March 31, 2006

The Immigration Song Dance Remnix

How ironic that the argument goes that illegal immigrants are just here doing the jobs Americans don't want to do when the one job the government seem to be trying hard to avoid doing is dealing illegal immigration.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:07 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


March 30, 2006

The Immigration Song Reprise 2

Check out this video clip of Michelle Malkin on Fox News. As difficult as it may be, try not to focus on Michelle, but pay close attention to the words of hispanic DJ Eduardo Sotelo:

The immigrant is not a criminal... and we would like to have opportunity to legalize you know the 12 million people that they're already here.
Can you spot the glaring contradiction in Sotelo's thinking?

If they are not criminals, why do you feel a need to try to legalize them. If their presence here needs to be legalized, that would make them...

Say it with me now...

Say it loud...

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:06 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


March 29, 2006

The Immigration Song Reprise

The debate of the day is what to do about illegal immigration. The biggest problem I have with a lot of what is being said and written is how few people seem to be starting the debate from the right point. They are starting at the end instead of the beginnining. They are starting with immigration and skipping right over the illegal part. How people can have this debate while considering only half the issue is beyond belief.

The left is being so incredibly overwhelmingly hypocritical in their support for "undocumented workers." The same people who despise Wal-Mart for being non-union and pass laws forcing them to conform their payroll policies to their liberal vision of fairness, the same people who repeatedly call for what they term a "living wage" seem to have no problem with millions of people making less than minimum wage.

And here's a word of caution to illegal aliens everywhere. Do you know what will happen when you achieve some sort of recognized legal standing? All of those jobs that you are doing because American's don't want them are going to be subject to the full brunt of government regulation. This means that a lot of those jobs are going away because employers won't be able to afford you. So be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:01 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


March 28, 2006

The Immigrant Song

The Senate Judiciary Committee just passed a truly horrible immigration bill. How bad is it?

It's called McCain/Kennedy.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:56 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


March 26, 2006

The Sky Is Falling. The Sky Is Falling

Actually the sky is not falling, that's just an illusion. What's happening you see is that the oceans are rising so it looks like the sky is falling. I'm serious. Really. Here's the headline to prove it.

Rising seas raising alarms
Major study: Global warming will threaten coasts by 2100 if pollutants aren't reduced
If the kids don't sell the house when were dead and gone, they could be sitting on a prime piece of waterfront real estate in the new tropical region of Connecticut. Spend it wisely kids.

Seriously they did a study. If we don't so something now, by some undetermined point in the middle of the century it will be too late. They also looked at historic records to see what we could be facing.

The studies, one led by Overpeck, the other by Bette Otto-Bliesner at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, examined climate data dating back about 130,000 years, a time between two ice ages.
Shifts in the Earth's tilt and orbit led to warmer conditions in the Arctic. Temperatures rose 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit, melting wide swaths of Greenland's ice sheet. The melted ice raised ocean levels as much as 11 feet, the scientists believe.
But natural climate records, including evidence from ancient coral reefs, sediments and fossils, indicate sea levels actually climbed by as much as 20 feet in that period, more than what the Greenland ice sheet could account for. Overpeck theorized that disintegrating ice sheets at the Antarctic were responsible for the difference.
What they think happened is that the rising sea levels from melting all the ice on Greenland broke up all the in the Antarctic which further raised seal levels.

Pretty scary stuff. They think we should do something to sop it. I don't think we can. I think putting all of our efforts into trying to reduce the human contribution to global warming would be the ultimate example of fiddling while Rome burns. If this is going to happen its going to happen and there isn't anything we can do but be ready to deal with it.

Why do I think that? Re-read the scenario quoted above and you'll know.

Got it?

Try this quote from the same article:

Temperatures have been steadily rising over the past decade. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995. The UA study predicted the Earth's temperatures will rise by at least 4 degrees by 2100, which would be comparable to conditions 130,000 years ago, when the ice sheets melted.
This has happened before. And while I don't have a source for accurate statistics I am very certain that there were a lot fewer SUV's on the roads 130,000 years ago.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:08 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


March 25, 2006

I Know a Secret

Is it really a secret court if the nomination of judge is published in the Washington Post?

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates has been named to replace a judge who resigned from the secret court set up by Congress to oversee domestic spying.

And they printed his picture too!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Paris, City Of Lights

Wparis01

Car Burn

20051105 B Riots

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:00 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Reforming Welfare and Illegal Immigration

I have grown increasingly tired of the Bush administration's argument in favor of their illegal immigration amnesty light.

Every time I hear about how entitlement spending continues to rise then I hear about how illegals are just doing jobs that American's don't want, it aggravates me.

Here's my plan.

For every illegal immigrant doing a job that Americans don't want end all federal welfare assistance and unemployment benefits to five people. The names to be drawn at random. No welfare, no unemployment, no social security. Not one dime.

Now if a person who lost the illegal alien lottery demonstrates willingness to take a job that they were previously unwilling to do and they need assistance to get buy on top of what they earn they can get assistance. Only if they keep the job.

Unemployment is currently a little under 5%. I bet we could quickly get that number down close to zero. And once Americans are willing to do those jobs, the Republicans would have no excuse for supporting illegal immigration.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:55 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


Thanks for Nothing.

Bloggers are breathing a sign of relief that they have been spared from John McCain and Russ Feingold. For now.

The FEC has announced regulations for the internet that leave blogs relatively untouched.

The Federal Election Commission last night released proposed new rules that leave almost all Internet political activity unregulated except for the purchase of campaign ads on Web sites.
"My key goal in this rule-making has been to make sure that the commission establish clear rules to exempt individuals who engage in online politics from campaign finance laws," said Chairman Michael E. Toner, a Republican.
"We tried to craft a regulation that would allow the maximum amount of freedom for people as possible," said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub, a Democrat.
Most bloggers, individual Web users, and such Web sites as Drudge Report and Salon.com are exempted from regulation and will be free to support and attack federal candidates, much as newspapers are allowed. (emphasis added)
How nice that the FEC put some thought into abridging freedom of speech as little as possible.

In fairness to the FEC though, the fault is not entirely theirs. The bulk of the blame for this goes to the Congress for passing BCRA, President Bush for signing it into law, and the Supreme Court for buying the load of crap that it does not regulate speech. The FEC is just following orders, which has never been that much of a good defense.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:30 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


March 24, 2006

The Mess of Democracy

What do we do when people newly empowered in democracies make decision we don't like? Really what can we do? As democracy begins to take hole in the Middle East we will likely face this dilemma often. That's the subject of the latest Hold the Mayo Podcast.

Democracy.

Available via RSS feed and iTunes.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, plagiarism is the sincerest form of insult. The plagiarist says to the creator your thought and your effort are meaningless. I can just take them and make them my own.

I am by profession a designer. I work in marketing and advertising. I have overt the years conducted many interviews and reviewed many portfolios but there is one that I am sure I will never forget.

A candidate for a freelance position was taking me through his portfolio telling me the story behind each project he chose to include. He told me a very interesting and amusing story about some pieces he did in conjunction with a promotion for a major imported beer. I asked a few questions to try to get a little more information about why he designed the work the way he did, and he had perfectly reasonable answers. The problem is, none of it was true. He was lying through his teeth.

How did I know this? Do I have some sort of special ability to detect untruths? No. I knew he was lying because the work he was showing was work that I had done.

I explained this to him and insisted that he remove the pages from his book before he got the hell out of my office. I called the agency that sent him and read them the riot act too.

Plagiarism is theft pure and simple. It is no different than stealing someone's television. Yet strangely enough it is not illegal. I don't recall anyone ever being tried and sent to prison for stealing someone's words or ideas.

The plagiarist once discovered, however, does not go unpunished. They are ridiculed, scorned and usually very quickly unemployed.

Such should be the fate of the Washington Post's token conservative blogger Ben Domenech.

Since the Red America blog was launched it has been under constant attack form the left. Conservative bloggers were quick to defend Domenech from the frivolous ad-hominem crap that was being flung at him. But the instances of plagiarism that his atackers unearthed are indefensible.

If these charges are true, Domenech should call upon whatever sliver of integrity and honesty he has left and resign. Better yet, I hope the Post acts first and fires him.

More at:
Michele Malkin
The American Thinker

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:00 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment


March 22, 2006

Will You Just Stop Already

Look I know the first official day of spring was the other day. I know that ever since then it has been colder than most of January. But if you can talk about nothing about how cold it is you need to just STFU.

That is all.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:35 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


March 20, 2006

The best Things In Life

You know what's better that a really really cool program that does some function so well that you can't imaging using your computer without it? A really really cool program that does some function so well that you can't imaging using your computer without it that's FREE.

My source for great indispensable free software is FreeMacWare.Com. It's just another reason to consider landfilling that PC and switching to a MAC. And they are having a contest with great iTunes prizes. All I have to do is write a post about my five favorite pieces of FreeMacWare.

Cabos: A nice clean Gnutella client. I use this primarily to get around the pesky Fair Play DRM in iTunes music. If I want to use a song as part of a podcast, I need to convert it to AIFF in order to use it Garage Band. You can't convert music you bought on te iTunes Music Store. So I download a copy of something I already paid for in a format I can use.

Carbon Copy Cloner: Ever had a hard drive just up and die? Sure you have all your data backed up but you still have to re-install all your software and get everything set up just right all over again. Carbon Copy Cloner does exactly what it says. It makes an exact copy of your system drive. All your preferences all the little invisible system files that wouldn't get copied if you tried to do in manually. Combine Carbon Copy Cloner with a good Back-up system and you'll be ready for almost anything.

Cyber Duck: The best free FTP client I have ever used. In fact it's better than any FTP client I ever paid for. The interface is pure MAC. Slick and easy.

Disctop: This one is basically useless. But it is really cool. If you have a MAC with a slot loading optical drive, like an iMac or a PowerBook, it puts on screen an animated image of the CD or DVD sliding into and out of the drive. Yeah it has a menu that you can use to open or eject the disc but it's mostly just cool when someone is looking over your shoulder and you pop in a disc.

Mail.appetizer: My favorite plug-in for Apple Mail. It puts the header info and a snippet of an incoming mail message in a little floating window. It has buttons to mark a message as read, view the full message in Mail or delete the message. If it had a move to Junk button it would be perfect.

Those are my top five that are listed on FreeMacWare. I do have a few that I like that they haven't listed yet.

IC-Switch: IC-Switch puts an item in the OS X menu bar that lets you edit settings in your Internet Config file. It lets you change your default email, web browser and FTP applications on the fly.

mAC3dec: A neat little app for converting audio file formats. I use it convert MP3s to AIFF so I can use them in Garage Band. (See Cabos above)

Phew: I use this to back up my user folder on the PowerBook to an external Firewire drive. You can specify multiple source folders to back-up to multiple destinations. The current release does not support scheduling but I guess you could write and AppleScript to do that if you really wanted to.

VODcaster: My tool of choice for publishing Podcasts. It creates the XML file that is read by the iTunes music store. It does it quickly and easily. And you don't need to know the first thing about XML files to use it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


March 18, 2006

The Times Goes M.A.D on Iran

I've gotten a lot of use of one line from the movie Top Gun. After reading this in the New York Times, I have to drag it out one more time. "Son your ego is writing checks your body can't cash." Though it's not entirely true in this case because it's entirely possible that David E. Sanger could have cash this one himself.

Sanger is taking the position that we should just let Iran get the bomb, and rely on containment to keep them in check.

And could deterrence, containment and cool calculation of national interest work to restrain Iran as it worked to restrain America and its competitors during the cold war? Or is that false comfort?
"We've lived with Iran as a terror threat for a generation," says Stephen Biddle, the senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, making the case that containment could work again. "Iran has a return address, and states with a return address can be retaliated against.
Here's he's just quoting someone who thinks Cold War ideas will work when applied to the Iranian government just as it worked against the Americans and those other guys in the Cold War.

But Sanger is in full agreement with the idea.

What of the fear that Iran might pass a weapon to Hezbollah or to Al Qaeda in Iraq? Those arguing for a containment strategy say Iran knows that the origins of any detonated bomb would be traced sooner or later, so the mullahs would not be foolish enough to trust proxies with such a weapon.
In Sanger's world view we should wait until some Israeli or U.S. city is a smoking pile of radioactive rubble before we take any action. And while we wait, we are pinning our hopes on a band of religious fanatics and their clearly unstable president.

I'm not an expert in these things but lets say we let Iran get the bomb and they don't make the rational judgments Sanger is counting on and the give one to a terrorist group. Let's say the terrorists get the thing into the U.S. and set it off in Times Square. What would the death toll be? 100,000? 200,000? 500,000?

How many infidel lives is Sanger willing to risk on the sound judgment of people who think strapping a bomb to your chest and taking out as many people with you as you can is a great and noble thing?

If the idea of containment and the treat of a western response had a chance of working on Iran after getting the bomb, why hasn't it stopped them from trying?

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Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:39 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Be Very Afraid

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff quotes Ronald Reagan to the people of California.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
If you live in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area you might just want to get out now.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:59 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


March 17, 2006

But Why?

I know it is really cool that someone figured it out. It"s really cool that the guy who did it picked up a nice $14k check.

But why?

In the name of all that is digitally sacred why?

Someone has figured out how to get the new Intel based Mac to run Windows XP.

Don't believe it either? Here's the video.

I understand how this is potentially a good thing for Apple and the MAC in the long run. I understand the competitive advantage of the fact that the XP End User Agreement allows for this happen and that the structure of the MAC OS license does not. (When you buy a full version of XP off the shelf you buy a license to install it wherever you want. The license for MAC OS off the shelf is an upgrade to what came on your system when you bought it. Apple would sue the pants of anyone who tried to sell a PC running the MAC OS) But there is that borderline religiosity that is part of being a MAC user that hates this to the point where I could find myself humming Don Mclean.
.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


Messing About With Templates

I spent some time the other day messing about with the Hold The Mayo templates. Someone posted a question on the MuNu home site asking how to add color to blockquotes. Munuviana being the great community that it is, someone posted the answer.

So I thought I would give it a try. I haven't done much to change the look of the site since it first went up, and a little change now and then is a good thing. So I copied and pasted the necessary text into my CSS file and started playing with it.

blockquote{

margin:15px 30px 15px 30px;
padding:8px 10px 8px 10px;
border: 1px solid #E8E8E8;
color:#030303;
font-family:arial, tahoma;
background:#E8E8E8;
}

I think I saved and rebuilt the file about a dozen times before I got the margins and padding to where I liked them. I eliminated the borders right away. I knew I didn't want those. Then it was a matter of finding the right shade of blue as the background color.

I went to a few different web sites with color charts and codes and after many variations had just about decided that I just wasn't going to get a blue that I liked. Then I remembered that PhotoShop could give me the hex code for any color I could want. I went with a color that was roughly 10% of the blue in the banner.

I saved and rebuilt then scrolled down to the first post with a blockquote. It was perfect. It was exactly what I envisioned when I decided to put color behind quotes. I was quite pleased that I had been able to achieve exactly the look that I wanted and it looked great.

There was only one slight problem. I hated it.

I don't hate the idea of color behind blockquotes. It is done on a lot of sites and if I notice at all, it certainly doesn't bother me. I just really didn't like it on my site.

So I went back into the CSS file and deleted the whole block of code saved and rebuilt.

Maybe I'm just stuck. Maybe I just don't like change. But the bottom line is I like the way the site looks as it is. Default blockquotes and all.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment


March 15, 2006

A Sailing History

I have been giving you all regular updates on the progress of the Volvo Ocean Race and going on about my irrational fantasy of participating. I understand that many of you probably couldn't care less about yacht racing but it's a blogger's prerogative to subject whatever readers they might have to their unique areas of interest. I don't do cat blogging so I do the occasional sail blog. It is only fair though that since I subject you to round the world race results I offer you some insight into the source of this fascination.

As a cild I spent summers on a lake. The boat we had when I was young was a flat bottom plywood fishing boat with a temperamental five horsepower Sea King motor. Eventually boats and motors were upgraded (both ours and friend's) and they were used as much for water-skiing as fishing.

Along the way I had a couple of brushes with sunfish sailing. I got the hang of the basics fairly quickly but didn't really get the sailing bug. You should know that for young teenage boys the basics of sunfish sailing involve primarily figuring out the fastest and easiest way to capsize. Basically you just put the boat on a beam reach (wind at about 90* to the hull) and trim the sail in hard. There is a brief period of rapid acceleration followed by a swim.

I really got into sailing after college. And like so many things in a young man's life, it started with a girl.

I met her in my senior year at the University of Maine. It turns out that in the real world she lived in the next town up the coast from me so the romance didn't end with school. It also turned out that she owned a cottage (through her parents) in a summer community about ten minutes from my house. Her cousin, an architect from New Cannan, CT, also had a property there.

He also had boats. He had two power boats and was co-owner of a Cape Dory Typhoon named Cats Paw. The Typhoon was a 17' weekender. You could sail it all day and if luxury and comfort (and standing) were not a priority you could camp on board. There is an explanation for the boats name. On a calm day when the water is flat, the first breeze will stir delicate little ripples on the water. Those ripples are called cat's paw.

But it was not Cat's Paw that hooked me. It was the Nonesuch. There is a class of boat called Nonesuch, but this boat has nothing to do with that. The name was taken from a sign on the Maine Turnpike for the bridge crossing the Nonesuch River. The boat is a Compass Class sloop. Hull number 26 of the original 35 built in the late 40's. My friend, Rink, found it half rotten in someone's back yard and bought it for a song.

The Maritime Museum in Bath, ME (visible from my family home) ran a boat-building apprentice shop. They agreed to do the restoration work if Rink supplied the materials. I have searched the internets far and wide for a picture of this boat. The only ones I cold find are these two photos of a new hull under construction. The lines are the same, but it does not suggest the beauty of a vintage boat like Nonesuch with its varnished teak topsides and mast. (But still, I wonder how much...)

That first summer after college when I was only working part time, Rink lamented that he would not have the time to get her ready to go into the water. Having seen her on the trailer in the barn, that just seemed wrong. So I volunteered to do the work. Sanding everything. Painting the hull and cockpit. Several coats of varnish to the topsides, mast, boom, and rudder. Rink said that if I did that he would take care of the nasty anti-fouling bottom paint. And he would teach me to sail.

I learned quickly that Nonesuch was a lively boat. Built to go fast. Of course a modern race boat of the same size would probably sail circles around her, but it would not look nearly as nice doing so. On a beat, Nonesuch was happiest with her leeward gunwales just kissing the water. As the sails powered up and she began to heal over you could feel her pulling for that spot. Once she got there it was easy to keep her there. The hull, sails, rudder and center board were in balance at just point.

Long before that first lesson was over I was hooked. The moment the boat reached that sweet spot and I didn't feel like I had to fight the tiller I became a sailer for life.

There were many more sails on Nonesuch and Cat's Paw over many more summers some them ordinary days on the water, some of them stories worth telling at another time.

Along the way, I left behind my part time jobs and started working full time at a print shop in Yarmouth, ME. I don't generally put a lot of stock in things like luck and fate, but I happened to be at the counter when a gentleman came in who wanted some simple fliers to put up advertising for crew to race the J24 he had just purchased. (not a pic of the actual boat.)

Signing on ment three nights after work cleaning and preparing the boat. I had no problem with that. I had made that deal before. However, for reasons I never learned the boat was never put in the water. It was not a total loss since I met Scott who worked for a local sail maker and owned a J29. Scott needed one more for his crew.

It was somewhat unusual for a sail maker to take on a newbie as crew. Sail makers put a premium on winning because it helps them sell sails. I don't know if my rookie status had anything to do with him calling me Jim but he did for almost all of that first season. He would call out for Jim to do something that I knew was my job so I did what he asked.

One day when I was filling in for one of the other crew who couldn't make it, we had a very exciting mark rounding involving three other boats, a minor collision and a good deal of shouting. When things settled down he apologized to everyone for yelling so much. He slapped me on the back and said "Good job, Jim." I told him my name wasn't Jim. He told me he knew.

He was going to keep calling me Jim until I said something. I was going to let him do it until he figured it out. We got along well.

Then, I moved to Connecticut. Where I knew no one involved in yacht racing. But the internet came to my rescue. Or more accurately at that time CompuServe where I found a list of people looking for crew.

Sailing became a mainstay of existence. I raced on a different boat three nights a week and on Sunday. Aside from the sailing, this provided me with free food and alcohol. The owners provided sandwiches and beer and most races were followed by happy hour at the nearest bar.

Eventually I wound up on one boat sailing every Sunday. A J24 named Blue Star. (The owner had each of his very young daughters pick one word that he combined to get the name.)

I worked the foredeck that's me in the red hat on the front of the boat. I sailed regularly for several years until (and this took longer than it should have) I stopped to be with my family more.

I do miss sailing, and particularly racing, but it is not the most important thing in my life. Some day when the kids are older and I have more time and money (there will be that someday, right?) I will have my own boat. Maybe I'll call that guy making the Compass.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:30 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment


March 12, 2006

Still More I'd Rather Be Sailing

Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race is all but complete. Leg 4 Started in Wellington, NZ and finished in Rio de Janeiro. Six boats started and five have finished. The boat Movistar was forced to pull in to port at Cape Horn to effect repairs and is currently about 800 miles from the finish and is not able to push the boat too hard. they should finish in 3 - 4 days.

Leg 4 was won by the overall points leader ABM AMRO One who continues to dominate the event. The remaining 2 positions on the finish podium came down to a close battle between three boats, with several lead changes in the last 100 miles. Paul Cayard, skipper of Pirates of the Caribbean described the finish in an email

We got passed by Brasil1 yesterday afternoon but we somehow managed a little better in all the crazy conditions to grab second place back. We broke the watch system off at the point when Brasil1 passed us. No one wanted to go to sleep until we had passed them back. To have to sprint like that right at the end of a 6700 mile - three week leg - was tough for everyone - Brasil1 and ABN AMRO Two also.
Here's a link to a video from the stern cam onboard Pirates that will give you a taste of what this race is like. Keep in mind as you watch that they are somewhere in the middle of the ocean, hundreds of miles from land. When this video was recorded on March 8, they still had 3 days of tough racing to go having been on the water for about 12 days already.

The beautifully done Pirate web site has a great video of helicopter footage of the boat in action, and a counter that they started off on day 1 of leg 1 currently at 120 dasy: 16 hours and counting.

ABN AMRO Two took third, dashing the hopes of the Brasil1 crew for a podium finish in their home port.

The crews will be in Rio for a while. There will be an in-port race and then Leg Five Rio to Baltimore.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:33 AM | No Comments | Add Comment


Why I'm Not Moving to Pakistan Soon

I have decided I don't want to move to Pakistan. And it's not just that they have banned kite flying. It's that they banned kite flying because of seven deaths resulting from injuries from kite flying duels.

To my knowledge no one in Connecticut has ever died from a kite duel accident.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 09:16 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment


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