30 August 2008

links for 2008-08-30

What is McCain Thinking?

Frankly, I just don't get this. What is McCain thinking? I understand the reformer angle, I get the play for the gender vote, I get the youthful Mom demographic thing. But, seriously, this is a politician not ready for federal office. You can't harp on Obama's inexperience and then turn around and choose a first term governor from a small (population-wise) state (47th least populated) and expect no incredulity from voters. I mean, come on; her previous job was mayor of a town of 5,469 people (as of the 2000 census). For my Michigan friends, that's about the same as having the mayor of Zeeland (2000 census population of 5,805) get picked as the VP candidate.

As Rogers Cadenhead points out, this also someone who has demonstrated extremely bad judgement with regard to not only her own life, but the life of her unborn child. All you parents, would you trust someone with the well-being of the entire country who risked her own child's life for the geographic location of its birth?

Hopefully, though, she knows what a Veep does now. (She didn't two months ago.) I really hope there's something more to this choice, because right now, it feels like an impulse buy.

Gustav Predictions from FEMA

Remember this statement in about a week.
FEMA Director R. David Paulison tried to reassure nervous residents that the levees protecting New Orleans are stronger than they were before Katrina. However, he added that dangers remain that make it critical for residents to follow evacuation orders. [source]

Let's just say I'm skeptical of that statement. Good luck, my New Orleans friends.

29 August 2008

We all put our country first

This is how a leader sounds. This is what leadership looks like. Not racist slandering, not fear-mongering, not school-yard insults but straight talking, honest patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

The coming Republican convention is the last chance the GOP has to win back (note, not "keep") the thousands of us who are taking our votes elsewhere after the abysmal failure of this current administration and the hijacking of the Republican party by bigots and charlatans.

I'm sick of being labeled an elite because I have an education. I'm tired of the implication that because I see failure and corruption in the Iraq war, I'm not patriotic. And I will no longer support a party that uses religion and fear to bully people into the extremes on issues. We don't live in the extremes; we live in the gray middles and its time for a leader who not only acknowledges the reality of the American experience, but is able to improve it.

I'm not voting for a saint or a preacher or a hero; I'm voting for the person who can best lead this country to a better tomorrow.

I'm voting for Barack Obama.

Text of Obama's acceptance speech

28 August 2008

Comcast to implement monthly usage cap

Word on the street is that Comcast will be implementing a 250 GB/month usage cap on their internet service. This is, apparently, in response to the FCC smackdown they recently received for selectively blocking traffic on their network.

Comcast's argument during that dispute was that blocking traffic (BitTorrent, to be specific) was necessary to maintain the integrity of their network. Their arguments touched on capacity and Comcast's ability to maintain service levels. Essentially, they were saying that, if they couldn't block BitTorrent traffic (and, by extension, any traffic they deemed necessary to block), their network wouldn't be able to reliably support traffic.

And now, all the posturing has brought us back to the stupid days of the Internet; metered traffic. The industry that was supposed to deliver 45mbps to the home, upgrade their infrastructure, and develop better protocls (and failed) has fallen back to their old chestnut for management. Comcast has long had a mystery threshold for what constitutes "excessive usage", but it appears they're ready to codify it for all users.

On the one hand, this is a barbaric step in Internet service. Broadband in the US has long been advertised as unlimited, although the advertising rarely coincided with reality. On the other, it's a hard number that Comcast hasn't been willing to disclose before.

It also sets the precedent and an opportunity for Comcast's competitors. If there's a huge backlash against this move, other ISPs won't be as eager to make the same move. The opportunity comes in not imposing their own caps, keeping the "unlimited" dream alive.

Personally, I have no idea how much bandwidth I use a month. But I do know this; if I get a overrage charge, I will leave Comcast as fast as I can.

20 August 2008

links for 2008-08-20

ThinkNOLA is dead

Alan nails the coffin shut with railroad spikes.

I Shall Think No More Forever.

Freak-out of the Week: THIS is How Easy It Is to Lose Your Identity

Herbert H. Thompson, a security strategistin New York, writes on just how easy it is to get access to your bank account, email, and identity, recounting his hack of a friend named "Kim".
In Kim's case some of that information came from a blog, but it could just as easily have come from a MySpace page, a sibling's blog (speaking of their birthday, mom's name, etcetera) or from any number of places online.

Queue a check of all my information. I also found the information mining via inference rather clever. Maybe an attacker can't see your browsing history, but looking at your cache (specifically CSS files) gives just as good of information.

How I Stole Someone's Identity: Scientific American.

08 August 2008

For the sake of the state, Governor, remove Kilpatrick now

This farce has gone on long enough. The damage this mayor is doing goes beyond Detroit, affecting the reputation and stature of the entire state. Governor Granholm, remove the mayor now.
Mr. White, testified that he suffered a fractured hip after being shoved into his partner by Mr. Kilpatrick, who played football in college. Mr. White also said that Mr. Kilpatrick, who is black, had criticized his partner for working on the case and told her that as a black woman, “You shouldn’t even be riding in a car with a guy named White.”

Notice that this is in the New York Times. We're a laughing stock. The time has come to end this parade of arrogance.

Detroit Mayor Charged With Assaulting Officer - NYTimes.com.

04 August 2008

Bad Astronomor Phil Plait to take over for James Randi

Phil Plait, the force behind Bad Astronomy, has accepted the position of President of the JREF Board of Directors, taking over for its namesake James Randi. Randi will continue and chairman of the board.

Good to see that the debunking of the foolish will continue for many years to come (psychics, paranormal communication, and moon hoaxers beware). If you think you actually are a psychic or some such nonesense, prove it and a million bucks are yours.

Randi’s big shoes to Phil | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine.

01 August 2008

Ghostbusters Remake?

As if the JC Penny's ad featuing the total composting of The Breakfast Club wasn't enough for you, the newest rumor has it that Judd Apatow and crew (Seth Rogen, etc..) might remake Ghostbusters.

Can an actual remake of The Breakfast Club be far behind? Come on John Hughes, give Uwe Boll and call!

You Must Be Joking: Too Fit to Be President?

Seriously, this is what Rupert Murdoch is going to do to the Wall Street Journal?
But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.

...

"I won't vote for any beanpole guy," another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board.

What? WHAT?! This cannot be in the (formerly) well-respected Wall Street Journal. This cannot be an actual issue in the election for the President of the United States. Shame on Amy Chozick, shame on the WSJ for running this yellow journalism. And shame on us for ever allowing something like this to get traction.

If you think this is anywhere near to being a consideration for who you should vote for, you're an idiot. Sure, you should consider the health of the candidate, but make it real health concerns, not someone's height. If anything, maybe we shouldn't vote for the guy who would become the oldest sitting President, if elected. Maybe the WSJ's efforts would have been better spent talking about potential Vice Presidential candidates.

Better yet, let's weigh the candidates on issues, ask them the hard questions (and demand answers), pin them down on positions we've allowed them to squirm away from with double-speak.

But this kind of crap is beneath the WSJ. Or, at least it was until Murdoch and Co. took over. It appears now, voters will have to wade through another Fox News-like medium to get to real stories.

Update: It just gets better and better. The "source" for the earth-shattering story about whether Obama is too fit to be elected? A Yahoo message board response (Google cache of the thread). Read the non-cached version for the deserved mockery and derision that follows.

Too Fit to Be President? - WSJ.com.