March 30, 2005

What Did The Have To Say.

I have been poking around the website of the Federal Election Commission to check up on what they are doing regarding limiting free speech in the internet. Thus far, there are five Ex parte communications listed under “The Internet: Definitions of ”Public Communication“ and ”Generic Campaign Activity“ and Disclaimers.”

The first is from members of the House Judiciary Committee and it is clearly telling the commission that regulating blogs for unpaid activities should not be considered.

We have been advised the FEC will soon open a rulemaking in this area. Many of us were strong supporters of campaign finance reform generally, and of the BCRA. While the impact of the Shays decision on blogs remains subject to debate, we urge you to remove any ambiguity and make explicit in this rule that a blog would not be subject to disclosure requirements because it contains political commentary or includes links to a candidate or political party's website, provided that the candidate or political party did not compensate the blog for such linking.
The second is from Senate Minority leader Harry Reid addressed to Commission Chairman Scott Thomas.
I am writing to express my serious concerns with the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) pending rulemaking concerning internet communications and your recent remarks in this regard. Today I introduced legislation to make it clear that Congress did not intend to regulate this new and growing medium in the Bipartisan Campaing Finance Reform Act (BCRA).
This would be encouraging if wasn't virtually certain that some judge will decide otherwise.

The third is from U.S. Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold and U.S. Representatives Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan. It says...

Well actually I've been unable to get that one to download. If I ever do, I'll let you know what the authors of this blight on the First Amendment had to say.

UPDATE: The McCain, Feingold, Shays, Meehan comment is still not available.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

March 29, 2005

The Senator Responds

When FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith first sounded the alarm that the courts were ordering the commission to regulate campaign activity on the internet and that weblogs were a potential target for that regulation, one of the steps I took was to dash of a rather hotheaded letter to the senators from Connecticut.

I am writing you as an exercise of my increasingly limited right to freedom of speech. A right that has been grievously abridged by the campaign finance legislation passed by the U.S. Congress. This appalling act of hubris is matched only by the act of the president signing the bill into law and the supreme court upholding it as Constitutional.

Sirs you are elected to enact legislation and to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not to write legislation eroding the Constitutionally protected rights of American citizens. It is claimed that the purpose of your attack on free speech is to counter the corrupting effects of money in the political process. I submit to you that money is not the source of political corruption but merely a perk of ethically corrupt politicians. Instead of attacking the right to free speech and limiting the rights of citizens to participate in the political process you should be enacting laws providing harsh penalties for political corruption.

You will never succeed in removing money from politics and you will never succeed in silencing citizens who wish to be heard. If you want to eliminate corruption in politics, focus your efforts on eliminating corrupt politicians.

I for one will not be silenced in the name of protecting corrupt elected officials.

I sent this via their web sites and quickly got a canned we'll research this and get back to you response from Senator Joseph Leiberman. I knew that I would get some sort of snow job non-committal political spin response. It was just a matter of waiting. Well today the waiting is over. Today Senator Lieberman, research complete responded.
Dear Mr. Macklin:

Thank you for writing to share your concerns about the USA Patriot Act (P.L. 107-56), which Congress passed in October 2001 in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Like virtually all of my Senate colleagues, I supported the Patriot Act in 2001 because I thought it was a comprehensive effort to respond to the new threats our nation faced after September 11. Everything changed on that date, and the tools law enforcement had before then - which in many cases were crafted for a different technological era and a different type of threat - had to be reevaluated to ensure they were appropriate for the era in which we now live. Put simply, in this post-September 11 world, we cannot afford to leave law enforcement - often our most important defense in the war on terrorism - without the tools and resources it needs to do this vital work.

Whatever we must do in the war on terrorism, we absolutely must not dispense with our 225-year-old commitment to civil rights and civil liberties. It is precisely this historic commitment to individual liberty that makes us such a great nation. Security cannot be an excuse to do away with that foundational commitment of our nation's founders.

A number of the Patriot Act's most controversial provisions were authorized temporarily and are set to expire on December 31, 2005. The expiring law enforcement sections of Title II of the USA Patriot Act involve three communications-related aspects of the federal law: wiretapping, stored electronic communications and communication transaction records, and pen registers and trap and trace devices. Congress' reexamination of these provisions has already begun. Before Congress extends those provisions, the Administration must provide clear answers about how it has used the Patriot Act and clear responses to the allegations that it has abused some of the Act's provisions.

Please be assured that I will keep your concerns in mind as Congress continues consideration of any legislation extending these provisions. I will also continue my strong commitment to maintaining the balance between the crucial need for public safety and the equally important need of preserving our civil rights.

My official Senate web site is designed to be an on-line office that provides access to constituent services, Connecticut-specific information, and an abundance of information about what I am working on in the Senate on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. I am also pleased to let you know that I have launched an email news update service through my web site. You can sign up for that service by visiting and clicking on the “Subscribe Email News Updates” button at the bottom of the home page. I hope these are informative and useful.

Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.

I want to note for all of you who might be slightly confused at this juncture that I have never written to Senator Lieberman, or any other senator, regarding the patriot act. A search of the archives of Hold The Mayo shows that I have written next to nothing on the topic. I am beginning to suspect that there might be a problem with the senator's research. My guess is there is probably something terribly wrong with whatever peon Joe has sending letters to his constituents. I've read my letter many times and compared it to the response to see if perhaps the response was chosen by and automated system that parsed my letter for certain key words but I just don't see it.

Some human being read my letter and decided to send me the canned Patriot Act letter. I expected a canned response and it would have been o.k. In fact I was looking forward to fisking it well. This is unacceptable. This cannot be allowed to pass without a direct response. more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:08 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

March 28, 2005

Architectural Criticism

Galley Slave David Skinner links to an article on the new Copenhagen opera house that compares the structure with the grille of a 1955 Pontiac
I didn't get that impression. But I expect this to be what the orchestra plays while warming up on opening night

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

March 26, 2005

A Message to The President

And his Party Faithful.

Refusing to enforce immigration law and stop the flow of illegal aliens is not what a lot of us have in mind when we use the term “limited government.”

Close the borders to illegal aliens.

Simplify the the process of legal immigration.

Eliminate laws that artificially raise the cost of labor and make illegal immigration attractive in the first place.

That would be limited government

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

March 24, 2005

In Other News...

The news division of one of the mainstream networks has apparently broadcast likely forged documents in an attempt to discredit the enemy Republican Party. You can read all about it at Powerline.

Somehow this all seems very familiar.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:38 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 23, 2005

Some Great Minds Get Paid

Last month when Apple made some price and feature adjustments to the iPod line, I speculated on what might be Apple's next move for the iPod.

My theory was that they were going to add an Airport Extreme card (802.11g) and the iPod would connect directly to the iTunes Music Store via WiFi.

Business 2.0 hired the design firm Pentagram to create visuals for some concept speculations for the new iPod.

The product images accompanying this story were created for Business 2.0 by award-winning design firm Pentagram. The project was led by Robert Brunner, who was Apple's chief designer from 1989 to 1996 and who oversaw the design of the PowerBook line, among many other hit products.
Image number 2 after the really cool PodWatch is the Wireless iPod
A portable player would utilize Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and enable users to remotely connect to the iTunes store or the music kept on their computers. The dark color distinguishes it from today's iPods, which require wired connections to download or listen to songs.
I had the idea but someone else got paid. Great minds think alike, some of them are lucky enough to get paid for it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:02 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

March 22, 2005

My Terri Schaivo Post


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:40 PM | Comments (28) | Add Comment

March 21, 2005

Oil For Shale

It is no secret that oil exploration in ANWAR is going to happen. The no energy at any cost crowd has been beside itself since the Senate vote. They will of course do everything they can to try to stop it. Just as they do everything they can to try to stop every form of energy generation invented by man.

In the state of California, Governor Schwartzenegger is working to build the first distribution network to supply hydrogen to fuel cell powered cars. I am sure the environmentalists will find something to complain about. It is certain that the liberals, and they have a bunch of them in California, will panic over the loss of gas tax revenue.

But aside from invoking the ire of the environmentalist movement these things have something else in common. They are both pointing in the direction of energy independence. Energy independence points to independence from Middle East imports. Without the leverage of our dependence on their oil, our friends the Saudis are probably less likely to want to fund terrorists who want to blow us up.

But ANWAR and little hydrogen in California aren't enough to accomplish this. We need more. We need to start building more nuclear power plants. And if you think the environmentalists went into fits over a little exploratory drilling in small corner of a vast frozen wasteland in the middle of nowhere in Alaska just wait until they dig into the back of the van and pull out the No Nukes signs.

The will try to throw a roadblock in front of any plan to develop and exploit any source of energy.

I used the term “road block” because the recent efforts of the federal government to spur development of shale oil has the unfortunately trendy bureaucratic title of America's Oil Shale A Roadmap for Federal Decision Making. I think we need to work really hard to find a new term for government plans other than roadmap. I'm getting tired of roadmaps. We need some out of the box ideation to come up with a new lexicon and put it all on the same page.

Bureauctratese aside the focus being given to oil shale development gives reason for some hope. According to the introduction

America’s 2 trillion barrel oil shale resource is recognized as having the same production potential as Canada’s tar sands. Tar sand production, initiated in the 1960s, has increased steadily to more than 1 million per barrels/day and is moving toward a near-term goal of 2.5 million barrels per day by 2017. This amount of oil is equivalent to the volume of oil currently imported by the United States from Middle East countries. Tar sands production has enabled Canada to add 174 billion barrels to its recoverable oil reserves, making Canada’s proved reserves second only to those of Saudi Arabia.
The opening of the executive summary conveys that at least somewhere in Washington there is someone who understands the realities of our energy situation. The move toward developing shale oil is a good step toward fixing the problem, and the Senate vote to authorize drilling in ANWAR is another.
The President and the Department of Energy have determined that increasing liquid fuels supply from domestic sources is an important national objective. America’s rich and concentrated oil shale resources, containing as much as 2 trillion barrels of potential oil supply could make a major contribution toward that objective. A domestic oil shale industry would reduce import dependence and associated costs to the U.S. economy while creating thousands of stable, high paying jobs and stimulating economic activity here at home.
The goals for shale oil production are to be producing some two million barrels per day by 2020 and three million by 2040. In 2003 the U.S. imported 3,523,158,000 barrels of oil.

The technology to develop shale oil as a viable resource exists. It is more expensive than traditional oil drilling and thus has not been seen as economical. Recent increases in crude oil prices resulting more from politics than physical reality have made shale oil more of an option.

The are a few words the princes of Saudi Arabia fear more than Democracy and election. Nuclear power, hydrogen fuel cell cars, ANWAR and shale oil. It is time we start shouting them loud and clear. It is time we put them on notice that their days of having us over a barrel are coming to an end.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:25 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

iPod. iDropped. iFixed

When you drop something you really shouldn't it sort of falls in slow motion. Sometimes when you drop a glass it doesn't break on impact but on the bounce and for just a brief flash of a moment you think it might not break at all.

I dropped my iPod.

It was a sickening moment. Yes it was on. Yes the drive was spinning. Yes, it was badly damaged.

It would play and then it would stop mid-song and skip to the next one. I threw everything at it. I reset the disc with the iPod updater many times. No help. I opened Apple's disc utility and reformatted the disc. No help. I set the software to write zeroes to the entire disc. No help. I clicked the option to write random data over the disk eight times. No help. I ran both options. No help.

Next I mounted it on the system as a firewire disc. I had a theory that since I was using only a small percentage of the 20 GB drive if I wrote enough data to it, then loaded the music, maybe I could get past the damage. Luckily I had a 300 Mb PhotoShop file handy and started copying it to the iPod. It reached a point somewhere in the fifth copy and the copying stopped due to a read-write error.

Last attempt. I cracked open the case to see if perhaps the fall had loosened the drive's connection to the board. (Did I mention the warranty expired about a year ago?) No luck. Everything was plugged in securely.

This really sucked.

The iPod was a gift and I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend replacing it. I found a company that sold the discs. They wanted $155 for a third generation 20Gb iPod disc installed. $150 if you did it yourself. I could have bought a new iPod mini for $190 and not filled it so that was not an option.

There was only one thing left to do. I went to eBay. I started checking out auctions for used and “new in the box” iPods, but they are selling for not that much less that new ones. (In some cases they sold for more proving that there are completely ignorant idiots bidding for iPods on eBay.) Then I discovered a rather healthy market for iPod parts. Did you know that if you were diligent, patient and a little lucky you could probably build your own iPod from eBay parts for half of Apple's price?

Me I just needed a hard drive. And I got one. Its only 10 Gb so I took a cut in size but I'm not close to filling it so I'm not to upset about that. Besides I've got my iPod back and working, lots of room for more music and my total cost $80.00.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Is This A Good Thing, Or Not?

Lying in bed last night I caught an episode of one of the new Quincy remakes - Crossing Jordan. On the whole it was not bad. A bit more character driven and less science focused than the various versions of CSI but watchable. But then almost anything with Jill Hennessy is watchable.

During the show last night the character Nigel Townsend, a rather geeky fellow with an English accent, made mention of having a blog. He said that through comments an feedback on the blog they were about to solve the “Beacon Hill Murders.” And sure enough as they broke for commercial a voice-over suggested a visit to

So I went there. It's a blog written by a character in a television show. Its about the events of the show and the characters of the show. It is no doubt written by the writers of the show. The character blogs and the show promotes the blog.

Is this a good thing, or not?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:52 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

March 20, 2005

I Have Little Regard For The Rules

I've been waiting for someone to “pass the stick” to me for the Book Meme Tag Thingie but nobody has so I'm just going to jump in and steal the stick form Annika.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

The obvious choice for me is Don Quixote. I have been known to tilt at the odd windmill from time to time. Or as Bluto said “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.”

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I could think long and hard and come up with a really insightful answer. There are any number of characters I would have liked to have had a crush on but in truth I can't recall one.

The last book you bought is:

Silent America by Bill Whittle. Not counting when I read it all on his website, I've read it twice now.

The last book you read:

Silent America by Bill Whittle. Not counting when I read it all on his website, I've read it twice now.

What are you currently reading?

Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents by Cormac O'Brien. A look at the personality quirks of the men who have held this nation's highest office. Dedicated to making sure that none of them can be held in too much reverence. It's hard to revere someone you are snickering at. It was given to me as a gift. I don't think I am going to finish it.

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

1. The Federalist Papers. It has been a long time since I read them and I need to do it again.

2. Atlas Shrugged. A book that would inspire me to keep going and find a way home. Plus it's big and I'll have a lot of time.

3. The Lord of The Rings. I know its technically three books but if they are in a box set it counts as one. Right?

4. A good field guide to edible plants and stuff.

5. War and Peace. How long am I going to be on this island anyway?

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Tuning Spork. Because I can.

Ted. Because I'm curious.

Mark Oakley. Because he hasn't blogged since June and I wish he would.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:47 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment

Stop The Erosion of Free Speech

The regulators are coming, and they want to know what you think. I think it is incumbent on everyone to let them know.

Hugh Hewitt who has some experience in these matters has some advice for how to participate in the FEC rule making process.

*Send hard copies of your comments as well as any electronic filing that is permitted.  The FEC routinely accepts e-filings, but sending in snail mail is a great insurance that your comments will not disappear into someone's ahrd driv.  One of my comments will be that the FEC accept and immediately post any e-comments from the public on any proposal that could impact e-debate.  [It would be wonderful if RedState or some other group agreed to act as a central repository of all filings --which could run into the hundreds of thousands if the blogospere figures out how to play this game.]

*Identify the rulemaking with precision, and demand in the course of your letter/e-mail that you wish to have your comment responded to with specificty.

*Make broad comments, but also comments specific to the sections of the proposed rulemaking.

*Raise related issues not covered by the rules, and demand specific responses to the conerns you raise.

*Demand that you be notified of any development in the rulemaking.

*Demand that the time for comments be extended.

Hewitt also has a link the FEC web page regarding current rulemakings, and a link to a PDF of a recently concluded FEC rule-making.

When the period for comment on rule-making regarding internet political activity begins, I will certainly be commenting. I will not be present to the FEC any argument as to why the legislative exemption given to the mainstream media should be extended to internet activities. I will not be presenting any argument equating online media and bloggers to mainstream journalists. I will be presenting an argument that such an exemption is unnecessary and that the process and the legislation is a direct contravention of the First Amendment.

I will be commenting to the committee that a government agency holding hearings to decide who gets to express themselves when, is an egregious violation of the First Amendment prohibition of the government abridging the right to freedom of speech.

I will be making this comment knowing full well its futility. The FEC is charged with creating and enforcing rules based on the legislation and the ruling of the courts. It cannot change the law, and clearly its discretion in rule-making is limited. But at least my comment will be a part of the record.

Hewitt doesn't believe there is much reason to worry about the FEC going to far in regulating speech on the internet saying, “I still don't think the FEC is that stupid.” I think he is right. I don't think the FEC is going to try to take a big bite out of internet political speech. They are not that stupid. But I think they will take a nibble, and a nibble is too much. The recent court decision compelling this rule-making is evidence that the regulation of speech under McCain/Feingold is evolving. But it is evolving in the direction of less freedom, and it needs to be stopped.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:13 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

March 18, 2005

Taking the Pledge

The FEC and McCain/Feingold will not stop me from exercising my Constitutionally protected right to free speech. I will answer the challenge issued by Petterico, and I will take this pledge

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:24 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

March 17, 2005

Taking Back My Rights and My Name

I recently added my name to the letter sent to the FEC by The Online Coalition asking that the FEC's exemption from rules for speech during federal elections be extended to cover online media and bloggers. I have been thinking about that decision since then and have gone back and re-read the letter several times. I have come to the conclusion that it perhaps would have been better if I had done this level of thinking before signing.

One of the primary concepts in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged is the “Sanction of the Victim.” Essentially, this means granting the premise that the government has a right to regulate speech, and that for me to freely express my views I need their permission. Speaking in terms of business, the Objectivist Center describes the concept as follows:

How do the most productive individuals, those who are responsible for a society's prosperity, find themselves abused by politicians and dishonest businessmen and women? Rand sees the key in morality, and she coined the phrase that best describes the root of the problem: the sanction of the victim. If entrepreneurs accept the premises of those who would tie their hands or punish them for their virtues, it is they who empower their enemies.

The sanction usually comes because otherwise honest entrepreneurs are either confused or actually accept the wrong moral premises. {...}

Rand understood that it is essential for entrepreneurs to assert their moral rights. In this way, they remove the sanction of their persecutors.

The very core of the First Amendment protected right that the Online Coalition is fighting for is that we do not need an exemption from legislation in order have the right to speak our minds. We have the right to freedom of speech. The First Amendment was written to protect that right from the abuse of the government. Once we have accepted the government's authority to decide who is allowed to speak and who is not, we have sanctioned the destruction of our rights.

Accordingly, I have written to the Online Coalition and asked that my name be removed from their letter to the FEC. (The letter is in the extended entry.) Instead I will continue on in the same spirit Patterico expressed so well.

Here’s what I mean:

Quite simply, I intend to go on blogging like I did before. Regardless of whether the FEC promulgates rules for political speech on the Internet, I plan to express my opinions just as I did before. If I need to link to a politician’s campaign web site in order to make my point, I’m going to do so. If I decide to endorse a candidate, I will. If I think my readers should send that candidate money, I will encourage them to do so.

I’ll do this during the next congressional election, and during the next presidential election. I will engage in this core political speech whenever I feel like it. And I will not change my behavior in the slightest, regardless of any FEC regulations.

For example, if the FEC warns me that one more link to a certain politician’s web site will not be permitted, but that link is necessary for me to make my point, I am going to include that link.

I am not going to sign any petitions asking for government’s permission to do this, and I am not going to seek out media credentials to obtain special permission to do this.

If we actually reach the point where my engaging in such core political speech might subject me to arrest – something I believed unthinkable before the BCRA was upheld by our spineless Supreme Court – then I’ll make sure that television cameras are there to watch the authorities slap on the cuffs. Let the authorities prosecute someone for telling the world that someone should or should not be President.

I would welcome such a case, because it would expose, once and for all, the fraud that is campaign finance reform. If the American public saw a citizen dragged off to jail for expressing his political views, maybe this insanity would finally end. Maybe even the editorial board of the New York Times would finally see the light! Since the Supreme Court is little more than a puppet of elite opinionmakers, we might get a ruling upholding our God-given right to free speech.

And if we don’t get such a ruling, maybe we’ll get a Constitutional amendment overruling McCain/Feingold.

I fundamentally don’t believe that Americans, who routinely fight and die for our basic liberties, are just going to stand by and watch someone imprisoned for expressing political beliefs.

Though I disagree with the suggestion that we need a new amendment to overrule McCain/Feingold. We already have one. more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:53 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment

March 16, 2005

Scalia On Court Politics

How many lawyers does it take to govern a nation? It seems that recently policy decisions in this country are ultimately made by a mere handful of them. Having abandoned the notion of ruling on the law The Supreme Court has taken to setting policy. Political policy decisions on matters such as crime and punishment are handed down by five unelected and unaccountable justices.

In a speech on Monday Justice Scalia was highly critical of the Court's recent capital punishment ruling.

In a 35-minute speech Monday, Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. The court's 5-4 ruling March 1 to outlaw the juvenile death penalty based on “evolving notions of decency” was simply a mask for the personal policy preferences of the five-member majority, he said.

“If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again,” Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That's flexibility.”

“Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?” he said.

We as a people elect representatives and an executive to make policy decisions. Judges are appointed to rule based on the law. Within the hierarchy of the courts and the law, the last word is the Constitution of the United States. Judicial decisions should be made based on the law. Not the personal political preference of five lawyers.

(Also Posted at eTalkinghead)

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:04 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

The Dirty Word Meme

Anna at work sent me an email that someone sent her from the Wall Street Journal on March 9. (I don't have the link). The article, using the case of former Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher as a starting point is about email snooping in the workplace.

It still isn't known how the e-mail that cost Harry Stonecipher his job as chief executive at Boeing Co. was intercepted or by whom. Boeing directors ousted the CEO earlier this week after they learned about an e-mail he had sent to a female employee with whom he was having an affair.

But what every employee ought to realize by now is how completely nonprivate their office e-mail is. In a recent survey of 840 U.S. companies by the American Management Association, 60% said they now use some type of software to monitor their employees' incoming and outgoing e-mail, up from 47% in 2001. Other workplace privacy experts place the current percentage even higher.

With the exception of Connecticut and Delaware, companies are not required to tell you they are reading your email.

But how is this a meme you ask? When anna sent me the email she sent a specific task as well. At the end of the article there is a list of words that are typically red-flagged by email snopping software. Anna's challenge to me, which I am passing on to you, is to use all of the words in a sentence. I have tried in the past to start meme's with little success, but since this one is likely to bring in a bonanza of Google hits I have high hopes for this one.

Your Guaranteed promise of porn and sex without medication is a sure thing to exceed the expectations of your boss earning you easy money and you can't beat that; though any meds used will be recorded in your patient record and sent, along with your id# and SSN, to our marketing agency for your client file.
If you want to read it I put the whole WSJ article in the extended entry. more...

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:36 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 13, 2005

Getting The Job Done

I found this little survey at Snooze Button Dreams and I thought I would share.

What are five things in your office you must have in order to function?

1. The laptop. I could do my job with desktop system but the laptop suits my life better.

2. Wacom Graphics Tablet. Ever since I started using one I can't understand how anyone - including myself - does graphics with a mouse. I don't even have a mouse any more.

3. The phone. Or more accurately voice mail. It provides one more barrier between me and contact with other humans.

4. iPod (with speakers). Must have music always available even if it is not on. I know I could just plug the speakers into the laptop and play the same music out of iTunes but the iPod sitting next to the 17 inch Powerbook just looks good.

5. C3PO. This is a framed poster I worked on at a previous employer. Not only is it cool but the glass is highly reflective. I don't have a door (that would have been number one) so the office is arranged so that I cannot see the hall and people in the hall cannot see me. I can however see who is coming in the poster. (One of these days I'm going to put my office number on the cell phone's speed dial.)

UPDATE: As luck would have it, yesterday the pen for the graphics tablet fell out of my bag at home when I was packing up to come to work. (Yes I take it home every day. It fits nicely into the laptop bag.) I borrowed a mouse from the system of a coworker who is on vacation. Just a suggestion for al you mouse users out there - pick up your mouse and look at the bottom. If the crud is so think you need scrape it off with an Exacto knife, you should probably think about cleaning it more often.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:53 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment

March 12, 2005

Thou Shalt Not Be Offended

I believe there are two basic types of atheists - and yes I am committing the sin of large scale generalization. But despite the infinite variations in degree I believe they basically fall into either the non-believers and the god haters.

The non-believers, and I put myself in that category, simply do not believe in god. They believe man can determine right and wrong through a process of reason and does not need morality handed down from a higher power. The non-believers are also not offended by believers. It's kind of a live and let live approach. At a certain level it doesn't matter from where people derive a sense of morality. As long as they have a basic understanding of right and wrong it doesn't much matter how they got it.

Then there are those whose atheism is expressed by their hatred of the god the profess not to believe in and their complete disdain for any form of christian worship. (These particular types of atheists never seem to have too much of an issue with any other religion.) One textbook example of a god fearing atheist is the source of this post from Michelle Malkin.

Phillip Paulson has waged a 15 year crusade against a cross displayed at the Veterans Memorial at Mount Soledad in Sandiego, California. It seems the memorial is on public property and the presence of the cross there offends Mr. Paulson.

Mr. Paulson has apparentlly won his battle, despite numerous attempts by the city to find a solution that would allow the Memorial to remain intact. The cross has been present in one form or another since 1913. It has been stolen and replaced, it has been knocked down by a storm and rebuilt. But it will not survive offending Mr. Paulson. His fragile sensibilities and lack of tolerance for a religious symbol trumps even the memory of soldiers who fought in Korea and both World Wars.

If Paulson is so easily offended by the sight of a cross on public property, I suggest we tie him to a tree in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery . And if a few thousand veterans happen by to express their offense at his destruction of the Mount Soledad Memorial, so much the better.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:09 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

Taking a Bite Out Of Apple

A lot of bloggers are up in arms over the Apple lawsuit. Coming at the same time as the FEC threat to bloggers First Amendment protected rights, the free speech sky has been falling. While I have always thought that suing people are major promoters of your brand was maybe not the best business decision, I never saw this case as a first amendment threat.

This case was about intellectual property and trade secrets. Paul at Wizbang captured the essence of the case well with this headline

California Court Upholds Property Rights

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

The Sgrena Story Arab News Style

Former CNN news chief Eason Jordan may have taken a job as copy editor for Arab News. The evidence is this headline on a story by Tariq A. Al-Maeena. They Shoot Reporters, Don’t They?

Now if you expect a certain over the top level of anti-American bias from a publication billing itself as “The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily” you would not be at all disappointed with this story.

The killing of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari by US troops in Iraq is another twist in the diabolical tactics employed by members of the occupation forces in manipulating the veracity of their adventurism in this immoral crusade.
In a series of truth-twisting means that began when their commander in chief assured the world of the presence of weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion of Iraq, to the calculated shootings and murder of journalists who contradicted Pentagon press releases, the charade continues today and is fed daily to the folks “back home” that all is well.
There's a lot more and it's pretty much all the same and I can't bear to post any more of it. I believe the truth will eventually win out in this case, but I also think that in a lot of the world it is too late for it to matter.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:19 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

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