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Journal Journal: a good debate 16

Very surprisingly, CNN actually put on a pretty darn good GOP debate. (I didn't seen the JV's, earlier in the day.)

Sure, CNN is still a Left-wing network of course, so there were a few questions about things Right-wingers don't recognize or care about, like Global Warming. Which would be fine in a D vs. R candidate debate, but completely doesn't belong in a GOP-only debate.

And of course they're still trashy/sensational like FNC, so it started out with several "so-and-so said this about you, take a moment to react" questions. Which might only be marginally useful to voters, as far as seeing how, both accusor and accusee, cope with aggression and pressure.

But what was fabulous about it is two-fold:
1) The thing was about 3, blessed, hours long. To a political junkie, that's not long, considering there were 11 (why not the "top 10"?!) candidates participating.
2) The moderator(s) did less talking, and there was responses and re-responses and re-re-responses from the candidates (vice just a bunch of interrupting with "we gotta move on"). In fact, the two co-questioners didn't get to ask hardly any questions, so their role was dubious. (Which is fine by me.)

Readily apparent was that everyone came with more energy this time, to the point of making Trump look somewhat demure. He's going to have to start coming out with details now (I think he said he'll have specifics of an economic plan to release in the next couple of weeks) to stay competitive. Everyone has ideas that are cringe-worthy (like Carly's "I won't talk with Putin, I'll just arm up" brinksmanship strategy for foreign policy), so it should be safe for Trump to start getting specific. (That is, I don't think something akin to mere "hope and change" -- his "I'll make America great again" -- will work, for a Republican.)

So what made this debate a gazillion times better than the FNC's is that I actually learned some things about the candidates' positions on things, and a little on how they differ. Unfortunately that's probably the best one there'll ever be.

p.s. It was good to see Rand Paul back to being his thoughtful and articulate self, unlike the prior debate where he didn't talk issues, just got into petty tit-for-tats with Trump and Christie.

p.p.s. I'm absolutely elated to have heard something to the effect that the three "outsiders" in the race are the top three in polling right now for the GOP.

User Journal

Journal Journal: computer model mythology 9

So I'm sitting here watching the women's finals of the U.S. Open (tennis, not golf; i.e. the boring stuff, not the really boring stuff! ;). BTW, in the men's finals tomorrow, world ranked #1 and #2 are playing each other, unsurprisingly. But on the women's side, #1 and #2 lost in the semis to #26 and an unranked player.

This would be unheard of on the men's side, because 1) there's a significant difference between a top 3 and a top 10 ranked player, let alone a top 30 player, and 2) they're a hell of a lot more consistent; excepting Serena Williams (who looks to be part man herself, BTW!), the women flop around from #1 to nobodies, like musical chairs.

Anyways, both of these players have never been to the finals of a grand slam (I guess one of the big* four tournaments of tennis in a year) before, and for such people nerves can be a factor, typically, and to some degree. This is broad generalizing [pun not intended :)] just assuming this much, which leads me to the point of my JE.

*I think I heard last night that the winner's payout was now up to $3.3 mil.

IBM is one of the sponsors of the tourney, and they're always trying to reinforce their marketing angle of being thought of for data analytics, and they had a feature during a pause where the sports announcers told us that nerves would affect one of the players 55% to 45% for the other player.

WTF?!? It boggles the mind to imagine just how impressive in number and cocksurety the assumptions must have been that went into such a concoction.

But we believe that computers are impartial, and don't(/can't) lie, so it must be true. What people don't know of course is that, assuming a bug-free implementation of a model, the output is only as trustworthy as both the model and the data.

I tell my non-technical extended family members that computers are not magical soothsayers, they can only, basically, do what they're told to do. And a computer model is just, broadly-speaking [there I go again], telling the computer what to do with the data.

It may be more data than a human being can readily sift through to determine what their assumptions would amount to, but that's all the computer does, takes human beings' assumptions about things, and crunches data sets, small or large, in terms of them.

So the tennis match is over now. They announced the winner does indeed get $3.3 mil. And she announced that she's retiring. People were shocked to hear this, apparently even her coach. But she's 33 years old, which is prime retirement age from the game. And she has a fiance, so she probably wants to start a family, as most women do.

She said she's known the fellow Italian she played against today since they first played at about age 9. So she's had a long career, and even though she also said after the match that she made the decision to retire after this tournament a month ago, she might have been thinking about retiring soon anyways. And the why not go out on this high. But did IBM's Watson, Tennis Version*, know all of this? She probably wasn't hardly nervous at all, given all of that.

*They've been advertising versions of "Watson" for health care data and other areas, in addition to the Jeopardy version that originally made the name famous.

p.s. I just sprouted an "eye migraine" (a painless, developing "shimmering" in my direct field of vision, in both eyes/in my brain) a few minutes ago, so apologies if some of my last few edits are mangled.

User Journal

Journal Journal: would've never guessed that 2

Ran into something today. Found the answer:

4. INSERT queries that use SELECT with ORDER BY to populate rows guarantees how identity values are computed but not the order in which the rows are inserted

Mentally masticate on that one for a minute. You carefully craft an ordered query for output to a web page view. But you need to return other resultsets based on it, so you INSERT that SELECT into a table variable, use it to produce your other resultsets, and then finally SELECT from the table var as the last resultset to return.

But then you find your ordered query is ordered, just not your order! Would've never seen that even coming. So I slapped an IDENTITY column on the table var and sorted on it for the final resultset. Whatevs.

User Journal

Journal Journal: we must study it first (perpetually) 11

"The idea of, you know, building a wall, kicking everybody out, and ending birthright citizenship all sounds appealing in some respects to some folks. But I just think it's a very complicated problem. And it needs someone who understands how to do a complicated and nuanced solution to that problem," Christie said [...]

Fuck nuance. And fuck those who are relativists and excuse-makers who try to use the concept to moderate on what is unequivocal. dam_reservoirs and fussycrackwitch are obviously commies. ISIS is obviously an Islamic terrorist organization. We obviously can build a fucking wall. Trump is popular right now because about a sixth of us in this country are tired of mealy-mouthed pussies.

"Appealing in *some* respects"?!? In what respects is it *not* appealing, to build a wall, kick out the illegals, and stop the madness? Presumably he means such things are unappealing to Leftie Republicans.

"Now what I said was if we wanted to have comprehensive immigration reform, I'd be willing to listen to anything. But the truth of the matter is that that's not something we should be being focused on. That's an applause line," he added.

When two paragraphs up he said:

And I think the difference here in my approach is they know that I'm a guy who knows how to enforce the law," he said.

Umm, what good is it to us that you know how to enforce the law, when you think it's not something worth focusing on?

And everybody knows by now that "comprehensive" reform is code for shifting the policy Leftward. In this case, an all-of-the-above approach of giving us both amnesty and not securing the border.

Why is Christie running? (Or Jeb for that matter? Or fucking Lindsey Graham?) Why is he even in the GOP? Mark Steyn said something to the effect that Republican establishment candidates are good choices because they give such great concession speeches. So Christie's big plan is to alienate the Conservative base and appeal to the big donations class of the party? I.e. raise a lot of money and get no general election votes? I guess how that strategy and inevitable outcome is a good thing is "nuanced".

p.s. Megan Kelly *is* a bimbo. I saw (part of) some segment when Dinesh D'Souza was on, talking about some of the very real shit that was happening to him. That guy has been watching and writing about Leftie trends in America going back to at least the 90's "Illiberal Education". As I recall he basically said what everyone knows, that amounted to saying that Obama is basically an American communist. And then Miss "hee hee look at me I have my own TV show!" immediately laughs and says that's crazy. Dinesh was floored. He's a (admittedly biased) researcher, she's a fake-blonde airhead "TV personality". I guess Roger bumped mutt-faced Greta out of prime time because she's not a breezy enough blonde. Next he should ditch the ditz and put Shannon Bream in that spot. She's guest-hosted the Brett Bair nee Brit Hume news hour and done so credibly.

p.p.s. I got side-tracked there. What I want is someone who'll forget about how "complicated" or "nuanced" a problem is and just start doing the obvious things to address it. And it's 2015 in America, Constitutionality is no longer a problem, when we have assholes like Roberts and Kennedy who'll lick their fingers and stick them in the wind to decide what would be best for whichever way the country is veering at the time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Democrat vs. socialist 46

Just saw the video clip on it last night. A short and sweet article on it:

On MSNBC's Hardball Thursday night, host Chris Matthews stumped DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) when he asked her what the difference is between a Democrat and a socialist.

"What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?" Matthews asked, leaving Wasserman Schultz at a loss for words.

"I used to think there is a big difference. What do you think it is?" Matthews tried again. "A Democrat like Hillary and a socialist like Bernie Sanders."

Wasserman Schultz again was unable to answer and instead tried to tell Matthews what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican is.

"The more important question is what is the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican," she said.

"What's the big difference between a Democrat and a socialist?" Matthews again asked.

"You're chairman of the democratic [sic] party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist," Matthews reminded her.

"The relevant debate that we'll be having this campaign is what's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican," Schultz said.

Schultz, however, was able to tell the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.

"The difference between a Democrat and Republican is that Democrats fight to make sure everybody has an opportunity to succeed and the Republicans are strangled by their right-wing extremists," she said.

While we're still before the primaries for each (major) party, that question is relevant; amongst Democrat voters, that's something they'd probably be interested in knowning, just like amongst Republican voters about how Conservative each candidate is.

A question I'd like to see posed to Prince Rebus or whatever his name is: What is the difference between a modern Republican and an old-school Democrat? As DWS alludes to, is the GOP a moderate party with a small minority of Right-wing members that's causing it trouble?

User Journal

Journal Journal: exactly why the debate sucked 9

I couldn't put my finger on it until now. I watched the varsity one live that evening, and then later that night the JV one that I had recorded while at work.

My thoughts 2/3rds into the varsity one were:
* Am I watching MSNBC?
* I'm not getting useful information.

I thought FNC was supposed to be a pro-Republican network. They seemed like all gotcha questions, having not thought much about it by then. Apparently the FNC "personalities" at least were all gushing in the days prior and following, thumping themselves on the back about what a fabulous job they did, and how carefully they came up with these perfected questions, and if we only knew how much went into it. And apparently the rest of the news media were ecstatic at the job FNC did. Now I know why.

And why I learned very little:

1) Part of it is that there were so many candidates, even with over 3 hours of time. That meant very limited time for each anyways. But the aggravating things are:
a) The candidates were limited to 30-second "answers", which is not enough time to explain anything, with any substance.
b) The moderators were not limited, and by far did more talking than any of the candidates.

Someone from another network kept track of candidate speaking time:

FINAL Talk Times:
1 Trump 10:30
2 Bush 8:33
3 Huck 6:32
4 Carsn/Crz 6:28
6 Kasch 6:25
7 Rubio 6:22
8 Chrste 6:03
9 Walkr 5:43
10 Paul 4:51

This totals just under 68 minutes of time. The show was 130 minutes long. With limited commercial breaks (thankfully). I found a report that the avg ad time per hour on cable for 2013 was 15 minutes and 38 seconds (up from 14 minutes and 27 seconds per hour in 2009). Let's say in the last two years it grew at double that rate, to 18:12 per hour, which would be almost 40 minutes in a 130 minute timespan.

So, approximately, the moderators yapped for 130 - 68 - 40 = 22 minutes of the time. While it definitely felt like much longer, from watching it, that's still more than twice the time for the candidate who got the most time amongst the candidates, and either way it still means that there was only 52% candidate content in the program.

But it's not even that, because:
i) At the time limits per answer they were only soundbite-quality, and
ii) They didn't originate with what the candidates thought was important to convey (i.e. some of their time was wasted in their having to segue).

So this afternoon I saw a re-capped clip of one question from the debate, and hit me why exactly I learned very little, aside from the math on the time. They're weren't "tough questions" (like posing to each, how do we keep Iran from getting the bomb), or really even "gotcha questions" (designed to catch you unaware of the trick in the question, to get you to screw up), what they were were "negative spin". I.e. as misrepresenting of things as possible, customized for each candidate's circumstances.

That's why I learned basically nothing from the 3+ hours. Of course the candidates are going to try to misrepresent their weaknesses, spun positively. The way around that is for the moderators to stick on a candidate after their answer and grill them, not let it stand and move on to someone else, like Fox did.

So I got misrepresentation in the answers, and also (maybe even more) in the questions. And that's why the Left thought FNC did such a knock-up job this time. Because it's what they would've done.

But if FNC was really a network for Republicans, they would've picked topics important to Republicans, and sought to bring out the differences between the candidates on them, to inform. Instead we got crap about things like Trump's bankrupties. That'll all come out in the campaign, with all other news orgs being solid Left. My problem is that FNC now talks about income inequality and racist police etc. So their (news division) being moderate Left, is that what is defined as catering to Republicans nowadays? I fear maybe it is.

User Journal

Journal Journal: whopper of the week 4

"Star Trek wasn't political." -- William Shatner

Back in the real world, ST is one of the most political TV shows of all time. It embodies multi-culturalism, feminism, passivism, anti-capitalism, and environmentalism, as those just off the top of my head. TFMSNBCA uses the term "progressive", which I would only nitpick at in the capitalization of the first letter.

I enjoyed the original series, less so the later ones, and most of the movies, but let's face it, ST is a communist institution in America. Beside there being a whole movie devoted to the old Leftie "save the whales" thing, we had the Ferengi for goodness sakes, an alien race developed to portray how ugly private enterprise makes us!

But aside from Mr. Shatner's farcical statement, I had been rooting for The Donald for prez, but I'm warming to Ted Cruz after this. He's right about how how in TNG they split Kirk up (and I would say later brought them back together into one in Voyager; which reminds me, include Native American/primitive (i.e. non-successful, non-Christian, non-Western Culture) cultures worship in the list) into the ass-kicker (Riker) and the pussy (Shjon-Luke).

See, they even gave them kick-ass and pussy-sounding names, respectively. And of course the Republican had to be subordinate to the Democrat, as it should be in any good, forward-thinking society amiright.

p.s. As an added extra bonus to this JE, there's also the most metal item of the week.

User Journal

Journal Journal: license plate frame of the week last week 11

"It takes a lot of balls"

"To play golf like me!"

p.s. WTF is up with Left's twinkie defense in the Planned "Get yer baby parts here!" Parenthood brouhaha? The argument seems to go that this pro-life group has been after them for so long, somehow that means this revelation shouldn't count! Like they should get a do-over. What was exposed doesn't count because it was no-fairzees. Because they've really been after us.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hey, these retards are like the ones I work with 5 Scroll down to the quiz. The Yes/No choices are not represented by radio buttons (or some other single-selection-only UI element), but by checkboxes. So WTF does it mean if I check both Yes and No to a pretty much binary question.

Kind of like the morons at my work that represent an action with a checkbox. A checkbox represents state, a pushbutton advertises an available action. So we have checkboxes that then visually (along with their label) signal a certain state, even when the application is no longer in that state.

When I brought this up, and said a pushbutton would be more appropriate, I was told that technically I have a point, but that they don't care.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Well if it's about health care, then it's okay 2

(Who could be against something that's just part of health care?)

In "health care", "patients" sometimes want to "donate" "tissue" to scientific research...

I used to think the death panels in our future would be just about controlling costs. But now I see that there'll also be the "humanitarian undertaking" part of it.

p.s. I'm not an "anti-vaxxer", but if the government can require you to put things in your body it means they own your body more than you do. They can decide it's time for you to give up your organs, because "medical breakthroughs".

User Journal

Journal Journal: yum, feet

So in Panera tonite I noticed they have a new kind of bakery dessert they're promoting. It's a flip-flop cookie.

You're supposed to pick up this day-glo green item that looks like some dirty open footwear that someone's skunky sweaty feet have been wearing, and stick it in your mouth and tell yourself you're enjoying eating such a thing.

Maybe it actually tastes pretty good, but it's a horrendous metaphor for something that's supposed to be edible(/palatable). What next, a dirty underwear cookie? With a cute little crotch stain made of fudge. How whimsically delicious!

p.s. And if you thought this JE was a waste of time, eat my shorts.

User Journal

Journal Journal: what I want in my next car 2

Remember the motorized retracting radio antenna option that some cars had back in the 70's/80's? Well I want something like that, only on the driver's side of the car. And I want it to be a pipe with an elbow that can be raised like a submarine periscope. Only instead of lenses, I want it to be hollow. And instead of being an air intake like those snorkels on Hummers and Jeeps, I want it to be connected to the exhaust system and have a valve that can be actuated from a control in the cabin.

This way when I'm stopped at a traffic light, and next to me on my left is a big-ass truck jacked up off the ground with its "tailpipe" aimed right at my driver side window, smogging me out, I can flip a switch and return the favor and redirect my noxious emissions into one of *his* windows. (Or even better, a rubber hose that can be extended out from the car sideways to slip over the offender's tail^Wsidepipe, and reroute their own exhaust back at them!)

p.s. Speaking of automotive "why is this shit even legal?", how come motorcycles don't have to have mufflers? I have to notice one coming up on me and quick stick a finger in the appropriate ear so that blood doesn't shoot out of it when the guy roars by. I can be just about to fall asleep and one will go by on the main street down the block from me.

So I guess I also could use a 125 dB loudspeaker, which is just the threshold of pain but no real damage, on a turret on the car's roof, that automatically tracks an above-average loud noisemaking object, and when in range delivers a massive sound pulse of this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Catholics have jumped the shark 16

I'm not Catholic, but even if I was:

1) I do not recognize this ball of mud in space as "our Sister, Mother Earth". How long before Catholics, who already come dangerously close to or cross the line into worshipping false idols, refer to it as "the Blessed Holy Mother Earth"? Water is blessed to make "holy water", so when will dirt be? Say three Hail Gaia's and you're absolved of your sins against "her"? I'm envisioning a creepy earth cult a la the movie Avatar. Stop the madness. Stop making little godlets out of other people and mere things.

2) This "sister" is not now crying out to us nor never has, because it doesn't have vocal chords and it's not alive. It's a giant dirtclod that has living things on it, most of them soulless/not made in God's image and therefore as valuable as the rock they live on.

3) I will not say a prayer for "our Earth". I don't pray for inanimate objects. Nor do I deify them.

These are based on an article I read at lunch about it this week on ArsLeftica. I ignored what the author said about the Pope's writing, and refer only to the quotes. Which appalled me enough; I don't care to read the original source on this one. (I don't want to know fully how bad it is.)

p.s. Note that I consider Catholics to be my fellow brothers in Christ. Same with Mormons. I trust that our acceptance of Jesus will enable us to go to the place that's the best. (Where I guess it'll all be straightened out.)