June 2006 Archives

Grumpy Old Man Strikes Again

| | Comments (0)

An e-mail I wrote to Reliable Sources was read on the air last Sunday (it's about halfway down, just grep for "Nandor").

The question was, from the previous week, "Should the media have given more coverage of the decision not to indict Karl Rove in the CIA leak case?"

Here's the complete e-mail I sent (the part read on the air italicized):

I think the Rove non-indictment was given as much coverage as it deserved, given its actual importance. However, given the incredible amount of coverage the story received previously -- far more than it was due -- the media absolutely should have given more coverage to last week's announcement.

There was never any evidence Rove broke any laws, there was never a promise by Bush to fire someone who was "involved" (only if they actually did something wrong), and so on.

Worst of all, the other "story" about this -- that Bush authorized Libby to give information to reporters -- was the biggest nonstory I've ever seen in my life. Three years ago, we knew that Bush authorized the release of the formerly classified Iraq NIE to reporters, and that INR disagreed with significant portions of the NIE (the information given to reporters included quotes from INR).

Yet, now it is a huge story that Bush told Libby he could give this information to one or more reporters 10 days before the wider release? How is that a huge story? You even had Arianna Huffington on your show claiming that we didn't know all the things that we, in fact, did know.

So given all this insane coverage of this story over the years, the coverage of Rove's non-indictment was remarkably undercovered, and exposes a serious bias in the press (not necessarily pro-liberal or anti-Bush, but pro-scandal and anti-informational).

Note that on the screen (and in the transcript), they put my period inside the parens, instead of outside. I should sue for misrepresentation. slashdot.org

Ask Pudge

| | Comments (0)
It's time to ask Pudge! If you don't know the deal, read about it here. slashdot.org

Net Neutrality

| | Comments (0)
There was a fascinating discussion about Net Neutrality on NewsHour the other night. There was a spokesman for Amazon.com, and another for the telcom industry.

Some of the things the telcom spokesman said were just ... bizarre.

.. the net neutrality folks say, "Let's bring the government back in, after commercializing and having the Internet not be regulated for 13 years, and bringing it back and saying that we need the government to be the policeman of this." And what we believe is, is that competition and the way the Internet has been running for the last 13 years is what's best for the Internet.

Um ... the way the Internet's been running for years is under a nondiscrimination rule that the FCC lifted last year. If you want to argue that the way we got here is what's worked best, fine, let's put that rule back into place.

I mean, everybody out there knows there's dial-up, which is the slow lane, or there is broadband. And if you pay one price, you get certain speed, and if you pay more for another speed.

So the Internet has been tiered, and it allows you to have different services. It's consumer-driven, and it's market-driven. And what we're concerned about is, if you have the government come in with its heavy hand and says, "No, I want prices to be one way, with one price and one terms and conditions."

This is a total straw man. No one's asking for this.

The facts and the process are on our side. The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice, they're the experts that determine the facts on the ground.

They both have ruled that there is sufficient broadband competition, that it doesn't require regulation. That went to the Supreme Court last summer. And the Supreme Court affirmed it.

Just wow. Last things first: the Supreme Court affirmed no such thing. It does not (normally) rule on such findings of fact, and did not so in this case. He's simply wrong.

And since when is the DOJ an expert -- on the ground, or anywhere else -- on broadband competition? And even if the FCC is, why should I take their word for it, when I know as a matter of fact that I have no other viable option for broadband? I am entirely locked in to the cable company.

Now, other people who should know, the House of Representatives took this issue up last -- a couple weeks ago, and voted resoundingly, 269 to 152 against net neutrality regulation, against regulating the net.

First, who cares if they did? Congress never gets things wrong? Second, this is extremely deceptive, because they did not vote against Net Neutrality, but a specific form of it.

This isn't about the consumer. This is about big companies. There are about 20 companies and about five or six on their side, and they want a special deal.

So big companies want a special deal. Well, your big companies -- which are far more numerous -- also want a special deal, which is why they lobbied to remove the nondiscrimination rule. And there is not a single consumer or citizen group on your side, while there are scores of them on their side. If this is companies versus consumers, so far, the consumers have been unanimously against your companies.

Oh, the First Amendment question is completely misplaced here. If you go back to the Founding Fathers and read the Constitution, it was to defend citizens about the tyranny of government restricting their speech.

The irony here is, is that the net neutrality folks want the government to come in and protect free speech. They have the U.S. Constitution upside down.

I got it. So the fact that the First Amendment is about government not restricting free speech means that anyone else can restrict free speech, and that you can't lobby the government about it. Sure, that makes perfect nonsense!

Yes, a good way to look at this is, is that today the Internet handles e-mails and it handles Web surfing. Now, if you put a two-hour high-definition video over the Internet, it represents 35,000 e-mails. So it's like sending a tank or sending a piano rather than a letter over the Internet.

And the provider of the information, already, is paying a lot more for that tank or piano.

When you see a big truck on the highway that's carrying heavy equipment, you better believe they get weighed and they pay more because they're going to do more damage and use more of the facility.

Right. And so too do providers of video pay more. And then, in response to the claim that they already pay more, and that the consumer is the one specifically requesting the data transfer, he adds:

And that's a specious argument, because they're the ones -- it's like saying, you know, "I didn't mean for all of these trucks to go over the Internet. I just had them all parked in my garage over there, and somebody else called up and dispatched them to me." I mean, it's not a -- it's a spurious argument.

Got it? So it's a bad thing to provide online video, and the consumers should not pay for what they specifically request (except, of course, the consumers always do pay in the end, for everything). slashdot.org

YAPC Slides

| | Comments (0)
I need to make sure I put the word "sux" in my slides for YAPC.


Agent USA

| | Comments (0)
Everything I am today, I owe to Agent USA. slashdot.org

Mac-Carbon-0.76 Released

| | Comments (0)
Mac-Carbon-0.76 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or SF.net.

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

* v0.76, 21 June 2006
   Add Intel-specific docs to Mac::Carbon manpage (no Intel-specific code
   changes in this release)
   Fix some AppleEvents tests due to incompatible Test::More versions, and
   Mac OS X 10.3 differences in AEBuild/AEPrint
   Fix AppleEvents event sending test for cases where current user does not
   have permissions (by default, they will not run: set MAC_CARBON_GUI=1 in
   environment to run all tests)
   Fix Speech test for Cepstral voices
   Fix docs for Mac::Components::GetComponentInfo()
   Fix MacPerl::Ask() for case where returned string is empty, fix test too
   Other Mac::Carbon manpage cleanup

Posted using release by brian d foy. use.perl.org

Misquoting Jesus

| | Comments (0)
The author of Misquoting Jesus was on The Colbert Report, and it was mostly misleading.

He several times trotted out the notion that there are "hundreds of thousands" of differences in our copies of the New Testament. There are, indeed, somewhere around 200,000 differences, but that it is out of 24,000 copies, and -- for example -- when the same misspelling shows up in 2,000 of those copies, that is counted as 2,000 differences.

They add up quickly that way, and the number itself is not interesting in this context, as it has little-if-any bearing on the trustworthiness of the New Testament. Overwhelmingly, most of the differences are easily accounted for as transcription errors, and none of the remaining differences have any theological significance.

As to the "hundreds of years" between original writing and copies, we have a few copies within a hundred years, and many within 200 years. Our earliest complete copies are within 300 years. This might seem like a long time, but in textual criticism it is not, especially when you realize that most, if not all, of the originals existed at the time these copies did, and any glaring errors would have been easily exposed; further, the wide spread of the copies and high degree of unanimity between those disparate copies is further testament to their trustworthiness (indeed, even if we had none of the several thousand Greek manuscripts at all, we could come up with a nearly perfect reproduction of the oldest texts merely by piecing them together from private correspondence and the thousands of manuscripts available in other languages).

He also brought up the story of the woman to be stoned, and Jesus' words that "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." He said this is not in our earliest copies of John, and probably therefore was not in the original copies.

He is correct in this, as every modern translation will attest in the footnotes, but his implication that this has significance for the trustworthiness of the rest of the New Testament is not accurate, as he otherwise implies by giving a nod to the earlier manuscripts (surely, Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) that do not include that part of the text. That is: if the story is not to be trusted because it was not in these earlier texts, then how does that impugn these earlier texts, which are primarily what our current copies of the Bible are based on, including the Greek New Testament that most scholars use?

So fine, throw that story out. Now tell me why I should throw out Codex Vaticanus or Codex Sinaiticus.

Oh, cat got your tongue?

NAILED. slashdot.org

What The Press Should Do

| | Comments (0)
Now, I noted in my last journal that the media is way too full of itself sometimes. However, I am not anti-press, and I think this incredible egoism can be put to good use. For example, they could all walk out on the President, like they did to the Prime Minister in Canada.

We've had similar issues here, with prescreened questions or questioners, and so on. A bigger problem, I believe, is the off-the-record background briefings. But whatever the issue, if they believe it compromises their integrity or the integrity of the process, or if they believe it would be nothing but PR for the President and they are being used, the press should just walk out. Refuse to participate. Same thing with the secret trip to Baghdad. If you do not like how it is done, then don't do it.

The press cannot dictate how things should be done, but it can refuse to play along if something is done in a way they dislike. Heck, the Canadians did it. slashdot.org

Fourth Branch of Government

| | Comments (0)

From Reliable Sources:

John King, you're at home. You get a call from the White House about a secret presidential trip to Iraq and you can't tell anyone. Was that an awkward situation for you?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a very awkward situation, Howie, and it's a very difficult situation and as an issue, the bureau chiefs need to work with it with the White House because it has happened once before. ...

It is not the way it's supposed to work. The White House is supposed to call five bureau chiefs and say we have a secret trip to Baghdad and we need you to pick a pool correspondent. We need to work on this.

But the White House didn't do it that way. So I'm in the position of knowing we need to cover the president when he goes to Baghdad. So you raise objects to the White House and tell them this is not the way it's is supposed to work and then you alert your boss who handles it and my boss handled it perfectly in this case, I think, and after the fact you go back to the White House and say we went through this once, we told you not to do this, we need to work on a better way to trust each other ...

Who elected John King or CNN to decree how it is "supposed to work"? The cajones on these guys. If they want to go and not even tell you, who are you to say they are wrong, who the hell are you to "[tell them] not to do this"? slashdot.org

Mac-Glue-1.26 Released

| | Comments (0)
Mac-Glue-1.26 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or SF.net.

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

* v1.26, Monday, June 19, 2006
   Small endian fix for Intel (you must upgrade to Mac-Carbon-0.75 if using
   Add app_process() method to return the application_process object from
   System Events (convenience method).
   Some fixes for more accurate type resolution.
   Improved documentation and eliminated a spurious warning.

Posted using release by brian d foy. use.perl.org
OK, I've uploaded Mac-Carbon-0.75 to the CPAN. Go play with it, if you have an Intel Mac. Let me know if you find anything wrong, and let me know soon, since I have less than a week left with this Intel Mac.

A new Mac::Glue release is following. It is currently broken on Intel, too. use.perl.org

Mac-Carbon-0.75 Released

| | Comments (0)
Mac-Carbon-0.75 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or SF.net.

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


* v0.75, 19 June 2006
   Endian fixes for Intel Macs:
       * ReadHex() for parsing GUSI FSSpec
       * Lots of OSType fixes: global (in typemap), MacPerl, AppleEvents,
         Components, InternetConfig
       * Some test files that made bad assumptions
   Clean up a bunch of tests, better document what is incomplete
   Other AppleEvent fixes:
       * Clean up some docs
       * Clean up AEDesc->get, make AEKeyDesc->get an alias to same
       * Add AEKeyDesc->desc (get underlying AEDesc)
       * Add AEDesc->dispose and AEKeyDesc->dispose
       * Add thousands of new tests
   Remove a GetAliasInfo() test that no longer works, on UFS or on Intel
   Document MacPerl::Choose as unimplemented in Carbon
   Add some more Mac::Memory tests
   Make Mac::Processes::LSFindApplicationForInfo() properly return
   undef on failure
   Add typeProperty to Mac::Types
   Add $BASEDIR for building modules outside the base directory, but using the
   same headers etc.

Posted using release by brian d foy. use.perl.org
If the U.S. wins on Thursday, and so does Italy, then the U.S. goes to the second round of the World Cup (the U.S. could also advance with some other situations, but this is the simplest; the one thing for sure is the U.S. needs a win). If this happens, the U.S. will likely play on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Chicago time.

The question is, of course, do I skip YAPC to watch? The sessions during that time are Learning Perl 6 (sorry brian and Randal), Intro to Catalyst (sorry jibsheet), Catalyst-based software, Solstice Framework, web testing, web testing with Selenium, Module::Compile (sorry Ingy), and maintaining CPAN modules.

Suggestions are welcome, as are solicitations for companionship in front of a TV at a nearby pub, hotel lobby, etc.

And, of course, it's all moot if the U.S. doesn't advance. use.perl.org

Mac::AppleEvents Porting

| | Comments (0)
I totally think I finished porting Mac::AppleEvents. I didn't write every test I could -- there's always more that can be tested -- but I am confident the things left untested aren't endian issues.

The tests did uncover a bunch of bugs, some endian, and some not. Over 2500 tests, mostly just testing creating AEDescs, including lists (arrays) and records (hashes), but also making object specifier records (I didn't bother creating other kinds of records, like logical, range, comparison, and so on ... if one works, they all should ... right? :-), and, of course, creating and sending actual Apple events.

I also test each kind of method of creating AEDescs, lists, records, and events, and of adding parameters to events.

For the curious:

PowerBook G4 1GHz:  Files=2, Tests=2543, 12 wallclock secs ( 2.14 cusr +  0.26 csys =  2.40 CPU)
Intel mini 1.66GHz: Files=2, Tests=2543,  3 wallclock secs ( 0.67 cusr +  0.08 csys =  0.75 CPU)

I am going to take tomorrow off (it's my day, after all), and then attack the rest of the modules with a vengeance on Monday night. As noted before, Mac::AppleEvents uses a lot of other modules, and all the other Mac-Carbon tests pass, so I think I am in good shape. The other modules all had decent test suites before, with pretty much the whole API being tested, at least somewhat, for most of them. use.perl.org

Lies! Apple is full of lies!

| | Comments (0)

An Apple tech note says:

The AEBuild* suite of routines provide simple to use and easy to maintain facilities for constructing complex Apple event structures in memory for sending information to other applications. AEPrint provides a symmetrical pretty printer routine for viewing complex Apple event structures as strings formatted using the same syntax as the strings AEBuild* is able to read.

And later, more explicitly:

When AEPrintDescToHandle is asked to print an AEDesc, an AERecord, or an AEDescList, then the format of the printed output will match the input expected by AEBuildDesc.

Similarly, in the API docs, Apple says:

AEPrintDescToHandle prints the contents of AEDesc, AERecord, and AEDescList descriptors in a format that is suitable for input to AEBuildDesc. AEPrintDescToHandle also attempts display coerced Apple event records as the coerced record type instead of as the original type. Any data structures that cannot be identified are displayed as hexadecimal data.

Don't be fooled, though. It's a pack of lies.

I was writing some tests and took this at its word, thinking I could just make slight modifications to the AEPrint output. Indeed, however, if you feed AEPrint output back intp AEBuild, it will fail, because the AEPrint output is broken severely.

In just one simple test with an object descriptor record, it's easy to see some of the problems:

print AEPrint(AEBuild(q['obj '{ 'want':type(prop), 'name':'prop', 'from':'null'(), 'seld':type(sdsk) }]));
# <- 'obj '{ 'want':type(prop), 'name':'prop', 'from':'null'(),   'seld':type(sdsk) }
# -> 'obj '{ 'want':'prop',     'name':'prop', 'from':''null''(), 'seld':'sdsk' }

The first thing to notice is the difference between type(prop) and prop. By default, the string would be taken as an enum (as the docs note), so it is coerced to a type in the former. But according to AEPrint's output, those are enums, not types. That's a run-time error. Similar too for type(sdsk). So while AEPrint "attempts (to) display coerced Apple event records as the coerced record type instead of the original type," it fails.

The other thing which is just crazy is the double-single-quotes around null. That's a compile-time syntax error (which is helpfully placed in $@, as: Expected "," or "}" at character 53).

There's probably more, as my tests are pretty inexhaustive. One more thing to note, though: AEPrint will truncate binary data (rendered in hex, such as ($DEADBEEF$)) if it gets too long, so it's one more reason you can't just feed back the AEPrint output to AEBuild.

I also can't find out how floats are supposed to be passed in. The docs say I can do float(@) and pass in the float as an argument (AEBuild works sorta like sprintf), but that doesn't seem to work. Nor does passing integers in as arguments (such as long(@)), although for those, I can include it literally in the format string, instead of passing it in as an argument.

But, as those problems having nothing to do with the Intel port, it's time to move on, for now. use.perl.org
Only a week left to finish this, and I am almost done with Mac::AppleEvents. Several modules left to do, but this one should be, by far, the biggest. I've written about 1500 tests for it, and have some more left to do, and the tests have helped uncover a few more bugs.

I am alternating between "I'll never finish in time!" and "I'm almost done, this will be easy to finish!" I hope to finish Mac::AppleEvents Saturday night, though, and then I can reevaluate what's left to do. Really, I've only looked closely at the MacPerl module and this one, but all the other tests pass, for the other modules, so I am hoping I really can't find much else to fix. use.perl.org

That's the headline, based on Rep. Murtha's speech:

A public opinion Iraqi poll, a segment of 18 provinces, all 18 provinces: More than half the Iraqis say they are headed in the wrong direction, and 82 percent say the economic situation is either poor or fair. Now, these are the Iraqis. Ninety percent say the security situation is poor or fair.

And who do they trust? Who do they trust for personal security? Forty-three percent trust the Iraqi police, 35 percent trust the Iraqi army, 6 percent trust the insurgents, 6 percent trust the insurgents, 4 percent trust the armed militia, and 1 percent, 1 percent trust the multinational force.

This was echoed on McLaughlin Group tonight where John McLaughlin said, "only one percent trust the U.S. and the multinational force" and "they don't regard the United States as a source for their personal security."

The problem is that it's not true.

On McLaughlin they had a pie chart, labelled "INT'L REPUBLICAN INST. POLL," so I found the International Republican Institute web site, and a link to the poll (it's in the PowerPoint presentation, slide 40).

Note, again, I said it was a pie chart. That means all the numbers add up to something close to 100 percent. That means you could only make one choice. That means that, for all we know, the U.S. was second or third on the list of everyone who also said they trust most the Iraqi police or army (which was a combined 78 percent).

All the poll says is that the Iraqis look to the Iraqi army, police, and insurgents for the protection of their personal safety as a first choice more than they look to the multinational troops as a first choice. And that's not bad at all: I would much rather have them trust the Iraqi police and army than our troops, for many reasons, most importantly, that this is primarily their job, not ours.

The apparent implication made by Murtha, that the Iraqis trust insurgents more than the multinational troops for their safety, is unsupportable by this poll, which provides no evidence of any kind that shows the Iraqi people do not trust the U.S. for their safety. Maybe they don't, but this poll won't tell you that. slashdot.org

Online Gambling and Felonies

| | Comments (0)
My letter to the editor about online gambling was printed today in the Seattle Times.

I didn't see it yesterday, but one of the other letters links to a column from yesterday where the director of the state's gambling commission says that a web site that links to online gambling sites is violating the law, by "aiding and abetting." Totally not kidding.

He even says that the Seattle Times itself could be liable for criminal penalties if it provides links to online gambling sites.

The funniest part is the one web site proprietor who says, "I can't believe this is happening in a liberal place like Washington." Another letter writer echoes the sentiment: "Who would have ever thought that liberal Washington would be the home of the Thought Police??"

Um ... me? It's amazing to me that people think liberals are not in generally in favor of policing thought. Liberals are the ones who shut down ads about cigarettes and liquor, who gave us hate speech laws, who censored political speech from broadcast radio and TV and tried to get Limbaugh kicked off the air, and so on. Not that conservatives aren't as bad, but I have no idea where this "liberals are against thought policing/for free speech" nonsense came from.

Addendum: I must be playing too much poker online, because after posting this journal entry and seeing the number was 137771, I thought, "full house!" slashdot.org

Gotta Love the Kennedys

| | Comments (0)
Robert Kennedy Jr. got on Colbert and repeatedly lied through his teeth tonight. I guess if you're a Kennedy, you can get away with it. The full article he was on to talk about is on Rolling Stone (a bastion of BS, so Kennedy fits right in).

He has two primary claims. First:

There is no dispute that there was a deliberate concerted effort by high-level Republicans to try to steal the election.

Actually, there is a dispute about this. Indeed, most people don't agree with it, and indeed, as there is no proof of it, I consider it to be a lie. So this is a twofer: it's a lie that there's no dispute that it happened, and it's a lie that it happened.

I won't dwell much on this. Read his nonsense if you want to. He goes to great pains to show this was a Republican theft, and none of it is convincing.

His other primary claim is:

There were 350,000 Democrats who either tried to vote or were not allowed to or whose votes were not counted.

And it's a big fat lie. He gets this number (actually, 357,000, see the pretty picture) by adding up a bunch of other numbers, most of them simply wrong.


Let's start with the biggest one: 174,000. He says they were "forced to leave" because of long lines. Even accepting, for the sake of argument, the specious notion that everyone who did not wait in line was "forced" to leave by external factors (job, etc.), this number is still completely made up. The Democratic National Committee report this number is based on says:

Not providing a sufficient number of voting machines in each precinct was associated with roughly a two to three percent reduction in voter turnout presumably due to delays that deterred many people from voting.

So Kennedy takes "roughly two to three percent" and says "three percent," and comes up with 174,000. He takes "presumably due to delays," and comes up with "were forced to leave."

That's how easy it was to come up with a full half of Kennedy's 350,000. But it gets better!


The next biggest number is 72,000, which he said were "disenfranchised" because of "avoidable registration errors." This is a complete misrepresentation of the report of Cuyahoga County. First, despite Kennedy including the 72,000 in the number of voters whose votes were not counted or who were not allowed to vote, the report says 30,000 of that 72,000 were "at risk," while an additional 42,500 "may have been lost." In other words, the report itself does not claim that anyone lost their right to vote.

For example, Kennedy notes that 15,000 "lost their right to vote due to largely inconsequential omissions on their registration cards." In fact, the report says that about half the 15,000 could be corrected at the time of voting (and does not say whether they were), and as to the other half, the report does not imply in any way that the "omissions" were inconsequential, and places most of the blame on voter error.


This is another made-up number, the number of people whose votes were "invalidated by faulty voting equipment." 95,000 ballots in Ohio recorded no vote for President, and Kennedy just assumes "at least" 66,000 of those were incorrectly invalidated. There is no other data to back up this claim.


Yet another made-up number (sensing a pattern?). This is 1/10 the number of people purged from the voter rolls for failing to vote in two previous elections: Kennedy assumes 1/10 of those people would have voted. Further, he assumes those people would not have received the notice that they were removed from the rolls (a perfectly normal procedure, one that should be conducted more often), or would not have re-registered accordingly if they did.


The number of voters who "had ballots discarded because they stood in the wrong line." I don't know much about this election-law issue, so for the sake of argument and because it is almost 1 a.m., I'll provisionally accept it. From what little I know about provisional ballot law (which is more than most people, I suppose, but not nearly as much as the people involved), I'd tend to agree with Kennedy that the decision was incorrect, but a. that assumes I can take Kennedy's word for what happened, as I didn't go back and check it all, and b. I didn't check out the number itself.


Kennedy claims 5,000 voters were turned away by legal challenges, on election day, to their right to vote. I cannot find where he gets this information in the DNC report he cites, but the report makes clear there is no hard data on this. Further, as Kennedy concedes, the Supreme Court upheld the process used, and there's no evidence presented that the challenges were incorrect, so even if the number can be trusted, it can't be reasonably included, as there's no reason to think these were legal voters.

Republicans Fault

Again, I am not going to dwell on the fault issue, but note that there is nothing at all linking the 72,000 to Republican actions (Kennedy assumes that the registration problems were related to Blackwell's decisions, but the report does not claim this); the 66,000 are not linked to anything remotely partisan; and the 30,000/300,000 were mostly removed at the request of Democratic election officials. As to the 174,000, the line length problem is far more complex and involved far more politicians and public officials than the few he mentions, many of them on both sides of the aisle.

Democrat Votes

There is no evidence of any kind presented that the problems caused 350,000 Democrats to lose the vote, which was his claim on Colbert. Further, there is scant evidence that even suggests that Democrats bore even the brunt of the problems.


He claims 357,000 legal voters were denied the right to vote, or did not have their legal vote counted. He has no actual data to justify the inclusion of at least 347,000 of the 357,000, and his claim that this is mostly the fault -- let alone the intent -- of Republicans is, to be kind, specious; his claim that 350,000 Democrats lost their right to vote is completely unsubstantiated.

One more bonus Kennedy claim:

In addition to that, there were 80,000 people in Eastern Ohio who voted for Kerry and had their vote shifted to Bush.

As you should not be surprised by now to learn, this, too, is false. Kennedy claims that because a larger percentage of people in those precincts voted for Gore in 2000, therefore there was something fishy going on. Because ... well, duh! slashdot.org


| | Comments (0)
O'Reilly is making more room for Perl talks at OSCON (hooray!), and I will therefore have the opportunity to present my talk on Porting Mac::Carbon to Intel at OSCON as well as YAPC.



See you there.


Brad's and Angelina's Baby

| | Comments (0)
I've heard this is the prettiest baby ever. So I went and bought the People magazine with the pictures of her. People spent $4 million on the pictures, and frankly ... well, I don't want to be cruel, but I've seen a lot of babies, and I think People got screwed. This has to be the ugliest baby I've ever seen. We're talking coyote ugly here. I guess they can afford plastic surgery, but man, she's gonna have a tough life being that deformed. use.perl.org

Environmentalist Religion

| | Comments (0)
On the local news tonight, a group of leaders of various houses of worship of various faiths -- Christian, Jewish, something called Earth Something Or Other -- banded together to oppose coal-burning energy plants.

But that's not the joke, hold on.

At first I thought it was going to be because so many people die from mining coal. But no, it is because, they say, people get sick from coal being burned. Which is true, but obviously not nearly as true as they made it sound. And what about the people who die from not getting enough heat, or from other related problems, because we don't have enough electricity because we shut down all the coal-burning plants, which supply the majority of our electricity? And besides, I thought environmentalism was already a religion unto itself?

That's not the joke either.

One of the church leaders said that if we do not stop coal-burning plants for the next generation, there may not be a next generation.

OK, now you can laugh.

Since obviously burning coal does not actually kill significant numbers of people, let alone whole generations of people, I wonder if his saying so was not a prediction about the deathly powers of coal, but a threat to destroy everyone on Earth if his demands are not met. Ready the Cobalt Thorium G! slashdot.org

Black Music History Month

| | Comments (0)
iTunes Music Store informs me that June is Black Music History Month. Now, I love music by black Americans as much as anyone. I constantly have Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis in my playlist.

But isn't Black History Month long enough to also focus on music? 28 days is a long time. If not, maybe we could move Black History Month to March, get those three extra days to focus on music.

Or maybe this is a good idea, spread it out over the whole year.

  • January: Black Leaders History Month (coincide with MLK Day)
  • February: Black History History Month
  • March: Black Sports History Month
  • April: Black Culinary History Month
  • May: Black Technology History Month
  • June: Black Music History Month
  • July: Black Military History Month
  • August: Black Vacation History Month
  • September: Black Education History Month
  • October: Black Candy History Month
  • November: Black Yardwork History Month
  • December: Black Holiday History Month

OK, obviously, I kinda ran out of topics. So maybe 12 is too many; maybe they can be every other month.


Cleaning Up

| | Comments (0)
In the past few weeks, I've made a lot of room on my PowerBook's 60-but-really-55 GB hard drive.

First, I removed old fink stuff from /sw. I kept bin, etc, include, lib, sbin, share, var. But I removed the fink and src subdirectories, which was together about 1.1GB. I also removed fink from my environment; I'll give it a month or two to make sure I don't need it, then delete the rest (and maybe move anything I do need to /usr/local first). That will get me another 1.25GB.

Next, I added an external hard drive to my home studio, 160GB. I pretty much will do my music and video production in that room, so I can move a lot of files to that drive.

First, I moved all my music files for Logic and GarageBand over there, about 4GB worth.

Then I moved my Apple Loops, over 6GB worth. In the process, I discovered "Apple Loops for GarageBand" were installed in two different locations, in /Library/Application Support/GarageBand/ and /Library/Audio/, to the tune of 1GB. I also had some loops in ~/Library/Audio/. I consolidated all these loops into one folder in the external drive, deleted the loops index files, and then reimported them into GarageBand, where I was prompted to leave them there or copy them. I left them there, it created my new index files, and all was well.

Then I did similar things with other GB and Logic files. GB instruments take up 2.1 GB; Logic's samples (instruments, drums, and reverbs) take up 4.2GB. I could not find a way to tell Logic and GB to look elsewhere, so I just made symlinks. I also moved the GarageBand Demo Songs, 400MB.

Finally, I put the iDVD themes (also in /Library/Application Support/) to the drive, and told iDVD in its prefs to look there for my themes. 1.7GB.

Along the way, I also removed things like the iWork and iDVD tutorials, for another half-GB or so.

So we're talking about 20GB saved, off a 55GB drive. Not too shabby. Now time to fill it up again!

They need more signatures than they got. It's hard to fathom why, since it seemed like it should have been easy. Maybe they took it too much for granted?

Regardless, it will likely get on the ballot eventually, and as long as it is marketed properly, it will succeed. As of today, in Washington state, gays have more special rights in employment and housing than any other group of people, except for perhaps the disabled.

The first problem is that there's no significant incidences of actual discrimination in the state that warrants special protection. We reserve special protection for groups of people where there is a demonstrated need, and it is very limited: race/ethnicity/nationality, religion, gender, age, disability. I think that's about it. There have been significant problems with all of these in our history.

Where's the problem with homosexuals? Where in Washington are people refused housing or jobs because they are gay? When did this happen? It's not happening. It's a fraud. It's only going to create more opportunities for lawsuits.

Why not special protection for fat and ugly people? They are discriminated against far more than homosexuals in Washington, and no, I am not remotely kidding. It's quite obviously true.

And, of course, worst of all is the fact that this new law protects the expression of your "gender identity," a privilege that no other protected class of people gets. And there's no limits on the protection. I cannot fire for a gay waiter for wearing a dildo around his neck and calling everyone "bitch," if he can convince a judge that this is an "expression" of his "gender identity." You may think I'm being stupid, but the law says it, so don't blame me. slashdot.org

Estate Tax

| | Comments (0)
So a lot of people are whining about the estate tax, both ways. I think it is an unreasonably confiscatory tax. I think that it is a serious problem for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are trying to pass on wealth to their children.

But that is not why I am writing. I am writing because I've heard people say, hey, Bill Gates Sr. is in favor of the Estate Tax! And so is Warren Buffett! And they are rich! So what's wrong?

Well, first, Buffett is so incredibly rich that an inheritance tax will still leave his children with billions, if he wants to give it. The inheritance tax kicks in at $1 million, and if you've got only $2 million to pass down, it could take a huge chunk of that, maybe 20 percent or more. When you've got a house, kids going to college, kids buying houses, and so on, $2 million doesn't last long, and taking $400,000 or more out of that is a huge hit.

As for Gates, his son has many billions more than he does -- more than anyone else in the country -- so he has no need to pass it down.

But the funniest part is that much of Buffett's wealth was created because of the estate tax: his business is buying and selling businesses, and he has bought many profitable properties at a low price because they were sold to pay for the estate tax. Further, he sells estate tax insusrance products. He'd lose a lot of business if the estate tax went away.

So don't think for half a second that Buffett is thinking of society when he favors the estate tax. He, like most people, is thinking of himself, and the profits he has and will continue to make. slashdot.org
Local news said today that "the nation's top marine" spoke out today about the Haditha incident. I assumed the newsdweeb meant General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the first Marine to hold the position). But he meant General Michael Hagee, the commandant of the Corps.

General Hagee is one of the Joint Chiefs, but General Pace is the Chairman of Joint Chiefs. I am not sure which one is "top." Maybe Hagee is, since he is in direct command of the Corps, even though he reports to Pace?

Oh, and speaking of military, there was also a big local hubbub today about Lt. Ehren Watada, who is objecting to the war and refusing to serve because the war is "illegal."

Three points to make: first, he's wrong, the war is in no way illegal. Second, even if it were, that's not your business, that's the business of the civilian leadership. Third, why is your flag backwards? When hanging vertically against a wall, the field of blue stays in the top left, just as when hung horizontally. Even I know that, and I am not an officer in the Army. It was not only backward here in the picture and video on his web site, but also in the press conference today.

I don't know why this is such a big deal. The story is no more interesting than what I posted above: even if he is right, which he isn't, he is refusing to follow orders, and he will be court-martialed and jailed for it, and life will go one for everyone else. slashdot.org

Re: Rock bottom

| | Comments (0)
Sometimes the haters are just comically funny, as in the article TorgoX points to by Sidney Bluemnthal (former Clinton advisor ... surprise!).

The thesis of the article, and the reason TorgoX linked to it, is regarding some supposed Bush violations of the Constitution.

Blumenthal lists three examples. All of them are incorrect.

First, he says, Bush is threatening to prosecute the NY Times for printing a story. Funny thing is, that this never happened. Gonzalez was asked if they would be prosecuted, and he said that is a possibility, given the language of the statutes. That's hardly a threat; indeed, Gonzalez explicitly said he would say no more than that it was legally permissable, which is a plainly true statement.

Nothing in the First Amendment has ever been construed by the Court to give journalists blanket right to publish anything they want to, without legal consequence, and there are many laws on the books that hold journalists liable for certain statements. The most well-known example is libel, and the most Constitutionally prominent is treason. Indeed, courts themselves put legally binding gag orders on journalists.

This is hardly a Constitutional crisis: Congress made the law, and the law says what Gonzalez says it says. If the Congress doesn't like it, they can change it, and if the Court finds it to be unconstitutional (which they've not yet done, in almost 100 years), they can do so. The executive branch, which only prosecutes under the law, is the least of the three responsible for this law, and to blame Bush for it is just incredibly daft.

But it gets better. Blumenthal says that the if Cheney refuses to honor a subpoena to testify in the Libby trial, that this would be some sort of Constitutional crisis. The problem is that the elected executives -- that would be Bush and Cheney -- are not outside the law, or above it, but regardless cannot be forced to be involved in a criminal proceeding.

This is longstanding principle that everyone agrees with, including Blumenthal who, recognizing this principle, argued that Paula Jones should not be allowed to sue President Clinton. He lost that argument, since the principle is regarding criminal, not civil, proceedings.

Worse, Blumenthal actually asserted executive privilege for himself when Kenneth Starr subpoenaed him as a witness. So to Blumenthal, it is a "Constitutional crisis" if the Vice President refuses a subpoena in a criminal trial, but not when a mere Presidential advisor refuses a subopeona in an executive-branch grand jury.

Pull the other one.

Even without Blumenthal's 180 on this issue, it would not be a crisis of any sort: you can't enforce a subpoena against the President or Vice President. The subpoena itself, not the rejection of it, is the real violation of separation of powers.

Again, this does not amount to being above the law (especially since, in this case, Cheney is not a target of anything, but is being called merely as a witness). If there is a real charge against a President or Vice President, the proper place for it is in the Congress, not in the courtroom.

Lastly, Blumenthal completely invents a "crisis" by gleefully imagining that if the Democrats take control of the Congress, that Bush would break the law by refusing oversight. He incorrectly implies that this is a partisan issue only occurring when Democrats are in power; the fact is that Democrats can now, even in the minority, request documents, and those requests are almost always honored.

That a request is made, however, does not imply it should be granted, as his single example makes clear: the Supreme Court refused to find that Cheney should be required to hand over the documents. The case is not over, but it is unlikely they will change their minds. Blumenthal would have you believe that the Congress, not the Court, decides when there is a Constitutional crisis.

So Blumenthal gives three examples of a "Constitutioanl crisis." All are false, and one actually damns Blumenthal and Clinton a lot more than Cheney or Bush.

I just hope Blumenthal never gave Clinton legal advice; if so, that would explain a lot.

Now Playing: Grateful Dead - Loose Lucy

World Cup

| | Comments (0)
I went to some World Cup games back in '94. I was at one of the biggest U.S. wins ever, the one over Colombia. I was also at the Colombia win over Switzerland, a few days later.

These happened to be the last two games Andres Escobar ever played, as he was killed a few days later, in what most people think was some sort of retribution for knocking in the winning goal for the U.S.

I just saw a story on ESPN about rampant racism in European soccer, where fans openly ridicule black players, call them monkeys, tell them to go back to Africa, and throw bananas and peanuts on the field. (FIFA is finally promising to crack down on it, having previously relied on national organizations to solve the problem, though it remains to be seen if this will be effective.)

(It was noted that this is primarily a Spanish problem, not a continent-wide problem ... I did not mean to imply it was a problem all over Europe, only that in Europe, there is a problem. It is isolated to certain areas, but where it is a problem, it is a significant one, with hundreds or even thousands of fans participating.)

The World Cup begins this week! Get your game on! use.perl.org
The chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties in Washington (Diane Tebelius and Dwight Pelz) were recently on Lou Doubbs talking about birthright citizenship.

The Washington State Republican Party, at its convention a week or so ago (I did not attend), added this to its party platform:

Therefore, we support ... The original intent of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution (1868) which declared, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..." and thereby recognized the citizenship of ex-slaves and in no way granted citizenship to the babies of illegal aliens.

The facts presented here are true. The 1868 language was based on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which gave citizenship to "all citizens born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power." Senator Lyman Trumbull, a supporter of the 14th Amendment, said at the time the phrase at issue meant subject to the "complete" jurisdiction of the United States, "not owing allegiance to anybody else." Senator Jacob Howard, introducing it to the Senate, explained that children of Indian tribes would not be covered, since they were not subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States, and an amendment to make that clear was rejected as redundant.

The Supreme Court agreed with this interpretation initially, and accepted the notion that there is a "qualified and partial jurisdiction" that subjected people to American law, and a "full and complete jurisdiction" that qualified them for citizenship.

It wasn't until 1898 that the Court read birthright citizenship into the 14th Amendment, and it has never held that people here illegally could get citizenship for their children.

So whatever you think about how it should be, the fact is that it is clear that the original intent of the 14th Amendment was not to give citizenship to everyone born in the United States. But that didn't stop Pelz from responding to Dobbs:

It's hard to misinterpret the 14th Amendmdent, it's very clear: it says that people born in the United States shall be citizens of the United States. ... The language is crystal clear.

Pelz is either lying or ignorant, and either way, the Democratic party should be ashamed of him. Even if you're going to argue that his interpretation, of blanket citizenship, is correct, there's nothing "crystal clear" about it, as the people who offered and supported the amendment said the opposite.

Then he went on to note that Tebelius should argue with the Republican officeholders in DC, then, because they disagreed with her. This is disingenuous. Many people who agree that her interpretation is the correct one nevertheless are against it for political, or other, reasons.

Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review (Feb. 27, 2006) in the article Born in the U.S.A. (from which I derived many of my facts), makes a strong case that her interpretation is the correct one, and then goes on to say that enforcing it would result in a high political cost for very little gain, and that it is better to focus efforts on enforcement of our immigration laws at the border and workplace, which would bring down the number of children born here to illegals; while birthright citizenship, right or wrong, is a draw to illegals, so too is it important to the United States to integrate the people who come here, and having generation after generation of illegal immigrants doesn't help anybody.

So opposing it does not mean it's incorrect.

And I think, clearly, it is correct. slashdot.org

Electoral College Bypass

| | Comments (0)
I wonder if the Democrats pushing this in California realize that if it changes the outcome of an election, it would -- in the forseeable future -- only hurt Democrats?

The plan is that the California electoral college votes would go to whichever candidate got the most "popular votes" nationwide. There's some obvious problems with this: some states may choose not to have a popular vote, and then what do you do? Also, small states would never agree to it, so you're giving up some of your power that others will retain. And so on.

But the funniest part is that if Kerry wound up with a hundred thousand or so more votes in Ohio last election, giving him the EC victory (even though Bush had more "popular votes"), California's EC votes would have switched from Kerry to Bush. So California's voters, who picked Kerry overwhelmingly, would have handed the victory to Bush.

And since California leans Democratic and will continue to do so for many years to come, this is not going to change any time soon: the voters will continue to pick the Democratic candidate for President, and yet risk giving all their EC votes to the Republican candidate, depending on what people in the other states do.

I gotta say, that's pretty stupid. slashdot.org

Just Say No

| | Comments (0)
I love conflict. Conflict moves us forward. And if Massachusetts loses the "sex change" case in federal court, even if he loses in the Supreme Court, Governor Mitt Romney should just say No. No, we will not give this man a sex change operation, and if you want to try to force us, go ahead. Of course, I cannot see this, or any, Supreme Court upholding such a ruling. slashdot.org

Killer "Needs" Sex Change

| | Comments (0)
A psychiatrist says a killer needs a sex change or he will die.

So many thoughts.

A. Saying you will kill yourself if you do not get something does not mean you actually need it, it means you are either immature or insane. The doctor is being extremely disingenuous in claiming this surgery is necessary, and comparing it to a liver transplant. And saying the surgery is medically necessary is a bald-faced lie, and the doctor should be held in contempt of court.

His lawyer said, "we ask that gender identity disorder be treated like any other medical condition." The problem is that it isn't. It's a psychological condition. Blurring the line between the two is excusable for a lawyer, who is paid to say stupid things, but not for a doctor.

What if I said, "I need a tattoo of Satan or I will kill myself"? Would they pay for that too? What about a tattoo of JFK kissing Satan, would that be OK? Where is the line for what it is acceptable to extort from the justice system, and what is not?

B. The judge looks like a fool by using female pronouns for Michelle (formerly Robert) Kosilek. Courtrooms are supposed to be places of facts and objectivity, and Kosilek, despite legally changing his name, is a man.

C. I don't think tax dollars should even be given for his hormone treatment or laser hair removal and so on. How does any of this have any benefit to society? It's one thing to listen to a guy complain that he believes he is a woman, but to enable that process is something else, and the government has no business doing it.

D. If he wants to kill himself, he can be my guest. I don't think the family of his wife Cheryl, whose neck he wrapped a wire around, squeezing it until she died -- bringing about a conviction of murder in the first degree, under the theories of both premeditation and extreme atrocity -- would mind. slashdot.org
<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."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2006 is the previous archive.

July 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.