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August 26, 2004

FOUR WET PIGS:

Here's a little song about four wet pigs
Here's a little song about four wet pigs
Two of'em little and two of'em big
They danced all night at the pig town jig

The two that were little were just half grown
The two that were big were big as a barn
Big as a barn, tall as a tree
Take'em on down to the factory

Slice'em into bacon, cut'em into ham
Chop'em into hotdogs, squeeze'em into Spam
Throw their little eyes out in the rain
Pickle their feet and scramble their brain

Here's a little song about two wet pigs
Leanin' on the slop trough smokin' their cigs
Hopin' to God that they never get big
They danced all night at the pig town jig

Posted by Jeff at 12:36 AM | Comments (6)

August 24, 2004

Swiftvets: "Sellout"

If you take a minute, literally, to watch the video, "Sellout", you'll see 60 seconds of a few people expressing their opinions about John Kerry's post Vietnam service activities. That's all. And, man, have you ever seen people so angry and upset over a few people expressing their own opinions over John Kerry's own words (heard in the background)?

Contrast that with an entire feature length movie, Farenheit 9/11, of out of context statements by President Bush doing precisely the same thing as the Swiftvets' ad. But do you see any outrage?

Twisted.

Are Democrats really that thin skinned?

Posted by Jeff at 09:24 PM | Comments (1)

Celebrity Egos

Just imagine if you went to work, in any job, say a tire store, and after rotating someone's tires or whatever you told every customer to vote for Bush, or vote for Kerry, or something along those lines. You'd be canned pronto, as you should. I get such a kick out of those idiot celebrities who become upset and act as if they're being censored or victimized when people stop celebrating them after hearing their political views.

Jerks.

Here's an excellent article, by the way: Dems play second fiddle to celebrity egos

Posted by Jeff at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Mark Steyn Online

Okay, I'm sure that it helps tremendously to agree with his positions (though there are a lot of people whom I agree with, though I also find little pleasure in reading their columns), but this guy's columns, it seems to me, are among the best out there.

Mark Steyn
(Image is clickable.)

"In fact, most of Bush's present difficulties come not from swaggering cowboy unilateralism but because of excessive deference to multilateralism in the run up to the Iraq war."--Mark Steyn

Posted by Jeff at 01:19 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2004

The Ray C. Fair Presidential Vote Equation

Ray C. Fair is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Yale University and a Fellow of the International Center for Finance at Yale. For more than 25 years he's been studying what he calls "The Presidential Vote Equation", which uses economic events to predict the results of presidential races. The average error of his equation is 2.5% of the vote. As of July 31st, 2004, the Presidential Vote Equation predicts that President Bush will receive 57.48% of the two-party votes.

Some objections were raised to Dr. Fair in an interview with New York Times' Deborah Soloman in yesterday's online paper:

SOLOMAN: In your book ''Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things,'' you claim that economic growth and inflation are the only variables that matter in a presidential race. Are you saying that the war in Iraq will have no influence on the election?

FAIR: Historically, issues like war haven't swamped the economics. If the equation is correctly specified, then the chances that Bush loses are very small.

SOLOMAN: But the country hasn't been this polarized since the 60's, and voters seem genuinely engaged by social issues like gay marriage and the overall question of a more just society.

Note the political bias in her statement: "...a more just society."
--Jeff

FAIR: We throw all those into what we call the error term. In the past, all that stuff that you think should count averages about 2.5 percent, and that is pretty small.

Given Dr. Fair's track record, that certainly makes me feel better, as I have just been reading another website which tracks the polls of each state to learn which candidate is currently being favored to receive that state's electoral votes, then the number of electoral votes going to each candidate is reported. As of this morning, they were predicting 327 electors to John Kerry and 211 to President George W. Bush. Deborah Soloman also asked Dr. Fair about the descrepancy between his equation's predictions and the polls:

SOLOMAN: The polls are suggesting a much closer race.

FAIR: Polls are notoriously flaky this far ahead of the election, and there is a limit to how much you want to trust polls.

...

SOLOMAN: Are you a Republican?

FAIR: I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?

SOLOMAN: I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.

FAIR: Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.

SOLOMAN: I believe you entirely, although I'm a little surprised, because your predictions implicitly lend support to Bush.

WHAT is she saying here? She's surprised that a fellow liberal would report the facts (i.e., tell the truth, be honest, etc.) if those facts would tend to support a non-liberal political agenda?
--Jeff

FAIR: I am not attempting to be an advocate for one party or another. I am attempting to be a social scientist trying to explain voting behavior.

SOLOMAN: But in the process you are shaping opinion. Predictions can be self-confirming, because wishy-washy voters might go with the candidate who is perceived to be more successful.

FAIR: It could work the other way. If Kerry supporters see that I have made this big prediction for Bush, more of them could turn out just to prove an economist wrong.

SOLOMAN: Perhaps you could create an equation that would calculate how important the forecasts of economists are.

FAIR: There are so many polls and predictions, and I am not sure the net effect of any one of them is much.

SOLOMAN: Yes, everyone in America is a forecaster. We all think we know how things will turn out.

FAIR: So in that case, no one has much influence, including me.

The question about the accuracy of polls was especially interesting to me given a conversation that I had yesterday with my father. He said that during a presidential race years ago, there was a very public nationwide campaign to get everyone to lie when asked to take part in a policial poll (every poll, but with special emphasis on exit polling on election day). Given that there are so many people of his generation and that these people were exposed to and many influenced by this admonition, I'm finding within myself a great deal of skepticism when it comes to polls (Howard Dean's first showing in the first primary [this is "pre-scream"] after topping the polls for so very, very long, is also instructive).

The Presidential Vote Equation's lowest prediction in recent times was 56.3% of the two-party vote for President Bush. This prediction took place in April of 2003.

Posted by Jeff at 11:38 AM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2004

The Malkin Media Diversity Test

What an odd test; 100 points is supposed to mean diverse? How, pray tell, is being a charicature of stereo-typical right-wing ideology supposed to make a person diverse?

Nevertheless, I'll take the test (found at Michelle Malkin), if only to spread the meme:

The test is taken by answering each question with either a 'True' or a 'False'. Each 'True' counts for 5 points and each 'False' counts for 0 (silly me, I'd have scored each 'True' a 1 and have given the quiz a total score of 20, but I suppose that would be too easy...perhaps the ability to multiply one's number of 'True' answers by 5 is the source of diversity among political thinkers?). Here are the questions along with my answers:

1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life.
False. I have voted for Democrats before, and I seem to have a better track record for them being elected when I do vote for them than I have when I vote for Republicans. I voted for Jim Matheson, a Democrat, in an election in Utah one year, and I regretted it within just a few weeks of his winning.

2. I think my taxes are too high.
True. It's true both absolutely and also relatively - relative to the amount of taxes paid by married individuals with children. Let's just get a national sales tax going, eh? And without a single exception from the tax (i.e., food [especially food, since it is purchased by everyone] MUST be taxed as high, or higher, than anything else).

3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment.
False. That was a disgrace to the Republican party. And, incidentally, it's the reason why Clinton has remained so popular. Today, many Clintonites regard him as one of the very best presidents ever. But the truth is that they only regard him as such to spite the Republicans who hate him. Had that impeachment nonsense not taken place, he'd be a much less potent hero to the left.

4. I voted for President Bush in 2000.
False. I live in Utah, and in Utah the Republican/conservative candidate always gets the electoral votes. Utah was, for instance, the only State in the union in which Bill Clinton came in 3rd (behind Ross Perot) in the popular vote. Therefore my vote does not count at all in terms of actually sending electors to the ballot box. Instead, my vote counts as social commentary, and as such it went to Harry Browne to show support for the Libertarian party. I consider only a 2 party system to be good for America, by the way, and I don't want to see the Libertarians gain any ground. Instead, I want to see the other two parties fighting for the Libertarian votes by challenging themselves to live best to the Libertarian ideal that it is far more important for the individual to be able to pursue his goals without government interference than it will ever be for the government to assist anyone with anything.

5. I am a gun owner.
False. I am not a gun owner, but I may soon be. I simply have no reason to need or want a gun, but there is a bit of social commentary involved in owning one. That is, the more guns there are out there owned by private citizens, the more complicated would be the mess of making them illegal. And I want such a prospect to be complicated beyond anyone's ability to conceive of it actually being able to happen.

6. I support school voucher programs.
True. Wholly.

7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools.
True. Yes, I suppose that I do. I suspect that the increase in sexual activity which results from such a practice yeilds more preganancies than the lower amount of sexual activity which would result from not having that sort of thing forced upon the students.

8. I oppose bilingual education.
ACK!!! A poorly worded question. In private schools, I support people teaching in whatever language their customers (students) pay them to teach in. Public schools, however, I am against in every respect, bilingual, monolingual, or whatever. Decisions in public schools don't involve questions about right or wrong; by the very nature of a public school, everything about them is wrong. It's like asking which is the most moral way to murder someone. A public school, therefore, is ruled by whichever mob has the most influence. Further, the question doesn't (explicitely) differentiate between a school which is multilingual for the purpose of bringing non-English speaking students up to par so that they may study right along with native speakers, and a school which intends to treat a diversity of languages as equals. However, I suspect that the question was referring to the latter condition, and as such, and in consideration of my previous objection, my answer would be that I am against bilingual schools. True. (Another 5 points.)

9. I oppose gay marriage.
True. However, I don't think that I should get my 5 points because the truth is that I oppose all state recognized marriage, homosexual, heterosexual, or otherwise. The state should not be sponsoring or otherwise giving recognition to any such choice.

10. I want Social Security privatized.
True. Yes. Please. And soon.

11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense.
True. Common sense? Yes. Justified, not necessarily. But one should not be blind to empiracally verifiable realities just because it offends one's ideals.

12. I shop at Wal-Mart.
False. Oddly, I decided just last week not to shop there, given their censoring of popular media such as popular music. On the other hand, I've not yet verified that they actually do this, but I have heard from more than one source that if you purchase a CD from Walmart which should have adult themes on it, the CD will have words either bleeped out or changed or something to lower the rating to a PG level or below.

13. I enjoy talk radio.
True. Well, it's true when I bother listening, anyway, and that'd be confined to Rush Limbaugh, I'm thinking. It's not often.

14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien."
True. Well, it's true now that it's been pointed out to me. If I must endure subtle examples of editorial bias in "news" stories, then at least let them favor my own bias.

15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive.
True. Um...duh. Who would? I suppose only morons like those who banned hard drives which are labeled "master" and "slave" in a certain city in California, I suppose.

16. I eat meat.
True.

17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.
False. I don't believe he was guilty. Neither do I believe that he was innocent. I simply do not know. I do not have the facts available to make such a decision. (What an odd question. What does it have to do with the others?)

18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured.
True. Well, figuratively. I didn't actually pick up any pom-poms and shout "Rah-rah-rah! Sis-boom-bah!" But I get the gist.

19. I cry when I hear "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood.
False. True. To my knowledge, I have never before heard of that song, heard that song, nor heard of Lee Greenwood. Also, the odds of any song moving me to tears are pretty slim. Nevertheless, I've just googled the lyrics and I agree with the sentiment (so I've changed my answer to 'True'). It seems, though, that the actual song title is God Bless the U.S.A., though. I must admit that I share no "God" oriented inclinations with the author, and I don't agree with his line about "And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me". After all, that right is independed of governments. "The men" who fought to establish a government which would protect that right did not "give" it to me or anyone else. But that's nit-picking. Isn't it?

20. I don't believe the New York Times.
True. That is, in the absence of corroboration from other sources, I wouldn't believe a word.

So what's my score? 70 Is that good?

Posted by Jeff at 04:23 AM | Comments (5)

Propogating a Meme

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate, the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:

as098398298250swg9e98929872525389t9987898tq98wteqtgaq62010920352598gawst

The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above) [Note that the URL has vanished at least three generations back - DCH]. (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)

INSTRUCTIONS

To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL: http://www.cdharris.net/#003862


(2) I found it via: "Browsing the Web"

(3) I posted this experiment at URL: http://www.veiled-chameleon.com/

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 11/12/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 03:21

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Holladay, UT, USA

OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS:

(7) My blog is hosted by: private server

(8) My age is: 36

(9) My gender is: Male

(10) My occupation is: Unemployed

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: none

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: MT

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): ?/?/2002

(14) My web browser is: IE, Mozilla

(15) My operating systems are: Linux (Red Hat distribution), Windows 98, Windows XP.

Posted by Jeff at 03:23 AM | Comments (0)

The Most Frustrating Aspect of this Election

The most frustrating aspect of this election is that no matter how bad Kerry is...

John Kerry and SBVFT
(Image is clickable.)

...it doesn't make the darnedest bit of difference. John Kerry is not George Bush, and that's all that anyone who is going to vote for him needs to know.

Posted by Jeff at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Supporting President Bush?

"Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence."
--Napolean (paraphrased, I'm sure)

The "Bush lied!" crowd has lots and lots of evidence that Bush was in error, but they've never presented an iota of evidence that Bush lied. Not one thing. Ever. Why is that, do you suppose?

These are people who dislike Bush and who want to believe that he lied, and they're using it as a political hot-button to get other unthinking individuals (sheep) to blindly jump on their bandwagon. But wanting something doesn't make it so, and asserting malice to a person without any evidence not only demonstrates a significant character flaw, but is also contrary to fairness and is therefore against the American spirit, thus anti-American.

As a Libertarian, I am not so much a Bush supporter as I am an anti-Bush-crowd detractor. Those people are not merely embarrassments to America, but embarrassments to humanity.

Grow up, America. Grow up.

Posted by Jeff at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Answer Michael Moore's Question

Michael Moore has lately been asking pro-Iraq war commentators a question along the lines of: "Would you choose to send your own children to the front lines in Iraq to fight the Iraq war?" Unfortunately, I've yet to see a commentator who didn't stumble on that question. It's clear why they stumble - the misleading question is designed specifically to make them stumble. Hopefully, though, people at home will think the question through, rather than come up with reflexive answers.

First realize that there is no draft in America. Each "child" in our military is an adult who is not sent into the military by his or her parent, but instead as an adult makes a crucial decision about whether or not he or she supports the ideals of this country enough to fight for it and for them. The proper answer to Moore's question (from whoever he is antagonizing by asking it) is:

If my son or daughter were to join the military to fight for the causes of which the Iraq war is a part, I would be very proud of him or her for doing so. And if I were the commander in chief and I knew that my own child were to be part of a regiment which would be sent into battle if I were to make the decision to fight for these ideals in Iraq or elsewhere, I would make the decision exactly the same as if my child were not part of that regiment, and like every other parent I'd pray for his or her safety and be filled with the same angst shared by every other parent who has a child fighting for our freedoms.

Couldn't a similar to Moore's question be asked regarding any and every conflict in history, including WWII, the American Civil War, and the American Revolutionary War?

Michael Moore's question is presumptuous, loaded, and easy to answer accurately and contrary to Moore's motives, even if that easy answer has been difficult for Moore's debaters to immediately come up with when put on the spot. His question is designed not to encourage a deep understanding of the issues, but instead to trick people into knee jerk emotional reactions.

Posted by Jeff at 11:32 PM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2004

The Evil Plan of the Democrats

Here's an excerpt from interesting article about the social democrats:

End the home mortgage interest deduction

Democrats have been after this income tax deduction for decades. They call it a "subsidy." Now the more intelligent among us will clearly understand that allowing someone to keep more of the money that they earn can hardly be called a "subsidy." But we're talking about the more intelligent among us. These people aren't likely to be voting for Democrats anyway!

As soon as the Democrats manage to gain control of the federal government they will move to eliminate this "subsidy for the rich." They know that there will be little adverse political fallout. After all -- the mortgage interest deduction is only valuable to people who actually pay income taxes AND who itemize their deductions. Democrats have already succeeded in removing most of their core constituency from the income tax rolls --- so what is there to lose?

When the Democrats ride into power you had better be prepared to kiss that mortgage interest deduction -- and a lot more of your money -- a fond farewell.

I've not been familiar with that character before. I like the way he writes and thinks.

Posted by Jeff at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2004

The 2004 Federal Election Voter Turnout

We keep seeing polls which suggest who is leading in the presidential race. Typically, they're exactly equal or the leading candidate is ahead a number of points which is well below the poll's stated margin of error. So does this mean that the actual election is going to be close?

I don't think so, and here's why: I am beginning to suspect that the voter turnout on the Democratic side of the equation is going to be low, while the turnout on the Republican side of the equation is going to be high. Now what, besides the Ralph Nader factor (which I'll put aside for the moment) would make me think that? Answer: the ultra-leftist hatred of President Bush.

We're seeing a lot of chest pounding by the Bush haters, and many of these people are those who control the media, either from the back rooms of the media corporations, or through being the actual hosts of the shows. But there is a tremendous leftist media bias in the United States. Part of this bias is the media's own attempts to portray itself as being too far to the right. Most of the rest of us watch this media and think that the country is far to the left of our own positions, and that tends to fire up the right wing side of the equation. And that factor could be huge in the next election.

Consider the aforementioned ultra-leftist Bush haters. We're seeing them in the media constantly, and they are adamant that Bush must go. When you read or hear them voice their opinions, you get the distinct impression that they are incredulous that anybody could not share their views about President Bush. They consider it so obvious and so apparent that George Bush is so bad that they are adamantly closed minded that he might be even just a little bit good. (Ask them, for example, what President Bush has ever done right; I'm guessing that if you get any answers at all, the answers will be along the lines of suggesting that he's an efficient exchanger of oxygen and carbon dioxide.)

It's part of the ultra-leftist pathology (for lack of a better word) to believe, and want others to believe, that Bush is so bad that even those whom you'd expect to be the closest allies of the Republican candidate are against him. A recent article (which I won't link here) loudly proclaimed in the headline: "Nancy Reagan to Bush: 'We Don't Support Your Re-Election' (a headline, I might add, which was not too strongly supported by the actual facts in the article). They're saying, "See? SEE?! Everyone is against him! YOU should be too!!!" And these are the opinions that the media is so fond of throwing at us through our television screens and newsprint day after day after day.

But the expressions of adamant and closed minded hatred of President Bush by those ultra-leftists is getting very old and very tiring, and not only for those on the conservative side of politics, but to the majority in the center as well.

It's interesting to see the Democratic strategists realizing that fact and trying to adjust to it. They've seen that their own party, to say nothing of the Republicans, are not part of the "Deaniac" crowd of vitriolic haters which defined the Democratic platform even before the first primary ballot was cast. They're realizing that they must court the voters whom Howard Dean denigrated early on as "The Republian wing of the Democratic party"; they realize that there's a serious risk of this so-called "Republican wing" of their own party voting against them, and they're doing everything they can to change their image. And fast.

For instance, this is their primary reason for choosing the grossly inexperienced John Edwards as Kerry's running mate: his optimism and positive outlook contrasts dramatically with the viciousness of the Democratic campaigning so far. They've also left nearly all of their anger rhetoric out of their speeches written for the national convention (though on those rare occasions when the bitterness actually does come through, the audience cheers more passionately than at any other time).

But I don't think it's going to work. The anger-mongers have had the microphones for just too long, I'm counting about eighteen months, and the three months left before the election just isn't long enough to counter that saturation of bitterness which we've all been enduring. And this is especially true since the meat and potatoes of this anger mongering (those in the general population, as opposed to the Democratic officials) are not going to keep quiet for the rest of the campaign. They can be expected to continue to keep right on offending everyone to the right of them, and that's just about everyone.

So what about those polls?

Well, these polls, assuming that their samples adequately reflect the feelings of the general population, tell us about what people currently feel, and futher most of them intend to tell us about the feelings of those who are most likely to vote. And that's their problem. Those who are the most angry at George Bush, those who are most certain that he is so obviously a bad president, are those who are most likely (I think) to behave counter to their present feelings on November 2nd. I don't mean that they are going to show up at the polls and vote for President Bush, I mean that they, in spite of their passions today, are the most likely to stay home or at work on November 2nd and not vote at all. Why? Well, to them it's obvious to everyone that President Bush is a bad president and must go. They think that virtually everyone feels the same way that they feel and that those opposed to their judgements are a relatively small contingent of right-wing wackos. When push comes to shove, in the back of their minds they feel great certainty that John Kerry is going to win the election, with their help or without it.

For those who want George Bush to win, the equation is reversed, however. What they're seeing is a media blitz of opinions which are contrary to their own, and that frightens them. While Kerry aficionados...excuse me, I mean Bush haters, as I find it difficult to believe that a substantial number of voters will be voting for Kerry as opposed to against Bush...feel comfortable that Bush will be thrown out of the White House, Bush aficionados are worried that he'll be thrown out. The very same conclusion which will help keep would-be Kerry voters away from the polls is likely to increase the number of Bush fans at the polls. And this is especially true when we note that most of the polls lately show President Bush trailing John Kerry, some by as many as 7 points.

Posted by Jeff at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)

. Original Copyright, May 2004. All Rights Reserved.