June 30, 2004

Goin' down the road feelin' good....

Leaving now (noon) for

The Dead....

Boise Thursday,
Portland Friday,
The Gorge Saturday (with the Allman Bros)

Eugene for 4th parties Sunday-Monday

Oh yea, blogging will be sparse.

...not fade away...

Posted by Steve on June 30, 2004 | Comments (4)

Acronyms of Pain

It's unlikely that you will find these acronyms in an IM chat:

The dry-erase boards scream profanity across the ER.

Letters of blue roar:

"OOC (out of control -- usually after crack or methamphetamine)!"

They cry:

"ICH (intra-cranial hemorrhage),
AMS (altered mental status),
SSCP (substernal chest pain),
GIB (gastrointestinal bleed),
AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm),
SBP (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis)!"

They mock:

"AOB (alcohol on breath)!"
HOD (heroin overdose)..."

Via Hermes.
(Ed. colors added)

Posted by Steve on June 30, 2004

Supremes Sing for bush?

Arthur Silber isn't very happy with the rulings in Hamdi, Padilla and Rasul:

...as Turley notes, the fact that these questions arose in this form in the first place -- questions that lie at the very foundation of what was our original system of government -- is a very ominous sign, a sign whose significance a great many people appear not to appreciate fully, if at all.
MORE CONFIRMATION: Of my view -- if the Wall Street Journal is pleased about the Supreme Court's rulings, you can be pretty damned sure that they're bad news for the defenders of individual rights:
Now I'm not as happy with these rulings as I was two days ago.

Posted by Steve on June 30, 2004

June 29, 2004


Just why is this allowed?

But today was my first experience with the special "premier" security screening. While other travelers waited in long lines, first to have their bags checked and then to pass through the metal detectors, I was whisked through.
This apparent perk makes me more then uncomfortable. It makes me a bit angry and my answer to a question that Kleiman asks later in his post iis that, no, it is not a good idea to let folks buy their way out the regular security line!!

Posted by Steve on June 29, 2004 | Comments (2)

National Kissing Day?

Well, why not?

Join Amber's Crusade to celebrate along with the Brits on July 6.

I've already lined up my kissing partner? Have you?

And if you are so inclined don't feel as if you must restrict yourself to one.

Via Will Baude.

Update (July 6, 2005): Amber has updated International Kissing Day information.

Posted by Steve on June 29, 2004 | Comments (12)

Sex and Psyops

This article discusses the history of sex in wartime pyschological warfare and carries the disclaimer:

Warning! These historical wartime images are sexually explicit. This is a military reference site for adults only.
Interesting stuff and definitely not work friendly.

Via Julian Sanchez at Hit & Run.

Posted by Steve on June 29, 2004

June 28, 2004

bush Science

It will be interesting, perhaps depressing, to see which US scientists are selected to advise the World Health Organization. Previously WHO had selected appropriate scientists for their needs. Now the administration will pick them based, I guess, on the administration's needs:

Instead, Steiger's Office of Global Health Affairs now will choose "an appropriate expert who can best serve both of our organizations," he said. HHS experts made available also must advocate U.S. government policies, Steiger said.
Yep, I like that last key criteria. Apparently good science is not the main goal.

Via David Harris.

Posted by Steve on June 28, 2004

Dim Future?

Sadly, No! hammers David Frum and then Brad Delong piles on and regarding Frum's discussion of Canadian economic growth asks:

Why does Frum think--as he appears to--that increases in the government have consumed 2/3 of economic growth--45 as a share of 67--rather than 1/8 of economic growth--60 as a share of 490? As a Harvard man, I cannot shrink from the necessary and inevitable conclusion: Yale must be in some way responsible.
That Yale processed both Frum and bush does not bode well for the next 4 years be it a bush or kerry administration.

Posted by Steve on June 28, 2004

Iraq Occupation Ended

Reaffirming what Modulator reported a month ago the bush administration has already taken up the pre-election drumbeat that the occupation has ended. Paul Bremer tells us:

...the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist on June 28th, at which point the occupation will end and the Iraqi interim government will assume and exercise full sovereign authority on behalf of the Iraqi people.
Has anyone seen any sign of troops being pulled out? Nope. This is pure semantic BS on the part of the administration.

Posted by Steve on June 28, 2004 | Comments (1)

Buffalo Blogging

Jaquandor continues to maintain Byzantium Shores' reputation as the Buffalo blog with his Image of the Week depicting Buffalo's Central Terminal.

There are a lot of great historical pictures here that will be particularly interesting to railroad buffs.

Posted by Steve on June 28, 2004 | Comments (2)

Bad Trip

This is what Joel Miller calls the war on drugs in his new book: Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America. It is also available at ShopNet Daily.

End the drug war now!

Via Radley Balko.

Posted by Steve on June 28, 2004

June 27, 2004

The bush immigration plan?

A lot of folks have been unhappy about bush's immigration plan. Some folks on the left think it does not open things enough and some on the right think he's opening the borders like a sieve. Perhaps, though, this is just diversion.,

The true bush administration policy may be the consequence of many other administration actions and ultimately reverse the flow of people across US borders. Really, who would want to come to a regime every bit as oppressive as communism.

Posted by Steve on June 27, 2004

June 26, 2004

Basic Science

It's the weekend, the sky is blue and a light wind is blowing. What better time to kick back and buff up your basic science skills. Check out these Ballads from the Age of Science.

Via Medpundit.

Posted by Steve on June 26, 2004

June 25, 2004

Electoral College Status

This electoral vote tracking site is nfty. You can start with a current map and track backward to see the day by day changes as new polls are released. I'd like to see the Votemaster add a "next" link so that I could pick, say, June 1, 2004 and go forward.

As Tegan notes:

Watching the votes bounce around as new polls are taken is fascinating and more than a little scary.
For instance, on 6/22 Bush leads 285 to 253 and on 6/24 Kerry leads 300 to 228. It is volatile out there!

Posted by Steve on June 25, 2004

It's Friday

Tom is cat blogging.

Posted by Steve on June 25, 2004

June 24, 2004

bush-cheney hitler Video

In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black the latest bush-bheney ad hominem campaign video reaches a new low. This is pretty much killfile material.

For some thoughts on the usefulness of invoking this particular meme see here and here.

Update (6/25): PZ Myers is puzzled by the message the campaign is trying to send and suggests some possibilities.

Update (6/28): The bushies have revised the video with some explanatory comments on the front end. Via The Sideshow.

Posted by Steve on June 24, 2004 | Comments (3)

Tin Foil Office

Well, you just have to see it to believe it.

There may be additional benefits to enclosing your boss in this manner.

Via Wizbang.

Posted by Steve on June 24, 2004 | Comments (2)

Contempt of Court

In this case it is the judge:

Thompson, 57, placed himself in a position where his female court reporter viewed him using a penis pump multiple times, Edmondson alleged in the petition. The document also alleges that a court reporter saw other improper sexual conduct on a number of occasions.
The Petition for Removal has the details of the other improper conduct.

Via Unlearned Hand.

Posted by Steve on June 24, 2004

June 23, 2004

Movies, Movies, Movies

Ahh, here is a straight forward way to hack a post after being away for so long.

Both Jaquandor (where I first saw this) and PZ Myers have noted in bold which of these movies they have seen and PZ even picked his top nine and bottom 10.

Here are the first 10 on the list. The rest are under the fold.

1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000
9. Shrek 2 (2004) $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) $340,478,898

11. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) $250,147,615

31. Toy Story 2 (1999) $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) $227,965,690

41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) $215,397,307

47. X2 (2003) $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) $198,655,278

56. Pearl Harbor (2001) $198,539,855
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) $178,406,268

75. Tootsie (1982) $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) $171,301,428

87. Tarzan (1999) $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) $170,684,505

90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)$165,500,000
93. Hannibal (2001) $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) $163,214,286
97. Batman Returns (1992) $162,831,698

98. Bug's Life, A (1998) $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) $161,487,252

Posted by Steve on June 23, 2004

June 19, 2004

Road Trip

I'll be on the road for the next four days: an 2000 mile round trip to drop my daughter off at Signal Mountain Lodge for her summer job and then a quick spin through Yellowstone before heading home.

Posting will probably be pretty minimal...

Posted by Steve on June 19, 2004


Cool, I just activated a new Gmail account.

Now I need to decide just what I'll use it for as I'm not really inclined to use it for my blog email or for my main personal email.

It was very slick at autofilling the Gmail address of my benefactor. It only took, I think, two characters and there it was. Of course, zombyboy is a unique name and he is a good guy! Thanks!

Posted by Steve on June 19, 2004

June 17, 2004

cheney's Hideaway

Apparently some folks are upset that Time Magazine mentioned the long known location of cheney's hiding place.

Head over to Sadly, No! for commentary, links and this cool Flash report (6 MB).

Posted by Steve on June 17, 2004

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

Tegan is a charter member of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame which is opening this week. She attended the "Gala premier opening" and has written a preview for us. A couple of snippets:

Ok, overall first impressions: Crowded, but not too crowded. Literally every time you turned around, there was something new to look at. I was suffering from "oooooh! Shiny thing!" syndrome, big-time.
Disappointments. Not many... There was as strong a focus on books and magazines as on TV and movies, but comic books were underrepresented.
And the Experience Music Project building is still the ugliest building in Seattle, even if what's inside it is pretty cool.
A lot of folks consider this building ugly and it certainly does wrench at one's sense of what is right when you look at it. As time goes by, though, I've found it to be much more interesting then just another box and I suspect that much of the inside ambience is due to the external shell creating internal spaces with interesting curved shapes.

Hey, sorry to digress. Go read the rest of Tegan's review.

Posted by Steve on June 17, 2004 | Comments (2)

June 16, 2004

Trackback Spam

This will be a pain:

I just got a bunch of spam in Dean's World trackbacks.

I'd never seen that before but I guess it's inevitable.

And so it begins. (Sigh)

Dean, thanks for the heads up!

Posted by Steve on June 16, 2004

Online Banking

There was a brief mention on Marketplace today of the increasing numbers of folks using various online banking services. I frequently check my account balances and move funds between accounts. It is very handy.

There are some things I do not do. For instance, I do not use the online bill payer service. Sure, it is very easy to use. Certainly much easier then the telephone based bill paying service that I tried out 20 years ago and much easier than a version on online bill paying I tried 10 or so years ago.

The reason I do not use it is simple. It is not as reliable and timely at getting my payment posted to the account of my creditor as putting a check in the mail. That is to say that the banks, at least my bank, are not making use of the technology at hand to provide the service. It should be trivial to mail the check or, best, post to my creditor's account within one day.

My bank offers approximately 4-5 day service which includes the possibility that they won't even mail a check for 4-5 days. Until they fix this I'll keep buying stamps.

Posted by Steve on June 16, 2004 | Comments (2)

Campaign Finance

James Joyner in commenting on this request that Kerry resign his senate seat says:

Candidates running for higher office while still holding their current one always face this problem, although Kerry does seem to be carrying the absentee bit further than most. His Senate salary, while modest in the context of the Heinz fortune, amounts to an undeclared taxpayer donation to his campaign since he has essentially been paid to run for president. My preference would be for all candidates seeking election to an office other than the one they currently hold to do so as private citizens.
This "undeclared taxpayer donation" is a true pittance compared to the much more egregious undeclared taxpayer donation to the bush campaign. I suspect that a single Air Force One campaign trip would pay kerry's salary many time over.

Fairness suggests that both candidates should clearly account for time at work and at campaign and repay the taxpayer out of their campaign funds. This should be the practice for all office holders running for a higher office.

If the president is mixing state business (real or alleged) and campaig activities on the same trip he should not get to charge it all to the taxpayers.

Update (6/17): Sorry, I left off the link to James' post.

Posted by Steve on June 16, 2004

Happy Bloomsday!

Update: Tyler Cowan has some suggestions that will help you actually read Ulysses and Slate has a number of reference links (go to the bottom of the page).

Posted by Steve on June 16, 2004 | Comments (1)

A Word a Day

Lynn at Reflections in d Minor pointed the way to these words that may not show up in the OED soon and the full list came from TexasBestGrok:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

5. Cashtration: The act of buying a house,which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug:
Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

and my favorite;

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Posted by Steve on June 16, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 15, 2004

The End?

Ken McCleod wrote this elegy.

Brad Delong suggests:

But there is an election coming up. If George W. Bush loses it, things may still be OK.
I'd have much more confidence in this if congress were moving the impeachment process rapidly along.

Posted by Steve on June 15, 2004 | Comments (2)

Firefox 0.9

The latest version of Firefox is now available from a server near you.

As usual, I've loaded it on one of my systems and will work with it for a few days before putting it on the other four.

A couple of items:

  • I don't like the new default theme. When time permits I'll try out some of the other available themes.
  • The installation was not as smooth as I have previously experienced. 0.9 did not want to use my 0.8 profile and I ended up having to copy/import various files. Of course, this also meant that all my remembered signons, etc., got dumped.
Well, I'll futz around and see if I can find the claimed easy way to import this stuff.

Tim Bishop wonders whether Firefox is moving backwards.

I should note that Jen let me know earlier today that this release is out.

Posted by Steve on June 15, 2004 | Comments (1)


The Canucks (via Jen) and the capitalists (via Jonathan).

Posted by Steve on June 15, 2004

Happy Birthday

To Talkleft which is two years old today.

May there be many more.

Posted by Steve on June 15, 2004

June 14, 2004

Judicial Nomination Hindsight

I wonder if Jay Bybee would have been confirmed if the Senate had known that he authored this.

Michael Froomkin's analysis of Torture Memo 2 is a good place to get an overview before going on to read the full document.

Links via The Gamer's Nook and the Washington Monthly.

Posted by Steve on June 14, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 13, 2004

Reagan Redux

Walter pointed the way to this Reagan history which pretty much nails Reagan's 8 years.

Posted by Steve on June 13, 2004

So You Want to be a Lexicographer

Check out a day in the life of the folks who work at the Oxford English Dictionary. For example David Martin, Senior Assistant Editor:

Spent all day editing the entry for the word phoenix, which poses an interesting etymological question about a possible connection with Phoenician. During my trawl for new quotations I was perhaps lucky to add only one quotation about Harry Potter: his �phoenix-feathered wand�.
The OED word of the day is always interesting.

Via Languagehat.

Posted by Steve on June 13, 2004

June 12, 2004

bush's shocktroops

I thought we fought WWII to get rid of this kind of stuff:

The defense offered by the GOP's local functionaries is that the soldiers asked to attend the rally "so they could show their support for their commander-in-chief before getting shipped out to fight the war on terrorism."

And, of course, they were also given those t-shirts to wear. So at least they weren't in uniform.

So how could anyone - except maybe some pinko terrorist lover - complain about something so innocuous?

Well I wouldn't - if not for the fact that we already have several thousand years of history to draw on for examples of what happens when the armed forces of a powerful state dabble in politics - or, worse still, allow themselves to be transformed into the personal shocktroops of a political leader or party.

Your assignment: Read the original news article and the rest of Bilmon's long post.

Study question: What is the role of the military in a free society?

Posted by Steve on June 12, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 11, 2004

No More Kvetches

Hesiod, the proprietor of Counterspin Central, has retired.

Fare thee well!

Via Walter.

Posted by Steve on June 11, 2004

Crowd Control

There might be a lesson or two hidden here:

ENGLAND fans will be allowed to smoke dope before Sunday�s crunch clash with France � to keep them calm.

Cops in Lisbon plan to crack down on drunk supporters while turning a blind eye to those spotted puffing on a spliff.

Via Medical Rants.

Posted by Steve on June 11, 2004

20 Questions

Play the game. I won with water bottle. Deb lost with glass eye.

Posted by Steve on June 11, 2004

June 10, 2004


One or two of you have probably played some form of chicken. I don't recommend this variation:

An intoxicated Davis Park man died after he lit a rug on fire and challenged his roommate to see who could stay in the house on Fire Island longer Saturday night, Suffolk County police said. Police said Thomas Woods, 59, ignited the rug in his house at 9 Driftwood Walk sometime before 8 p.m. As the fire spread, Woods fired one or two rounds from a pre-World War I Mauser pistol, said Det. Sgt. Ed Fandrey of the Suffolk County homicide squad. Police do not know why he fired the gun.

When the fire began spreading dangerously, Woods' roommate, Rod Bennett, ran to a neighbor's house to call 911 a few minutes after 8 p.m.

Volunteers from the Davis Park Fire Department responded, along with neighbors who tried to extinguish the blaze with garden hoses and anything else they could find. But it was too late.

Via This is True 5/21/04 mailing. Randy Cassingham collects and regularly publishes stories that show that real life is stranger than fiction.

NB: Cunningham does not allow any copying of his rewrites of these stories nor does he give access to back issues of his mailings. The quote above is from a web archived copy of the original Newsday article.

Posted by Steve on June 10, 2004

Where is the candidate?

From Josh Marshall:

Meanwhile, President Bush's website also showed lots of pictures of John Kerry caught, as you might imagine, in poses suggesting buffoonery, arrogance, indecision and the like. What the GWB website didn't have any of was pictures of George W. Bush.

Now, earlier today I noted how the Bush campaign has replaced the front page of their website with a Reagan tribute, with a huge picture of the late president backgrounded with flags, accompanied by links to a Reagan tribute video, links to President Reagan's most famous speeches and statement of his praise for President Reagan by President Bush.

That's the Bush website now. (You really need to see it to get the picture.)

Now, how many days of leaving the site that way will it take before people start to see the obvious: that President Bush's campaign staffers believe that pushing their own guy isn't a particularly good political strategy and that bashing Kerry or grasping on to Reagan nostalgia is far preferable?

Seems to me that a picture, a brief statement, and a link to a tribute page would be about right. As it is, if you look real hard you might find the link to the campaign page.

Posted by Steve on June 10, 2004

June 9, 2004

All We Need is Music...

The Bonaroo Music Festival, 2004 edition, kicks off on Friday. For the rest us who can't be there this guy will be Photoblogging. I'll be checking out the pics from time to time over the weekend.

Via South Knox Bubba.

Posted by Steve on June 9, 2004 | Comments (1)

More Need for Creative Destruction

If you thought my concerns about the current major content providors expressed a couple posts back were unwarranted then consider this from Dan Gilmour:

For a few minutes this morning at the D conference, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg sounded like a new age telecommunications executive, bragging about his expanding data network and plans to extend fiber optics to homes in his service territory. But he reverted to form, pretty much insisting that Verizon would reserve the right to discriminate on what gets delivered, and at what speed, on the lines and networks it controls.

Consolidation is going to create a broadband world where only a couple of companies, at most, control the pipes into our homes. If we allow companies like the Verizons and Comcasts to discriminate in favor of their own "content" products and services, today's brand of media consolidation will look tame.

Where are the antitrust people on this? Where's the FCC? Sleeping, or deliberately encouraging a dangerous lockdown of our future in the hands of companies that have a dismal track record when it comes to honest competition. Not a good situation...

These folks do not have our best interests at heart.

Posted by Steve on June 9, 2004

Get Rid of Them

Jim Henley has it right:

HOWEVER. President Bush is no one's idea of a legal mind. He may have initiated the project that became the memo, but he didn't draft the thing. High-level government lawyers, most of them undoubtedly political appointees, did that. What that means is that there is systemic corruption in the Republican Party as an institution - "Bush's Willing Torturers" we might call them. These are people that came up with the idea that the Constitutional phrase "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" meant

authority to set aside the laws is "inherent in the president."

They represent a deadly danger to the American system and they are multiple. It's not one guy somewhere, it's a movement. Until the Republican Party roots them out, that Party is the enemy, not just of libertarians, but of anyone who values individual freedom and republican government. From the standpoint of liberty, there can no longer be any justification for preferring the Republicans to the Democrats.

Folks, we should not have to wait until November to get rid of these folks. If congress does not act, if the Republicans don't come to their senses and choose someone else then the rest of us should just say no. A few million in the steets every day should do the trick.

Posted by Steve on June 9, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 8, 2004

Wizard People, Dear Reader

Oh, cool!

...in a makeshift screening room in a Brooklyn warehouse, more than 75 filmgoers paid $7 each to watch the first film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Sort of.

On the screen "The Sorcerer's Stone" played as it was released by Warner Brothers. But the original soundtrack, dialogue and all, was turned down and replaced by an alternate version created by a 27-year-old comic book artist from Austin, Tex., named Brad Neely.

There is some chance that this type of creative endeavor will run smack up against some kind of copyright defense mounted by the MPAA folks. Blocking creativity based on existing works is clearly the goal of the folks who want forever copyrights. And as Paul Goyette says:

It would indeed be a shame. Creating and making as much as watching and listening? This could be the perfect remedy for our passive, bloated, consumption-driven culture.
I think this possibility frightens the content folks. Why if folks sitting at home are watching content created by other folks hanging out at home and serving it from home or their friendly hosting company what happens to the revenue streams of the cable companies, the moviemakers, the recording industry, etc. Massive disintermediation becomes a real possibility.

Which, I think, would be a great thing for everyone except the legacy industries. Creative destruction at its best!

Read the New York Times article.

Oh yea, on my cable connection the download of Wizard People, Dear Reader is currently taking less then 30 minutes!

Posted by Steve on June 8, 2004 | Comments (4)

It's Already There!

I suspect that SK Bubba doesn't really mean this post title: To Much Technology. Here's the post:

I was just wondering where the heck a package was that was supposed to be delivered today. I called the company and got a tracking number and looked it up on the Internet. The carrier said it had been delivered to my door. I looked on the porch and sure enough, there it was. How pathetic is that?
I had a similar experience this morning. Vendor sends email that says the package they sent yesterday has been delivered. A couple minutes later the shipping clerk is carrying the package through my door.

What a wonderful example of a productivity improvement brought on by enough technology.

Not that many years ago when I purchased (business or personal) or shipped something (business) there was no such thing as a tracking number. Some of you will remember the numerous phone calls that would go back and forth between folks that went something like:

Buyer: My #$%$ package isn't here yet!

Seller: But we shipped it yesterday....

Repeated many times.

Today tracking numbers are common. Business use is nearly universal and most online retailers include a tracking number in an email as part of their service process. And today's conversation is most often with a computer database that tells one exactly where the package is...right now. It's easier, less confrontational and I even have a sense that deliveries are on time more often as well.

There is a lot of people time that had been involved with tracking packages that has now been outsourced to technology and not to India or China.

Seems a good thing to me. And likely to get even better as the related technology becomes more pervasive.

Posted by Steve on June 8, 2004

June 7, 2004

Japanese Samurai Sword

Apparently Ebay has blocked Mac Safari users from accessing the listing for this WWII Japanese Samurai Sword.

Full story here.

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004

Because Her Other Blog Croaked

Deb of Sugarfused has taken up temporary lodgings here while waiting for her home to be repaired.

Curious frogs wonder what happened?

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004

Stanley Cup Finals

Tampa Bay beat Calgary 2-1 in game 7 of the series and wins the Stanley Cup in game that was much more exciting than the one masquerading as basketball last night.

Drat! The Modulator household was rooting for Calgary.

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004 | Comments (2)


Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayak tells this story:

There it was, in big, bold, black and white: "SPEED LIMIT 65"

As I drove on Saturday to a conference, signs with this crystal-clear message were displayed prominently along I-66, I-81, and I-64 in Virginia. And yet I disobeyed this command not to drive at speeds in excess of 65 MPH. I set my cruise-control on 73 (just shy of ten-miles per hour over the posted speed limit), kept it there, and enjoyed the drive. I even passed three or four patrol cars lying in wait for speeders. Not one pursued me.

And then opines:
This everyday driving experience and my mental experiment confirm that law is not just what the state says it is and only what the state says it is.
Except when the state wants it to be exactly what it says it is.
Law is much more nuanced, rich, and spontaneous than the state's written rules.
But not near as nuanced, rich and spontaneous as it was prior to the state writing this precise law.
The real law on U.S. highways is something like the following: if weather conditions are decent and if traffic is not too heavy, then you can drive between five and ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
Which is not near as nuanced, rich and spontaneous as what used to be the law in many jurisdictions, e.g., Washington:
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.
And then came maximum speed limits.

Back to Don:

No one legislated this rule; it's not written down in any official statute book; it's certainly not posted along highways. It evolved spontaneously from everyday practice and is now part of the expectations of all drivers -- and, importantly, it is also part of the expectations of highway patrol officers.
This does seem to reflect everday practice. But both the law and the practiced rule represent a devolution from the days of no written maximum speed limits. And, in many cases, this cushion may exist via legislative intent as the penalties available for minor speeding infractions are nominal and enforcement is viewed as a poor use of officer's time both from the perspective of revenue generation and highway safety. They want the big ticket reckless speeders as defined in their respective state statutes.

There is a fairly detailed review of state speeding laws here.

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004 | Comments (2)

Representing America

Mark Danner writes in the New York Review of Books:

What is clear is that the Abu Ghraib photographs and the terrible story they tell have done great damage to what was left of America's moral power in the world, and thus its power to inspire hope rather than hatred among Muslims. The photographs "do not represent America," or so the President asserts, and we nod our heads and agree. But what exactly does this mean?
I agree that the photographs do not represent America but what has become abundantly clear is that the photographs do represent the bush administration (article is from the Wall Street Journal ($)):
Bush administration lawyers contended last year that the president wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
For more details see Bilmon, Phillip Carter, and Kevin Drum who states the issue clearly:
The United States has fought many wars over the past half century, and in each of them our causes were just as important as today's, information from prisoners would have been just as helpful, and we were every bit as determined to win as we are now. But we still didn't authorize torture of prisoners. FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Reagan � all of them knew it wasn't right, and the rest of us knew it as well.

So what's different this time? Only one thing: the name of the man in the White House. Under this administration, we seem to have lost the simple level of moral clarity that allowed our predecessors to tell right from wrong.

Do we really have to wait for an election to toss these people out of office?

That congress has not initiated action to do so suggests that a majority of these folks have also lost their moral compass and should be booted out as well.

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004

rumsfeld tells it like it is

rumsfeld says:

The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists -- whom he termed ''zealots and despots'' bent on destroying the global system of nation-states -- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them.

''It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this,'' Rumsfeld said at an international security conference.

His remarks showed a level of concern about the long-term direction of the U.S.-led global fight against terrorism that Rumsfeld rarely addresses in public.

His remarks also elicited commentary:


Should we put this quote on every campaign web-site, bumper sticker and campaign commercial going forward?

Heavens, yes.

The Poor Man:
The Bush Administration appears to be in the grips of irrational Bush-hatred
Brad Delong:
If even Donald Rumsfeld believes that Al Qaeda is growing stronger, who is left to defend the Bush administration's conduct of the War on Terror?
Oliver Willis
The Failure Of Donald Rumsfeld

I can't believe he said this.

Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror

Pessimist at The Left Coaster at the end of a long commentary:
It's time for another regime change. Here in the United States of America. This November if not sooner.
An interesting phrase given who he works for..... anything less than complete confidence and unswerving loyalty to the administration line isn't high on the top 10 list of ways to get yourself invited to a certain ranch in Texas.
Yep, rummie should have resigned when he had the chance.

Posted by Steve on June 7, 2004 | Comments (2)

June 6, 2004

Who Runs the FCC?

According to dr. wex at The Blogbook it goes like this:

Until this catfight settles down, it's unlikely the FCC will issue any rules anytime soon. When the masters squabble, the servants stay silent.
Oh, the catfight: Whether or not you will be able to make a digital recording of pay TV content.

Posted by Steve on June 6, 2004

Happy 1st Birthday

To Pharyngula.

Posted by Steve on June 6, 2004

Personal Responsibility

Walter writes:

I�ll end with a comment on a statement from the BC column that struck me. BC claims �Dr. King and Malcolm X and Fred Hampton died in a social struggle to empower Black people. Cosby demonizes these same people, employing the enemy�s language, like some vengeful, spurned benefactor.� No sir, Dr. King, Malcolm, and Fred lived to empower black people. They died because some triflin� fool killed them. And all too many triflin� fools are throwing the legacy of those great men, and great women like Barbara Jordan and Fannie Lou Hamer, away for a dollar and a lousy pair of over priced sneakers made in China. Mr. Cosby is attempting to remind us of that.
Just go read the rest.

Via Terry Pindar.

Posted by Steve on June 6, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 5, 2004

Come Together

This is a cool animation of the Beattles' Come Together.

Via Incoming Signals who has more Beattles links for you.

Posted by Steve on June 5, 2004

Limbaugh: Surely You Didn't Expect Honesty

Via Steven Taylor we learn that Rush's weblog is consistent with the rest of his act.

Apparently his researchers and web builders steal material from others and use it without attribution. The most recent example and an earlier one is noted at Jessica's Well. Taylor also is a victem.

Kevin Alyward has some action items to which I'd like to add: 1) write a letter to your local paper and 2) call/email other talk shows to discuss Rush's dishonesty.

I suspect some of his listeners might finally realize that he's not such a good roll model and quit listening.

Update: See Steven Taylor's comment below. He point's out that nothing was taken from his site so my classification of him as a victem is not correct.

Posted by Steve on June 5, 2004 | Comments (3)

Morning Again in America

R.I.P. Ronald Reagan

Our condolences go out to the Reagan family.

The Commissar has an extensive link roundup.

Government is not the solution, it's the problem

Update: I had thought about writing something about how Reagan died and now I don't need to.

S-Train has already written it:

That's a fucked up way for a person to check out of this life...

You progress to a damn statue. No ability to do anything. No response. No emotion. Just a lump of flesh. Damn!

So I got to thinking about Ronald Reagan. Here's a man that was an actor, governor, U.S. president, husband, friend, and father. All those experiences. All those memories. Reduced so far at the end by this disease. Terrible.

So my condolences to the family of Ronald Reagan. I know you stuck it out to the very end with him. Something family is supposed to do. Even if he was unable to express it and tell it, he left this life a happy man since you were there with him in the end.

Update (6/7): Brian Leiter has some more links. Via PZ Myers.

Posted by Steve on June 5, 2004 | Comments (1)

June 4, 2004

Where is the Book?

Amanda Butler at Crescat Sententia writes:

At Books-a-Million tonight (no, I don't normally go there, but it was next to the wine store), I could not find a copy of The Federalist Papers, though I searched in American politics, philosophy, and the other likely categories. When I asked the store clerk where I'd find it, he said, "Oh, I shelved that yesterday. It's in fiction."


"It's in fiction and literature. It's been declared a classic."

[continued look of skepticism]

"I agree it makes no sense, but that's where it is."

[figures the guy has to shelve things where he's told to shelve them]

There may be more to this. I was equally puzzled the other night when I entered my new copy of The Anti-Federalist Papers into my Readerware database. I had Readerware set to search Amazon or Barnes & Noble for book information and here is what it returned: Literature & Fiction: General: Classic.

On the other hand, Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution returns: Nonfiction: Government. Legal System. Seems like this would have worked for the others. I wonder if the nonfiction tag means that Barnett is right?

I think it is a problem with whoever (the publisher?) categorizes books. The clerk at the store was simply following current industry practice...broken as it is.

Posted by Steve on June 4, 2004

No prior art?

Microsoft has just been awarded another stupid patent:

Microsoft has successfully patented using short, long or double clicks to launch different applications on "limited resource computing devices"
How long did it take you to think of a code that used short, long or multiple iterations of some symbol or activity to represent something or initiate an action?

All I can say is -... ..- .-.. .-.. ... .... .. - (go here to translate).

Via the Apostropher.

Posted by Steve on June 4, 2004

You Know this, right?

neurons grow long processes called axons
Well, even if you do head over to Pharyngula to learn a lot more about axons and, yes, ROBO genes and commissures.

Posted by Steve on June 4, 2004

June 3, 2004

Shining Brighter

Jaquandor continues his fine Move over Britney series (work friendly).

You really should spend some time with these young women. The links are a ways down his left sidebar and due to the vagaries of blogspot you might have to scroll down or up a bit after you click through to a subject. But, hey, what's wrong with working for your pleasure.

And,....this isn't just a guy thing either (see last post)....

Posted by Steve on June 3, 2004 | Comments (1)

He's a guy...

Jim Henley points out that he is a guy and reviews the graphic novel The Filth.

It has been quite a few years since I have been a heavy comic fan but Jim's review makes me want to read this one. I guess that verifies that I'm a guy as well...

And, Jim has an in somewhere. Amazon says this book isn't released yet.

Posted by Steve on June 3, 2004

Afghanistan: Yesterday and Today

Take some time and wander through this collection of very high quality pictures by Luke Powell.

Via Michael Hiteshew at Chicago Boyz.

Posted by Steve on June 3, 2004

Friday Cats on Thursday

I thought I was done with commercials for a while but this one is too good to pass up.

As Ellen says you'll need Quicktime and a bit of patience if you have a slow connection.

Posted by Steve on June 3, 2004 | Comments (1)

How many does it take?

Today lesson from Scott is on changing light bulbs.

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to replace a light bulb?


"1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be replaced,

"2. One to attack and question the patriotism of anyone who has questions about the light bulb,

"3. One to blame the previous administration for the need of a new light bulb,

"4. One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have a secret stockpile of light bulbs,

"5. One to get together with Vice President Cheney and figure out how to pay Halliburton Industries one million dollars for a light bulb,

"6. One to arrange a photo-op session showing Bush changing the light bulb while dressed in a flight suit and wrapped in an American flag,

"7. And finally one to explain to Bush the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country."

Posted by Steve on June 3, 2004

June 2, 2004

Enron Tapes

Ever wondered what was going on inside Enron during the California blackouts? Here is part of the answer:

"He just f---s California," says one Enron employee. "He steals money from California to the tune of about a million."

"Will you rephrase that?" asks a second employee.

"OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day," replies the first.

There is a lot more so go read the rest.

Now that you have read the rest do you really think that the Justice Department and Enron lawyers didn't want the tapes released because of the foul language?

Via Making Light.

Posted by Steve on June 2, 2004

Something is Broken

It is incarceration statistics time again and things have not improved in the US since we last visited this subject.

The rates are up:

Figures just released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that as of midyear 2003, there were nearly 2.1 million inmates in the nation�s prisons and jails, representing an increase of 2.9% over the previous twelve months.
This is a rate of 715 per 100,000 residents!!??

Who is the nearest competitor? It is Russia which jails 554 per 100,000 which is down from 690 per 100,000 in 1995.

How does the US compare to some other developed economies? It is not a pretty picture:

Rates of incarceration per 100,000 for other industrialized nations include Australia � 114, Canada -- 116, England/Wales -- 143, France -- 95, Germany � 96, and Japan � 54.
Are you reading about uncontrolled lawlessness in any of these countries?

The numbers appear to support the points made by Zombyboy and the talking dog in the comments to this post that there is a large racist component in our existing drug laws:

One in eight (12.8%) black males aged 25-29 was in prison or jail at midyear 2002, as were 1 in 27(3.7%) Hispanic males and 1 in 63 (1.6%) white males in the same age group.
Things don't look too good if you are a black male. And even worse if you are a black male drug user :
While African Americans constitute 13% of the nation�s monthly drug users, they represent 35% of those persons arrested for drug crime, 53% of drug convictions, and 58% of those in prison for drug offenses.
Who are the other 87% of drug users? No big surprise here: whites 72% of users, Hispanics 11% and others 4%.

To the folks that argue that the declining crime rates must be a result of the increased incarceration I say phooey. First, if this were the case then we should see declining admissions as well but, no, admissions are increasing. Second, we should be looking at these numbers and asking: Why do we need to jail so many at all? The real issue is that in the US, in the land of the free, some things are broken.

Societies that incarcerate this large a portion of their population need to do some serious self evaluation and reworking.

Governments that incarcerate this large a portion of their population need to be redesigned.

Via Talkleft and Let it Begin Here.

Posted by Steve on June 2, 2004

Something Canadian

Need a fix from Canada. Jen has got it for you!

Enjoy the 20th Carnival of the Canucks.

Posted by Steve on June 2, 2004

Good Hosting

Kevin Aylward really likes Hosting Matters.

So do I.

Posted by Steve on June 2, 2004

June 1, 2004

May's Top Referrers

On the right side bar is the updated roll of Modulator's 23 top referrers. Number 23 produced 8 referrals compared to 11 for number 20 in Overall traffic was up about 11.5% from April. Statistics are culled from AWStats running on Modulator's server at Hosting Matters.

April churn: 5 blogs dropped and 8 new ones added compared to 6 and 5 in April. There was a 5 way tie for 19th.

Thank you one and all!

Also, I'd like to acknowledge significant referrals from some of the blogosphere's 'service' sites: Technorati, weblogs.com, blogrolling.com, MovableType, Blogdex, Bloglines, blogoshpere.us, Sitemeter, NZ Bear's Ecosystem, Bloogz and Daypop.

April also had a significant increase in the number of pron sites showing up in the referrer logs. Yeccch.

All of the blog rolls except the Base Roll are ordered by most recently updated so be sure to ping weblogs.com or blogrolling.com to push to the top of the rolls. These are certainly the sites I tend to look at first and visitors will see you at the top of the roll as well.

For a brief discussion of Modulator's blog rolls look here.

Posted by Steve on June 1, 2004 | Comments (2)

Drug Discount Card Assistance

If you are a senior and trying to deal with the Medicaid drug discount cards you probably need assistance. There are too many options, too many choices and this leads to confusion.

To help you out here is a handy flow chart (284KB).

Thanks to Atrios.

Posted by Steve on June 1, 2004

bush's flip flops

The Center for American Progress is keeping track of bushflops and I think this is a fine public service.

It will be a better one if they do not resort to bushian distortions. For instance, number 2 on their list today is Iraq Funding:

2. Iraq Funding

BUSH SPOKESMAN DENIES NEED FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR THE REST OF 2004..."We don't anticipate requesting anything additional for [Iraq for] the balance of this year." [White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten, 7/29/03]

�BUSH REQUESTS ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR IRAQ FOR 2004 �I am requesting that Congress establish a $25 billion contingency reserve fund for the coming fiscal year to meet all commitments to our troops.� [President Bush, Statement by President, 5/5/04]

Seems like a flip flop until you look closely.

Bolton is talking about either calendar or fiscal year 2003 and when asked about 2004 said that he did not know what the requirements would be. The bush request quoted above is for fiscal year 2005 which begins October 2004.

There are many good examples of bush flops and no need to use faulty ones.

Via Tim Dunlop.

Posted by Steve on June 1, 2004