02 December 2009

Oh Really?

President Obama speaks:
As president, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, our or interests.

I know he's talking about Afghanistan. But thinking in a broad sense, this seems to be patently false based on his past actions.

This is the peanut gallery, signing off.

24 November 2009

quote of the day-or-so

gotta get it together...I might as well homeschool if I going to put this much effort into getting [my son] the education he needs. At least then he would have recess EVERY day AND be challenged...*sigh*:(
Facebook mother

15 November 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Do not consider Collectivists as sincere but deluded idealists. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not idealistic, no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to do good by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.
Ayn Rand

30 October 2009

quote of the day-or-so

No matter what you think of Rand, there's no denying that the woman just swings a really big dick.
Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv

09 October 2009

quote of the day-or-so

It's a bit odd that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on the same morning that the U.S. is bombing the moon.
Peter J. Orvetti

04 October 2009

quote of the day-or-so

[I wonder] if homework for 3rd graders is intended for the parents and not the students... I can't get over the busywork that is categorized as 'homework!'
public school dad on facebook

16 September 2009

quote of the day-or-so

You don't expect to hear that someone you know killed a guy with a samurai sword.
Diego Ardila

11 September 2009

Weighing In

First, here's my reference link : A transcript of Obama's speech on the 9th.

We'll do this by creating a new insurance exchange -- a marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to shop for health insurance at competitive prices. Insurance companies will have an incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers. As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage.

It hits the right buzzwords : marketplace, shop, incentive, competitive prices, bargain. But only in regards to consumers buying health insurance. It doesn't speak at all to the real issue - That consumers are no longer the customer for health care. Insurance companies and governments are.

This seems wrong to me.

I'm not against the Obama plan, not really. But I think it's misleading. It's not a fundamental shift. It's a band-aid at best. It supports the status quo. Therefore I'm not that excited about it.

And for further reading, I enjoyed this piece from the The Atlantic.

06 September 2009

quote of the day-or-so

[I am] wondering if homeschooling would just be easier?? I mean if I am going to need to supplement everything...[then] why bother sending him to school?
this text was posted to facebook by a friend of ours who used to send her son to the same private school our son attends. while the cost is enormous, i believe it's more important to give up all luxuries before giving up our childrens' futures.

i would never doubt this mother's dedication to her son's education, but it sure would be something if everyone had the same opportunities my kids have. after first grade, my son was doing not just addition and subtraction, but multiplication and division. he is also reading chapter books on his own, after refusing even to try to learn to read prior to that. i credit a swarm of excellent teachers (and a few bureaucrats) who are committed to a common vision of individualized education for each child.

15 August 2009

looking forward to retirement

i got my social security statement today that is encouraging me to retire as soon as possible. assuming my own death comes in at the 80-year mark, the total benefits i would receive from SS would be only slightly higher if i were to retire at 67 rather than 62, giving me five more years of the easy life. of course, my higher monthly rate when retiring at 70 also puts me closer to my death and therefore lessens my total benefits even more.

so, young folks, please remember to pay all my bills whenever it is i decide to stop doing it for myself. it's my right.

29 July 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.
Thomas Jefferson

21 July 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Why should I have to shoulder the burden of my healthcare, rent, and food costs alone?
dude on facebook

12 May 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Bob Goodlatte (R-Horseracing): We shouldn't legalize online poker because...Tim Geithner didn't pay his taxes. http://tinyurl.com/o79u9h
Radley Balko

27 April 2009

it ain't easy being green

are incandescent bulbs so bad? the more compact fluorescents i put in, the more i miss them. my kitchen appears to be lighted by a single flashlight muffled by someone's hand when i switch on my 5(!) CLs. it brightens over a short period, but the light quality isn't so great. but even that is only half as bad as the double CL contraption i have hanging in the family room. i hardly ever use it.

Howard Brandston, award-winning lighting designer (but is he licensed?), argues that incandescents have been unfairly maligned. 'experts' have failed to measure the lighting systems holistically. one interesting blurb:
If someone really wanted to do a green household, they could use dimmers, they could use occupancy sensors to turn off the lights in case they forgot to. Control of the light is really the most energy efficient way to gain benefit. If you dim an incandescent lamp from 120 volts to 110 volts you will increase its life by approximately three times. If you dim it a little more, you increase it even more. And then they will surpass the lifespan of a compact fluorescent lamp.
the whole article is very much worth the read. i don't think i'll be buying any more CLs. instead, i'll be buying dimmer switches.

video streaming

i've been without cable now for a month or so. maybe two. i can't honestly remember, because i don't miss it. with over-the-air broadcasts recorded to mu old tivo and netflix and playon streaming to my xbox 360, i can get most anything. since i don't yet have an HD TV, the video quality strikes me as phenominal.

playon also has an active plugin developer community that adds some extras (via C#). i'm thinking i might have a go at rolling up some more channels so i can get the rest of what i had with cable.

audio streaming

i've been attempting to tackle the streaming of my extensive audio collection to my xbox 360. mp3s are supported simply and easily, but MS and Apple seam to be slap fighting with me in the middle when it comes to format support. i've tried a hack or two to avoid converting my itunes formats in bulk. i especially didn't want to use up a bungload of blank CDs to do it.

now i've found DVD neXt Copy iTurns (free). i can 'burn' a playlist to mp3s without waste. their argument that it doesn't violate copyright law kinda makes sense (especially since i want it to).
DVDneXtCOPY iTurns does not disable any DRM* Protection. iTurns uses a feature inside the DRM Protection that allows you to make Audio CD copies of your purchased content. This does not violate US and European law because it is not circumventing and is part of DRM. Instead of illegally defeating copy-protection measures, iTurns uses an innovative, technically optimized process that records original files as they play and legally burns files to a virtual CD-RW drive on your hard drive, saving the recordings in unprotected digital formats. *Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a copy protection technology that is designed to restrict the illegal distribution of copyrighted music. Forms of control can include restrictions on the use of certain music players, how many times a purchased music file can be burnt to CD or the number of computers it can be transferred to.
now i don't have to write my own utility to do this. anyone know if the next windows supports m4a/aac stuff by default?

11 April 2009

liquid syntax

i've been playing with more expressive syntax in c# today, trying to be more ruby since that avenue is blocked for me.
them's alotta parens. i've been toying mostly with dates and testing syntax. thankfully, the nunit guys did most of the work for me on the latter point. i've also found it's fairly easy to eliminate some of the standard duplication in .net, for example, raising events always requires a null check on the delegate. not anymore.
while c# still lacks much of the flexibility and beauty of ruby (from what i know of it), it should be possible to achieve many of the same niceties.

09 April 2009

quote of the day-or-so

It’s always a shame when customers don’t get what they pay for, but in the current economy, it’s a real shame when a client burns money hiring someone on the cheap or without real credentials instead of paying someone who might at first look more expensive but would be a bargain in comparison in terms of value for money.
Rick DeNatale

17 March 2009

academic sarcasm: priceless

the abstract of The Dakota Effect:

If challenged to do so, relatively few Americans could probably find North and South Dakota on a map, let alone correctly name, spell, and pronounce the capitals of the two states. Nor would they be able to recall anything interesting about the Dakotas, whose main tourist attractions, besides Mount Rushmore, are a drug store, a civic arena festooned in corn, and a peace garden. Although one of the Dakotas bills itself as “The Land of Infinite Variety,” its sociocultural diversity consists primarily of different synods of Lutherans who engage in endless disputation with one another because they are so similar. Dakotans prefer their food bland—they consider ketchup daringly spicy—and their politicians low-key. When they encounter something new, they call it “different,” which they rarely mean as a compliment, and they wait for it to go away—which, because there is so little to hold it in the Dakotas, it probably will do. They keep their opinions to themselves (a typical Dakotan being the fellow from Sioux Falls who loved his wife so much that he almost told her), and they do not like it when people make a fuss about themselves or anything else. Thus, when South Dakotans perceived the previously popular Senator George McGovern as having gotten too big for his britches by seeking the presidency in 1972, they saw to it that he would fail to carry his home state, and three decades later they voted long-time Senator Tom Daschle out of office as soon as he repeated McGovern's mistake of seeing a president whenever he gazed into a mirror.

(HT: Kip)

15 March 2009

sticking it to the [cable] man

in an effort to eliminate time warner from my monthly extortion bill, i have purchased an xbox 360. i was already signed up on the live network so i could play an occasional [old] xbox game with my bro, but hearing that i could have access to netflix content online was a large draw. playon throws hulu, cbs, espn, and maybe some others into the mix, too.

i just finished converting the 360 to a wired connection since hulu wouldn't play over wireless. my house came with phones wired via cat5e, so, with the help of some external awesomeness (you know who you are), i re-wired the RJ45 phone jack for my network--something i will probably do for the rest of the casa, too.

so far, netflix, which worked fine over wireless, and hulu are the proverbial bomb. i will re-evaluate the cable bill again in a few weeks to see if we're ready to cut it off completely. i already bought a subsidized digital converter for the local stations.

14 February 2009

steve mirksy on security theater

Steve Mirsky, famous for his column in Scientific American, blasts the TSA and ridiculous rule-making in his latest.

08 February 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.
Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507

never talk to the cops. ever.

the following is a good talk re: the true state of our relationship with the state.

i used to think that the simple act of recording interrogations would help to correct problems in false convictions, but i'm not so sure now. it's still a step worth taking, i suppose.
part 2

(HT: RvB)

07 February 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Democracy should be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on whether a dentist is being “asymmetrically unjust.”

27 January 2009

universal health care misses a few points

in the latest reason, we see a tiny bit of what might await us in a one-size-fits-all solution: namely, someone other than you will be making decisions that affect your health or your life decisions.
France’s restrictions spring from medical rationalization. Assisted reproduction was developed as a solution to fertility trouble, and being single is not a disease. A French reproductive endocrinologist told me that even if the French law changed she would still refuse to practice IVF on single women. She became a doctor to cure people, she explained.

The reluctance is even more pronounced because of France’s universal health care system. Sperm and egg banks are state-owned. Insemination and IVF costs are paid by the French health care system. Should French citizens, through their taxes, subsidize single women who want children?

These concerns do not really apply when reproductive medicine is market driven. In the U.S., when the infertility-based market for sperm banks declined (because male fertility problems became less important due to new IVF technologies such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection), banks started marketing their services to single women and same-sex couples.
or maybe you don't care because the right person will make those choices.

21 January 2009

low class

i finally caught up with the fellow who runs the league that meets at the field where i lost my ring. i've been trying to get him since late october to see the ring he found, just on the chance that it could be mine. it wasn't. but he insisted that i keep it. needless to say, that left me rather dumbfounded. i think it shows a complete lack of respect minimally for the people that pay to play in his league. guess i'll call the rec department to see if they can do anything with it.

20 January 2009

quote of the day-or-so

Constitutions are utterly worthless to restrain the tyranny of governments, unless it be understood that the people will by force compel the government to remain within constitutional limits. Practically speaking, no government knows any limits to its power except the endurance of the people.
Lysander Spooner

11 January 2009

Scott Adams on waste

from Adams' blog.
I said before that I think we're on the cusp of a change as fundamental as the industrial revolution. But this time the change will be on the consumption side, not the production side. As a society we have dabbled with recycling and such, but it has always been fairly optional. There was no real penalty for waste.

The coming consumption revolution won't be strictly for the benefit of the environment. It will be an economic necessity, driven largely by the huge numbers of retired poor. There simply won't be enough stuff for everyone if waste is allowed.
the best way for society to realize the true impact of waste is to assign costs to its generation. consumers of wasteful products and services should bear the expense. price information can drive adoption of cleaner processes.

i'm also wondering if some begenius will one day begin to mine old waste dumps in search of some resource we considered waste in the past. further still, will we consider something wasteful in the future that we now consider benign? perhaps water vapor emitted from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles?

unacoder shrugged

from a facebook discussion of Atlas Shrugged, describing my sense of the book (in someone else's words).
1200 pages in paperback. Sheesh. I suppose I should read it someday. Aside from the size, I'm worried it will convert me into one of those people who can't stop talking about how important it is.
thus, i have never read it. meh.

04 January 2009

free to choose

i just finished Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman. it might be too long for people not interested in freedom and liberty, but the final chapter is definitely worth the effort. what amazes me most is that they managed to use simple, non-jargonistic language throughout the book to cover economic theory, which tends toward dry. highly recommended. once you've finished your copy of Glamour, of course.

the unfortunate part of my reading this book is that it has convinced me how utterly screwed we are as a nation, given our constant need to devote so much effort to control each other's behaviors and preferences, all in the name of laudable goals. by permitting and encouraging special interest legislation, we have undermined the very form of government that was supposed to save us. bring on the financial apocalypse!

if anyone wants to borrow my copy, lemme know.

01 January 2009

quote of the day-or-so

It is always much easier to call other people names than to engage in hard intellectual analysis.
Milton Friedman, Free to Choose