uvBlog 2.1.90725

I know this will disappoint the brute force attackers and the hordes of people clamoring to register on my site, but I’ve disabled user registration for a bit until I finalize the security model I want to use.  I didn’t want to deal with having to alter the user tables for anyone but me.  Other than that, the only changes are minor tweaks, mainly in the area of site administration that you wouldn’t see anyway.

Deeds v. McDonnell: The First Debate

I thought I’d write a little review of the first debate between Bob McDonnell (R) and Creigh Deeds (D), which hopefully will not sound exactly like the hundred other partisan debate wrap-ups out there.

My biggest observation of the debate (which will theoretically be available for replay at VirginiaTalks.com) was the epic failure of the streaming video for the first 20 minutes or so.  First the stream went in and out, then we had video but the audio was horrible, then we had video but no sound.  This was the second online debate this year that suffered from this.  Seriously, tech people.  If you’re going to stream something online, can you, like, check your system out before the event starts?  And maybe not assume that it’s working when only 1 or 2 people are connected?

Anyway, the candidates were near the end of a discussion about marriage and life and family when the stream started working.  I didn’t hear all of it so I probably shouldn’t comment, but it sounded like McDonnell gave a typical Republican answer and Deeds gave a typical Democratic answer.

But as the debate went on, I was surprised at how often the two candidates’ answers sounded basically the same.  I’m sure if you parse every word there were differences, but on casual listening it was hard to tell the difference.  On the judiciary, Deeds and McDonnell both thought judges should be independent and selected based on some kind of measurable metrics.  Nothing controversial there.

On the issue of States’ Rights, both candidates said the federal government was intruding more and more into the territory of the states and they would stand up against it.

Both candidates also sounded similar on the issue of rights for LBGTs:  Which is to say they both sounded very dodgy about it.  Neither candidate indicated that social issues would be a focus of their administration.

The candidates got to ask each other two questions:  McDonnell asked Deeds about signing a pledge against the Cap and Trade bill and whether or not he would raise taxes to fund transportation.  Deeds asked McDonnell about economic development in Southwest Virginia and using the Bush years as a model for the Virginia economy.  All “gotcha” questions designed to make the other guy look bad, so there’s no real point in examining the answers.  (They both ducked and weaved.)

The moderator asked what I thought was an interesting question I haven’t heard put quite this way before:  “What is your view of the role of guns in society?”  Usually people ask “do you support gun rights” or “do you support gun control” or something black-and-white like that.  The new phrasing turned it into more of a philosophically open question which I would have enjoyed hearing some discussion about.

Of course, neither candidate answered philosophically.  Both candidates took the shocking position of “strong support” for the Second Amendment.  I think the only difference between the two is that Deeds supported closing the “gun show loophole” and McDonnell didn’t.  Both droned on melodramatically about how April 16th “changed things” and where they were when it happened and who they talked to after it happened and so on and so forth.  Apparently 4/16 is the 9/11 for Virginians.

In summary, it was a civil and pretty bland debate.  McDonnell provided the only attempt at humor by asking why Creigh didn’t use his given name of “Robert,” which he thought was a fine name.  Hyuk hyuk.  (I always roll my eyes and cringe when politicians try to be funny.)

Overall I can’t imagine how an average voter could parse anything meaningful out of what the candidates said.  It sounds like they are going to focus a lot on transportation and taxes and economic development in their campaigns, details of which are just about the most uninteresting subjects imaginable to this observer.

And no, there are no third party or independent candidates, so we’re stuck with one of these two.

About

Picture of Tom Krehbiel’s Korner is the official home page of Thomas Krehbiel.  Accept no substitutes.

Tom is a software developer who started out with a Color Computer around 1984, progressed to an Amiga around 1987, and now develops primarily for the Microsoft .NET platform at an undisclosed location somewhere in Virginia. He also dabbles in PHP development, PC gaming, genealogy, writing, music, home recording, arts and crafts.

You may remember Tom from Nova Design, where he worked on the award-winning image processing software ImageFX before the demise of the Amiga market.

You may also know Tom as ]CC[-UltrViolet of the Crayola Clan, which at one time was ranked #2 in QuakeWorld behind Dogg Pound, and famously lost (twice!) to TULL in the finals of the Q2ICR tournament.

If you are a current or future employer checking up on Tom, you should note that he doesn’t write about people or events at work. Conversely, he rarely discusses the topics found on this site in real life.

The opinions expressed on this site do not reflect the views of Tom’s employer, co-workers, friends or family.

Behind the Scenes

This site is powered by uvBlog, a custom blogging platform written by Tom for the sole purpose of publishing random thoughts and experimenting with PHP and MySQL development.  The main goals are:

  • Expandable architecture.
  • Fast, lightweight page rendering.
  • Strict XHTML compliance.
  • Interoperability with other sites.
  • Strong security.

uvBlog incorporates the following Open Source code:

Catherine Crabill and the Erosion of Democracy

I feel compelled to write a little bit about Catherine Crabill (R), who is running for delegate in Virginia’s 99th district against incumbent Albert Pollard (D).  Normally you don’t hear much about local delegate races unless you happen to live in the area, but in this case she’s caught the attention of the mighty Huffington Post after her ballot box and bullet box remarks were caught on tape by a tracker.

The main reason this story caught my attention is that “Crabill,” like “Krehbiel,” is a derivative of the old Kräyenbühl family name, so it’s possible that we share a common ancestor somewhere in history (or, more likely, her husband and I do).

As for her remarks, strictly speaking, she is absolutely correct:  The Second Amendment does theoretically protect us from the possibility of a tyrannical government taking over, but she falls off a cliff when she tries to characterize the Obama administration as tyrannical.  There’s plenty to dislike about the Obama administration, but it’s a long way from tyranny.  And her position that Obama’s victory represents, in her own bold-faced words, a “socialist power grab” is somewhat delusional.  This country’s slide toward socialism began long before November 2008.

Be that as it may, Crabill fell into hot water because you can’t just go around telling people what you actually believe in a modern political campaign — where Big Brother… I mean… trackers are watching your every move.  In this case, trackers paid for by the DPVA.

So I feel bad for Crabill – and to some extent, America – now that she has the full force of a new media smear campaign focused on her.  Sure it might keep one crackpot out of office in Podunk Virginia, but in the big picture it will ultimately erode the democratic process.  When people repeatedly see the kind of treatment they can expect if they try to earnestly participate in democracy for their community — without paying off… I mean… hiring the right consultants — who can blame them for sitting out?  This is one reason why politics is dominated by the rich while the lower and middle classes remain unrepresented.

On her site, Crabill presciently quoted (I assume) Saul Alinsky’s Rule #5 from Rules for Radicals:  “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

Wise words taken to heart by new media consultants.

uvBlog 2.1.90715

Published a new version with a redesigned page heading and some code changes to support the menu.  Also encapsulated the encryption routines into classes so I can swap them out for new ones later.

It went from this:

Krehbiel's Korner before

To this:

Krehbiel's Korner after

Things Unrelated To Michael Jackson

Here are some things I’ve learned recently from the No Agenda podcast, which I have not seen mentioned anywhere else in mainstream media.  (The podcast is a terrible production but at least they have interesting topics – usually.)  Investigations on any of these subjects would make it much more interesting to watch the news.

Russian programmer and ex-employee Sergey Aleynikov stole (allegedly) the source code to Goldman Sachs’ proprietary super-secret trading software.  Apparently if the code were to end up in “the wrong hands,” they could manipulate the market.  Which obviously begs the question:  What exactly is Goldman Sachs doing with this code?

EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson basically admitted in Senate hearings that the 1,400-page Cap-and-Trade bill passed in the House would have little impact on emissions that allegedly cause global warming.  Here are two more YouTube clips of the hearing:  Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) questions Sec. JacksonSen. Inhofe (R-OK) questions Sec. Jackson.  (Sorry, it’s almost impossible to find links to Senate hearing videos that aren’t chopped up into sound bite sizes.)

The United States and the world is gearing up for a massive campaign to get everyone vaccinated against Swine Flu this fall.  Locally, according to flu.gov, Virginia has had 306 cases and 2 fatalities (as of today) from Swine Flu.  If my math is right, Virginia has received around $9.5 million in government funds to fight the pandemic of sniffles.

At the recent G8 Summit, Russian president Medvedev showed a sample coin of the new reserve currency that he hopes will replace the U.S. dollar someday.  It bears the slogan “unity in diversity,” which sounds suspiciously Orwellian.  (However, I can find no references to a direct quote from the book 1984.)

And finally this was news to me:  Weather Channel founder John Coleman, along with what he claimed was a group of some 30,000 dissenting scientists – among them 9,000 PhDs – were trying to sue Al Gore to make it known that not every scientist agrees with anthropogenic warming.  The date on that story is March 2008; I’m really curious what happened to that effort.  Bing and Google are suspiciously silent on the topic.

uvBlog 2.1.90712 – Now with OpenID

Published a new version of uvBlog that includes experimental OpenID support.  You can now register and login with an OpenID, and attach as many OpenIDs to your account as you want.  I used the Zend Framework to implement it, which turned out to be relatively straightforward (once you figure out the necessary files to include). There are also some minor security improvements in this version.

uvBlog 2.1.90704

Published a new version today with one experimental new feature: Twitter integration via. OAuth 1.0a.  This allows the site to access Twitter account data without ever needing to know Twitter credentials.  This has no real benefit for anyone but the administrator (ie. me) right now, but I have some ideas about more Twitter and Facebook integration down the road.

Quick Thoughts on Sarah Palin’s Resignation

Blogs on the right are saying Gov. Sarah Palin resigned because the left’s smear tactics finally got to her, blogs on the left are saying Gov. Palin quit because she’s dumb and irrational.  Not too many people are saying what I think is at least one of the real reasons:  She can make a heck of a lot more money on the public speaking circuit leading “Team Sarah” around the country than she can as governor, where there are too many pesky ethical considerations.

Palin may be many things, but she’s certainly not dumb.  Nobody gets to be governor of a state without a certain amount of cunning.  (Even Alaska.)  She’s seizing what is certainly a once-in-ten-thousand-lifetimes opportunity and making bigger plans.  I hope it’s not a presidential run, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.  If she does run for president, and if SWAC Girl is any indication, she’s got a lot of stubborn, noisy grassroots supporters that want a piece of the action, who will do their level best to drown out the ordinary citizenry.

About her announcement:  She doesn’t want to be a “lame duck?”  That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard.  The end of a first term when you’re not running for a second term is perhaps the best time to be a governor:  You can push through whatever you want without fear of political consequences in the next election.

Blogs on the right are saying the left smears her because they “fear” her.  Well, duh.  Everybody fears her!  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it would kind of suck to see a quick-tempered, judgmental, authoritarian megalomaniac work her way into a position of power in these United States.  Allowing Sarah Palin to run the country is the equivalent of handing over the keys to one of those military Juntas in Central America or Burma.

On the Climate Bill and the Worthless Congress

I’m no fan of Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) – in fact, I typically can’t stand the sound of his voice.  But I applaud him for taking an hour to try to call attention to the way Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) Climate Bill (H.R.2454) was recently ramrodded through the House without anyone reading it.

This is the kind of thing that makes one throw their hands up in disgust at the American two-party system.  I’m quite sure that nobody in Congress read the sum total of this 1428-page bill.  Yes, 1428 pages.  (To be fair, the amount of text on each page is very small… in PDF format it’s at least a 12-point font, double-spaced, with well over 1-inch margins.  Still, it’s big.)

So obviously, a bunch of highly-paid lobbyists wrote every word of something that is now well on its way toward becoming law.  Some of it might be good.  Some of it is probably bad.  Most of it is undoubtedly useless.  Who knows?  Certainly nobody in Congress.

Why even bother having a Congress?  Why not cut out the middle-man and put up a Wiki site where anyone can edit the bills?  At least then there might be some tiny hope of a little representation for the lower and middle classes.  (Oh, but someone would probably charge a monthly fee to access the site.)

Anyway, we might applaud Boehner for taking this dramatic stand and opposing the evil Waxman today, but I have no illusions about his motivations.  If the tables were reversed, I’m sure Boehner would have no trouble stuffing some Republican lobbyist legislation down our throats.

By the way, I still have no idea what “cap and trade” means.  It sounds suspiciously like “credit default swaps.”  Whatever it means, I’m sure somebody is going to make a lot of money off of this bill, but it won’t be you or me.  Let’s just hope it’s not China.