Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Racing and Politics

It's not often that the two primary themes (or subjects, I suppose) of this forum collide, but there was a sort of intersection on Sunday. Sunday was, among other things, the 83rd (or so) running of the Indianapolis 500. As always, it attracted a fair share of celebrity spectators, including, this year, former Presidents Bush and Clinton. Somehow the So-Called Liberal Media (SCLM) -- represented here by ABC Sports -- found time to interview Bush but not Clinton, who (unlike Paula Abdul, Anthony Edwards, and numerous others) didn't even get mentioned.

I'll grant you that it's a small point, but these small things continue to pile up and leave me wondering how anyone can claim with a straight face that there is a liberal bias in the media.

A Minor Problem

One of the disadvantages of working out of the house is, apparently, that when the neighbor's decide to have a retaining wall made of railroad ties rebuilt, you know all about it -- and have to listen to the annoying pop music soundtrack.

Still, for the last year I was in my office in Austin, it seemed like the city was continually digging up the alley outside my office. I hope that this construction project will be shorter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

F1 Update

It's been a while since I mentioned Formula 1. Somehow I seem to have been travelling for a number of races, so I still watch them plausibly live, but often several days after the race. This makes commentary seem stale. Also, Schumacher and Ferrari have their 2003 contender on the track and have gone back to their winning^Wdominating ways. That's kind of depressing. But if you ignore the record book, the races have actually remained quite interesting, particularly in the midfield. There the various strategies involved in the new qualifying rules are really starting to bear fruit, with Renault looking particularly strong this year -- if only they could get a more powerful engine.

The next race is the Monaco Grand Prix, the results of which are very dependent on grid position. So there it may be worth it for a lower ranked car to qualify very light and get to the front of the grid early on. In the meantime, it's time to break out my dusty VHS copy of Grand Prix and watch it again, while wishing that they would release it on DVD.

Insulted at the Polls

It's primary election day here in Pennsylvania, or at least in Allegheny county. So I braved the weather and hied myself off to the polls. After a couple of false starts I found my way to the correct elementary school and dashed through the rain to get inside. As soon as I was inside a grandmotherly woman looked at me, held out a piece of paper, and said "You should take one of these, you look like you're a Republican."

Now I'll grant you that I got a hair cut last week, I live in a very Republican part of the county, and the weather is foul, which normally favors GOP turnout but really.... It was the middle of the day on Tuesday and I was wearing a beer t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. I haven't shaved since Friday morning. I'm looking as close to hippy-esque as I can, and still I get "You look like a Republican" Hmmph. (But I do like the telecommuting life!)

On the plus side, now that I am a known voter in a minor primary, I should get lots of interesting political mail to read -- just registering as a Democrat did that for me, and now I should get more.

Beyond My Predictive Powers

Recently Chuck Kuffner was writing about the newest tool in spam fighting -- essentially opt-in whitelists, a concept that has also been championed by Robert Cringely, although I can't find the link at the moment. Earthlink has also started offering it as an option for its subscribers.

Anyway, I don't like these systems for reasons that I enumerated in an earlier post of Chuck's. But my reasons completely failed to anticipate something I read recently in Ed Foster's Gripelog. It seems that with astonishing chutspah, Spam Arrest, one of the company's offering this sort of service, decided to send Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail to all of its subscribers and everyone who had ever used the service to send mail to one of their subscribers. Of all of my objections to this type of service, I never thought that they would actually use it to generate spam lists.

According to the article they have now stopped sending spam, but they reserve the right to sell their e-mail lists as they see fit.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

A Cappozola Moment

Jim Capozzola over at The Rittenhouse Review is thinking about running against Arlen Specter in 2004 because there are no Democrats in Pennsylvania who seem willing to run against him. Over here on the left side of the state things seem just as bad. We have a local primary election coming up on May 20, and in the township where I live there are apparently 4 seats open on the Council this year, and there is not a single Democrat even vying for a nomination to each seat. There is also only a single Republican vying for each seat, apparently rendering the entire democratic process moot.

Now I don't even know what a township is, but it seems to me that there ought to at least be another voice heard in the election process. So far it's encouraged me to go to the Allegheny County Democratic Committee website to look for ways to try to encourage Democratic infiltration into the North Hills.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

He's doing what?

Is it just me or is there something vaguely odd and, dare I say it, unseemly about the President flying out to an aircraft carrier as an jet fighter copilot to give a speech? I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems to take presidential stunts (extreme presidenting?) to a new low. The cynic in me assumes that there is some really bad news, probably economic, in the pipeline and the President and his advisors are attempting to waylay it in the news cycle with thrilling pictures of W. in a flight suit. This seems more likely since the speech itself is nothing. According to NPR this morning, although Bush is expected to declare the war over, Fleischer is already explaining that hostilities will continue -- apparently that is necessary so that the Geneva Conventions don't require them to release all POWs and stop the search for Hussein.

So we are looking at a publicity stunt to get to a remote site to give a literally meaningless speech. And I don't think I've seen any blogging about this yet -- although I've been offline for a couple of hours.

Update: via Hesiod, I see that he has changed his mind about the two seater plane, and has gone out as "copilot" on a four-seat plane instead. It still seems like a ridiculous stunt to me.