Saturday, February 25, 2006

Honorary Dweeb

From a C-SPAN interview with the Instapundit.com publisher:

BRIAN LAMB: "You have also called yourself a geek."

GLENN REYNOLDS: "Mm-hmm.

"LAMB: And a dweeb.

"REYNOLDS: Yes, I'm a bit of a dweeb. I'm a law professor. I think you get an honorary dweeb card as soon as they tenure you, at least."

Full Q&A Interview

Actually, I just noticed something very odd. I was watching the video for this interview and following along with the transcript, and they completely stripped from the transcript the question and his answer on immigration!

About 45 minutes into the video, after he says, "I think we have got to let the science decide [about embryonic stem cells]," and before Brian's question "Where are you on George Bush?" there was an entire comment about immigration that C-SPAN left off the transcript!

From 44:34 to 45:46 in the video, Glenn responded with things like, "Nigerian immigrants in my family, ... legal immigration and illegal immigration ... hoops legally vs. easy illegally ... open immigration ... issue in 2008" etc.

Very strange!

Actually they dropped a lot of the exchange about his wife, Helen Smith, too, and her site violentkids.com. The transcript jumps there makes a big jump from "I wouldn't infringe on somebody else's trademark" to "We don’t have a fixed schedule."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Spying on Venezuela, or Iran?

"The Hugo Chavez administration is clearly throwing down the gauntlet to the international community by drawing increasingly closer to states ranked as outlaws, such as Iran, Syria, Cuba and North Korea.

"With Iran, for example, it is strengthening its trade and political ties. For some time, the Iranians have been running a Fundatracto plant in Ciudad Bolivar, and there has been talk of a facility for assembling Iranian automobiles in Venezuela."

"This week, Sudeban Superintendent Trino Alcides Diaz announced that they were looking into the possibility of setting up a branch of the state-owned Banco Industrial de Venezuela in Tehran. That being the case, it would be no more than natural were the Iranian president to do Venezuela the honor of paying a visit this year.

"According to an unconfirmed rumor, collaboration by the Iranians could include the mining of uranium in the Amazon for subsequent shipment to Iran.

"It is speculated that this could be the true reason behind the expulsion of the New Tribes Mission. It is also thought that this could have been what motivated the dismantling of the National Guard's Regional Command 8 (CORE 8), based in the Amazon, halfway through last year.

"What is more, the Chavez administration is getting dangerously close to terrorist organizations such as the Islamic resistance group, Hamas, which is apparently also to visit Venezuela sometime this year. It is even forming an alliance with the Qatari television network, Al-Jazeera, which furthers Islamic ideals, to enter an agreement with Telesur to create a global television network.

"It can be assumed that these relations with the world's extremists and terrorists are why the Spaniards gave in to pressure from the United States and did not sell Venezuela the aircraft as originally planned, or why the Russians have not yet sent the first AK assault rifle, or why British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Venezuela to respect international rules. Could it be because of all this that the countries of the north have opposed Venezuela’s joining the U.N. Security Council?

"Perhaps the European Community and the United States are not overly concerned over the fact that Venezuelans are losing their democracy and their freedom, but what they are not going to tolerate is that the gates to Latin America be opened wide to the outlaw nations of the world because one of its countries, with enormous resources, is keeping dangerous company." ...

Dennis Bakke on Leadership

"Leadership isn't about holding people accountable.
Good leadership gets people to hold themselves accountable."
Dennis Bakke

S.D. Abortion Bill Takes Aim at 'Roe'

"South Dakota lawmakers yesterday approved the nation's most far-reaching ban on abortion (PDF), setting the stage for new legal challenges that its supporters say they hope lead to an overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"The measure, which passed the state Senate 23 to 12, makes it a felony for doctors to perform any abortion, except to save the life of a pregnant woman. The proposal still must be signed by Gov. Mike Rounds (R), who opposes abortion." ...

South Dakota:
Governor, Legislative Directory, Leadership, Committees

FL bill would create birth record for stillborns

"On Wednesday, the [Florida] House Health Care Committee unanimously approved the 'Missing Angels' bill (HB 439) to create birth certificates for pregnancies that last 20 weeks and end in the natural delivery of stillborn infants. Last week, a Senate committee unanimously approved similar legislation (SB 746)." ...

Google filters Google as spam

It seems all the end-of-the-month newsletters are coming today.

I use Gmail, Google's email service, and I had three messages in the spam folder. The usual drill is to mark them as read and move on.

Occasionally, there's something in there counted as spam that's not supposed to be counted as spam.

Guess what I found in there today!

Picasa, the Google photo organizing software, had sent me a newsletter that Gmail thought was spam. :)

I thought that was funny. More importantly, I thought you'd like to know.

While on the Picasa topic, it's designed to be your be-all basic software for photos. Namely for organizing, editing, and then distribution through various channels.

I've never really used the organizing capabilities of it because I keep my photos organized in those really cool things called folders (f.k.a. directories) on my computer.

The editing features in Picasa are cool, and better than what I've seen in most other places. However, Google/Picasa take issue with this concept of "saving" a file. As in, if I want to make changes to the file, I can actually, um, make changes to it! No, no. Google was kind enough to inform me that it will not save pictures "in order to help preserve the image quality of your original images." OK, I appreciate the advice, but at least allow me to make the decision, please!

Based on that fundamental problem with the software, I cannot bring myself to use it. That's too bad because they have some really cool blogging features among others that come after too complicated a process ("exporting" was Google's recommendation) to get there. And in that newsletter, they were telling me about a new feature where Picasa can help me get my photos put on real postage stamps!

(This is normally something I would post on my xanga instead, but since this is related to Google, and Blogger is also a Google company (!), I posted it here instead.)

Google: DOJ, no; Current TV, yes

In their recent Google Friends newsletter, the search experts offered up this "miscellany":

"Current TV is a new cable and satellite channel available throughout the U.S. Through a partnership, we provide access to Google Zeitgeist information—up to the minute aggregated search query results—for the Current staff to use in creating new TV stories. The resulting program, 'Google Current,' airs every half hour on Current TV and provides a look at what the world is searching for on Google. From hybrid cars to human-animal hybrids, from Paris riots to Paris Hilton photos, your searches guide Current stories."

It's interesting to note the contrast. When the Department of Justice asked for Google searches, Google said 'no.' But then they go and partner with a TV network to provide similar data on a regular basis—by the half hour.

Actually, there are two points to make here:
  1. I'm comparing apples to oranges. The DOJ wanted every single Google search and the results for an entire week—a full 168 hours of 1,000 searches per second. Multiply all those seconds by all those searches, and DOJ wanted more than 600 million searches and the results to review. (No contest here that such is an overreach by federal authorities.) For the TV program, it sounds like they're sampling those searches every half hour.
  2. The objective is also very different. The DOJ was looking for "exploitative child porn" to rightfully suppress while the TV program is looking to promote search trends that tend to center around ways people waste time online.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Teacher sins; school sins back

"When Michelle McCusker, 26, got a job teaching pre-school at St. Rose of Lima, a Catholic school in Queens, N.Y., she fulfilled a longtime dream. 'That's what I want to do, to be able to give something to children, it's amazing,' McCusker said.

"But then McCukser—who is Catholic and single—became pregnant. She decided to keep the baby and informed the school early in the school year.

"The school—backed by the Brooklyn Diocese, which oversees Catholic churches in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens—fired her.

"'The school requires its teachers to convey the faith, to convey the gospel values and Christian traditions of the Catholic faith,' said Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn." ...

On the letter of catholic law, yes, Miss McCusker has failed to "convey the faith." She sinned.

But isn't it also part of "conveying the faith" to extend forgiveness as well? If so, then the school is at least as wrong for firing her.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Coburn, the tunnel under spending

"The Senate, which fancies itself the world's most exclusive club, has its Sir John Hawkins. He was the 18th-century musicologist whom Samuel Johnson called 'a very unclubbable man.' The very unclubbable senator is Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, 57, a freshman Republican whose motto could be: 'Niceness is overrated.' Coburn is the most dangerous creature that can come to the Senate, someone simply uninterested in being popular.

When Speaker Dennis Hastert defends earmarks—spending dictated by individual legislators for specific projects—by saying that a member of Congress knows best where a stoplight ought to be placed, Coburn responds: Members of Congress are the least qualified to make such judgments."

"Civilization depends on the ability to make even majorities blush, so it is momentous news that shame may be making a comeback, even on Capitol Hill, as a means of social control. Embarrassment is supposed to motivate improved education in grades K through 12 under No Child Left Behind: That law provides for identifying failing schools, the presumption being that communities will blush, then reform. And embarrassment is Coburn's planned cure for Congress' earmark culture.

"'Quite time-consuming,' was Coburn and John McCain's laconic description, in a letter to colleagues, of their threat to bring the Senate to a virtual standstill with challenges to earmarks. In 1999, while in the House, Coburn offered 115 anti-pork amendments to an agriculture bill—effectively, a filibuster in a chamber that does not allow filibusters."

"'I'm not liked very well,' he says serenely, 'but I'm like the gopher that's going to keep on digging until someone spears me or traps me. I'm going to keep on digging the tunnel under spending.' Because, he says, large deficits reverse the American tradition of making sacrifices for the benefit of rising generations: 'I'm an American long before I'm a Republican, and I'm a granddad before I'm either one of them. If I don't get re-elected? Great. The republic will live on.' Meanwhile, his mission is the soul of simplicity: 'stopping bad things.'" ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NTM expulsion from Venezuela complete; legal challenge pending

"Dozens of U.S. Christian missionaries have left their posts in Venezuela's jungle ahead of a government order to leave the area." ...

Saturday, February 4, 2006

NTM Venezuela: 8 days to eviction

Thursday "the Supreme Court [of Venezuela] handed down a preliminary decision on the case of New Tribes Mission of Venezuela.

"The Court determined not to suspend the effects of the Nov. 14 resolution which gave missionaries 90 days to leave tribal areas. At the same time the Court accepted the request for a hearing on the constitutionality of the resolution.

"NTM missionaries will continue their exit from tribal areas in order to meet the February 12 deadline.

"The process to overturn the resolution is still ongoing, but the final decision on that count could take up to a year." ...

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you build one.
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