31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

As you can imagine, Halloween is second only to Christmas in this house. But I thought I would leave you two geek jokes, one even seasonal!

Q: Why do programmers get Halloween and Christmas confused?

A: Because 31 OCT is 25 DEC!

OK, let’s try the other one.

Q: Why did the programmer starve to death in the shower?

A: Because the shampoo bottle said “Lather, Rinse, Repeat”.

Palin Warming

What do the irrelevancy of former Governor Sarah Palin and global warming climate change have in common? Both are of course totally beyond dispute, absolutely demonstrated by massive evidence, BUT it is necessary to make things up about the subjects to prove that case. Once again, Palin is smeared on no basis at all, with even the original article admitting this 30 paragraphs in, right at the end.

I am left wondering if this is just the flip side of the same crew making things up about President Obama, just with the sign flipped. I am left wondering about the genesis of such things — it seems very circular. Evidence is made up to support a conclusion, but where does that conclusion come from originally if the evidence is fabricated? It’s like a time travel paradox.

Test Case

I was messing with Orrin Judd the other day on his notion that corporations should have no free speech rights. The problem with that seemed to me to be the conflict between speech rights for “the press” and none for corporations, given that almost all of “the press” today is corporations. It seems like a legal quagmire to try to distinguish between the two. Judd’s final response was that it was just the press operations that had First Amendment rights but that’s just playing games with labels. It seems to me that such a distinction makes it either trivial to gut regulations based on the distinction, or enables active suppression of valid speech rights by the government.

That points out the most troublesome bit (as it almost always is with “feels good” regulation) — “who decides?”. And here we have a test case nicely illustrating the problem, the White House’s war on Fox News. Note one of the essential claims of the Obama Administration, that Fox News is not really a news organization, i.e. is not part of “the press”. Does that mean it should be subject to campaign finance laws? Again who decides? What makes Fox News different from, say, a political action committee that produces “news” for Internet distribution? Or an online “magazine”? To say that giving the power to make such determinations to the government is worse that corporate / union funded political speech is not the same as claiming the latter have no detrimental effects. But sometimes it really is the choice between the lesser of two evils.

P.S. What about the federal government? Does it fit in with corporations or individuals in this model? Is it OK for White House staff to be involved in turning federal agencies in to agit-prop mills for the President?

30 October 2009

Maverick vs. Traitor

Interesting how Senators Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman are being treated very differently by Old Media for bucking their party line on the healthcare nationalization.

Not indifferent, just on the other side

It seems the Obama Administration, along with its allies Venezuelan President Chavez and Nicaraguan President Ortega, have managed to get former President of Honduras Zelaya back in office. One might also note that Ortega is busy doing the same thing Zelaya tried but with less pushback and certainly no even mild disagreement from the Obama Administration. Let’s watch for all those who objected to the Honduran government “illegal acts” rise up with criticsm of Ortega’s putsch in progress.

Given this contrast, and President Obama’s sucking up to China, Russia, and Iran, support for global blasphemy laws, at what point may we conclude that Obama isn’t indifferent to liberal democracy, but actively opposes it?

P.S. Senator John Kerry, desperate to not be the last to get in on the opposition, pushed to have the Congressional Law Library to withdraw its determination that Zelaya’s removal was legal because leaving that out there tends to let slip the mask.

P.P.S. Then there is the Democratic Party in New Jersey pre-emptively setting up for encouraging voter fraud (via Instapundit and Ace of Spaces).

29 October 2009

Finally an exit strategy

Then

An official at a Democratic-leaning organization sends on a memo the group Media Matters is circulating today to progressive groups, calling Fox “a lethal 24/7 partisan political operation” and rallying a coalition of groups to join the White House assault on the network.

“The danger to progressive causes and the institution of journalism has become too significant to ignore,” says the introduction to a memo by Media Matters founder David Brock. “At Media Matters, we believe it is of paramount importance that progressive leaders have the information necessary to understand exactly what Fox News has become. We hope this brief memorandum will assist you in reaching your own decision on how best to engage this threat.”

Now

Numerous sources are reporting a meeting occurred Wednesday between high-ranking officials at the White House and the Fox News Channel to try and reach an end to hostilities between the Administration and the nation’s leading cable news network.

Well, President Obama did say that he wasn’t interested in victory so it’s OK.

The wonders of political advertisements

Here are two fun policital advertisements.

The first is an advertisement about the Washington Post endorsing Virgina gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. It turns out to have been made by his opponent who seems to think the endorsement is a net negative. That’s the kind of shift I like to see on the American Street.

The other one, via Ace of Spades, is apparently an endorsement of NY-23 Congressional district candidate Dede Scozzafava as the “progressive” candidate for the district. It turns out to have been made by an independent group. What I find extra funny here is that Politico calls this a “Republican dirty trick”. Leaving aside the morality, how is a subversive advertisement produced by a non-GOP group targeting the GOP candidate a Republican dirty trick? I think it’s an indication that like “fascist”, “Republican” has become a general term of denigration rather than a specific party affiliation.

I also don’t think the advertisement is a “dirty” trick, presuming the political views cited are accurate (and, as far as I can tell, they are). But these days, for both these advertisements, accurately quoting someone’s statements and positions is a “smear” or “dirty trick” if doing so demonstrates the person isn’t a conservative because it rips off the mask.

UN-protected

President Obama isn’t getting absolutely everything wrong — in some cases he has continued the policies of the previous Administration. One of those is conducting missile strikes on various Caliphascist leaders in the Afghanistan / Pakistan theater. As Instapundit notes it is to be expected that the UN would object to that. Not because of collateral damage in the form of deaths of civilians but, as far as I can tell, because of the deaths of the strike targets. Instapundit gets it a bit wrong, the quote should be

If it’s working [for the benefit of the Anglosphere], it must violate some international law somehow.

P.S. Woops, I had this clipped Via Hot Air first. Just too lazy to have written it up immediately.

Broken Aesop

Via Right Wing News I have to agree with Dennis Miller and Bill O’Reilly — if global warming climate change is going to cause good looking women to strip down on the streets of America, I say “bring it on!”. Another example of how the drive for trangressivity overrides any concern with the actual message.

P.S. I turned off the sound while the women were disrobing, so I have no idea what they said.

Hope and Change In Action

Via Brothers Judd, an example of how President Obama is fufilling his pledges of a new style of politics, without all that patronage.

More than 40% of President Obama’s top-level fundraisers have secured posts in his administration, from key executive branch jobs to diplomatic postings in countries such as France, Spain and the Bahamas, a USA TODAY analysis finds. […] That’s a rate higher than any president in more than four decades

That’s change, all right.

28 October 2009

Facejunk

Why is it that I am suddenly being inundated with phishy junk e-mail about Facebook? I don’t even use Facebook but I am getting multiple e-mails per hour with “Facebook login update” and “Facebook account update” etc. with bogus links. I don’t think I have gotten any of these until a week or so ago and now it’s a flood. I guess all the Microsoft Outlook phishers got bored.

Dancing with who brought you

Apparently President Obama’s habit of not taking women along on his sports outings is generating some push-back from various people. I personally don’t care about the gender of Obama’s sporting companions but I do find it majorly amusing to watch him take the hits on the subject. The whiners are exactly the sort of people who supported him during the primaries and the general election, so it’s hard to feel sorry that he has to put up with them now. I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing for a public figure to be held to the standards of his political allies, and the standards those allies want to impose on the rest of us.

Everyone has their limit to pretend time

Califorinia Treasurer Bill Lockyer has reached his limit. Maybe the real problem is Republican dominated Sacramento.

I think this is actually a bit of a bi-partisan problem in that we have a political class that is, as far as I can tell, simply disconnected from reality. It’s like our high school students who get straight A’s in the easy world of high school suddenly getting dumped in to a hard science cirriculum at a top college. Their habits just don’t work but they can’t bring themselves to do what is clearly needed because that would mean less partying.

Capitalist Roadsters

I must cite this (via Brothers Judd) —

The Senate soundly defeated a $250 billion extension to the Medicare physician payment program Wednesday […] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) […] paced the chamber’s well just prior to the vote and afterward looked to blame the defeat on GOP Senators, arguing it was a result of “activities and actions by the Republican-dominated Washington.”

Oh yes, that GOP dominated city! I don’t think Reid’s that political unobservant, it’s just the trope he uses and expects MALists to (pretend to) believe. It’s what happens when you get so used to cover stories that it’s a reflex.

27 October 2009

Better to remain silent than to speak up and remove all doubt

From Commentary

Given all the concern in the art community about confronting urgent sociopolitical problems, from the status of women to the fate of the environment, it was distinctly chary about responding to the terrorist attacks of that day. Surely it was not for lack of visual material; September 11 was rife with enough imagery to prompt a dozen Goyas to make new -Disasters of War. But this was not to be. The tremulous rage that performance artists had routinely aimed at Jesse Helms or Reagan was nowhere to be found. Nor was there any noteworthy attempt to humanize the victims, perhaps out of fear that it might dehumanize their killers.

Only one artist hazarded a monumental work on the attacks: Eric Fischl, whose bronze sculpture Tumbling Woman was installed in Rockefeller Center a year later. Its subject was the most heartrending sight of 9/11, the multitude of victims driven by the flames to leap from the World Trade Center towers, their private agony played out on the world’s most public stage. And yet Fischl worked assiduously to remove any sense of poignancy or dignity from the figure, showing her landing ridiculously on her head, with all the bathos of an unsightly spill in the tub. Thus the one significant monumental artistic response to 9/11 ended in dehumanizing the victims. (Following an explosion of outrage in a city still raw from the event, the statue was whisked away within days.)

Most other post-9/11 art suffered from the same moral incoherence. Typical was Ron English, the artist famous for his illegal billboards that parodied corporate advertisements. In 2002 he managed to sneak a billboard into New York City, with the message “Jihad Is Over! (If you want it),” a play on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s celebrated “War Is Over” ad in the New York Times. The billboard was baffling to New Yorkers, who presumably felt the sign would be more properly placed in Kabul or Tehran than on East 14th Street.

This is not to say that 9/11 did not call forth a volcano of moral rage among artists—only that this rage found no outlet until 2003, when it came to be directed at George W. Bush. Among all the scatological, puerile, and corrosive caricatures of Bush that began to be shown at that time, one looks in vain for even one corresponding image of Osama bin Laden or Mohamed Atta. For example, In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman’s intensely personal graphic memoir of the 9/11 attacks, contains not a single depiction of bin Laden, while we are treated to scurrilous images of President Bush toppling the Statue of Liberty and a gleeful Dick Cheney slitting the throat of the American eagle on whose back he is riding.

Does one have to wonder about the sentiments of an artistic community that did this, or is it obvious how they really feel? Is it part of the The Mask in that they held back from making art about that event for fear they would reveal too much of their actual views, caught between what they wanted to do and what even they knew would be beyond the tolerance of the American Street?

Crack the whip!

After a struggle session (involving people frowning at him while being denied a low-fat latte) Ken Rudin of NPR has apologized for daring to entertain the suggestion that President Obama’s focus on domestic enemies was possibly just may be reminiscent in a way of ex-President Nixon. Just say no to thoughtcrime!

Sic transit gloria advertisement

Here is an interesting comment on the decline of print media —

I wonder if the internet isn’t responsible for that reduced value.

In high school, when I bought a Karmann Ghia and wanted parts for it, I bought a copy of “Hot VWs and Dune Buggies” at the newsstand. I didn’t particularly care about the articles (which were utter fluff), and I never bought more than one copy (which I still have, it turns out). I bought it specifically for the ads. That’s how you found suppliers for your hobby less than 2 decades ago. But why would I bother with that today?

Similarly, I wonder if things like online product reviews haven’t diminished the effectiveness of advertising more generally. You can fire up your search engine and find out what 1000 people think about this or that product, or you can go to one of the innumerable forums run by vBulletin and discover that yes, there really are people who hang out all day and discuss the merits of various dishwashers. So the Sunday supplement is less relevant to your shopping.

And of course, having figured out exactly what you want to buy, you can go to the websites of retailers and manufacturers to find out if/when a sale is coming, diminishing the value of the glossy parts of the newspaper even more.

I remember Computer Shopper which, like Playboy, few people read for the articles. It was the place to keep up on consumer computer technology in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was a huge 18×11 magazine, an inch thick most issues, consisting of 95% advertisements and proud of that. As the comment cited above noted, people like me bought it because that’s how you found out what the current hot hardware was, what disk prices were, etc., and almost all of that information was in the advertisements. But as the Internet Age advanced, it gradually thinned out and disappeared because people started hitting websites to track all of that — either online catalogs or user oriented forums. I think that’s an extreme case but I can see the general principle being important and it’s an aspect I hadn’t considered before.

Changing seasons

I am at least temporarily, and likely permanently, shutting down Low Earth Orbit because I just don’t have the time or energy to put the pithy quotes and snark there anymore. I originally set it up because I had enough it distracted from this weblog, but I think it’s sparse enough now that I can just drop them here.

Future shock

Just imagine if someone told you in the 1980s that the Russian Mafia was using chinese computers to send her images of japanese lesbian schoolgirl sex via lasers and she COULDN’T GET THEM TO STOP.

Now THAT’S crazy.

doctorpat

Obama Hagiography Watch

First up is some worship of First Lady Michelle Obama —

From New York Times columnist Charles blow (via Tim Blair) —

Michelle Obama is the coolest first lady ever …

I could pile on platitudes here about her professional accomplishments, or explore to what degree she is redefining the role of women, or predict how she will be viewed by historians in the pantheon of her predecessors. I could, but I won’t. That’s not my bailiwick.

But I will say that she seems particularly suited to these times. She provides a certain authenticity and clarity of self in a time of uncertainty, projecting a casual grace onto a world of amplified anxiety. She has become a powerful symbol of fearlessness, refinement, frugality and frivolity, managing to be both fun and serious simultaneously. She’s genuinely human.

Mrs. Obama is redefining my concept of a first lady, and I like it.

Then, via Hot Air we have how the NEA is coping with the magnificence that is President Barak Obama on the NEA’s official website —

OK, I’m sure that by now you are all wildly optimistic. Well, maybe not all of you. There might be a couple of you, way in the back, that are saying to yourselves, “That’s all very sweet, very arty, but what does it have to do with the budget of the NEA?”

My answer is pretty simple. There is a new president and a new NEA. The president first. This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.

First it’s just using government art to promote policies and then it shifts to worship of The Leader.

UPDATE: Speaking of Obama worshipping art, this article points out that Obama art is unique because it is not only excessively hagiographic but its existence predates any real accomplishments (just like Obama’s Nobel Prize). It’s one thing to produce FDR cult images after 12 years of his Presidency, another to do so during the campaign.

UPDATE: An evisceration of the NEA statement noted above. It’s not just the hagiography, but that the speaker, despite being in charge of the National Endowment for the Arts, apparently knows nothing of the history of Presidential literature.

Petard watch

Tim Blair reports

Thanks to a rules loophole you could drive a truck through, a beautiful result looms:

The two thirstiest, most powerful cars in the field are on track to win the Global Green Challenge, an environmentally focussed fuel economy run from Darwin to Adelaide.

Two of the fastest cars ever produced in Australia – the HSV Maloo R8 and Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo – are first and second in the 14-car “Eco Challenge” field.

They’re on track to beat a fleet of fuel misers and even an electric car, which must be followed by a fuel sucking truck that’s likely to use as much fuel as six of the fuel misers fighting for line honours.

How can this be? It’s all due to government experts:

The event ranks teams according to their fuel use in comparison to the official, Government-supplied rating that goes on the fuel label.

Cars that use less than their claim as a percentage will be crowned the green car winners.

It turns out that government economy ratings aren’t friendly to massive V8s and turbocharged dual-cam sixes, handing them a huge advantage. Holden’s monster V8 – aided by the highway-based course – is pulling figures up to 64 per cent better than listed. One car is notably absent:

Despite the surplus of frugal fuel misers, Australia’s greenest car, the Toyota Prius, is not in the event.

It’s understood organisers offered Toyota significant incentives to compete in the Challenge, but the maker declined repeated approaches.

A possible reason for this: under highway conditions, the Prius is just a heavy four-cylinder car hauling around unemployed batteries. Its hybrid capacities mainly kick in during low-speed urban running.

The Mask

A topic I have been meaning to drone on about at excessive length is how much the MAL is a con game, that it states principles and goals that are simply rhetorical covers for actual goals1. It’s a bit scattered, but it was blocking my progress on other posts so out it goes. I will be substantively editing this post for an extended period as I manage to go through my piled up source material. Not my best work, but you have to start somewhere.

Back in the day, during the glory days of socialism, socialists were unabashed about what they wanted. Open admiration for Fascism from FDR, explicit alliances with Soviet Communism — totalitarian society was the future and they were proud to be part of it.

What happened? Reality. Socialism doesn’t work and by the end of WWII this was becoming clear. The anti-anti-Communists were the first wave, unwilling to now openly espouse Communism, instead they bashed those who explicitly opposed it, support at one remove. This masking continued to increase until very recently, when the power of the Internet began to take its toll. After all, to organize groups with other than publically stated goals one has to discuss the real goals at some point with the like minded. Before the Internet, this was relatively easy to do with sufficient deniability. The difficulties of providing evidence, and the control of public information via Old Media, sufficed to keep the American Street mostly fooled.

Now, however, things are changing. First off, the current generation of the MAL has been raised on arrogance and privilege and to a large extent is incapable of justifying or (in many cases) even conceiving of having to justify their positions. The decades long control of public information has contributed to this, both by keeping them in a bubble and minimizing evidence of different opinions on the American Street. Second, it’s now far easier for their opponents to provide evidence (recordings, links to documents, video, protest march pictures, etc.) to the non-fringe. It’s one thing to say “I heard from a friend that his friend heard a White House official admiring Chairman Mao” and another to say “check out this video on YouTube”. Because the MAL now runs primarily on tropes over a substrate of “it’s all about me!” they are finding it hard to adjust to the new era, hence the inability to be more clever about concealing what they’re actually about.

An interesting side effect of this (and a contributing factor) is that, to a large extent, the MAL is apparently no longer able to conceptualize the idea of having a set of abstract principles which one applies to the real world. To compensate for this lack of insight, the MAL indulges in quite a lot of projection, in which the actions and intentions of their opponents are analyzed in the MAL’s context so that any opposition is in the service of some unstated, nefarious, and code word described purpose. Opponents, like MALists, never say what they really mean, it’s always a cover. As many wags have said, if you want to know what a MAList would do if given power, just listen to what he accuses his opponent of wanting to do. Note that you see lots of examples of Democratic Party candidates “running right” and trying to look conservative, then governing left, but you see very few GOP candidates pretending to be to the left of their actual positions.

This shift is also why the MAL has moved from free speech to “shut up! he explained” and attempts to silence via law or discrediting opposition voices. At some level they know their public facade is a facade and that vigorous, open debate would destroy it. That’s why such a thing must be avoided at all costs. But, probably not coincidentally, the sort of epithet based discussion (“racist! bigot! fascist!”) is failing, which just means that it is currently being ramped up to 11 in a desperate attempt to make the world stop.

Another related aspect is that of “swift-boating” which means, in today’s political environment, damaging someone’s reputation by accurately citing their past. Because of information control, the Old Left could usually bury inconvenient information. But in the Internet Age all the old slips of the mask can be found and presented. This leads to the common pattern of a MAList serially denying claims as each is demolished by new evidence. Van Jones, Anita Dunn, and the ACORN scandal all show how this works.

I have a huge set of clippings on this subject, and all that introductory material is just to lead in to grouping those clippings. I will be updating this on and off for a while as I run in to those clippings.

I will start with one from Brothers Judd in which Judd writes with regard to the Van Jones resignation

DO THEY REALLY NEED A PARABLE … to tell them that the progressive movement is unacceptable to the American electorate?

No, not really, since they know that at some level or they wouldn’t depend so much on disinformation. What I think is surprising to them is that the Chicago Thugs were unwilling to engage the deceptors to protect Jones.

Here is one via Hot Air — as Just One Minute puts it, “The Public Option - So Popular They Have To Rename It”.

There’s always health care reform as a trojan horse for single payer health care.


1 I think to a large extent the MAL no longer has “principles” in the way the term is normally used. “Power at any cost” and “I need to feel good about myself” aren’t principles.

Defined by your enemies

It strikes me that ex-President Bush spent his time working against those he, rightly or wrongly, thought were enemies of the USA. President Obama, as far as I can tell, is focused on those people he, rightly or wrongly, thinks are enemies of President Obama. It’s Obama’s New Groove come to life.

23 October 2009

20 October 2009

Not even worth the effort to pretend

Porphyrogenitus writes

Not only do they no longer read the Bills they pass, but they have gone so far now as to vote a bill out of committee that hasn’t even been written yet:

The bill offers a basic framework for eventual legislation, the closest glimpse yet into what reform might look like.
The fact is, the legislative language, that is the actual Bill, was unavailable at the time of passage, because it hadn’t been written:
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is considered a pivotal figure in efforts to win Senate approval of health-care legislation, cited the importance of keeping the price tag stable, even though final legislative language on the bill is not yet written.

I understand that government never had some golden age where legislators were upright, concerned lawmakers doing their best, but this still seems to me to be dysfunctional at a historically high level. This is compounded by the fact that this legislation is far more intrusive, far more consequential, than previous efforts. I will say it doesn’t much change my view of Senator Snowe (“history says don’t call back!”).

Reading from the Little Red Book

So one of President Obama’s key appointments has Mao Zedung as one of her favorite philosophers and sees nothing wrong with stating so in public. It is insightful, though — Mao said “all power flows from the barrel of a gun” which explains the real motivation behind gun control. Wouldn’t want any of that icky power in the hands of ordinary citizens.

18 October 2009

Turkish shift

Here is an article which claims that Turkey has moved from a NATO ally to a member of the Iranian Axis over the last 8 years or so. I wonder what Brothers Judd will have to say about this, given its strong “Axis of Good” view of Anglosphere relations with Turkey. I tend to think that the article puts too much blame on the Anglosphere — it’s not always about the West.

16 October 2009

Alert the media - someone was wrong on the Internet

What about those fake Rush Limbaugh quotes that made the rounds on Old Media? Can we say that depending on a single cite by an anonymous person on the Internet is clear and reckless disregard for the facts in a legal sense?

The beginning of the end

Another reason I don't watch broadcast television

Via Ace of Spades

V is a remake but not from that long ago. It aired on NBC in 1984 and 1985. The pilot I screened, which premieres Nov. 3, has been helped by advances in special effects. Visually, it’s a gem. However, some of the content might become controversial. The original was an allegory to the Nazi’s takeover of Germany. The new one might be seen as commentary on contemporary politics. The teasers running on ABC offer a hint of this. “They gave us hope. We gave them our trust.” Who does that bring to mind? Of course, the Visitors (hence the title), after promising things like universal health care and peace in a one world government, turn out to be totally evil. They attempt to seize control of the media, favoring those who don’t challenge them or ask probing questions about their real agenda, which turns out to be the annihilation of humanity. The heroes are everyday people, who form a grass roots resistance movement. Supposedly, the show is being slightly reconceptualized to soften or remove events some might interpret as negative parallels to today.

What’s always amusing is how Obamatons bow down and suck up even when President Obama is unlikely to know or care. I have no little dislike for Obama but even I can’t imagine he sits around and worries about vague political allegories in made for TV junk.

Anyway, the real problem with V is the basic alien motivation — stealing our water. There are entire moons made of ice sitting around in the outer solar system. Why not just grab one of them, instead of dealing with a complex and likely hostile local sentient species that’s at the bottom of a gravity well in a reactive atmosphere? Too stupid to live IMHO.

Signs that I am old

The 12 hottest tech babes and I haven’t heard or seen a single one of them before this article.

(Of course they didn’t have SWIPIAW because we can’t afford a mass migration of males to her house in our perilous times).

Nixon III?

Sister Toldjah writes the headline I have been thinking about — the Nixonian character of the Obama Administration (triggered by Instapundit). The attacks on those “nattering nabobs of negativismring with echoes of ex-President Nixon. Even the ChiComs make an appearance, as White House communication directory Anita Dunn lists Chairman Mao as a favorite philosopher.

I think this is related to neither Nixon nor President Obama having a sense of humor, particularly about themselves. Of course, it seems that these days no one else is allowed to have a sense of humor about Obama either.

P.S. A couple of other reactions here and here.

09 October 2009

Joined to infamy

I thought awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize was a nasty and studied insult, but apparently the general consensus is that it was intended to be laudatory. I do think it makes a nice pairing with the de-funding of monitoring brutal oppression in Iran — as I have noted “peace crimes” don’t count because it’s “peace”.

P.S. I don’t understand the widespread how bizarre! reactions — the awarding does not seem the least bit bizarre to me, but far more of a piece with continual unhinged adulation of Obama. He’s never deserved any of the massive rewards he has received, so why should a Nobel Peace Prize be any different? I think Ace of Spaces has good read on it.

07 October 2009

Unsold memoribilia, maybe?

I was reminded reading some comments of the Presidential Library Act and left to wonder, what exactly will ex-President Obama put in there, given the huge blank that his “life and career” has been made?

It's the lese majeste

I must disagree with Instapundit about my own Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin is apparently boycotting a radio station in Quincy because it leaked information about a Durbin visit to that town (imagine that, a leak!). Instapundit writes

It says a lot about the health care debate when a senior Senator feels he has to sneak around his constituents.

Perhaps, but I doubt Durbin was “sneaking”. He’s a made man of the Chicago Machine so he will be re-elected. I think it’s much more an offended sense of aristocratic privilege, that he, Senator Durbin, should be subjected to the annoyance of the peasants, particularly downstate peasants.

Hmmm. Durbin is in line for Senate Majority leader, if the current one (as looks likely) fails to be re-elected. What Chicago Machine member in the House of Representatives could ascend once current Speaker Pelosi is dumped, to give us a Chicago run federal government?

Complaining of a stubbed toe to the legless

I must admit, I found the Obama’s public humiliation by the IOC at Copenhagen a big heaping glass of sparkling schadenfruede, but not really worth public announcement of the same. Yet as I read some of the post mortems I am struck by the First Lady’s extremely poor choice of theme for her speech, sustained by the twin pillars of “it would be so nice for me” and “it’s hard being me”. The latter, in particular, seems extremely strange for an American to wave before an international audience. Certainly bad things happen in America but compared to most of the rest of the world, it’s really quite nice. I think it is significant that Michelle Obama apparently does not grasp this fact as evidenced by her expectation that her “suffering” here would matter to the IOC members. For all the talk of how parochial American conservatives are, I can’t think of any better demonstration of true parochialism and “only America is real” attitude than the IOC presentations of the Obamas.

06 October 2009

So don't do that!

I just have to get this out of my system. Over here is a discussion on memory access ordering semantics and how it relates to C++ synchronization classes. The post is nice but one of the commenters notes that he had problems with using the Boost shared_ptr class in a multi-threaded application by accessing the shared_ptr instances themselves in multiple threads, not the objects to which they pointed. Augh! You’d never do that with ordinary variables, so why expect it to work with shared_ptr? Turing and Church, people are just way too casual about multi-threaded access to data. Back in my day, you would never just share data between threads. Heck, I won’t even share objects via shared_ptr between threads. I always use some higher level locking structure to make sure only one thread is working with an object at any given instant. Of course, I learned about multi-threaded data access back in middle school, hanging out with my buddies, not in some namby-pamby book or highfalutin’ class room. Nothing teaches you to take care of proper synchronization like the mocking laughter of your peers when your data gets corrupted right in front of them. I don’t know what this younger generation is coming to.

What were they thinking?

In the “what in the world is going on with the voters” files, I noticed that Ireland voters approved the Lisbon Treaty after rejecting it a while back. Can anyone explain how that treat, which hasn’t changed a bit, went from being rejected to being strongly approved? 67% in favor is no small win.

Enhanced reality revisited

In the “I can’t believe it, you may have gotten somthing right” files, this was in my clipping files. I discussed this kind of thing previously and it’s nice to see it starting to show up in the real world. Their name isn’t as good as mine but hey, not everyone can be as cool as me.

Speaking of trust...

Just a bit of a round up —

NY Times scrubs details of President Obama’s IOC trip — reporting embarrassingly naive or just embarrassing to your ideological idol? Just silently delete them. No one will notice.

The Washington Post simply makes up quotes when it’s useful for pushing the correct ideological line in a story.

There’s also the response of Old Media to the ACORN scandals — don’t investigate ACORN, investigate the investigators and generally avoid any digging that might not follow The Narrative. In a similar vein is this brou-ha-ha about Obama’s daughter Sasha having meningitis. It’s not interesting for the now completely standard falsehood from Obama, but for CBS’s reaction which is to spin the story as an example of online conservatives making things up.

But hey! Perhaps the solution is government intervention — that makes everything better, right?

Update: CNN fact checks Saturday Night Live. Apparently not a spoof.

Smart but naive

Over at Brothers Judd is a post about the coming “smart grid” which is an electrical distribution system with embedded distributed cybernetics. This enables the system to react to local conditions far more rapidly and accurately, increasing efficiency and reliability1.

The big problem that’s going to slow adoption and use is, in my view, security. I think this paragraph sets that up but doesn’t follow through —

the computing revolution of the 1980s that saw hulking, centralized mainframes give way to PCs. […] In much the same way PCs opened the door to third-party software and services and use of the Internet, smart meters are paving the way for tools and services that make the system more responsive to shifts in energy demands.

And what came right after that? Junk email and viruses. Anyone who thinks the smart grid is going to be different is delusional. Just think of the fun possibilities when you can hack some one’s electrical system. Or the possibilities for graft if you can pull the rounding error scam.

At least a few people are thinking about the problem. In fact, SWIPIAW was involved with one such group before she moved on to teaching and general consulting. But despite that I have seen little evidence that security is being taken seriously in the field. And, if you see a glowing article like this on the subject that doesn’t mention security concerns, you know it’s not written by someone who’s thought deeply on the subject.

P.S. I wanted to note this as well —

Smart-grid technology will bring huge savings to companies as varied as Cisco, PG&E, and Cargill, and to consumers, too. But who will foot the bill?

If it’s such a money saver, why worry about the bill? You need to worry about that only in the cases where no one really believes in the cost saving (e.g., “green jobs”).


1 Isn’t it odd so many people think this is a great idea for the electrical grid, but not for say education or the economy?

01 October 2009

Covert turf war

Rick Ballard makes an entertaining suggestion

What would you say the odds are that this is a death cage match between RW and His Nullity? She couldn’t use the room full of oppo research binders during the campaign (the “racist” charge was biting) but there’s no reason not to funnel them to Breitbart now, is there? Bubba’s blather about the VRWC botwithstanding.

Bring it on, I say!

Government can always make it worse chronicles

Via The Anchoress is this story from the UK

[The UK] Home Office staff were officially warned not to eat in front of their fasting Muslim colleagues during Ramadan – in case it made them feel hungry.

What we have here is even worse than Muslims demanding special privileges. It is an overly interventionist government making things worse for everybody, including the putatively oppressed. I had heard about this via other sources but I make it a rule to always check through because it seems to me that more often than not, there wasn’t a problem until the government got involved situation. What’s really impressive, though, is that it is bigoted toward everyone, Muslim and non-Muslims alike. Muslims are portrayed as over-reactive and insufficiently confident in their own beliefs to fast if they see other people eating, while non-Muslims are portrayed as rude for going about their lives according to their own beliefs. I, personally, think we should all agree that nanny state appartchiks are who we should stop believing in.

He's just some guy I appointed

Here we go

President Obama’s diversity czar at the Federal Communications Commission has spoken publicly of getting white media executives to “step down” in favor of minorities, prescribed policies to make liberal talk radio more successful, and described Hugo Chavez’s rise to power in Venezuela “an incredible revolution.”

No racism or socialism there, right? And we certainly shouldn’t judge President Obama based on who his administration appoints to high ranking government posts, even if Obama’s “judgement” was promoted as a key reason to vote for him.

To ponder: how many of these do we need before the taint starts sticking to Obama? Can I look back at previous White House Administrations and see how many it took for them?

Getting what they want good and hard

Via Hot Air is the story of California legislators taking off for junkets while their state economy lurches toward epic failure. It concludes with

California deserves real legislators offering real solutions to a crisis, not Otter from Animal House.

Well, no. California elected these cretins over and over again, despite their policies obviously leading to exactly this sort of result. Reaping the sown, baby.