Around the Web on 9-28-06

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bleg 1

Ever since changing jobs, I've had less time than I used to to keep up with my favorite blogs. I have been using netvibes, but it slowed down my browser so badly this morning that I had to close it, losing all my work.


I want to switch to another feed aggregator and if you use one you really like, I want to hear about it so long as either (a) it can run in a web browser (like netvibes -- or should I say "better than netvibes"?) or (b) if it is a stand-alone application, it is native to or has been ported to Linux. It should also cost me nothing or a low, one-time fee to use.

Bleg 2

I will be rearranging the blogroll soon. Rather than using the present division by frequency of updates, I will do one of two things. (1) I will lump all blogs together, except for newly-added blogs. (2) I will divide blogs into three broad categories (aside from newly-added blogs): "Milbloggers" (mainly fellow ex-submariners), "Fellow Travelers" (Objectivists and those sympathetic to Objectivism), and "Friends and Benefactors" (big guns like Instapundit, friends who aren't in either of my two "communities", and reciprocal linkage.

Which do you prefer and why? And if you like the second scheme, would you suggest different names for any of the categories?

New Yorkers Told What to Eat

Ed Morrissey gives us an update on something I noticed earlier in the week.

...New York City decided that consumers and food preparers couldn't be trusted to make their own decisions. The health board imposed trans-fat limits on restaurants in the Big Apple, transforming the debate from health to politics...
The Big Apple, as I said earlier, has been heading this way for awhile.

.667 may be a great batting average, ...

.. but it is not good enough in philosophical matters, as Andy points out at The Charlotte Capitalist.
[Radio anchor Jeff Katz said] something like, "If you take religion out of the equation, all you have left is moral relativism."

Jeff's point being: There is only one choice for morality and it is religion. Without religion, there is nothing -- no other alternatives.

Jeff made the mistake that most make -- that there are only two choices. The mistake begins with metaphysics. Jeff''s options are two variants of the primacy of consciousness -- that either the universe is controlled by a supernatural force or by the whims of men on an individual or group basis.
He then posts links to his fisking of The Purpose-Driven Life, for anyone who might have missed it.

Venezuela Update

We in the United States recently got to see why Hugo Chavez is known in some quarters of Venezuela as "El Loco". But at least he's not in charge here. Indeed, it might be easy after his antics to dismiss him as irrelevant. As The Counterterrorism Blog points out, that would be a mistake.
Chavez's financial support has been key to supporting extremist allies from Argentina to Cuba and everywhere in between. Venezuela has received thousands of Cuban doctors, sports trainers, and other operatives. When Bolivia, under new President Evo Morales, allied with Venezuela and Cuba, Boliva too began receiving Cuban doctors. No doubt some of these programs do some good (they are also a safety valve for Castro - doctors use the trip to Venezuela or Bolivia to slip Castro's grasp.) However, it appears the Cuban agents are mostly organizing citizen militias that Chavez and Morales can rely on in a civil conflict.

But the biggest worry is the guns. Over the summer Hugo went on an arms buying spree in which he purchased high-performance jets and helicopters (not terribly useful for a nation with no real enemies) and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Chavez also obtained a license so he could manufacture his own assault rifles. The first client for these weapons will probably be Chavez's own Bolivarian Circles (his citizen militia) and the second will be the FARC. But beyond that there are numerous latent, and not so latent, conflicts that could erupt throughout the region. In Peru, defeated Presidential candidate and Chavez ally Ollanta Humala, is founding a movement which is best described as Inco-fascist. A few months ago, Sao Paulo, Brazil was wracked with massive gang violence which left over two dozen dead. Highly organized and extremely violent Central American gangs operate across national borders and into the United States. The combination of financial support, technical know-how, and tens of thousands of easy to use, extremely deadly, assault weapons could turn these low-level conflicts into civil war and insurgency. [links dropped]
This bothers me, and I've been keeping an eye on Chavez for some time.

Bill Clinton makes a comeback of sorts.

It would appear that Bill Clinton's famous outburst during a recent interview with Chris Wallace has put the "Comeback Kid" back on the political map -- by drawing attention not just to his failures against Islamofascist terrorism, but also to his cozy ties with certain unsavory characters.

First, via Glenn Reynolds, I learned of a Dick Morris piece referenced by Gateway Pundit. As of now, the second link does not work and I cannot find the original of the article on Clinton's possible ties to the emir of Dubai -- though it appears here.
Last February, Sen. Clinton was out front in condemning DP World, a Dubai government-owned company seeking to take over key operations at American ports. But, at the same time, Bill was advising the emir to hire his former press secretary, Joe Lockhart, to get the deal approved.

Back then, Lockhart denied working for the emir. And when Bill's role became public, Hillary claimed that she had no idea that he had any involvement in the DP World issue.

Now, it turns out that the emir's Dubai International Capital Corp. hired Lockhart's company, Glover Park Group, by last April to help with another U.S. deal -- a takeover of two defense firms. (Besides Lockhart, Glover Park's partners also include Hillary's chief political gurus, Howard Wolfson and Gigi Georges. Dubai paid the firm $100,000 for its services.)

Oddly, the lobbying contract came through a California law firm -- Morrison, Foerster. One of that firm's partners is Raj Tanden -- whose sister is Neera Tanden, Sen. Clinton's former legislative director and still a top Hillary adviser. No six degrees of separation here.
And then, of course, we have a timely reminder that Clinton pardoned some Puerto Rican terrorists in order to help his wife get elected to the Senate. Joe Connor, man who lost his father in a terrorist attack on a pub in New York, wrote the piece. (If I recall correctly. I read this yesterday.) As of now, this article appears to have been pulled, but it was referenced at RealClear Politics just yesterday as "Clinton Didn't Kill Terrorists, He Pardoned Them". These three missing articles are almost enough to make me wonder what the hell is going on.)

Privatization? In Sweden?

Martin Lindeskog blogs on the article, "Sweden's shift to right points to privatisation".

Mmmmm. Barbecue!

Bothenook recently visited Austin, a city I haven't visited in years, and reviews a couple of barbecue places I might want to check out whenever we finally do make the trip.

And if you might be in Austin some time soon, you might want to see what he says.


I made this once. The man knows his barbecue. Trust me.

Updates on the Eurpoean Front

Little Green Footballs reports on two developments: Ramadan rioting in Brussels and Germany's debate -- At least there is one! -- over self-censorship.

Is California Half-Crazy or Half-Sane?

Greg Perkins's opinion is that the glass is half-full rather than half-empty with regard to California's recent idiotic decision to sue automakers over "global warming".
Remember the recent lawsuit regarding Intelligent Design in the science classroom (a.k.a., "Scopes II" or the "Dover Panda Trial")? The top theorists and proponents from the ID movement were put on the stand and under oath, where they were definitively exposed as dishonest, fraudulent, creationist pseudo-scientists with a religious agenda. Dover was a crushing blow to the ID movement: confident and influential from long taking epistemological liberties in the court of public opinion, they were finally brought into a context where obfuscation, shoddy reasoning, and populist appeals carry no weight. (I highly recommend reading that decision. Written by a Bush-appointed judge, I didn't expect much and ended up impressed with his ability to grasp and relate the scientific and philosophical issues. His obvious anger at their mendacity was icing on the cake.)

So the Church of Global Warming wants to be put on the stand? I say that's great! Prepare for another Dover.
Mother Earth, I hope he's right!

Andy B on YouTube!

The PSU Objectivist Club has footage of their recent visit by Andrew Bernstein available for your viewing pleasure!
Yup, excerpts from the September 11th lecture we hosted are finally available online. View it above or visit the YouTube page here. Here's the breakdown:

Why small nations can be wealthier than large ones. (1:38)
Why we're the fattest people in history. (2:30)
Why conservatives can be knuckleheads. (2:59)
Why we should boycott China. (3:36)
Why Ayn Rand opposed Libertarianism. (5:18)
Why we're not running out of resources. (7:29)
And finally…a leftist making a fool of himself. (8:58)


Vote Republican

I think I will do what Zach Oakes and Robert Tracinski plan to do. Quoth Tracinski:
The best thing we can do in this election is to crush the left--because the Democratic Party adds nothing of value to the American political debate.
That will be me, holding my nose with one hand and casting votes with the other.

Where's a daisy-cutter when you need one?

This is how I would have titled this entry at Principles in Practice.

Classic Top 100 List

Bubblehead, whose blog recently turned two, puts out a list of "100 Reasons Why McDonald's is Better than Submarines". My favorite? "33) If McDonald's catches fire, you LEAVE."

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Google Reader is nice:
+ Fast
+ Never down
+ Does automatic feed finding, just plug in a page and it will find RSS links
- No folders

Bloglines is good too:
+ Search for similar feeds feature
+ Lets you create email feeds (generates an address you can subscribe to mailing lists, then read that list as a feed)
- Some problems recently with everything showing up read repeatedly, other feeds never showing as new

I moved from bloglines to Google reader recently because of the last problem. If you try Google Reader, do yourself a favor and turn off animation in the preferences, click "read items - disable" at the bottom, and learn the hotkeys. j-previous, k-next, v-launch-linked-entry, and space-pagedown are the biggies.

- bigmac/

Anonymous said...

David Veskler, in his free software list, got me on to RSS Bandit aggregator. To me its awesome.

Veskler's list of free software:

RSS Bandit:

D. Eastbrook

Anonymous said...

I have a feed from your blog on Bloglines. :)

As for your link categories... your second idea seems logical to me. The titles for the categories are direct - which is good.

SN said...

I read your blog via BlogLines. I've tried Google Reader: it has better up-time, and more a more "modern", but I prefer BlogLines for its simplicity. I haven't tried RSSbandit.

Anonymous said...

Ha. And just like that, Google replaces the entire interface to Google Reader today. As of yet, I don't know how much of my last comment applies anymore.

- bigmac/

Gus Van Horn said...

My thanks to all of you for your suggestions, especially to bigmac for his long one on Google Reader and same-day update!

Funny. I was about to sit down and write that Google looks best hands-down. I'll probably go ahead try it first with a handful of blogs and see how I like it. The upside of the interface change is that I won't notice any "change" which is good since i hate it when I get used to an interface only to see it completely altered....


Anonymous said...

Hey Gus, about that feed aggregator thing: I know you don't really want a stand-alone app (yep, I'm psychic that way), and I can't really recommend any web based aggregator (except netvibes), so I suggest you try Sage. It's a pretty nifty firefox extension that's bound to have "a lot of what you need, and not much of what you don't".

But just in case my psychic powers may be failing me, you may also like RSSOwl. It's not technically Linux-native as it is written in Java, but it's one of the best for the OS that I've yet seen.

bothenook said...

wow, feedback on a recipe. thanks for the good words. i'm going to go blush now.

Gus Van Horn said...


Your psionics are in good working order. With an app, there would be the annoyance of having to install it one every one of the compouters I use AND that of not being able to access my feeds from other computers.

But I'll look at sage if it turns out I hate Google for some reason. (And I didn't pick it to begin with for some reason I no longer recall....)


Gus Van Horn said...


I am pretty sure I said something about it way back when I tried it, but you probably just missed it. So I'm glad you saw this.

After all, what's the point of giving feedback if you don't make someone blush?


Anonymous said...

Try, it is both CPU and user friendly :)

Gus Van Horn said...


Thank you. This one appears to have the same "look and feel", which I like, as netvibes. I am glad you noted its CPU-friendliness since the computer I normally use at home is a bit old and it will be awhile before I can replace it.

I don't know how much of the difficulties I've had under netvibes are due to CPU usage as I haven't checked yet, but that is a possible reason for my problems.


SN said...

Lifehacker just ran this comparison of Bloglines and Google Reader, in case you're interested.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thank you. I played with webwag a bit since it superficially seemed the most like netvibes. It was certainly more CPU-friendly, but it had a major deal-breaker: Instead of expanding items within the browser window (with an option to follow through to the blog itself), webwag offers only a roll-over preview with SOME kinds of feeds. To read more (or anything at all for most of the blogs I added), I have to right-click for a new tab+the blog itself. I rely heavily on the ability to preview since I usually blog in a rush.

So Bloglines or Google may be next, except ....

Since I had no time to try another feed reader before the 10-5 lineup, I had to use netvibes. Their "cinnamon" release seems to be much faster. I'll play around with other feed readers, but I'm giving netvibes a few more tries since they may have fixed whatever it was.