Friday, October 31, 2008

The Vet Who Did Not Vet

This hilarious cartoon on the VP selection process bills itself as "a cautionary tale".

A guffaw-tionary tale, is more like it. See Adam Peltzman's column in Salon for more good stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Me, Too, My Friend

Alexa Weber Morales titled her blog entry for this video "Brought Tears to My Eyes":

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If You Don't Know About

Seriously, dude, you need to go there.

Shout to my lovely wife, who turned me on. To the site. (Ahem.)


Words to Live By

You will never guess the provenance of this quote:

My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it. What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?

One may argue endlessly whether he who spoke them lived up to them; all I can say is that I would like to. This is from the inaugural address of George H.W. Bush, January 20, 1989.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I Still Have Hope

Leaders like Van Jones still exist.

Interviewed about his take on how the green tech revolution could also be made an inclusive social revolution, he said:

My hope is that there will be a governing majority ... that is bipartisan, built around a new center of gravity that says, we want the U.S. to be the world leader, but not in war and pollution and incarceration rates.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Couldn't Resist the Cross-Post

Reading Juan Cole's blog "Informed Comment", I came across a link to a piece by Jonathan Landay tracing McCain's philosophical journey from pragmatist to neocon, which Landay argues was complete before Bush II ever took office.

In the latter article, there's a link to McCain-Palin campaign's "National Security" topic page. I couldn't resist commenting on how much the campaign doc talks about revving up spending on "advanced weapons systems" for the military as well as increasing the size of the Army and Marines, without ever hinting that perhaps we'd be safer if we sought to make fewer people hate us, rather than threatening the lives of anyone who seems to.

What really killed me, though, was the picture illustrating McCain's national security page (exactly as seen at upper right). Wow, that's dramatic! For the non-aviation-buff set, that's the pointy end of an F-14 Tomcat, a Navy fighter (no, McCain never flew one) with Mach 2 top speed, 100-mile-range Phoenix missiles, and gorgeous lines. It's what Maverick flew in Top Gun. It's the very image of high-tech, modern, kick-ass American military might.

Except it's not. Tomcats are obsolete -- they first flew in the 1970s -- and the last few were retired this year.

I'd point this out to the McCain campaign, but the symbolism is all too fabulous. Let 'em leave it up.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chris Kelly on the Flat Tax

Chris Kelly in HuffPo, quoting Jack Kemp on the flat tax:

This new surge of capital would end the credit crunch, and allow old businesses to expand and new ones to start. Wages would grow, along with the overall economy. And as the world invested in America, the dollar would strengthen, as happened in response to the tax cuts that generated the 1980s Reagan boom. This would ease inflationary fears and pressures on the Fed.

It also regrows hair, makes old vinyl upholstery shine like new and brings dead pets back to life. (Only they're evil.)

Of course, that's all crazy talk. The Flat Tax won't do any of those things, any more than eliminating all taxes on people whose names begin with the letters A through K. (Think about it. They'd have more to spend. And that makes jobs. And then Reagan comes back to life. Only he's evil.)

And a bit further on:

America has added about a trillion bucks to the national debt in the last three weeks. If we announced that our next step was to slash tax revenues the dollar would collapse and we'd turn into Zimbabwe, only with less interesting large predators.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And He's Funny, Too!

At the traditional Al Smith Dinner tonight, McCain and Obama got some good zings in on each other, but in a much funnier, much more respectful tone than the one we've grown used to. Obama, for example, closed with:

I want to especially say a word of thanks to Senator McCain, we're in the middle of a tough battle right now; American politics at the presidential level is always tough. But I've said before, and I think it bears repeating, that there are very few of us who have served this country with the same honor and dedication and distinction as Senator McCain, and I'm honored to be sharing the stage with him tonight.

But before that, we had some hilarious moments like:

Contrary to the rumors you may have heard, I was not born in a manger [laughter]. I was actually born on Krypton, and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the planet Earth.

He's Even Gracious

From MSNBC's First Read, quoting Obama at an event this morning:

For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky and think this is all set, I just say one word. I guess it’s two words for you: New Hampshire. You know, I’ve been in these positions before where we were favored and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked. And so that’s another good lesson that Hillary Clinton taught me.

Yep, Pretty Much Sums It Up

Jonathan Schwarz (writing in This Modern World), says he doesn't post pictures that happen to show people caught in embarrassing poses.

Well, except for this time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yes, Her Choo-Choo Is, In Fact, Completely Off the Rails

I am a lucky, lucky man to have friends like the inestimable Warren Keuffel, who sends along this wordless little analogy problem:

Da, Gospodin Bush!

From's "News From the Votemaster", discussing Paulson's sudden about-face from "Buy toxic debt, don't buy equity" to "What numb-nuts ever thought just buying up the debt would work":

Government ownership of the banks is a hallmark of socialism, of course. Who would have thought that the October surprise was for the Bush administration to come out of the closet and become overt socialists three weeks before a hotly contested election?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Je veux que les bonbons!

Phil S. (shout) embedded this priceless message in an email this morning, for no other apparent reason than his mission to make his fellow Ski Patrollers laugh.

Or groan. He is all about the groaner puns, this man.

Anyway, it made my morning:

Kicking And Screaming

Friday, October 10, 2008

If The Whole World Could Vote In Our Election...

The Economist has one of those red/blue maps that we've all grown tired of -- except that this one is for countries, not U.S. States.

It's a blue planet, folks. Well, except for Georgia, where they really like John McCain.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hear Hear. I Want A Leader, Not A Beer Buddy

Adam Kernan-Schloss, writing in Huff Post:

I understand all of that, but for the life of me, I don't get it when
people say they want someone just like them to be president.

The mayor of Scranton recently said about Obama: "They don't know him. Who'd you want to have a beer with? Who'd you leave your kids with?" Huh? I'm not looking for a beer buddy or a baby sitter. I'm looking for a president who knows a lot more than I do about how to get out of the mess we're in.


It's called leadership.

I have lots of friends I like to hang out and drink beer with. But no offense, I sure don't want them to be president.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Oooh, Snap!

Ow. Gloves coming off now:

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

From Rolling Stone's Make-Believe Maverick, by Tim Dickinson

Friday, October 03, 2008

The New Yorker Endorses (Surprise!) Barack Obama

This is a beautifully written piece. Want to feel good about our next President? Read it. It gives me hope. We can elect this guy, you know. We're better than the last eight years, better than the Gingrich Congress, better than Iran-Contra and NAFTA and Vietnam and Chile and the Missile Gap rhetoric that led to thousands of nukes waiting for terrorists to pick them up.

We are, after all, the country that invented the Peace Corps. The ones that put together the Marshall Plan, and aimed it at countries that five years previously had been doing their level best to enslave everyone they could. "We the People" has been a beacon for centuries, to everyone from the French revolutionaries to Nelson Mandela to Ho Chi Minh.

We can do this.

Brilliant. Criminal, But Brilliant.

Pepper-spraying the armored-car guard: Nasty.
Making an escape downriver on an inner tube: Hilarious.
Bamboozling a dozen dress-alikes into decoying pursuit: Priceless.

Got away with "a large amount" of cash
, even though cops were on-scene in two minutes!

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered

Shout-out to my lovely wife, who sent me this gem (audio here) from Clive James. I'm guessing that she came upon it via Scalzi's Whatever.

WRT Scalzi, he'd mentioned that he was planning to move the blog to another provider, and sure enough it 500s when I try it. Hopefully it'll be back up by the time you read this.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

An Acronym We Can Believe In

Oliver Burkeman of the Guardian, describing the rules of his drinking game for the Biden-Palin debate:

One drink whenever you happen to remember the phrase "a heartbeat away from the presidency." And in the interests of balance: a drink, too, whenever Palin makes a well-argued, semantically intact, logical and lucid argument -- or WASILLA for short.

Words For The Ages

From the transcript:

I do take issue with some of the principle there with that redistribution of wealth principle that seems to be espoused by you.

-- Sarah Palin, 2 Oct. 2008

I tell ya, it's Dubya in heels. The Governor is simply amazing -- I am awestruck. This is the office held by Adams, Jefferson, Nixon, Gore, after all. So we're going to put someone in it who, after eight years of hearing the world snicker at W's malapropisms and tangled verbiage, has the gall to stand in front of TV cameras and talk like this?

Please say it ain't so. If the world hates us, we can make it up to them. If we put this woman in national office, we will be wearing the Big Clown Shoes forevermore.

Sweet Jesus, Please, NOT ANOTHER ONE!

Let me reiterate:
  • McCain is 72
  • He's a cancer survivor
  • The actuarial odds of a President Palin are, what, 1 in 7 in the first term?
And in tonight's debate, she pronounced it..."nucular."

No, thanks. Already bought that brand once.


The 19th annual Jolt Awards are open for nominations. In my totally unbiased opinion as a judge since 2001 and a longtime writer for the Jolts' former home (Software Development magazine, of fond memory; Dr. Dobbs owns the Jolts now), the Jolts are the Emmys or Oscars of development tools.

Maybe I'm a little biased as to the Jolts' value. OK, a ton biased.

But insider knowledge, in this case, also means that I have a very good idea just how savvy the other judges are, how much effort goes into evaluating these products, and particularly how much work (by some very smart and painfully, scrupulously ethical people) goes into maintaining the awards' credibility. When it comes to evaluating products, I can confidently assert a lack of bias, because if I had displayed any in the past seven years, these guys would have cheerfully tossed me over the side without so much as a glance astern.

Anyway, if you build dev tools, you ought to seriously consider nominating your products. Andrew Binstock has an excellent piece on how to get to the Jolt finals. There's the prestige, the free advertising, the WOM buzz, the award itself, and the chance to impress some rather influential members of the development community -- some of my fellow judges are people whom you really, really want talking up your products to their clients. Really.

If you're an upstart vendor of brilliant new tools, this is a chance to really make a mark. Knowing the judging process as I do, I can tell you that you have a much better chance going head-to-head against established vendors in this venue than in just slugging it out in the market. The judges are perfectly willing to give a shot to products nobody has yet heard of; in fact, there is a heavy emphasis on (I won't say "bias") potentially disruptive or innovative products, as opposed to just who best implements 20-year-old ideas.

So nominate, if you're a vendor, and if you're a developer who (a) reads this blog and (b) is not already a Jolt judge -- there must be one or two of you out there -- feel free to post a comment about products you think are Joltworthy, and I'll bruit them about for a judge-nominated slot.