Archives: July 2008

Tue 29 Jul 2008

More IP Nonsense

Give me candidates that will reliably fight this kind of crap, and I'll gladly jump ship from any of our current batch (in both parties) that seem to actually like this kind of thing.

Senators Announce New Intellectual Property Enforcement Bill
(Richard Esguerra, EFF, 29 Jul 2008)

Last week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced S. 3325, the "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008," a bill that proposes a number of alarming changes to copyright law. The bill is the Senate's gift to big content owners, creating new and powerful tools -- many of which will be paid for by your tax dollars -- for the entertainment industry to go after infringers. But it doesn’t offer a lick of protection for legitimate innovators and technology users that may be buried by the copyright juggernaut.

One of the bill's most disturbing changes would give the Attorney General new powers to sue individuals on behalf of rightsholders like the MPAA and the RIAA. Bill proponents claim that these new powers, which would allow the AG to bring "milder" civil as well as criminal actions, are necessary because some offenses don't rise to the level of criminal conduct. This justification just doesn’t make sense. If it's a low-level offense, why should our top cops pursue it? Traditionally, those types of offenses can and will be pursued by the parties who believe they have actually been harmed, namely the copyright owners. The real "problem" may be that some so-called "offenses" can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard for any crime. This new provision would allow the AG to sidestep that high burden of proof -- a burden that gives the average citizen an important measure of protection from the overwhelming power of the government.


There's more: another provision creates new categories of infringement at the border, suggesting that individuals need the permission of copyright holders to bring copies of music or movies with them overseas, or even through the United States. If the bill is passed, something as simple as taking your iPod to Mexico could be considered an infringement of the copyright owners’ distribution right. The bill also proposes to lengthen the list of items that can be impounded as part of a civil copyright infringement suit, while broadening the list of articles that can be seized and destroyed by the government. (Meanwhile, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is being negotiated in secret by a number of countries, pairing this unprecedented public threat with a potentially catastrophic secret one.)

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2008, 21:21:24 PDT
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McCain is Ahead! NOT

There has been a lot of attention today to one new poll showing McCain ahead nationally among "likely voters".

First of all, my usual caution, looking at national polls for a presidential election is just plain silly, and does NOT really tell you much of anything useful about the state of the race. We do NOT have a national election, we have 50 separate state elections (plus DC). So you are better off looking at something that breaks things down by state. I of course prefer my own analysis but there are a bunch of places out there that do this using a variety of different methodologies. If you actually care to understand what is going on, you need to look at the state by state breakdowns and pretty much ignore the national polling.

Having said that, if you MUST look at national polling, look at something that does a trendline over many polls, so that you don't get distracted by random noise or outliers. The best one out there (I think) is the one at First, you clearly see just how noisy the poll data is. Second, you see that this one result is a clear outlier.

Now, could additional polls start coming in any day now to reinforce the numbers in this new poll and thus indicate the beginning of a shift in McCain's direction? Quite possibly. But the point is that with just the one poll, with a large number of other polls continuing to give Obama a big lead, it is way too early to be saying anything of the sort. In fact, the trend at the moment is still a widening of Obama's lead.

Although, as I mentioned here and here and here there are some hints that some states may be starting to move in McCain's direction again after a long period of time where it seemed absolutely every update was good news for Obama.

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2008, 10:39:06 PDT
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BY-NC-SA is Here Now

I've had a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license sticker on AbulWiki since I started it, but I never got around to putting one on my main site. I just did. You'll see it in my footer now if you scroll down. So, if you really had a hankering to reuse any of my content, but just weren't sure on how to go about doing it in the way I would prefer, you now know. (Of course, I still stand by my position that all intellectual property, including licenses of this sort, are inherently obsolete in the digital age, and really more represent the preference of the author which a well meaning and polite person should abide by out of the goodness of their heart, rather than something that can or should be legally enforced, but that is a whole other debate.)

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2008, 02:33:26 PDT
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Stupid IE

OK, after a long time of just ignoring it, I went back to try to finally fix the CSS for this website on IE. A number of months ago, I thought I had done so, but there were still some issues with it, and while it worked on IE 6, it broke on IE 7. And at some point I accidentally reverted to an older version that didn't work in IE 6 either. So this site has basically been broken in IE for quite some time.

I spent a couple of hours on it tonight, and I think I finally have things working nicely, not just in Safari and Firefox, which have always worked pretty nicely, but also on IE 7. I no longer have a copy anywhere of IE 6 to see if it manages to do the right thing as well though. If anybody is running IE 6, please let me know if things look all messed up. Although, if it isn't working, then perhaps it will stay that way. :-)

I did have to kill the Google Ad in IE to make it come out right, but I dare say I doubt anybody will mind that.

While I was at it, I also made the one character change in the CSS file to make the minimum width of the center column match the size I'm now using for images instead of the older smaller size.

Abulsme - Tue, 29 Jul 2008, 01:18:31 PDT
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Mon 28 Jul 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Nothing is Off the Record

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Some Random Yammering
  • Immigrating Ivan
  • Security Theater
  • Drunken Wall Street
  • Online Comments
  • Oil, Banks and Cars
  • Obama's European Vacation
  • McCain's Pitiful Week
  • Polls Polls Polls
  • An Unlikely Scenario
  • McCain and Bush
  • Is it Close?
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Abulsme - Mon, 28 Jul 2008, 13:31:17 PDT
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Sun 27 Jul 2008

Moved AbulWiki

So, I just (well, over the course of the weekend) moved AbulWiki off of my iMac at home, where it was connected to the Internet over a slow DSL connection and my local Airport network, where it would become slow and sometimes unresponsive whenever I was actually doing anything with my computer... to a new location at an actual hosting company. We'll see how it goes in the new location. With luck it will be a little bit faster and more reliable at the new location. We shall see though. Ya never know.

Abulsme - Sun, 27 Jul 2008, 22:02:42 PDT
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Sat 26 Jul 2008

Electoral College: McCain strengthens in South Carolina

Looks like things continue to move in McCain's direction. Today's batch of polls includes a new one in South Carolina which when you plug it into my five poll average increases McCain's lead to over 5%, taking the state from "Leaning McCain" to "Weak McCain", thus taking it out of my swing state category.

Still too early to see if Obama hit his high water mark, but at least for the last couple of days, things have been heading in that direction.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 281, Obama 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 381, McCain 157

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Sat, 26 Jul 2008, 13:44:15 PDT
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Fri 25 Jul 2008

More on Transitions

In my earlier post on the topic I said "Normally this happens once one is actually elected. Not before one is even officially the nominee." BZZZZZ. Wrong.

What is true, is that in the cases where the transition hasn't started until after the election, they have always been rushed and the start of the new administration has been rocky. A variety of presidents, including Reagan and W himself have started transitions very early. Clinton and Carter apparently started to, but then changed their minds, and their transitions were a bit rocky.

More here, from a guy that tries to turn the story around by criticizing McCain for NOT having started his transition already:

McCain's Presidential Transition Gaffe
(Paul C. Light, Huffington Post, 25 Jul 2008)

The question is not why Obama made the decision, but why Sen. John McCain has not. Instead attacking the Obama campaign for "dancing in the end zone," McCain should have appointed his own planning team long ago.

Obama has plenty of historical precedent to draw upon. On the Republican side of the aisle, Ronald Reagan began his 1980 planning effort in early spring under a senior confidant. The planning produced the fastest transition to governing in modern history, which translated directly into Reagan's victories on budget and tax cuts only six months into the term.

George W. Bush also began his planning early, which produced a remarkably disciplined transition that laid set the stage for another round of tax cuts. It is hard to imagine how the transition could have succeeded without it. Given the Florida impasse, it is hard to imagine how the Bush transition could have succeeded without the pre-election planning.

On the Democratic side, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton also began their planning early, but waffled when it came time to use the plans. Under intense pressure from their campaign staffs who rightly complained about a lack of consultation, both decided to start planning again all over again the morning after the election.

Abulsme - Fri, 25 Jul 2008, 07:47:37 PDT
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Seperate States

A good article followed by good discussion on one of the topics I find fascinating... the theoretical right (or absence there of) of states to leave the United States. For the record, I was quite convinced by Jefferson Davis' arguments in his memoirs that despite the loss in the war, and subsequent post-war SCOTUS opinions, the South probably SHOULD have been able to leave peacefully.

Now, the question of if the South's reasons for leaving were legitimate, or if it would have been proper for the North to let them leave, recognize their independence as a separate and sovereign country, but then immediately declare war on the new country for purposes of making it submit and ending slavery and perhaps reincorporating it later... that's a completely different question. That's probably the way I think it should have played out. But that isn't what happened, so it is a sort of moot point.

Anyway, good discussion in the article (and attached comments) for those interested:

Secession, Ignorance, and Stupidity
(Ilya Somin, The Volokh Conspiracy, 24 Jul 2008)

I don't think that belief in a right of secession by itself demonstrates ignorance about either law or American history. The Constitution is famously silent on the issue of secession. It doesn't explicitly guarantee states a right to secede, but also doesn't explicitly forbid secession. Interestingly, the Articles of Confederation explicitly stated that the union is "perpetual" (which seems to foreclose secession), but the Constitution which superseded the Articles does not include any such language. This silence has led to ongoing debate over the constitutional status of secession. Prior to the Civil War, many respected scholars and political leaders claimed that secession was permitted by the Constitution. Many were apologists for slavery, but by no means all. For example, political leaders from several northern free states asserted that they had a right to secede at the 1814 Hartford Convention. In light of this history and the ambiguity of the constitutional text, I don't think that belief in a right to secession is at all unreasonable, much less a sign of obvious ignorance or stupidity.

Abulsme - Fri, 25 Jul 2008, 00:50:44 PDT
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It was reported yesterday that Obama is already assembling a transition team. Normally this happens once one is actually elected. Not before one is even officially the nominee. Now, yes, I buy the notion that it is a complicated process, and previous transitions could sometimes have benefited from a early start.

But it is still more than three months before the election, and almost six months before the inauguration... I talked about this on the podcast a couple weeks back. He needs to not get cocky.

Sure, the state by state polls have him with a nice healthy lead right now in the electoral college. And McCain has been screwing up left and right. Currently things look very good for Obama.

But... you can't be taking it for granted... or you will start making stupid mistakes thinking you have room for error. And for that matter just LOOKING like you think you have already won (as some people are interpreting parts of the overseas trip) can have negative consequences too.

Yes, there is a lead. But the public is fickle, and things can change quickly. And we have more than three months left. Obama needs to not start believing his own hype here.

Abulsme - Fri, 25 Jul 2008, 00:02:43 PDT
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Thu 24 Jul 2008

Electoral College: New Hampshire Swings, McCain Weakens in Mississippi

Obama's lead in New Hampshire based on the last 5 polls in the state slips to less than 5%, bringing the state from "Weak Obama" to "Lean Obama"... and making New Hampshire once again a swing state. A five point lead is nothing. If the right things hit in a news cycle, a five point lead can evaporate in days, faster than polls can track it. So New Hampshire is very much in play for McCain once again.

Now, New Hampshire is small. Only four electoral votes. But this is important because this is the first time since May 2nd... almost 3 months ago... that a "Weak Obama" state has slipped back into the leaning swing state category. (Interestingly enough, it was New Hampshire back then too.)

So for the first time in quite a long time, McCain starts to improve his "best case" scenario where he gets every one of the swing states. Is this an indicator that Obama's long bounce is finally over, and things will start tightening again as we head into the last three months of the campaign? Or is this just a soon to be reversed blip? We'll see over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Obama gains ground as McCain's lead falls under 10%, moving the state from "Strong McCain" to "Weak McCain". Still a long way from being a swing state though.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 281, Obama 257
Obama Best Case - Obama 389, McCain 149

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Assuming each candidate wins each of their Strong and Weak states (and Obama gets DC)... Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri and Colorado are still MUST WIN states for McCain. He needs to get all seven to win. If Obama wins in any one of those swing states, he wins the Presidency.

PS: Will someone please do a poll in DC, so I can stop having to give the DC disclaimer. :-)

Abulsme - Thu, 24 Jul 2008, 22:54:09 PDT
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Electoral College: NJ Strengthens for Obama (Again)

After a few weeks below the line, Obama's lead in New Jersey is once again over 10% and New Jersey goes from "Weak Obama" to "Strong Obama".

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 389, McCain 149

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Thu, 24 Jul 2008, 07:24:01 PDT
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Wed 23 Jul 2008

I'm Flat

Flat tire on the way to work today. Oh joy. I noticed very soon after leaving though, so was able to get back home. Will deal with this later and in the mean time have Brandy give me a ride to work as soon as she gets back here. She was at one of the local Apple stores dealing with an issue with her laptop. She notes that there are still huge lines waiting for iPhones. I've seen several in person too by now. Seems a new person at work has one almost every day.

Abulsme - Wed, 23 Jul 2008, 10:57:07 PDT
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Tue 22 Jul 2008

Getting Very Tempted

My iPod Shuffle seems to have stopped working as of a few days ago. And my Treo is crashing constantly, either resetting itself or locking up so I have to reset it. It is crashing about five times a day now. Just a few seconds ago it crashed because I got a text message. It crashes when I switch from looking at my mail to the phone app. It just crashes when I touch it.

Despite what I said a few days back getting an iPhone sooner rather than later is getting more and more tempting.


Abulsme - Tue, 22 Jul 2008, 14:17:35 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Automatic Remote Wipe

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Maliki likes Obama?
  • McCain and Bush imitate Obama?
  • Obama's Big Trip
  • McCain's Geraldo Moment
  • iPhones and Mobile Me
  • Corporate Email
  • Potential Veeps
  • Precarious AC
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Abulsme - Tue, 22 Jul 2008, 01:42:59 PDT
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Thu 17 Jul 2008

Electoral College: A Good Day for McCain

Today we have a rare day with good poll news for McCain.

Obama's lead in Oregon drops below 10%, moving it from "Strong Obama" to "Weak Obama".

McCain's lead in Kansas grows above 10%, moving it from "Weak McCain" to "Strong McCain".

Since these are Weak/Strong changes and don't involve moving in or out of Leaning Status, or flipping which direction a state is leaning, the summary does not change.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 389, McCain 149

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Thu, 17 Jul 2008, 08:38:15 PDT
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Wed 16 Jul 2008

Electoral College: Florida Swings Again

On July 9th we had an update that just BARELY moved Florida out of the swing state status by increasing McCain's lead in my five point average to exactly 5%. (I call swing states the states where the candidate in the lead is ahead by LESS than 5%.) Well, a new poll today pulls McCain's lead in Florida back under 5% (to 3% actually). And so Florida moves from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain" and once again Florida is looking like a swing state.


McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 389, McCain 149

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Florida is a big state (27 electoral votes) so the status of Florida is a big deal.

At this point, assuming that each candidate were to indeed win all the states where they are currently ahead by more than 5%, we are left with 11 swing states. Eight of them currently lean McCain (Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Nevada, Montana and North Dakota) and three of them lean to Obama (Ohio, Virginia and Colorado). With just the states he is ahead by more than 5% in (plus DC) Obama is only 6 electoral college votes away from winning. So he only needs to win ONE of the three states he is ahead in right now to win.

Meanwhile, for McCain, out of the swing states NINE of them are now "must win". (He can afford to lose Montana and South Dakota but that is it.) He has to get ALL of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, South Carolina and Nevada in order to win. If he loses ANY of those states, then Obama wins. And Obama is ahead in three of those states.

As I've been saying... if McCain wants to actually try to win, rather than just try to avoid a landslide, he needs to start doing something... or Obama needs to start majorly screwing up. McCain should be putting major effort into Ohio, Virginia and Colorado. He needs all three of them, and Obama has the edge right now. He needs to start pulling those back in his direction.

Of course, it is still summer. Many people won't start paying attention "for real" until the fall. So there could well be (actually probably will be) major changes to how things look as we get later in the season. But McCain can't just take the summer off and expect to recover in September or whatnot.

Abulsme - Wed, 16 Jul 2008, 08:17:49 PDT
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Tue 15 Jul 2008

Curmudgeon's Corner: Fear of the Nut

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Nation of Whiners
  • Bank Failures
  • Mental Recession
  • McCain's Bad Week
  • Aware of the Internet
  • Reporting on Nuts
  • Obama's Lead
  • Ivan's Money Laundering
  • Iraq Security Deal
  • Sam's Temperature Control
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Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2008, 09:50:18 PDT
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Electoral College: South Dakota Weakens for McCain

McCain's lead in South Dakota drops to less than 10%, so the state moves from "Strong McCain" to "Weak McCain". It is only 3 electoral votes, and it is still a long way from McCain actually losing the lead, but still... the trends are still moving against McCain. One would assume that at some point this Obama "bounce" has to peak, but it doesn't seem to have happened yet.

The summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 362, McCain 176

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Tue, 15 Jul 2008, 08:55:27 PDT
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Sat 12 Jul 2008

Few Days

By the way, after about 5 days, I went back to Firefox.

And JungleDisk was 25% done, but still said six days remaining after those five days. I needed to reboot for something unrelated. I haven't started JungleDisk up again, but I probably will.

Abulsme - Sat, 12 Jul 2008, 13:55:05 PDT
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Fri 11 Jul 2008

Electoral College: Wisconsin Strengthens for Obama

Obama's lead in Wisconsin strengthens to more than 10%. Thus the state is now "Strong Obama" rather than "Weak Obama".

The summary stays the same though:

McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 362, McCain 176

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2008, 09:33:55 PDT
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Still Not Getting an iPhone

Yeah, today is iPhone day. Well, it started yesterday overseas, but I could go get one right now at my local store if I wanted. But I am still waiting. Here are my current reasons:

  • We're on Sprint, switching will still be a pain
  • I want a 32GB model
  • I want a SlingPlayer app and there isn't one yet
  • It just ain't at the top of the list to spend money on yet
I was going to try to figure out a few more reasons, but those are the main ones. But at the lower price point and higher speed, and with the app store and everything, it is getting harder and harder to resist.

Edit seconds later: Oh yeah, I forgot another reason, I really would prefer to buy one online, have it delivered by mail, and activate it at home, and they have removed that option, which really ticks me off.

Abulsme - Fri, 11 Jul 2008, 08:24:50 PDT
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Thu 10 Jul 2008

Roscoe's Leg Two

The vet thinks it is PROBABLY just a sprain or strain. Roscoe is now on some pain killers that have basically knocked him out, and he is supposed to take it easy for the next few days. (No running around like a maniac in the back yard or long walks that is.) If he isn't all better by the end of the weekend, we are to bring him back in for X-rays. But the vet thinks that is unlikely and he probably won't need that.

Abulsme - Thu, 10 Jul 2008, 21:09:39 PDT
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Roscoe's Leg

We don't know how, but Roscoe hurt his leg. We noticed him limping a bit last night. This morning he was limping worse. So we have a vet appointment for this afternoon. I'll have to leave work a little early for it. Hopefully it isn't anything serious.

Abulsme - Thu, 10 Jul 2008, 09:46:25 PDT
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Electoral College: Oops on Iowa, and NJ weakens for Obama

I screwed up yesterday transcribing the results from Zogby Interactive in Iowa. Oops. Sorry, there were 36 states yesterday, I was in a hurry and got a little sloppy. The end result is that while Obama's lead in Iowa has indeed diminished based on the Zogby results, once I corrected the numbers while they got close (5.2%) they didn't quite fall below the 5% threshold for me to switch the state from "Weak Obama" to "Lean Obama" and thus into the swing state category. So I'm correcting that today. Apologies for the error. Of course, this makes yesterday's results even more glum for McCain. More on that in a bit.

In the mean time, there was also a new poll in New Jersey showing tightening there. Obama's lead in the state drops under 10%, moving it from "Strong Obama" to "Weak Obama".

New summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 277, Obama 261
Obama Best Case - Obama 362, McCain 176

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

OK, so now with Iowa back out of the swing state category, lets look at this again... McCain's BEST CASE... McCain winning all the swing states... that is all the states where the leading candidate is ahead by less than 5%... he has 277 electoral votes. Of course, that is giving McCain DC since it (still) has no polls. That will never happen. So take DC away, and McCain has only 274. Ouch.

Looking at this another way, without ANY swing states (but giving him DC) Obama already has 264 electoral votes. He only needs SIX electoral votes to win. All he has to do is manage to carry any ONE of Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado or South Carolina. If he managed none of those (or Montana or North Dakota) but did win Nevada, we'd have an electoral tie.

But Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, South Carolina, and Nevada are now MUST WIN states for McCain. He needs to win ALL of those swing states in order to win. He is currently ahead in five of those states, but he is behind in three of them. And he needs ALL of them.

Of course, that is where the polls stand today. They can and will change quite a bit between now and the election. That is assured. But really, when is McCain going to start making a race of this?

Abulsme - Thu, 10 Jul 2008, 08:50:23 PDT
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Wed 09 Jul 2008

Shame on all 69 of them

The FISA revision passes as expected.

Senate OK's New Wiretapping Law
(Andrew Tilghman, TPMMuckraker, 9 Jul 2008)

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a new federal wiretapping law this afternoon by a vote of 69-28.

After last month's approval of a similar measure in the House, today's vote essentially clears the way for the bill to go to the White House for a final signature.

The bill approved includes sweeping and retroactive immunity for telecom companies that provided information about customers to government officials without a warrant as part of the Bush Administration's surveillance program imposed after September 11, 2001.


So what does that mean? It means that the nations largest telecom companies no longer have to worry about a batch of multi-million lawsuits filed by customers angered that the companies turned over their personal information to the government without a warrant.

It also means that if you are at home making an overseas phone call to a suspected terrorist, the government can monitor that call without a warrant.

And it's not clear how intel agents define who is a suspected terrorist.
(via Talking Points Memo)

Abulsme - Wed, 9 Jul 2008, 12:46:36 PDT
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Electoral College: Map Changing Zogby Poll Dump

There are new polls in 36 states today. 34 of them are from a massive dump of new polls done by Zogby. Of those 36 states, 9 states changed status in the way I group states. Of those, 6 moved in or out of the leaning "swing state" status. None actually changed who was in the lead in my "last 5 polls" averages.

Of the 9 states, 2 states (with 34 electoral votes) moved in McCain's direction, 7 states (with 85 electoral votes) moved in Obama's direction. On balance, this is a good result for Obama. The specifics follow.

Good for McCain:

  • 27 EV - Florida - Lean McCain to Weak McCain (no longer swing)
  • 7 EV - Iowa - Weak Obama to Lean Obama (now swing)
Good for Obama:
  • 34 EV - Texas - Strong McCain to Weak McCain
  • 17 EV - Michigan - Lean Obama to Weak Obama (no longer swing)
  • 10 EV - Arizona - Strong McCain to Weak McCain
  • 8 EV - South Carolina - Weak McCain to Lean McCain (now swing)
  • 7 EV - Oregon - Weak Obama to Strong Obama
  • 5 EV - New Mexico - Lean Obama to Weak Obama (no longer swing)
  • 4 EV - New Hampshire - Lean Obama to Weak Obama (no longer swing)
All of this leaves us with this new summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 284, Obama 254
Obama Best Case - Obama 362, McCain 176

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Now, one interesting thing here. Obama's total in the case where he gets NONE of the leaning swing states (McCain's best case scenario) still gives Obama 254 electoral votes. Give him DC (a near certainty) and he has 257. That is only 13 electoral votes from winning. If either Ohio or Virginia... currently Lean Obama states... strengthen into Weak Obama states... then Obama would have enough states where he leads by more than 5% to win WITHOUT ANY SWING STATES. In my averages right now, Obama is ahead by 3.4% in Virginia and 4.6% in Ohio. It wouldn't take all that much to push him over the 5% threshold.

Leaving Ohio and Virginia as swing states for the moment, it leaves us with 11 swing states with 105 electoral votes. Obama only needs 13 of those electoral votes to win. Taking any of Ohio, North Carolina or Virginia alone would do it. Various combinations of the smaller states would also do.

McCain's lead in Florida climbing back up to 5% (exactly, barely putting it back in the Weak category instead of Lean) is good news for McCain. So is Iowa weakening for Obama and coming into play. But...

McCain really needs to start doing something here. It has been a month now since Obama wrapped up the nomination. This has been a pretty huge bump. It may start to fade a bit, but McCain has to start actually DOING something if he wants to make a race out of this rather than just slowly going through the motions of a loss.

At this point it almost looks like McCain just trying to prevent an Obama landslide, rather than McCain actually trying to win.

Important - Added 10 Jul 2008 15:25 UTC - A correction. I'd made a transcription error on the Iowa poll numbers. The race there is closer than it was, but did not actually dip below the 5% threshold (although it is close). Iowa therefore remains a "Weak Obama" rather than a "Lean Obama" and should not have changed in the update above. It will be corrected on further updates.

Abulsme - Wed, 9 Jul 2008, 09:36:26 PDT
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Mon 07 Jul 2008


Playing with the 30 day free trial of JungleDisk at the moment. I've been getting increasingly ancy that while I have an onsite backup, I don't have an offsite backup. I've of course known about JungleDisk since it's first release, and S3 even before that, but never bothered to actually try it for anything until now. I've always done the math and determined that A) Backing up EVERYTHING at S3's prices would be more than I really want to pay per month and B) With the volume that changes each day on my machine, I don't have enough bandwidth with my pokey DSL connection to keep up with it.

Those things aside, I am giving it a shot on just one folder... my pictures... and seeing how it goes. That is a lot less than "everything" that I would really want an offsite backup of, but having just started it about 5 minutes ago, it is estimating "6 days" to complete the initial backup of that folder (29 GB of images). And that is probably sucking bandwidth that the three of us in the house might want to be using for other things.

And yes, I know I could switch to cable instead of DSL and get significantly more bandwidth. My upload and download speeds both suck, and faster DSL is not available at my address, but much faster cable is.

Hmmm... I wonder if my neighbor's unsecured WiFi is a faster connection than my own... :-)

Abulsme - Mon, 7 Jul 2008, 22:14:36 PDT
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Back to Safari

I just switched my default browser back to Safari. I'm not sure if it is a permanent decision. We'll see if after a few days I miss any features enough to switch yet again.

Abulsme - Mon, 7 Jul 2008, 18:37:56 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Manipulated by the Birth/Death Effect

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Greg's Comment
  • Ivan's Econ Update
  • Moving to the Center
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Abulsme - Mon, 7 Jul 2008, 01:13:11 PDT
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DVD: Bridge to Terabithia

While Amy was away, it was time for us to watch a DVD we own, but that we had not watched yet. Since Amy was not there, we could watch one that she had seen, but Brandy and I had not. So Bridge to Terabithia it was. Brandy had read the book a few months back, and had given away that it had a sad ending, but not what that ending was. Otherwise, I was spoiler free. I had no idea what it was going to be about, and actually expected a Narnia wannabe sort of movie. That is not what it was.

I was expecting from the beginning for something bad to happen to the girl because of Brandy's one spoiler, but I must admit, what actually did happen was not what I expected to happen. For anybody else spoiler-free, I have already said too much, and won't say more. For those who have read the book or seen the movie... well, you already know.

Anyway, the exact nature of what happened was actually a bit more powerful than what I was expecting. And in a bit different way than your standard tear jerker. It just left me a bit cold. A sort of "Wait, that's it?" sort of thing. But I think that was kind of the point.

Anyway, a good movie. Not a WALL-E but still a decent movie. It was worth a watch.

Abulsme - Mon, 7 Jul 2008, 00:56:08 PDT
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Fri 04 Jul 2008

Cinema: WALL-E

In the couple of days right before we sent Amy off to Canada I started getting a more and more intense desire to go see Wall-E. I don't know why exactly. I'd seen things about it for years of course, but had not gotten too horribly excited. But in the last few days, I kept asking Brandy, "Can we go see Wall-E?". Eventually on the night before Amy left on her trip, her last rehersal ended with enough time left over for us to catch the next to last showing at the nearby movie place. So we got our tickets, we got our popcorn, and in we went.

Bottom line here, If you've read any other reviews of this movie, I'm not going to say anything new here. I'm going to agree with all of them. This was a great movie. Looking quickly at my list of movies I've seen at the theater in the last few years, it is easily the best of all of them since I have been keeping track. That might be true of the DVD list too.

Now, those of you who pay attention know the kind of movie I like... emotional, cute, a little humor, a little different... this completely does all of those and does it well.

The first half hour is wordless. Just getting to know Wall-E and his world. It is great. The use of Hello Dolly!... Great. Oh, I dunno. This is just the kind of movie that hits pretty much all of my buttons directly. I'm sure it is not for everybody. Some people hate things that are a little sappy... and yes, predictable... I don't think there is ever even one second of doubt about how the movie will end... and there are some folks who have been mad that in some ways it looks like a bit of environmentalist propaganda... but whatever. It made me cry and laugh and had me in rapt attention from the first few seconds to the last seconds of the credits when there was a dedication to a member of the production team who passed away.

This is an awesome movie. Regardless of the presence or absence of children in your life (the theoretical primary audience for a "family" movie of this sort) if you didn't see it yet, make room on this holiday weekend to go see it. Really. Go see it. Now.

Abulsme - Fri, 4 Jul 2008, 10:48:20 PDT
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Thu 03 Jul 2008

Electoral College: Montana weakens for McCain

The bounce continues. Surely at some point things will start heading back in McCain's direction, right?

In any case, a new poll in Montanta. We've had very few polls in Montana. This is only the third since November 5th, 2007 (one year before the election). This one moves the state from "Weak McCain" to "Lean McCain". (Obama is actually ahead in the newest poll, but McCain keeps the lean on the strength of the two older polls.) This effectively makes Montana a swing state. Of course, Montana is only 3 electoral votes, so it only has a small effect on Obama's best case number. But little states do add up. Oh, and it looks big on the map. :-)

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 303, Obama 235
Obama Best Case - Obama 381, McCain 157

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Abulsme - Thu, 3 Jul 2008, 08:09:50 PDT
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Tue 01 Jul 2008

Amy in Canada

Yesterday we dropped Amy off with her chorus and later in the day they crossed the border into Canada on the way to the Kathaumixw festival. According to their website:

The International Choral Kathaumixw is a global gathering of choirs and conductors, featuring international concerts, choral and vocal solo competitions, common song singing, conductors round tables, concert tours, social events, workshops, and seminars.

The International Choral Kathaumixw takes place in the picturesque seaside town of Powell River, British Columbia, Canada.


“A gathering together of different peoples.” When organizers chose the Sliammon name “Kathaumixw” (pronounced Ka-thou-mew) for their festival more than 20 years ago, they never dreamed how fitting a name it would be.

Over the past two decades, International Choral Kathaumixw has become an illustrious event. More than 30 choirs from all over the world take part in each festival, which is held every second summer in the small town Powell River on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. International concerts, choral and vocal solo competitions, common song singing, conductors’ round tables, concert tours, social events, workshops and seminars are the focus of the festival.

International Choral Kathaumixw is known not only for the high quality of its music, but also because of the philosophy that defines it. The festival brings together musicians and music lovers, and it celebrates music and music’s ability to bring peace to the world. The setting, a quiet town in the midst of a temperate rainforest overlooking mountains and ocean, is conducive to this philosophy.
She will be gone about a week. Brandy doesn't like it at all when Amy is away. :-) But we will be fine and get some things done at home over the holiday, and Amy will have a great time.

(Edited 2008 Jul 4 06:02 UTC to make the image a bit smaller.)

Abulsme - Tue, 1 Jul 2008, 09:06:06 PDT
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Electoral College: Virginia flips to Obama

It is very much a swing state, the margins being very close at the moment in the "last five polls average", but Virginia now flips from "Leaning McCain" to "Leaning Obama". This doesn't change either candidate's "best case" numbers in my summary, since I allow for leaning states to go either way. But this does push Obama's lead in the "everybody gets their leans" number further ahead.

The bounce continues.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case - McCain 303, Obama 235
Obama Best Case - Obama 378, McCain 160

If everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) - Obama 306, McCain 232

Obama's lead in that metric is now bigger than McCain's was at his peak from May 15th to May 20th, but not yet larger than the lead McCain had from March 8th to March 10th when we first had polls in all 50 states.

Abulsme - Tue, 1 Jul 2008, 08:40:26 PDT
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You Can Stop Now Please

Abulsme - Tue, 1 Jul 2008, 08:06:32 PDT
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Mon 30 Jun 2008

Woo! Profiles Stay!

From Netflix in my inbox, timestamped Mon, June 30, 2008 20:54 UTC.

We Are Keeping Netflix Profiles

Dear Samuel,

You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are.

We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you.

-Your friends at Netflix
Guess we'll be keeping Netflix after all then.

Abulsme - Mon, 30 Jun 2008, 20:32:12 PDT
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Any Reason

Is there any reason why I should care about this Wes Clark dust up that is all over everywhere right now? So far I haven't really seen anything that makes me want to care or think it is in any way relevant to anything. Am I missing something?

Abulsme - Mon, 30 Jun 2008, 20:03:56 PDT
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