Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday Roundup

There they go, getting all TIPSy again

Remember the TIPS program -- citizen spies and all that? The whole idea was quickly round-filed after a bit of public outcry. But like all really, really bad government ideas, it refuses to die. Here's Bruce Schneier on the idiocy of training school bus drivers to look for terrorists instead of keeping their eyes on the damn road.

The Talent show

Interesting discussion over on Politics1 yesterday about Jim Talent's stem cell flip-flop. Frankly, I think it's being over-analyzed. It's really quite simple: Talent is desperate and flailing.

Talent has always been a weak candidate -- after four House terms from a "safe" GOP district, he lost his gubernatorial bid versus Bob Holden, and barely squeaked into the Senate past a non-politician appointee, the widow Carnahan. Now his party is collapsing around him just as he faces a hardcore opponent ... and he's never won a truly competitive race. He knows that unless something changes, big-time, he's going home after November. So he's already running Hail Marys in the first quarter.

The issue itself? He has precisely zero credibility on it. In the first debate of his 2002 Senate campaign, he explained his opposition to cloning thusly (verbatim as best I can do from memory): "I don't want to be walking down the sidewalk and meet myself coming the other way." Deep thinker, this guy.

On the other hand, flip-flopping has worked for him before:

In the House, Talent was thoroughgoingly anti-gun, supporting the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and other assorted victim disarmament nastiness.

While preparing his 2000 gubernatorial run, he opposed Missouri's half-assed concealed carry initiative, which would have required the state government to pay some minimal respect to the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms (provided those wanting to exercise said right stood in line, filled out forms, paid the requisite tribute, etc.).

Then, halfway through the Senate campaign, he stopped bragging about his anti-American gun record, plastered an "I'm the NRA" sticker on his forehead, and managed to scrape through.

So maybe he's onto something with this flip-flopping thing -- but I doubt it. IMHO, he'll be lucky to get within 5 points of Claire McCaskill come November.

Psycho killer, qu'est que c'est

New review at Blogcritics: Talking Heads, 77. I'll be doing Little Creatures later this week or early next (I managed to snag review copies of both on Rhino Records' reissue/remaster w/bonuses of all 8 of the band's studio albums).

And boy are my arms tired

Nice weekend -- Tamara has been working truly grueling hours lately, so we decided to take a "mini-vacation" to Columbia: Hotel with indoor pool and high-speed Net, pizza at Shakespeare's with Libertarian (Hugh and Andy Emerson) and Democrat (Robin Hastings) friends, shopping at Cool Stuff and The Peace Nook. And a good time was had by all, etc.

And then the hangover

So we get home, and the computer. Is. Dead. I'm referring to the vaunted "new machine." I said it was a cheap box. I was right. I said you get what you pay for. I was right. I turned the thing off on Friday when we left, and it just wouldn't start when we got home. Power supply or switch, I'm not entirely sure.

So: Improvisation. I took the old "dying" box, threw a cannibalized hard drive and CD-ROM into it, and poof ... it wasn't "dying" any more. It's not as much machine as the new one, but it works. I'm blogging to you from a 650MHz-P3/128Mb/7.xGb machine running Knoppix 3.02 (hard drive install), KDE and Mozilla 1.3, which is better than not blogging at all (and a damn sight better than blogging on a Windows machine). There are, however, some quirks to work out (like posts vanishing into the aether -- that sort of thing). I've got the latest Knoppix on the way, but may go with some other distro by the time I get done with all this messin' around. I'll be back to regular posting ASAP ... and sorry for the downtime.

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