Saturday, August 7, 2010

University Web Sites

Have I told you before about, and how it might be the funniest cartoon in the history of the world? Oh yeah, I think I have.

Have you ever gone to a university website AND SEARCH IN DISBELIEF AS NOTHING YOU WANT TO SEE IS ON THEIR PAGE? These people are supposed to be smart, no? Well if they're so damn smart, why can't they design a decent web page?

This XKCD sums up the situation perfectly:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Song of the Day: The Weepies - Hideaway

This is just a fun song. See if it doesn't grow on you.

And a bonus song:
The Weepies - World Spins Madly On

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Illegals Out Themselves"

From the Wall Street Journal:
John-Clark Levin: Young Illegals Out Themselves, Daring To Be Deported

I've discussed this issue before, and this is more of the same. Even though we know that illegals have nothing to fear from government nowadays, it still surprises me just how open they are about it.

Here is an interesting quote from the article:
"Take no action, and ICE would undermine the law. But come down hard by deporting the students, many of them still teenagers, and it would risk drawing overwhelming public outcry. ... Yet ICE has stated that it has no intention of initiating deportation proceedings against the students arrested in the Washington protests."

We have laws on the books that we do not enforce. When we do enforce the laws, there is often public outcry against them, indicating that there is not a firm moral basis for these laws.

This is analogous to the abortion debate, by the way. (Didn't see that coming, did you?) People say they support "choice." But show them a picture and they recoil in horror--even though that "fetus" is not human in their opinion; it has lower status than a dog. Kill your own baby, that's okay. But if a pregnant woman is killed, the murderer is often charged with two counts of murder. And people talk about the baby as if it's a member of the family long before it is born--even if it's not human YET if you believe the "pro-choice" side. Deep in their hearts, people instinctively know what a fetus is, and that killing it is wrong--as demonstrated over and over again by our natural reactions to the situations I mentioned. (For a better justification of being "pro-choice" please read Murray Rothbard's views on the subject.)

Similarly, our gut reaction is to not enforce immigrations laws. People instinctively realize that laws that throw hard-working people, people trying to better themselves, out of the country are wrong.

Still, the laws are on the books. One more quote from the article:
"Yet this strikes many on Capitol Hill as an inexcusable failure to enforce the law. 'It's outrageous,' California Rep. Gary Miller told the Orange County Register. 'How can you have a protest right in a U.S. senator's office, admit you are here illegally in violation of the law, and we pat you on the back and do nothing?'"

There is a conflict here. I believe it is because our laws are wrong. The laws are not in accordance with our morals, at least the morals that we profess to have. We should not be deporting good, hard-working people. However, we should also not be rewarding people who come here for the wrong reasons. The immigration issue is really a question of incentives, which is why it's really a welfare and social benefits issue. We want to reward people for doing the right thing and punish them, or at least not incentivize them, for doing the wrong thing.

The people screaming to "build a wall" or "throw them out" are, in my opinion, pushing band-aids. They're not even close to addressing the core issue. Stories like this continue to demonstrate this to me.

This story is nothing new, of course. Here is a similar past post of mine this subject, about a young woman in the Atlanta area who openly defies the INS:
Immigration: "Messed-up system" - May 27, 2010

And my thoughts on immigration in general, in case you were wondering where I'm coming from:
Address the root cause of illegal immigration - June 14, 2010

Map of the San Francisco Marathon

I love mash-ups like this, where people use online products to show something in ways that were not possible in the past. Here is an interactive map of the San Francisco Marathon, by the Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Google versus Facebook?

Here is a very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.

I have no comment on this, except to ask: Do we really need another Facebook?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

‘Contract on America’? Depends how you look at it.

This is supposed to be parody. But it's telling that most of these ideas are actually great ideas. Or maybe it just proves that I'm crazy.

Here's the list, produced by the Democratic National Party.

1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Health Care Reform)
2. Privatize Social Security (or phase it out altogether)
3. End Medicare as it presently exists
4. Extend the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil
5. Repeal Wall Street Reform
6. Protect those responsible for the oil spill and future environmental catastrophes
7. Abolish the Department of Education
8. Abolish the Department of Energy
9. Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency
10. Repeal the 17th Amendment which provides for the direct election of senators

Okay, I'll put my cards on the table and let you attack me if you feel differently. I think #1, #2, #3, #5, #7, and #10 are good to go, as written. Seriously.

I support #4, with the clarification that I support tax reductions for EVERYONE. We are taxed way too much. Government is too big.

I guess it's pretty clear at this point that I'm not a Democrat. Note carefully, though, that this does not make me a Republican...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quote of the day: Paul Krugman (finally something he and I agree on)

There aren't many people as staggeringly stupid as Paul Krugman. Nonetheless, he occasionally manages to say something with which I agree.

"I don't really know what's going on." - Paul Krugman, New York Times, July 30

Very good, Paul! You're exactly right. You don't know what's going on. But I'll give you credit for one thing. The first step is to admit it, so good for you!

Here's some interesting commentary on this column, from Zombiehero's Blog:
"This has to be the first piece I’ve read from Krugman that didn’t explicit blame Bush for all that’s wrong with the Obama administration. Krugman has tried that for almost 2 years now, and only highly partisan Democrats, like himself, actually bite at that anymore. Everyone knows that Obama didn't have any business being in the White House. The Democrats were blinded by rhetoric and a candy coated surface. Just goes to show how 'smart' they really are."

August 4, 2010:
Looks like I should have waited just a few days on this blog post. Here's a perfect summary of Mr. Krugman. This is great stuff.

iPhone4 vs HTC Evo (some adult content)

Here is a comparison between the iPhone 4 and the HTC Evo 4G. Enjoy!

Is Google too tight with the government?

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I like to see Google doing well, but I'm not a fan of big government.  Consider these articles.

Google has lots to do with intelligence

Exclusive: Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring

GSA Certifies Google Apps for Government Cloud

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Photography is NOT a Crime (unless we are no longer free)

I've posted about this before (Are Cameras the New Guns?, June 12, 2010), and I still can't believe it. Here is some more information about the motorcyclist who NOW FACES 16 YEARS IN JAIL FOR VIDEOTAPING A TRAFFIC STOP.

Here is a summary of the event, from Slashdot:

And a more detailed description:

Finally, the ACLU fact sheet on the case:

I don't even know what to say about this case. I simply cannot believe that in a "free" state we cannot take videos in public places. I could not agree more with this statement from the ACLU. From the Slashdot article:

"According to David Rocah, the ACLU attorney handling Mr. Graber's case, 'To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist.'"

Interestingly, when the state takes video of us they never ask for our consent. This appears to be a "right" that only works in one direction. There is a lot of hypocrisy here.