Monday, May 28, 2007

Declan McCullough, photojournalist, was on the scene as zombies, er zombie-Americans, attacked an Apple store in San Franscisco. This one's kinda cute, yes?

It hasn't made boingboing yet, which only has this:
video loads slowly. update, with added robot. well, i lost the link, these aren't the droids i was looking for.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sodium benzoate health scare.
For years, I've tended to avoid products with sodium benzoate, because I don't like the taste. Apparently I'm tasting benzine, a carcinogen found in glue and cigarette smoke and sundry chemicals. I stopped drinking apple cider, which I really like, because all the cider sold in the stores has sodium benzoate and just tastes wrong. New study shows health risks.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Likely questions presented in DC 2nd Amendment case cert petition.
"(1) whether the [Circuit Court] panel decision conflicts with the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Miller (1939)...; (2) whether the Second Amendment protects firearms possession or use that is not associated with service in a State militia; (3) whether the Amendment applies differently to the District because of its constitutional status,...and (4) whether the challenged laws represent reasonable regulation of whatever right the Amendment protects.
No cert petition has yet been filed; this text is foreshadowing from a motion for a stay.
Grants of certs are rare, but are likely here. There was a split in the panel, there was a split in the en banc decision not to review, there is a split in the circuits,and here a government regulation was struck down on constitutional grounds, and the question is an important one for public policy. So cert is likely if never certain.

These are good questions and frame the issues well. The DC circuit's decision does not conflict with Miller. The right to bear arms is right of federal citizenship and is not limited to those living within states; the use of the term "state" in the second amendment is in the sense of government or country. Nothing in the text of the constitution makes DC a rights-free zone, although voting procedures are different. DC's total ban on handgun ownership infringes on the right to keep arms so is not a reasonable regulation. The DC government has done the people a great service in going forward with a case it may well lose. This does not mean we know how the court will rule.

Friday, May 25, 2007

http://monsterpig.com. Site down for now, probably just slashdotted.http://monsterpig.com. possible hoax. Boy, 11, kills 1000 pound feral hog. 9 rounds w/ a 50 caliber pistol, took 3 hours. I'm ordinarily not a hunting fan, but that's a hog you don't want running around. "A pig like that, you don't eat all at once."

WaPoReview of some books on hillary, via drudge.

It's friday, concluding a week in which it's been too hot and muggy to do anything except wake up, waste time online, go to sleep. Sure that's what I usually do anyway, but it was moreso than usual this week. One interlude when when a loud "bang" turned out to be hit and run driving smashing up my car. It runs again now, but looks ugly from being smashed up. Not the kind of thing I have insurance for. Point of this post was supposed to be to put up the penny arcade game video from youtube: penny arcade is doing some kind of steampunk adventure video game thingy. It kinda speaks for itself.
other stuff that google turned up while i was looking for the PA video:
john scalzi

Thursday, May 24, 2007

laura has video of xkcd talk at mit.

housing prices down 11% last month. wapo. if this keeps up for a year, i'll be able to afford a house.

Sinoauropteryx, aka crockaduck
oh,and patsy cline videos.
via goodshit (nsfw) via instapundit.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Not sure how I missed this one before: Casey and Andy comic strip. Via websnark.
How I'm spending Friday night. I think I could have had a date, but this suits me fine.

Bizzare rant of the day: greed.
Not really recommended just an adsense ad i clicked on.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

what i've been reading:
24: vignettes of legal history.
tells the stories behind some of the early cases, from marbury to dread scott.
Supports the thesis, recently argued at Volokh and elsewhere, that legal realism isn't so new; that the court's early decisions weren't just formalism, but were shaped by the political issues of the day. conversely, the appearance of formalism, that is, a perception that the judges were apolitical and somewhat objective, helped the court and the constitution acquire legitimacy and respect from the people.
Fairly readable book. Don't have it in front of me for author date etc - it's out in the car and i'm having a lazy day. Amazon? OK, here's a book review at JSTOR> Julius Marke, 1965. Apparently there was a volume 2 in 1975. Amapedia.com is something new; I'd guess it's a wiki sponsored by amazon.

what i've been reading today:
25: Meeting with Japan, Maraini, 1956. Amazon has a used copy for 46 cents; mine was free if a bit musty.
He's Italian, was interned during the war, but loves Japan and is writing to introduce it to Westerners. It's a nice snapshot of Japan after the war but before the electronics boom. It's about culture and character rather than politics.
I'm enjoying it.
I've been having one of those mildly zen experiences while reading it.. I notice
several different planes of perception going on. There are my daydreams as I hold the book but think of other things. There is the book, which is both a portal to a place and people, but also a window into the mind of the narrator, about whom we don't know much directly, but see him reflected by how he reacts to and interacts with the Japanese. Those inscrutable Italians. There is the room, which is both bedroom and living room, well, it's a futon, a tv, a computer, piles of junk, and a path to the door. There's the computer, showing me I don't have new mail, various tabs open and waiting for me to come back and finish reading articles. The TV is off, for now.
There's the sound of the wind rustling the leaves outside one window, and there's the view out the other window, of my garden and back lawn and the next row of houses, birds singing and some kind of machinery noises nearby.
Today, my focus has been on the daydreaming and on the book. Yesterday I went out and did things, maybe tomorrow I'll go out and do things or even write letters and memos,
but for now I'm going to get back to the book.

Here's a blogger's review:
This book is an absolute delight. The writing is lyrical. The insights, lucid. It's got me thinking a mile a minute. What an unexpected treasure! This is one of the best books I've ever read on Japan, even though (or perhaps because) it was written almost fifty years ago.
That's a nice blog more generally, if one is interested in japan.
The same author has another blog, about flowers.

As I get deeper into the book, the narrator reveals more about himself. In the beginning he's a traveler, talking about taking trains, trying to rent a car, occasionally running into people he knew from before the war. Later, it becomes evident that he is a scholar, and you get chapters on pagoda design or shinto history. So it's not just a travelogue, but a deeply informed one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Boingboing, of course.

hello kitty airlines inflight meal. kawai!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

DaimlerChrysler set to sell Chrysler to Cerberus

Friday, May 11, 2007

I live in Indianapolis, and I know there's a bunch of 'Deuce Bigalow' fans in this town. They're beer-guzzlin', dope-smokin', truck-drivin', pit-bull-ownin', head-shavin', ball-cap-wearin', crime-commitin' jack-ass psychopaths."context at ebert.
The review that titled ebert's new book, "Your movie sucks."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Getting a couple of posts on slashdot hasn't driven any traffic to this blog. I seem to have at most 30 steady readers. I can live with that; quality and quantity had dropped off a good bit the past year. I come back to it because I use it as a portal; these are the links I use the most so it's easiest to start from here. But the content hasn't been very good,and my election blog is even deader. Again, I'm ok with that, just facing facts.

Scotusblog post about New Jersey v Delaware:
The controversy over that plant led New Jersey to file its lawsuit against Delaware directly in the Supreme Court (under the Court's Original jurisdiction under the Constitution). Delaware has refused all requests to grant any permits for the gas plant project, so far as it would extend out into the river and across inside its boundary. The controversy had grown so heated that Delaware considered taking steps to have its National Guard protect its borders, and a New Jersey legislator proposed the idea that a battleship now used as a museum in Camden might be brought back into service to repel an armed invasion.
Back in the day, when I was a long-haired college student, I knew a folksinger Tom Haducovitch (sp?) who wrote a song that went something like this:

Delaware and New Jersey/
hand an argument one night/
so they started up a war to determine who was right/
it was my patriotic duty/
to fight the enemy/
(rest of the song that i don't remember correctly)
I don't wanna die/
in New Jerrrr-sy/
But I'm not sure I wanna live/
In Delaware.

And I wasn't,and soon after that, I didn't. But there are times I miss the place.

free meyer briggs test.

Bashman: Marsupial alert.
Thurber cartoon.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

In which I get another slashdot article published.
A simple matter of reading and forwarding Howard.

arbitraryaardvark (845916)
shown as gtbear&gmail,com
Karma: Excellent

Microsoft, Best Buy Face Racketeering Suit
Journal written by arbitraryaardvark (845916) and posted by kdawson on Saturday May 05, @02:28PM
from the one-way-to-sign-up-customers dept.
The Courts Microsoft User Journal
15 judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have unanimously reversed dismissal of a RICO class action suit against Microsoft and Best Buy, which claims the companies engaged in fraud in promoting Microsoft's MSN online service. (RICO is a statute originally intended to help prosecutors go after organized crime.) Quoting: "The case started after James Odom bought a PC-based laptop at a Contra Costa County Best Buy store. Data about the purchase was sent to Microsoft as part of a joint marketing agreement between the companies. Microsoft then signed Mr. Odom up for its MSN Internet service and, after a free trial period, began billing him for it." Howard Bashman's How Appealing blog has more details on the reversal, including a paraphrase from one of the appellate judges that "all blame rests with the U.S. Supreme Court for allowing the 'outlandish' result that a claim such as this can be pursued under RICO."

That's the editor's rewrite of my post. I'm not complaining.
My version looked like this:

Microsoft faces racketeering suit
[ Edit | Delete | 145 Comments | #170991 ]
Saturday May 05, @07:49AM
User Journal
15 Judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed dismissal of a RICO class action suit against Microsoft and Best Buy, which claims the companies engaged in fraud in promoting Microsoft's online service. Odum v Microsoft (pdf.) Howard Bashman's How Appealing blog has more.
The case started after James Odom bought a PC-based laptop at a Contra Costa County Best Buy store. Data about the purchase was sent to Microsoft as part of a joint marketing agreement between the companies. Microsoft then signed Mr. Odom up for its MSN Internet service and, after a free trial period, began billing him for it.
That was all done without his knowledge or agreement, he says, reports centralvalleybusinesstimes.com .
Suggested tags: Microsoft, itsatrap

Captain Awesome, delivers pizza.
Minor superheroes department.

Elsewhere: Cape-clad teens head out to help hurricane victims.
I had a bunch more of these, but I guess I failed to save before I let someone else on the computer. slowly recreating:
Shopping for your superhero? Wicked lasers. Citizen Prime, article.

Howard points to an article, "The Green Scare" about the prosecution of Rod Coronado, who is accused of being an environmental terrorist. Granted, he used to be, and he's served time for it. But this new prosecution is for giving a speech.
During the question and answer period, he was asked about how he had, back in the day, made a bomb,and he matter-of-factly answered the question.
An electric cricuit and a jug of gasoline and motor oil.
The government alleges that his answer constitutes terrorism.

I've met Rod Coronado and heard him give his speech. He's a very handsome guy, passionate, and wise, in the style of someone who has done time and knows how to stay cool. It was at a local coffeehouse at a fundraising tour for the Huntington 7, who were being prosecuted for direct action against a company that uses vivesection.

I'm not comfortable with his being prosecuted for giving a speech. Not all speech is protected. Had he been saying, "here's how to make a bomb. go have fun!" that would be different. I think, I suspect, that this is a political prosecution intended either for harrasment or to try to compel a plea bargain on charges that otherwise won't stick. I've been there.

What will I do about this? Probably nothing.
What should I do about this?
I'm not sure yet.

Under 18 USC § 842(p)(2)(A), which was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden, “It shall be unlawful for any person to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence.”
Senator Biden lives not too far from Hagley Mills, a museum showinmg how the DuPont Company used to make gunpowder back in the day. If it is reasonably foreseeable that one the many kiddies who take the tour will grow up to be an environmental activist, is Hagley Mills engaged in terrorism? Perhaps I should write Biden a letter. I haven't written to him since 1972, which is around the time I first toured hagley and was studying books like Ecotage, so that I would know how to grow up to be an eco-terrorist, if things turned out that way.

Draft only:
The Honorable Joseph Biden
US Senate
Washington DC 2000
(cc campaign office)

Dear Senator,

This is my first letter to you since 1972. We met briefly in 1975 when we worked together on the Carter campaign. I think you might know my mother, Marion Stewart, from New Castle County Civic League circles. I mention these things since I currently live outside Delaware.

You co-sponsored 18 USC $842 (p) (2) (A).
The Bush admistration is using this law to prosecute an environmental activist, Rod Coronado, for having given a speech. I enclose a copy of an article "The Green Scare" which has more details.

I am writing to ask whether you believe this prosecution is proper, or whether it is outside the intent of congress in passing the legislation.
If the Coronado prosecution is permissible under your law, I would welcome your thoughts about whether Hagley Mills can or should continue to teach how to make high explosives at its Brandywine River museum, since they can be reasonably sure that prospective eco-terrorists can take the tour and learn how to make gunpowder from charcoal, saltpeter and nitrate.

"Under 18 USC § 842(p)(2)(A), which was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden, 'It shall be unlawful for any person to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence.'”

I have met Rod Coronado and believe that he is a sincere and, currently, peaceful advocate for the environment. The Bush adminstration believes that he is a terrorist.

I would like to know your position on whether the law is being properly applied in his case.

Robbin Stewart esq.
POB xxxxxx

What I'm reading.
22. The Justice Story. True Crime stories from the new york Post.
23. Out of the Furrow, Autobiography of Kalamazoo's first Pediatrician, H. Sidney Heersma. Amazon.

The justice story was a column in the New York Post, which is a tabloid paper, designed to be read on the subway - it doesn't try to be the New York Times.
A recent, if now late, colomnist colected some of these stories, mostly his own but others from the paper's archives. Mostly unknowns, but the book also covers famous crime figures, Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, the Black Dahlia, the Lindbergh baby.
Lite reading, fun, has a handful of still unsolved murders.

Out of the Furrow is one of those books that has a narrow audience. It's not bad, not great. I happen to be in Kalamazoo for a couple of weeks working at a hospital where the author worked, so a copy of his book is lying around, so I'm reading it.
Born in 1909, he grew up on a farm in what is now Chicago, not far from Joliet.
He's Dutch-American, as are many in this part of Michigan. "So Big" is a movie I saw recently from an Edna Ferber novel about one of these Chicagoland Dutch farming families. So far I've gotten through the chapters on med school. He'll go on to be a doctor,and have a boring but fine life. On the one hand, it's the story of a guy you don't know and don't much care about - I wouldn't be surprised if this was a vanity press thing; I doubt this was a big seller except locally. On the other hand, it's the kind of book you wish you had had someone in your family write. It tells a story of the transition between a nation of small farmers, and people working in big modern institutions. It's well enough told. Few gunshots and explosions than the Justice Story, but in many ways a better book.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

“When was your first time?” asks Lizzy, looking not at me, or at the menu at the sushi bar in downtown Portland, but at what was in the display case behind the counter....
Lizzy sighs. “The only thing better than ama-ebi are the heads,” she says. “Fried.”
“You want heads?” asks the sushi chef, and Lizzy looks at me, and I tell her I’ve never met a fried shrimp head I did not eat, and if they’ve got them here at Hiroshi, which I am now convinced is the best sushi bar in Portland, to bring them on.
While the heads are being prepared, we gaze at what’s inside the glass case; at octopus and striped bass; salmon skin and giant clam…

My first time was at sakura, at 82nd and college in indy, and we had the deep fried shrimp heads. That was around 1996, so I was late to the party. I'm usually fairly strictly vegan, but I figured the shrimp heads were something they were going to throw away anyway,and my date was cute. These days, the sushi I make isn't authentic or very good, but is vegan.
I tend to forget about pajamas media; I should add it to the blog roll.

Street Sense in 2:02, comes from 19th to win, pays 9-2.
I didn't find this year's kentucky derby on line yet.
Here's 1948. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrpXmTWlyMw
Not sure how to do them embed thing. 2006 race. 1973.

What I've been reading (reprise, 2007 so far.)

1 The American Black Chamber, Herbert Yardley.
2 Marco Polo if you can, William F Buckley.
3 Living History, Hillary Clinton.
4 Maui Revealed.
5 Another day in the frontal lobe.
6 Me, Katherine Hepburn.
7 The Rainmaker, John Grisham.
8 Todd and the Talking Pinata .
9 The Firm, Grisham.
0 A Confederacy of Dunces. - didn't like it, didn't finish it, it doesn't count.
10 Chuck Taylor: All Star, by Abe Aamador.
11 Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman
12 The Covenant, by James Michener,
13 At Ease: stories i tell to friends. Dwight Eisenhower.
14 How to get invited to the white house, Humes
15 John LeCarre, the Honorable Schoolboy.
16 All's Fair, by James Carville and Mary Matalin.
17 Reel Futures, By Forest J Ackerman. (not in order, read this in march)
18 And still I persist in Wondering,Edgar Pangborn
19 Virtual Light, William Gibson.
20 A Holiday for Murder, Agatha Christie.
21 Wild Talent, Wilson 'Bob" Tucker.
22. The Justice Story. True Crime stories from the new york Post.
23. Out of the Furrow, Autobiography of Kalamazoo's first Pediatrician, H. Sidney Heersma.

So at this rate I'm on track to actually read 50 books in 2007. It wasn't a goal I'd set myself, but I've been doing it for the past couple of years,and might as well keep going.
I'm doing fairly well so far with my 2007 goals. I'm well on track to make at least $10,000 this year in earned income, which is enough for me to be self-supporting and debt free.
I've expanded my limited social life, and gone from total celibacy to occasional disappointing one night stands - sort of progress. I have a nice place to live, so I should unpack and clean out the basement.
I didn't sell the house, but I seem to have two solid tenants, as well as a couple of bums who tend not to pay. The house needs lots of work, but can use the rental income to do it.
I still have some tax issues to resolve, but the IRS is not breathing down my back.
I'm blogging often again, if not well. I'm resigned to this being one of those blogs no one reads because it isn't very good. You still won't see many posts like this in which I just whine about my life - the point of this one was to collect the "what i'm reading" posts into a more coherent list.
I still have a few vacant lots to sell before they go for back taxes,and a few unresolved money issues,and some scores to settle with people who have tried to rob me or harm me, but those are not currently in crisis.
I have two lawsuits (three really) which I am behind on,and I'm ok with the idea that they are likely to be dismissed for want of prosecution, in which case they go back on the list of scores to settle, one way or another.
I have enough of an income I don't need to be looking for work, although I am free to do so if a good job opportunity comes along.
So things are going well, I'm unstressed, life is fine. That could change in a hurry, but for now things are fine,and that's a good place to build from.
In the past week, with nothing but time on my hands, I've made no progress on my to do lists, except to write out a better version of them.
But that's ok. Right now I'm getting well-paid to do nothing,and that suits me fine. Next week I'll be home for a month's vacation, then I go back to getting paid to do nothing, either in Michigan or Wisconsin or Minnesota - I have some likely gigs lined up. All for tonight.

Friday, May 04, 2007

There's a new lab rat at the lab rat forum, who
knows something about fractals.

I liked the Mandelbrat interview.
I'm unfamiliar with edge magazine that did the interview, but it has a lot of deep thought, at a time when I have some time free for such things.

But one question was simply amusing and offers some interesting insight into the personal views of those on stage. A Politico.com editor asked John McCain whether he believed in evolution. McCain answered he did, and then the editor asked any candidates who did not believe in evolution to raise their hand. This won't show up in transcripts and, unless you have TiVo or DVR, you weren't likely to see the quick showing of answers. Thankfully I have DVR. Of the ten candidates on stage, three raised their hand: Sen. Sam Brownback, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Tom Tancredo.
Posted by Joshua Claybourn at May 3, 2007 09:16 PM

To me, this means Brownback and Huckabee are effectively out of the race - they might be able to win a nomination, but not an election.

Gabe geeking out over being able to book Wil at PAX. Next up, Wil geeking out at being booked for PAX.

PAX 2007 is creeping up on us and I’ve got another batch of info about this year’s show to share with you.
First off I can finally announce our keynote speaker. You probably know him best as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. That’s right it’s writer,actor,geek icon Wil Wheaton! Wil has been in a bunch of movies but he’s also written a couple books, Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek. He of course maintains his mega popular blog at wilwheaton.net and he contributes to a handful of other tech and media blogs. Tycho and I are both really excited to have Wil on board this year. Maybe too excited in fact. I had to sign some paperwork promising to never refer to him as “Wesley” or ask him if he and the Daledian princess Salia ever “did it”.

Yup here it is:
I'm really nervous about appealing to the audience," I said, "but I know that I can write something entertaining about classic arcades and the significance of console and hand-held gaming to my generation. I'm pretty sure I can take some cheap and easy shots at Jack Thompson, too."
I took a deep breath.
"Yeah, I'd love to come to PAX and be your keynote speaker."
"Awesome! I'll tell the guys. They're going to be very happy that you're on board."
So that's the story of how I invented ice cream.

Howard reports on a 3rd circuit case upholding criminal charges against Bradford Pa homeowners, for displaying signs. Pdf.
“How unethical is Mayor
Henry?”, “Can CEO Corignani work an honest 8 hours?”, “Stop
the City Hall Puppet Show, Mayor Henry”, and “Fire Chief
Wild Bill McCormack, Resign!”. Pysher, on the other hand,
was cited for a commercial sign advertising his realty business.

The suit did result in the ordinances being amended, how we don't know.
OK, Now,
noncommercial” and “temporary” (those displayed less than
sixty days) signs smaller than twelve square feet are allowed
without a permit. All non-temporary commercial signs, regardless of
size, must have a permit.
Plaintiffs failed to rely on their rights under the state constitution.
Each violation of Chapter 178 is punishable by a fine not
exceeding $300 and a prison sentence not exceeding ninety
days. Each day the sign is displayed constitutes a separate
violation. Id. § 178-34.
I'm not sure this case was correctly decided, but it's unlikely the Supreme Court will review if asked.

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