May 31, 2002


Even though I can't pretend to have discovered his earlier than yesterday, Megnut has really been fantastic over the last two weeks.

Posted by wasylik at 11:13 AM

What a resume entry

From Bag and Baggage: Former WRF attorney Scott Harris will serve as the next counsel to the Supreme Court. Besides myself, that may be the coolest boss I can think of having.

Posted by wasylik at 11:02 AM

Is someone spying on your email box?

Not that this is a hard trick, but a new tool on the market allows spammers to detect when your email has been read without your permission:

[It] sends out confirmations to the sender that the recipient has read an e-mail even when the recipient has disabled Return Receipts.
If your mail reader displays HTML, it will send a message back to [the sender] to indicate that your message has been read. In addition, it displays a message "The sender of this message requests confirmation when you read it. Click here to confirm." No need to click -- it has already been confirmed.
If you dislike this, you can set your mail reader to Text-only/no HTML allowed.

Another reason to set that e-mail to TEXT ONLY.

Posted by wasylik at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2002

Silence is golden.

I've noticed that the busier I get, the more likely I am to neglect the weblog.

Frequent and immediate updates mean I'm either bored or not busy enough. Long bursts of slience mean that I'm off doing other things.

Yay me.

Posted by wasylik at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2002

Blog party

From the e-mail box:

A couple other politico bloggers and I (Gene Healy --, and Brink Lindsey -- are throwing a D.C. bloggers bash on Thursday, June 6 at Rendezvous Lounge (18th and Kalorama).
Kicks off at 7 or thereabouts.
All are invited and all are invited and encouraged to promote the shindig on your sites.

Radley Balko

Mark your calendars.

Posted by wasylik at 10:54 AM

May 21, 2002

Free Agent Blog

Maybe I'm last to the party, but Daniel Pink, author of Free Agent Nation, has a weblog.

Malpractice by Adjustor

Allstate Guilty Of Malpractice For Telling Plaintiff Not To Hire Lawyer:

An Allstate claims adjuster who contacted a woman whose car was struck by a driver insured by Allstate, told her that she didn't need to hire a lawyer and advised her to sign a settlement and release has engaged in the practice of law and committed legal malpractice, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision.

I have mixed feelings about this one. Of course, it's nice to see the playing field leveled. On the other hand, I sometimes think that laws governing unauthorized practice of law are dangeoursly vague and creep dangerously close to infringing the First Amendment. In this one, the court deliberately held back from ruling on the unauthorized practice issue, but how can one possibly commit "malpractice" unless one is engaged in the "practice" of the profession?

Posted by wasylik at 01:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2002

The Lord Will Provide!

One thing I learned from this season of Survivor:

The Lord Jesus Christ will influence the outcome of game shows, directing large sums of money towards those of true faith. At least, those of true faith who break their word, deceive, and lie to their teammates.

Posted by wasylik at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Creative Commons

Found via Instapundit: Lawrence Lessig's brainchild, the Creative Commons, is finally live, thanks in part to the contributions of Matt Haughey.

The Commons exists, in part, to make it easier for creators to allow others to use their work in limited, or even unlimited, ways to promote greater creativity:

We will help copyright holders who do not want to exercise all of the restrictions of copyright law either dedicate their work to the unrestricted public domain, or license their work on terms that allow copying and creative reuses subject to some conditions. And we will help would-be copiers and creative reusers find those works by making the public domain and license terms machine-readable (and therefore easily searchable) and easy to understand.

Right on.

Posted by wasylik at 01:20 PM

May 19, 2002

Episode II

Like millions of others this weekend, Dineen and I went out to see Episode II with my dad, who's in town this weekend. Like many others, I came away with mixed feelings. I generally enjoyed the movie when the people in it were not:

  • speaking,
  • acting, or
  • recreating the Sound of Music.

My favorite parts of the movie came when the people in it were:

  • flying,
  • fighting, or
  • allowing their skin-tight white clothing to unravel.

I find it astonishing that a film of this magnitude can present imaginary creatures generated entirely by computer, producing wholly natural expressions, emotions, and idiosyncrasies; yet that same movie takes actors with proven acting skills - like Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan MacGregor, and heck, even Natalie Portman - and strip them of any nuance beyond the William Shatner threshold.

At first, I thought it was the actors' fault, but no director worth the title would let any actor in his film - let alone every actor - get away with such wooden performances. It must be the director's fault. But how can a director marshal such stiff performances from his human actors yet deliver such impressively life-like computer-generated aliens?

And there we get to the secret. Attack of the Clones is about the glitz and the magic of special effects. The plot is still solid, but every other bit of substance in this film's execution got lost in the manic desire to deliver more, better, slicker gee-whiz effects. To a large extent, it worked. The final battle scenes are stunning, and everyone seems to come away from those impressed. But clunky dialogue and acting that would shame a daytime soap opera detract mightily from the final product.

Lucas has fixed a lot of the problems that plagued Episode I , but I hope he has time to fix these problems as well before he closes the book on this franchise entirely.

On a side note, one thing we learned in Episode II is also true of real life: a Sith Lord controls the Senate and he's fooled everyone into thinking he's still fighting for good.

Posted by wasylik at 08:36 AM

May 17, 2002

Dems Attack Bush For Not Preventing 9/11 Attacks

Echoing Pearl Harbor charges against FDR, Democrats are suddenly attacking President Bush, claiming that the government had enouygh information to have taken some kind of action to prevent it. Two MetaFilter posts [ one | two] hit the nail on head.


I don't like Dubya any more than the next liberal, but he's getting a bum rap here. Pre 911, post 93, the Feds have been getting so many warnings about terrorist attacks both foreign and domestic, their manpower was worn thin researching the validity of each threat. My guess is they had inside jokes about the ones that came more often. The repeating motifs. A lot of threats found their way on a table gathering dust, or maybe file thirteen.
Anyone ever hear the one about the boy who cried wolf? I'm sure Osama has. He played us like fools.

Exactly. It's easy to see now, in hindsight, that some of these leads and guesses may have been accurate, but that doesn't count all the numerous times the President received false warnings.

Second, even if we had separted out these particular clues as more meaningful than others, I haven't seen anyone raise a plausible proposal for what exactly the government should have done.

If there had been even an attempt to respond to the threats that now apparently were known before 9/11, everyone in the country - left, right, and center - would have been righteously indignant at the brazen attempt to strip away our civil liberties.

The thing aboust partisanship is this: it's not enough to criticize; you've got to have some kind of viable alternative. Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle and the others never have. Even when the hostility between President Clinton and the Republican Congress was at its deepest, the Republicans were always offering an alternative plan: tax cuts, not tax hikes; shrink welfare, don't grow it; tell the truth under oath, don't commit perjury. Democrats criticizing Bush for not doing anything more than they could have done had they held the White House have failed to offer any sort of real alternative - which is the ultimate duty of the opposition party.

Besides revealing much about the Democrats' willingness to lay blame without accepting responsibility, the real lesson to be learned here is that there were significant intelligence failures which increased our vulnerability to this kind of attack. If the Dems were sincere in their desire to fix the problem, rather than electioneer, they'd address that instead of trying to blame Bush.

Posted by wasylik at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2002

State Corporation Records

Need to look up corporate records from another state? Check this portal for a list of state public records search pages.

Just watch out for the e-mail harvesting script.

Posted by wasylik at 06:33 PM

VeriSign gets sued

VeriSign finds itself on the short end of an injunction in Baltimore:

Domain-name seller BulkRegister sued VeriSign in Baltimore on Monday, saying the company sent thousands of "renewal notices" to BulkRegister customers that sought to trick them into unwittingly transferring their accounts to VeriSign.
In a preliminary hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Frederic N. Smalkin agreed with BulkRegister, saying that VeriSign likely engaged in deceptive behavior.

Interestingly enough, Bulkregister is one of the bad guys who have enabled the theft of the domain.

Posted by wasylik at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2002

Dominey trades a space

Ever watch Trading Spaces and think you could improve on what the the designers came up with? Todd did.

UPDATE: The show's designer e-mails Todd. [scroll down]

Posted by wasylik at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

Things Are Getting Ugly

After spending the last couple of hours staring at this thing trying to get the templates right, I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the next re-design will be not long in coming. Suggestions?

Posted by wasylik at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2002

Conversion to Movable Type: Ten, Nine, Eight...

Hey, you're right. New look. But more than that, I've got a new engine under the hood. Everything you see on this page is now powered by Movable Type. Overall, I found the software set-up manageable. Importing old entires were almost a snap; redesigining for a new back-end took me the longest amount of time.

Now that my web host supports Perl, it's time for me to move into the next era of blogging. Thanks to James for alerting me to the possibilities.

All of the old archives entries are still at their original URL's, even though many of them are now in "draft" mode in the new database. Also, the old Archive Index is still in its original location.

Posted by wasylik at 09:59 PM

May 09, 2002

Gun Control Backfires Overseas

John Lott exposes the failure of gun-control laws overseas:

In 1996, Britain banned handguns. The ban was so tight that even shooters training for the Olympics were forced to travel to other countries to practice. In the six years since the ban, gun crimes have risen by an astounding 40%. Britain now leads the U.S. by a wide margin in robberies and aggravated assaults. Although murder and rape rates are still lower than in the U.S., the difference is shrinking quickly. Dave Rogers, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said that despite the ban, "the underground supply of guns does not seem to have dried up at all."
Australia also passed severe gun restrictions in 1996, banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively. In the subsequent four years, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24%, and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%.

Funny how some of those who most enthusiasticaly rally for "choice" in abortion rights fail to see that their laws are not only instrusive, but proven to harm society. Keep your laws off my guns, Sarah Brady.

Posted by wasylik at 11:45 AM

May 06, 2002

John Leo discovers weblogs

Conservative columnist John Leo discovers weblogs:

Political bloggers are overwhelmingly right of center, either conservative or libertarian. The conventional wisdom is that the strong rightward tilt is a reaction against the mandatory liberalism of the modern newsroom.

While this may be true now, it hasn't been the case for very long. Obviously Mr. Leo missed the Golden Age of Weblogs, where I could count on one hand the number of bloggers I would consider "right of center."

(Of the 23 blogs listed in jjg's "ye olde skool" list - the only onces known to exist in the beginning of 1999 - only Wes Felter could be considered libertarian, and none would be anywhere close to conservative.)

Now, and especially since September 11, conservatives have discovered weblogs, and they've taken weblogs to the next step - by and large, they're more prolific than the old school, and for the moment, they've embraced causes which are widely popular even outside the conservative school. The combination of volume and consevative populism had made the new wave of webloggers a formidable force. As more readers discover weblogs for the first time - including journalists - they inevitably stumble across the high-volume sites that everyone else is linking to in a frenzy of head-nodding and high-fiving.

So... now the media thinks that conservatives dominate the weblog world. If that's true, is it bad that conservatives have found a voice in blogging? Absolutely not. This last wave of webloggers have offered something the weblog community hasn't seen since the very first wave - a strong contribution to the public discourse. Unlike many of their peers in the intervening time, these bloggers are collectively making an impact on political discourse on the web.

Posted by wasylik at 12:29 AM

Top Ten Copyright Crimes

Although it's already been around the net once and back again, I never want to lose track of this beautiful piece of commentary: Top Ten New Copyright Crimes.

Posted by wasylik at 12:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rebuffed in the Buff

Summers in Wisconsin get hot: Laughing women rebuff nude launderer

I love the last line... "The man is described as being in his mid-20s, 6 feet 3 inches tall and having a muscular build and very dark, short hair. He might have been wearing a baseball cap."

If they weren't looking at his head, what were they laughing at?

From Broomeman.

Posted by wasylik at 12:06 AM

May 03, 2002

This Throne of Kings

Michael Kinsely wonders why we cozy up to some of the least democratic nations in the world: This Throne of Kings. Link from Oliver Willis.

Posted by wasylik at 08:59 AM

May 02, 2002

DC Keeps the Innocent In Prison

How do you find yourself on the short end of a $440 MILLION lawsuit? Just keep an innocent man in jail for five months:

A homeless man was mistakenly imprisoned at the D.C. jail and an adjacent correctional treatment facility for five months because Department of Corrections workers failed to update computer records to indicate that a court had ordered his release within two days of his arrest.

While I know that DC has a homeless problem, this solution seems a bit extreme as well as overly costly.

Posted by wasylik at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Big & Loud

Big & Loud & Formidable & Right :: Dreama's back!

Posted by wasylik at 11:03 AM

May 01, 2002

Deep Link to Idiocy

Linking to the terms of service page violates the Terms of Service:

If you operate a Web site and wish to link to this Site, you may link only to the home page of the Site and not to any other page or subdomain of us.

First, I don't agree to their terms of service.

Second, I'm not "using" their site, I'm calling attention to their ridiculous notion that they can take people to court to prevent people from linking to "any other page" on their subdomain. If they really want to do that, there are techincal ways to accomplish it.

Third, what a foolish policy. The Washington Post, by comparison, not only allows linking to individual stories, but through its organization and preservation of cntent, downright encourages it. Journalistic integrity aside, the Post enjoys a tremendous amount of traffic from people linking to - and e-mailing links to - their stories. That's worth a dozen posters at a bus stop - the passing of the link implies endorsement of the source in most instances. It's a personal testimonial passed on to those who know the deep-linker.

I hope the DFW crowd has a linking frenzy to their site, just so they can rack up a whole truckload of legal bills for naught. Time to stamp out stupidity.

Posted by wasylik at 08:36 PM

Oh, no - it's happened

Oh, no - it's happened again. This time, has fallen into the hands of pirates. At least this one appears to be a mistake.

People, if you have a domain, and Network Solutions is your registrar, immediately transfer it to a better one - before someone else does it for you.

Posted by wasylik at 09:59 AM