Awesomeness Defined 
Thursday, September 13, 2007, 04:31 PM
The San Diego Airport has free wireless. Sweet.
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News Anchor 
Tuesday, September 4, 2007, 05:33 PM
The Old Grey Lady, the NYT, has a nice piece about Katie Couric's trip to Iraq. Most interesting to me, as a former journalist, are the observations regarding the transformation the CBS Evening News has undergone since she first took over.
The evening newscast has already been stripped of most of the snazzy changes CBS made for Ms. Couric: her guest-commentator “Free Speech” segment was dropped, and so were many of the longer, soft feature interviews that she excelled at as a host of the “Today” program on NBC.

What CBS is beginning to understand is that the evening news anchor should personify the serious, experienced journalist who delivers the cold, hard facts in a manner tempered only by the years so clearly written in the lines on his leathered face. "Soft" segments may be nice for those who have the time to spend a leisurely weekday morning watching the news, but the businessman who comes home exhausted has little interest in such work. He wants to see an ideal version of himself, telling him what's happening in the world, not on Second Street in some podunk town.

And finally, just as when you say "nurse" everyone assumes you're talking about a woman, when you say "evening news anchor" everyone expects to see a man staring back at them.
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Thursday, August 30, 2007, 08:48 PM
One of Emeryville's few decent bars, Bar Kitty's has a policy of not serving Long Island Iced Teas. Not that they don't have the ingredients -- every bar has the rum, vodka, gin, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and coke that are mashed together in a long island -- but they just won't serve it to you. The bartender, who explained that he just worked there, said something about not wanting people to get too drunk or something.

I thought that was the point of bar.
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Blog Offline 
Thursday, August 23, 2007, 03:28 PM
The blog was offline for a while, partly because I don't seem to update it very often, and partly because of another reason. The bottom line is do I want co-workers -- or more importantly supervisors -- reading uncensored versions of my thoughts intended for digestion by friends.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 05:11 PM
From my trip to San Diego:
Let me take a picture of you and your face.

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Thank You President Bush 
Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 07:44 PM
The NYT details yet another battle in President Bush's war against competence, science, and non-partisanship in government:
Dr. Carmona, who served as surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, said White House officials would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues because of political concerns. Top administration officials delayed for years and attempted to “water down” a landmark report on secondhand tobacco smoke...

Wow, we all knew that Philip Morris donates money to politicians, but never before have I heard of a politician turning a non-partisan office into a partisan tool by preventing the release of a report that may have SAVED LIVES. Thank you President Bush. Loyalty to your corrupt political friends is so important you're willing to let innocent people die to protect your friends' pocketbooks.
The former surgeon general also discusses the general incompetence of the people running the country, and their general refusal to restrain their actions to areas where they actually know what they're doing:
He described attending a meeting of top officials in which the subject of global warming was discussed. The other officials concluded that global warming was a liberal cause and dismissed it, he said.

“And I said to myself: ‘I realize why I’ve been invited. They want me to discuss the science because they obviously don’t understand the science,’ ” he said.

Oh, and in case you think Richard H. Carmona is just some liberal pansy:
Before becoming surgeon general, he was in the Army Special Forces, earned two purple hearts in the Vietnam War, was a trauma surgeon and a leader of the Pima County, Ariz., SWAT team.

Thank you President Bush for not asking Dr. Carmona to serve another term. The last thing this country needs is non-partisan officials with the general welfare of the nation in mind, and who actually have a clue what they're doing.
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California Traffic Tickets 
Tuesday, June 26, 2007, 05:46 PM
I've just located a site that renders my Traffic Ticket project moot. I'm not sure whether or not I'll continue developing it. In any case, the site has some excellent words on enforcement of red light cameras, and points out that two separate portions of California law render illegal evidence collected using a red light camera.
Automated enforcement systems are illegal speed traps because their sensors measure the speed of your car as you cross a measured distance in the road (two sets of inductive loops). A speed trap is defined in 40802(a)(1) as: "A particular section of a highway measured as to distance and with boundaries marked, designated, or otherwise determined in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance." So clearly, automated enforcement is an illegal speed trap.

In a chapter of the California Vehicle Code appropriately named "Illegal Evidence", code section 40801, Speed Trap Prohibition, states: "No peace officer or other person shall use a speed trap in arresting, or participating or assisting in the arrest of, any person for any alleged violation of this code nor shall any speed trap be used in securing evidence as to the speed of any vehicle for the purpose of an arrest or prosecution under this code."

Ticket Assassin further goes on to point out that even if speed traps were legal, the way many of them are operated is illegal:
Though not mentioned in the recent article, automated enforcement's San Diego incarnation is also illegal under CVC 21455.5, Traffic Signal Automated Enforcement, which states: "Only a government agency, in cooperation with a law enforcement agency, may operate an automated enforcement system." The system in San Diego is operated by Lockheed Martin IMS, a private for-profit corporation; certainly not the "government agency" called for in the statute. In fact, all the automated enforcement systems in California are being illegally operated by private corporations.

My cousin recently received a ticket in Emeryville, CA and if I remember correctly, the system there is also run by a private corporation. After all, contracting out all aspects of government is the newest fad.
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Coast Guard Enlistment Bonus 
Monday, June 18, 2007, 12:58 PM
This is just a rumor right now, but the word on the street is that DHS is mandating that the Coast Guard no longer dole out enlistment bonuses.
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Charlie Foxtrot 
Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 01:14 PM
A major item that was supposed to get shipped from a Navy facility in Bremerton, WA to San Francisco, CA instead was sent to Baltimore Maryland. How did this happen? Someone swapped the "from" and "to" addresses. The item, shipped from a government facility said it was from Ron Bain, BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair and to Z52500, CO, USCG ELC. The Z number is tracking number for outgoing shipments. Anyways, now the propeller hub is going to be trucked back across the country. These little incidents are what serve for excitement in my day. Pathetic.

It seems surreal... I enter things into the computer and money is spent, parts are ordered, and then shipped somewhere. I make phone calls and people ship stuff around the country, cutters get underway or doing get underway. I never see any of it. Someone somewhere is doing tangible work -- it just isn't me.
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A 12 Year Old Tried To Hit Me In the Head With a Baseball 
Saturday, June 2, 2007, 05:19 PM
I was headed out of my apartment complex to Sports Authority to buy some tennis shoes when I heard a group of kids shouting in what I thought was an argument. One of the kids was shouting "Open the gate!" Annoyed, I headed on hoping they wouldn't get me involved by asking me to open the gate. As I passed them clustered at the gate to the pool, the eldest of the four, who was probably between 10 to 12, approached me and asked if I had a phone (there was no adult with them). Eventually it came out that they had been sitting in the hot tub, across the pool area, when someone had started shooting at them "with a pellet gun." The smallest, probably around 6, was in tears. They asked if I would collect their clothes and toys for them; I obliged. Walking around, I could see that it had been a paintball gun -- the green splotches stood out in the cement. I walked across the street into a building but I couldn't find the shooter.

Eventually I made it to Sports Authority, which is conveniently located across the parking lot from my apartment complex. After selecting two pairs of shoes, I remembered that for months I had been meaning to buy a tennis racket. While I perused rackets a group of young kids, similar in age to the ones I had just helped by the pool, ran around me playing. They were taking items off the shelf, playing with them, and then just leaving them wherever they pleased. I remembered back to when I was growing up -- my mother didn't tolerate me running around the store on my own, I was not allowed to just grab things off the shelf, and she certainly would have made sure I put it back where I found it. As I stooped over to inspect a racket, I could hear the kids talking about scattering: "I'll go this way" and "Okay, I'm going this way." Seconds later a hardball crashed into the display rack right next to my head. I turned around and they were all gone.

These two experiences together made me angrier than I've been in a while. WTF is going on with society when someone shoots at a 1st grader with a high power paintball gun and reduces him to tears? How does that make you feel good? What sort of 12 year tries to hit someone else in the head with a baseball, let alone someone who's 24 years old and could give him the beating he so obviously deserves? For the latter group, I was angry most of all at the parents. Here's the point where I mention the race of the people involved and start getting hatemail. Both group of kids were African American. In the former case, the kids are obviously innocent victims trying to have fun on a lazy Saturday. In the later case, I think it's indicative of a great problem with African American culture.

Every ethnic group in this country, to varying degrees, creates a distinct sub-culture. Asian do it, Latinos do it, and various segregated Caucasian groups do it also (visit the South). African American culture, however, differs from mainstream culture to a great degree than any other ethnic group. You follow the natural path of a 12 year old with a lack of parental control and a propensity for violence towards strangers, and it ends in incarceration. Racism still exists today and it certainly plays it role in "keeping the Black man down," but I think racism is dwarfed by the damage the African American community inflicts on itself. In some states, one in four African American males is a convicted felon. That's not racism. That's a deep-seated, self-propagating cultural problem. Look at the type of speech, the music, the misogyny, and the manners that African American culture produces. Tell me that's not self destructive.

There are those doing a noble, if overzealous, effort to eradicate racism. If half that effort were directed towards correcting cultural deficiencies the average African American youth would have a much brighter future.
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