"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Saturday, April 09, 2005
  Jumping on the Bandwagon
Everybody's posting links to the online version of Hazlitt's classic Economics in One Lesson, so I might as well too. It's definitely an excellent introduction to economics, and one of the "lessons" it highlights throughout is invaluable to studying economics.

I'm referring, of course, to Hazlitt's well known dictum:
From this aspect, therefore, the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

- Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, pg. 17
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:30 PM
  Google Sightseeing
Apropos of my previous post on Google Maps, here is a new blog which features pictures of various parts of the world, through the medium of Google Maps: Google Sightseeing: Why Bother Seeing the World for Real?.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:23 PM
  The Judicial War on Faith
Blair at the Secular Foxhole blogged about the new "goon squad" that has formed to take on the judiciary. I serendipitously happened to see their conference on C-SPAN 1 the night before last. If you have access to RealPlayer (free download available), you can find the clip on C-Span's website; it aired 4/7/2005.

I'll have more to say on this later.

Update: The Washington Post published an article on the conference: And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty.

Interestingly enough, among the outrageous comments made throughout the conference, one of the speaker's referenced Stalin of all people. Commenting on Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Edwin Vieira said, "He [Stalin] had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' ".

Perhaps this was just a tongue-in-cheek remark, meant only to be flip, but I doubt it. More likely it is an open confession of the contempt and disdain conservatives hold for a secular society and the rule of law. If they have their way, they will abolish both in short order.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:08 AM
Friday, April 08, 2005
  On A Personal Note
I'm pleased to announce that last week I received my acceptance letter from McGeorge School of Law. I'll begin attending in fall of 2005.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:21 AM
Thursday, April 07, 2005
  New Blogger Feature
For those of you who've had problems losing your posts when attempting to publish them, Blogger has added a new feature that will help eliminate this problem in a number of cases: Can I recover a lost post?.

For those of you using a Windows operating system, I'd recommend downloading a program which I've been using for quite some time, w.bloggar. This is an application that runs on your computer, which can publish blog entries to Blogger (and pretty much every other weblog system). It's quite handy, and if for some reason your attempt to publish a post fails, you won't lose what you've typed so far. It also has the ability to save posts to your hard drive, and then open them later to publish them. You can learn more about w.bloggar (and download it) here.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:41 PM
  Dilbert
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:19 PM
  Some Interesting Links...
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:04 PM
  Horror Quote of the Day
What it costs to fulfill your mission

To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God's agenda for your life. You can't just "tack it on" to all the other things you'd like to do with your life. You must say, like Jesus, "Father,...I want your will, not mine." You yield your rights, expectations, dreams, plans, and ambitions to him. You stop praying selfish prayers like "God bless what I want to do." Instead you pray, "God help me to do what you're blessing!" You hand God a blank sheet with your name signed at the bottom and tell him to fill in the details. The Bible says, "Give yourselves completely to God-every part of you...to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purpose."

- Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 286
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:28 AM
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
  Google Maps
Google has added a interesting twist to it's Maps service - you can now view the corresponding satellite image of the map. Click here to see the map of Sacramento State University, where I got my BS in Computer Science, and then click here to see the satellite image that corresponds to the map (you may need to increase the zoom-in factor on the satellite image by a factor of two to see the university).

Jason Kottke has an interesting post on this subject, and on the surrounding "buzz":
The ability to view satellite images online has been around for years in the form of Microsoft's Terraserver (and also on a mapping site that I can't locate right now...I swear Mapquest let you switch back and forth between the two views, but I can't find it), so this really isn't anything new. Terraserver lets you zoom in/out, move around the map, and view other versions of the map (they have a topological version), and I know that many of the people who are so excited about Google Maps are familar with it. So why is everyone so excited about it?

Part of it is Google's involvement...they draw a crowd of attention anytime they do anything these days. But it also has a lot to do with someone I wrote about a couple of years ago: it's the user experience, stupid:

Robert Morris from IBM argued last year at Etech 2002 that -- and I'm paraphrasing from memory here -- most significant advances in software are actually advances in user experience, not in technology. Mosaic was not an advancement in technology over TBL's original browser. Blogger is a highly-specialized FTP client. IM is IRC++ (or IRC for Dummies, depending on your POV). The advantages that these applications offered people were user experience-oriented, not technology-oriented.


The satellite feature on Google is no exception. They took something that's been around for years, made it way easier to use (reposition & zoom maps without reloading, pinpoint addresses and routes onto the satellite imagery, toggle between sat and road maps, map size automatically scales to the browser window, etc.), and suddenly this old thing is much more useful and fun to play around with. Ajax is the underlying technology (which isn't new either) for many of the notable Google Maps features, but how Google used it to make a useful user experience is the real story here.


Update: Gus Van Horn seems to have beaten me to posting on this topic. I started this entry at the first commercial for the hit television show Lost, at about 8:05pm, but only finished after the show, about 9:30pm.

Update II: Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution provides directions to his office.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:05 PM
  Horror Quote of the Day
You knew it had to be coming, sooner or later. After this, you'll be begging me for more quotations on ancient Greece (see here and here.)
Real servants make themselves available to serve. Servants don't fill up their time with other pursuits that could limit their availability. They want to be ready to jump into service when called on. Much like a soldier, a servant must always be standing by for duty: "No soldier in active service entangles himself in affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him." If you only serve when it's convenient for you, you're not a real servant. Real servants do what's needed, even when it's inconvenient.

Are you available to God anytime? Can he mess up your plans without you becoming resentful? As a servant, you don't get to pick and choose when or where you will serve. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever he needs to.

If you will remind yourself at the start of every day that you are God's servant, interruptions won't frustrate you as much, because your agenda will be whatever God wants to bring into your life. Servants see interruptions as divine appointments for ministry and are happy for the opportunity to practice serving.

- Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, pgs. 258-259
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:49 AM
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
  Register with ARI
Have you signed up as a registered user for the Ayn Rand Institute's website? If not, there's a very good reason why you ought to do so now: they're hosting John Lewis's excellent lecture, "The Failure of the Homeland Defense: The Lessons From History", and registered users get to listen to it for free! All you have to do is submit your first name, last name and e-mail address. What are you waiting for? Go sign up now.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:08 AM
Monday, April 04, 2005
  Not My Typical Post...
but I found the story touching, and thought others might too (via Michelle Malkin).

Eleanor Clift (Contributing Editor to Newsweek) has written a beautiful tribute to her husband, who just died of cancer last week: Dying with Courage.
Sprinkled among the political columns he wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer were updates on his medical condition. There was never any self-pity or whining in his reflections. He compared a stage 4 cancer diagnosis with being on the 90th floor of one of the towers of the World Trade Center. “You don’t know whether you can make it out, but you’re sure going to try.” A sports reporter at heart, he said his battle with metastatic kidney cancer had him playing “prevent defense” like his beloved Cleveland Browns. He ended the column asking readers to join him in a chorus of “DEEE-FENSE.”
I admire his honesty in facing the disease, and the determination he demonstrated to live and to fight, and not to yield.
On a Sunday morning in March as his condition worsened and the morphine dose was doubled, he asked me clearly, “What do you want to do this summer?” I said, “Take a trip with you,” and then I went into the kitchen to fix his cream of rice cereal, and fight back tears.
Poignant. I think I've got something to fix in the kitchen now, too...
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:34 AM
  Good Link for TPDL
As some of you may know, I'm currently reading the Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. I had planned on posting some horror quotes (and possibly some analysis), but I discovered that someone else beat me to it. The Charlotte Capitalist has written a series of posts, replete with horror quotes, dissecting the book. They are well worth reading: 1 2 3 4 5 6.

Also, be sure to check out his Reason Roundup for some great links!

Update (4/6/2005): The last three sections in the essay have now been completed! (7 8 9)

Update II (4/8/2005): Oops! Apparently there is one more installment: Final
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:14 AM
Sunday, April 03, 2005
  The Insincere Right
Christopher Hitchens points out a contradiction from those on the religious right:
A few weeks ago, when the Supreme Court ruled against the execution of minors and specified the need to conform to international consensus on this, the Christian Right was outraged at the idea of foreign governments influencing American courts. But Terri Schiavo's parents were in court only moments afterward, instructing their lawyer to ask a judge to consider the church's teaching on purgatory and hell, and the state of the late Ms. Schiavo's soul. The Vatican is actually a foreign government, recognized as such by an exchange of ambassadors. Are we expected to be complacent when its clerical supporters try to short-circuit the U.S. Constitution with pleas of this kind?
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:57 PM
  South Park Meets The General
(hat tip: Pharyngula):

Update: My wife doesn't usually make a cameo on my blog, but after seeing my new alter-ego, she felt compelled to do the same.




Design your own South Park character...
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:59 AM
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