Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 22nd, 2006

George Bush: narcissistic personality disorder?

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I blogged previously that Bush seems to have the characteristics of a person with narcissistic personality disorder.

Then today I blogged about the peculiar lie Bush told on TV: that he’s never been “stay the course.” The lie was peculiar because it was so obviously a lie: everyone knows that Bush has been “stay the course”: that’s even his phrase, and he must know that he’s said it repeatedly. Mysterious.

But the JoeC comments:

Pathological narcissists lie to you about facts they know you know. They lie to you about what you have said and done. Even if you said or did it only one second ago. They lie to you about what they have said and done in your presence. Even if they said or did it only one second ago. They lie about what you have done together. Even if it was only one second ago. In short, they lie like somebody out of his mind or hallucinating. Anybody we all know fit that description???

Very interesting. I think Bush owes it to the country to go through a thorough psychological exam and profiling. Even if he waits until he leaves office, the information will be of tremendous help and interest to future historians.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 8:59 pm

Must-see Iraq video

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From Gregg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher:

Over the years, I have made few requests of readers of this column, beyond hinting that, maybe, you ought to return here from time to time. But now I have to urge you to drop everything, finish reading this come-on, and then link to the video described below. It’s the most revealing little (eight-minute) video I’ve seen yet on our country’s preposterous position in Iraq.

Aptly, it is titled, “Iraq: The Real Story.” It won’t turn your stomach, in fact, you may even chuckle in spots (like you might have done in reading much of “Catch-22”). But, hopefully, you will end up screaming at the computer screen.

That’s partly because it arrives at such a critical moment, with the death counts for both Americans and Iraqis soaring, and the debate over what to do about this catastrophe reaching a fever pitch, even before the election of a new Congress.

Here’s what you will see (notice, I wrote will, presuming you will, indeed, follow the link below). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 8:12 pm

Yet another way to steal your identity and money

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The no-swipe credit cards, which lack security (like the Diebold machines) and thus allow people to swipe (i.e., steal) the information:

They call it the “Johnny Carson attack,” for his comic pose as a psychic divining the contents of an envelope.

Tom Heydt-Benjamin tapped an envelope against a black plastic box connected to his computer. Within moments, the screen showed a garbled string of characters that included this: fu/kevine, along with some numbers.

Mr. Heydt-Benjamin then ripped open the envelope. Inside was a credit card, fresh from the issuing bank. The card bore the name of Kevin E. Fu, a computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was standing nearby. The card number and expiration date matched those numbers on the screen.

The demonstration revealed potential security and privacy holes in a new generation of credit cards — cards whose data is relayed by radio waves without need of a signature or physical swiping through a machine. Tens of millions of the cards have been issued, and equipment for their use is showing up at a growing number of locations, including CVS pharmacies, McDonald’s restaurants and many movie theaters. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 7:55 pm

Good thinking by Paul Krugman

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Paul Krugman gets it right:

Now that the Democrats are strongly favored to capture at least one house of Congress, they’re getting a lot of unsolicited advice, with many people urging them to walk and talk softly if they win.

I hope the Democrats don’t follow this advice — because it’s bad for their party and, more important, bad for the country. In the long run, it’s even bad for the cause of bipartisanship.

There are those who say that a confrontational stance will backfire politically on the Democrats. These are by and large the same people who told Democrats that attacking the Bush administration over Iraq would backfire in the midterm elections. Enough said.

Political considerations aside, American voters deserve to have their views represented in Congress. And according to opinion polls, most Americans are actually to the left of Congressional Democrats on issues such as health care.

In particular, the public wants politicians to stand up to corporate interests. This is clear from the latest Newsweek poll, which shows overwhelming public support for the agenda Nancy Pelosi has laid out for her first 100 hours if she becomes House speaker. The strongest support is for her plan to have Medicare negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, which is supported by 74 percent of Americans — and by 70 percent of Republicans! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 7:39 pm

More on stealing elections via Diebold machines

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I blogged earlier about this, and also blogged a link to the video. Now a New Jersey paper has the story:

On a warm Friday afternoon last May, Alex Halderman double-parked his Cadillac STS near a New York hotel, left the motor idling and ducked into an alley for a secret rendezvous.

Moments later, the Princeton University grad student emerged with a black attaché case containing what he feared was a grave threat to the United States:

A Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic voting machine.

Working in secrecy bordering on paranoia, Halderman and fellow grad student Ari Feldman and Professor Ed Felten spent the summer meticulously analyzing their prize — and hatching a computer program they refer to simply as The Virus.

Now they have shown — on the Internet, in Congress, and for anyone else who will watch — how easily a popular electronic voting machine, long off-limits to public examination, can be rigged to steal elections without leaving any electronic fingerprints. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 6:34 pm

The Weekly Standard explains about journalists in Iraq

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It’s odd to link to an article in the Weekly Standard, expecially an article that explains why journalists are not covering the Iraq War to the extent that they should: it’s the military:

In a counterinsurgency, the media battlespace is critical. When it comes to mustering public opinion, rallying support, and forcing opponents to shift tactics and timetables to better suit the home team, our terrorist enemies are destroying us. Al Qaeda’s media arm is called al Sahab: the cloud. It feels more like a hurricane. While our enemies have “journalists” crawling all over battlefields to chronicle their successes and our failures, we have an “embed” media system that is so ineptly managed that earlier this fall there were only 9 reporters embedded with 150,000 American troops in Iraq. There were about 770 during the initial invasion.

Many blame the media for the estrangement, but part of the blame rests squarely on the chip-laden shoulders of key military officers and on the often clueless Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad, which doesn’t manage the media so much as manhandle them. Most military public affairs officers are professionals dedicated to their jobs, but it takes only a few well-placed incompetents to cripple our ability to match and trump al Sahab. By enabling incompetence, the Pentagon has allowed the problem to fester to the point of censorship.

My experiences with the U.S. military as a soldier and then as a writer and photographer covering soldiers have been overwhelmingly positive, and I feel no shame in saying I am biased in favor of our troops. Even worse, I feel no shame in calling a terrorist a terrorist. I’ve seen their deeds and tasted air filled with burning human flesh from their bombs. I’ve seen terrorists kill children while our people risk their lives to save civilians again, and again, and again. I feel no shame in saying I hope that Afghanistan and Iraq “succeed,” whatever that means. For that very reason, it would be a dereliction to remain silent about our military’s ineptitude in handling the press. The subject is worthy of a book, but can’t wait that long, lest we grow accustomed to a subtle but all too real censorship of the U.S. war effort. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 5:03 pm

Nevada Prop 7: recent poll results

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I just got a call from someone working at Marijuana Policy Project, seeking donations to help Nevada Prop 7 pass. She told me that a poll done a week ago showed 49% in favor, 43% opposed, 8% undecided. Donate if you can.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Election

Physics in the US: white males of European descent

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Very good post on the problem. And it is a problem because, as the post points out, this means we’re not taking advantage of the full talent pool.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 11:39 am

Posted in Science

For the Older Grandson, to entertain the Younger

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The Older Grandson can quickly learn this and provide endless amusement for the Younger.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 11:32 am

Posted in Daily life, Video

How many megapixels is your eye?

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Answer:  576 megapixels. That would be a VERY nice camera—but think about the filesize. How in the world do people who have eidetic memory store all the information?

If the human eye was a digital camera, how many megapixels would it have?

Clarkvision does the calculations.

The answer: 576 megapixels.

Impressive job — I wish I had thought to do that. Note that their calculations require a bit of fudging: the fovea actually covers just a tiny bit of the visual field; the eye must move from point to point in order to assemble an image this detailed. A digital camera records all the pixels at the same time. For the photographically inclined, the article also goes on to make several other camera/eye calculations.

A separate question: could a 576 megapixel image “fool” your visual system into believing it was seeing the real thing? Assuming one eye was covered and you were not allowed to move, I think it could. But as soon as you viewed the image with both eyes or were allowed to move, then you would be able to detect the fact that the image was flat. Three-dimensional images look different when viewed from different perspectives, but flat images don’t.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 9:30 am

Posted in Science

Kerry won’t help out campaigns with dollars

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I blogged about this before, and included a response from the Kerry campaign. Their response was, however, misleading, as detailed in this report from the Boston Globe:

As he campaigns extensively on behalf of House and Senate candidates, Senator John F. Kerry is under increasing pressure from Democratic Party leaders and activists to tap his $14 million campaign account and spread the money around to help the party’s efforts.

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, has given less than $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee since the beginning of 2005. Though he has helped candidates in a variety of other ways, his last major financial contribution to the DSCC came a month after he lost the 2004 presidential election, when he used $1 million in leftover campaign funds to help the committee retire its debt.

Several members of the Massachusetts House delegation, meanwhile, have contributed minimally to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, even though none of them face serious reelection challenges. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of South Boston, is $100,000 short of his obligations, and Representative Martin T. Meehan, a Lowell Democrat, has barely exceeded the $125,000 amount the party asked him to pay, even though his campaign account has a balance of nearly $5 million.

With less than three weeks to Election Day, control of Congress in sight, and a last-minute scramble to negate the Republicans’ double-digit fund-raising advantage, some Democrats want Kerry and other prominent, well-funded officials to share the wealth for the good of the party.

But Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat who has already paid more than the required $300,000 in “dues” to the DCCC, said other members of the House delegation may be holding their cash so they can run to replace Kerry if the senator vacates his seat in 2008.

“I wish other members of the delegation would give more,” Frank said. “I know people are holding back for the Senate race that might happen, but I think this is more important.”

Anger at Kerry has bubbled over in the liberal blogosphere. A website, heyjohn.org, was created to pressure Kerry to give more to Democratic candidates. (The site was purportedly set up by a Democratic activist, but its origin is impossible to verify because it was registered through a service that protects the identity of those who establish sites.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 9:20 am

Posted in Election

Nelly gets a cat tree

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Cat trees

Nelly is now in her new Manhattan apartment, and as a housewarming gift, The Wife and I have sent her a cat tree—the one above on the right, in cocoa. These are good apartment trees, I think, because of the small footprint. Nelly will be happy with it, because Nelly is a happy kitty. I hope that The Son will send along a photo of Nelly in her tree once it’s arrived and been installed.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 8:28 am

Posted in Cats, Nelly

Bush: “We’ve never been ‘stay the course’.”

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If you lie often enough and long enough, you totally break any connection to the truth and will lie when there is no reason to and when the lie is completly obvious. Case in point: George Bush: denying, on camera, that he’s ever been “stay the course.” But:

BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]

And, of course, there’s the famous video.

So what was the point of lying? No point, really—he just can’t help himself. He is trying to create a reality in which he’s a success, but in the common reality, he’s an abject failure, so his creation depends heavily on lies.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 October 2006 at 8:05 am

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