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Journal: Lunatic Fringe & the Density Divide 1

Journal by rjamestaylor
Looking at the red/blue map it is interesting to note that the blue (Kerry, or "Hate Bush") states are on the geographical periphery of the US. More telling is the county by county map showing the winner by county in each state -- it's like looking at the map wearing "BlueBlocker" sunglasses. In California and New York, county by county, the states look red without their high-density population centers. Los Angeles, a blue county, is surrounded by red counties. (The Northwest coast of California is an exception to this density observation.)

What is it about highly dense population centers that push them to the Democrats? What is it about the rest of the country that draws them to Bush?

BTW, the reason I put Bush vs Democrats is that Kerry was "anybody but Bush" to the Democrats. This election was about Bush, not Kerry. Dean had the democrats soul but was unelectable; Kerry hoodwinked the Democrats into thinking he could leverage his war record against a Wartime President (the fact that it was 30 years ago and the activities of Kerry after returning were evidently not considered before making him the Dems' "Yellow Dog").

Bush is a real person -- WYSIWYG. Kerry is "complex" and "nuanced." Look, Kerry's 19 years in the Senate is void of any decisive impact or resonant agenda. (Today I heard the first insider post mortem (such an accurate phrase, really) on the Kerry campaign that tells of a terminally indecisive Kerry -- who's surprised?) But is that the reason for the Density Divide? I don't think that's enough.

Rural areas have liberal-minded folk, but you couldn't tell that from this election. Do dense areas have conservative thinkers? Dallas/Fort Worth is rather dense but are red. Travis County (home of Austin), TX, was a blue island in a sea of red.

What we do know is that 51% of voters in a heavy turnout election chose Bush. Did 48% choose Kerry or vote against Bush? As far as Congress is concerned, the American voters want more Republican representation. Overwhelming majorities of voters want Marriage defined as between a man and a woman (shocking!). South Dakota was willing to give up its pork barrel to rid itself of The Obstructionist, Tom Daschle; apparently realizing that his benefit to the state outweighed his harm to the nation in which they also live. Conservative -- not Gulianni-styled moderate Republicans -- replaced Democratic senators in two states. Bush's victory is not only significant for his own election but his coat-tails are long -- for the first time since Reagan's 1980 election.

There's been a dramatic shift in America. It's not all about 9/11/01, either. It's about character, conviction, steadfastness, morality, unimposed but evidenced faith. It's about a strong America willing to do what's right in the face of its enemies and vociferous critics. (I bet there are many Democrats that are now wanting to "retake" their party from the far left.)

Here's to the hope that a non-politicized dialog emerges about Iraq and its future. There needs to be a re-evaluation, but the attempt to win political advantage over the issue of Iraq was potentially damaging to the entire effort. Now with that pressure off, perhaps headway can be made in Iraq in time to secure that country's first democratic elections in its history and join the ranks of free nations as Afghanistan already has.

Three cheers for the Coalition of the Willing. Australian Prime Minister Howard's re-election (defeating a campaign of anti-war sentiment aided by Kerry's family) was welcome, so now is the decisive Bush victory. We now await the British to re-elect Blair. //heading into 2008... this is still relevant

Politics

Journal: "Democrats Say Bush Lied on Guard Service" 1

Journal by rjamestaylor

"Democrats Say Bush Lied on Guard Service"

That's the latest headline from the Kerry camp. President Bush, who has
proven himself over the last 4 years as a man of strength,
steadfastness, vision, determination, leadership is said to have lied
about something some 30 years prior thus negating what we know of the
man we and the world respects as a man of his word -- so they would
have us believe.

If Bush had received the Medal of Honor for hand-to-hand combat in the
Marines 30 years ago that would not speak as much as what Bush has
demonstrated over the past 4 years.

Conversely, as we look back on the Democratic candidate we see Kerry's
meritorious service in Vietnam and then a travesty of honesty and
integrity before the Senate and the country, denouncing himself and all
his comrades as war criminals for committing routine atrocities, thus
feeding the propaganda needs of our enemy in a time of war. We also
see 19 years in the Senate where he did nothing remarkable, except vote
against the entire modern arsenal our armed forces use in battle today.
Then we see a campaign over the last couple of years marked by a
consistent inconsistency on every critical issue our nation faces
today.

In this election this year I hope a certain Democrat will finally be
exonerated and restored to a place of honor in the eyes of history -- I
speak of Mondale and his landslide loss to Reagan in 1984. May his loss
be dwarfed by the current dwarf's overwhelming defeat on election day
2004.

User Journal

Journal: Cyclical holidays 14

Journal by rjamestaylor
How many people still celebrate cyclical holidays? Most, I reckon. One year in college I was struck with talk about how better the world was at a certain time of the year. I heard people around me and on the media who seemed to think a certain season would make the world a better place. Then, it hit me: I hear this every year.

When is it that the season's effects wear off? What is it about January, February or March that causes the world to return to its hard, mean state? Perhaps the world didn't really change in December, afterall . . .at least, not enough to "stick" the rest of the year. What, then, makes December different from other times of the year, or conversely, the other 11 months different than December?

Some may claim a focus on religious, spiritual, or family values makes December better than the other 11 months. My question is, do not these values hold true in the other 11 months if in December? Or does the earth's relative position to the Sun affect us to such an extent (if so, Astrology may be the purest religion!).

I decided that if something is true in December it must also be true in January--and July. From that point, if it was merely a cyclical observance (and I'm not a farmer) it probably held little or no relevance to me.

Your thoughts?

Apple

Journal: Switched Back 5

Journal by rjamestaylor
I switched back to Linux/Windows today, officially, with the sale of my not-too-used Titanium PowerBook G4 550. Sold it $800 less than I paid for it (not bad, really) to a friend and co-worker who is a graphics designer. Very appropriate sale.

"Officially" - because in reality I've been leaving my TiBook at home in favor of my 18 month old Toshiba 2805 running, depending on hard drive installed at any given moment, Windows ME (came with it) or RedHat 7.2. At the office my desktop is Windows XP Pro (rock solid) and my servers are all RedHat Linux. The TiBook has been a great machine for my family to watch DVDs on. But not to do real work.

Eventually the dock, no matter what settings I used (and I tried a lot of things) just became an annoyance. The lack of a real program launcher (vis a vis Windows' Start menu, the Gnome Foot, or the KDE thingy), the annoying lack of coherent Alt-Tab window switching, the lack of a decent terminal program (yes, I bought and used GLTerm after damning Terminal; and, yes, I futzed with XDarwin to use "standard" XTerm but could never get Gnome to work to my liking (Gimp kinda worked)) -- at least on WinXP/Me I've got superfast and capable PuTTY.

The thought of programming in Cocoa was enticing but practically DOA since my corporate users are all WinTel based. I new I would need VirtualPC to support Win/IE users. I just was not prepared for how slow VirtualPC would be (all updates applied, 768MB Apple RAM, All kinds of "settings" tweaked)--unbearable for long periods of time. I'm stuck in a WinTel world (business). Just a reality.

There were a number of things I like about the TiBook and Mac OS X, but I found myself gravitating back to WinTel/Linux. I went most of June without waking the TiBook from sleep mode. I just didn't need it.

Then came the .Mac annoucement and the Jaguar upgrade. I couldn't see paying another couple hundred bucks for a machine I wasn't using. Even with the speed increases in 10.2, I wouldn't be using the Mac to support Windows users. Not practical.

User Journal

Journal: Under God 8

Journal by rjamestaylor
Recently I changed my .sig to reflect my appreciation for the phrase "Under God" in the US pledge of allegience. The .sig read:

I'll stop pledging "Under God" when they pry it from my cold, dead lips.

Remove "Under God" and I rescind my pledge

I've received a bit of response and will post some of it here (and add commentary eventually).

A post from susano_otter :

Regarding your sig: do you really believe that the phrase "one nation, under God", accurately describes the country you're pledging your allegiance to? Or is the pledge for you simply an expression of an ideal state that we may all aspire to, even if it has yet to be established?

My response:

Do you believe subscribing to a lesser ideal will help the the state of our Republic?

When I gave my wedding vows I did not hesitate to pledge my allegience to an imperfect person (as an imperfect person). Nor did I consider that we were imperfect. Rather, I was honoring the covenant of marriage.

When St. Paul called the wayward church in Corinth "the church of God which is at Corinth" was he forgetting that they were divided, litigious, adulterous, gluttonous, etc.? No, but he spoke concerning something higher than their condition: he spoke concerning their position.

Regardless if we live like it or not, whether we believe it or not, we are a nation under God's sovereignty. Saying we are a nation under God is not a reflection of our condition, but of our position.

An email from aaron thorn:

No one said that you're not allowed to go on blathering about your American god. What you do in private is your own business. Why should anyone else have to pledge alegance to your silly god anyway?

Just curious-

A post from SubtleNuance:

So, you are an advocate of oppressive non-secular states?

PLease, I invite you to join the rest of us here in modern reality. Cast away your boogie-men and think for yourself.

You chide me for not agreeing with your point of view and then admonish me to "think for myself" -- which is it?

User Journal

Journal: Rethinking Strategic Advantage

Journal by rjamestaylor

We have a six month cycle for many reasons. First off, and most important to me personally, it is just the right length so that I do not kill myself. The holidays are nicely spaced for me. Since I am project leader, I must not be permitted to go insane.

Theo de Raddt

Instead of "release early and release often" Theo de Raadt has a 6 month release schedule so he can have a life. What a jerk!

Kidding. But it made me think -- why haven't I had a life now that I'm a reasonably well-paid lead developer for commercial projects? It's because there is always a looming deadline that I'm rush-rush-rushing to meet. Why have I allowed myself to fall into the spin-cycle of development? Strategic advantage.

In university I was taught that technology's high cost and risk was justified by the potential for strategic advantage over competitors. Examples from the Just-In-Time inventory control of the Japanese automakers to the (then) state-of-the-art real-time inventory control systems of FritoLay emphasized the benefits of investing in technology...as long as that investment produced a strategic advantage (SA) for your company. Unsaid was the assumption that you'd have to be the first with the technology in place in order to have such an SA. So, the high cost of technological development was justified by the expediency of providing a SA. Expediency is assumed in this model.

Much of software soution marketing revolves around the notion of speed. From concept to deployment...fast. Microsoft is pushing it's .NET as a timesaver. Oracle sells a 65-day ecommerce soution. Heck, I recommend Perl because of the speed of development.

In the midst of this speed-talk out went my life. I haven't had a 40-, 60-, or even 80-hour work-week in a couple years.

A few years ago I was involved in radio broadcasting, both as a show producer (2 different daily broadcasts: one live 30 minute broadcast; the other requring 40+ hours of editing per 30 minute daily broadcast) and as a on-air operator / program director. We were constantly running to meet deadlines. Chaos and confusion were the norm. It was a way of life. But there was a definite reason: time stops for no one. Sure, better production planning help reduce the confusion but there seemed to alweays be a clamor right before the mics went live. When my production group began a venture into video documentaries, all sembalance of 'life' went out the window. I began staying at the studios over consecutive days to meet deadline pressures. My family life consisted of phone calls home. That's when I left broadcasting for the safe haven of software development.

Now I find myself in an increasingly high-pressure position. Surely it has a lot to do with me, my personality, etc., but there is this "got to have it now" assumption that has been bred into not only me but everyone who learned to justify technological costs as a strategic advantage, rather than just the cost of doing business.

I hope in the next few months to reorganize my work schedule, reduce my commute time (currently an hour each way), etc. But I also plan on educating my clients that their project is not worth my life. Yet I know my first student will need to be: me.

User Journal

Journal: Beginnings

Journal by rjamestaylor
Ignomious, for sure, but this is a beginning to my Journal. Future writings will cover things that interest me -- family, work, thinking, reaction to news, ideas, plans, ramblings...

The first thing - my family - has recently grown. Less than 2 weeks ago my wife gave birth to our second, healthy, son. Our first son is 22 months old and still very "needy", which makes life interesting as I consider the second thing.

My work has changed as well: I'm working for a new company as a lead Internet application developer. No DOTCOM stuff...but using the Internet as a network. While I've investigated other tools (ASP, PHP, Java) I find myself returning to Perl -- extremely versatile and, well, CPAN makes all the difference. I'm well into the second phase of a new project and am enjoying my work very much.

Thinking: with a new baby and a new job there isn't much time for thinking. What I mean by thinking is considering philosophy, history, religion, politics, human nature (a mix of the foregoing...gee, maybe I am thinking...). When the first things settle down, I'll return to this.

This has been a beginning, and, like all things, needs an ending. (I guess that's it.)

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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