Miscellaneous: October 2014 Archives

In Mac OS X 10.9 and earlier, you could choose a more functional formatting for Messages/iChat.  In Yosemite, you cannot.  You only get these weird bubbles that do not scale well for large blocks of text, uses Helvetica, and is generally putrid on a desktop computer.

This fixes it.

https://github.com/pudge/pudgecode/blob/master/eg/balloons-modern.css G+


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Que? G+

10/30/14 - 1

One of the best comics I've read in awhile.  There's also a pretty good film of it on Netflix ... and I suspect that at some point, Marvel will turn it into a film. G+


The best Mac app ever.  A++++++ would install again. G+


lucidagrandeyosemite - An Automator/Apple-script to use 'Lucida Grande' as system font on OS X Yosemite

Is any American team name, ever, more un-American than "Royals"? G+

tl;dr: Matthew Shepard was a drug-addicted prostitue killed for his drug stash, and not out of gay hatred. Also, one of his killers was also a gay prostitue. G+

The truth behind America’s most famous gay-hate murder

Matthew Shepard’s horrific death at the hands of redneck homophobes shocked America and changed its laws. Now a different truth is emerging, but does it matter? Julie Bindel reports

"Don't let anybody tell you that it's corporations and businesses that create jobs." -- Hillary Clinton G+

Hillary: 'Don't Let Anybody Tell You' That 'Businesses Create Jobs'

Appearing at a Boston rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley on Friday, Hillary Clinton told the crowd gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel not to listen to anybody who says that “businesses create jobs.”

I wish Timothy Egan of the NY Times actually knew anything about Citizens United, before he started popping off about how we "lost our democracy" because of it.  He said a bunch of things that the C.U. decision did, but not a single one of them even remotely resembles reality.  He clearly is not even casually familiar with the case.

So to explain what C.U. does do, since you cannot tell from Egan's piece: it only says that government cannot ban independent election spending by corporations.  That's all.  Even without C.U., rich people could still spend money individually, as much as they want to.

His claims:

* "... the 2010 Citizens United case ... gave wealthy, secret donors unlimited power to manipulate American elections."

Nope.  CU has nothing to do with spending limits or reporting requirements.  Again, individuals already have no limits on independent expenditures, and a separate case -- SpeechNow vs. FEC -- is what dealt with reporting requirements.

Further, no one has "unlimited power".  And what power they do have, was not in any way modified by Citizens United.  This claim is literally entirely wrong.  

* "The decision legalized large-scale bribery — O.K., influence buying — and ensured that we would never know exactly who was purchasing certain politicians."

Nope.  In fact, bribery is still illegal, and C.U. did not make it harder to detect bribery (again, if anything, that was SpeechNow).

* "Kennedy wrote that 'independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.' That's the money quote — one of the great wish-projections in court history."

As far as I am concerned, it's true.  It's not expenditures alone that give rise to the appearance of corruption.

* "The big money headed for the shadows."

Not because of C.U., clearly.  It was already headed there, in the form of "SuperPACs," which also hid donor identities.

* "... the court handed control of elections over to dark money interests who answer to nobody."

Again, no, reporting/secrecy and limits are unaffected by C.U.

That's it.  Egan offers nothing else that Citizens United supposedly did, and literally everything he said it did, it didn't do.  Then Egan goes on to lie about Texas' voter ID law, repeating Justice Ginsburg's lies that the law is "purposefully discriminating" or "risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters."  It literally does not risk denying the right to vote to any voters (at least, no one has offered an example of anyone potentially being so denied).

This is a ridiculously dishonest article, even for the NY Times opinion page.

The Disgust Election - NYTimes.com

Oligarchs hiding behind front groups — Citizens for Fluffy Pillows — are pulling the levers of the 2014 campaign. No wonder we feel revulsion.


Hanauer rages at Constantine over police militarization

In early August, Seattle venture capitalist and big-time Democratic political donor Nick Hanauer was driving near his home in Shoreline and came across a scary sight: SWAT officers with full body armor, military-style weapons and an armored vehicle surrounding a house.Hanauer was angry at the display of force and texted King County Executive Dow Constantine to demand answers.Over the next several days -- as national controversy erupted over the m...

"‘These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life."

I know this proposed law is mostly about already criminal behavior (threats and so on), but on a broader level, I find it distasteful that society is trying to clamp down on Internet trolling.

After all, trolls were there first. G+

Crackdown on the cyber-mobs poisoning Britain

Following the online abuse of model Chloe Madeley over her mother Judy Finnigan's comments on footballer Ched Evans, the maximum sentence has been quadrupled.

Mary Burke, Democratic candidate for Governor of WI, defending the minimum wage: "It’s important that people who are working full-time are able to support themselves without government assistance. That’s just sort of common sense."

Also common sense: the minimum wage is government assistance.  Literally. G+

Walker says state minimum wage 'serves no purpose' | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

Gov. Scott Walker said on Tuesday that the state minimum wage “serves no purpose,” though he said he won't repeal it as governor. Continue reading →

http://townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2014/10/20/stealth-gun-control-initiative-too-close-to-call-in-washington-state-n1907329/page/full G+

Rachel Alexander - Stealth Gun Control Initiative Too Close To Call In Washington State

Washington states I-594 has massive money pouring into it, because its apparently the only gun-control measure on the ballot this fall anywhere across the country. There are actually two dueling gun measures in the state.

We will never be able to compete in the world economy if we don't finally ban caffeine.  Or tax it.  Or at least keep it out of our schools and homes.  Think of the children! G+

Dear Internet,

Please stop making threats against Anita Sarkeesian.

First, of course, it's a terrible thing to do to another human being, and you're a terrible person if you do it.

Additionally, though, Sarkeesian's work is mostly crap.  She cherry-picks evidence, ignores counter-evidence, and generally says stupid things and comes up with baseless conclusions.  I've not noticed any serious people in gaming giving her "work" any credence.  And you morons out there give her even more of a platform by saying threatening, creepy, or hateful things to and about her.  No one would know who she is if not for you jerks.  You want to shut her up but you're having the exact opposite effect.

So, because it's a terrible thing to do to another person, and also because it gives her a platform her ridiculously bad work does not deserve: stop making threats against Anita Sarkeesian. G+

The Threats Against Anita Sarkeesian Expose The Darkest Aspects Of Online Misogyny

It is tremendously disheartening to suspect that the treatment of women online is getting worse, not better. We've had decades of experience dealing with those who use the Internet with the intent to cause mental or physical distress or harm. We real...

I still haven't internalized how Seattle works.  I read this email about things going on in Seattle this weekend that says, "SEATTLE— Do you like green cars?," and I immediately pictured Jaguars. G+

Steve Taylor always cracks me up.

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Steve Taylor always cracks me up. G+

"The Future of the Music Industry" - Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil

In 2007, Radiohead launched their album, In Rainbows, with a groundbreaking “pay what you want” offer Earlier in 2014, U2 shocked the world by giving away th...

Even Montreal fans are cheaters.

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Even Montreal fans are cheaters. G+

Tuukka Rask Targeted By Fan's Laser Pointer In Bruins-Habs Game (GIF)

Tuukka Rask had to deal with plenty of distractions Thursday night in Montreal. We doubt he expected this one. Rask and the Boston Bruins squared off against the hated Canadiens in Montreal's home ...


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HA! G+

Seattle Socialist Group Pushing $20/hr Min. Wage Offers $13/hr for Web Developer

It's sometimes said that if some people didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all. That applies to the Freedom Socialist Party. In 2012, their official website was pushing for a...

This article by +Jeffrey Young at Huffington Post is so ... bizarre.  It shows conservatives claiming that young people will have to pay disproportionately for insurance under ObamaCare.  To prove those conservatives wrong, the Huffington Post shows that young people have been buying insurance under ObamaCare.

How does B prove A is wrong, you may ask?  Good question.

The unstated assumption they are making, apparently, is that young people wouldn't buy insurance in these numbers if they are having to pay disproportionately.  Even though the law requires them to have health insurance.

My favorite part is when they say it is "hard to square" the claim that they will have to pay disproportionately with the data that says they are buying insurance.

The screen grab they supply from BuzzFeed, the article they link to from Forbes, none of it makes the case that young people will not buy insurance: it simply makes the case that it is not a good economic deal for many of them to do so.  The Forbes article did point out that previously low rates of enrollment for young people were likely due to the high cost for those enrollees, but it made no prediction that it would remain that way, especially since -- again -- they are required by law to do so. G+

Conservatives Proven Utterly Wrong On Key Aspect Of Obamacare

Remember when Obamacare was a terrible deal for young adults, and how "young invincibles" didn't even want health insurance? Conservative groups -- acting, no doubt, out of deep concern for the well-being of the nation's 20-somethings -- ev...

My thoughts on the video's claims: ... G+

Sound Politics: NRA Video on I-594

My thoughts on the video's claims: I-594 does mostly go after legitimate behavior by law-abiding citizens, and will not affect criminals in any way; there is no strong evidence that the goal of I-594 is collecting data on gun owners, but there will be more records of more gun transactions ...

It would be wonderful," Paltrow said of Obama, "if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass."

No, it would not.  No person should have such power.  Thankfully, the founders of the nation disagreed.

I don't want to pick on Paltrow.  She seems like a nice person, and I don't hate people because they are celebrities, or because they are celebrities who talk about politics.  She can get as involved as she wants to.  The more, the merrier.

I am posting this because this idea is so common today, and it is so anti-American, and we need to stop giving credence to it.  Members of Congress even push this terrible notion, with insane assertions that the Congress has some sort of obligation to give the President what he wants.  We need to stop this madness.

The Congress should do what it thinks is best and is within its power to do, and the President should do what he thinks is best and is within his power to do, and the two should work together to pass laws where they can agree to do so; and if they cannot agree, then no laws should be passed.

Remember, folks, that any unilateral power you give to Obama, is also going to be given to the next President you dislike.  We ensure the President does not have all the power to pass what he thinks he needs to pass.  We do this intentionally and purposefully, not necessarily because we don't trust the current President, but because we don't trust the next one, or the one after that.

No one (except maybe Thomas Paine) thought George Washington would abuse the office.  But they were not so sure about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Limits on power are essential and important.  Obama may be so handsome that we cannot speak properly, but we can't abandon rational thought along with our power of speech. G+

Gwyneth Paltrow to Obama: ‘You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly’

The actress hosted a fundraiser for Obama at her Los Angeles home Thursday.

Some people criticize Affleck because he defends Islam.  But they miss the worse claim he made: that we are endowed by the Founding Fathers with unalienable rights.


On the plus side, it's always nice change to see Harris and Maher attacking Islam instead of Christianity.  My side gets a bit of a respite.  ;-)

Watch Bill Maher And Ben Affleck Get Into A Heated Debate

Ben Affleck appeared on "Real Time With Bill Maher" on Friday to promote his latest film, "Gone Girl." But Affleck didn't leave without getting into a heated debate with Maher over radical Islamic principles. Affleck and Maher...

There's a tearful ad in Washington about a woman who was shot by her husband.  She survived.  The graphic overlay reads, "In Washington State, a convicted domestic abuser can buy a gun online or at a gun show without a background check."

This is misleading on two fronts.

First, there's really no such thing as online sales of guns.  You have to conduct the sale in person.  They are just trying to scare people into thinking that bad guys can just order a gun and have it shipped to them.

Second, they leave out the fact that it's illegal.  They make it sound like this is a perfectly legal operation, when the buyer is explicitly violating the law.

Then the ad tells us to vote for I-594, which will give us universal background checks for almost all gun transfers (including handing the gun to a friend in your own home, just to look at).

But literally, their statement -- "In Washington State, a convicted domestic abuser can buy a gun online or at a gun show without a background check" -- will remain true even if I-594 passes.  They will still be able to buy guns online and at gun shows without a background check.  The seller will be breaking the law by selling it to them, of course, but a strong illegal market for guns already exists.

Further, few people use this so-called "gun show loophole" to buy a gun if they have criminal intent.  The data shows strongly that crimes committed with guns are far more often gotten through legal means, or through the black market, than from this "loophole."

No one will be prevented from getting a gun with this law, and there will be no significant change in violent crime.

But you might get arrested for handing your gun to a friend.?

As I reported back in January, Initiative 594 is really a stupid bill. Not only does it literally do nothing to keep anyone any safer -- there is no evidence showing any correlation between universal background checks for gun transfers and reduced gun violence -- but it also significantly impedes on normal law-abiding gun activity, such as letting other responsible adults borrow, or even hold, your guns.

Literally and explicitly, the initiative makes it illegal for you to hand your gun to another person under most circumstances. There are exceptions, such as for educating a minor, or in order to save the life of the person to whom the gun is transferred (but not to save anyone else: just themselves). If your mother is in your home and she is thinking of buying a handgun like yours, though, you can't hand your unloaded gun to her so she can examine it. Because, you know, she might hold up a liquor store with it or go shoot up a local elementary school.

So even if you want universal background checks for gun sales, I-594 is just a stupid implementation of it. There's no defending it on these points, and as such, even anti-gun folks should oppose it. It is abandoning all reason to pretend it is reasonable to require a background check virtually every time a gun literally moves from my hands to another adult's.

But even from the gun sales perspective, there's no serious reasons to think it will result in any positive benefits to anyone. People who think otherwise are generally being lied to: for example, "Everytown For Gun Safety" claims that out of 1 in 10 people seeking to buy guns through "online unlicensed sales" in Washington, is someone who could not pass a background check.

How could they know this? Well, obviously, they can't, and they don't. They looked at 1,164 "want to buy" gun ads online, identified 81 (6.96%) of the individuals who placed the ads, and found 8 (0.69% of 1,164, 9.88% of 81) people who would have failed a background check. That's their data.

These anti-gun folks made two major false assumptions, and offered a major false implication.

First, that the 8 people either represents or underrepresents the actual population of people who want to buy guns through these "online unlicensed sales". They make some reasonable arguments for why it might underrepresent the population, but they cannot demonstrate it at all, so it cannot be counted as evidence. Worse, the data is not even representative of the population: the 8 positive matches from an 81-member sample has a confidence interval of +/-10.5 points at a 95% confidence level, which means we can be 95% certain the actual percentage is between -0.62% and 20.38%. So it's not "1 in 10," it's actually somewhere between "-1 in 10" and "3 in 10" ... which is just nonsense.

Second, they falsely assume that these "online unlicensed sales" are legal, and would thus be impacted by a new law requiring background checks. If the seller is a criminal (for example, selling a stolen gun), he will not care about this new law. He'll sell it anyway.

Third, they falsely imply that the sample of people who want to buy represents the people who actually buy. This pretty well goes without saying -- which is why in their printed matter, they emphasize that these people are only seeking guns, not actually buying them -- but it renders their actual argument useless. If 1 in 10 who want to buy legally may not, but they account for only 1 in 500 of purchasers, doesn't that change the argument for universal background checks significantly, and maybe even nullify it?

And further, even if the new law would actually have the effect of stopping these specific sales to illegal buyers, those buyers would not necessarily be prevented from buying a gun, simply because there's so many ways to get a gun illegally that this law won't impact.

Arguably, this is all the wrong data to be looking at anyway. Yes, we want to keep people who cannot legally own guns from owning them. But it seems to me that the more important information is about where guns come from when they are used in crimes, and the only data I've ever seen shows that only a tiny portion of these come from legal sales to illegal buyers, most likely because such sales are likely to be documented and traceable and will have an eyewitness (the seller) who can identify the purchaser, so someone with criminal intent is unlikely to go this route, again, because there's so many ways to get a gun illegally (and such illegal transfers account for a much, much larger portion of the guns used in crimes).

I do not, and would not, argue that we should not have a law to stop illegal activity just because that law won't work very well. I argue, rather, that if a law will not significantly impact the illegal activity it says it is designed for, but that law does significantly impact the valid exercise of constitutional rights, then that law is obviously a bad law. And that's what we have in I-594.

Sound Politics: Anti-Gun Activists Hates Your Mom

Anti-Gun Activists Hates Your Mom. As I reported back in January, Initiative 594 is really a stupid bill. Not only does it literally do nothing to keep anyone any safer -- there is no evidence showing any correlation between universal background checks for gun transfers and reduced gun violence ...

If the public really cared about concussions, they should stop attacking the NFL and youth sports, but instead go after Hollywood, where people are always getting blows to their heads so violent, unconsciousness is induced.

<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 a archive of entries in the Miscellaneous category from October 2014.

Miscellaneous: March 2014 is the previous archive.

Miscellaneous: November 2014 is the next archive.

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