Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Thursday, October 28, 2004

On Not Voting for Badnarik

"Jane Galt" on why she's not voting for the Libertarian candidate. She basically says exactly what I said to my wife yesterday afternoon: with the current state of the LP, now is not a good time for the LP to get publicity.

This is how he does when he's being interviewed by a libertarian. As Mr Balko says, "Given how close this election is, even if Badnarik does worse than Harry Browne did in 2000, there's a small chance that the LP could draw enough votes in a few states to tilt the outcome one way or the other. Should that happen, both Badnarik and the LP could get more media exposure than the LP's gotten in years. I'm sorry, but I'm just not convinced that either Badnarik or the LP speaking on behalf of libertarianism to a national audience with limited exposure to the ideology would ultimately be good for libertarianism, the philosophy."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

FMA Wording

Michael Totten on Instapundit and Eugene Volokh disagree over the implications of the Federal Marriage Amendment and whether Bush's acceptance/support of civil unions is in conflict with supporting the FMA. Is this a matter of reading comprehension? No. It's a matter of which version of the text we're looking at. Totten is using this version (emphasis added by me):

Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Volokh, on the other hand, is using this version:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

Volokh mentions that he quotes from the Mar. 22, 2004 version. I believe that Totten's version is the original, older version. Anybody know when the text was changed, or where to look for the latest version? Both interpretations I believe to be correct, based upon the text each was using.

Update: After I sent an e-mail to Mr. Volokh, he updated his post to mention that he got his version from A search for marriage amendment will reveal that S. J. RES. 40 is the current version, and has been placed on the calendar. That version is the version quoted on Volokh Conspiracy. So, good to see that at a minimum, some of the worst of the original wording has been taken out, though I doubt such a rediculous amendment to the constitution, even still, could pass.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Districting is Screwed Up

Well, it is for where I live. Virginia was redistricted in 2001. This was controversial due to state Republicans being accused of attempting to pack black voters into the 3rd District. What district am I in? Well, as of 2001, the 3rd District. According to the 1999 district lines, which the Virginia state government web site still shows as current, I would have been in the 2nd District. The 3rd District would have started exactly a block over from me.

According to the bill setting the districts from 2001, my precinct (the St. Andrews precinct) is the only one in Norfolk that is split: part of it is in the 2nd District, part in the 3rd.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Kerry’s Future Policies?

Charles Krauthammer - Sacrificing Israel

John Kerry says he wants to "rejoin the community of nations." There is no issue on which the United States more consistently fails the global test of international consensus than Israel. In July, the U.N. General Assembly declared Israel's defensive fence illegal by a vote of 150 to 6. In defending Israel, America stood almost alone.

You want to appease the "international community"? Sacrifice Israel. Gradually, of course, and always under the guise of "peace." Apply relentless pressure on Israel to make concessions to a Palestinian leadership that has proved (at Camp David in 2000) it will never make peace.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

FarenHYPE 9/11

Review of Farenhype 9/11

Case in point: Oregon State Trooper Andy Kenyon. Moore sent a crew to interview him under the guise of making a documentary about cutbacks in some state police programs. Moore did not attend the filming himself and his name never came up, for obvious reasons. The film crew led Kenyon to believe that the documentary was probably bound for public television, if it made broadcast at all. So Kenyon consented to the interview and answered questions related to those cutbacks. The day before Fahrenheit 9/11 opened, someone from Moore's production company called Kenyon to tell him he was in that film. Shocked, Kenyon went to see the film, only to see his answers about state-level cutbacks blamed on the Bush administration, and twisted to insinuate that in cutting Oregon's state police budget (something no president has the authority to do, since state-police budgets are a state matter), President Bush had left the Oregon coastline without police protection. But it was never the Oregon state-police force's job to patrol the coast in the first place. That responsibility belongs to the Coast Guard. In researching the story of Oregon's state-police cutbacks, it is impossible for Moore not to have learned these salient facts. Yet he left them all out to create a false impression that the Bush administration's tax cuts directly took needed police off the streets.

Kenyon's story is but one of several that Moore misuses to create false impressions and to willingly fool gullible or simply uninformed viewers. In exposing Moore's rampant dishonesty, FahrenHYPE 9/11 amounts a prosecutor's dossier against him.

Online Encylopedia on Harsh Mistress

Encyclopedia Article on The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. A good summary of several aspects of this tremendous novel that managed to be important in so many different ways. It should really get more credit from academics. However, the article doesn't seem to really mention that the novel is also analagous to the American Revolution. By the way, is there a literary term for that? Nothing is coming to mind...

Libertarian “Looneys”

Jeff Jarvis on "Loonitarians

But this morning, I hear an NPR story about Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and it consigns libertarians right back into the looney bin: Their candidate thinks driver's licenses are unconstitutional, the report says, and so Badnarik makes it a point to get arrested for driving without a license whenever he can to prove his alleged point. This is exactly the image libertarians had for years: impractical, obnoxious loons.

I agree. It's why it's that other B* candidate that's getting my vote for President this year, not Badnarik. We need a Libertarian Party that is pragmatic and moderate. We need a libertarian approach to government, not an attempted libertarian revolution. Plus we need to get rid of the isolationist wing of the party, no matter how big they are. That's negligent naivete. How do we get there? Hell if I know.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Jon Stewart: Caught in the Crossfire

Summary on the Jon Stewart Crossfire thing. I thought I'd have to summarize my thought on it, but Jim Treacher does it well enough for me.

Stewart's been bugging me... I've been getting more and more annoyed with him trying to have it both ways, being an increasingly self-righteous advocate and yet deflecting criticism with "It's just a comedy show!" Which is pretty much perfectly encapsulated in his 15-odd minutes on Crossfire. I remember when he was a lot more convincing about being a moderate, not that long ago. And I think his interview with Kerry is certainly fair game for criticism. But then again, calling Tucker Carlson a dick? Right to his face? That is a Golden TV Moment.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Voting For Bush From The Left

I'm a Democrat for Bush - Sarah Baxter

Can it be that I am politically to the right of all those millionaire arts patrons? If so, I don’t accept that label. On foreign policy, Bush is the idealist and Kerry the conservative, afraid to disturb the status quo. I’ve never abandoned my belief in human rights and democracy.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Comparing Now With WWII

Charles Austin discusses the similarity of this election to that of Winston Churchill. Really well written essay, check it out.

I like that word -- unconditionally. It is how we used to fight and win wars by demanding the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies on the battlefield. It sounds very harsh to our sensibilities today, yet it was only sixty years ago when we followed through with our demand for unconditional surrender by destroying our enemies in the Pacific when they would not surrender. I recently watched Hell in the Pacific, which documented in the clearest terms possible, and with shockingly graphic footage, what the destruction of our enemies on the field of battle meant and why it was necessary. It seems to me that it is only when we abandoned the idea of complete victory with the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies in Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Bosnia, and again in Iraq that we have had left bleeding, festering wounds that will not heal rather than pursuing decisive, though undoubtedly painful, final results from which we can move forward.

Friday, October 15, 2004

ABC Distorts Schwarzenegger Quote

Winds of Change.NET: ABC News: Noted

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fellowship 9/11

This is the funniest things I've seen in a while. Check it out, it's worth the effort. Via X-Forums.

MSM Gets it Wrong Again

Journalists do Research? Hah!

Oh, I'm blogging as a Democrat? Well, I read it in the New York Times, so it's probably true. Did Rutenberg read enough of my blog to see that I'm voting for Bush, or is he just concluding from the fact that I don't mind saying that I observed spittle in the corner of Bush's mouth that I must be opposed to him? Maybe Rutenberg is assuming that these bloggers are all so partisan that if they say one thing against a candidate, they must say everything against that candidate. Why no referrals from the New York Times on Sitemeter? WaPo made my name into a link, but the Times doesn't do links. In fact, where WaPo has the ellipsis above, the Times has "on," which is neither the name of this blog nor the URL. And why two b's in "Web blogger"?

First of all, MSM stands for "Main-Stream Media", for those who haven't seen the abbreviation pop up before. Secondly: Almost all the instances I can think of where someone I know or have read personally talk about an article about them, the article is always inaccurate. The myth that journalists usually do a lot of reasearch and fact-checking, and are therefore a more legitimate source than other sources, is completely absurd by my experience. I mean, my college newspaper did a short fluff piece on me (random student profile article), and got things wrong. Sure, that's a case of someone who's not quite a journalist yet; but they were only a couple years away.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Blast From the Past

CBS Living in the Cold-War Era Still? - Just look and laugh. The original site still has the same headline as of this moment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Sinclair Anti-Kerry Broadcast

Instapundit Summary

I'm going to have to agree with that well-known <sarcasm>"arch-conservative"</sarcasm>, Bill O'Reilly. This is unfair, and when liberals do it, conservatives rightfully complain. So don't gloat and consider this fair payback. Denounce it equally. It's an inappropriate attempt to use media power to affect the election.

However, just because it's unfair, doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed. It's simply wrong to limit free speech that way, and another example of why McCain-Feingold's "Campaign Reform" was a mistake.

New War-On-Terror Ally?


Libyan officials said Sunday they have arrested 17 people suspected of affiliation with al-Qaida network.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Kerry and the NYT Piece

When you’ve lost the New York Times… by Timothy Goddard

As a nation, in the days following September 11, we considered the arguments of those who suggested that we had best “just get used to it,” that, like Northern Ireland or Israel, we should just learn to live with a certain amount of terrorism. And then we, as a nation, wholeheartedly rejected those arguments. We decided, as a nation, led by President Bush, that we were the United States of America, and we refused to “live with” terrorism. Bush has taken this to what he sees as its logical conclusion: we must transform the Middle East so that it is no longer a place that breeds terrorists that attack America. Kerry is still trying to have the argument that most of us settled three years ago.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Afghanistan Election Summary

Afghanistan Election Wrap-Up, from Instapundit

UPDATE: And here's more from the BBC: Observers approve Afghan election International observers have endorsed Afghanistan's first presidential election, rejecting opposition calls for a new poll amid reports of fraud. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said demands by 15 of the 18 presidential candidates to annul the poll were "unjustified". The local Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said the poll was "fairly democratic".

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Real War vs. Metaphorical

Ann Althouse: "Kerry's Undeclared War."

In this light, consider the quote, also in the NYT article, from Richard Holbrooke, who seems to be the most likely candidate for Kerry's secretary of state: "We're not in a war on terror, in the literal sense. The war on terror is like saying 'the war on poverty.' It's just a metaphor. What we're really talking about is winning the ideological struggle so that people stop turning themselves into suicide bombers.''

There's the difference between Kerry and Bush regarding foreign policy. Offense vs. Defense. War versus police actions only. We fight and kill them and stop them, or we attempt to change ourselves in some way to get the terrorists to stop wanting to kill us.

What do I think of Kerry's plan? "Fat chance." I don't think it's possible to win in an idealogical struggle, other than by spreading liberty and democracy and wealth to the entire world. I'm not exactly looking forward to the number of terrorist attacks that occur before we acheive that. Am I missing something?

Friday, October 8, 2004

Discussion on 10/8/2004 Debate

X-Forums Discussion during today's debate.

On: Diary of a Politcal Tourist

National Review article on Alexandra Pelosi's "Diary of a Political Tourist". Interesting stuff on the personality of some of the democratic candidates from a documentary done during the primaries.

So why does she think Kerry became the Democratic nominee? "He had the most stamina and he was the most politically savvy, and I think he had the best organization," Pelosi said. Or at least, that was as good a reason as she could offer. In the end, Kerry remains as much an enigma to her as he does to voters. "The truth is," she says at the end of Diary, "after a year on the road, I know why the other guys lost. But I still don't know why John Kerry was the winner."

No More Dancing

The Anchoress: The Woman in the Black Hijab

I tremble. I tremble because John Kerry and John Edwards have no real plan to keep America from singing its dirge again. I tremble and wonder if they will even understand what it means should they (God forbid) win this election and turn on the news to see the woman in the black hijab, rejoicing once more, coming to dance for them and singing her wicked, demented song.

Views Change

Baldilocks - Drying Out - Another great essay on this presidential election.

Those of us who know that none of the domestic issues being brought up in the election run-up matter a whit if we’re dead, want to do our best to vote for the guy who will ensure that our mass domestic death doesn’t occur (again). The strangest phenomenon—to me, at any rate—is that the guy who seems to have done the most to keep that next mass death from happening seems to bring out violent, wigged-out opposition in roughly half of the constituent population that he’s attempting to protect. Call this bottle “September 10, 2001.”

Thursday, October 7, 2004

UN-Iraq Corruption

Iraq and the UN: Corruption

Check out this great summary of the news on these investigations, with the focus where it out to be, not on the tired old bit about "no WMDs found." My arguments in favor of liberating Iraq were never predicated on an assumption about WMDs in Iraq, so I'd really like to quit hearing about them: they aren't that important.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Presidential Analysis with Perspective!

Eject! Eject! Eject!: DETERRENCE, Part 1

In a moment, we’ll look at what both men said, and through a very specific filter: not their Aggregate Presidentiality, or their respective Molar Charm Ratio. We’re going to look at what both men believe in respect to deterrence: whether their positions increase or decrease the likelihood of further attacks on the US.

That’s it. That’s all. That’s the sum total of this election for me. We’ve survived boobs and crooks and idiots and charlatans of all stripes and colors, struggled through booms and recessions, surpluses and deficits, and wars on poverty and drugs and crime and General Public Lasciviousness and come through just fine, and we will again.

But the nuclear destruction of the heart of Manhattan, or Long Beach Harbor, or the Capital mall – these things are serious business and as Sam Johnson once said, the prospect of being hanged in the morning tends to focus the mind.

Iraq: 3-fold Strategy

Bullets, Money, and Ballots, by Austin Bay (via Instapundit)

Bullets, money, ballots: Call this trio of words the highly condensed version of coalition strategy in Iraq, with recent operations in the Sunni-Triangle town of Samarra as a pertinent example.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Blogger Archive Index?

You'll notice that the archive link for the new political blog is broken. It turns out, Blogger is no longer supporting an archive index (see the bottom of that page). That, instead, I should use the template tags to include the archives index on my main blog page.

Does this make sense to anyone else? I don't want to clutter my front page. Sure, I could put the links into the sidebar like some people do, but I'd rather the archives be on their own page. Am I missing something? Is that my only option now for a new blog? How should I handle this in my template for the politcs blog?

Vice Presidential Debate

Just some quick links ts what I read (and said) during the debates:

Political Blog

I've started to read a lot of political blogs, and I wanted a way to share the best stuff I see out there. I also want to discuss politics every once in a while. But, I definitely don't want to bombard my normal audience (interested in my personal life, or technical posts) with poltical stuff. I don't much like reading other techies politics stuff in their normal blog, so I do you do either.

So, I took advantage of the fact that Blogger let's you create multiple blogs. So, now I have a Political Blog. If you're interested, check it out, or subscribe with Bloglines to keep up with all the best commentary I find on the web on politics, or, occasionally, my own commentary.

Bremer: More Troops?

Belmont Club, on Bremer's comments

Before we dismiss Bremer's statement as a belated attempt to split hairs and return to the Party Line it is important to remember one simple fact. The US arrived in Baghdad in May, 2003 minus nearly half the mechanized force intended for the operation.

How to play with XUL

I just stumbled across this. It seems like a great way to start playing with XUL. It lets you type XUL in the top frame area, and then shows the results as you type in the bottom frame area.