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July 29, 2004

Metal Flakes' Nashville Flake-fest!

July 23rd, 2004:
Members of Metal Flakes!

Thanks everybody!

Posted by Jeff at 06:33 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2004

What Will November Bring?

I have noticed some backlash at alleged "conservatives" who have spoken out in anger about the rock band Black Sabbath using anti-Bush imagery during a song entitled "War Pigs" on the current Ozzfest tour. The backlash always includes the accusation that the angered are Republicans, or conservatives, or right-wing, or pro-Bush. I disagree that this can be assumed.

An American, simply as an American, can be outraged about the attack on our president (and, by extention, on we the people), without being a George Bush supporter. A person may very well be planning to vote for John Kerry or Ralph Nader and yet be very indignant and angry about such an attack.

Think about it: Here you have a British band, Black Sabbath, during their song War Pigs, putting up anti-Bush propoganda. Isn't that a bit like an American act, say Garth Brooks or the Stone Temple Pilots, or someone, going off to Canada and hanging a Paul Martin doll on stage, or going to Spain and throwing tomatoes at a large photo of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero? I mean, where do they get off?

That's one thing that makes the coming U.S. presidential election so interesting. You've got all of these angry, bitter, hateful, far-leftists, just seething with frustration, and shouting black bile at everyone who doesn't join them in their villification of our president. Their behavior offends everyone except themselves. So the country is full of moderate Democrats, who are not far-leftist types, and who'd not only never make any kind of Bush/Hitler comparison, but who are very offended by such comparisons, who have to decide how to vote next November. Vote with the far-leftists with all of their bitterness and contempt? Or Vote for Bush? Vote for Nader? Not vote at all?

These far-leftists took over the Democratic village early in the season and they set the Democratic agenda even before the first primary was held. The result: one of the lowest voter turn outs in Democratic primary history (heck, and even I voted in it, which I've never done before).

This vote may wind up consisting of 1) a dramatically large turnout of Republicans voting for Bush, because they're offended by the behavior of the far-leftists; 2) a very small contingent of Democrats voting for Kerry, a contingent made up mostly of the far-leftists; 3) an unusually large number of non-far-leftist Democrats voting for Bush out of wanting to make a statement about what their leaders have allowed their party to become this year; 4) and an unusually large number of citizens voting for Nader as a protest vote or else staying home and not voting at all, feeling that neither the far-leftist agenda of this election's Democratic party, nor George Bush represents them.

But who knows? I think that there is only one aspect of the coming election that is predictable: the result will be a big surprise to nearly everyone.

Posted by Jeff at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Political Cartoon

If you haven't seen Jib Jab's Bush vs Kerry This Land is Your Land political cartoon yet, see it - it's truly worthwhile.

In fact, pay the $2.99 for your own download of the file. It feels good to pay an artist for the joy which they bring to you. Try it, you'll see.

Posted by Jeff at 01:07 PM | Comments (6)

July 10, 2004

A Quick Note About Cookies

I keep reading about people blocking cookies. And when I read these statements, between the lines tends to be an attitude of fear bolstered by newfound personal empowerment, suggesting that they think that cookies are tools of the underworld and that they are like noble knights effective at protecting their computers. These people drive me nuts.

I don't block or mess with any cookies at all. Why would I? Why would you? If you're intercepting cookies and making individual decisions on them, then chances are that you're making the decision based upon an internal monologue such as, "Well, website, you've not convinced me of any reason why I should allow this cookie, so I'm not going to allow it." That, of course, is precisely what is meant by the phrase, "afraid of things you don't understand", and making decisions of that nature is...well, let's just say that it's not exactly laudible. Further, I'll wager that any individual cookie that anyone is deleting in that manner is one that they're harming themselves to some degree by not allowing. For instance, if it's a "banner ad" cookie which is tracking which banners the user has seen in the past and which ones the user has clicked and how often, then by leaving it alone the banner server is more likely to advertise to the user content which is important to the user or which the user has some interest in. I can hear the howls now: "Horrors! Well, I wouldn't want a website to actually show me things that I'm interested in seeing!!!" .

Exploiting people's ignorance by playing on the vice of fearing that which one doesn't understand has become commonplace, unfortunately. Even the makers of the best of products, such as ZoneAlarm, use this tactic to try to convince people of the value of their products.

I'd love for someone to share with me legitimate, that is: not paranoid, reasons for blocking cookies. My hunch is that such reasons apply to very few individuals and isolated events, and do not suggest a global policy of denial with specific rules to allow.

Posted by Jeff at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2004

John Kerry's Boob Job

Did I say it, or did I say it?

Well, it was someone on the radio back east who referred to Kerry's choice of Edwards for a running mate as the political equivalent of getting a boob job, but a few days ago when John Kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate, I said that the main reason that Edwards could help the ticket is because he helps John Kerry to distance himself from the "Deaniacs" and other leftist wackos who have been offending the Democratic base since the Democratic primaries began. For review, those wackos are the Michael Moore types, the ones who have been crying, "Anybody but Bush!!!", and "Bush lied!", and "Deserter!", and all of the other expressions of bitterness and anger which, like typical childish temper-tantrums, have been driving normal Americans nuts for the last six months or so.

Now I've found an article in The Boston Herald which affirms that Kerry is trying to distance himself from the wacko crowd, a fact which certainly helps to demonstrate to those wackos that they are, indeed, wackos! And that's important, really, because we can't have these nuts actually believing that they're the sane ones and that those who think that they're nuts are just some small minority of right wingers. Heck, I even heard someone say last week, "I think that the country is going to have a serious morale problem if Bush is elected again." Right...like that makes sense...I'm sure that all of the people voting him into office will commit suicide the moment he's declared the winner because they'll be so sad that he won.

(Note: Intellectual honesty requires that I point out that my statements on a potential morale problem are only one move deep on the chessboard, and I myself can come up with significant reasons why the country could [and probably will] suffer significant morale problems if Bush is not re-elected [maybe I'll post later on this in another opinion], but I still consider my statements fair because I don't think that this person was thinking any deeper than to the potential and initial disappointment of those who vote against Bush.)

Anyway, on to excerpts from the article:

Dems down and dirty: Kerry laughs, GOP howls over obscene fund-raiser

Amid outrage from Republicans and in the press, Sen. John F. Kerry is feverishly trying to distance himself from Hollywood celebs who called President Bush a "liar" and "cheap thug" - and even made obscene references to his last name at a New York fund-raiser....

The Bay State senator's aides said Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Meryl Streep and others didn't speak for him when they lampooned the president in derogatory and personal terms.

"The views expressed by the performers were their own views," Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said. "It is not what Sen. Kerry and Sen. (John) Edwards would say, and they don't approve of some of the comments that have been made."...

The biting anti-Bush remarks came at a Radio City Music Hall event that raised an estimated $7.5 million in one night for the Kerry-Edwards ticket and the Democratic National Committee....

...spokesman Meehan said, "Comedy performers don't speak for Sen. Kerry or Sen. Edwards; they are entertainers."

Interesting, eh? John Kerry dances with the wackos when it suits him and it fills his campaign coffers with contributions, but he distances himself from those people when when he's away from them - and with the normal folks.

On that subject, here's some more quotes from the article above:

Kerry had said at the fund-raiser that "every single performer" had "conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."...

"We have seen John Kerry take two positions on the most important issues facing our country, now we see him take two sets of positions on his own values," Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman said....

Kerry reportedly roared with laughter at many of the jokes, as did the crowd of more than 5,000. Standing on stage after singing and playing guitar with John Mellencamp, Kerry praised the singers and actors.


Posted by Jeff at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

Metal Flakes

For those of you from Metal Flakes, here's a message from the webhost:

07/08/04 - 9:45 AM (Thursday morning) - Server-7 (Plesk) was compromised, as we just discovered. The intruder has root access (which doesn't mean he has the root password, but he has access one way or the other). The only solution in such case is a complete restore. This means we will install a new hard drive into server-7 with a new operating system, new Plesk, and then restore the data from the old drive. This process will take anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours, depending on the degree of problems to solve, and also on what was done to the server by the intruder -- we're still investigating. AT THIS TIME please do not email us with specific questions as we are probably not able to answer them until the job is done and all data restored. We hope for your understanding. Thanks.

UPDATE: 11:45 PM: (Thursday night) - we have various problems and had to start over several times with the restore -- please expect this to last another couple of hours.

UPDATE: (Friday morning) - We understand how upset and or disappointed you must be about the timing ... we do our very best, but there is some damage that caused the restore to be interrupted several times. We cannot just "copy over" directories from the old hard drive as this would likely mean to copy over the intruder's backdoor as well. Every restore runs about 3 hours, and we had different problems with each run. But there really are not too many option to do this safely.

UPDATE: (Friday Night)- Because of the nature of what the hacker did in combination with other expected problems for such transfer it takes many more steps to restore data than a standard backup/restore would. We apologize, but there is no way to fasten this prcess. We do what is possible.

We're assuming that the site will be restored as it was when they pulled the plug. If not, we'll have to move it again from the old host and all posts made since then will no longer exist. I hope not.

Personally, I consider this to be a complete crock. I think that they just plain don't know what they're doing. I don't think that they used an intelligent strategy through any portion of this problem. They could have solved this problem, if they'd had the knowledge/understanding/creativity/intelligence and had made the effort, with zero downtime.

But then, that's easy for me to say, 'cause I don't know what they're trying to solve.

The advertising for their hosting services say, and I quote, "99.9% uptime!" I wonder if they'll be honest and change that to something much lower after this....

Posted by Jeff at 10:12 PM | Comments (8)

July 06, 2004

The Score: George Bush vs John Kerry

So who is winning?

I found the following election map at msn.com (though the story associated with it was not particularly relevant, so not reflected here):

Swing States as of July 6th, 2004
Map of States for Bush, States for Kerry, and undecideds

Well, we all know (I hope!) that the popular vote doesn't mean a thing, so all of these polls which put Bush ahead, or Kerry ahead, or having them tied in the popular vote is very nearly a complete waste. What matters are the electoral votes.

With that in mind, I took the information in the map above and totalled the score for Bush and Kerry, counting the REDs for Bush, the BLUEs for Kerry, and I didn't count the undecideds at all (if they could be counted, they'd be RED or BLUE). Here's the resulting electoral votes for each candidate:

George Bush: 161 electoral votes
John Kerry: 150 electoral votes

270 electoral votes are required to win (in the likely example of only Bush and Kerry winning states).

Now this map has the most swing states on it that I've seen as of yet, which means that there's some disagreement about which states are already decided and which aren't, so I'm going to keep looking for new maps and keep counting.

Posted by Jeff at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Edwards: Neither Helping, Nor Hurting Kerry

Legal XXX is a weblog that I often find worth reading. I've attempted to comment on one of its entries, but the weblog denied me with the excuse that my comment was too long. Well, then...I'll just have to post it here....

Now I don't believe Edwards will really HURT Kerry per se, but I don't think the bounce from his perfectly coifed hair and Lionel Hutz-like smile will HELP Kerry all that much.

He is probably right that Edwards neither helps nor hurts Kerry. But what's missed from that analysis is that no plausible running mate would likely help or hurt Kerry.

The Democratic party has no platform this election, they've no central philosophy which they can point to in order to explain their actions, save one: Be angered by and opposed to anything and everything President Bush says or does. The defacto Democratic platform is, therefore: Anybody but Bush!!!

To them, the major problem to solve is George Bush. It's not the economy, it's not Iraq, it's not the war on terror, it's not health. It's George Bush. They don't need to have cogent answers for solving the terrorism problem. They don't require a tenable strategy for the economy. For them the major issue is getting rid of George Bush, and only after that's accomplished will they be interested in expending energy to solve the other issues.

George Bush is running against himself, not against John Kerry; John Kerry doesn't matter, regardless of his running mate. George Bush is what matters, and if he loses the election it's because he's inspired the ire of too many American citizens, and not because of anything John Kerry does.

That's my central position, but I'm not absolutely stuck to it. When I force myself out of that chair by asking questions such as, Well, if someone COULD help Kerry, how would they do it?, I find myself with some answers.

Posted by Jeff at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)

So John Edwards is on the Kerry Ticket

Much of what I perceive to be bad about the Democrat's platform (if you can actually call anger and a knee-jerk reaction against anything and everything that President Bush does a "platform") is softened by having the poster-boy for positive-thinking on the ticket. I'm guessing that there are a lot of Democrats, otherwise alienated by the Deaniacs and other freak wackos who have dominated the left thus far, who as a result of feeling disenfranchised would have been content to sit home on election day without voting who may now wind up poking Kerry's chad.

John Edwards' major liabilities already exposed, it seems to me, are his youth and inexperience and the naivety that he emits at 10,000 Watts during every speech he gives. People do like John Edwards, but I'm not entirely sure that he's overwhelmingly respected. John Kerry himself, during the Democratic nomination fight, complained to associates that Edwards had no right seeking the presidency after less than one term in the Senate. Assuming that Kerry really believes that, it seems difficult to accept that Kerry is putting what's best for America first when he fails to consider who will sit in his chair if Kerry were to die in office.

But while some lament the choice of a running mate who couldn't even carry his own state in the primaries, I suspect that Edwards' positive nature is just what the Democratic ticket needs to disguise its cynicism, pessimism, and anger.

Posted by Jeff at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

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