High School PoilitiAngst

Brian’s plog–paper log, aka “journal” (because boys don’t keep diaries)–entry for January 5, 1989:

I just heard on the radio that it’s two weeks until Reagan leaves office. I have been an admirer of his and true to Dean (Theologian’s) [a BBS friend, you damn Internet era whippersnappers] prediction, I have a Reagan-[George H.W.] Bush picture over my mirror. I sincerely hope Bush can handle the country, especially with the new Libyan pressures–the two jets downed yesterday and all [story].

I wrote my secret pal yesterday & she ought to get it today. That’s only my third for the year. The Honor Society Hit Squad oughta get me.

Up to 50 degrees today! Gawd! It’s only January! We need some snow for snowdays.

Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

Yessir, I am easily influenced by what I read, and the Henry Reed series of books (read much earlier than my junior year in high school, thank you very much–as I recall, my tastes around then were fairly heavy into mystery, as my essay “Meeting Robert B. Parker” attests). I started journaling several times in high school, and this particular stretch (my junior year) captures some political thoughts. The remainder is daily life in high school.

Which is why I appreciated my visit to Jared Myers’ PolitiBlog. It’s got a conservative political bent, but exposed in the life of a high school student. It’s the journal entries I would write today, were I short of a score of years.

Oh, yeah, and Wednesday is Hot Conservative Chick Day.

Except he’s forgotten the hot Libertarian-esque babes Heather, Rachel Lucas, and Virginia Postrel. Or maybe he just hasn’t gotten to them yet.

(Link seen on InstaPundit.)

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Kerry’s Boolean Criteria for a Fillibuster?

Oh, and check out the Boolean construction in his criteria for a fillibuster. It’s not really clear. He’ll fillibuster a candidate who

((would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose OR would turn back the clock the constitutional right to privacy OR (would turn back the clock on civil rights AND individual liberties)) AND would turn back the clock on the laws protecting workers) AND would turn back the clock on the environment

That’s a pretty convoluted criteria, and a pretty tough one to meet. I reckon no candidate would, which means Kerry’s algorithmic condition will never be met. No fillibuster(String supremeCourtNominee) method call at all!

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Senator Kerry Threatens to Deploy Evil Kerrybot

Drudge has pointed to a story in which Senator John Kerry, in which the Vietnam veteran claims:

“I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose or the constitutional right to privacy, on civil rights and individual liberties and on the laws protecting workers and the environment,” Kerry said in remarks via satellite at a meeting of Democratic party officials in St. Paul, Minn.

As you know, Senator Kerry’s full-time job these days is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. This requires nationwide, or at lease extra-DC, schmoozing, gladhanding, speechifying, and fundraising–all things you cannot do while not yielding the Senate floor.

Hence, I can only infer that he is planning to unleash an android replica of himself to do one or the other since he cannot be in all those places at the same time.

I just threw in the evil part because it makes the copy snappier. We all know Senator Kerry is not truly evil, just misguided.

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Shareware’s Triumphant Return

A CNN article describes how shareware is making a comeback. Well, duh!

The shareware distribution model makes a lot of sense. Smaller applications, many of which are home grown at first, have lower development, marketing, and distribution costs, and the author of the software can pass the savings on. Best of all, you get stripped down versions to evaluate at your leisure for free and for an unlimited time.

It’s hard not to appreciate it. Hey, I have been a fan of shareware for over a decade. I still have the original Duke Nukem and Cosmo’s Great Adventure loaded on my Windows 2000 box, running in all their two dimensional scrolling glories. Not only do they it run as well on my Athlon 1000+ as on my 286-10, but the replayabilty remains. Todd Replogle, where have you gone?

Hopefully not off somewhere to write the interchangeable first person shooters, like Duke Nukem 3D. I hope you retired off of your old Apogee earnings before sinking to that level.

(Link seen on /..)

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Scandal: Defects Uncovered During Testing!

Headline on CNN: Missile misses target, officials call it a success. Implication seems to be that the officials (military-techno-industrial complex!) are, um, Mooring the truth a little, too say the least.

After all, the lead intones:

The Missile Defense Agency conducted a missile defense test over Hawaii Wednesday, and while the warhead did not strike the target, officials said they still considered the exercise a success.

“I wouldn’t call it a failed test, because the intercept was not the primary objective,” said Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the MDA. “It’s still considered a success in that we gained great engineering data. We just don’t know why it didn’t hit.”

Well, the missile test also did not:

  • Fix the economy.
  • Prevent the Oracle hostile takeover of PeopleSoft.
  • Repair France’s image problem with American tourist money.
  • Vote for my slogan at IMAO.

However, none of these was the objective of the test, and hence none represents criteria for success. The engineers, who are working on the project, probably have a reasonable idea of where they are in the development cycle. As a matter of fact, the officials indicate (but are not quoted in their own words) as saying:

Three previous flight tests were successful, Taylor said, but they used an earlier version of a system to control the warhead’s aim and maneuvering. Information from the earlier tests was used for a new design of the system, which was used in Wednesday’s test, the Defense Department said. [Emphasis mine]

So the MDA or its engineers redesigned a part of the system and are testing it out for the first time? Note how CNN uses a “but” conjunction in the quote above. I wonder if the second clause, or whatever source from which it came, opposed the first clause. I doubt it. I suspect criteria for the test might have included things like the operations of the independent systems within the interceptor.

No matter the criteria in this individual test, I am glad to see the flaws shaken out before the system’s deployed. If the MDA hadn’t caught this flaw now, it would have made living in Los Angeles or Seattle much more dangerous a couple years from now. Permanent shadows don’t log defects.

Maybe the media should understand the goals and process of testing before they start pontificating.

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J. Bradord DeLong: Fellow Minion of Sid

In this column in Wired, DeLong admits his problem:

In the spring of 1994, I wiped the game Civilization off my office computer. I wiped it off my home PC. I wiped it off my laptop. I threw away the original disks on which it had come. It was clear to me that I had a choice: I could either have Civilization on my computers, or I could be a deputy assistant secretary of the US Treasury. I could not do both. It wasn’t that my boss ordered me to – she herself played a mean game of computer solitaire. In this, I was the boss, and I had decided that with Civilization on DeLong’s hard disk, DeLong’s productivity would be unacceptably low.

I, too, have struggled against Civilization since my esteemed spouse convinced me to install it on my old 486. And then Civilization II. And now the accursed Civilization III.

There have been times when I have removed it so I could better discipline myself to spend more time writing than manipulating little civilizations into conquest or other policy. When I have had to rebuild my computers from software or hardware disaster, I have often delayed putting it back on, but the la belle game sans merci hath me in thrall (sorry, Johnny).

I think he says something else in the piece, but I only saw the name of the game before feeling the compulsion to start a game. The CD’s already in the drive, don’t you know?

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Shareware’s Triumphant Return

A CNN article describes how shareware is making a comeback. Well, duh!

The shareware distribution model makes a lot of sense. Smaller applications, many of which are home grown at first, have lower development, marketing, and distribution costs, and the author of the software can pass the savings on. Best of all, you get stripped down versions to evaluate at your leisure for free and for an unlimited time.

It’s hard not to appreciate it. Hey, I have been a fan of shareware for over a decade. I still have the original Duke Nukem and Cosmo’s Great Adventure loaded on my Windows 2000 box, running in all their two dimensional scrolling glories. Not only do they it run as well on my Athlon 1000+ as on my 286-10, but the replayabilty remains. Todd Replogle, where have you gone?

Hopefully not off somewhere to write the interchangeable first person shooters, like Duke Nukem 3D. I hope you retired off of your old Apogee earnings before sinking to that level.

(Link seen on /..)

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Moore’s New Tautology Thriller

In defense of his comedy Bowling for Columbine, which critics have pointed out sometimes reflects reality kinda like Silly Putty does, Michael Moore has been quoted as saying “The facts in the movie are correct.”

With that in mind, I would like to add:

  • Michael Moore won an Oscar for his work.
  • Michael Moore is a gnork.
  • Morpolians from the third planet of the Ponolia system have begun controlling the thoughts of auditors who count voting results for the Academy.

I assure you, the facts in this posting are correct. The ad hominems and outright fictions, on the other hand…..

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J.K. Rowling Closes Gap to $1 Billion The Easy Way

Authoress J.K. Rowling, whose prowess with fascinating people with 11-year-old boys rivals Catholic seminaries, is closing in on becoming the first billionaire author and has discovered the fast track to wealth. It’s not the book royalties or the merchandising rights after all. It’s $100 million dollar litigation.

She’s suing a newspaper for leaking details about the latest Harry Potter novel for $100 million dollars. Give me a schnucking break.

Oh, and Scholastic’s gonna punish retailers who break the rules:

Retailers signed agreements not to put the book on sale early, with Scholastic threatening to punish violators by withholding timely shipments of future Potter books.

Pah! I always like Tab book club better. Neener neener neener.

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Gangsta Kitsch

St. Louis Magazine has a story in its June issue (not yet online) about St. Louis gangs in the 1920s and their wacky whackings. Written in sepia-prose and laid on a parchmentesque watermark, this piece romanticizes a bloody bunch of men and their battles to control crime, which included mail truck robberies and control of the illegal drug market, which meant alcohol trafficking.

Contrast that with gangs today. Rap music, particularly gangsta rap, idealizes the lifestyle, and I suspect most people who turn to St. Louis Magazine to find dining plans or interior design ideas don’t care for gangsta rap and probably hate and fear the thought of current gangland violence.

Is the difference in gang perception based on race? That is, does middle America prefer its gangs Irish instead of another, differently-colored minority?

Maybe a little bit, but I reckon it’s more the long, long ago in galaxy far, far away aspect of it. Egan’s Rats and the Cuckoos, whose the survivors have died of old age by now, aren’t a current threat to law abiding, SUV-driving folk, but today’s gangs are.

Someday, I imagine our descendants will read about drive-by shootings with the same amused interest, thinking “Shooting from a car with a nine millimeter pistol! How quaint!”

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Orrin Hatch Crosses All Lines

It’s not clear which portions of the Bill of Rights or Constiturion Orrin Hatch considers sacred, but given his interest in allowing RIAAvens to destroy the computer of someone who downloads copyright songs illegally, I could only answer for certain “Article I, Section 3.”

Choice quotes from the linked article:

During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.

“No one is interested in destroying anyone’s computer,” replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads pirated material very slowly so other users can’t.

“I’m interested,” Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone’s computer “may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights.”

The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, “then destroy their computer.”

“If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we’d be interested in hearing about that,” Hatch said. “If that’s the only way, then I’m all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize” the seriousness of their actions, he said.

So Senator Hatch, a legislator, wants to cede law enforcement, the duty of the executive branch of the government to private industry. Further more, he wants that private industry to punish a civil offense with damage to personal property (I cannot fight the bold font any longer) without due process and without a warrant (illegal search and seizure).

He wants this to protect an industry that’s doing its best to hang itself with mediocre music, boy bands, American Idol, and targetting an audience with no disposable income but with Kazaa.

I wish I lived in Utah so I could vote against him.

“There’s no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws,” Hatch said.

Hang ’em high, Judge Roy Bean. Make it a capital strict liablitly offense then.

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Excessive Fairness

Aristotle said, “Everything in moderation,” and the bureaucrats at the forthcoming People’s Democratic Republic of Europe know that since a little moderation is good, a great deal of coerced moderation must be better. Hence, they want to moderate every type of Internet site to ensure that both sides of any issue get equal time to express their viewpoints. CNet’s Declan McCullagh has the details.

As I have said before, some think that the linchpin of democracy was the unlegislated mandate called the Fairness Doctrine.

Of course, the same people tend to think that your property, whether it’s your radio station or your Web hosting, does not belong to you, it belongs to the hoi polloi, and they get to administer the application of your limited rights to your own property. You’re not qualified to decide who gets to speak on your time and your dime.

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