Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The contents of this blog have now been exported, and after some maintenance and cleanup, everything you used to view here will be on the new site. There is content there now, you can now look. There's still more to do, with adding a blogroll and everything, but I can't work on it all night, gotta sleep.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

There will be no more entries to this blog. The new site is now operational, even though there isn't much there yet. Until I export content from this blog, I'll let it sit here, for anyone who wants to find content in the archives.

The new site is right left whatever.
Congratulations to the New Jersey Devils for winning the Stanley Cup - again!!! I knew they would do it, but the Ducks were a great opponent. Jean-Sebastien Giguere was very deserving of the Con Smythe trophy. There was no booing for him at my house last night (indeed, unlike many other fans, I do not boo at all, even when I am at the games - some would say I'm not into the game, or no fun; I disagree, I love the game just as much as anyone else, I just have some standards).

So - Why didn't I post my congratulatory message last night? Blogger was down! arghh!

Moving to Movable Type soon, the new address will be: It's actually up now, but no content other than a test message. I'll tell you when you can look.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Today was banding day for the falcons on top of Kodak headquarters in Rochester NY. Five eyasses, named

  1. Isaura (f)-- Named by Matt Bernius-- Black Band
  2. Chayton (m)-- Named by Aafke-- Blue Band
  3. Edge (m)-- Named by Siobhan Ruck-- Red Band
  4. Destiny (m)-- Named by Sue Long's Fifth Grade Class-- White Band
  5. Tlohtli (m)-- Named by Kenn Martinez-- Yellow Band

Here comes trouble!!
(link from the Kodak discussion board)

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

From the columns today

Writing at National Review Online, Byron York, on The Truth About Bush's Lies.

Link via Opinion Journal's Best of the Web, a link to a New York Times column by Paul Krugman, Standard Operating Procedure. Donald Luskin fisks another column by Mr. Krugman at National Review Online, A Not-So-Beautiful Mind.

So what do I think about the concept of truth?

It's been in my thinking lately, because I've been dealing with the statement, "All politicians are liars, so whatever they say or do isn't important". The implication is that if a politician represents your ideology, or policies you like, then their words and actions aren't important.

I've got some real problems with this point-of-view. For starters it sets up a huge double-standard for how laws are enforced in this country. Imagine this: What if laws were passed with the understanding that they would only be enforced against people who were members of the Republican party? Sound far-fetched? Were laws passed forbidding sexual harrassment? Two names: Clarence Thomas - Republican, Bill Clinton - Democrat. I know people who believe that Clarence Thomas should be banned from government service for life because of what he was accused of doing by Anita Hill. Invariably these same people think that Bill Clinton was a great President who was the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. What was different between these two? The allegations against Justice Thomas were never proven. The allegations against President Clinton were proven. Justice Thomas is conservative and is pro-life, President Clinton is a Democrat and pro-abortion.

Another reason I have trouble with this is that it is a cop-out for intelligent discussion of public issues. If you can't believe anything politicians say, then there is no need for paying attention to news or opinion, and our elections fall prey to candidates who promise the most with no regard for preserving the constitutional rule of law that is supposed to serve as a foundation for our republic. There is a need to be careful in choosing what to believe, because there is a lot of stretching the truth, to say the least, both on the left and right. I'd say most of it falls short of outright lying however, except in the view of one's political opponents. One weakness of our election system is that it encourages voting numbers without encouraging voting intelligence. Looking back at the election of 2000, seeing how get-out-the-vote workers bribed homeless people to vote, just screams to me that one party was dedicated to getting a higher number of less-intelligent, ill-informed people out to vote.

So, risking repeating what has already been said by Byron York (National Review) and James Taranto (OpinionJournal), here's what I've come up with concerning how I view the statement, "They all lie, get over it":

In the view of my opponents, of course I lie. They disagree with me, they think they're right, so therefore they think I'm wrong, therefore I'm lying. Accusations of lying of this sort dominate every political campaign. It's just someone's opinion, not a hard and fast fact.

There are lies of fact that people disagree on, citing various misquotes and press statements out of context, such as all the accusations flying about Al Gore's inventing the Internet, Vice President's continuing profit-making with government contracts at Halliburton, President Bush's intelligence, and so on. A lot of this is ideological fluff, designed to discredit one's ideological opponents, creating sympathy for one's own point-of-view, or favorite candidate. These lies can be more or less proven to be true or false, but people rarely believe the other side, so it usually takes a lot of evidence to move people to change their mind. Not that it's impossible: I'm a former Democrat who now votes mainly Republican, and a lot of the evidence that moved me came in the late 90's.

There are hard and fast lies however, ones that can be proven for instance in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. We saw instances of that in the late 1990's, confirmed with a contempt of court settlement and articles of impeachment. People don't deny that President Clinton lied, they just don't agree on the proper punishment for it. People who commit lies like this are likely to commit lies of the next category as well.

The most egregious lie of all, the one that takes advantage of peoples ignorance: deliberate misrepresentation of truth. And here's where I beg to differ with those who think that all politicians lie, for there is a big difference between having a different point of view or interpreting numbers differently, and deliberately lying. And those who deliberately lie regarding issue 'A' will invariably have no motivation to be honest with issue 'B', so such people cannot ultimately be trusted with anything, and deserve to be unelected as soon as possible.

So who is not telling the truth? Well two examples, on the issue of judicial nominations (a pet peeve of mine): Senator Daschle is not telling the truth when he says Miguel Estrada doesn't have the experience required to be a federal judge (many judges have been confirmed with less experience). Senator Schumer is not telling the truth when he says we need the memorandums Mr. Estrada wrote when he was Solicitor General (no other Solicitor General who has been nominated has been asked for them). These are not innocent lies, created out of a misunderstanding of our political process. They are deliberate lies presented to a public which is not expected to know or understand the truth.

There's a lot more I can say on this subject, but I'm going to close this post now. Maybe I'll add more later, and if anyone wants to email me a thought or two, I'll post those too.

I just can't stay away....

Been slowly setting up a new site, looking at Movable Type, and finding out the installers there are very busy, and the backlog is now about a week to make a new installation. I'm also pretty new to web publishing (kindof strange for someone who works in a computer department, though my specialty is installations of the OS - but I do need to know this, and setting up my own website has been registered as one of my 'educational' objectives at my job).