Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCainiacs Both Pro & Con

I have commented on this a number of times before and will continue to do so.

I have made it clear I am not a big fan of Señator McCain. I think his campaign finance reform is an affront to the constitution and his comments denigrating Mitt Romney's history sound like they come from a leftist idolater of big government than a Republican. Plus his reluctance to reduce the tax burden, his obeisance to the globaloney warming crowd have me wondering about his worthiness to run as a Republican candidate for President. I have no problem with saying Señator McCain's troubles are his own doing and Señator McCain does not seem to be at all concerned about the trouble he is having with the conservative base.

John McCain is not all bad. He was prescient in calling for a change in strategy in Iraq. While there is more to the turn around in Iraq than simply adding more soldiers his call on it was much more correct than most others.

One thing is for sure: Señator McCain is bucking against conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom that says candidates work to appeal to the base during primary season and then reverse course and reach out to the middle during general election season.

Many say it seems Señator McCain is the candidate of the MSM. That is he takes the position urged by the MSM. Hmmm, I hope he understands as soon as it is him against Barak or Hillary the MSM will savage him.

Ronald Reagen used to say half a loaf of bread is better than no loaf of bread. I grant with Señator McCain it is more like a quarter loaf of bread but Barak Obama and Hillary are truly no loafs.

Typically many will object this saying you vote your conscience. I understand that, but if your conscience is okay with President Hillary & VP Barak (or any such combination) then sit out and refuse to vote for McCain.

I am hoping Mitt pulls his campaign out this coming Tuesday.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart

Today we celebrate the birthday of Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart more commonly known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of his pieces that is sure to turn bad moods into good one and to get me tapping fingers and feet is the ending of his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail and here is that work:

If you want to listen to more Mozart just click on over to WCPE and listen! They are playing a lot of Mozart in celebration.

Happy Birthday Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart you would be 252 years old today!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is Why...

I was never convinced of Fred Thompson.

FWIW, I would like to see Fred Thompson as president he seems to be the best of the lot, but I never really believed he was serious about it. He said he was a candidate and seemed to act as if there was plenty of time to do all the stuff needed to win the job.

Fred Thompson has the ideology to be a great president however it seems to me he is sorely lacking in executive skills and ability. I think he was angling to serve as vice president all along, then he is set up for his own presidency.

This segues into the the fight over McCain & Huckabee. Quite a bit of talk is being broadcast, ink being applied to paper, bits sent over the fibers & wires about conservatives and McCain and Huckabee.

The conservatives are not particularly happy with John McCain and Mike Huckabee and I am not at all unsympathetic to that viewpoint. Right now the argument seems to be between the pragmatists and the principled and please do not read disdain for either camp by the terminology I use.

One talk show host I listen to (unfortunately for I consider him an a blithering idiot) is most in favor of Ron Paul, however this guy tells us a online voter guide indicates Dennis Kucinich is ideal for his views (duh!), but is now coming out for John McCain. Blithering Idiot makes one good point and that is one based on pragmatism. John McCain is currently the only one who beats Hillary Clinton in national polling. Now, the principled say what's the difference?

Here it is the American Conservative Lifetime rating for John McCain is 82.3. For Hillary: it is 9.0 for Barak Obama the rating is 8.0.

Now, I grant most everyone McCain is not the ideal candidate, but according this Washington Post editorial, Fred's ACU lifetime rating is 86.1, that is not too much more than McCain's ratings.

I wonder if those very much opposed to a McCain or a Huckabee would be okay with them if they took on Fred Thompson? I think is why he has yet to endorse anyone.

The only Republican who would have me think of skipping the vote for president is Mike Huckabee terrible on taxes, terrible on spending, terrible on foreign affairs, say what you want about John McCain he has the foreign affairs pretty well nailed down.


Monday, January 21, 2008

On Sunday

It really is soaking in, Packer wins in Lambeau Field even during the cold and important games are not inevitable. This is the second time in recent history the Packers have had their post-season play ended in Lambeau Field.

While, good play is the most important factor, the psychological aspects of games is important too. The Packers, during the Holmgren era, were unbeatable at home.

So, was the season a catastrophe? No, reaching the conference championship is not a trivial feat it is a feat. Prior to the season I voted in an online poll and called the Packers to go 11-5. I admit it, I am a homer and my glasses are green and gold. I thought I was being highly optimistic in my prognostication. However, that was not so crazy.

The Packers started off the season without a running game. They have a solid base from which to improve their running game now. Yeah our game was shut down on Sunday, but the week before he ran for 208 yards, not easy against any defense in the NFL.

This year also had the return of the Packer's screen play. Last year the screen had problems pulling away from their starting positions and getting set up. More than once last year I saw them tripping over each other, saw some real purty screen plays this year. The Giants did a great job of blowing those up on Sunday.

With essentially the same team, the Packer's are going to have an improved running and screen play games. This will be coach McCarthy's third season with the same team.

The defense needs to shore up the front line. Manning had way too much time and the Giants ran at will.

What positions do the Packers need to draft for?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Album Review NFL Film's The Power and the Glory

I just obtained the CD The Power and the Glory a recording of the music of NFL Films.

I often hear these songs on various advertising and when I do have an NFL films video playing on the TV. Most notably the song Roundup which was the inspiration to ask for this CD for a Christmas gift. The song without the distractions of someone reading a script over it delivers its hair-raising promise. That song is an electric piece of music and when heard in its entirety delivers quite a bit. I can see playing this song when I need a pickup or want something to drive me (whether it be on the ski hill or the workout gym).

The CD consists of one brief track of John Facenda reading some football related poetry (typically about the game, the moment, the seasons, the men,...) or sounds direct from a game (players talking each other up, a coach exhorting his team) to some of the music in the background, and then the next track is the music without voice over or other distraction (Sorry Ray Scott, when I hear your ads in the morning I am trying to filter you out).

As I said, I asked fo rthe CD based on Roundup, but there are other gems in the collection I have yet to dig out, but a quick listening finds at least four other tracks that eventually will end up in my listening repertoire.

I do not like the CD's title as it is lifted directly from a prayer, but that aside, I think this CD is a good one and sits in the relatively wide open field of those CDs that form the border between pop music and classical music.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Practical Extraction and Reporting Language

if (U != geek) {
Don't read this post, it has a high geek quotient.
else {


I have been busy doing some PERL coding of late. I was getting geared up to deploy an e-commerce website. Well, such sites should be backed up on a regular basis so not wanting to do it manually every day I wrote a PERL script to do it. It is triggered by cron overnight and looks through the customer's web directory making a list of every file it finds under the web directory (it recurses through sub-directories so it does find everything) and packs everything up into a tarball. Then early in the morning my workstation (again via cron) fires off another PERL script to pull that tarball from the remote server to my workstation.

After the usual tweaking and fiddling I got it all to work and managed to extract all of the files out onto my workstation.

So, this morning I took those nifty scripts and I enabled it to have the critical system dependent information (system specific paths and IDs and the like) passed in via command line parameter. Now, instead of editing the script every time I want to deploy it to another website, I just set up a shell script calling the backup script with the correct positional parameters.

The next trick I need to figure out is how to get the databases backed up. I found some help there, but it seems like host security setups may not permit me to use those techniques, I hope they can be overcome.

return 1;

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vote Fraud & IDs

The Indiana state law requiring photo ID to vote is before the Supreme Court. Lo & behold it turns out the case before the court springs from a woman who was busted for being registered in two states. Here is the story.

An old woman shows up a polling location in Indiana and presents a Florida ID. She is refused a regular ballot and refuses a provisional ballot, goes gets a Indiana ID and comes back and casts her vote. Read the story, I think this woman is in deep doo-doo no matter what happens and vote fraud is the least of her worries.

This is the exact situation voter ID laws are setup to catch. Such laws are not exclusively out to catch the deliberate. Computer security is every bit as worried about preventing the "oh $#!+" moment as well as deliberate sabotage. The woman in this case is closer to an "oh $#!+" case than out and out fraud but is no reason the case should be dismissed.

Also, from reading the details it sounds like this woman knew exactly what she was doing and was doing to provoke the court case.

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Mrs. Bush in the UAE

BRN at Bss & Brn in Al Ain comment on the reaction of bloggers & commentators regarding the one photo of Mrs. Bush in the UAE:
Anyway, this comment at The Corner, the National Review's group blog, was the last thing that I tried to blog about before I gave up.

I really don't know what to say about this. It is so very frustrating when people do things like this, especially when it is out of ignorance. I emailed the author, who, evidence here not withstanding, is not a hateful or stupid person, to explain that this was not a reason to be depressed at all, but happy and hopeful. Just look at how Mrs. Bush's trip was covered in the Gulf News, with three articles, all very positive. [Ed. Bad linking style Brn, it looks like one link try to break up separate links with unlinked text, however I reconstruct as is]
Source: Bss & Brn in Al Ain – A Reason to be Depressed I agree with Brn on this one.

Quite a few conservative blogs commented on a similar line, how it was terrible Mrs. Bush was sitting next to women in abaya's. I think part of the reaction is rooted in the visit Nancy Pelosi made to Syria and covered her hair up. I did not think the fact Nancy covered up was a big deal but the main purpose of her visit was shear lunacy. Also, the Syrian government is secular Baathist and as such is not so concerned about such things. Perhaps it was all done for public consumption. So, when Mrs. Bush appears next to the covered women I think too many people believe it is an endorsement.

I was raised to respect a host's rules and standards. Is there anything wrong with Mrs. Bush doing that?

The main thing though, is such commentary shows no understanding of the United Arab Emirates. I taught on the UAE University's Women's campus for one year. I had students who covered up every bit as much as the women sitting next to Mrs. Bush and I had young women in tight jeans and t-shirts and everything in between.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Way to Go Tectite!

On other websites I run I use Tectite's PHP formmail program. Just recently inspiration came to me and am looking for implementing two anti-spam solutions.

The first one is captcha. You probably have come across captchas where a picture is presented with scrambled & obfusticated letters and you are asked to fill in a form field telling the computer what those letters are.

The other idea I have had was to replace target e-mails (even mangled e-mails do not work the best by mangled I mean: in the form with a database lookup key. The formmail program uses the key to look up the e-mail in a database. Makes sense, I can not believe e-mail mangling is too hard to defeat, make a couple of different attempts at demangling the e-mail and if none work write the e-mail to a file to be gone through later.

Well, Tectite has implemented both of those ideas. In fact, they go a little farther. They now allow the webmaster to create a server-side ini file where you can specify the e-mail addresses to send the form to and place lookup keys in the client-side form (client-side is what the person using the browser sees). In addition to completely hiding form target e-mail addresses one can also shield further functionality from spam bots (e.g. specifying what fields are and are not mandatory). I have just started looking at this increased functionality, I can not wait till I get through it to the end!

The forms can also perform captcha-spam blocking. Previously, I was looking at using outside software to create captchas (and in certain instances, it may be called for) but I was having difficulty getting the captcha software to work on all of my websites except for one.

I really want to give a high-five to Tectite for adding this functionality to their formmail program!

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Happy New Year!

BO is an Idiot

By BO I mean Barak Obama and yes I believe him an idiot.

VINTON, Iowa - Ever since Barack Obama suggested Hillary Clinton's eight years as first lady were a glorified tea party a few days back, she's looked for an opening to strike back.

On Saturday night in Dubuque she pounced, arguing she risked her life on White House missions in the 1990s, including a hair-raising flight into Bosnia that ended in a "corkscrew" landing and a sprint off the tarmac to dodge snipers.

"I don't remember anyone offering me tea," she quipped.
Source: Hillary says she risked life on White House trips – (Glenn Thrush)
Of course I have yet to discuss his ideas about attacking Pakistan.

First, regarding his ideas about attacking Pakistan. I wonder if he has cracked an atlas lately (a Google search for Pakistan/Afghanistan map will do)? Like most Democrats he believes Afghanistan to be the fight we should be directing all of our war fighting assets too so surely he would not want not want to jeopardize operations there, right? If so, then he should not so flippantly suggest we attack a Pakistani province. Yeah, I agree Waziristan is a problem and my guess is the Invade-Pakistan plans have a lot less dust on them than the invade Soviet Canuckistan plans, but it is never a good idea to be indiscreet with one's indiscretions. I do not think it is a matter of revealing dark secrets, but communicating an open secret. Open or not communicating it is a bad idea.

Now, as indicated above BO (phew!) is expressing disdain on the position of First Lady. Far be it for me to stick up for Hillary Clinton (and the article I quote does note the flight Hillary was not as dangerous as she makes it out to be), but fact is as first lady she too was a prominent target for all sorts of groups domestic or foreign; large or small; right or left wing (of course that is nutty left wing). HIllary's life as first lady was not as one of simply organizing teas. Hillary even if she was not involved with policy (which she was) would understand the intricacies and complications of dealing with other national leaders something a bit above of getting the local Masons & Elks talking.

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