Category Archives: Media

Comment Spammers: Look elsewhere

You keep on trying to spam here, and it keeps on not working.  It took me a while to figure out what you were doing, but no spammy comment has been approved here in over 5 years.  My settings require approval of comments by new people, and between that and the built-in filtering done by Kashimet (sp?), your spammy comment is never going to be seen by anybody but me, and I”m just going to delete it and add it to the Kashimet database, so it’ll be less likely to get approved anywhere else.

Please stop wasting both of our time, and find another way to try to make a living.

What a twisted line of reasoning!

Anti-McKenna Ad

This ad has been bugging me for several weeks now.  In the world of half-truths and distortions which is political advertising, this really stands out as using really tortured logic.

The text, taken from the website of the organization sponsoring it, is as follows:

Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.  But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.  (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Okay, let’s Just look at the claims here:

1. Republican Rob McKenna claims he’s a moderate.

Evidence for this claim — none given.

It probably is true that he has claimed this. McKenna has stated that he is no longer opposed to the Affordable Care Act and doesn’t want to see it repealed.

Oh, but that’s evidence that he actually is a moderate. Whoops!

Moving on:

2. But it turns out the National Republican Agenda would make abortion illegal, restrict access to contraception, cut education, essentially end medicare, and deny nearly 13 million women access to cancer screenings.

Evidence for this claim: (2012 Republican Party Platform; CBS News, 8/1/2012; Us News & World Report, 3/2/2011; Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2011; White House Council on Women and Girls 4/2012)

The evidence supports the claim, although the terminology used to characterize what that evidence says is arguable and selected to make McKenna look as bad as possible.  Par for the course in political advertising.

Now, the whopper:

3.  Rob McKenna is definitely not who he says he is.

Evidence for this claim:  Nothing at all.

For claim 1 and 2 to justify claim 3, you would need to show some connection between things Rob McKenna has said about himself and some selected excerpts from the RNC Platform.  Evidence that he supported or endorsed the Platform would be a start, but you’d really want to show that he supported those particular sections as written and characterized here.  But none is given, or even seriously hinted at.

So, what you’d have to believe is that McKenna supports all of those things just because he’s a Republican, and all Republicans must slavishly follow every item of the RNC Platform.  So, when he says he’s a moderate, he’s really just trying to trick you because there is no such thing as a moderate Republican, and everybody knows that.

This is one of a series of ads.  Another has the same structure, but the 2nd claim this time has to do with McKenna supporting the campaigns of current and former Republican candidates.  Once again, the only way that fact has anything to do with a conclusion is if you accept that supporting a Republican candidate in any way is proof that you’re not a moderate and must, by implication, be an extremist.

These ads aren’t being put out by McKenna’s opponent.  They’re being put together by a list of usual suspects:  Our Washington, PO Box 9100 Seattle WA 98109. Jason Bennett, treasurer.
Top five contributors: Democratic Governors Association, Washington Education Association PAC, National Education Association Advocacy Fund, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Justice for All PAC.  Essentially, a Super-PAC funded by the people who have claimed outrage over the Citizens United decision that made the Super-PAC possible.

Full disclosure:  I’ll be voting for McKenna, because he’s the last remaining Republican in the race, and he’s not obviously unqualified to do the job.  I don’t think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I think he’s good enough to support.  I recognize that he’s not as nice looking as his opponent, and that he’s much more likely to have received some wedgies and noogies back in school.  But he’s not this evil, deceiving woman-hater these folks are using such insultingly stupid logic to make him appear to be.  I’m looking for people who support his opponent to distance themselves from this grossly misleading advertising as a way of showing they have more character than this.

Another commercial site sells my email address.

One helpful tool in managing your spam exposure is to develop email addresses to give to sites that have you register so that you can tell if they have sold your address to spammers.  There are ways this can be done with gmail that are interesting, for instance.  Periodically, I will discover sites this way that have sold my address.  Once that’s happened I add that to: address to a filter I use in Thunderbird that automatically deletes messages sent to addresses that only receive spam. It cuts way back on the spam I have to deal with, with no possibility of false-positives — I never want to talk to anybody who has sold my email address to spammers.

Thus far, sites that have done this include:

  • emusic.com
  • podcastpickle.com

And our new winner is

  • strapperfect.com

I bought a set of these for the girls a while back, the first time I’ve bought a “as seen on tv” through the website advertised in the commercial, and I hated the experience.  Based on that, I have resolved to never do so again — I’ll buy them at Walmart or Walgreens and just accept that I don’t get the whiz-bang deals they mention in the commercials.  But now I know that not only are the sleazy in trying to lure you in with one offer, and then trying to get you to upgrade to something that costs more — they also sell your email address to spammers for some extra bucks.

My letter to the General Conference audio team

I just sent this through the feedback system at lds.org.

The category I needed was “gratitude for work well done.”  Specifically for the team involved with preparing the mp3 files from General Conference.  If you can forward this along to them for me, I will have gratitude toward you as well.

I have been making use of these mp3 files for about as long as they have been available.  I have seen the process you’ve used improve from one requiring days for the files to be made available, to the present time where they are available within hours.

There was a time when I would download the full session file to get the music and the reports which were not available, and when I would download the podcast version from KSL to get the music in higher bitrates than the 64k which was adequate for the spoken word.  Today, as I’ve looked thoughtfully at what’s available in the zip files for each session, I see no need to do either again.  Not only are all the reports and the music available in that file, with the music at a higher bitrate than the podcast version, but the file-names provide an easy way to play the whole session in order, or to separate out the music from the talks with some simple command-line work.

And there was a time when I was unable to listen to the proceedings of the Priesthood session, due to work.  Now, I am able to include those talks in my listening pattern.

These things don’t just happen without considerable effort, I am well aware, so I wanted to thank all responsible for their efforts, and to let you know that somebody out here noticed them.

I’m not certain what I think of the new interface.

Thank you,
Blain

The “real” issue in the Shirley Sherrod case

A response to a column by Joan Walsh on the Shirley Sherrod incident:

I think there are several important issues that need discussing here, and that those who don’t want to discuss one will want to accuse those who do of trying to not discuss another.

There are problems with race in the country, but there is more to it than there are some vestigial fragments of the institutional slavery of the past several centuries. There is wide-spread distrust and anger along racial lines which does not seem to be improving. And there are voices in the civil rights movement who will only engage in the conversation if it is agreed that all and only white people are racist, because they benefit from a racist system. Since I recognize the realities of multiple brands of racial privilege (and identify this as one of them) while rejecting the legitimacy of any of them, we are unable to have a conversation on those terms. I don’t see a way around that impasse with those individuals. The only solution I can see is to bypass them, and engage in the conversation with real individuals who are prepared to have it without preconditions or privileged positions.

When Ms. Walsh claims that “people on the right” are trying to label as racist any black person who has ever said a bad thing about white people in general (without substantiating anything approaching that level of generality), the discussion becomes more difficult. Even if there were a significant number of individuals like she is vaguely describing, they would have a more sustainable position than the one mentioned above, where white people are racist even when they have never said or done anything remotely negative about black people, and that black people are incapable of being racist no matter how much hate and violence they manifest to people just for being white.

There is also a problem with the rush to make this problem entirely about Fox News and Glenn Beck in particular (although Ms. Walsh does not mention Beck in her article). Particularly when the narrative was established before the fact pattern was there to support any portion of it (and it does not support every portion of that narrative). Are Fox’s contributions to this situation really worse than the blanket labeling of Fox News, Glenn Beck, without regard to their participation in any part of this, as racist simply by associating with Fox. Or for claiming that Fox is trying to create white fear of black people by talking about this and asking why the Justice Department dropped the case against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation.

Clearly, what is needed is to detoxify the topic of race, so we can talk about real issues on top of the table, and can spend less time trying to focus on hidden racism. And also less time trying to use race as a trump card to “win” on things that have only a minimum to do with race, if that.

Perhaps it was fear of criticism for racial aspects of this case that drove USDA and the WH to demand Ms. Sherrod’s firing. Responsibility for that fear is to be found on those who have it. Passing blame for their unwise and capricious choices, which clearly and unarguably damaged Ms. Sherrod, to Breitbart and Fox, is simple denial that a “friend” would hurt you and projecting blame for their bad behavior on your “enemy.” It is legally indefensible, and morally vacant.

Perhaps Ms. Walsh’s attention to the wrongdoing of Breitbart and some at Fox is justified by the evidence. Some of it, anyhow. But trying to wrestle every other question the incident raises into nothing other than a conversation about the wrongdoing of Breitbart and Fox is wrong in its own turn. There is more than one thing to talk about here, and more than one valid thing to say.

Thank you for spoilering.

I tend to be interested in shows where the fun of the show is the unfolding of the overarching story, and where little details along the way can really spoil the fun.  I appreciate that folks who post here to talk about their shows tend to take this into account by making it easy to avoid reading those little details along the way, but wanted to explicitly be grateful for it.  And, also, to list the shows that I’m particularly concerned about, so folks can know — and so we can talk about them if you want:

24
Heroes
BSG
Dollhouse
Sarah Conner Chronicles
Lost

I’m also planning on starting my way into Chuck and Big Bang Theory, but haven’t gotten to them yet.  I know the basic plot of Chuck, but have forgotten the premise of BBT — and don’t want to be reminded.  I don’t like the “what’s coming next” at the end of episodes, nor the teasers in promos.  I don’t even like the flashes at the end of the BSG theme.  I want the story to unfold on its own. 

But that’s me.

Those who switched experienced savings that you might not if you were to switch.

Just watching another insurance commercial that includes a claim about “those who switched to X saved an average of $Y.”  Which is an interesting claim, because it seems to imply that you can save $Y by switching to X.  It does imply that, actually, but it doesn’t mean that.  The only people who saved that money (on average, not each individual) were those who switched to the company.  There is an unaccounted for group of people who got rate quotes and didn’t switch, and it would be reasonable if those people would have experienced less of a rate decrease and, possible, a rate increase by making that switch, which is why they didn’t. 

Also, the claim doesn’t mention whether this saving was due to a lower rate for the same coverage, or because of a reduction in coverage, or some combination of those two. 

Mind you, I’m still a fan of Flo and her big, tricked-out name-tag.  And X might be a great fit for you.  Or Z.  I’m personally happy with G, although I did well with E for quite a while.  But there are many factors that lead to an insurance rate, and, until you do an apples-to-apples comparison based on your profile and needs, you can’t be any too sure whether switching will save you anything.

Don’t expect that this will be news to anybody necessarily, but you never know.

I think I heard this wrong.

I was just watching a TV commercial for a law firm that deals with asbestos problems.  I think I heard it wrong, but I think the person in it said “They were more than attorneys.  They were human beings.”

I find the notion of human beings being greater than attorneys amusing.  But I think there might have been a “just” in the middle of that.

It was humorous at the time.

Every so often an AC hits one over the fence.

This comment came in the middle of a /. discussion about a plan by record labels to distributed music in DRM-free 300ish kbps MP3 on microSD cards (not a bad plan, but not showing a significant advantage over the Amazon MP3 Download store I was talking about recently):

In the age of the internet, they have conceived of a method of using physical media to transport bits.  And they’ll still charge $15 for an album.

You know, watching these guys over the last decade has been like watching a retarded child learning to go poo in the toilet.  They’re six years old when they finally get it right, and then they look at you like they’ve just won the Olympics.

No disrespect to retarded children intended.