to attend, but went to DC this week. Radio talk show hosts Kirby Wilbur and Jerry Miller, Sheriff Rick Bart (who is running for Snohomish County Executive in a few years), King County Councilman David Irons (who is running for King County Executive this year), and many others major regional officials were there to support Jeff.

Too bad you missed it!

Just One

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I am watching the Senate debate Judge Owens' nomination to the circuit court.

The Democrats are talking.

I am not hearing a single argument that is not a logical fallacy, or simply hypocritical.

Some examples:

  • It's tradition.
    No, it's not. Never until GW Bush has any judge with majority support in the Senate ever been successfully filibustered, and only rarely has it ever been attempted. Further, filibusters were not a part of the Senate when it started in the 1700s, and

  • The GOP is saying the filibuster has never been used before, but that is clearly false.
    It is also false that the GOP is saying that.

  • The GOP filibustered some Clinton appointees.
    Granted, though unsuccessfully, because many Republicans refused to participate, even though they voted against the nominees. And at the time, most of the Democrats said it was wrong to filibuster judges, and some of them -- including Kennedy and Kerry -- even tried to abolish the filibuster altogether, not just for judicial appointees.

  • The GOP has blocked Clinton appointees in many other ways.
    None of which are relevant, not being filibusters.

  • The Senate is supposed to check and balance the power of the President to nominate judges.
    And removing the filibuster would in no way change that fact.

  • The GOP will violate the rules of the Senate to remove the filibuster.

  • Some of these judges are extreme.
    So vote against them. This is not an argument for the filibuster, but against the judges.

  • The Constitution doesn't say the Senate minority cannot use the rules of the Senate to prevent confirming a judge.
    The Constitution also doesn't say the Senate can't change its own rules.

  • Special interests are controlling the agenda!
    On both sides, yes.

  • They are lying!
    You're lying.

And so on. Am I missing an actual good argument in there?

Second-Class Citizens

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"Products that treat erectile dysfunction are part of the overall treatment of patients. Medicare and Medicaid patients should not be like second-class citizens when their diseases are treated," he said.

If "[treated like] second-class citizens" means "getting only necessary treatment," then absolutely, people who are getting their care paid for by tax dollars should be treated like second-class citizens. The purpose of these programs is to help people who have needs they cannot pay for by themselves, not to make their lives as good as they would be if they could pay for themselves.

Crazy Retarded People

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Someone sends me an AIM, and at first this was my own personal The Wrong George moment, but then the person got REALLY crazy-loco. I censored a few words so as not to offend the readers.

AIM IM with Pawlosko.
Pawlosko: Hey rus, its Captain Tenille.
Pawlosko: I'm away from my home right now and using a friend's screen name.
Pawlosko: Had a quick question for you...
Chris Nandor: who?
Pawlosko: CT
Chris Nandor: think maybe you got the wrong person.
Pawlosko: ...
Pawlosko: Anyway NIWS has a new account, hoping you could wipe it before it causes problems.
Pawlosko: Are you looking in the logs??
Chris Nandor: i have no idea what you're talking about. i don't know you or NIWS.
Chris Nandor: you have the wrong nick.
Pawlosko: rusty?
Pawlosko has been blocked.

Pawlosko has been unblocked.
AIM IM with Pawlosko.
Pawlosko: Are you pudge?
Pawlosko: ***** ******, do you want me to *** *** *** ***?
Pawlosko: Why are you fixing to start ****?
Chris Nandor: no, i am rusty.
Pawlosko: Who is NIWS then?
Chris Nandor: the guy with the new account, duh.
Pawlosko: Idiot.

AIM IM with Pawlosko.
Pawlosko: Everyone I know says you are a total ****, pudge.
Pawlosko: So are you going to *** *** *** or not?
Pawlosko: s
Pawlosko: **** **** like you **** ESR's you little ****.
Chris Nandor: riiiiiiight.
Pawlosko has been blocked.

Choose Your Own Candidate

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WA Secretary of State wants to allow anyone on the primary ballots to say they are from any party they choose to say they are from. He said the other day, "on the thought that somehow you can say to somebody, you can't call yourself a Republican or Democrat (on a ballot), just doesn't wash."

But the Supreme Court disagrees with him. In California Democratic Party vs. Bill Jones, Secretary of State of California, Justice Scalia wrote for the majority:

In no area is the political association’s right to exclude more important than in the process of selecting its nominee. That process often determines the party’s positions on the most significant public policy issues of the day, and even when those positions are predetermined it is the nominee who becomes the party’s ambassador to the general electorate in winning it over to the party’s views. ...

... our cases vigorously affirm the special place the First Amendment reserves for, and the special protection it accords, the process by which a political party “select[s] a standard bearer who best represents the party’s ideologies and preferences.†The moment of choosing the party’s nominee, we have said, is “the crucial juncture at which the appeal to common principles may be translated into concerted action, and hence to political power in the community.â€

In other words, Reed is clearly wrong, and either he doesn't know it, or he is pandering to the voters who don't know or don't care.

The party gets to choose its candidate. The only way the voters got around this is by not having a partisan general election: if you disregard party in the general election, then therefore the primary is not selecting the nominee of the party, so the primary can be open. But that doesn't mean the party cannot choose their nominee prior to the primary, and nothing Sam Reed can say will take away this clearly existing right of political parties.

Caucuses Tonight

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GOP caucuses are tonight in Snohomish County, WA. Basically, existing PCOs (precinct-level party officials, elected on the primary ballot last September) are automatic delegates to the convention next month, and anyone else can be elected a delegate at the caucuses tonight. At the convention, we will select our nominees to go on the primary ballot in the fall.

As you may recall, I was elected the Bryant PCO, though now I live in the Henning precinct. Either way, I am on the First Council District and will be working to re-elect John Koster to the county council, perhaps the best quality politician I've ever met. A great guy, smart, tough, committed, principled ... in our district the nomination convention is essentially a formality, since Koster is a shoo-in for the nomination no matter how it's done.

Mac-Glue-1.25 Released

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Mac-Glue-1.25 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.25, Monday, May 15, 2005
   Fix up some of recent fixes in Mac::AETE::App, which broke certain older apps
   Fix gluemac to get proper app path when recreating glues.
   Add new browsers_open_window example.

Posted using release by brian d foy.


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Newsweek is apologizing for its report on desecration of the Koran at Gitmo, a report which caused violent protests, resulting in hundreds injured and 16 dead people. All from a report the magainze no longer stands by as accurate and truthful.

What to do about it? Many people probably would like to see criminal charges brought, but none fit, that I can see. It's generally legal to print falsehoods, even outright lies. You could try to prove they intended people to die by their actions, but that would be nigh impossible.

We can't make a new law to punish them, because the Constitution prohibits that. But maybe we can do something about it for next time. Maybe a law that makes it illegal to "print false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States with intent to defame the said government into contempt or disrepute."

Call it an immodest proposal.

Mac-Growl-0.64 Released

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Mac-Growl-0.64 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

0.64  Sun May 15 07:06:05 2005
    - Fix Mac::Glue method to specify typeUnicodeText
    - Include glues for people not using Mac::Glue 1.24 or above

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Glue-1.24 Released

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Mac-Glue-1.24 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.24, Sunday, May 14, 2005
   Rewrite Mac::AETE::App to use OSAGetAppTerminology for retrieving aete data.
   Requires update to Mac::Carbon 0.74 (which includes Mac::OSA 1.05).
   Fix some older bugs with legacy apps which have no app signature.

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Carbon-0.74 Released

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Mac-Carbon-0.74 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v0.74, 14 May 2005
   Add OSAGetAppTerminology to Mac::OSA, which is what we should have been
   doing all along for getting terminology instead of trying to handle it
   ourselves in Mac::Glue.

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Growl-0.63 Released

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Mac-Growl-0.63 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

0.63  Fri May 13 20:28:00 2005
    - Updated warning in Mac-Growl.t to be less fear-inducing
    - Make notifications go out to all logged-in users under
    - Be smarter with encodings

Posted using release by brian d foy.

T M B G: A B C

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N I, I M N X


I C U, I C U

N I, I W


I C U, I C U
I C U, I C U

Federalist No. 10

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Madison writes that one of the main problems facing them is dealing with factions: groups of citizens who are united by some common interest adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the interests of the community.

He deduces that there are two ways of dealing with factions: prevent them, or control their effects. Similarly, there are two ways to prevent them: take away the liberty that allows them to exist, or make everyone hold the same opinions.

Just as air fuels a flame, you can douse the flame by removing the air, but this has the effect of destroying life as well, and that remedy "is worse than the disease." And as all men are different, have different views, different economic circumstances, they will never hold the same opinions.

So if the causes of faction cannot be removed, the effects must be controlled.

Democracy cannot control faction, if the faction includes a majority, as Democracy allows the majority faction to succeed in its interests. A Republic -- representative democracy -- on the other hand, has hope.

There are two important ways in which a Republic differs from a Democracy: delegation of authority to a small group of citizens elected by the rest, and coverage by this government of a greater number of citizens and larger area than Democracy can reasonably cover.

The effect of factions can be diminished by being funnelled through representatives who, it is hoped, will be generally wise and patriotic, have a love of justice, and be least likely subject to factiousness: "it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves."

Not that this is a sure thing: "On the other hand, the effect may be inverted." Men may be elected who themselves are more factious than the people they represent. However, large republics can help guard against this, too, by simply having more opportunity for a sufficient number of representatives to keep such factiousness in the minority.

True, small republics can simply increase the number of representatives, but those representatives would be chosen by a smaller number of people, thus making it easier for unworthy candidates to reach office.

[Madison notes here that should there be too many people voting for a candidate, he will be unacquainted with all the interests of the people he represents, and if too few, then he will be too attached to those interests. The proposed Constitution deals with this primarily by recognizing that local affairs should be handled locally (*cough*).]

And as the number of people in the legislature can discourage factiousness, so too can an exapnsive geographic area, because factions are usually based in geographic areas. The more area covered, the less likely a faction will have a majority. And even if the factious feelings are felt by a majority, by being spread out they will be less likely to organize.

And not insignificant is the notion that by having a great number of people from a wide area, people will necessarily be skeptical of attempts to convince: "where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary."

[Of course, much of this has changed today. Communication over wide distances is no longer a problem, and this communication has also brought much of us together culturally so that our factions are not bound significantly by geography, not nearly as much as they were, though such distinctions are not diminished entirely, not by a longshot.]

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist .
Through the Glass Darkly is another cover by Randy Stonehill, from his 1980 album The Sky Is Falling, that I recorded. and has always been one of my favorite songs. It's also a bit of a departure for me: longer, more parts, more effects, more intricate, and so on; I spent a lot more time on this than any of my previous songs -- just over a year -- and far more than any of the other covers, which were each done in a day.

This title of the song is a reference to 1 Corinthians 13:12, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." It's a bit of a statement about how we can't know it all, not unlike the theme of You're Clueless.

It was recorded with Logic, using the Washburn and Martin, drum loops, and the B3 organ synth in Logic. I love that synth.

Schneier on REAL ID

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Some people are afraid to speak out against someone like Bruce Schneier, when he is talking about an area of expertise, like security.

I am not one of these people.

Read that page, and UnRealID, which echoes the same sentiments. Most of it is complete drivel. His points are largely irrelevant or inaccurate.

  • The bill says ID info must be machine-readable, making them more prone to identity theft.

    Problem is almost every state DL is already machine-readable, and there is no reason to suspect that private businesses will be more likely to get this information from me under REAL ID than they are now.

  • Eventually the cards could be required to have RFID.

    OK, complain about that when it happens. It is not in this bill.

  • The cards require actual addresses, no exceptions, not even for judges, police, or undercover cops.

    So a judge or cop doesn't give his ID out for scanning to anyone who doesn't need it. When was the last time anyone who wasn't a government official even LOOKED at your driver's license, let alone scanned it? Every once in awhile a store will look at it, but I wouldn't let them scan it. Just decline to give your ID to anyone to scan, unless they are official. Big deal.

    As to undercover cops ... are you RETARDED? What undercover cop is going to carry his actual ID on him? Undercover cops have always been able to get fake IDs, and that won't change.

  • The ID databases will be linked.

    Yes, the "linked database" boogeyman. The government can SPY on you (as if without this, they would be unable to do so just as easily).

    Of course it would make identity theft easier in theory with a single point of failure, but what the hell do I care, when I am in danger in fact from many multiple points of failure anyway?

  • The IDs cannot be given to illegal aliens, which means, um, our roads will be less safe.

    Uh, no, it won't. Most illegals can't or won't get them now, because they are afraid to, and most of the time they do get them it is because they lied about their identity to get them. And what's the alternative, to license illegal aliens, which encourages illegal immigration, and therefore creates more of an immigration problem, which is inherently a security problem?

He also links to previous pages wherein he basically makes an argument against identification, since it is not perfect, and therefore when we use it, we are trusting it, when we shouldn't. That's true, but what is the alternative? No IDs? No passports? No driver's licenses? Where does it end? He uses a broad argument to attack a specific instance, but this broad argument would also attack other instances in the same manner. Why check ID at military installations? How about random screening?

And then he calls all this is representative of living in a "police state," thereby showing exactly how he arrived at such uncharacteristically poor logic: he is emotional about the issue and unable to objectively evaluate it.

I am not in favor of REAL ID per se. I don't know enough about it, and have mixed feelings about national IDs, and required IDs. But normally sane people can't expect to convince too many people by abandoning their sanity.

Re: Twitticism

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Translation of TorgoX: "Speeches that have straightforward meaning that I disagree with are an abomination, and must be ridiculed."
[Note: in Snohomish County, WA, we begin the nominating convention process next week, with caucuses. Same thing is happening in King County. And people are angry because they won't have as much of a voice in selecting candidates as they thought they would when they voted for an initiative that would partially restore the so-called "blanket primary" that the courts threw out.]

The reason political parties exist is for like-minded people to come together to further their own political interests. The Supreme Court recognizes the right to free association and this true nature of political parties, and concludes parties themselves should therefore choose who represents them on a ballot.

The reason a primary exists is to nominate candidates of a given party to office. It used to be, some nominees were chosen by primary, and others merely got enough signatures to be nominated to the general election as independents, or members of third parties. But now, neither of these methods exists: only the top two of all candidates in the primary are in the general election, reducing the freedom of people to put candidates on the ballot, reducing choice, and abolishing the purpose of the primary.

Having lost their right to place a candidate of their choice on the general election ballot, parties do what they must: they limit the candidates who affiliate with them to one, chosen in a nominating convention, as is their absolute right.

Don't blame the parties here. Blame yourselves for not understanding what you voted for last November.
Part of Apple's security paradigm is to ask the user before potentially dangerous actions are executed. This sounds nice, but it has a serious flaw: the users don't understand the questions or the proposed answers.

This cropped up recently when a user noted that Dashboard widgets can install and execute automatically from a web page. The question is asked: what about malicious widgets? Widgets can only execute certain actions -- like network access -- if they declare their intentions, and if they do, the user is asked something to the effect of, "Do you want to use this widget?" when it is run for the first time.

Me, if that window pops up when I haven't told the computer explicitly to install and run a widget, I'll say no. But most people won't. Most people don't understand what a widget is, why it might have been installed and run, and what might happen if they say yes, and what might happen if they say no.

Apple used the same "fix" for the running new applications for the first time when it is being run via a protocol handler or a file. "You've never run this application, are you sure you want to run it now?" Sure, why not?

The real fix there is to not ever launch an application for the first time -- ever -- unless explicitly run by a user action. That's not complicated. But Apple wants to be able to have applications, when they first appear on a new volume, registered with the system, register file and protocol handlers. But they shouldn't. That is the security problem itself.

Similarly, with Dashboard widgets, launching them in any way except through the Dashboard UI should simply be disallowed. You can install it by double-clicking, but not execute it. That would go a long way toward protecting ignorant users, which is most of them, probably including me and anyone else reading this, as there's a lot about these systems we don't know all that well.

Federalist No. 9

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Republics have long been denigrated because of the poor example that Greece and Italy set for them, with their near-constant internal strife.

Hamilton defends the proposed Constiution by way of explaining that where those republics set negative examples, America could set a positive one by rectifying the errors made by them. Politics, like most sciences, has significantly improved since the republics of old, and the American republic would have features the others didn't such as regular distribution of power into distinct departments, legislative "balances and checks," institution of courts composed of judges holding office during good behavior, and popular representation through direct election.

[Note that this is the only time in the Federalist Papers that the words "checks" and "balances" appear together, and it refers to bicameralism -- a legislature divided into House and Senate -- not the three branches. But we'll get more into that much later.]

Another important new feature is a strong federal government. A Union. Previous republics had been essentially confederations of sovereign states, and while in America those states would continue to be sovereign in large measure, they would also surrender portions of their sovereinty to the whole.

Hamilton quotes Montesquieu at length, including: "Should a popular insurrection happen in one of the confederate states the others are able to quell it. Should abuses creep into one part, they are reformed by those that remain sound." Inherent to the argument of union as a means to preserve internal peace and tranquility is the idea that it only works so long as when there are threats to it, it is from relatively small portions of that union. We saw in the Civil War, of course, what happens when those portions become greater.

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist .

I Know It's Early

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I think 2008 will be the first time in over 50 years that we will have neither an incumbent President nor incumbent Vice President as one of the two major party nominees for the Presidency. In 1952, when Harry Truman was President, Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson ran against General Dwight Eisenhower. That was the last time it happened.

In 1956, President Eisenhower ran; in 1960, VP Nixon ran; 1964, President Kennedy; 1968, VP Hubert Humphrey; 1972, President Nixon; 1976, President Ford; 1980, President Carter; 1984, President Reagan; 1988, VP Bush; 1992, President Bush; 1996, President Clinton; 2000, VP Gore; 2004, President Bush.

Huh, only once did a sitting VP win election in that time, 1988.

Anyway, Bush can't run, and Cheney won't. So unless we get a new President or VP in the next few years, we will not have an incumbent, which might make both fields more wide open than any of us have ever seen. Although, 1968 and 1976 were fairly open, and Hillary may lock up the nomination very early this time around.

This is early to talk about I guess, but debates begin in about two years (the first Democratic debates for the 2004 election were conducted around May or June 2003).

All Greek To Me

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On Slashdot recently we had an article about recently discovered Greek New Testament manuscripts, and how they were able to be decoded. And so many people made such grand sweeping statements about what this could mean. I want to call them amateurs, but they are not even knowledgable enough to be amateurs. I'm an amateur, they are just completely full of it.

I came across a nice example of this recently, when someone sent me this brief article, which reads:

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.

A more complete article goes into greater detail. But many details are missing.

For example, it says what the more traditional versions say ("six hundred threescore and six"), but not what this version, Oxyrhynchus, says (actually given in numerals). It also doesn't say why Oxyrhynchus should be considered more authoritative: any first-year student of textual criticism can tell you age is not the only factor.

And perhaps worst of all, it quotes someone who has a certain theological bent, who doesn't think of Revelations as prophecy about the end times, who is therefore predisposed to want it to say something other than what more traditional theologians think it says. And they don't quote any alternative view.

But the real story is more interesting, and less sensational. And it is not new. An article in Tyndale Bulletin by Peter Head from five years ago mentions that Oxyrhynchus uses the 616 number, and actually gives us some background.

First, we know that 616 is not a new variant. Ephraemi Rescriptus ("C", from the fifth century) had it, though it was written differently. And predating any of these manuscripts is St. Irenaeus of the second century, who dismissed the various copies containing "616" as transcription errors. If age is the most important thing, we have records of Irenaeus older than this manuscript using "666" as the number.

Head notes that a Hebrew transliteration of Nero's name from Greek to Hebrew actually changes the calculus from "666" to "616," which might also explain why in Oxyrhynchus the number is in Roman numerals instead of written out in letters, like the more traditional version; perhaps someone redid the math to match the name of the assumed referent, and then wrote it out in numbers because it was simpler.

Codex Sinaiticus is considered by many to be the most authoritative text we have. It has the "666" rendering. P100, the manuscript from Oxyrhynchus, is maybe 100 years older. But age is not everything, and sometimes, it is nothing. We've been studying Sinaiticus for 146 years, and Oxyrhynchus for less than 10.

P100 has a long way to go if it is to be given primacy merely because it is older, especially considering the lack of historical support (e.g., via Irenaeus) and textual support (the variant is quite uncommon). This discovery does grant more credence to the "616" rendering than it had before, but only very slightly, and not nearly enough to overthrow the historical and textual support "666" has.

Again, I am an amateur at this, so I could be totally wrong. But if nothing else, it's not hard to see why so many people who have comments on this topic really shouldn't be saying anything at all, because they have no clue about any of it.

To Be Or Not To Be (A Cut)

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There's a lot of discussion out there about what consitutes a "cut" in Social Security benefits.

A: You're reducing the amount that people would get if there were no changes.
B: But it would cut the rate of growth, not the actual benefit, which will stay the same in real dollars.
A: But it is a reduction in the promised benefit.
B: Well no, nothing was promised. It was estimated, extrapolated based on current law, which is and always has been subject to change.

I could go on, and you can tell which letter I favor. But I will present a slightly different argument for not calling it a cut: it's poor communication.

Most labelling is, of course. If I call Bush a great guy, what does that mean? Is he large? Or nice? Or brilliant? All of the above? And even if we figure that out, to what degree is he great?

The whole point of labels is to streamline communication. As it turns out, in a given context, we probably understand in what way he is said to be great, and we don't really care about the specific degree, because it's probably not important. It's just a convenience, a way to sum up more complex truths, simply. That is what labels exist for. It's only a small part of the truth, but that's OK.

But when we're talking about Social Security, this isn't sufficient. "Cut" can mean many things. It can mean a reduction in currently expected benefits, or a reduction of benefits in real terms. It could mean increasing the retirement age, or it could mean means testing. This is an issue where the devil is in the details, and it is not sufficient communication to tritely label it.

There is only one reason to sum it all up by calling it a "cut": to obfuscate the details. There's no other reason to do it.

Again, look at the purpose of all labels: to conveniently sum up more complex truths, simply. But using "cut" here is not a convenient way to look at the truth, because it actually confuses matters through its inspecificity, as evidenced by the long semantic discussions that have inevitably followed, discussions which have been far more complex and difficult to follow than if we had just explained the specific natures of these "cuts" in the first place.

That's the most clear, and inarguable, sign of poor semantics: when you take more time to explain and justify your semantic choices than if you had made different choices at the start.

The question is, why obfuscate the details in such a poorly communicated manner? Why bother? And the answer is not new, it goes on all the time, and it is increasingly becoming one of my greater pet peeves.

It's like calling "blogging" "journalism." Or "Bush" "Hitler." We know full well that the comparison is, at best, imperfect, but we hope to, by expanding the definition of the latter word to include the former, modify how we think of the former. This avoids a more reasoned discussion of exactly what is worthwhile about "blogging" or what is evil about "Bush."

That's not to say such reasoning doesn't happen along with the labelling, but the labelling is often an additional tactic being used. The problem is that it doesn't work, as honest communication. It only tends to, in the short term, help to push an agenda. But even that is short-lived.

Let's say that in my mind, I see "journalism" as "professional writers adhering to a certain set of standards and practices who report news." A "blogger," to me, doesn't fit the meaning of "journalist" in my mind, maybe because much of what he does I don't consider to be news, or because he has a different set of standards and practices.

Now, "journalism" is more highly respected in my mind due to its longer history, because of great things that have happened in journalism. And I also see it as distinct from "blogging." So in order to grant some of that credibility my mind lends to "journalism" also to "blogging," proponents of the latter try to convince my mind that they are of the same thing, that "blogging" is "journalism."

In order for me to accept this, the meaning I have for "journalism" must necessarily be modified. But this is counterproductive to the entire purpose of labels, which is to simplify and streamline: the broader a definition gets, the less useful it is. And this credibility shift works both ways, because not only does it in the short term raise up "blogging" to the higher level in my mind, in the long term it will bring down "journalism" to the lowest common denominator. So if "blogging" doesn't improve itself, and I think of "blogging" as "journalism," then eventually I will necessarily think less of "journalism" than I do now.

Similarly, when many people think of a "cut," they don't think necessarily think of a change in a nonbinding actuarial estimate. Some people probably do, but many don't. But opponents of Bush want you to think of that as a "cut," because "cut" is pejorative, and they want you to think ill of Bush's plan. And they don't care that it is poor communication, because if they can through their justifications of the semantic choice convince you it is indeed a cut, that is good, because if they had just explained what it actually is, they run the risk of you not thinking about it in negative terms.

And they don't care that in the long term it might modify our definitions of "cut" in an unuseful way, for two reasons: they are thinking only of the short term, and they can always try to redefine it again later if necessary.

That said, this goes both ways politically, too. Insisting something is not a "cut" is trying to narrow the definition of "cut" so that this thing doesn't fit, thereby attempting to raise its profile in my mind. "It's OK, because it is not a cut!" That said, this argument is usually not offered in a vacuum, but as a reaction to the definition-broadening previously described. That doesn't make it any more reasonable in terms of the efficacy of communication, but it seems a bit less objectionable in moral terms, to me. However, my preferred reaction would be along the lines of, "let's not argue about whether this is a cut or not, let's define precisely what is happening, and let people decide if it is a good thing or a bad thing on a factual basis instead of a semantic one."

This is a process that goes on in our brains constantly. We are always modifying the meanings we have for words. But this process usually happens for a naturally occurring utilitarian purpose, not to meet some agenda.

I can't ask people to not use this tactic to make their case. People who use it mostly, at some level, understand what they are doing and don't care. But I can try to spread the word that people who see it can recognize it. I adjure people to not get caught up in trite labelling intended to help or harm the thing being labelled, and instead ask, "what do you mean by that?"

On a Theocracy

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Federalist No. 8

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So Hamilton and Jay have talked at length about how there could likely be hostilities between the states if not for Union. But ... so what? What's wrong with that?

No, seriously.

Hamilton says that consequences would be even worse for war between States than one might normally expect between two neighboring nations, because the less-established colonies don't have the same protections from invasion. England and France may war, but in the end, they remain England and France.

"The history of war, in that quarter of the globe, is no longer a history of nations subdued and empires overturned, but of towns taken and retaken; of battles that decide nothing; of retreats more beneficial than victories; of much effort and little acquisition." But it would be entirely different between the States, because the borders between the states are wide open.

Because it would be so relatively simple, war would be a constant threat, and therefore a threat also to liberty: "Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free."

I don't think any of us need much imagination to understand the argument.

He notes that standing armies are a possibility under the new Constitution (this will be discussed more fully later), but would be inevitable following the dissolution of the Union. Standing armies have many problems, not the least of which is that they strengthen the executive at the expense of the legislature.

He discusses the wide difference between nations who are seldom invaded, and those that often are, focusing primarily on the threat the military -- mostly a function of its size, but also of how active it is -- poses to the citizens. A small and largely inactive army can be overpowered by the citizens if necessary. A large standing army, far less so.

Because in the case of States open to perpetual invasion, the armies must be large and constantly prepared to act, which "enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionally degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil."

One of the reasons Great Britain has not fallen prey to this is that it is on an island, and its armies are less among the people. A preserved Union could enjoy a similar advantage, as it has no currently forseen need for extensive military establishments, as long as they stay united.

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist .

Ernest Schmidt wrote in a letter published Tuesday that there is no financial problem with Social Security and Medicare, we just need to stop raiding the trust fund.

This is not remotely accurate. Yes, we have taken money from the Social Security trust fund, through the purchase of government bonds. But those bonds are not mere IOUs. No one in government is saying that money will not be paid back, and in fact, to make such a claim is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

And on the contrary, by purchasing government bonds, the trust fund is *more* healthy than it otherwise would have been, because that money can grow in value, instead of losing value due to inflation. It may not be good for the rest of the government, but it is good for the trust fund.

And as to not being in financial trouble: pretty much everyone on both sides of the aisle agrees the trust fund will be completely empty at some point, if nothing changes. The Democrats like to quote the CBO year, 2052, while the Republicans like the SSA number, 2041. But if we didn't purchase government bonds, that fund would expire even sooner.

Mac-Carbon-0.73 Released

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Mac-Carbon-0.73 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v0.73, 3 May 2005
   Change cast of errno in Carbon.h to make it build under gcc 4.  (Sherm Pendley)
   Re-fix Makefile for older ExtUtils::MakeMaker versions.

Posted using release by brian d foy.
Mac-AppleEvents-Simple-1.17 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.17, Tuesday, May 3, 2005
   In Tiger, apparently, AECountItems() now returns true for some "lists"
   it didn't return true for before, such as typeObjectSpecifierRecord, and
   our code falsely assumed it would return false.

Posted using release by brian d foy.
jjohn writes about Intelligent Design.

The stupid thing about momst discussions about ID is that it's just a way of saying, "hey, the theory of evolution of species doesn't preclude the Bible being true." ID is not a big deal. Nothing to see here.

jjohn writes, "So to those proponents of Intelligent Design, I implore you to pick a side: faith or science. By choosing faith, you abdicate your voice in scientific debates and inquiry for the certainty of Knowing the Truth and basking in unctuous Righeousnes. By choosing science, you must adopt its methods and put your hypothesis up for independent verification."

Saying so misunderstands the purpose and intent of ID. It also misunderstands the very nature of faith, in that it in no way conflicts with science, which is largely the point here. I think many people who were far better scientists than anyone in this ID debate and who were also people of religious faith might think such statements are pretty damned stupid.

Re: Ghostbusters

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TorgoX references an article on Wired which reads:

*A note to the feds involved in this case: This is an American artist charged under the "Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act"! Think of the judgment of history, people! You'll be pathetic footnotes in the history of McCarthyite lunacy!

Why do people insist on invoking McCarthy in such a way that hurts their case? McCarthy was, we know, right about the Soviet and communist infiltration of the government. Calling this "McCarthyite" tells me that maybe this guy was doing something wrong, as many of those investigated by McCarthy had.

Trust Fund

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There are different figures out there about when the Social Security retirement Trust Fund loses money.

Basically, here's the deal: the Social Security Administration says the Trust Fund will run out of money in 2041. It will be empty. They say it will begin to go into deficit -- that is, it will take in less than it gives out -- in 2017. But because it has so much money in it (in the form of government bonds), it will still be solvent, while in a state of deficit, until 2041.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the years are not 2017 and 2041, but 2020 and 2052.

On Sunday's This Week, Nancy Pelosi had her facts right. Chris Dodd on Meet the Press, however, was completely wrong. He said 2042, which is the old SSA number, and since he is a member of Congress, he should use the CBO number, unless he is going to qualify it.

Worse, he said that the Trust Fund would have 80 percent of its funds in 2042. No, that date is when the Trust Fund is empty. It will have 0 percent of its funds in 2042 (or 2041, or 2052, or whatever the date is). Perhaps he meant only 80 percent (the SSA says 73 percent, close enough?) of benefits will be able to be paid at that time, and merely misspoke.

George Allen on Meet the Press was better, but not by much. He said that in some future date -- 2017, 2018, 2041 -- that SS revenues will be insufficient to pay for benefits. If he had only said 2017/2018, I'd think he meant that it won't be enough to pay benefits without dipping into the Trust Fund. But since he added 2041, it makes me think he meant ability to pay at all. But that's not right either, because the SSA predicts it will still be able to cover 73 percent of benefits in 2041.

Or maybe Allen was violating the Constitution by questioning the public debt of the United States. I'm sorry to say that's the most logical interpretation, because the only time the dates 2017 and 2041 would be similar in ability to pay benefits is if the public debt -- the money owed to the Trust Fund -- were not paid back.

OK, so maybe that's not better.

Music: I Did It Again

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I found some old versions of the Britney Spears song "Oops, I Did It Again," one by Louis Armstrong and some Big Band thing. In that spirit, I also "found" an old version of the song by Bob Dylan, although he apparently thought the word "oops" was beneath him.

Recorded with GarageBand.

Sunday Thoughts

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Senator Patrick Leahy was on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and he sounded worse worse than anyone on a Sunday show I've seen since Howard Dean on Meet The Press the summer before the primaries.

He evaded all the questions, and Wallace cut him very little slack. It was a massacre. What's scary -- for the Democrats -- is that Nancy Pelosi was on This Week and she got smacked around similarly by George Stephanopolous. While fair in his role on ABC, he certainly leans pretty far left, and if he is not buying what she's selling, how does she expect anyone else will?

Here's a basic translation of Leahy's ordeal.

Q: How would you fix Social Security?
A: Bush won't talk to us.
Q: But what would you do?
A: Bush won't talk to us.
Q: Sorry, but you're lying. He has said the exact opposite. He said everything is up for negotiation, except for raising taxes. It's the Democrats who said they won't bargain on privatization.
A: Nuh-uh!
Q: Actually, yes.
A: Um, well, Bush told me something different last night. You weren't there.
Q: Uh, riiiiiight. So what was your plan again? I mean, you're in Congress, he's not. This is your job.
A: Please stop. I got nothing.
Q: Moving right along ... you said 8 years ago you would fight against any judicial filibuster. Now you are participating in one. Why the switch?
A: That was a different kind of filibuster. You're completely misrepresenting what I said! Besides, Frist filibustered too! I guess he only favors filibusters if there's a Democratic President.
Q: Like you favor them only for Republican Presidents? And Frist would also do away with the kind of "filibuster" you say you were objecting to, which is not actually a filibuster, and you said you objected to all judicial filibusters anyway. You said you wanted an up-or-down vote, which is what Frist's plan would do. What's the problem?
A: I didn't really mean any filibuster. You should know that because I am telling you now, 8 years after the fact, in a convoluted explanation that is patently ridiculous. You see, what I objected to was one person holding up a nomination in committee, even if they didn't have enough votes to be confirmed. What I am in favor of is many people holding up a nomination on the floor, even if they do have enough votes to be confirmed. You see the difference? And I used the term "filibuster" to refer to the former and not the latter, even though to most people it refers to the latter and not the former, just to confuse you. It worked, hahahaha! And besides, we have approved 208 out of 218 of Bush's nominees, that's pretty good!
Q: But it comes out to only 2/3 of his appellate nominees. That's pretty bad.
A: Well ... if it were just up to me and Specter, this wouldn't be a problem.
Q: How would you fix it?
A: Frist won't talk to us.
Q: Come on.
A: Again, I got nothing.
Q: You already used that up with Bush. Try again.
A: Sigh, OK. Well, you see, if the majority can just change the rules, then why not have only 5 Senators needed to approve judges? Or why not require 85? If we allow them to do whatever they want, they could make all gay people spontaneously combust tomorrow, and maybe that's what you want, but it is not what the American people want!
Q: Huh. When you said you got nothing, you weren't kidding.
A: I tried to warn you.

Mac::Glue and Tiger

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Tiger ships with Mac::Carbon and Mac::Glue. Huzzah. That's the most code I've ever written that's been included in a default OS configuration (unless Slash is included in some OS I don't know about).

Some notes:

  • Mac::Carbon requires gcc 3.3 or below, it doesn't work with gcc 4.

    I don't know why, and anyone who wants to fix this or give me clues would make me happy. For now, my personal box is using gcc 3.3 instead (sudo gcc_select 3.3), because I have no desire to try to deal with the problem.

    Of course, if using the Mac::Carbon that is already included in Tiger, you don't need to care, because it has already been built. Presumably with gcc 3.3. :-)

  • Mac::Glue doesn't include any glues. You have to create your own.

    The scripts needed to do so are included too.

        cd /System/Library/Perl/Extras/bin/
        sudo ./gluedialect
        sudo ./gluescriptadds
        sudo ./gluemac '/System/Library/CoreServices/System'
        sudo ./gluemac /System/Library/CoreServices/
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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