Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cheaters Sometimes Prosper

At your fingertips - useful references and guides for everything from Ajax to XML. HTML, JavaScript, LaTeX - the list goes on. No C++ guide, though - that you can find here(.PDF). And a containers guide here.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What's The Opposite Of Enlightenment?

Is there a word for the state in which you learn something, and feel lessened for your new understanding?
Perhaps it's the same as the word for discovering new hope and faith in humanity - in the act of losing it. In any case, we have Lance Mannion to thank for our new mental state. Here he presents a lucid psychological profile of Rush Limbaugh and the neo-conservative mind:

Some people say the same words over and over even as the feelings they want the words to describe change. Other people just keep changing the words, usually because they don't remember them from one day to the next. The words were just sounds they gave to the feelings.

That's why it's next to impossible to cause people like Limbaugh to feel ashamed of what they said. You can't hold them to their words. Repeat their words back to them and they don't recognize them. Their own words on paper or said by someone else or even said by themselves on tape or on video aren't attached to the feeling that was behind the words when they said them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Some Historical Parallels

1933 - First, "terrorists" destroyed the Reichstag. Then, Chancellor Hitler got his "Patriot Acts", One and Two, suspending habeus corpus and then dissolving German democracy. Mark Twain is sometimes thought to have said 'History doesn't repeat, but it rhymes.'. The quote is false, but the sentiment is real - and now the final rhyming echoes have been heard.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

In combination with the odious Military Commissions Act signed the same day, the President now has the power to suspend habeus corpus, to detain and torture and render without oversight, and employ the military to police Americans in their own homes. Just what did you suppose those 'detention centers' were all about? Mere cronyism and waste?

Such a rosy-tinged view of the world may soon be regarded as a quaint curiosity.

... And We Aren't

For a taste of surreality, there's nothing quite like Rummy complaining that 'The Terrorists' are using the media to manipulate American voters.

America's wars always have had critics, but the difference in this war is the prevalence of the media, Secretary Rumsfeld said. Terrorists recognize the influence the media has, so they use their own media committees to determine how best to manipulate the American public through the media...

After getting America to apparently swallow the idea that US troops would be greeted by cheering crowds strewing flowers at their booted feet, and the whole Iraqi 'liberation' would be over in no more than 6 months, I think anyone attempting to manipulate American media has a lot still to learn from this man.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perhaps He's Implying That He Has No Brain?

This will not be news - the administration love, love, loves it some torture. Despite having advance prior warning of 9/11 and failing to act, despite having already had all the intelligence they could have wanted and failing to capitalize on it, they're convinced they can keep us all safe if only they're allowed to beat and waterboard random Iraqis scooped up off the street for curfew violations.

Mr Cheney was responding to a conservative radio interviewer who asked whether water boarding, which involves simulated drowning, was a "no-brainer" if the information it yielded would save American lives. "It's a no-brainer for me," Mr Cheney replied.

Crashcart here puts himself at odds with the DOD, which in September released a revised Army Field Manual prohibiting US military personnel from emplying waterboarding and other 'torture lite' methods of intelligence gathering. This stricture wouldn't apply to the CIA, of course, because nothing does. However, he's also standing against the judgement of history(.PDF) - and we'll see how well that applies.

The offenses were recounted by John Henry Burton, a civilian victim: After taking me down into the hallway they laid me out on a stretcher and strapped me on. The stretcher was then stood on end with my head almost touching the floor and my feet in the air. They then began pouring water over my face and at times it was impossible for me to breathe without sucking in water. The torture continued and continued. Yukio Asano was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. We punished people with fifteen years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II.

Friday, October 20, 2006

After Pat’s Birthday

Kevin Tillman observes his brother's birthday with a few fitting remarks:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Cue the attacks on his courage, commitment, patriotism and intelligence in 3 ... 2 ... 1.

Monday, October 16, 2006

New Version Of Firefox Available

Time for all your extensions to break again! There's a new Firefox. And it's a big release, too. Get Firefox 2.0 here.
Or, if you're tired of FireFox's harsh upgrade cycle and would like an alternative, there's a new SeaMonkey, too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Evil Uses For Google Code Search

Google CodeSearch may have been intended as a repository for public-use code of all sorts, but already people have found a host of unintended uses for it. If you need a handy list of buffer overflow points, WordPress usernames and passwords, or you're just looking for cheap amusement, this is the service for you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Everybody Banh Chung Tonight!

Enjoy the festival!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You Are What You Eat

And Americans eat corn and petroleum, according to Michael Pollan's new book. However, the Independent's interview with him focuses on the most recent e. coli scare, with reference to industrialized agriculture.

These lettuce-washing operations are not so very different from hamburger grinding operations that Eric Schlosser described in Fast Food Nation--you're taking the meat from a hundred different animals, at least, and grinding and mixing it all together in one place, and then you're sending it out to a million hamburger eaters. So if there is pathogen in any one of those animals, you're going to spread it. If there are pathogens in any one spinach plant and you're washing them all in essentially the same sink, there's a very high risk that you're going to spread them much further than if you weren't mixing them all together. No question that the weakness exposed here is the weakness of a highly centralized food distribution system, and we've known that this is a risk for a long time. Post-9/11 there was a lot of talk about the risk of a having a highly centralized food distribution system, where just a handful of companies are [for example] essentially washing the nation's bag lettuce in one sink. That's a risky thing to do.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Useful Free Windows Programs

49 useful Windows applications, for a variety of tasks. All free, all under 2 MB in size.

Well, Condi, That Makes Two Of Us

What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible.

After claiming to have 'no recollection' of George Tenet's desperate efforts to make her wake up and do something about bin Laden prior to 9/11 - and Sandy Berger's efforts to drive home the importance of the issue - Condi may have finally dug herself in too deep a hole for even 'her husband' to dig her out of. But let's not forget that the same people who are ready to throw her under the bus now cut the FBI's requested counterterrorism funding by two-thirds after 9/11.

Remember that the next time one of them criticizes Clinton for 'not doing enough about bin Laden'.