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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Cab Madness

Saturday, June 30, 2007

More thanks to Rodge.....

Speed up all the way and hit the brakes.


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Double Heh

Those of you with sons will understand why this is presented without comment from Rodge.....


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Thanks Kim!


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Light Posting....

Just a quick note - work is very busy for BoonDoggie and TierFlyer is on vacation, so posting will be a little lighter than usual, but we'll still try to get the daily rant up.....


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London and Glasgow

I was horrified to hear of the 'burning car ram' in Glasgow - and on the first day of summer hols of all times.

I was also disgusted to hear about the Bali-style car bomb attempt in London. As I understand the (developing) story, some Limey Peeler defused the bomb while waiting for the bomb squad.

Brass ones the size of an elephants head, my friend. I suspect he won't be buying a pint for years and years. Good on him.

I also have heard that the likely perps were "South Asian" - which is Brit for Pakistanis, Afganis, and people of that visage.

Surely it is the Religion of Peace - don't you watch the US media?


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Amnesty Done!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hallelujah! Testify! The Senate Blocked Immigration Bill
The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat.

"Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress' failure to act on it is a disappointment," he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. "A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn't find common ground. It didn't work."
This is a great day for America. Perhaps now we can just enforce the laws we have and see what happens.


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Pivital Decisions

I stumbled across this site by accident, but he's got a great list of small decisions that were made in computing that had huge impacts. Go read the article, but here's a taste:
1. LF rather than CRLF in MSDOS text files (decades of “is this a text file or a binary file?”)

2. ‘-’ rather than ‘/’ as standard MSDOS command option switch (so we can use ‘/’ in path names)
and the best
10. [late 70s] “You know, maybe SMTP needs some security, I think junk mail might be a problem someday. Let’s add some authentication.”
This reminds me of an early Comdex. I think it was 1988. Bill Gates was giving the keynote speech and asked the rhetorical question "What innovation will Microsoft be best known for?"

Somebody at the back yelled out "The 640K barrier!"


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Where's Nifong?

WRAL is reporting that Nifong is Not Expected at Hearing, Wants to Resign Monday. Evidently, he just took off and hasn't been seen:
On Monday, deputies tried to serve a notice for the hearing, in response to a civil complaint, but had to leave it at Nifong's door.

"Mr. Nifong's wife informed one of my officers earlier in the day that Mike had taken his guitar and left, and she didn't have any idea when he'd return," Capt. Bill Wrenn with the Durham County Sheriff's Office said.

Neighbors told WRAL they have not seen Nifong, nor has the special prosecutor preparing for Thursday's hearing.
I have a bad feeling about this.

I don't think he's going to become a "fugitive" as other blogs have suggested since there's no such thing in a civil case, but the story sounds like a man that has decided to retreat to his cave. Judging from the look on his face throughout his disbarment hearing, there may be a less than zero possibility that we'll find him dead in a hotel room from an overdose. If it happens, remember that you heard the grim prediction here first.

I hope he's ok. I'd like him to at least spend a few years thinking about what he's done. Suicide is the easy way out.


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Staying Home

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm one of the conservatives completely disgusted with the GOP (and the donks, but I don't expect much from them) on Shamnesty.

And I'm not going to stay home and not vote.&nbsp; I might be voting AGAINST the D's and not FOR the R's but I'll vote.&nbsp; I always vote.&nbsp; I have missed one local election (out of the country, forgot to mail my absentee ballot) in 20+ years of voting.

What I won't do is give them any money.&nbsp; Nothing at the national level.&nbsp; And I won't give a local candidate any dough until I find out their voting record.

The only time I think I'd get vapor lock would be a Obama/McCain or Clinton/McCain ticket.&nbsp; I don't like or trust McCain (nor the others) but if we had Clinton or Obama in office then the national grievance industry (NOW, $harpton, etc) would have to shut the heck up for the next hundred years, so 4 years of Carter-redux might be worth it.

We're a big, rich, strong, proud country - no one (or dozen) bad decisions is gonna break us.&nbsp; And if the bad decisions (closing Gitmo, allowing illegals into the country, etc) cause a disaster, well, then, we can recover.&nbsp; Life is long, our country has a long and bright future - some setbacks, while deplorable, are inevitable.

So, while being Dutoitian mad, I remain hopeful overall.


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Where to Now?

I've had several strong Republican supporters tell me that if Shamnesty passes, they're done with being Republicans. The trust will have been broken. The problem is, where do they go?

Not the Democrats. Vote for the Democrats and you get Shamnest, gun control, higher taxes...the list is huge. So I don't see disaffected Republicans switching to the other side.

Not the Libertarians. Their 2000 platform said
We welcome all refugees to our country. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age, or sexual preference. We therefore call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally.
Resurrect Ross Perot? Unfortunately, that mantle seems to be ready to be filled by Bloomberg. And Bloomberg doesn't exactly have a clean record on gun control.

The Conservative Party? The Constitution Party? They don't even make it on to the ballot.

What will happen is what always happens when conservatives are angry at their Republican candidates. They'll stay home, unable to vote for the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately, the moonbats are always willing to vote for the greater of two evils and they don't stay home. High liberal turnout and low conservative turnout is enough to tip the balance. Bill Clinton's strategy was to move enough to the center to keep the conservatives at home, while winking to the liberals. The conservatives taught Bush Senior a lesson over breaking the no new taxes pledge. That's the only strategy that has worked for Democrats since Truman. Carter wouldn't have been elected if not for disgust over Watergate. Kennedy got elected as a moderate.

I think many conservatives are missing the point. They stayed home during 2006 to teach Bush a lesson and gave him a Democrat controlled Congress. Shamnesty would never have gotten off the ground if the remaining Republicans didn't feel they had to play ball. They don't know how to lead when they're in control, and they don't know how to obstruct when they're out.

I don't think this is a Republican vs Democrat issue. It's a struggle between long time incumbents and the will of the people. Shamnesty is getting its support from Senators that have been in the Senate forever. They're out of touch. They're trying to work deals with their friends. They took our call to "Do something about illegal aliens" and got it backwards. They're not the new breed of conservatives that are clued in to what people are thinking. They've been inside the beltline so long they can't hear us. The blogosphere rages about this, and they don't even realize that their supporters have turned.

We've got a lot of RINOs in Congress right now. Boot them out as they come up for election and replace them with real conservatives. We need to send John McCain home from the Republican nomination, and everybody needs to understand that it was his support for Shamnesty that did him in.

There's one bright spot in this entire debate. Fred Thompson came out against Shamnesty early on:
We should scrap this “comprehensive” immigration bill and the whole debate until the government can show the American people that we have secured the borders — or at least made great headway. That would give proponents of the bill a chance to explain why putting illegals in a more favorable position than those who play by the rules is not really amnesty.
The solution isn't to stay home. The solution is to boot every Republican candidate that goes along with Shamnesty.

I'm with Fred.


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Letter From Fred

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I received an email from Fred Thompson (well, the campaign) that had an interesting paragraph:
It’s going to take a lot of work. We’ll use the Internet to reach out to people online, but we also need to reach friends and neighbors who may not be connected. We’ll be making a lot of calls, knocking on a lot of doors, and telling family, friends and neighbors that there is another, better way.
The problem with this approach?

Conservatives are polite. While moonbats will stand on street corners holding up signs and making idiots of themselves, conservatives are, well, conservative. We tend not to be very "in your face" about our politics. Politics, like religion, is something that's just not discussed in polite company.

I usually have to feel someone out for a bit before I decide if they're ready for my political views. It's a pretty safe bet at the hunt camp or gun range, but knocking on doors in my neighborhood?

I guess I'll have to limit my support for Fred to the power of this blog.


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Make Sure No Liquids Are Being Consumed

Thanks LawDawg!


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I've seen the google ad for Hellium pop up on our pages quite a bit. We write about blogging, so they must of bought those keywords. I'm prevented from clicking my own ads according to Google's TOS, so I did an internet search on "Hellium" to find them. It took a while, but I eventually ended up on the Helium Home Page.

Here's how it works according to the cursory glance I've taken: Members write articles on a variety of topics. Members vote on each others articles, bubbling the good ones to the top. The best articles will get traffic from the mother ship, which generates advertising revenue, which they then split with the members. It's blogging for cash.

If there was any doubt whether we're in a Web 2.0 Bubble, this should remove all concerns. A quick look at their "About" page and "Team Hellium" show a venture funded startup -- lots of smiling faces with a VC as the chairman of the board.

The problem in the first dot-com bubble was that a lot of companies that should have been started in some geek's basement received $10M in VC money. The VCs and "experienced" CEOs bring their own baggage, which is usually enough to suffocate the startup. If a web startup is a good idea, it shouldn't have any trouble catching on without the infusion of tons of cash. Just about everything on the web can be outsourced and purchased as needed - bandwidth, servers, advertising, etc. Pumping in millions just goes to senior management's expense accounts, extravagant company meetings, and ill advised advertising campaigns.

I think they have a workable business model, with one flaw. The entire scheme relies upon advertising at a time that most bloggers are figuring out that ads don't pay very much. The idea of enlisting content writers and paying them commissions is novel, but if the content providers are only starting out with 50% of the revenue and revenue from ads continues to decline, it will be tough for them to keep the merry-go-round running. Roberrific had a problem with the experiment he did with them. $23.89 for 58 articles doesn't sound like something I'd quit my job for. Perusing their forums tells a similar story: their most online ever was 214 on May 23, 2007. That's just not a large enough community to get anything done. Next to the Jericho community, they're tiny. And the Jericho folks weren't trying to make money.

For the blogger, the question is whether it makes sense to take a 50% cut in revenue in order to have a chance at better exposure through their community. The alternative is to build up your own content and not rely upon a third party to monetize it. If Helium ever goes the way of Flooz.com, their content will be lost.

It's going to be interesting to watch, but I don't think that Web 2.0 is about selling more advertising. Just like TV, advertising supported content is going to be in decline on the web over the next decade.


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Fundrasing With Fred

I signed up with I'm with Fred. If you tell them you're a blogger, they give you the chance to put up a badge:

I'mWithFred - Contribute Now

That's a very interesting method of fund raising. Fred is trying to leverage his considerable support in the blogosphere into funds for his campaign. He also asks what "groups" you want to be in, presumably to tailor his message according to your hot buttons.

Yeah, yeah, Howard Dean did the same thing. The difference is that Fred's proponents aren't all starving college kids and have disposable income to donate.

Imagine if Hillary did the same thing. You'd be able to get completely conflicting statements just by how you self identified.

TierFlyer thinks the winner of the Republican nomination is going to by Mitt Romney. If you go by "the tall guy with lots of hair wins" then maybe he's got a point, but I think Fred will be the steamroller. He's not fighting the same battle the other candidates are fighting. This is a thoughtful internet campaign, not a bus tour.

UPDATE: I just clicked the link to see what the fund raising page looked like. It looks fairly easy to make a donation, except for a glaring error. NO PAYPAL! Come on Fred, get with it.

On the other hand, he does have Digg, Technorati, and Facebook tags for the blog articles. I wonder if I'll get emails encouraging me to digg the articles? I was only the 2nd digg on the top article of the blog, so the friends of Fred haven't yet figured out what the Jericho fans caught onto almost right away. Getting a good position on the social network sites is a quick means to free publicity.


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How fat would you have to be to stop a bullet?

This is certainly a subject near and dear to the hearts of your faithful bloggers. Say Uncle tells us of an article over at The Naked Scientists Kitchen Science Experiments that asks this question. The experiment is done with a small ball bearing at 1,640 fps (500 m/s) and easily penetrates 14 inches of gelatin, which we're told has the same properties as fat.

They don't discuss the channeling you can clearly see in the gelatin as the shock waves expand outwards from the path of the projectile, proving again that even a poodle shooter caliber, with sufficient velocity, can ruin your day. The demonstration would have been more interesting with enhanced projectiles, such as a hydra-shock.

I saw a great tagline a few days ago: "If you shoot me with .25 ACP and I find out about it, I will personally kick your butt." That's a funny sentiment, but frankly even with my layers of natural armor, I wouldn't want to get shot with anything.


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This blog is Rated R

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mingle is running an interesting web compaign.

Online Dating

Here's how it works. Go to their site and enter your blog address. It does a word count on various bad words and then makes a guesstimate at your cinematic rating. FTB got its R rating based upon our use of the words death, hurt, and crappy. Hard to believe.

So why are they offering this "free" service? They get a one-way link from anyone that posts their badge. If that catches on, they'll rocket in the google PR. It hasn't worked yet because they're still a PR 0, but it's a cute trick.

Hat tip to Say Uncle for finding this, who only got a PG rating.


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Man Owns Part Of Georgia Highway

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Of course no way to embed the video.&nbsp; So watch it.

Summary: the GA department of transportation made a procedural error, and after 6 years of fighting the courts told the property owner that he actually owns the part of the highway across his property.

The DOT offered him $20K, he now says that he needs $300K because of property improvement. Heh.


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Ten Reasons I Will Read Your Blog

I came across this list, which I thought was very practical:

  1. Your blog is written with a professional and creative tone
  2. The posts are not riddled with coarse, profane and negative words
  3. You pride yourself in your work enough to re-read for grammatical and spelling errors
  4. You are passionate about what you are writing
  5. The intrinsic motivation for the blog is not a get-rich-quick scheme
  6. The content is an original and/or unique collection of information.
  7. You have categorized your content into topic areas for easy reference
  8. Reading your blog adds something of value to my personal or professional life
  9. You interact with other bloggers with thoughtful comments
  10. You are an honest soul
Go through the link for full explanations - it didn't seem very fair-usey to copy the whole thing for readers too lazy to click (;_). [Note: perhaps you are merely too entranced by our beautiful site?]


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Concealed Carry Cops Cop Rage

ColtCCO met a copy who didn' t know the law and is discouraged.

His concealed weapon was not perfectly concealed and the cop manhandled him in public and generally made an ass of both of them.

Lovely. But now he is discouraged. But that is probably because he thought of cops as familiar with the law. They're not, but they do know police procedure. I'd certainly contact the IA department and make sure that as a settlement for my lawsuit they issue regular memos.

That will work and make everyone safer.


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Beware the Ex-Military Plumber

I heard the story of the Plumber to Remain in Jail on Drug, Weapons Charges on WRAL this morning and went to the web site to investigate further. From the media report, it sounded like we had a terrorist in our midst:
Travis Edward Aurand, 29, of 146 Anterbury Lane, is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver, maintaining a dwelling and vehicle for the purpose of selling marijuana and possession of weapons of mass destruction, including assault rifles and homemade explosives.

Police seized eight weapons, including an AK-47 and an SKS assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of ammunition, two gas masks, a flak jacket, a bullet-resistant helmet, blasting caps, a time fuse, assorted pipes, chemicals that can be used to make explosives, 19 cultivated marijuana plants and $7,910 in cash from Aurand's townhouse, according to a search warrant.
Weapons of mass destruction! Call Jack Bauer!

So they caught a guy with some pot. But is he really the next Timothy McVeigh? Let's go through the list:

Police seized eight weapons, including an AK-47 - OMG, not a dreaded semi-automatic AK-47! Perfectly legal.

an SKS assault rifle - in other words, a semi-automatic SKS. Legal.

3,000 rounds of ammunition - ok, so he's a lightweight and doesn't have enough ammo around.

two gas masks - you mean like the ones they've been selling on the internet since DHS told us to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting? Nothing illegal about that. And I can see why a plumber might be interested in protecting himself against noxious fumes.

a flak jacket - like the body armor available on Ebay, or a WWII flak jacket? Legal.

A bullet-resistant helmet - it's called an army helmet, a lot of people -- especially ex-military -- have them. Legal.

blasting caps - Not illegal in NC You just can't sell them to someone without verifying their identity.

a time fuse - not illegal.

assorted pipes - OMG! Call the National Guard! A plumber has assorted pipes!

chemicals that can be used to make explosives - ah, like household cleaners?

19 cultivated marijuana plants - well, this is what this is really about.

$7,910 in cash - which wouldn't have even required a report if he deposited in his bank.

So other than the drugs, this is nothing more than an ex-military guy who likes guns and making things go boom for a hobby. And he's smart enough to have protection.

Frankly, I've thought about picking up some inexpensive body armor on Ebay. Guys who bought their own to go to the sandbox are now selling it on Ebay since the government has finally gotten around to equipping them. I'd feel a lot better about being on a big rabbit hunt with 20 guys I don't necessarily know well if I was reasonably certain that a 12 guage blast of #6 to the chest wouldn't do very much. I'll bet Dick Chenney's lawyer friend wished he had been wearing some.

I don't have any blasting caps around, but I know plenty of people that do. Heck, I've got friends that think blasting off homemade cannons out in the country is a great way to spend a Friday night during deer season. You haven't heard loud until you've heard several Pyrodex pellets go off at once. I wonder what the cops would think of my muzzle loading equipment.

So how exactly did this elite police force crack this case?
"For us, it's a horrible concern to have all these things mixed together in one spot," Apex Police Chief Jack Lewis said.

Police stumbled onto the operation when responding to a complaint about a barking dog. An officer who went to the townhouse smelled marijuana and investigated, police said.
So much for the Fourth Amendment. A cop smells the odor of pot and can get a warrant to bust in and haul the guy off to prison. He probably heard Grateful Dead music playing, which is enough to get a warrant these days. I'm glad the police are out busting pot smokers instead of less serious threats like illegal aliens that get drunk and crash into incoming traffic.

The worst thing is that most people will read this report and think that "assault rifles", "pipe bombs", and "flag jackets/helmets" are illegal and that this was a huge bust that narrowly avoided a disaster. I'll bet most of the cops thought it was illegal to have that stuff. Maybe this was the early stages of domestic terrorism and they'll produce some tapes of the guy plotting to blow up the acorn in Raleigh. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

But I know a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of law abiding citizens that the cops could tell the same story about. Not that cops or DAs have a track record of lying in NC.

Read between the lines in these stories. They could be talking about you.

Ok, they wouldn't find the body armor or gas masks at my house, but certainly some ammo (cough) and rifles (cough cough) and pistols (cough, cough, cough).

And they'd find some jewelry worth a lot more than $7K plus a fair pile of cash.

What? Oh, I've been married a long time and like to give my wife presents.

They'd also find a laptop with encrypted files.

What? Oh, for work.

They'd also find Arabic writing.

What? Oh my wife had to learn to read Aramaic for a work project. (Yes, she is the smart one.)

Not that they'd report the last - might lead people to suspect an Arab/Terrorist connection!



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Pay Per Post Direct

Regular readers have seen me lament the pitiful state of advertising income from even fairly popular blogs. I think the entire model of monetizing the traffic via a blog with contextual advertising has serious issues. Just like delayed and transferred viewing is causing the TV networks fits, contextual advertising isn't working well as a business model either. Eventually, the content is going to have to be paid for.

Not in our case -- for us it's about having fun. We're not doing this to make money. They rest of you are just along for the ride.

I noticed in one of the venture rags that Pay Per Post had just received some VC funding. It's apparent that the new dot-com bubble is going strong. I went ahead and signed up with them to see what it looks like. My supposition was that if a blogger really could make money just from writing posts it might very well change the landscape.

So the first opportunity I've taken is to write about PPP Direct. Here's how it works. The blogger puts a widget on their blog that allows advertisers to contact them directly to write a post. The blogger says something like "I'll write a post for you for $10" on their blog and the advertiser can contact them directly. PPC only takes a 10% cut, which evidently is a lot less than their competitors. They also handle all the tax issues -- you'll get a 1099 at the end of the tax year. It's a far cleaner arrangement than trying to work of the deals yourself.

If you've got a big time blog you could monetize it pretty well. What would someone pay for a review on Gizmodo?

According to the PPP website, I'm going to be paid $10 for writing this post. That's the most revenue from a post we've ever seen here at FTB. I'll let you know how it works out.


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Stabbin the Robber

There is a great video (non embeddable) of a guy trying to rob a pizza delivery place.

Until an employee goes after Mr. I Have A Gun and Am Bad with a plastic chair and a 12" kitchen knife. You should go watch the video and imagine what they'd have found on the floor if this employee had a Roman short sword instead.

Also, please note the woman pleading to save the robbers life.

He did get away (without his gun and with no money) but was found in the road bleeding.


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Whoda Thunk It Department, #74

Friday, June 22, 2007

As reported:

Studies say death penalty deters crime
My wife is a social scientist, so I say this with fondness, but it amazes me that the list of things that people feel the need to prove is so long. Really, I expect, any day now, to see a headline: Buttered Toast Slightly More Likely To Fall Facedown.

But it is useful when they get some good solid numbers on the topic:

"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."

A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) - what am I going to do, hide them?"

No, Naci, you'd have to work for the UN for that.

Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that capital punishment has deterrent effects. They all explore the same basic theory - if the cost of something (be it the purchase of an apple or the act of killing someone) becomes too high, people will change their behavior (forego apples or shy from murder).

You mean the principles that govern pretty much all behavior work for anti-social behavior too? Horrors.

Among the conclusions:

- Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).

- The Illinois moratorium on executions in 2000 led to 150 additional homicides over four years following, according to a 2006 study by professors at the University of Houston.

- Speeding up executions would strengthen the deterrent effect. For every 2.75 years cut from time spent on death row, one murder would be prevented, according to a 2004 study by an Emory University professor.

Cass Sunstein, a vociferous critic of the death penalty (and, indeed, of punitive imprisonment) said of the studies:

"If it's the case that executing murderers prevents the execution of innocents by murderers, then the moral evaluation is not simple," he told The Associated Press. "Abolitionists or others, like me, who are skeptical about the death penalty haven't given adequate consideration to the possibility that innocent life is saved by the death penalty."

You think? Jesus. He then goes on to say:

Sunstein said that moral questions aside, the data needs more study.

Which is code for "make this go away, please, President Hilary.

But there is disagreement about the validity of the arguments:

"This isn't left vs. right. This is a nerdy statistician saying it's too hard to tell," Wolfers said. "Within the advocacy community and legal scholars who are not as statistically adept, they will tell you it's still an open question. Among the small number of economists at leading universities whose bread and butter is statistical analysis, the argument is finished."
Which sounds a lot like the global warming guru's dismissal of, well, everyone.

I am hoping this gets mainstreamed.


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Google Maps in Flight

Google Blogoscoped has some photos of JetBlue Google Maps.

Pretty cool. The normal in flight maps on most airlines are pretty lame. You get a general idea of where you are, but it would be really cool to be able to locate landmarks like your house as you fly over.

I remember one time flying from LHR to DEL and looking at the map. We were in Iranian airspace or close enough, so it appeared. It occurred to me that as an American I might be in for some difficulty if the plane developed trouble and they had to land. Of course, at that point the other options are Pakistan and Afghanistan.


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Aussies Show Iranians Bum

From the beeb:
When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt.

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it".

Well, having been in Oz for quite some time I'm not surprised.
The lessons from the earlier attempt do not appear to have been applied in time by British maritime patrols.

Can't say that surprises me either. The Brits seem to *like* the Aussies but not to the point where they think they might learn anything.

What happened:

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.

Go diggers, go!


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Getting the Diseases We Will Not

Officials were not surprised by the number of positive skin cases [in poultry workers] in light of the fact that a large portion of the factory workers were foreign-born. The CDC reports that as compared to individuals born in the U.S., people from other countries are 9 times more like to be infected with tuberculosis. Health officials had already assumed that most of the workers that tested positive became infected in their countries or origin.
Lovely. Illegal aliens come in and depress the wages of low end workers in remote areas AND bring in their third world diseases.

So the Bush/Kennedy Shamnesty plan is to reward them with citizenship so that they can punish American born poor people forever? Thanks so very much.

Can I have a side order of crime with that please?


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Excellent Microsoft Sendup

It's a great sendup, but the thing that struck me was the strange way that you have to hold your hands *and* that it was slower than a mouse.

Now, I was a WordStar expert and remember thinking that a lot of stuff was gonna be slower with a mouse (and it still is) but that some things were gonna be a LOT better (and they were). This just looks stupid.


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Pelosi Supports The Army

Ok, sorry if that caused any keyboard damage from spluttered coffee....


No, really, from her official US gov't website. She supports the army.

For those of you with sharp eyes you've already noticed what the donks couldn't - that is the Canadian army.

Perhaps the once proud Canadian army, reduced now to a very small cog in a very small NATO, is what Nancy and the surrender-o-crats want.

Another h/t to CQ today.


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Amazing Fatah Theft

Moreover, his Fatah party is ideologically spent and widely discredited. Historian Michael Oren points out that the Palestinian Authority has received more per capita aid than did Europe under the Marshall Plan. This astonishing largess has disappeared into lavish villas for party bosses and guns for the multiple militias Arafat established.


I betcha this is true for Egypt as well - what, twenty years of bribes @ $B/year for recognizing Israel.

H/T to CQ blog.


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AMT Creep

TaxProf Blog reports that aTax Court Applied AMT to Nurse with $121k Salary". The court said
The unfortunate consequences of the AMT in various circumstances have been litigated since shortly after the adoption of the AMT. In many different contexts, literal application of the AMT has led to a perceived hardship, but challenges based on equity have been uniformly rejected.
I wonder if this nurse voted for the Democrats that thought the AMT was such a good idea?

Try as you may to "soak the rich", these "progressive" taxes always hurt the poor and middle class much worse than the rich. Rich people can afford lawyers and accountants. The rest of us can't. And if you succeed in taxing the rich, they'll either decide to stop making more money because they've got better things to do with their time, or they'll just move their business activities offshore. So your job either goes away or goes to India.

It's a crime that it takes me several days to figure out my tax liability each year. And my situation isn't all that complicated.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. If you want to limit a behavior, taxing it is a good means to that end. So why in the world do we tax income? Do we really want people to not work and make as much money as they can?

I wish the consumption tax debate would restart. Get rid of all income taxes. Declare survival type items such as non-luxury foods to be tax free. Everything else gets taxed. Tax luxury items or things that you want to discourage. Everybody pays tax according to what they consume. That's about as "fair" as you can made the tax code. The effect on savings and investment would be astronomical.

Instead of a hidden payroll tax that people don't even realize is there, they'd be confronted with the cost of their government every time they bought something. That can only be a good thing. Need to spend money on the military to protect our foreign oil? Finance the increase with taxes on gasoline. That might get us off the dime on alternative energy and developing domestic oil.

The same people that bash Bush for Iraq are angry at him for gas prices. I wonder what will happen to the price of oil if we just surrender and go home? A consumption tax would put things into perspective.


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Good News Indeed

Fred Thompson re-iterates that good news that the terrorist coddling anti-American thugs and whingers at CAIR are, well, hot air (and not in the Malkin sense):

CAIR's dues-paying membership has shrunk 90 percent since 9/11 -- from 29,000 in 2000 to only 1,700 last year. CAIR's annual income from dues plunged from $733,000 to $59,000. Clearly, America's Muslims are not supporting this group -- and I'm happy to hear about it.
The bad news is that they are a front for mid-east money:

Of course, every silver lining seems to have a cloud; and this cloud is that CAIR's spending is running about $3 million a year. They’ve opened 25 new chapters in major cities across the country even as their dues shrank to a pittance. The question is; who’s funding CAIR?

CAIR's not saying. The New York Times earlier this year reported that the backing is from "wealthy Persian Gulf governments" including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Obviously, we have a bigger problem here than the one with CAIR.

The Saudi's are NOT our friends, they are our oil pimps.

This is good news in a lot of ways.

First because Fred is running for prezzy and it's good to see tough and wise words from a would-be president. Kind of the antivenom for being bitten by Ron Paul.

Secondly, and this is even more important: this makes sense because the American Muslims I know are fine patriotic people. Sure, if you mention the Pals they go nuts, but I'm sure I do the same thing when someone talks about the second Amendment. So that is a minor political difference. I'm glad to hear that they're staying away from CAIR in droves.


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Moonbat! Moonbat! Moonbat!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Great article, as usual, over at Michelle: Vote for your favorite moonbat MSM political donor

So what did the moonbat's have to comment about it?

They complained about her use of the term Moonbat.

Well, I guess I wouldn't have expected the Moonbats to defend the ethics charges made in the actual article.


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Be a Smart Blogger

I was just reading an interesting article from a new blog. I was going to give it a reference here and comment on her wonderful story. So I hit the right button on my mouse to bring up the very cool new blogging tool we've adopted (which will be the subject of another post), and boom -- no joy. I got a pop-up from her blog. She's overloaded the right-mouse key in an attempt to keep people from stealing her content.

Eeeek. The content thieves don't need a right mouse button to do it -- they've got professional tools for that. Bloggers that want to give you links do need our right mouse button

No article for you!


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Monkey with a Death Wish

Remember the posts about the decision cycles of large companies vs small?

Watch for an illustration. CBS is the tigers, the monkeys are the Jericho fans.


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The Happy Hour Spreadsheet

OMG, an actual post about boot finding at Find-the-Boots!

Eater.com tells us about The Happy Hour Spreadsheet.
In New York, the biggest law firms, banks and media companies have always been good to us, when it comes to helping find -- and, via friends' insane expense accounts, fund -- places to eat.
Mmmm, sushi. I think it's time for lunch.


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More Immigration Bill "Stuff"

Ok, bump and update.

Go here to get a list of all the senators. So far I'm only appealing to Republicans since my letter to a Donk would start out "Dear Fool and Traitor" which would limit the effectiveness of the email.

Also, read Captains Quarters - Senator James Inhofe has a great post and there is a link to www.SecureBordersNow.com.


Dear Sen. XX -

I have watched with great concern and horror as this so-called Immigration bill has bounced around the government.

Let me make my position as a conservative perfectly clear - this is a make or break thing for me as a supporter.

I will not vote for nor support in any way a legislator who votes for any bill recognizing the "rights" of illegal aliens in the United States.

That means that I will grit my teeth and watch a Republican lose to a Democrat at the next election. That goes for Senators, Congressmen, and Presidents. If my town declared itself a "sanctuary" city, I would sell my house, change my children's school, and move.

There is no single issue more important to me.

Seal the borders, enforce the laws, fine business for hiring illegals, deport the illegals who won't go home, and jail the criminal element among the illegals.

I am, by the way, in favor or almost unlimited *LEGAL*immigration into the united states from any country. I believe that there are a lot of Americans in spirit out there who just need the chance to get here *LEGALLY* in order to thrive and improve our society and economy.

Thank you for your attention.

-Cliff Elam


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Open source's hottest 10 apps

Slashdot did a story on open source's hottest 10 apps as told by ITWire. The most downloaded open source apps on SourceForge were:
1. eMule (2,250,156 downloads)
2. Ares Galaxy (1,314,665)
3. Azureus (457,064)
4. GTK+ and The GIMP installers for Windows (309,402)
5. 7-Zip (271,772)
6. Audacity (270,995)
7. FileZilla (193,766)
8. emule Xtreme Mod (152,159)
9. Shareaza (148,052)
10. VirtualDub (129,449)
The article then goes on to pat the open source community on the back for being so huge.

I have a different take on this. Everything in the top 10 is a utility. It's all about transferring files and working with music/video.

Where are the applications? Where is the database that can compete with Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM? Where is the full featured ERP system? Heck, how about something that can compete with QuickBooks? Yes, there are open source projects in those areas, but their products are single digit percentage points of acceptance or power. And unless you've got a staff of programmers waiting around, the danger of being abandoned by an open source project that loses interest is much worse than by a vendor that is trying to make money from you.

Open source is great at providing OS and utilities, but anyone telling you that you can run a business completely on open source is smoking something.


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Rush Review

I went to a Rush concert. Yes, I figured I was told old for that sort of thing, but then again Rush was big when I was in high school back in the 1970s, so what the heck.

I'm not going to review the concert because we're not that kind of blog, other than to say that amazingly, Geddy Lee still has his pipes, Alex Lifeson has lost a lot of weight since I saw him in 2002, and Neil Peart is perhaps the best drummer ever. The South Park interlude is hilarious. And don't go to the Rush website during office hours unless you've got your speakers turned way down, because they blast music when the page loads.

No, what I found interesting was the crowd. The median age seemed to be about 45. If there were teenagers about, it was because their parents dragged them to the concert. Everybody was very nice, and while most people near the stage stood for the entire concert, few were dancing very much. Old knees just can't handle that sort of thing. The guys next to me bailed after the first set so they could sit further back and see the stage. Nobody rushed the stage. My, how things have changed.

A large percentage of the crowd seemed to be videotaping key portions of the concert with mobile phones. Whenever a popular song would start, the grey light of phones would start popping out. I can remember when we used to hold up lighters to show our approval.

We had to empty our pockets in order to enter the venue, supposedly for security. Frankly, there wasn't anyone armed around that could have stopped someone that wanted in, so I suspect they were more interested in making sure that we paid $10 for a watered down beer rather than bringing our own. Or maybe they were just making people feel better with an appearance of security.

Seating was carefully controlled. I had to show my ticket stub several times to get to my seat. I guess the days are gone when people could buy a cheap seat and rush the stage. That always used to tick me off when I'd gone to the trouble and expense to procure excellent seats.

All in all, it was a great evening. And it was as completely toned down from what I remember a rock concert to be as I've become in the last 30 years.


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Hockey Players are Good Neighbors

The difference between professional hockey players and players from other sports is that you really wouldn't mind living next door to them. In general, they're great guys -- hard working, clean cut, and polite. It's a shame that a few isolated incidents of on ice mayhem seem to get the attention of the mainstream media each year while ignoring a game of grace and passion, but what else should we expect from the MSM?

So that's why I wasn't surprised when I found out that a retired Bruins star made a save.
Former Boston Bruins forward Jay Miller earned a reputation as a tough guy who could always be counted on in a tight spot. On Saturday, the retired professional hockey player turned Cape restaurateur made a great save.


Late Saturday afternoon, Mr. Miller was returning from a fishing trip off Nantucket on board his 38-foot Intrepid. The crew included his captain and a group of Exxon Mobil executives, major sponsors and supporters of the Genesis Fund.

The boat was about two and a half miles off State Beach, late and hustling back to Oak Bluffs Harbor, when one of the crew turned to Mr. Miller and said, "I see something white in the water, what is it?"

Mr. Miller slowed the boat and turned to investigate. "All of a sudden I saw a hand, almost like a wrist, just kind of flip out of the water," Mr. Miller said in a telephone call yesterday. "And I said, 'that's a body.'"

Mr. Miller turned the helm over to his captain and told him to hurry as he prepared to help pull the man from the water. Mr. Miller and his crew managed to pull Charles A. Samuelson of Cohasset onto the boat's swim platform and then into the boat. One of the men on board was an ex-EMT who administered first aid for hypothermia.
Yep, that's just another great guy.


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Blenheim Survivable Crash Landing

This has been all over the news, but a friend of mine once had a much calmer 'controlled crash' landing in an RJ so I'm sensitive to this stuff.

Just wow. Nobody hurt, even the obligatory pregger.


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Very Surprising ... Not

At least one politician is angry at Mexico for booing a lady — namely, Miss USA Rachel Smith, booed while on stage at last month's Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City.
Didn't hear about this? I've heard of this before from athletes (college) and read of designers and architects putting up with this kind of junk in Mexico and other places in what we fondly call "Latin America."

I don't know why anyone would be surprised at this behavior - you can hear NY Yankees fans boo other players. Sorry, LA'ers, I didn't mean to compare you to New Yorkers - I mean those guys voted for Hilary Clinton! It's not like you voted for Hugo Chavez, er, uh, anyway, let's get on to my real point.

Which, was, well, I'm not surprised. You see, I live in the south and was born in the deep deep south. Down where it was The War of Northern Aggression. So I grew up seeing people who really didn't come to 'town' very much drive around. You learned, early on, to spot the 'farm truck' - because they usually had bad brakes and the driver was used to kids diving out of the way. You even learned to walk wide around them because there were some half breed coon/crocodile dogs that would leap out and bite you. Or so we believed.

So I can see the Mexicans driving around the place where I live (top 5 legal and illegal alien population in the US, thank you very much) and I can tell that they're 'farm' from a mile away. And I don't mean they drive crappy trucks with bad brakes and crazy dogs in the back. I mean they treat our country like a trash can with no road laws. Which is basically how they treat their own country, so I don't hold it against them as some genetic flaw, like I do with pale pale people (like my wife! hah! ouch!) who can't stand ten seconds of the sun without blistering.

But it doesn't mean I like it, and it is certainly part of the problem I have with illegal aliens and the shamnesty bill. (See my earlier bile soaked posts if you like, or if you want to skip straight to an upset stomach imagine listening to Nancy Pelosi explain her platform for 30 minutes.) Litterbugs, drunks, uninsured, unlicensed, careless, and (apparently) free from consequences - why not let them stay forever?

But I think Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, hit the nail on the head, starting with the lead-in-quote for my rant, and continuing with:

"In America, we seem to do things a little bit different," Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican and former felony court judge, said this week. "We cheer for our country. We wave our flag. We invest in our country, and we respect our neighbors ... And where I come from, we never boo a lady."

True. Though the nutroots guys did boo Hilary, and even a lady wronged is a lady.

Predicatable parties were outraged: LaRasa, ACLU, Donks, etc. Like Muslims around religion or Pals, they're perpetually about something. Hard to get too excited.

So the last excellent bit of Poe's speech:

"A pathway to citizenship ... only works if people really want to become Americans. If you want to be an American, then there are some responsibilities to that. You just don't get to take all you can and leave when you are done," he said.

"Mexico and other countries promote illegal immigration to the United States with one understanding: You send your money back home to Mexico. And America is not home. Billions [of dollars] headed south last year to Mexico alone.

"So when the United States gets booed, people that don't understand this are a bit taken aback," Mr. Poe said. "Most people don't bite the hands that feed them, especially when you have them eating out of your hand."
God bless TX. And up yours Me-he-co.


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Day By Day is the best web-toon in the business, and if there were any justice in the world then 1,024 newspapers would eject lame-*ss Doonsberry (which was last funny in 1993 on a Tuesday) and put Chris Muir into the limelight.

Today's is particularly funny.


Better REM than Celine Dion. Double-heh.


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But Steel Doesn't Melt!

Hot Air has a video up called The attack on the North Tower, re-created It's a scientific demonstration done by Purdue to show how the towers came down on 9/11.

I asked a member of the special forces community if he thought here was any way that this could have been pulled off as a false flag operation. His answer 1) No way, the guys wouldn't go along with it, 2) He'd know if it had happened because something that big would get around, and 3) If Bush could have pulled that off, he'd have damn sure found WMDs in Iraq, one way or the other.


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Dutch Treat

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

So the Dutch cops were doing a random license check. You know the kind: Muslim extremist, check. Polygamist, check. Pederast, check. Bikie, check. Eurotrash, check.

I joke, but ever been to Amsterdam?

Back to the story. So they pull over this guy and it turns out:

84-year-old man drove 67 years without license.
Never had a ticket or a registered car.

Pause for a minute here.

Now applaud.


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Global Warming Phoney Baloney

Can you imagine what would be in Chinese baloney? Good lord.

Turns out that China is now the number one carbon polluter in the world.

And the US has dropped it's carbon emissions.

We dropped our emissions 1.2% while Europe managed, through crippling taxes (not new for them, but still) to get a whole 0.6%. Which I betcha is within the margin of cheating and error.

Gee, guess the anti-China protests will start soon, eh?&nbsp; Or the global calls for China to subscribe to a carbon trading scheme.&nbsp; Or threats from Europiffle to change their behavior or little feet will be stomped and delicate hands will wave in the air!

(sound of crickets chirping)

H/T: CQ blog for the heads up on the guardian story.


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Save A Life, Lose A Job

Ok, so it is your typical story: guy helps out neighbor, gets in trouble.

That's what he helped her out with.

When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg.

Turns out he's the leasing agent and the gun is a violation of his employment contract.

Fair enough, and he has the right 'tude about it:
"If I'd lose my job again for helping some girl's life ... I'd do it over and over," Bruley said.

You know, he's going to go a lot farther than this in life with that kind of moral structure.


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Videotaping the Cops

Radley Balko has a great opinion piece on Videotaping the Police. Can't say that I disagree with anything he says.

I'd like to know when the police turned.

It used to be that conservatives were for law and order and generally pro law enforcement, and liberals thought they were the enemy. But nowadays the liberals tend to line up with the police, and conservatives fear them. How did this happen?

Look at the Duke Lacrosse Hoax. In the early days, it was mainly conservative commentators that didn't believe the story the DA and the cops were promoting. The liberal media fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

Somewhere along the line many cops ended up on the wrong side of the gun control issue. It used to be that cops liked law abiding citizens that could help them out. Now they fear them, and thus we fear them back. There was a study done in NC comparing crime rates of LEOs and CCH holders. The LEOs committed 5x more serious crimes than the CCH holders. Perhaps we should focus on disarming them instead of the law abiding citizens.

Somehow, a number of cops decided that the need for a warrant no longer applied in order to enter private property. A no knock raid to serve an arrest warrant? How about a megaphone from the street telling them to come out after you've surrounded the place? Police departments call SWAT at the drop of a hat. SWAT teams look more like they should be in Iraq than in an American city, except that they don't shoot very well --unless it's an elderly person they've mistakenly burst in upon.

It's the cops that pushed for policies that prevent them from turning in illegal aliens. More liberal agenda.

I worked in the law enforcement industry for several years. I met several fine people, but I can also tell you that once you get a few beers in them most will admit to planting evidence or not have a problem with it if they "know" the perp was guilty.

I'd like the cops to go back to the people we trust and respect, instead of tools of the liberal establishment.


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A New Airport?

One of my daily reads, Curmudgeonly & Skeptical, is really Not Safe For Work. Really, really, really. And it's a group blog, so sometimes it's even more so. But it is often very very funny.

There's a Ph.D. thesis in there somewhere.

Anyway, a recent post on changing airport security at a new airport (SA) to allow armed citizens *anywhere* generated this comment (formatted and very slightly cleaned):
  • SA: No jobs here Americans won't do.
  • SA entrance: Stop. No really, stop, or die. We don't really care which option you choose.
  • SA welcomer: Hey, dummy, just show me the gun, not the license. I wanna see what's hot these days.
  • SA schwag bar: Bacon, ammo.
  • SA muzak: Howling deranged dogs, disturbingly close.
  • SA dog handlers: Off in Iraq, doing a job the Euros won't do.
  • SA flight attendants: What, you kidding? We have stewardesses. Sheesh.
  • SA bookstore: Kim
  • SA pop stand: Kid, I can give you a rum and coke, best I can do. But hold the coke.
  • SA exit: There may be one, unknown at this point.
It's not just me, is it?


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I Remeber That Toolset

When I was a kid we didn't have duct tape, but we did have lots and lots of matches, tinfoil, Estes rocket motors, cigar tubes, and, yes, hair spray stolen from our grandmothers (they were never sure how much they had).

I'm just hoping my son never sees this.....

Ping Pong Gun - video powered by Metacafe


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Squirrel Catapult

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Yep, more YouTube. I used to shoot bb guns at the squirrels that were raiding my bird feeders but I got caught laughing on too many conference calls and was worried that a neighbor might wander by, see the barrel poking out my window, and freak.

This is better in every way.


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BioDiesel From Algae

There is a fascinating PopSci article about a startup trying to productize algae into vegetable oil into BioDiesel. Go read it - I'll wait.

Ok, some things strike me here:
  1. The basic process was figured out 20+ years ago by some Carter (argh!) administration boondoggle that limped along until Clinton (double argh!) killed it.
  2. The process works. Sure, it takes a ton of algae to produce an ounce of fuel, but it works.
  3. We need 140B gallons of BioDiesel per year to give the Saudi's and their ilk the finger. That would take 3B acres of soybeans, 1B acres of canola (whatever that is), and 95M acres of algae. There are 435B acres of cropland in the US.
Ok, let me start off by saying: fricking duh. Were I president I would ask Congress to send me a bill subsidizing BioDiesel by two bucks a gallon. So if it cost $4.50 to deliver a gallon to the pump the consumer would pay $2.50.

Also, as I am not stupid, it occurs to me that you don't need acreage to produce algae, just sunlight, water, and space. Seems to me that we got a lot of that in the big flat middle part of the US where we ain't growing crops. Heck, you could probably grow the equivalent of 20M acres of algae in shuttered military bases and supply depots.

Finally, the thing that really struck me about these entrepreneurs is that they're trying to solve the wrong problems. They're all tied up in this bullcrap CO2 / global warming thing and trying to make that part of their production line.

If I could give any one piece of advice to startup it would be to not over-optimize.

These guys are trying to find the perfect algae, the perfect cycle, the way to get C02 from a 'global warming producer' (oh my), the way to avoid using hazardous chemicals.

Dudes, if you'll listen to a guy what been around the block once or twice.....

Find an algae that you can grow. Use whatever chemicals you have to in order to extract the veggie oil. Convert that into BioDiesel using the blood of two headed virgins. Or whatever. Make a tankful for a Ford F150. Drive that to Washington. You win.

Ok, so it cost $2,500/gallon or whatever and produced a ton of hazardous waste. Production problem and only a problem if you win.

You want to use C02 from a smokestack rather than making it yourself? Again, only a possibility if you win.

You want someone on your board who knows production. Get one of the Bush heirs - plenty of money and they have access to some of the finest vertically integrated production engineers in the world. Get a guy from CocaCola.

Taking BioDiesel down from $2,500 to $2.50 is a minor detail and it can be worked out.

In fact, truth to tell, I'm kinda tempted......

Oh, and if I could buy US BioDiesel for $4.50/gallon and regular Saudi terror oil was $2.50, well I'd fricking buy it, so put that stuff in the pump!


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You Could Never Do This Today

And that is a crying shame. What, oh, sorry:
That is an AH-1 Skyraider (had never heard of them either, check the Wikipedia entry - fascinating) dropping a toilet bomb in Vietnam to celebrate the 6 millionth (miilllionth) pound of ordnance. In 1965.

Why couldn't you do it? The toidy might hit some dink carrying the Koran. A bible or a torah, no problem, of course. Yesh.

Anyway, read all about it at Sandbox - one of my daily blog reads.

Of course now I look at that proud young warrior and think how the politicians squandered his hard work and I just wanna go outside and yell. But as it is after midnight I'll just have to wait until I get to the range.....


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Burn Baby Burn

CNN reports:
Cuban revolutionary Vilma Espin dies

Vilma Espin Guillois, the wife of acting President Raul Castro and one of the communist nation's most politically powerful women, died Monday, the Cuban government announced. She was 77.
Espin's power also was rooted in the more than four decades she served as president of the Federation of Cuban Women, which she founded in 1960 and fashioned into an important pillar of support for the communist government. Virtually every woman and adolescent girl on the island are listed as members.
Yeah, read between the lines there. As usual with CNN, not one non-puffy word about what a hole Cuba is today.

And please excuse my French, but I say: Burn in hell you bitch.

Apologies to female dogs, but anyone involved in keeping the Communists in power is automatically krep to me. State funeral? I'd put her in the hogpen and walk to the pub for a drink.

I cannot even imagine what an economic miracle Cuba will be once that SOB Castro kicks it off and the riots begin. I suspect our Cuban brothers will make the Eastern European Economic Miracle look like a blip on the world's economic radar.


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Not Sure Why This Made Me Laugh

But it is safe for work.

And somedays I feel like a sock puppet myself.


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One Thing We Know For Sure

No girlfriend.

And none in sight.


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Had Not Thought Of It That Way

Monday, June 18, 2007

Q - What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?

A - Mechanical engineers build weapons and civil engineers build targets.

Hat tip: Windshield.


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Arlene from PA

Well, some Yankees got grit. You go Arlene.

The number for the White House is 1.202.456.1111. Call the President and tell him that he's wrong on immigration. H/T to C&S!


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Inside Blog Politics

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Apparently there is some sort of argument going on between some cat named Glen Greenwald, Ann Althouse, and Glenn Reynolds. I read Instapundit several times a day, read Ann Althouse when someone else links to her, and never heard of Glen.

You know the blogosphere's grown up when there are 'inside baseball' type arguments about, well, whatever. There was one not too long ago about whether or not Greenwald misquoted Reynolds about torture. Or whatever. I enjoyed the snarking some but didn't really try to follow the argument.

Now apparently Glen, Glenn, and Ann are embroiled in another fest about something else. So, of course their "friends" have to jump in and give opinions. It's like high school, but with law professors and politicians involved - so much much worse.

One Glenn/Ann ally almost made me ruin my laptop when he wrote:
I really think that questioning others' masculinity is a game probably better left to people who haven't had more cock in and out of them than a Tyson Chicken regional distribution center.
Look, I don't even know what's going on here, but that is FUNNY.


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McCain and Shamnesty Bill

Friday, June 15, 2007

I just got an email from the McCain for President campaign.

He's *proud* to support the Shamnesty bill:
"It's a national security issue, as I keep trying to say. We can't - the status quo is de facto amnesty. They're all opposed to amnesty. Well, if you do nothing, then we have silent amnesty, if you don't do something about the 12 million people because they're just going to stay here and remain doing whatever they're doing, which unfortunately, we don't know in the case of a lot of them."
Hey, stupid, let me make this simple for you: build a fence, enforce laws against employing aliens, and deport them when you catch them. Problem solved in six freaking months.

Here is the link to make a comment - http://www.johnmccain.com/Contact/

Here is what I told him:
I will not contribute a dime to any candidate who supports the shamnesty bill.

I will not vote for any candidate who supports the shamnesty bill.

I will not provide support to the republican party if they nominate a candidate who supports the shamnesty bill.

I would rather see Hilary Clinton president than any Republican who supports the shamnesty bill.

There are two issues which are non-negotiable for me: Iraq (we win, they lose) and Immigration.

Support the troops not the jihadis and we will win.

Build a fence, eject illegals, fine businesses for hiring illegals, and make it easy for people to enter (not stay!) the country legally.

Not one dime, not one vote for people on the wrong side of Iraq and Border Security.

While the idea of Hilary as president disgusts me, I'd rather not be ashamed of the Republicans as well. I am *horrified* at this illegal immigrants rewards program bill.

I'll be picking up a bunch of congress-critter and senator direct-to-comment links and bumping this back up to the top of FTB.


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I Thought Office Space Did It Better

Those crazy Germans:

Now, some things really leap to mind as I watch their videos. First, these girls are not what you think of when you think of Germans in bikini's. Or at least not what I think of. Yes, that was the famous shot of Angela Merkel changing her bikini. Hey, if the donks have their way we'll be subjected to Hilly in her, oh, god, my eyes!

Anyway, the other second to last thing that occurred to me is that these German chicks are not really that handy with a fire ax, hammer, or club. Which proves how old and married I am.

Finally, the last last thing that struck me was how much better the destruct-o-bomb sequence was in Office Space.

Enjoy it before Google finishes stripping all the copyright content from Blogger - trimming $B off the value. Because, face it, how many home videos of DNA damaged teenagers falling off their skateboards can you stand to watch?


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Leadership, or Why do People Become The Boss?

There are four reasons people get into management:

1) They just fell into it.

2) They just want to make lots of money.

3) They like power.

4) They want to get things done.

The people that just fell into it are usually weak managers. Although there are exceptions, generally these people don't see the big picture and don't do a good job of moving the organization forward. This might be the founder of a small company that outgrows them, the idiot son of the owner, or just the last survivor in a group. You see a lot of these in government jobs.

The people that get into management to make lots of money are usually pretty weak as well. These managers usually don't understand that they become stronger by building up their employees, and instead exploit them. To them, it's a zero sum game. In order for them to advance, then need their employees to work a little harder and make a little less. Businesses such as consulting companies that charge for people's time are notorious for these types of bosses -- the only increase in productivity they can extract is to get people to work longer hours.

I'm reminded of the story of a boss who called an employee from a mountain in Maine eating a lobster dinner on a Friday afternoon and informed an employee that they'd need to work through the weekend to meet a Monday deadline. Those employees generally win in the end, because they work at trying to subvert their boss, and they outnumber the boss. Except that no one really wins in those situations.

People who go into management just because they like power are usually disasters as well. They generally don't see the big picture, and they micromanage their organizations. Fake deadlines and late hours are part of the equation, but not necessarily to advance the boss, but rather for the enjoyment of the situation. The only thing they have going for them is that they're usually consummate politicians and will move up if they have weak bosses themselves. But they won't take the employees along with them.

I had a particularly gruesome experience with a power boss early in my career. I was running a group of 15 developers in a software company of 80 people. We got purchased by a mega-corp and they assigned a power boss to run our division. He was way down into the details -- he actually wanted to look at the code my guys were writing. As the ship started to sink, he would call these all hands meetings that we called the "You people suck" meetings. He would literally scream for 15 minutes about the performance of the company and threatened layoffs if we didn't start performing. When I left I had two people left -- the other 13 quit and we never got the job reqs back. Mr. Powerboss never got his layoff -- everybody just quit. I took a substantial pay cut to leave, but it was one of the better decisions I've made in my career. Stay away from the power bosses.

If you want to get things done, management is the best place to be. Even though there's a lot more paperwork and bureaucracy, the ability to leverage and coordinate the efforts of several people is always more powerful than trying to do things yourself. Good managers understand this, which is why they don't micromanage and try to do all of their underlings jobs too. And good managers understand that the best way to leverage people is to keep them happy and fulfilled.

What kind of boss do you have? Most bosses are a mixture -- people who like to get things done also tend to like money and to a lesser extent, power. But what's the most important reason your boss is in management? If you've got a power or money first boss, you should be looking for a new job. Things are only going to get worse.

If you've got a boss that just wants to get things done, hitch up your wagon and go along for the ride. Sure, they'll also enjoy the power and money, but results are what they're all about. They understand that it's not a zero sum game -- the better you are, the better they become. You can spot these bosses because they'll hire people better than they are. They're on their way up, and they're taking their best people with them.

I've worked for all of these types of bosses. Unless you're the CEO working for a board that only cares about money (and that's true of all boards), it's just not worth it to waste your time, health, and mental outlook on anything other than a get things done boss.

It's all about making money and having fun.


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Best Dad Of The Year

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How excellent is this?

Worst Dad Award Nominee


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Why It Is the Shamnesty Bill

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well put:
Congress will take out a loan to buy amnesty, promising payment in the form of enforcement. Within weeks, however, Congress will file for moral bankruptcy, and get to keep their amnesty while never paying back a dime's worth of enforcement…


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Libtard Moron Sports Illustrated Writer

Yes, yes, I know, it's a double positive or whatever you want to call it.

Ian Thomsen at Sports Illustrated writes:
Bowen remains as unpopular among non-Spurs as Dick Cheney is among Democrats, Independents, Americans with no political affiliation, a growing number of Republicans, the great majority of the world population as well as that poor guy he filled with buckshot.
Dude, you hunt birds with bird shot and you hunt deer (aka: bucks) with buck shot. This is not rocket science.


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National Lampoon: 72 Virgins

Ok, not safe for work because it's just embarrassing to put your head down on your desk and howl.

It's really not easy to offend EVERYONE with a simple movie trailer.....


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Boys and Toys - Deuce Four (2/4 Infantry Division, U.S. Army)

Well, toys what go "bang bang, you are now a dead jihadi!" anyway.

Kim is collecting money for a team (Deuce Four - 2/4 Infantry Division, U.S. Army) in Iraq to buy some non-standard tools. Last time it was better-than-mil-spec rangefinders and what not.

They've raised $1K in the first day (yes, I chipped in, duh) so go give.


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500+ Posts....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can't believe I wasted the 501st post for this blog on that lightweight Obama.

Swear to god, he's gonna make people look back at Perot and think what a serious candidate he was.


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A What for Whom?

From the blog of the second least serious presidential Donk candidate:
My favorite comment was:
Is that a nappy headed Llama for Obama?
I'm sure that Al $harpton would have a couplet in there somewhere
If the llama's for Obama
And the lamb lies down with the lion
Dah dah dah dah racial preferences
Blah blah blah blah self important references
So lets send the R's a packin
Ok, he's not black Irish, but limericks are all I know how to do.


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Today and Not Photoshopped

Wow, here is Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) with her trainer.

HFS, that is one HUGE dude.


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I like the 12 commitments

From Rudy's campaign:

The Twelve Commitments:

1. I will keep America on offense in the Terrorists’ War on Us.

2. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation.

3. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.

4. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code.

5. I will impose accountability on Washington.

6. I will lead America towards energy independence.

7. I will give Americans more control over, and access to, healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions.

8. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.

9. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges.

10. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

11. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.

12. I will expand America’s involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

It's all good, Rudy, and Ronnie is smiling on us all.


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Got Some Email About NEA Thug Comments

A fair number of people have written and asked me why I've started getting "down on teachers."

Uh, well, I'm not, but am on teachers unions. I can see a union being useful for certain types of jobs. Service workers, where the barriers to entry for new workers are low and non-collective bargaining would be difficult. Useful to workers, mind you, not consumers and certainly not for efficiency. I'll put up with it (how nice of me!) because many of these workers are ill-educated, low-paid, and have few options. And because if you get crappy service at a Marriott conference lunch, well, rubber chicken happens to us all.

None of which describe teachers, nor the results of *bad* teaching.

So I've decided that the teachers union(s) are as inimical to the future of our country as, say, anti-second amendment gun grabbers, no-knock raids, and your average congress-critter. (kinda kidding about congress).

I did get a funny story link passed to me about a teachers strike:
"It almost makes myself look other places, other schools that would take better care of a teacher," another teacher said.
Uh, huh. Sometimes the point is made by the other side, Sun-Tzu wise.


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Nifong Gets His Today

The hearing for Nifong is today. WRAL is carrying the proceedings live.

The worst that can happen to Nifong is that he loses his job. It's a shame he hasn't had to live with the threat of 20 years in prison for the last year.

Perhaps after this is over the feds can step in and charge him with civil rights violations.

They're expecting this hearing to take 5 days. I hope he finds that very uncomfortable.

UPDATE: Nifong's attorney gave his opening remarks and sounded terrible. Not that he has much of a case to work with, but I'm not sure he could have done a worse job.

In explaining why Nifong made prejudicial comments to the press, he said that the information Nifong was getting from the cops was that the boys were guilty. Hmm, so that's the standard? When the cops think you're guilty it's ok for the prosecutor to declare them guilty to the press?

One of the outside commentators noted that the NC General Assembly is watching this case closely, and if they don't discipline Nifong strongly, the GA may start to enact more laws to restrain runaway prosecutors. Hopefully this will lead to Nifong being made an example.

UPDATE: Durham in Wonderland is live blogging the hearing.


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Indian Marketing

I had this little gem of an email in my inbox this morning.

I'm excited that there are now more Sheraton properties in New Delhi where I can earn and spend my Starwood points, but jeesh, could they find a color scheme that would be a little harder to read? I'm sure this looks completely reasonable to Indian eyes, but who exactly is in the marketing segment they're looking for?


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Dennis Miller Smacks Harry Reid

((bump and update))

Found it on youtube with some dee-double-licious etreys!

Go watch it now.

No, really, go watch it NOW.


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Google Adsense

Monday, June 11, 2007

A lot of people are under the impression that bloggers are like rock stars. That having a blog that is read by thousands of users each day leads to riches. Just slapping up a Google Adsense pane is an instant spigot of cash.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, at least from my standpoint. Without disclosing numbers, this site barely covers its costs (if that) and the additional traffic that we received from the Jericho articles was worth about $10 in Google Adsense. And zilch in Amazon or other affiliate programs. It's a good thing I wasn't writing those articles in hopes of making money, because there's no way we could afford a sushi lunch for Boondoggie and TierFlyer.

The blogosphere is full of stories of people making six figure incomes from their blogging. Perhaps that's possible if you're blogging about technical topics or in demand keywords where the ads will have high click through rates (CTR) and high payments and you run several blogs. How does that work? When Google places an ad on your site, they've gone through a mini-auction with the buyer of the ad for how much they'll pay to put an ad up around the content. Higher demand keywords bring in more cash. If someone clicks that ad, Google charges the purchaser for the price of the click, and then splits the revenue with the content provider that displayed the ad.

The critical numbers are click through rates (CTR) and Effective CPM. To quote Google answers, eCPM is:
From a publisher's perspective, the effective cost-per-thousand impressions (eCPM) is a useful way to compare revenue across different channels and advertising programs. It is calculated by dividing total earnings by the number of impressions in thousands. For example, if a publisher earned $180 from 45,000 impressions, the eCPM would equal $180/45, or $4.00. However, please keep in mind that eCPM is a reporting feature that does not represent the actual amount paid to a publisher.
So you can estimate your income by taking your eCPM and multiplying by the number of page views in a time period.

Your eCPM will be a function of your CTR and the average commission per ad. Higher paying ads will make you more money, but only if people click on them. So if you're got a blog about data integration and the tool vendors are paying $5 a click like in the good old days, you can make some pretty decent cash from low traffic. But the problem for political blogs and blogs that wander all over the place like Find The Boots is that Google's Adsense can't quite figure out what types of ads to place. Here, let's give it a shot. There's an ad at the bottom of the post and on the sidebar.

If we're lucky, those ads had something to do with Adsense. But just as likely, it came up with a completely unrelated topic to this article. Reading through this blog I've been presented with ads for gay communities, veterans benefits, coffee, nuclear war, and the best yet: Boots, both the pharmacy and the footwear.

So our CTRs are abysmally low even though we have a lot of intelligent and affluent readers that hit this blog every day. There's an entire body of knowledge concerning where to place your ads. You'll often see sites that break up the content with ads right in the middle, with the next/previous buttons a bit obscured -- they make your eye go to the ads before you can skip to the next section. I have no idea if that works, but as a reader it's a hassle.

CrispAds Blog Ads

We've experimented with Crisp Ads, which are keyword driven. The blogger lists the keywords in their blog and Crisp Ads shows them what they want to see. The ads look much more on target, but frankly they're not a big enough network that there are any interesting offers. So the click through on those is pretty small too. Perhaps they pay more if your blog isn't a blog about everything.

The other ways that people try to monetize blogs is through affiliate programs. See the various ads going down the side of the page on the right? Those are offers that might appeal to readers of the blog. The Amazon stuff is actually pretty good about providing things that the individual user would be interested in -- if you're an Amazon customer they customize the experience based on your previous purchases. The blogger either receives a percentage or a flat fee for items purchased, so just clicking on affiliate ads does nothing for the blogger.

As a reader, one thing you need to be aware of is that there are cookie monsters in the affiliate world. Most affiliate programs place a cookie in your browser, and whatever web site you clicked an affiliate link last on is the cookie you'll carry. So if you click on our Amazon link and then don't click an Amazon link for 2 weeks and log in directly to the store, we'll get credit for your purchase. Since there are some nefarious people on the internet, they've figured out how to make sites that do nothing but get people to unsuspectingly click on affiliate links. You think you're clicking on a link to see a picture of Paris Hilton in jail, and instead you get shown a chance to purchase a book. Viola, they just ate your cookie and gave you theirs. (BTW, shame on you for clicking that link.)

So if you're a blogger that's figured out all this revenue stuff, please drop me a line in the comments and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Because for now, I'm just having fun.


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