Creative Destruction

November 15, 2007

Shameless self-promotion

Over at Sophistpundit I’ve written up a pretentious little call to arms against media regulation.  Enjoy!

January 4, 2007

Again With The Insanity

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Off Colfax @ 4:30 pm

From the New York Daily News (AKA The Paper That Is Not A Liberal Rag):

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant, the Daily News has learned. The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a “signing statement” that declared his right to open people’s mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Could someone please tell me why signing statements, particularly when used in this way, are still legal?

And no. That’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know. For under a simplistic reading of Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, this, and many others just like it over the last several years, would be a violation of the Faithful Execution clause and a moral violation of his oath of office.

December 19, 2006

Defining Politics

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Off Colfax @ 3:50 pm

From Kevin Drum:

I’ve heard people say a conservative is just a liberal who’s been mugged. Then maybe a liberal is just a conservative who suddenly got this [extremely high insurance premium rate hike] in the mail.


A conservative is a liberal who just got mugged by a criminal.

A liberal is a conservative who just got mugged by a corporation.

A libertarian is a liberal who just got mugged by the government.

Which means all of Indiana’s toll-road traffic is about to be turned into liberals or libertarians, depending on the perception of who exactly is screwing who.

November 30, 2006

Hit Parade

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Off Colfax @ 6:31 pm

Well, well, well…

You’d think that the Do-Nothing Demoncrat meme could have waited until their new majorities could actually take over, wouldn’t you? Of course not. After all, seeing as how Congress can’t officially fall into the D column until after the new year, the best time to accuse them of not doing anything about their promises is when, naturally, they still can’t actually do anything at all.

[Turn signal: John Cole]

August 13, 2006

Microsoft Misses The Point

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Robert @ 12:13 am

Full disclosure: I used to work for Microsoft, have good friends there, wish them all well, still have a soft spot for the company, and learned more about software design and development just from breathing the air in Redmond than I have picked up in any number of classrooms or even doing it on my own.

So, when I say, “Jiminy, these guys are as dumb as a box of rocks,” it’s coming from a place of love.

They’ve slipstreamed tabbed browsing into IE 6.0 SP 2. And it sucks.

Why do you open a link in a new tab? Duh: because there’s a link on the page you are currently reading that you want to investigate, but you aren’t done with the page that you’re currently reading. If you were done with the page you’re on, you would just click the link. If you knew the link in question was one you would keep even before you saw it, you would directly bookmark it. Opening a tab lets you save the new site in what amounts to a one-time bookmark, and read it at your leisure. In fact, I regularly browse with Firefox like this: open a page, open-in-new-tab any links of interest as I go, finish reading, close the page I’m on, move to the next open tab, repeat. Sometimes I’ll go 30 minutes, all from one starting page and the links and stories that follow. Simple. Efficient. Elegant.

So, like all things that are simple, efficient, and elegant, Microsoft eagerly jumps in to figure out how to **** it up.

They do so with breathtaking simplicity. It’s very easy: when you open-in-new-tab a link, IE graciously and eagerly opens up a new tab and loads the page for you. And then it SWITCHES YOUR FOCUS TO THE NEW TAB. So, if you weren’t done with the first page, back you click. Can you change this behavior in the preferences? Don’t be stupid. Of course you can’t.

I’m convinced that somewhere in the bowels of Redmond West, there is a diabolical cabal of program managers who – for reasons unknown, possibly involving a terrible experience in childhood – are convinced that all users are fools who don’t know where they actually want their UI focus to be. (By UI focus, I mean which window is open, on top of the UI, and accepting commands). MS products – particularly their setup routines, for some reason – are very fond of stealing your focus and insisting that they are the process the user needs to be interacting with now. Sometimes they are correct – sometimes the user DOES want a modal dialog to pop up and demand clarification so it can continue the work that the user wants to get done in the background. Usually, they are not correct. My personal favorite is a text message that used to be a common sight in MS setup dialogs, along the lines of “you can continue your work while Setup completes this process”. And indeed, you could continue your work – for up to 15 seconds at a time, before Setup would steal the focus again to put up a new screen informing you that you could continue your work.

It’s really amazing that nobody has ever bombed the place. It’s right there off the highway.

This IE cockup is merely the latest entry in a list that (I assume) Steve Ballmer is compiling entitled “1001 Proofs That We Don’t Know Dick About Coding User Interfaces”. I would love to have the job of UI Czar at Microsoft, if the position carried with it a license to beat on people with a baseball bat. Oh, the good that could be done.

Please, guys. Fix this one before it becomes set in concrete in IE 7. Nobody wants their new tab to take focus. Whoever told you they did is a lying weasel who should be killed. I know that you feel the need to differentiate yourself from Firefox, which is (sorry, my brothers) simply a superior piece of technology. But this is a feature that they got right and which nobody ever needs to change. Swallow your pride, copy the correct UI decision, and find some other arena to differentiate yourselves in. Firefox 1.5 seems a bit wonky with a lot of pages; try for the Stability and Crashproof Prize and I assure you, an audience will be there for you. You don’t have to be different just to be different.

(Note to Steve Ballmer: I already have a baseball bat. I’m just saying.)

May 15, 2006

What’s wrong with this picture?

Filed under: Feminist Issues,The World's Oldest Profession — Gled @ 3:15 pm

While surfing the blogosphere about the Duke case I came across this extraordinary comment.

Had the dancers gained a conviction, civil suits could follow, with lucrative results. As the injuries the alleged victim showed up with might be among the injuries consistent with rape, she may have been raped by a boyfriend, a pimp, or a date. If a boyfriend or pimp was the perp, she’s still a victim. And isn’t it possible such a perp could have concocted a scheme with the intent of covering their own tracks while essentially seeking a monetary gain through a convoluted extortion effort utilizing the justice system?

Say what?

Hey, Kevin, take a closer look at the scenario you’ve just concocted. Do you see any other victims here than the one you identified? Is there another perp?

Edit: On reflection I should have paid more attention to the rest of his post:

If the alleged victim of rape is ultimately determined to have made a false claim, should she be prosecuted? Probably. After all, the damage done to reputations, to the career of the teams’ coach, and the inhibiting factor the case may cause to victims of rape are all serious and destructive. Yet what also will be weighed, either in the filing of charges or in the sentencing (if one or both of the women are found guilty) is whether the chief accuser was acting willfully or was reacting emotionally or under extreme duress as an abused woman who somebody else had just violently raped.

In short, it’s entirely possible that everyone (or nearly everyone) on both sides was victimized, that each was wronged, each was hurt, by legal definition. And that must be weighed before the best possible justice can result.

Belatedly, (more than halfway through the post) there is an implicit reference of the primary victims of this conjectural false accusation (though it doesn’t rise to an explicit acknowlegement. He mentions the coach and third-party rape victims, but not the falsely accused players). Unfortunately he presents it as though there were moral equivalence between the parties. Conjectually she tried to have them sent to jail. They racially abused her. That’s a serious matter, and I don’t want to trivialise it, but the two acts are not in the same league.

Lest I open myself to accusation of partisan hacking, I should also aknowledge the good in this post. In particular, I found the following comment remarkably thoughtful:

Yet we also mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the biggest impediment to successful prosecutions is not because of skeptical juries or a flawed justice system. It’s because rape usually occurs without bystanders as witnesses. That’s a conundrum that impedes the best intents and efforts of those who design and administer justice systems.

I’m not sure that it is the biggest impediment. I think it’s more likely to be an impediment in cases where a plausible defence of consent can be raised. I don’t know what proportion of all reported rapes that would be, nor do I have the measure of the magnitude of the other impediments. But it certainly is an impediment, and one that feminists often ignore when denouncing the system for its low conviction rate for rape.

April 26, 2006

The Big Fat Carnival Call For Submissions – Let’s Talk About Sex!

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Ampersand @ 1:11 am

Vegankid has posted a call for submissions for the third Big Fat Carnival.

I know, i know. Fat people aren’t suppose to talk about sex unless its within the context of feederism. But fuck that. We are sexual creatures regardless of our size! So i’d like for folks to write about some super-sized sex.

Oh, and if you’d be interested in hosting a future edition of the BFC on your blog, please drop me a line.

April 25, 2006

Avoiding The Charge of Rape

Filed under: Current Events,The World's Oldest Profession — Robert @ 9:18 pm

With all the "to avoid being raped" guidelines floating around, it seems only fair to turn the tables around.

If you want to avoid false charges of rape, don't hire escorts for your parties. People whose job involves breaking the law are unlikely to have strong convictions against using the legal system against you if you tick them off.

If you want to avoid false charges of rape, avoid situations where you have 40 guys and 2 girls in the house. Juries who see that situation are inclined to give automatic credence to the view that something untoward was going on, or planned to go on.

If you want to avoid false charges of rape, but you insist on having massive all-guy parties where you hire prostitutes, hire women who you have hired before and know to be trustworthy – and then pay them what you promised to pay them.

If you want to avoid false charges of rape, don't prejudice the community and the neighborhood against you by shouting slurs at the people you've hired in the full sight and hearing of people who already are predisposed not to like you.

If you want to avoid false charges of rape, treat the women in your life as if they were actual human beings, instead of as sex dolls for your employment.

March 24, 2006

We need to throw a party

Filed under: The World's Oldest Profession — Adam Gurri @ 4:42 am

If you guys know anyone who’d be interested in bloggin’ it up here, please, feel free to give them a call.  You know; friends, ex-girlfriends, coworkers, drunken frat brothers–whatever.  We’re all cool here.

Blog at