Archive for October 2004

IRS probe for the NAACP because of a speech

Congressman Charlie Rangel wrote me to tell of an unacceptable action Bush has taken against the NAACP.

We have come a long way together and we cannot turn back now.  The final 72 hours of this election will not be easy.  Whether it is doctoring campaign ads or misrepresenting facts about missing munitions in Iraq, our opponents will stop at nothing to retain power.

The most recent example of these despicable tactics is an attempt to intimidate African-American voters by attacking the most powerful symbol of freedom that we have in our community.

The IRS has sent a letter informing the NAACP that it had opened an investigation into the organization that could result in the loss of its tax exempt status.  The investigation would determine whether the NAACP had unlawfully “intervened in a political campaign.”  Apparently the probe revolved around a speech critical of President Bush’s policies by NAACP chairman Julian Bond during the group’s national convention in July.

This is the tactic of a police state.  They’re using the government in an attempt to silence the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States.

By attacking the NAACP because of a speech by its chairman they are saying that no one in a tax exempt organization has the right to speak out against the President’s policies – even while the Bush campaign uses religious and other tax-exempt groups to organize their support.  As the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over the IRS, I will invoke the full power of the Committee’s oversight on this issue.

This is yet another example why, when people ask us ten or fifteen years from now, “What were YOU doing during the elections of 2004 when you had a chance to make a difference? We MUST be able to tell them proudly that we did everything we thought we could do and MORE.

This weekend I will travel to Georgia to campaign for John Barrow and Florida to work for Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards. I hope that I can count on you to be doing everything you can to assist the Democratic effort in your own community. If you don’t have time to work this weekend or are unable to get time off from work to help out on Election Day, it’s certainly not too late for your financial contributions to make a difference.  You can make a difference by going here: http://www.charlierangel.org/base.html.

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sklar.com : A Postmodern Analysis of Beastie Boys’ “Shadrach”

sklar.com : A Postmodern Analysis of Beastie Boys’ “Shadrach”: wow. David was my Big Nerd Ranch php5 bootcamp teacher. I just found this article from 1995 on his site. I bet you didn’t know this much about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!

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Transformers Breaks

Enjoy the Draft

Enjoy the Draft

(http://www.enjoythedraft.com/)“

(Via MemeStreams Top URLs.)

more like “Dude! you get to live in Canada!” Me too, if the proposed changes to extend the draft out to age 34 are made. :(

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EXCLUSIVE:
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

EXCLUSIVE:
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

Updated: 10/28/2004 11:50:09 AM – VIDEO

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew in Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein was in the area where tons of explosives disappeared, and may have videotaped some of those weapons.

The missing explosives are now an issue in the presidential debate. Democratic candidate John Kerry is accusing President Bush of not securing the site they allegedly disappeared from. President Bush says no one knows if the ammunition was taken before or after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003 when coalition troops moved in to the area.

Using GPS technology and talking with members of the 101st Airborne Division, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has determined the crew embedded with the troops may have been on the southern edge of the Al Qaqaa installation, where the ammunition disappeared. The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003.

During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled “explosives.” Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords.

“We can stick it in those and make some good bombs.” a soldier told our crew.

Soldiers who took a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew into bunkers on April 18 said some of the boxes uncovered contained proximity fuses.

There were what appeared to be fuses for bombs. They also found bags of material men from the 101st couldn’t identify, but box after box was clearly marked “explosive.”

In one bunker, there were boxes marked with the name “Al Qaqaa”, the munitions plant where tons of explosives allegedly went missing.

Once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren’t secured. They were left open when the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew and the military went back to their base.

“We weren’t quite sure what were looking at, but we saw so much of it and it didn’t appear that this was being secured in any way,” said photojournalist Joe Caffrey. “It was several miles away from where military people were staying in their tents”.

Officers with the 101st Airborne told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the bunkers were within the U.S. military perimeter and protected. But Caffrey and former 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Reporter Dean Staley, who spent three months together in Iraq, said Iraqis were coming and going freely.

“At one point there was a group of Iraqis driving around in a pick-up truck,”Staley said. “Three or four guys we kept an eye on, worried they might come near us.”

On Wednesday, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS e-mailed still images of the footage taken at the site to experts in Washington to see if the items captured on tape are the same kind of high explosives that went missing in Al Qaqaa. Those experts could not make that determination.

The footage is now in the hands of security experts to see if it is indeed the explosives in question.

(Via TPM.)

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Lunar eclipse movie

eep! The traps to avoid when migrating from PHP4 to PHP5

Search for “HTTP_POST_VARS” and replace with “_POST”

Search for “HTTP_GET_VARS” and replace with “_GET”

post any more you find if you’d be so kind. Don’t eat the rind, dns with bind.

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go watch Fahrenheit 9/11 online for free right now!

Danger to Mac users: “Eat shit and die”

Danger to Mac users: “Eat shit and die”: “Cory Doctorow:
Joel sez, “Check this out: A group of developers built an OSX iSync client for the Sidekick II, then didn’t get approved by Danger/T-Mobile, meaning Mac users are effectively cockblocked from syncing because of the locked-down nature of the platform.”

I publicly apologized last year for recommending the Sidekick to people. Danger lied to the press and its customers about the platform, then went on record saying that it intended to sell its customers out to media companies.

Now it’s screwing over Mac users who want to have a means of migrating their own data off their devices. If you do business with Danger after all this, you need your head examined.

Link

(Via Boing Boing.)

I couldn’t agree with Cory more here. The hiptop is by far the best platform I’ve seen since the newton, but it died a nasty corporate bureaucratic death. If Palm had taken the tack that danger did, you’d definitely not see Palm as the leader in the handheld market. Danger continues to shoot itself in the foot every day they let the carriers dictate the service levels of the hardward platform. Bad decision, folks. My next phone will definitely not be another danger device. Currently it’s looking like the Treo in about a year.

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MilkandCookies – Eminem Attacks Bush: Mosh

MilkandCookies – Eminem Attacks Bush: Mosh

(Via .)

Good video. More more more, please. Vote vote vote vote vote vote!!

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PHP5 Bootcamp at Big Nerd Ranch

I’ve been programming in PHP for about 3 years now, almost all self-taught and book-based. I’d come from 9 years in the graphics industry and was ready to move into something new. My then seemingly disastrous 8 month unemployment provided ample opportunity to start picking up PHP since I’d just installed Mac OS X. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in that the past 3 jobs I’ve had since then have all given me almost complete autonomy to build tools and continue my heuristic path for programming.

All last week I was an hour outside of Atlanta, Georgia at Historic Banning Mills for Big Nerd Ranch’s PHP5 Bootcamp with David Sklar. It was extremely enlightening. It was exactly the level of instruction I was ready for. I’ve been looking at code from phpclasses and SourceForge, which have all been really really helpful in jumpstarting my understanding of how PHP can work. I’d been hitting a wall with some of the code I was looking at. I knew somewhat about PEAR, that it was akin to like.. CPAN for Perl (which I’ve never worked with)… but I never got into what the modules did.

David’s class dove deep into object oriented programming by about the 2.5 day mark and stayed there for the rest of the week. So, it was extremely helpful to learn about OOP, and learn the differences between how PHP4 implemented it (poorly) and how PHP5 implements is (much better, apparently).

Then we got an introduction into PEAR HTML_QuickForms. Beings as I work in PHP, I do a lot of forms. If you do any PHP work, you probably do too. David explained in the right amount of detail for the time we had how it works and where to get more information afterwards. During the example code time where the other classmates were working on a problem David gave to them to try to solve with this new stuff, I was working on retrofitting the stuff we use every day on our site. I had a fair amount of success converting all the manual error-checking and HTML table code I’ve figured out with the sleek code that HTML_QuickForms employs. I’m not 100% sure we’ll go back and redo all the code I’ve already done, but I can tell you, I’m moving over to this method when we move forward. Object Oriented, definitely.

Next up was Pear DB. This OO module provides an abstracted database connectivity layer that is DB platform agnostic. This isn’t necessarily such a big deal for us. We’re pretty much set in stone on MySQL right now. But, I’ll try to incorporate it moving forward, too.

We covered a lot of other really great things that either reinforced what I’ve surmised on my own, or pointed me to things that we can do on our servers to massively improve performance and start caching files on a server-wide basis. I’d already figured out how to cache the DB-intensive table code on some of our pages, but this method employs an extremely smart hash-checking mechanism. It’s definitely on my list of things to check into and configure our servers for.

All in all, PHP5 Bootcamp at Big Nerd Ranch was everything I’d hoped it would be. The people I met there were all really great. The BNR staff was very nice and helpful. The facilities were really awesome, and I got some really really nice photos of the facilities.

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iPod Photo

It’s been rumored all over the Internet for weeks… Finally, the day has come when the “pod” part of the ipod really comes in to affect. See… everyone saw this coming… If it was destined to just be a music machine, it would have been called “iMusic” or “iPlayer” but when Jobs introduced it a few years ago, it was introduced as a device that would carry your stuff, not just your music. So, today.. the iPod carries Music, Data and now…. PHOTOS. Truly bad ass. :)

http://www.apple.com/ipodphoto/

On a less-exciting note, the sell-out U2 iPod leaves little to desired. Other than the cool darth-vader color, this iPod is very “meh” in my opinion…

http://www.apple.com/ipod/u2/

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creative commons sampling licenses

Wow, this is.. just awesome. Those Creative Commons folks sure make a lot of sense. This is the new license they made to let artists stamp their work in an official format: Sample this! or Sample this, just not for commercial use. or Sample This, the whole thing if you want, just don’t resell it at all.

I’m actually really pumped about this because I’ve always felt like there’s a whole army of musicians around me, and I’d love to do an audio interview with them and release the audio in CC format. It’s a great way to let the underground musician get some street cred, and it lets the listener get some insights into what underground musicians think about music and creativity… and it’s also great inspiration to keep creating music. With the audio as CC format, it then is able to be used as part of the creative work for people who get it and are on the same wavelength.

I’ve had a couple of conversations with Derek Scott somewhat recently about music and the future of music, and I remember thinking immediately afterwards, “dang, I wish I’d had that whole conversation recorded!”

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“no one wants to hear that” … EXACTLY

Earlier Monday, Simpson’s manager-father told radio host Ryan Seacrest that his daughter used the extra help because acid reflux disease had made her voice hoarse.

“Just like any artist in America, she has a backing track that she pushes so you don’t have to hear her croak through a song on national television,” Joe Simpson told Seacrest on Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM. “No one wants to hear that.”

EXACTLY… perfect sad commentary on American popular culture sucking the ass that it does. No one should want to listen to any of it, Manager-Father Joe. The whole scenario is about a phony as it could possibly be, and it only keenly illustrated how pathetically not-ready-for-primetime your second daughter is. Crap, how many more daughters do we have to sit through? You’re contributing to the great episode of “America Jumping the Shark!” Let your daughter struggle for her fame, maybe? I mean, daughters.

it’s this whole second-generation or second-version crap that’s causing the whole american cultural planet to implode. I just can’t wait for Madonna’s kids to grow up and start singing “like my mom was a virgin.. hey! touched for the very first time! Yuck!”

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Make sure California’s votes get counted

Make sure California’s votes get counted: “Cory Doctorow:
If you’re a Californian and you want to make sure your vote counts, check out Paper or Plastic?, EFF’s latest Flash campaign, created by the talented Ren Bucholz and friends. Non-Californians: pass this on to your Californian friends!


Electronic voting machines will be used in 10 California counties during the next election. However, every California voter has the right to request a paper ballot, which can be used in a recount and verified for accuracy by each voter. Some election officials are trying to keep this choice a secret, so we want to make sure that you know about the availability of paper ballots. If you live in Alameda, Merced, Napa, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Shasta, Tehama, please pass this to your friends and neighbors.


Link

(Thanks, Cindy!)”

(Via Boing Boing.)

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