Keep em crossed!

Get out there and vote and then keep your fingers crossed. <p><strong>><a href='http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/pick-your-president/'>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> &#8211; Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election.</p> <p>

or you’ll end up being Randy Craig:

Georgia vs. Russia

I should probably keep my yap shut.  I wrote a long blog entry years ago about Iraq where I advocated going to war because I thought removing Saddam Hussein from power would be good for Iraq.  Maybe long-term that logic will prove to be right; however, I doubt if it will be in my lifetime and I doubt it has as much to do with Hussein as a dictator as it does with regional politics and a culture that I will never understand without living there.  Basically I opened my trap based on the little bit of data that I had and was completely wrong.  That being said, I have an opinion on what is going on in Georgia that I will toss out there because I don’t think our media is responsibly reporting it based on what I am seeing from international media.  Someone tell me where I am wrong and where I am right.

As I understand it, a large section of Georgia wants to be Russia (actually, there are several, but Ossetia is just the one getting action right now).  Georgia attacked Ossetia to keep that from happening.  Russia would love to regain some of the regions it “lost” when the USSR dissolved so they found a reason (dead peacekeepers) to retaliate decisively.  Georgian military used the Russian attack as an excuse to do some ethnic cleansing of the people there who want to be Russian (US media is leaving this information out to make it easier to justify supporting Georgia to protect some pipelines).  Russia started attacking other sections of Georgia because it wants to win this before it can escalate enough to require cease fires and turn into another Chechnya.  US and NATO threaten Russia because Georgia has oil pipelines and militarily strategic locations that benefit the US and NATO.

The history of the region is insane.  Like the bulk of that part of the world, it is a history of constant invasion (due to no geographical boundaries that can stop military).  Because of that it is difficult to say who is right unless you limit history to certain timeframes and only talk to certain people.  The region is in constant flux.  The Cliffs Notes history is something like this:  Georgia was its own nation with its own royal family.  Russia manipulated it politically by not participating in some of Georgia’s wars with neighbors and offering protection during others.  Russia somewhat peacefully took it over and exiled its royalty (peacefully) and taxed it and everything went okay for awhile.  Then Lenin and Stalin took over and did everything they were known for to Georgia.  Then things were quiet for awhile until the USSR dissolved.  Georgia was very eager to get out and that eagerness was kind of a slap in the face to Russia.  Georgia’s current eagerness to deal with Western nations makes the Russian government very nervous (as it would the US if the US existed in a place where it had a history of constant invasion).  Couple that with the fact that many Georgians in the area of conflict want the area to be part of Russia because the president of Georgia is incompitent at best and genocidal at worst and you have what is going on today.

So what should the US be doing in all of this?  How about not a fucking thing.  This isn’t our fight, it has never been our fight, it should never be our fight.  We keep getting into other people’s fights because of pipelines and our ideas of where borders should exist.  This is between Russian and Georgia.

What am I missing here?  This is a legitimate question posed because it is impossible to know what is going on there without being there.  I can only have an opinion based on what I know.  It’s easy to blame Russia because that is what Americans do; however, watch this video (provided by Russian Media) and tell me what you think.

Election stuff

I’ve not update in quite awhile.  I’ve been really busy at work and playing shows with a rock/progressive/metal band lately.  I’ve also been writing a few other posts on more tech related topics lately; however, I haven’t been able to finish them yet.  I am finding that the best way to force yourself to learn about something is to write about it and as I have been writing about things I am realizing how little I actually know about how they work.  In particular I am working on technology articles about PyQt vs. other python GUI design tools, and SSH connectivity through Python and the various technologies available to do it.  In order to write them though I need to have robust code written and so far my software is too buggy to show to the masses.  Once I get it working though I’ll write articles on how I did it and why I chose the technologies I did (PyQt and Paramiko kick ass if you’re building windows compatible python apps).  I’m also planning on writing an article on “bully” breed dog rescue programs because my wife and I recently had to deal with a stray 90lb pitbull that introduced me to the problems associated with those dogs and the shelters that will deal with them.  I might write one about the spam that this blog generates as well seing how I had to clear out literally hundreds of spam messages before I could write this up.  Then there is the review of Vista I could write because guess what, it is actually a good Operating System despite what everyone that isn’t using it says.  All of that being said though, this post was actually prompted by a video and a blog post by Dr. Larry Hunter and thus will be a bit political in nature and will likely ramble and be incohesive because the topic at hand is too complicated for my scattered mind to write about effectively.  If you don’t have a stomach for that kind of crap then stop reading now.

I read a post from Dr. Hunter and it is so rare that I read or hear a piece that is concise and rational that I thought it was worth reposting.  It’s hard to write a political piece that doesn’t oversimplify something and piss someone off because of it.  Truthfully though, to keep up on politics requires a lot of effort on the part of the reader and to write it is even more difficult.  The world is complicated and there is nothing that is black and white.  That is what makes the piece so interesting.  If you want to read the piece, check it out here.

I am friends with quite a few die hard Republicans. My Dad is Republican.  Being that I am a Democrat that isn’t down with big government, dislikes unchecked spending, and hates gun-control laws, I tend to agree with handful of traditionally Republican talking points and consequently get roped into conversations about them.  There is something that get me riled up though and that is Republicans who make any kind of arguments using “Big Government”, “Tax and Spend”, or “Welfare” when describing Democrats and then use those retarded arguments to justify talking shit on Obama.

If you’re a Republican who believes that over reaching government, welfare, and/or unchecked spending is bad then you need to seriously consider your party affiliation on this election and what you’re going to do with your vote.  The current Republican administration has been tromping on individual rights, providing corporate welfare to oil companies, and irresponsibly spending more money than any administration (Dem or Rep) in history and that is just the big ticket headline stuff.  There is a laundry list of bullcrap that has been done by the current administration that at best lacks integrity and at worst is actually evil.  Not holding them accountable for hijacking the party, its ideals, and the Constitution for the last 8 years is irresponsible.  You don’t have to vote Dem.  You can write someone in or not vote to protest; however, voting for the McCain administration is a bad move because it really is more of the same.  He might get rid of a little of the cronyism, but we really need something different right now.  Back to Dr. Hunter.

Dr. Hunter was the chief economist for Reagan.  He helped pen the “Contract with America.”  He is the definition of a traditional Republican.  He’s voting for Obama.  I suggest that people read his article or watch the video with an open mind and consider what he says.  There are more important things than intelligent design in schools, abortion rights, and gay marriage right now; however, no one votes on those issues.  All anyone seems to care about is that kind of rinky dink bullshit; however, if efforts aren’t made to get our economy and status square with the world, we’re not going to have time to care about that kind of stuff.  I am not trying to trivialize the things that everyone focuses on; however, people need to realize that there is more to the world than that small subset of issues and the issues that are the big hot-button issues have almost nothing to do with the President.

Think about the world at large.  Why do other nations want to destroy us?  Why is the economy stumbling?  When you stop trying to short term fix things and start thinking about the actual causes you’ll start to see that greed and an administration that empowers greed by overstepping the very things that used to define what it was to be American you’ll find your answers.  I don’t believe a word that comes out of politicians mouths, but I think something needs to change.  More of the same isn’t going to make things better and a Republican administration is more of the same.  Something different might not be the solution either, but at least it is a try.  At this point trying to do something different and hoping that it will be as ethical as they say it will be is a risk worth taking.

Anyway, check out the article mentioned above.  His reasons are better explained.

Rhodes/Wurlitzer Greatness

I recently started working on a project to make Ableton Live work like a hardware looper for my friend Randy Craig. He currently utilizes the Roland RC-50 and a Byzantine series of pedals and we are trying to eliminate some of the complexity he currently has in his setup. In the process of figuring out how to do it I have discovered that it is actually a pretty difficult problem to solve for the way Randy works without making some pretty dramatic concessions due to the lack of an overdub feature in Live and a real-time reverse functionality. Live is truly amazing software and there are a lot of artists that use it for live looping; however, to make it behave like a hardware looper requires some cleverness and some concessions. Anyway, I am looking into writing software to do exactly what Randy wants in MAX/MSP and in the process found what you see below. It’s so robotic sounding and yet so organic. It just goes to show that the Rhodes and Wurli are such flawless instruments that even a sample of one of them can make robots sound beautiful.


I will keep you posted on the results of Randy’s looper and when we get it working I’ll post video. It seems to be a difficult problem to solve as there really is nothing on the market that works quite right for anyone. If you have a solution, let me know.