SNOW: There were claims before the war by Secretary of State Colin Powell that Iraq had weaponized and ready-to-use chemical weapons. He was very confident about the existence of chemical weapons. You have not yet found actual chemical weapons, correct?

KAY: Tony, it’s important to stress the word “yet.” We have not only Secretary Powell, we have Iraqi generals telling us that they had them. Unfortunately, they’re not able to tell us where they are now. And that’s why we’re looking so hard.

— Tony Snow interviewing David Kay

I love this kind of bug…


People often wonder what sysadmins do for a living. It’s a mostly-invisible profession, where you’re only noticed when things aren’t working. Mostly we solve problems, but often we first have to figure out what the problem really is.

I don’t want to know how long it took someone to get from “my password doesn’t work” to this:

If you used Open Firmware Password utility to create a password that contains the capital letter "U", your password will not be recognized during the startup process (when you try to access Startup Manager, for example).

Note that it applies to Mac models going back several years, but wasn’t posted on the support site until this week. No doubt there’s a small pile of bug reports that have been sitting around for all this time, with their status field set to “WTF?”.

Yeah, what he said


Lileks.

Not the bits about Sony, although I agree on that as well. I haven’t much liked them since they discontinued my favorite portable CD player (the one that had every function clearly separated onto different buttons).

No, skip down about halfway. Look for the word “Metafilter”. I grovel in praise of his ability to sum up what it is that I hate about that site. I visit often to find amusing links, but the moment I spot one of their typically rabid Leftie front-pagers, MEGO. There’s no point in replying, because it’s crystal clear that they simply wouldn’t comprehend that a reasonable person could legitimately disagree. You must be a troll, a freeper, or some other convenient label; you can’t actually be serious.

Notes:

  1. MEGO - My Eyes Glaze Over
  2. Freeper - as far as I can tell, this means "anyone to the Right of Michael Moore"

“Pull!”


I’m a pretty good shot with a pistol, particularly when I’ve been practicing regularly. I’m not entirely awful with a rifle, and could be a decent shot if I had more opportunities to practice. Until today, however, I could honestly say that I knew absolutely nothing about shooting shotguns.

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A hard-on for queers


I like Clayton Cramer. We disagree on almost everything except guns, but since we first corresponded eleven years ago, I’ve respected his scholarship and reasoned thinking. I stop by his site every few days, and learn something about as often as I find something to argue about.

When it comes to The Pink Menace, though, I can’t follow him. Reason and reference are replaced by anecdote and Coulterish “lumping”. A German cannibal self-identifies as gay, and this is taken as evidence that gays are a danger to society?

Or try this one on for size:

"Now, I can understand why the left is so interested in doing so. Once these ideas are no longer relevant, the left thinks that one of the big obstacles to the leftist agenda---bestiality, child molestation, same sex marriage---will be out of the way."

I like Clayton, but I won’t reference any of his excellent gun-law articles in debate, because his rabid anti-gay rhetoric seriously undermines his credibility with the sort of people who most need persuading on the subject of gun control.

Queers and Lefties are welcome to join me at the range any time. I promise, all the bullets will be going downrange. Friendly, safe, fun.

Update: After a few thoughtful emails, I thought I’d clarify my position a bit. Currently, I think the moderate position in American politics is “slightly pro-gay, slightly anti-gun”; that is, they view gays as ordinary people who are unfairly discriminated against because of their choice of partners, and private gun ownership as a contributing factor in violent crime. My goal is to convince them that the latter view is not supported by the evidence, while not getting sidetracked by potential conflict on the former.

In fact, I’m probably more pro-gay than the average moderate, but Clayton, a useful source of information on the gun debate, is so strongly opposed that there’s a real risk of guilt-by-association. Gun control supporters are for the most part using emotional rather than statistical, legal, or historical arguments, and are often quick to judge their opponents by what else they believe.

So, if Clayton is strongly pro-gun and strongly anti-gay, and I point them to one of his pro-gun articles, they may assume that gun owners as a group are prone to be anti-gay, which ain’t so.

iTMS takes me back


Okay, my iTunes Music Store purchases are getting a bit silly now:

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Arcana Unreadable


Picked up a copy of Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed over the weekend, in case our group wanted to try it out sometime (D&D 3.5 went over like a lead balloon), and discovered that, while Monte may have learned a great deal from the rules mistakes in 3rd edition D&D, he has definitely not learned from the layout mistakes.

  1. the font is smaller, with a small x-height.
  2. the headers stand out less from the body text.
  3. the body font uses lower-case numbers (similar to web font Georgia, for those who aren't up on type jargon) so they blend in with the surrounding words.
  4. new sections still start in the middle of a column, so you have to hunt for things like character types.
  5. the index, while comprehensive, is set in italic sans-serif, so it's extremely hard to read.
  6. the index is also set with negative leading, so the page numbers in multi-line entries overlap slightly.

The only nice thing I can say compared to the WotC D&D books is that the page backgrounds aren’t crufted up with “spiffy” graphics, so you have black text on a white page. That high contrast, along with the generous leading, are all that saves it from complete unreadability. 3M Post-It Flags are all that can save it as a reference manual; you’ll never find anything quickly without them.

He does offer it as a PDF, which would be great if it weren’t for the tinyfonts. I suspect it would be quite readable blown up to fill a 20” widescreen display, but not on anything smaller. Blech.

Updates: I’ve found some more layout errors to be annoyed by.

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Robert Green Ingersoll


Goodness he talks purty. I must remember to look up his writings to see what else he had to say.

Copied from the always-useful James Randi:

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Boyfriend syndrome


It’s a familiar sight for anyone who shoots at a public pistol range: a man and a woman come in together so he can teach her to shoot, and he gives her a loud, hard-kicking gun and incompetent instruction. Usually he’s a terrible shot himself, and sometimes he’s a danger to himself and others. His real goal, conscious or not, is to convince her that guns are a “guy thing,” and she should let him be her protector and champion.

I got tired of watching this a long time ago, and usually I try to sneak in when he’s left the room and give her a few quick pointers, including the all-important “rent a .22 next time.” When he comes back and she’s shooting better than he is with his favorite gun, the session usually comes to a quick halt.

Today was a bit different.

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