Saturday, October 26, 2002

The Republican party posted a response to the DNC flash ad from last week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

You know your front page is too fat when...
There's this one user, a Google zealot - we don't know who he is - who occasionally sends an e-mail to our "comments" address. Every time he writes, the e-mail contains only a two-digit number. It took us awhile to figure out what he was doing. Turns out he's counting the number of words on the home page. When the number goes up, like up to 52, it gets him irritated, and he e-mails us the new word count. As crazy as it sounds, his e-mails are helpful, because it has put an interesting discipline on the UI team, so as not to introduce too many links. It's like a scale that tells you that you've gained two pounds.

Monday, October 21, 2002

This Reason article goes into great detail about British gun control and their crime problem.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Americans shouldn't feel too bad if they're disliked by Europeans. These charts helpfully show how Europeans think about each other.

Monday, October 14, 2002

This article claims that people fear crime from teens (e.g. Columbine style killings, teen gang slayings) far out of proportion to their actual contributions to the crime rate, because the media whips up the fear of these incomprehensible "youths".

What percentage of violent crime would you guess is committed by under-18's in Orange County? I'd be interested to hear, because I saw the answer before being able to guess. Click here to see the answer after you've thought of your own.

My friend Rob argues that the right-wing cannot argue with the left-wing because even mainstream left-wing advocates use name-calling and demonization rather than logic. He pointed me to this ad on the Democratic National Committee site which at least proves that the DNC is capable of misrepresenting positions, demonizing Bush, etc.

The ad tells how Bush wants to "put your social security savings in the stock market". Whether you agree with Bush, the DNC or other, that seems like a misrepresentation, because the Republican plans seem to be to allow (not force) people to channel part (not all) of their social security taxes to private investment accounts. But worse, the ad shows Bush pushing an old lady in a wheelchair down a sliding stock price graph, at which point she falls, screams, and goes splat at the bottom.

Most of the time it's not that bad. It's rather common to see Dems accusing Reps of favouring "privatization" of social security, because although the public is in favour of choice in SocSec investment, they are not in favour of privatization. That's not too bad - attempting to cast a policy in its most negative light is the usual way of opposing it. It's the portrayal of an opponent as a murderer that does seem to me to cross some line of decency and fairness.

However, that's not proof that the Republicans don't use similar tactics on other issues. Any examples?

This was pretty much me this morning... except I spilled yesterday's leftover coffee on the carpet as I tried to sit down and wake up with today's coffee.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

I've been talking about the 'bad attitude' growing amongst Canadians with respect to Americans... Doonesbury notices it too.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I was handed a photocopied note on Kearny street at lunch today. It's scary what a mess popular culture can make in obviously a disturbed mind. Here it is verbatim. Only the question marks and location info in italics are added by me.

Moms oldest son Mike sex abused me almost all my childhood (Brian's father). The Jews pressured Sigmund Freud not to speak of the child sex epidemic and 2 men were destroyed last century for bringing it up. Jews been ordering mom years & harming her in Florida where she was betrayed Aug 21, 2002 trying to sell her condo in Pompero Beach. The 2 men bought another condo. Jews wouldn't let Mom advertise her condo in paper until 2 days ago -- closer and closer to Jeb Bush re-election. Constant threat to harm mom with missing, heart, car etc. Jew Goldie Hawns boyfriend starred in a movie w/red Pickup about missing woman. They made sure to play that at one shelter. Mom was healthy when I left 2000. When I returned 2002 she looked like someone was drugging her. Tammy Wynette's daughter wrote a book. She knew her mom was murdered (lots of money). It was Jewish doctor Bob Levy. I don't trust the Chandra Levy case (spectacular coverup) esp. since Jews threatening mom with missing. In Houston Jew and people the found abused the Jew funded Homeless place called Search (near Greyhound). One looked like actor from Uncola commercial but he's from Ohio where mom wants to live. Her furniture is moved to Ohio and she was there one week. I've given my info on Montgomery St. in San Francisco. Montgomery etched in Sidewalk. After Montgomery Md (Bowie) sniper shooting -- a white man circled me in Bowie TShirt the day after; These attacks take attention away from Chandra Levy which was made huge. Montgomery Md has a huge Orthodox Jewish movement. I don't trust these attacks and Grapes of Wrath unedited is of sensational murders done to take away from fighters for Rights. [Esp. the I am God mallarkey.] In moms backyard is huge Orthodox Jewish movement, (M?gate -- where 2 Jews f?ed for harm to mom on Easter Sunday at church w/ firetruck. Jews order mom. I'm in San Fran again like in 2000.

On left edge: moms son steve hit mom to ground to get me in front of her condo 2002

On right edge: Male police are viscious

Well, now I know exactly what's going on in my area -- graphically, too!
This article criticizing the Precautionary Principle should have been called Precautionary Principal Considered Harmful.
Could Canadian loosening of pot laws be in part anti-Americanism? For years, the major argument in Canada against loosening pot laws was that the US would disapprove tangibly. Now, Canadian resentment of being under the thumb of American politicians may have broken through this restriction.
More thoughts on Robert Wright's prescriptions for free trade and transnational governance. He isn't consistent with his own prescriptions.

If he believes that free trade is important for countries to get a leg up, improve quality of life, and reduce causes of discontent thus terrorism, then he shouldn't see the WTO as a tool to enforce treaties on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Instead, the WTO should continue to open trade where possible, not be pressured to close trade. Another indpendent organization (NATO? An internationally-run mercenary group?) devoted to security should encourage security, on behalf of the treaty organizations that cover each dangerous or internationally illegal weapon.

OK, so it's a 9-party essay. And it's got some less-than-good parts. For example, in part 6, Wright makes a policy prescription: "To blunt some of globalization's sharper edges, carry political governance beyond the level of the nation-state, to the transnational level."

Some transnational political governance is good. But I believe it's very difficult to do at all, and even more difficult to do right. Wright specifically mentions that "Western labor unions would like to use the leverage of the World Trade Organization to upgrade foreign working conditions—whether with child labor laws or workplace safety standards or a guaranteed right to bargain collectively, or whatever. So far they've been foiled, but there's no reason in principle that the WTO can't address labor issues and even the transnational environmental issues that concern anti-globalization activists, thus evolving from a right-wing form of governance toward the center."

I have some problems with this. First, the WTO is about trade, not within-a-country labor laws. Transnational organizations are going to be more successful if each one addresses fewer issues, not more. There's a scaling problem that becomes particularly bad at the transnational level -- larger bureaucracies are less effective. If a typical national government has different departments for labor and trade, then the world should have at least that division, if not have even more granular divisions.

Second, labor laws from rich countries can be bad for poor countries. Outlawing any child labour may make children much worse off in countries where orphaned or abandoned kids must take care of themselves. Minimum wages in Bangladesh may help American workers much more than the average Bangladeshi, by increasing the price of goods to the point of uncompetitiveness.

Transnational organizations (perhaps governance organizations, perhaps simply lobby/aid/education organizations) are probably good in some ways but can certainly cause damage and waste time when ill-conceived.

I'm reading Robert Wright's 10-part Slate essay on terrorism, technology and culture. So far, it's got good parts. For example, this shameful factoid: "According to the World Bank, economically advanced nations levy tariffs against developing nations that are four times as high as the tariffs they levy against other advanced countries... The United States denied General Pervez Musharraf's pleas to open its textile markets to Pakistan as a reward for his vital support in the Afghanistan war."

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Perhaps I should join the Anti-Idiotarians, too. Ron Rosenbaum makes a good case (link via instapundit). He freaks out at people who show "the inability to distinguish America’s sporadic blundering depradations" from far worse crimes. "All empires commit crimes; in the past century, ours were by far the lesser of evils"

I, too, frequently find myself arguing against common left-wing positions, even though I'd like to be left-wing in many ways. And I find myself defending the US and Americans, even though I am not American, and even though the defense must often be mounted against Americans.

An old link, but a good one: how election methods work, including Condorcet and Approval voting, and why no voting scheme is perfect. Required reading before you tell me that the US should move to instant runoff!
If the UN and the IIS agree that poverty is being reduced (not increased!), and that poverty is being reduced because of (not in spite of!) capitalism and free trade, why do they stillprotest these things? How can they say it's for social protection, or that there's a race to the bottom?

Monday, October 07, 2002

More links and info on MCMS (Microsoft Content Management Server), though you're unlikely to be as interested as I am:
  • MCMS used to be NCompass, before an acquisition earlier this year.
  • Although it involves authoring pages for the Web, it doesn't support WebDAV, the standard for Web authoring.
  • Although it supports content syndication, it doesn't support RSS or any other open syndication standard.
  • Its architecture is based on OLE controls embedded in Web pages, so sites built with MCMS probably can't be used by non-Microsoft Web clients.
Microsoft thinks Instapundit can't increase readership by providing links away from This is explicitly mentioned in a powerpoint presentation on the new Microsoft Content Management Server: "Aggregate sites cannot simply provide hyperlinks to source... Potential to lose customer to competing aggregate sites."

Obviously, I think they're already being proven wrong on this one. It's not just Instapundit and Weblogs that prove them wrong, but also sites like Penny Arcade -- a real site much like the and related fictional example used in the same presentation.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

When I don't have time to do a decent job blogging, Natasha can do it for me:
"Do I really want an employee so out of touch with the world that she wasted four years of a very expensive education learning how to spot harassment at every turn?" A great description of graduates with degrees in Women's Studies.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

A cool game like Boggle.
How the feminist movement is increasingly making itself irrelevant
How DARE leads kids to get their parents arrested.
I was in Canada on vacation for a week, then I was too busy to blog. Now I'm too busy to blog, but I'm going to anyway.

In Canada general opinion is unanimous on some issues that are more mixed here. E.g.:

  • The Iraq war proposals are really about oil.

  • Bush is an idiot, probably retarded. He got his university degree through family connections.

  • Kyoto is a good thing, already leading some Canadian companies to good changes

OK, so opinion is not quite unanimous. My dad, who's in the oil business, says that the war is probably not about oil because US dependence on Middle-East oil is nowhere near where it was 10 years ago. Right now, the US could do without M-E oil with some pain. In the near future, US will be able to do without M-E oil entirely if need be.

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