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July 30, 2004

Is this good, or very bad?

When I first caught this article on V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid power supply) I wasn't sure.

Let's see, sucking energy from the batteries of hybrids, which are just going to have to generate it back by burning gas. For peak demands, I guess that might make sense, depending on the cost/environmental impact of building to meet such peek demands. But the article suggests sucking power back from all-electric cars. Uh, what? The power company surely can build more efficient storage means than showing the power down the lines and back (once to charge the car, once to return it to the network from the car) on-site, with batteries that probably scale better. Not to mention that it supposedly costs hundreds of dollars to equip a car with the technology to do this.

OTOH, whenever the use of fuel-cell cars becomes widespread, this might make sense. I have a feeling that home generators based on fuel-cells will actually eviscerate any demand-cycle problems far better than building cars (and parking lots) that support plugging back in. Bah.

July 29, 2004

Pic of the Day: Fireworks photography attempt

This is one of a recent couple of attempts of taking photos during fireworks. J cut me off soon thereafter, so I wasn't really able to experiment as much as I'd've liked... but this one is, at least, mildly entertaining.

Reactions to the far right....

Well, it's a sure-fire way to demonstrate how leftist I've become, but I couldn't help but cobble together a response to this extremist essay by Michelle Malkin after reading it. I have included her entire text inline for side-by-side rebutting.... which I hope is permissible. If it's somehow a threat to her copyright, I'll be happy to change to excerpts, though, thus decreasing greatly the value to political discussion this post might possibly serve.

Proceed with care...

Here we go...

Original inflammatory point

Inflammatory response
1. Ted Kennedy. The senior bloviator from Massachusetts has worked relentlessly since the Sept. 11 attacks to cripple homeland defense. For once, Teresa Heinz-Kerry speaks for me: "Ted Kennedy I don't trust." Last January, he secretly attempted to remove funding for the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) -- a Justice Department program that helped nab at least 330 known foreign criminals, 15 illegal-alien felons and three known terrorists who attempted to enter the country. Last month, he introduced legislation that would gut the PATRIOT Act and radically restructure the immigration court system to protect and strengthen illegal aliens' rights.

Not sure what the cost of NSEERS was, but the replacement program, US-VISIT, seems to be costing us about $692 million for the last two years. Why do we need to catch 15 illegal-alien felons? Would they, or the 330 known foreign criminals have posed an imminent threat? Was there a mandate somewhere that this was important? Hello... budget deficits anyone? I acknowledge catching the three known terrorists is a perk, but I'm not convinced they:
  • Wouldn't have been caught anyway
  • Weren't just mislabelled. There have been many abuses of the new terror laws
  • Could have done enough damage to offset the costs to our world image that this has caused. Even Brazil is reacting.

PATRIOT act = not good, folks. It gives sweeping power and no oversight to the investigative parts of the government. There's a reason we have the warrant system. It works just fine. Judicial review has served us well for over 2 centuries. Where's even the defense that PATRIOT serves us? 'cause it's called the PATRIOT act? We should have stopped falling for that long ago.

He opposes allowing the nation's 600,000 local and state law enforcement officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. And, in proposing that the federal government maintain a new national registry of law-abiding gun purchasers, he has exploited the War on Terrorism to advance his anti-Second Amendment agenda.

I'm indifferent on this point - not sure of the impact of info sharing between 600k local law enforcement and immigration. Suspect that it would increase the burden, financially and otherwise, on the local folks.
If the Sept. 11 attacks were a "failure of imagination" as the 9/11 commission concluded, protecting America requires that we imagine this bone-chilling scenario and do all we can to prevent another disaster: Ted Kennedy, attorney general of the United States.

What, as compared to Ashcroft, who has gone on several unsupported rampages {porn, Christian values, etc} - is Ted Kennedy even a likely attorney general?
2. The American Civil Liberties Union. The organization maintains dangerously absolutist positions against the use of torture to gather intelligence from al Qaeda terrorists, against the designation of enemy combatants apprehended on either foreign or American soil, and against common-sense profiling in wartime. The ACLU joined Sen. Kennedy in opposing the carefully targeted NSEERS program. It sued to stop enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which tightened employment requirements for airport screeners. And under the guise of protecting civil rights, the ACLU supported the infamous wall of separation that handicapped communications between U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies fighting terrorism.

If you don't strike a strong stance, especially against detractors like these, you will quickly find your relevance eroded by uninformed propaganda.

Carefully targeted? What? (This article seems to suggest that anyone can be fingered for the program...)

Wall of separation - like the recent lowering of the intentional separation between the FBI and the CIA? Doesn't anyone read their history? Or the negative possibilities when the feds can now keep records on you that you can no longer dispute for accuracy, or, nay, even sue for access to?

In the nearly three years since the mass murder of 3,000 innocent people on American soil by fanatical Muslim terrorists, there is not a single law or policy that the ACLU has supported that would help prevent a bloody repeat of Sept. 11.

  • Rule #1 - terrorists are in it to scare us.
  • Rule #2 - Doing their work for them means they don't have to do it themselves.
  • Rule #3 - Why repeat an attack that people are looking out for/aware of, when you can come up with any of hundreds of other devastating approachs?

Oh, and, 3000 deaths? Why can't we even find a number on the number of innocent Iraqis who've been slaughtered in this War on Terror. I'm still waiting to see the evidence linking Sadam to Bin Ladin. Seems like no one can find the evidence.

3. The Professional Grievance-Mongers. From the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the collective response of the Diversity Is Our Strength crowd to the War on Terror has been to cry, "Racist!" The ethnic shakedown artists who have sued over every slight and hyped every faked claim of a hate crime are America-bashing enablers of the worst sort -- and they are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Maybe 'cause the War on Terror is fighting its shadow, slowly enraging the predominantly peaceful Muslim world, while, in truth, profiling is only targeting a small racial population. In a statistical sense, they haven't found any terrorists that way. But, then, statistics aren't most people's strong points - witness Florida in Election 2000: statistically, we could never know who won, because of the limits of measurement accuracy.
4. The Open Borders Lobby. Longtime readers know of my dissatisfaction with the Bush administration's unwillingness to get serious control of our immigration chaos. But if you are unhappy with the lack of progress on securing our land, air and sea ports of entry, it will only get worse under Kerry-Edwards. Groups such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Council of La Raza, and the Ford Foundation have protested enforcement, detention, deportation, employer sanctions, and secure identification measures every step of the way. It is from these ranks that a Democratic administration will draw upon to staff the Justice Department, Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security. Scary.

Are we unhappy with the progress securing our borders? What happened to the land of the free? What about the privacy effects of "secure identification". How much evidence do you need that this stuff can be trivially misused? Oh, and, as a parting blow - I still don't understand the benefit of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Perhaps someone can explain it to me, but I was sorta' hoping that a Democratic win in the election might get rid of that Orwellian-sounding mess.
5. First Responder Fetishists. In her convention remarks on Monday night, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton said the first homeland security priority in response to the 9/11 report was the "need to fully equip and train . . . our first responders in the event of a terrorist attack." Eager to suck up to men and women in uniform, John Kerry has proposed adding 100,000 first responders to the ranks of firefighters and emergency medical personnel nationwide. As I have said before, there is no question that our brave firefighters, cops and emergency personnel need increased training and support -- but dialing 911 is not the solution to stopping another 9/11.

I admit, I haven't heard of this issue before, and it sounds kind of pointless. As an acknowledged debate trick, I'll pose this question: would you rather have more people trained to handle generic emergency situations, or those 500k local law enforcement, many of them already quite busy, you know, enforcing the local laws, being given immigration and Homeland Security kinds of duties?

And neither is voting the party of the Chicken Little Clean-Up Crew into office.

An excellent retort, but strangely ineffectual. Am I just dense, or doesn't it kind of sound like Ms. Malkin is referring to the Bush administration as Chicken Littles - claiming the sky is falling, puting in senseless protections against threats that are miniscule to puff-up their own popularity, waging wars of financial convenience, etc. Perhaps we need the Chicken Little Clean-Up Crew....

July 27, 2004

Comment spam overload!

Ack, the new wave has been unleashed. MT-Blacklist for 3.0 can't get here soon enough.

Some spammer is sending a comment spam to just about every post I have... currently up to about 65 of them... possibly all of the entries i haven't (yet) turned off comments on. Same basic content, pretty easy to filter and remove. But MT 3.0 rebuilding is a little slow, so it's a big pain. This is what I get for not running a version of MT that has an active MT-Blacklist... and a few other promiscuous activities. I wonder what gives, though. Such rampant spamming can't really help the pagerank that much, nor can it particularly go undetected. It's more like a DoS. Same e-mail address, but pretty much all unique IP addresses.

Follow Up: Another blast came in early in the morning on July 30th. Now I guess I'm going to just go through and close comments on all old posts. What a pain. The sliding window in MT-Blacklist is going to simplify things a lot...

July 07, 2004

Gmail documentation clarifies "y"

To follow up on previous posts about Gmail and how I think that the "y" key, aka "Archive" really means the same thing that "delete" did in m previous mail system - Gmail's help center seems to have clarified. From the Gmail Help Center post on what the keyboard shortcuts are, it now specifies:

*Remove from current view
Automatically removes the message or conversation from your current view.
  • In Inbox View, 'y' means Archives
  • In Starred View, 'y' means Unstar
  • In Spam View, 'y' means Unmark as spam and move to Inbox
  • In Trash View, 'y' means move to Inbox
  • In Label View, 'y' means Remove the label

So, they admit that "y" means a different "archive" than the normal "archive" option from the Gmail drop down menu. Good to know that it unmarks Spam, though, I hadn't discovered that little gem...