Not sure why, but I’ve got a lot of links in the queue. Yesterday went pretty well with the boss in town, and I think the work priorities are straightening out, so perhaps that’s freed up part of my brain from worrying. Or maybe just a number of stories I’m interested are breaking at once. But whatever the reason, this clears less than half of the queue.
- Michael Barone tries to make The case for pork pointing out that
it’s unrealistic to think you can have an effective representative democracy without pork. At least he says he’s not sure about the argument, because the underlying assumption is that “effective government” is desirable. I think the mutual-backscratching (or outright bribery) is too high of a price even if you think an efficient goverment would be good. But what’s the point in arguing when the basic assumptions are so out of whack? [instapundit]
- When talking about earmarks in Washington, the important thing to remember is that the pork is not the point. The point is the corruption it brings. And yes, it’s only one percent of the federal budget, but that’s still 27 billion out of 2.6 trillion. And that is the real problem. The one percent is the appetizer. The all-the-politicians-can-eat buffet of DC in general is the real problem. [instapundit]
- Here’s another reason why a huge central government is DC is bad: Police State USA the Wrong Way to Fight Terrorism. Decentralization is more robust and secure. [police state]
- Claire’s got some thoughts now that A TCFer makes the TSA “no-fly” list. She wonders why people don’t realize that things such as “the list” are not signs of strength but signs of desperation. You harass random people when you don’t know who might be a danger. I hope there’s cause for optimism here, and the TSA’s no-fly list is a sign of an end, like Nixon’s enemies list was. I fear that change is not imminent. [claire]
- In the latest in Gilmore v. Gonzalez, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Airport IDs. There’s a small update at Papers Please, in which Gilmore encourages people to fly without ID, since the decision (pdf) against him says that’s legal. No word yet on if he’s going to appeal to the supreme court or not yet. [endwar]
- In Florida, a Jury clears homeowner who took cop for intruder, because, strangely enough, the cop was acting just like a burglar when the homeowner shot him. [claire]
- A Minneapolis city probe took cops to distant strip clubs. Umm. Yeah. The policeman is your friend. If you’re a cute chick and take off your clothes. Our Tax Dollars At Work! [jim]
On a personal note, my boss is in town this week. Haven’t actually met him in person yet, even though I’ve been that the job for about two months, so it’ll be interesting. And it’s possible there will be stuff keeping me around work enough that blogging may be light. I guess we’ll see.
- The Winter Carnival began this weekend with some Holidrizzle. It’s definitely been warm. It looks like this will be the first January since 1990 that we won’t have a single day of below-zero in Minneapolis. Before that? Only once in recorded history (in the 1800s). And with the rain Thursday and Saturday evenings, the snow was just about all gone before last night’s snow, which is awfully we, and looks like it’ll disappear quickly. The spring-like weather feels pretty appropriate if you go shopping, and It’s Not Just Me. Mitch compares trying to get any winter clothing at Target in January to shopping for bread in the old USSR. [press-patch and mitch]
- According to the Daily, Minneapolis looks to say hi to citywide Wi-Fi, and will go with an unnamed private vendor. [daily]
- A US bank bans loans to developers using seized land . BB&T is one of the larger banks in the south-eastern US. There are plenty of other things wrong with BB&T, just as there are with any bank, but good for them in this case. [claire]
- Kirsten’s Secrets of Traveling Revealed!- Part Three talks about food. She’s maybe more restaurant-phobic than I am. My solution to “restaurant food overload” is that I almost always walk through some sort of farmers market in any town I visit. But it takes me a lot longer to overload, and I can even skip the market if there is a decent selection of street vendors in town. And it also reminds me that I should maybe update my travel tips next time I go out of town. I’ve learned a thing or two in the past six years. [kirsten]
- Is it right to attribute PHP’s Insecurity to a Failure of Leadership? I think so. And I agree that
The time for forgiving PHP’s weaknesses are over.But I’ll probably be voting with my feet. One of the major hurdles in upgrading things on my server is old PHP code that I wrote when I was new to the language. The only headache bigger is all the crap I had to put in place to deal with spam. [holy schmoly]
- A little story where The scammer gets scammed! And a guy got to ship a box full of rottweiler poop to Nigeria on the scammer’s dime. Excellent. [boing boing]
As the week winds down, I’m running out of ideas and of things to link to. If it makes you feel any better, the same thing seems to be happening at work this week. I was pretty darned productive the first part of this week, but today I think I’d actually welcome more meetings in my schedule. If there’s nothing tomorrow, you’ll know why…
- The headline says Internet game leads to scientific advance, but the real story is that Where’s George is being used to model the spread of disease. [fark!]
- There’s now a website pushing for a Firefly Season 2. I wouldn’t pay per episode since that would likely be a big headache, but I’d be happy to buy a direct-to-DVD second season of episodes and then watch the SciFi channel pick it up. [endwar]
- Kirsten’s posted her Secrets of Traveling Revealed!- Part Two. I disagree a little more here. I’m a lot bigger on maps than directions, since directions, especially mapping-website-generated ones do silly things like tell me to
Take the County Road 17 exit. Go 0.3 miles. Turn left at Lexington Ave N. Go 0.6 miles. Continue on Lexington Ave NE for 4.0 miles.when the simpler answer is
Take the Lexington exit and head north for 4.6 miles.Sure, the road changes names, but it’s a minor change, and I can figure that out. But every mapping service I’ve tried gets this kind of thing wrong, adding lots of extra information that just makes life more difficult when I’m trying to navigate. My ordering? Maps combined with signs, sense of direction, directions, and then phoning for help. Or just getting lost and enjoying the drive. There are days when I would rather take the long way home. [kirsten]
- One of the little bastards got caught: ‘Botmaster’ pleads guilty to computer crimes. Kim suggests he get the full 25 years. He’s offered to pay $15,000 in restitution. I’m with Kim. This man was doing the electronic equivalent of dropping bowling balls of freeway overpasses to watch the crashes or dumping poison into a city’s water supply. He’s proven he can’t behave in a civilized manner, and while 25 years behind bars won’t cure that, it’ll keep him from vandalizing anything else for a while. [kim]
- More news in the war on decongestants: Potent Mexican Meth Floods In as States Curb Domestic Variety. States have been so successful at stopping domestic production of meth that violence has gone up as tweakers are having to commit more crimes to finance the more expensive (and stronger) imported Mexican stuff. [colby cosh]
- Is the Jack Abramoff scandal going to teach us How to Cure Pork? Well, perhaps. I wouldn’t mind getting to a point where a president would (like Madison) veto a bill because it included highway spending and he figured that was unconstitutional. [instapundit]
- And there’s Big News from Tom Coburn’s office:
To rein in wasteful spending, Dr. Coburn intends to offer an amendment on every pork project stuffed into appropriations bills this year. There were at least 13,998 earmarked projects contained in last year’s appropriations bills. By way of comparison, the Senate had only 366 roll call votes last year. Needless to say we are beefing up our appropriations staff for this challenge and we have requested that we be given at least 72 hours to review appropriations bills before they are considered.
- jr says he’d Like To Ignore The Little People and specifically points to my lack of lifetime achievement award. I’m kinda choked up here. You love me! You really love me! [jr]
- In Son’s fatal overdose consumes ex-pitcher, there’s some explanation of how Jeff Reardon found himself robbing a jewelry store. It’s not a very happy story. [colby cosh]
- I’ve been too busy on the weekends lately, and too tired on Monday mornings, so I decided this morning that I’m not going to throw a winter party this year.
- A Work force ‘dropout’ trend stirs concern at the state, since they’re not getting as much as expected in withholding taxes. Here’s a radical idea: maybe lower the taxes so people have less reason to drop out of the workforce. [press-patch]
- Steve Jobs to scoop $3.5bn as Pixar board approves Disney takeover. It's not final yet, as the reporter implied, since both boards still need to approve the deal, and I kinda wish Pixar would remain independent, but you can’t fault SJ for taking the money. He’ll be the biggest single shareholder of Disney, too. [boing boing]
- Kirsten’s Secrets of Traveling Revealed!- Part One sounds a lot like my travel preparations. Except I organize things by day, rather than by topic, and I use a 5½″ × 8½&Prime day-planner instead of a big three-ring notebook. I prefer the smaller format, so I can carry it around more easily, and if I do need a full-size letter sheet for something, I can punch one end of it and fold it in half. [kirsten]
- Winchester has said they’ve made The Last of the Winchester Model 94s. For that matter, they’ve made the last Winchesters. Damnit. I’m gonna hafta go shopping again. [endwar]
- Jim Weir, The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart,
believed that Snapper’s health — indeed, its very long-term survival — required that it not do business with Wal-Mart.He probably was right. [kottke]
- It’s no tinfoil hat (in that it might actually work), but if you want to know How To Make A RFID Blocking Wallet, there are instructions. [police state]
- I got an email this morning talking about how The President Broke the Law and I should sign a petition. I published my response.
- This morning I read how Lileks thinks it’s cold outside. I think we’ve been spoiled this year. I’m too lazy to go look it up, but I don’t think we’ve had a temperature below zero yet in 2006. It’s freakin’ January in Minnesota! In a normal year, yesterday’s temperatures would have been nearly enough to get people outside in shorts and t-shirts, but because we’ve had 20-some days with temperatures 20-some degrees above normal, a day when we’re only five or ten degrees above normal causes people to freak out about the cold. [lileks]
- Wanna know all about that sound you make when things go wrong that isn’t D’Ohh! The Aargh Page has the answers, along with the blog entry that explains it. [jwz]
- So a while back, all the cool kids started tagging their posts. Tags were hot. Now Alex Bosworth takes a look at Social Bookmarking Vs Spam and has some good comments about it. Social Software is stuff that gets spammed. [vowe]
- Stephen Green takes a look at The Persian Problem, and points out that he’d offered solutions a couple years ago. [vodkapundit]
- Warren wants to Free the Hookers. Works for me. He also has More on Surveillance & Detention, which he points out that foreigners are humans too, and that while the Bush administration’s snooping may be legal, it ain’s right. He wraps up the trifecta with a Great Coburn Press Release in which Tom Coburn tries to eliminate earmarking in federal budgets. [coyote blog]
- John Boehner, who’s running for the house leadership, also wants to Keep Politics Kosher by eliminating earmarks and says
Government is too big and controls too much money.Amen, brother. [instapundit]
- … or perhaps not. According to Wikipedia, nobody knows for sure when he was born. Of course it was wikipedia which gave me today’s date as one of his possible birthdays.
- Yesterday, Reason wished us a Happy Martin Luther King Day!
This holiday is as good a time as any to remember how one of our greatest Americans was bugged and harassed by a paranoid, power-mad J. Edgar Hoover, in the name of National Security.Indeed. [instapundit]
- Hugh has the top ten blogger lies. Funny. [instapundit]
- Here’s a website that shows you how to stack pennies to make bridges, towers, etc. Cool stuff, constructed with no glue. Or you can stack empty cans to make art. [boing boing and fark!]
- I know it wouldn’t fit (either physically or aesthetically) in my living room, but dang this Croissant Sofa is cool-looking. [boing boing]
- Over in St. Paul, Como seeks money for bear, ape spaces. They’re asking for ten million to give the critters more room. I’ve always liked Como more than the big new zoo out in the ’burbs. [press-patch]
- Am I paranoid when I see the Washington Post’s editorial Killing Made Easy and think they want to steal my property when I read
Political long shot that it may be, a national ban on the general manufacture, sale and ownership of handguns ought be enacted.Well, come and get ’em seems like the only appropriate response. [war on guns]
- A Swiss scientist says Hot sex treats common cold. Well, I’m mostly over my cold now, just in time to head back to work for the week, but I wish I’d known this last week. And I wish there was a way that knowledge would have helped. [fark!]
- Speaking of illness, the CDC says that 91% of samples of this year’s Flu Virus Resistant to 2 Drugs most commonly prescribed. That’s up from 11% last year. The darned thing mutates fast, and now they’re suggesting doctors don’t prescribe anti-virals for the flu, so if a Really Bad Flu hits, the drugs might still have a chance of being useful. [instapundit]
- I’ve posted the list of 2006 Minnesota Gun Shows. I still don’t have lists from the smaller and out-state promoters, so if you know about them, I’d appreciate hearing about the other shows.
- Here’s an encouraging little bit about the liberty we’re exporting to Iraq: Police State USA Raids Wrong Houses in Iraq Too. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was for the best that Saddam was kicked out of power, and I understand that the troops have a tough job trying to catch bad guys in Iraq, but they’re not policemen, and this is exactly the same problem that you see in the US with the militarizing of the police. Policing and fighting a war are two very different activities, but that’s not how they’re treated lately. [police state]
- Stephen Green has A Few Notes on Tyranny. Basically he’s hopeful that even should someone try to seize power, Americans are a contrary enough bunch to keep them in check. But also, you don’t need a dictator to have a dictatorship, as Europe is discovering. Good bit of writing, and he’s a lot more optimistic than I am. [vodkapundit]
- The Truth Laid Bear has an An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers, asking that
The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.Sounds good to me. [vodkapundit]
- Bummer. Loompanics Unlimited is going out of business. But everything is half-off until they’re out of stuff. [endwar]
It’s still warm in MN, but I came down with a cold yesterday. Came down hard enough to leave work before lunch and come home and sleep. Still trying to decide whether or not I’m heading in to work this morning or just having another shot of Nyquil and go back to bed.
Noon update: Went with the Nyquil and more sleep. I almost feel human at the moment.
- Maybe I need more neuroses. Skot’s haircuts sound so much more exciting than mine. [izzlepfaff!]
- Yup. Sure is good to know the USPTO is protecting American innovation. [kottke]
- Is it true that Serenity Might Fly Again? Well, maybe. Joss is waiting for the DVD numbers before committing. [instapundit]
- The 2006 version of What’s Up, which details cool things to look for in the sky is available for free download. 365 days of skywatching. [kirsten]
- There was a quick story on the TV news last night about Minneapolis 311. Apparently Mayor Rybak is promising that if you call in about potholes in your street, you’ll get added to the list. Apparently the new number has been live since last wednesday.
- If you’re looking for something other than the usual band this weekend? christopher shillock is playing the Red Sea this Saturday at 7:30 pm. Unfiltered cigarettes and black berets strictly optional. [steph]
- There was a Company Meeting at work yesterday. I had a couple things to say about it, but the basic idea is that it made me grumpy.
- Apple says it discards the information transmitted by iTunes when it puts up the mini-store for you. Aside from the fix suggested by the boing-boing readers, an even simpler fix is to just shut off the store functionality altogether. That’s the way I normally run, turning on the store only when I want to buy something, and because of this, I’ll probably turn it on less often. More marketing at work, pissing me off about a product. [boing boing]
- The A-Mill District towers are ground down by the Heritage Preservation Commission, and it looks like the plan will have to be scaled back. Which probably means that Marcy-Holmes will get a wall of condos, rather than the tall, thin towers that most folks preferred. Sigh. There’s more from Steph over at her site, including a picture. [lileks]
- Just one year behind oh-so-progressive Minneapolis, St. Paul OKs smoking ban. Smoke ’em if you got ’em, since it’s going to be banned everywhere soon. [press-patch]
- There’s some News on the Cory Maye Case: Bob Evans was fired as Prentiss public defender, but is still serving as the county public defender, and is still representing Cory Maye. [endwar]
- You know those CDs you burned years ago? They might be dead already. Apparently they only have a two to five year lifespan. So much for those old backups… [fark!]
- Just a thought: If Joey lived in the USA, things like his Greenbacks and Sam image would probably be banned under McCain-Feingold. But his campaign against Bulte has the strength of mostly being made up of her own words. Nice work, Joey. [accordionguy]
Yes, I know blogging is light lately. Life keeps intruding.
- The SkyScout looks pretty cool. Be even better if I could see stars from here, but between the bright city lights and the clouds we had all last week (which will probably return, so I’m enjoying every bit of sunshine I can), I just don’t think it would work in my location. [papascott]
- The Minneapolis Observer does a decent job of Explaining the Case for a Publicly Owned WiFi System, using some of the same arguments I did in my letter to my councilman. While I was mostly arguing against any WiFi right now (I think another year of watching other cities make mistakes would be a useful education), if there’s going to be a city-wide WiFi network, I’d rather have it publicly owned. Every time I think about a private WiFi network monopoly, I look at how well the cable company has “served the public” here.
- Says here 2¢ stamps hard to come buy yesterday. They were around here, too. I stopped off yesterday morning on the way to work to mail some bills. They’re ones that should have gone out last week sometime, but I didn’t get to it then, so this morning I figured I’d stop and pay the two cent per letter penalty for having slacked off. But no, the machines at the post office nearest me don’t sell two cent stamps. Grr. The next one on the way to work was already sold out. When I went back at lunchtime, the line stretched out the door and it took me almost a half-hour to get my sixteen cents worth of stamps. Ugh.
But the day was sunshiney and beautiful out, and would have been perfect if I hadn’t had to work. As it was, I got out to enjoy the sunshine as much as possible before the sun gets hidden behind a wet gray blanket again. Took off early from work, too. It’s a pretty decent day when the biggest headache is having to stand in line at the post office. [fark!]
- There are colors in the sky this morning. How very strange and wonderful — it prompted me to post something.
- As Bill points out, Media attention uneven on civil liberty threats.
I won’t give away the punchline, but it’s stuff I noticed at the time. [endwar]
When the President claimed to possess
inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes,the media paid little attention.
When the administration requested greater FBI authority to conduct
moving wiretapswithout a court order, the media paid little attention.
When the President supported the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which called for telephone companies to retrofit their systems and equipment to facilitate police surveillance, the media paid little attention.
When the administration used the IRS to harass and intimidate its
enemies,the media paid little attention.
When the President issued Executive Order 12949 which authorized the attorney general
to approve physical searches, without a court order,the media paid little attention.
- Warren points out that the Democrats’ Privacy Push for the 2006 election cycle might just backfire the way the Army’s wondering if Arlo Guthrie was
moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbugdid. Warren also asks Whose Civil Liberties am I Protecting? and points out that when you hear
suspected terroristyou might want to think
innocent person. But neither the stupid party nor the evil party seems to think that we might notice their hypocrisy. [coyote blog]
- St. Paul has already looked at it, and now the Minneapolis City Council plans study on bringing back city’s streetcars. I’ve got mixed feelings about the proposal. Part of me would like to see streetcars, but another part of me thinks about the cost and what a headache tracks in the street are when you’re on a bike. I guess the good thing about streetcars is that since they run in the street, there are unlikely to be any eminent domain issues. [press-patch]
- I had a thought or two about Geeks and social skills last night, and an experiment I could perform.
- I also had an idea about another experiment to perform, but this time on the company that’s hired me.
- I also noticed last night that I should probably look at Today in Apple History more often. Do I import their events into my calendar? Do I go rummaging for new ones on my own? I just don’t know. [kottke]
Sorry about the light blogging yesterday. It was just one of those days.
- I realized yesterday that it’s like I’ve got divorced bosses at work, since I have two managers in two different states. Gave me something to think about.
- Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this Early winter gloom is enough to put you in the mood for doom. But the weather guys are starting to promise we’ll need to Break out the shades, one day only, on Friday. I’ll believe it when I actually see the sunshine, but I’m thinking that I might put in an extra hour or two today so I have a chance to take a long lunch or cut out early tomorrow if they’re right. [press-patch]
- MSN offers 18 Tricks to Teach Your Body. Interesting stuff. Of course yesterday I was sitting in a meeting having the feeling like there was something caught in my throat, and couldn’t remember that scratching my ear was the right thing to solve that problem. I tried rubbing my nose, blowing on my thumb, and a few other things. Guess I need to re-read the article a few more times. [fark!]
- MN Attorney General Mike Hatch blasts data sales, and Jason DeRusha was going to do a story about it. I didn’t stay up late enough to watch the 10pm news, but when Hatch says
We believe Minnesota is in the bottom five states for security,it doesn’t surprise me at all. [press-patch]
- A Clinton, IA Internet provider wins $11B suit against spammer. Yes, that’s eleven billion dollars. Of course, collecting it is going to be problematic, but I sure hope they get something. [fark!]
- It was pouring frickin' rain as I got home last night. That just ain’t right.
- It’s gray again outside, and it’s affecting my mood. Blogging is light, but at least some readers have been contributing links. Thanks guys!
- EPIC’s 2005 Privacy Year in Review is worth looking at, since it also lists the top ten things to watch out for this year. [schneier]
- The Macintosh Command Key is known as the splat, butterfly, beanie, flower, shamrock and officially as the
Command Key. This symbol found its way from
attractions to a campgroundon Swedish maps to ubiquity on Mac keyboards. Quinn’s Miscellany has a big list of wrong names for the key and points to symbols.com for a bit more information. [reed]
- The Sideways Bike is ridden sideways and is balanced by using human Front to Back balance. Seems odd, and I’m pretty sure I’d get a stiff neck from it, but it might be fun to try once. Until I broke my damn-fool neck, that is. [boing boing]
- It’s a Rainy morning, and I’m having trouble getting started for the new year
- Jeremy Zawodny says You Never Forget Your First Web Server. I know mine was a Sun while I was working at LaserMaster. I don’t remember for sure, but I think it was up and running before I went to Apple, which would have meant early 95 at the latest. [papascott]
Had fun last night. Once again, the party was mostly married folks or single guys, so there wasn’t much hope for even getting a Happy New Year kiss from someone, but what the heck. I still had fun, and got to sample some Hmoobshine (which more than made up for the somewhat unpleasant taste with a big kick). Plus got to see the batch of people that I only see on NYE. Drove home about 3:30 in the morning, after waiting for most of the amateurs to get off the roads, and it was clear sailing except for a cluster of highway patrol at the intersection of 694 and 35W. At least four of them were scattered around the ramps and cloverleafs, lights ablink, and suspected drunks walking the white lines along the shoulders.
Today’s going to be a slow day, I expect. I’m not especially hungover, but I am just plain tired. It’s coming up on noon now, and while the third (and final) load of laundry is in the washer already, and I had breakfast one load ago, I still haven’t crawled out of the bathrobe and fuzzy slippers and into the shower. I suspect I’ll do that once this load is into the dryer, with a nap to follow almost immediately.
As for the time off from work, in the twelve days in which I didn’t go into the office, I finished six of the tasks I had set for myself. Since I’d planned to do one a day, subtracting three days for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and today, finding that I’ve gotten two-thirds of them done isn’t great news, but it’s about what I expected. The only snag is that there are the website updates that I still need to do, and I probably should get them done today. Maybe I’ll manage to tackle them this evening. As for my planned switch of the blog to the new software, I guess that’s not going to happen today like I’d planned. But for now, I’m happy enough that I’m starting the new year with clean clothes.
- Turns out Steveo’s Disappearing Yahoo Messenger was due to a windows virus people don’t seem to know about. Explain to me again why a normal person would even run windows anymore, please. [steveo]
- Could Sony be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for distributing DRMmalware-laden CDs? Could be. Texas is going after companies selling CD using MediaMax, which is more than just Sony and Coldplay’s new CD has rules: No MP3s, no DVD players, no car stereos, and no returns. Which you don’t find out until you’ve opened the packaging. [boing boing]
- Joe Soucheray tears into Phyllis Kahn’s unsportsmanlike conduct regarding the proposed football field on Nicollet Island. It doesn’t surprise me at all that she sees the open space (which will still be open if the field is built) as her private playground. And he touches on the way that people got houses on the island in the first place. Yeah, I wasn’t positive it was just “DFL-insiders” who got houses on the island at the time, but I always suspected you needed political juice to live there. [press-patch]
- Glenn starts off 2006 with a Porkbusters update, pointing out just how corrupt the bridges to nowhere in Alaska are, and saying that this just might be the year that people get tired of government pork. [instapundit]