Archive for September, 2006

Oooh, scawy

September 28, 2006 1 comment

Apparently Conrad Burns thinks you should be pissing yourself with fear over Tester’s calls to repeal the Patriot Act. What else explains this attempt to strike fear into your heart?

It’s also a nice example of confusing cause and correlation. The Patriot Act was passed and now every success in the war on terrorism is a because of it. Sorry folks, it doesn’t work like that.

Also, did you know most of the Montana Senate is soft on child molesters? According to Burns, it’s true. Granted, he’s only saying that about Tester, but that’s how the vote on that particular bill went.

In any case, on with Burns’s postive, accomplishments-focused campaign!

Categories: 2006 elections, Montana

I'm an…S-P!

September 27, 2006 2 comments

Mr. O’Reilly has a new book coming out called Culture Warrior. It’s about the war between “traditionalists” and “Secular-Progressives” (abbreviated “S-P”). He even has a quiz to tell which side you’re on! You can read the preface here. Crackin’ stuff:

I can tell you truthfully that I never envisioned myself crusading against establishment forces like the New York Times and today’s vast armies of far-left and far-right zealots. Coming out of Boston University with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism in 1975, I wanted to be one of the Woodward and Bernstein guys. You know, do serious investigative work and right wrongs by exposing corruption. I also wanted to cover war and study human conflict firsthand. In my journalistic career, I succeeded in reaching those goals and count myself very fortunate to have done so.

I may be a bit behind here, but what exactly has O’Reilly exposed in the way of corruption? Covered war? What, from his desk in New York? Color me unimpressed.

Because of the very personal nature of the battle I have chosen to fight, this is a difficult book to write. I don’t like to sound bitter, but the truth is, I am bitter to some extent. Although I have won far more battles than I’ve lost, my life has changed drastically. I am routinely threatened with physical harm and have to employ security. I have to absorb rank defamation in the press, with no legal recourse because I’m a “public figure.” My family has also been threatened and I’ve had to change every aspect of my life. No longer can I behave as a “regular guy” and go out and cut loose with my friends. No longer can I even engage a stranger in conversation-there are too many crazies out there. At work, every call I receive is monitored and every interaction I have has to be witnessed. I am never off the job and am always on guard. Would you want to live that way?

In all honesty, being a flaming idiot and a lot of narcissitic paranoia lead to that kind of thing (or the perception of it) in this case.

One more thing in this initial briefing. We’re going to get this culture war over with faster than anyone believes. You’ve heard of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War? This ancient Chinese how-to book has been a bestseller in many different formats, especially to people who want to compete more effectively in business.

“There is no instance,” wrote the military sage Tzu, “of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” O’Reilly Tzu agrees (and will have some advice on the subject later on). The culture war must be won quickly and definitively, and the best way to do that is to expose the secular-progressive movement in our country for exactly what it is, to explain why it is so harmful for America, and to identify the movement’s top leaders. So here we go.

O’Reilly Tzu is coming to destroy you! Run!

He’s really into the war metaphor here. The preface is titled “Centcom.”

In any case, I’m sure this is a fantastically stupid book. Perhaps it’s worth reading, though.

Categories: The media

If only we'd killed more children

September 26, 2006 Leave a comment

So a new NIE says Iraq is inflaming terrorism. Seems pretty obvious to those who have been saying so for the past couple years.

Sadly, it doesn’t tell us what to do in Iraq. Keep fueling the fire or leave a safe haven? I still don’t know.

Apparently though, all we need to do is care a little bit less about collateral damage and have a bit more political will. How exactly does that work? We’re fighting a relatively small number people who hide among supporters throughout a very large geographical area. Some of them hide among us. Scorched earth tactics aren’t particulary useful. Take out a couple of mosques terrorists may have hidden in and we might kill a few more of them, but we kill plenty of innocent people and piss off a lot more. There really are diminishing returns here. Pretty soon, we’re killing more people than the terrorists have (oops, already there). Sure, we have better motives, but it still should cause a bit of reflection. That’s reflection, not “we will win through our steely resolve and our ability to destroying buildings with the flick of a wrist!”

Categories: Foreign Policy

Is this strange?

September 26, 2006 Leave a comment

That I’m keenly interested in calls I miss but can’t figure out the caller, but I don’t take the step of calling the person back?

It’s a conundrum, let me tell you.

Categories: Personal


September 25, 2006 1 comment

From Sam Harris’s new book:

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of the earth, more than half our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.


The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he had said he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.

I thought those were pretty funny.

Categories: Religion

The Butte debate

September 23, 2006 2 comments

I suppose I should comment on this while it’s fresh in my mind. I didn’t write anything down (because I’m lazy), so this won’t be that in-depth of a review.

I don’t think it was even close. Tester was almost perfect and Burns said the same meaningless crap we’ve been hearing for months. Tester will weaken our families! Tester will cut and run! Tester will tax us to death! Tester eats babies!

Alright, so that last one isn’t real. Tester had some good one liners and seemed pretty comfortable. One of the better ones was responding to Burns’s support of the Patriot Act, “I don’t want to weaken it, I want to repeal it.” That’s a great comeback to Burns’s scare tactics, even though I’d rather see it weakened than repealed (well, I do want some of it repealed). Burns decided to demonize environmentalists for a bit (and really, it’s not like they couldn’t use a little criticism) and attacked Tester for being supported by them. He responded that if that’s true, we should elect him to “get them off the dime.” Tester showed some passion a few times and when it was appropriate, I thought.

Burns, on the other hand, sounded defensive and a little angry. When it really didn’t warrant it, too. You have to like his comment that Washington was a “17 acre logic-free zone.” It certainly is, Senator. Of course, you’re right in the middle of it and the party that controls it, so I’m just not sure what the point of that comment was. Burns really was in fine form, making rambling answers and thanking himself (that was strange). He brought up gun control like we were all supposed to gasp at horrible it is. Strangely, he thought Chuck Schumer was the chairman of the DNC, when it’s the right’s favorite object of derision, Howard Dean.

It seems that Resodyn (one of the debate sponsors) bought a bunch of seats that were given to Burns supporters, all of them up front. When they introduced Burns it seemed like the entire front quarter of the theater stood up and cheered (and almost no one else). Nearly everyone else stood up and cheered for Tester when he was introduced.

I never got around to listening to the Hamilton debate, but I didn’t think Tester did a great job in the Whitefish debate. He was definitely much better this time around. Burns did about the same. I don’t really think it was close. Then again, I’m a Tester supporter and quite liberal, so that’s what I’m biased toward. Still, I think it was pretty clear.

Afterwards, Colby and I met up with Jay and CeCe, which was very cool. Nice to get know some of the people behind blogs I read. I guess we missed Moorcat, which is a shame. It was definitely a fun trip, though.

Next up, the Bozeman debate.

Also, check out Jay’s liveblogging, which is a good play-by-play of the debate.

Categories: Montana

Look, my first WordPress plugin

September 21, 2006 3 comments

You’ll see that there’s a link called “Quick Comments” at the bottom of each of my posts. I decided to experiment with AJAX the other day at work. It found it interesting enough to play with here (after all, I can only justify so much time spent on programming in the QA department) and decided that I needed to figure out how to make plugins for WordPress, too. So, there it is. Clicking on the link gets an excerpt from each of the three most recent comments, so you can check comments without loading a whole new page.

In order to keep myself motivated to actually do this, I didn’t really look to see if this had already been done. I would suspect so. I still may clean it up enough that I could release it to some degree. As it stands, I don’t have an options page and the way the comments are styled could use some generalization.

Categories: Tech