September 29, 2008

In this entry, I link to a post where Moron Pundit...

...puts you some motherf*ckin knowledge.

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September 25, 2008

"Did you know Sarah Palin's Pastor Hunts Witches?"

An actual question, from a bona fide "community organizer". My response?

"Hey, could we talk about religion? 'Cause that would be way more comfortable."

As an aside, "community organizer" is exactly the job I thought it was: organizing communities... to vote for democrats and demonstrate for leftist causes.

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September 19, 2008

Man, I wish I could take an out-of-state vacation before I go to prison

But I guess I'm not as cool as Kwame-man.

I need to take a look at InTrade and see if I can get anyone to bet me he'll actually come back to do his jail time.

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September 17, 2008

In which I respond to emailed talking points

"Fwd: Fw: Let me see if I have this straight"

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're

"exotic, different."
No one claims he's "exotic" or "different" but Barack himself. Oh, and
the Hillary campaign. No republican hates Barack as much as the Hillary
supporters do now.

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.
Only if you killed and gutted them personally. It's just an American
story if you let somebody else do those things, not quintessential.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
Maybe, but it was the Hillary camp spreading that rumor (and Barack
himself, to paint the other side as bigoted via strawman).

* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
Or related to a native American tribe for whom those are pretty normal names.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
Never heard that one. Hillary again?

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
I fail to see how one relates to the other, but a lot more people do this
than attend Harvard.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the
first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter
registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years
as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator
representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of
the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years
in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people
while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs,
Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you
don't have any real leadership experience.
Brilliant community organizer? How good do you have to be to _not_ find
jobs for out-of-work steelworkers, who only lost their jobs because the
mills moved to IN to escape IL's crappy business environment? Did Barack
author or help to push through any business-regulation reform legislation
while he was in the IL State Senate that might have brought the mills
back?

How is it that Barack's the only "President of the Harvard Law Review" to
have never written an article while bearing the title?

4 years in the senate? Not until Election Day this year, and he was 143
days into his term before he declared candidacy for president. The two
times on record he's actually authored a bill with a republican senator
were bills so uncontroversial they passed by unanimous consent rather than
formal vote. Oh, and voting "present" 134 times takes real courage.
"Serving" on committees isn't leading them. Does he have experience
telling staffers what do do? Sure. What he doesn't have is executive
experience, where decisions have consequences for others, and not just
your own re-election.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city
council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000
people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000
people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest
ranking executive.
Moreso than a junior senator who's "never run anything but his mouth" is
qualified for the country's _highest_ ranking executive position. I'm
quoting Jesse Jackson, btw, not a republican.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while
raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're
not a real Christian.
His pastor for 20 years isn't practicing any form of Christianity I
recognize (see Black Liberation Theology). Is what the Obama family
practiced in that church Christianity? Maybe, but it does beg the
question. I don't care either way, I only care that he lied about what he
heard the man say (see audio book of "Dreams of My Father" where Barack
quotes Wright on the pulpit with "White folks' greed runs a world in
need" vs. his later statement that he never heard Wright say anything
like that before).

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left
your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a
Christian.
You are if you repent and try to make amends. Again, I couldn't care
less, it's between John, God, and his former and current wives. The ones
here on Earth all seem to like him well enough.

* If you teach teach children about sexual predators, you are
irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.
Nope, that's a good thing. Teaching five-year-olds about blowjobs is a
little sketchier.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no
other option in sex education in your state's school system while
your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
This is a fabrication. Palin's administration encouraged and funded
teaching all aspects of modern birth control in public schools.
Abstinence is one of those, sure, but condom use was also taught. Do some
research.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in
a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city
community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values
don't represent America 's.
She "gave up her position in a prestigious law firm" to get a job at a
hospital that benefited from a $1M earmark, written by none-other than
Illinois Senator Barack Obama. She got a $200k/year raise after the
earmark, too.

* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI
conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote
until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and
advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is
extremely admirable.
Todd Palin was never actually a member of AIP (which mostly advocates
return of Federal land to the State, not secession, but whatever), and had
a DUI when he was 22 (At least one? Nice use of leading language).
Difference? Obama never got caught when he was doing drugs (heavy
underage drinking, cocaine and marijuana use, all illegal at the time, all
documented in his books), I guess that makes him better.

Oh, and please tell me that only people with a college education are
admirable. That'd just make my day.

OK, much clearer now.
Well, it is now. What's clear to me is that the author of this piece is
an elitist (yay Harvard! boo blue-collar worker) who's willing to believe
anything DailyKos writes, and apparently doesn't find it as audacious (in
the old sense of the word) as I do for someone to write two memoirs before
the age of 50.

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September 12, 2008

Tree-hugging, hippie crap

First: hippies crying over trees. I watched almost the whole thing laughing, thinking it was parody. When I realized it was real, I went back and watched it again, laughing even harder.

Second: the Trees' representative responds. Tears of laughter. Especially at the end.

H/T to Conservative Grapevine and Hot Air

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September 11, 2008

I have not forgotten

I first heard about the plane hitting the tower over a MUD a few of my friends were using as a chat room, while I sat at my desk in New Paris, IN, at the job I would be laid off from about four months hence. The internet was my only way to learn more, and nearly every news site was down. Free Republic was still working, though, and I was able to learn what was happening in bits and pieces through the forum as those with TVs at their disposal told those of us without.

I remember getting in my car (the old blue celica I'd gotten in trade from my dad for my tercel -- which he sold to buy a newer celica), and going to buy gas at about 10:30, mostly so I could listen to the radio, and because I feared there would be a panic later in the day.  It was one of the few times I predicted the public well.  When I went to Meijer later that night to buy shotgun shells (again, fearing panic), gas prices had jumped several dollars per gallon at most stations, and there were very long lines.

I remember watching the news.  I remember feeling really united with my fellow Americans for the first time in my life.  I remember listening to George W. Bush speak, on that day and days after, and being grateful he'd won in 2000.  I remember reading Harry Browne's essay, and being very disappointed, as he was among the first to attempt to blame America for the desperate, murderous acts of foreign criminals.  I'm pretty sure that essay cemented my break with the Libertarian Party, and helped me realize that I didn't belong there anyhow.

I remember wanting to do something about it, I remember considering (again) joining the Navy or Air Force.  I remember thinking about the thousands of strangers that died that morning, any one of which could just as easily have been me, or someone I loved.  I remember thinking about my marriage.  My first wife and I were close to separating at that point, still friends but not certain we were well-equipped to be partnered to eachother.  I wondered what my future ought to be, wondered what I should fight for, or whether I should fight at all.  I remember feeling cowardice and an urge to preserve myself at all costs.  For a moment, that day, I reconsidered nearly everything I believed.

On September 11, 2001, my country was attacked by terrorists who justified themselves by invoking a god that calls for mercy and compassion.  My countrymen were murdered by these savage, uncivil animals using a tool designed by other of my countrymen to enrich the lives of all.  They exploited our trust in the good and reasonable intentions of men to kill as many of us as they could.  In doing so, they attacked -- and thus pledged their cause against -- the very foundations of civilization itself.

I have not forgotten, and will not forget.  Barbarism lives on, even today, and it must be fought with each and every weapon and by every man and woman that civilization can bring to bear against it.

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September 10, 2008

Kwame-man!

This is the single best capsule summary of the rise and fall of Kwame Kilpatrick I've seen. I have little doubt that he'll run -- and win -- shortly after his five year prohibition against seeking public office ends. You can't keep a bad man down.

Many thanks to Deideldorfer.

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September 09, 2008

Cryptology as a capstone

I'm starting in on the last class needed to complete my master's program.  As luck would have it, I've been able to substitute grad-level cryptology for what ought to have been a graduate course in analysis or statistics.  Analysis in this case means proving things like calculus and trigonometry actually work, and statistics means proving things like central limit theorem.  Analysis was interesting but not especially relevant to my professional life when I took it at the 400 level, and I've had statistics a dozen ways from Sunday as part of discrete math, physics, and data mining courses.  Neither was terribly enticing.

Cryptology, on the other hand, is everything I've ever wanted from mathematics.  Crypto is where pure math becomes something physical, tangible, and powerful.  Many great mathematicians of the past lived and died, spending their entire careers studying and proving what would one day be the theoretical underpinnings of modern cryptology, many of whom never saw any of their work have a single practical application.  Now it's at the base of nearly every electronic communication in one form or another, and without it much of our modern world of e-commerce, email, chat, and ATMs would be impossible.
more...

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September 04, 2008

Viruses you're gonna hear more about

Every cell in your body, every membrane in those cells -- all of you really -- only functions by virtue of a fabulously complex series of chemical reaction pathways that closely resemble an ensemble of cryptographic systems. Locks and keys abound, each fitting into the other precisely. Over untold generations, securer pathways have been selected for, and insecure pathways selected against. Every now and again, though, particles of DNA and RNA that resemble the good keys are created, either by copying errors within cells or just random molecular interaction. Over time, the best (in the sense that they trick the cellular machinery into making copies of them) of these fragments evolve as all things do, becoming viruses. Some of these become deadly or debilitating pathogens. Most of them are harmless (in the sense that they don't cause apparent immediate detriment), however, and many (we think) just end up part of the genome.

The tobacco mosaic virus, a pathogen for the tobacco plant but harmless to humans, might provide a very handy way to do gene therapy. It still infects us like any normal virus, and attempts to replicate its payload using our ribosomes, but to no real effect, as the genetic material it carries isn't compatible with ours. As the article suggests, researchers have perfected a swap of the genetic payload of the virus for one of their choosing, and can produce huge numbers of the virus on demand. This means 1) we might have a perfect vehicle for some amazing gene therapy and 2) we might have a convenient starter kit for the first man-made plague. Man-made diseases are coming, it's only a matter of time. I fully anticipate that we'll be using artificial immune system augmentation (think Symantec AntiVirus for your body) on a very regular basis before too long.

On a more purely positive note, it turns out that a particular potato virus might protect against Alzheimer's disease in humans. Alzheimer's is one of the worst diseases in my opinion, robbing many of us of parents and grandparents long before they die, and not because of any choice they deliberately made, but simple bad luck. It doesn't run in my family, but a very similar dementia disorder does, related to a dominant mutation in the Y chromosome. This means that unless a treatment can be found for the condition (an excess of clotting factor, causing thousands of tiny strokes later in life but protecting against small scrapes early in life), my mind will collapse shortly after my 80th birthday. That's still a long way off, but it scares the hell out of me.

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Useless, wasteful loan idea moves forward

At least CNN calls it a bailout. Where, exactly, is the money coming from for this, and why are Bush, McCain, and Obama all on board? Guys, buy a principle, I'll lend you a few bucks if you're short this week.  Freedom to succeed requires freedom to fail.  Let them fail -- or recover -- on their own merits.  MI and America suffer the longer they are propped up and protected by lousy politics.

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Ken Cockrel Jr., Mayor of Detroit

Breaking. Kwame's packing up his desk, but WJR is reporting this at present. Kwame's pleading guilty to two felony charges.

Update: jail time! 4 months in prison, cannot run for public office for 5 years! Still no link, listening to the radio.
Update: I neglected to mention, this makes Monica Conyers the City Council president.
Update: link.

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September 03, 2008

Our long, regional nightmare is almost over

Kwame's taking the deal. Sort of a shame, I was hoping he'd choose to face the Wheel ("Gulag!").

Apparently he saw the writing on the wall during his hearing with Jenny (from the block) that he might get removed from office before the conclusion of the criminal trial. Since that'd pretty much eliminate his only bargaining chip against a series of dead-to-rights charges, he took the only way out that might not put him behind bars. If this bastard walks free and gets his pension at the end of all this, it's all been nothing but a farce. Plea deal becomes public tomorrow, I guess we'll know then.

What really kills me is that he could probably run for another term as mayor, and win.

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September 02, 2008

It's a loan, see, not a bailout. Really.

Yeah, this'll help fix what's wrong with the American Auto industry. Let's hope the EFCA passes too, then we'll be in utopia for sure!

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