August 2007 Archives

MacBooks Are Naturally Occurring

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A lot of people do not know that MacBooks are naturally occurring. But they are, so I thought I'd let everyone know.

Everything physical is, by definition, naturally occurring, unless you believe in direct supernatural intervention in the physical world. I don't know how life began -- and neither does anyone else -- but we have a pretty good idea of how everything else happened, how we got here, and so on.

Man is naturally occurring. Everything man touches is naturally occurring. Man, trees, many metals, and so on would not exist without bacteria and plants and other things that create us and our environment. Life forms create oxygen from their environment. Life forms create spider webs from their environment. Life forms creare ... MacBooks from their environment. And they are as natural as anything else. There's no rational distinction between "natural" and "man-made" unless you are going to re-define "natural" to mean "not-man-made," but then we need another word for "natural," and besides, there's very little reason to such segregation. It seems to me either extremely and falsely arrogant, or extremely and falsely humble, depending on how you look at it. But it's extreme, and it's false. slashdot.org

Pudge's Picks

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Please, if you wish, go to join Pudge's Picks for 2007, now hosted on ESPN.com.

http://games.espn.go.com/pigskin/frontpage

After logging in (create a new login if you don't have one), create an entry.

Then for each entry, click Join a Group. Type in "Pudge's Picks" in the search field, submit the form, then click on Pudge's Picks when it shows up in the list. The password to join is "longhorn."

Invite others, if you wish. use.perl.org

Obama Gets Smacked Down

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I was listening to the Democratic debate from Sunday and there was an interesting exchange. George Stephanopolous asked Senator Obama a question about something Karl Rove said, and then:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, Senator Obama, I know you're loathe to agree with Karl Rove on just about anything.

OBAMA: I am.
He didn't seem at all to be kidding. He seems to think that just because Rove is on the other side of the aisle, Obama should therefore disagree with him on most things. But then a debate participant went on to show Obama the error of his ways:

I think a winning strategy is not crafted by a political calculus that divides the country into red states and blue states.

So what I've been trying to express in my campaign is that if you believe that part of the problem is the failed politics of Washington and the conventional thinking in Washington, if you're tired of the backbiting and the score keeping and the special-interest-driven politics of Washington, if you want somebody who can bring the country together around a common purpose and rally us around a common destiny, then I'm your guy.

[...]

What I'm suggesting is that we're going to need somebody who can break out of the political patterns that we've been in over the last 20 years. And part of that is the notion that half the country's on one side; the other half's on the other.
Obama sure did get smacked down there. The problem is, he's the one who smacked himself down.

I liked Obama because I thought maybe he really did want change. That he really was tolerant of people who disagreed with him. I was wrong. He's just another pandering, hypocritical, politician. The problem is I didn't give him enough credit: I thought he was too inexperienced to be that good at being that deceptive.

What's really amazing is that either Obama doesn't want what is best for the country, or he insanely thinks Rove doesn't. Everyone with half a brain, who can think beyond their irrational hatred, knows that Rove wants what is best for the country. As Obama does. As all of these people on both sides do. So why would Obama be loathe to agree with Rove? Certainly, they both want what is best for the country, so therefore they will at times agree. Obama is blinded by hatred, yet he wants to bring us together?

slashdot.org
New updates to the Longest Concert Evar: Sam Hall by Johnny Cash, and Osama Bin Laden, You Ruined My Birthday.

I've also added a new podcast feed for the videos (also on iTMS). This is for those who may wish to download the videos instead of going through YouTube. slashdot.org

Raiding Social Security

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Question for the candidates, to be considered for the debate what would you do with the Social Security Trust Fund?

Chris Nandor, Arlington, WA

I wrote this song. It is not autobiographical.

A studio version of this song is at http://pudge.net/tunes/.

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to concertrequest@pudge.net, or post them here.

LCE016 Sam Hall

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Sam Hall, by Johnny Cash. I just like singing "damn your eyes." And who doesn't?

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to concertrequest@pudge.net, or post them here.

Stupid Question About Rove

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"If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?"

First, I want to point out that the author of the piece is factually incorrect in his attempt to paint Rove as some bad guy. He describes Rove was "almost-indicted." That is, in fact, not true. That was never anything more than rumor that some of the press kept harping on. What's true is that Patrick Fitzgerald tried to indict Rove. What's also true is that in the end he had nothing to indict Rove on.

Second, and more importantly to the topic at hand, is the question being referenced. It was really a stupid question. It has no internal logic. It has no reasonable answer. It's sorta like asking, "if Tom Brady is so good, how come the Patriots lost the AFC Championship last year?" It is obviously not possible for one person to be good enough to win a game on his own, so why even ask the question? And it's even less rational to talk about the hundreds of Congressional elections as if one person can singlehandedly win a majority of them.

Bill Plante apparently doesn't realize that Americans think about things and vote based on what they think, not on what one man does or doesn't do for a party's strategy. I suppose it makes sense that he thinks that, because he's a TV news reporter, who by definition doesn't care about or respect the people.

slashdot.org
The head of CSPI, Michael Jacobson, was on Colbert tonight. He kept saying the CSPI's primary goal was to inform and educate the public, so, he says, we can make informed decisions. But he's lying. Their main goal is to ban things they don't like.

For example, it is in large part CSPI's fault we can't get trans fat in our foods. They have pushed for actual laws to ban it, and some idiot legislatures have actually agreed to it. They don't want to inform us, they want to enforce diets on us.

I automatically dismiss anything CSPI says. slashdot.org

Unfit For Public Office

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It's no secret that I am supporting Tom Greene for Snohomish County Sheriff. So when candidate Rob Beidler responded to some questions on Sound Politics, no one expected me to go easy on him.

But I wasn't exactly really tough, either. I had a few main points:
  • It was unethical to accept the endorsement of the deputies' union, since that raises a lot of questions about fair dealings with the union in the future, should he be elected
  • Greene is far more qualified
  • Beidler's support is not as broad as he makes it out to be, and alone isn't good enough to get my vote, anyway


Then I had some questions:
  • Clarify your vague attacks on Greene's abilities and characteristics
  • Respond to attack on Beidler by the current sheriff
  • Clarify your own claims


I noted that I can't take his word for his claims: I need evidence. He didn't seem to understand that. He said:

The response from pudge- "Really? How do you "know" this? Because Rob says so publically? Well, what does he say privately? And how can we take your, or his, word for that?" I am not thin skinned but I have to take that at least a little bit personal.

He takes someonea voter's lack of trust, based on his lack of experience and putting himself in a situation where questions SHOULD be raised, "personal?"

That raised a big red flag for me. An elected official should take it for granted that many responsible citizens will not just take his word for anything. Then after defending himself as doing the right thing, and being the best for the job, on absolutely everything I brought up, he had the gall to attack me for "refusing to be wrong." He can "explain away" what he's done (or not done), but I can't "explain away" things that Greene's done. He's attacking me for doing my job as a citizen, and for doing things that are no worse than what he is doing, and I am not even running for office!

This guy is clearly showing himself to be unfit for public office. It's pretty sad. slashdot.org

Romney Wins Straw Poll

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I don't really care about Romney winning the Ames Straw Poll, but people who say it is bad news for Romney because he got "only 31 percent" against "nobodies" don't know what they are talking about.

Romney got the second highest percentage ever (31.6%), behind only Buchanan in 1987 (33.6%). It was low turnout (14,302) compared to 1999 (23,685) but was the second highest ever. And it's not like Bush had tough opposition in 1999 when he got 31.3%: the next finishers were Steve Forbes, Libby Dole, and Gary Bauer (McCain was not yet in the race and came in nearly last). I'd say that's approximately equivalent to beating Huckabee, Brownback, and Tancredo.

The straw poll doesn't mean much. But historically, Romney did about as well as ever anyone has. It is no predictor of the nominee -- the winners have been George H.W. Bush, Buchanan, Dole/Gramm (tie), George W. Bush, so only 1.5 times out of 4 has it been correct -- but it is more accurate in picking the Iowa Caucus winner (being catgeorically wrong only once). So there's no real bad news for Romney here, but the only good news for him is that he'll probably win the Iowa Caucus. slashdot.org

"Cheating"

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This guy is an idiot. He says we are a nation of cheaters, so therefore we are hypocritical for attacking Barry Bonds. Except that most of his examples are not actually cheating.

I'll quote him below. I will be nice to him and let him include "breaking the law" as "cheating." Non-cheating examples are bold, cheating examples are in italics.

"We're a nation of cheaters. We chase wrinkles away with botox, get our stomachs stapled, our fat suctioned out, our noses resculpted, our teeth whitened, our hair transplanted, our assets filled out with implants. We fudge our taxes, swipe pens from the supply cabinet, take 10 over the speed limit, and scarf down pills and potions for everything from restless leg syndrome to erectile dysfunction.

"There's very little some of us won't do to get an edge. How many amateur golfers follow every rule of the game, or even know them? If there's a racket or a club or a ball that will help us get more power and distance, we're all over it. If we play rec-league basketball, we grab jerseys, throw elbows, do anything we can get away with to win.

"To get through finals, we take pills that keep us awake. We lift passages off the Internet and stuff them in our term papers, conveniently forgetting to put quotation marks around them or to mention that the writing is not our own. We steal co-workers' ideas and pawn them off as our own.

[...]

"So we start our day with something to wake us up, brush our teeth with something to make them artificially brighter, maybe use a shampoo that makes the gray go away, spend a little extra time on the comb-over. If we're women, we boost this, cinch that, wash, condition, blow-dry and spray our chemically-colored hair, spackle over the blemishes, climb up on miniature stilts and then go out to rail against the artificiality of everyone else.

"But Barry Bonds is evil incarnate. And, gee, so many ask, looking at the world with vision made better than perfect by laser surgery, why would he do it?"

This Mike Celizic guy simply isn't very bright. His main theme is that we all cheat, yet he doesn't even know what cheating is.

And then he just goes off the complete deep end:

"The truth is that steroids are no different than penicillin, caffeine, ginseng, green tea, alcohol and Viagra. They are drugs that affect what goes on in your body. Penicillin and other antibiotics kill infections. Caffeine wakes you up. Green tea's anti-oxidants are supposed to help prevent cancer. Ginseng is supposed to make you sharper mentally and maybe help your sexual hydraulics. You know what alcohol and Viagra do."

Oh yes, also, there's no difference between ibuprofen and meth. Same thing, really. Take your pick. You can't take one and condemn the other! Anything that affects your biology is the same as everything else. Hell, you breathe oxygen, so why not have some crack?

What a jackass. slashdot.org
So despite the fact that what is going on in Iraq is not, by some scholarly definitions, a "civil war," we should just accept that it is one because factions are fighting each other.

But the same logic is not extended to those who say that a threat to militarily enter another country to kill people and blow things up against the will of that country is an "invasion."

I am not saying it "is" an invasion. But certainly, some definitions of invasion fit. And even more certainly, if Pakistan threatened to do what Obama has threatened to do, we would call it a threat of invasion. But it is "misreporting" to be consistent (or at least, consistently inconsistent!).

Apparently, liberals are allowed to selectively pick which definitions they want to use as they go along. slashdot.org
Terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to experimental drugs. Well, duh.

There's nothing in the Constitution about terminally ill people. You could argue that everyone has a Constitutional right to experimental drugs, but not that terminally ill people have some special right.

"What the opinion by Judge Griffith is saying is, 'We don't want to risk one life or a few lives, even at the expense of the lives of hundreds or thousands of people,'" Burroughs said. "The logic of that escapes me."
Well, no, that's not what she is saying. What she's saying is that the law does not give this right that you claim.

In a sharply worded dissent, Judge Judith W. Rogers called the ruling "startling." She said courts have established the right "to marry, to fornicate, to have children, to control the education and upbringing of children, to perform varied sexual acts in private, and to control one's own body even if it results in one's own death or the death of a fetus. ... But the right to try to save one's life is left out in the cold despite its textual anchor in the right to life."
Well, no. In some of those cases, the court recognized existing rights, it didn't establish them. In others though, yes, it did create those rights, and it was obviously wrong to do so.

You have a legislature. Use it. I have no problem whatever with allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental medication, in theory. But there's not a single bit of justification under the law or Constitution for a rational court to allow it against the will of the people as expressed through the Congress and President in the actions of the FDA.

[The court] said the matter is not closed and said Congress might be a better venue than the courts to address the issue.
Duh. slashdot.org

Presidential Pardons

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I am watching The Bronx is Burning, a miniseries on ESPN about the 1977 Yankees. It mixes historical references like the Son of Sam and the blackout with the story of the Yankees themselves.

Tonight's episode referenced the FALN bombings of August 3, 1977.

Which, of course, reminded me of the fact that Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 FALN members in 1999. At least they didn't commit perjury! slashdot.org

Lobbyists

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Check this out. Leftists attacking Hillary Clinton over lobbyists.

She said, "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans." Someone replies, "I see this as Hillary's first Gaffe of the primary. Are americans in Iowa and New Hampshire going to believe lobbyists work for them?"

I don't know if they will believe it, but since it is true, they certainly should. Clinton is right.

The NRA represents me, and millions of others; the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence represents thousands themselves. There are many lobbyists working on abortion, the environment, and, of course, retired people, with the AARP representing 35 million people.

Granted, most of the billions spent on lobbying come from business interests, but even there, you've often got interests not exclusively in favor of the business, especially when it comes to health care lobbying. But even with business lobbying, and so on, these lobbyists do represent us, often. Apple Computer spent over one million on lobbying efforts in 2006, and much of that had to do with various regulations that would otherwise make our computers cost more, or have less functionality.

Sure, Apple is working for itself, but it is working for my personal interests, too. And probably yours too, if you're reading this, since these things affect the entire computer industry.

You don't have to like the system we've got -- I sure don't -- but we can attack the system without making blanket attacks on the motives of the people involved in that system. Certainly, not all lobbyists "work for us," but to some degree or another, many of them do.

Demonizing is easy. Being thoughtful is hard. slashdot.org

Mike plays Pudge's "Osama Bin Laden, You Ruined My Birthday."

The Gomem Show #59 - Happy Birthday

HD Is Not That Hard

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On Friday or Saturday I recorded the series premiere of "Masters of Science Fiction." Tonight I tried to watch it.

I failed. It's not my fault.

The opening titles were in 4:3 format. I said, "um, how could this not be in HD?" A few moments later, however, the screen expanded to the full HD 16:9. OK, so ABC or the local affiliate just goofed it up.

There was some music, and then a couple of people started talking. But there were no actual words. I waited to see if it was intentional -- would be weird, but you never know -- but sure enough, no dialogue. The surround channels were coming out the mains as well. So just background noise and music, no dialogue at all.

For the entire first half hour of the show, there were no words. After the commercial break at 30 minutes, they fixed it and it worked at the end. Of course, I scanned back and forth to test it: I wasn't going to sit through the whole thing. I suppose I could have used closed captioning, but I just deleted it.

Great way to start a new series.

I see TV channels breaking HD pictures all the time. I haven't watched it in awhile, but I used to try turning on the local NBC affiliate at about 7:15 a.m. to catch the weather: even though the local affiliate does HD, they would switch the beautiful HD weather maps in the national feed to SD almost as soon as they started, then show the local weather in SD too, then leave it in SD sometimes until the commercial break.

The local CBS affilliate apparently can't put their own local graphics on HD feeds, so sometimes coming back from commercials they show SD to show their graphics, then switch to HD.

It's all just stupid. HD is not that hard. Figure it out. slashdot.org

GOP Conspiracy Theory Du Jour

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The last GOP national convention was held in New York City, following the September 11 attacks.

The next GOP national convention is in Minneapolis ... where there was supposedly some big tragedy last week.

This time they picked the location before the tragedy. So which is it? Did the GOP know that the bridge would collapse and kill ones of people, or did they cause it themselves?

Speaking of the bridge collapse, I don't get why this is a big issue. They thought the bridge was safe, they were wrong. Maria Bartiromo echoed the views of many when she said this weekend on McLaughlin Group that there's something wrong with the bridge collapsing in the "richest country in the world," as if money has anything to do with it.

(Not to mention that as a business reporter, she should understand money better to know that if we fixed everything that people thought should be fixed in the "richest country in the world," we wouldn't be the richest country in the world anymore.)

If we thought the bridge was unsafe, we would have found money to fix it. It's not about money, it's not about priorities, it's about us not being nearly as smart as we think we are, such that we say a bridge is safe when it isn't.

To a lesser degree, it's also about lack of government ability and the lack of confidence in government that comes with it. In Seattle, public officials said they wanted a Big Dig. Which, to most people, means huge cost overruns in the tens of billions, deadlines missed by many years, and massive corruption, all to get something that may never result in a net benefit (it's going to take decades to come out as a net benefit for time spent in traffic, and may never have a net economic benefit).

No one would ever say, "let's not pay money to fix a bridge that is going to collapse," unless the bridge were no longer needed, in which case you close it down. People are more than willing to pay money to do that. It's not about the money. slashdot.org

No One Is Above The Law

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Democrats like to complain that no one is above the law, when it is in reference to the President. They have the right to investigate anyone for anything, they say, because if a law is broken, the people have a right to know. No executive privilege, no separation of powers.

Yet the Democrats weren't condemning a three-judge panel who said that the FBI has no right to execute a complete search of a Congressman's office during the course of a legitimate criminal investigation. Gee, I wonder why that is.

And when Tom DeLay held the vote open supposedly against House rules, they was gnashing of teeth over a lack of respect for the law, for rules, for decorum. Yet the Democrats a couple of nights ago literally stole a vote from the Republicans. They apologized for stealing the vote, but did not offer to correct the problem by restoring the correct result, so the "apology" rings completely hollow.

I am not saying the Democrats are worse than the Republicans have been. I just wonder why anyone thinks they are not just as bad. slashdot.org

The Impression That I Get, by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I think the world really needed an acoustic version of this song.

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to concertrequest@pudge.net, or post them here.

LCE014 Freedom Isn't Free

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Freedom Isn't Free, from the movie Team America. Requested by brian d foy.

I used the word "fracking" because I am trying to keep this place PG-13 or so.

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to concertrequest@pudge.net, or post them here.

National Offense Day

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I declare the last Friday in August, ever year, to be National Offense Day. This year it will be August 31st.

On this day, you will take offense at everything. And thereby, hopefully, get it out of your system.

So, for example, you would take offense at this journal entry, saying I am destroying America by encouraging people to be offensive, or perhaps by diluting the importance that offense has in holding together the fabric of society.

And so on. slashdot.org

DVR

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I have 65 episodes of Twilight Zone on the DVR.

Nice new feature on DirecTV HD DVR: hit "play" on the "folder" and it plays all the episodes, in order. use.perl.org

Separation of Church and State

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From NewsHour. People are trying to restore the habitat of some birds, like meadowlarks and bobolinks.

They don't say why this is important. They say these birds could become endangered, and that they could go away if we don't save them. But they don't say why that actually matters. At least not in scientific or economic or any other objective terms, just religious terms:

It's a way that I can connect with my God and Mother Earth and feel a part of the Earth. We're so detached anymore. We go from our car into our air-conditioned house into our office into the mall. Out here, this is where we're real creatures of the Earth. It kind of puts us in our place, too.


I do not know, but suspect, they want government to help out:

JUDY POLLACK: So, you know, it's a question of, will enough people understand how important this is? I mean, it's really not even just about birds; it's about nature. You know, it's going away, you know? And are people going to really care enough about that and support putting the kind of resources in that we need?

ELIZABETH BRACKETT: Pollack hopes that the specter of a world without bobolinks or meadowlarks will turn the tide in favor of providing the resources needed to save them.


I for one will say that no, I do not understand how important this is, and certainly am not interested in providing resources, and I hope that our government will respect the First Amendment to the Constitution and not provide any resources to this religious activity.

It's funny to me how so many people, especially those on the left, are so afraid of change when it comes to nature. If there is a Mother Earth, this is the same Mother Earth that presided over the Earth while the dinosaurs ruled for 160 million years. The bobolink and meadowlark -- which, for the record, are not even nearly threatened, let alone endangered -- have been around for just a few million years, tops. I don't think Mother Nature really gives a rip about whether we preserve them, frankly, because if she did, why'd she kill off the dinosaurs? (I suppose you could make the point that she only killed off the non-avian dinosaurs, so maybe it is just a bird thing, but I'm not buying it.)

If you want to save the bobolink, feel free. And I am not saying we should kill them off for the heck of it. But if you want my tax dollars to help, then you should have a better argument than "they might all die." Because, well, yeah, that is what happens to pretty much every species, and I don't see why I should care, because I don't share your religious conviction about it.

Also for the record: my car and air conditioner are every bit as much a part of nature, a part of the Earth, as the prairie you're rebuilding. Isn't that self-evident? How could it possibly not be natural? How could Mother Earth care any less for a Hummer than she does for a seaside cave? They are both the direct result of her handiwork: she created oceans and creatures which over time hollowed out the cave; she created people which over time learned to craft resources of the Earth into forms and shapes that became the Hummer. There's no serious difference.

It's like these people don't even believe in science. slashdot.org

Polls

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Just in case you may wonder why I hate and distrust polls, read this classic from October 1998. It's my favorite example -- I may have mentioned it before -- of poor polling.

It's two years before the Presidential election and the first question is "who would you vote for, Bush or Gore?" The next two questions are "which Democrat/Republican do you prefer?" So they have already not only picked who they think are the frontrunners, two years before the election, but they say that up front, therefore predisposing respondents to pick those candidates in the later questions.

And this isn't some rinky-dink polling outfit, it's Gallup. (OK, maybe it is a rinky-dink polling outfit.)

Social Science Barbie says: Polling is HARD! 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

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