Friday, March 31, 2006

I missed this in 2003

From Insulating Bush:

Dressed in a military flight suit, the president emerged from a four-seat Navy S-3B Viking with the words "George W. Bush Commander-in-Chief" painted just below the cockpit window.

No detail too small for KR. Mission Accomplished, baby, Mission Accomplished!

Plame "peripheral" to more serious questions...

Murray Waas has a spectacular article in the National Journal that puts the whole "Plamegate" fiasco in perspective. Here is one of the juicer outtakes:

Signaling a possible defense strategy, Libby's attorneys filed papers in federal court on March 17 asserting that he had not intentionally deceived FBI agents and a federal grand jury while answering questions about Plame because her role was only "peripheral" to potentially more serious questions regarding the Bush administration's use of intelligence in the prewar debate. "The media conflagration ignited by the failure to find [weapons of mass destruction] in Iraq and in part by Mr. Wilson's criticism of the administration, led officials within the White House, the State Department, and the CIA to blame each other, publicly and in private, for faulty prewar intelligence about Iraq's WMD capabilities," Libby's attorneys said in court papers.

What's this? The "I could have done something much, *much* worse defense"? The "Yeah, I engaged in pooch screwery, but only because much heavier shit was going on defense"?

I'm amazed that anyone who claims to be a conservative can have anything to do with W and his posse, much less vote for them. A vote in 2004 for W was a bum wipe with the Constitution. Bill Clinton was ten times the conservative that W could ever be, and that's just a damn fact.

Ambrose's Antidote: ANOINT

ANOINT, v.t. To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery.

As sovereigns are anointed by the priesthood,
So pigs to lead the populace are greased good.


daily dose of w

Anyway, I'm so thankful, and so gracious. I'm gracious that my brother Jeb is concerned about the hemisphere as well.

4 Jun 2001
During a visit to Miami and while appearing with his brother, Jeb, the Governor of Florida.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Francis Fukuyama: I'm No Founding Fuck-Up

Andy Card Victim of Rove-Libby Infighting?

Wild ass guess: Card's departure has to do with the reported infighting between Libby and Rove. At some point the PNAC ideologues were going to slam into the toady politicos like W and Rove. Libby was one of the original signatories to the PNAC Statement of Principles, along with this rogues gallery:

Elliott Abrams
Gary Bauer
William J. Bennett
Jeb Bush
Dick Cheney
Eliot A. Cohen
Midge Decter
Paula Dobriansky
Steve Forbes
Aaron Friedberg
Francis Fukuyama
Frank Gaffney
Fred C. Ikle
Donald Kagan
Zalmay Khalilzad
I. Lewis Libby
Norman Podhoretz
Dan Quayle
Peter W. Rodman
Stephen P. Rosen
Henry S. Rowen
Donald Rumsfeld
Vin Weber
George Weigel
Paul Wolfowitz

They're a pretty motley bunch; the Founding Fuck-Ups of post-Saddam Iraq.

When you get a chance some time, read Rebuilding America's Defenses [PDF]. It was so bald faced and revolutionary that they knew no one could by it at face value so they let out this little sigh on page 51:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event a like a new Pearl Harbor.

Thank you UBL! From all your friends at the PNAC!

Ambrose's Antidote: AMNESTY

AMNESTY, n. The state's magnanimity to those offenders whom it would be too expensive to punish.

daily dose of w

Even though we're at war, even though we're at recession, the State of our Union has never been stronger.

30 Jan 2002
Speaking in Winston-Salem, NC the day after giving his State of the Union speech to Congress. Source: CNN.

Nice doublespeak from the C&C!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AMBITION

AMBITION, n. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead.

daily dose of w

It's about past seven in the evening here, so we're actually in different time lines.

30 Jan 2001
The President was speaking to Philippine President Macapagal Arroyos. He was in Washington, D.C., she was in Manila. As reported by the New York Times.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Your Hammer Sucks

What's that?

Your hammer. It sucks.

Whaddya mean?

I mean... it sucks.

Uh... there. 16 penny nail driven with a nice dimple one tap one whack. This is a sweet hammer.

No it's not. It sucks. It can't solder circuits.


It won't cut wood, and it's not too good as a level. If you could cut wood with it, and use it as a level, then it wouldn't suck so much.

Yeah... OK. You're right... the hammer sucks. If you'll excuse me, I've got nails to drive with my suck-ass hammer.

Ambrose's Antidote: AMBIDEXTROUS

AMBIDEXTROUS, adj. Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.

daily dose of w

It's important for people to know that I'm the president of everybody.

14 Jan 2005
Aboard Air Force One

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ALTAR

ALTAR, n. The place whereupon the priest formerly raveled out the small intestine of the sacrificial victim for purposes of divination and cooked its flesh for the gods. The word is now seldom used, except with reference to the sacrifice of their liberty and peace by a male and a female tool.

They stood before the altar and supplied
The fire themselves in which their fat was fried.
In vain the sacrifice! -- no god will claim
An offering burnt with an unholy flame.

M.P. Nopput

daily dose of w

I suspect that had my dad not been president, he'd be asking the same questions: How'd your meeting go with so-and-so? How did you feel when you stood up in front of the people for the State of the Union Address --- State of the Budget Address --- whatever you call it.

9 Mar 2001
From an interview with the Washington Post.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Useful Windows Utility

... would be the "reboot all clients and servers" command. When one wedges, they all wedge.

A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.

Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: "You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong."

Knight turned the machine off and on.

The machine worked.

Ambrose's Antidote: ALONE

ALONE, adj. In bad company.

In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
By spark and flame, the thought reveal
That he the metal, she the stone,
Had cherished secretly alone.

Booley Fito

daily dose of w

John, we're going to get a good bill. I mean, one of the things I've learned is not to try to negotiate with you or me on national TV.

25 Apr 2001
Comment made during interview with CNN's John King.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ALLIGATOR

ALLIGATOR, n. The crocodile of America, superior in every detail to the crocodile of the effete monarchies of the Old World. Herodotus says the Indus is, with one exception, the only river that produces crocodiles, but they appear to have gone West and grown up with the other rivers. From the notches on his back the alligator is called a sawrian.

daily dose of w

I hope to get a sense of, should I be fortunate enough to be the president, how my administration will react to the Middle East.

12 Oct 2000
From comments made in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wisdom from David Parnas

Don't know the veracity, but this is what fortune attached to an outgoing email:

Whenever anyone says, "theoretically," they really mean, "not really."
-- Dave Parnas

I've been getting some "it should work this way -- theoretically!" lately...

OpenOffice Equations Don't Completely Suck

I was pleasantly surprised by the equation editor in OpenOffice. At first, I thought I was in some sort of menu hell, but after I got the first couple of items in place, I was able to hack rat-free. Yea! It's even a little TeXy:

left [ stack{x # y # z} right ] =
left [ stack{dx # dy # dz} right ]
+ left [ stack{1+s # rz # -ry}
stack{-rz # 1+s # rx}
stack{ry # -rx # 1+s} right ]
left [ stack{x' # y' # z'} right ]

Ambrose's Antidote: ALLIANCE

ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.

daily dose of w

I've got a record, a record that is conservative and a record that is compassionated.

2 Mar 2000
As quoted by the New York Times.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stupid OpenOffice Stunts

I'm using TWiki to keep notes, do quick formatting for ripping out decent looking PDF files and the like. I've started battling with Open Office to communicate with those who prefer PowerPoint and the like. So, thems that know me know that the first thing I'm going to do is design some sort of template so I can punt having to think about how it looks, and everything will be in some attractive and useful format. However, this conflicts with my innate desire to leave word processors be -- that' just time I'd rather be spending elsewhere (e.g., emacs). Anyway, in trying to strike a balance, I've gotten where I can take a twiki print page, do some html wrangling, and make a file that can be successfully inserted to new file created from an OO template. However, if a header follows a list, numbering gets thrown off and you're doomed doomed doomed. So, the html mangler inserts text between the list and the header that later needs deletion in OO, and the import goes fine. Well, if not fine, better.

Ambrose's Antidote: ALLEGIANCE


This thing Allegiance, as I suppose,
Is a ring fitted in the subject's nose,
Whereby that organ is kept rightly pointed
To smell the sweetness of the Lord's anointed.


daily dose of w

I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves.

21 Sep 2003
Washington, D.C.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ALLAH

ALLAH, n. The Mahometan Supreme Being, as distinguished from the Christian, Jewish, and so forth.

Allah's good laws I faithfully have kept,
And ever for the sins of man have wept;
And sometimes kneeling in the temple I
Have reverently crossed my hands and slept.

Junker Barlow

For penetrating analysis, see WWGD.

daily dose of w

Look, this is a man. He's got great numbers. He talks about numbers. I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the Internet, but he invented the calculator.

3 Oct 2000
First Presidential Debate. Boston, Massachusetts.

I email the dose out to a small group of folks, and I just added an automatic random fortune cookie signature. Today was the first deployment, and the first fortune is appropriate:

We're overpaying him, but he's worth it. -Samuel Goldwyn

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Assignment Operator = Considered Braindead

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the use of = for an assignment operator. I suppose in the old days when terseness was almost essential it made sense, or was at least understood to be a sensible compromise. But modern languages should punt it. From the time we're wee tykes we write = to mean "equal"; the stuff on the left of the = is the same as the stuff on the right. So, the first time you see:

a = a + 1

you think (at least, you ought to):

a - a = 1
0 = 1

resulting in a hearty WTF? Of course, you get used to it quickly. Kinda. Sorta. Here is how hideous it's gotten:

If foo = 0 Then
foo = 1
End If

That's Visual Basic. Bletch. Defenders pipe up with "but it eliminates a whole class of errors!" While true in a narrow, twisted sense, this defense is beside the point: = shouldn't be an assignment operator in the first place. What should be? I really don't care. Either of these would be fine:

a := 3
b <- 4

Hell, even this would be OK by me:

c @ 5

We can return = to its rightful, mathematically-meaningful place, and we should.

Ask Dr Aybabtu: Interview Question Stumps VB Programmer

Dear Dr Aybabtu,

I recently had an interview with a company that was very strange. They asked me to write a function to reverse a string. I told them that there was a function called StrReverse in VB. Then they asked me to write it in VB 5, which doesn't have StrReverse, and that didn't make any sense to me. They thanked me for coming in and that was that. I haven't heard anything back from them. What do you think happened?


Dear VBWiz,

Dr Aybabtu doubts that you'll be hearing from that company any time soon, but Dr Aybabtu might be wrong. In the mean time, you might want to download Cygwin and learn how to do stupid things on purpose with C. C makes it very easy to do stupid things, so the operative concept is stupid on purpose. What do I mean? Let's take a variation on your problem. Let's interpret a string as a stream of bytes. How might we write a function that reverses bytes read in on an input stream? The UNIX program tac does just this. Here's a stupid way to write it:

#include <stdio.h>

main() {
int b = getchar();
if (EOF != b) {
return 0;

Writing stupid functions can be great fun! Let's reverse some bytes held in a char array:

#include <stdio.h>

main(int c, char *v[]) {
(*v[1] ? ({
char c = *v[1]++;
main(0, v);
return putchar(c);
}) : ({
return 0;

This is especially nice, because it will segfault if you don't give it something to chew on. That's OK, because we're being stupid on purpose. Let's gussy that code up a bit with some macros:

#include <stdio.h>

#define IF(x) ((x) ? ({
#define ELSE }) : ({
#define ENDIF }))

main() {
int b = getchar();
IF (EOF != b)
return putchar(b);
return 0;

Pretty sexy stuff. The extra parens in the IF and ENDIF definitions are there to let me do even more stupid stuff, but we'll leave that for some other time. Now for some spectacularly stupid stuff that will actually consume a string and produce a string in the traditional char* sense:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h> // malloc and friends
#include <string.h> // memmove

typedef struct {
void* car;
void* cdr;
} Pair;

#define CAR(p) (((Pair*)p)->car)
#define CDR(p) (((Pair*)p)->cdr)

cons(void* car, void* cdr) {
Pair* p = (Pair*)malloc(sizeof(Pair));
p->car = car;
p->cdr = cdr;
return p;

PTOC(void* p) {
return (int)p;

ITOP(int i) {
return (void*)i;

typedef struct {
char *s;
size_t len;
size_t alloc;
} String;

#define STR(x) (((String*)x)->s)
#define LEN(s) (((String*)s)->len)
#define ALLOC(s) (((String*)s)->alloc)

new_string(size_t alloc) {
String* s = malloc(sizeof(String));
STR(s) = malloc(alloc * sizeof(char));
ALLOC(s) = alloc;
LEN(s) = 0;
return s;

alloc_check(String* s) {
if ((LEN(s)+1) == ALLOC(s)) {
ALLOC(s) *= 2;
realloc(STR(s), (size_t)ALLOC(s));

#define STRCHK(s) if (NULL == s) { s = new_string(256); }

appendchar(char c, String* s) {
STR(s)[LEN(s)++] = c;
STR(s)[LEN(s)] = '\0';
return s;

list_to_string(Pair* p, String* s) {
if (NULL == p)
return s;
return list_to_string(CDR(p), appendchar(PTOC(CAR(p)), s));

rev(const char* s, Pair* p) {
if (0 == *s)
return STR(list_to_string(p, NULL));
return rev(s+1, cons(ITOP(*s), p));

main() {
puts(rev("abcdefg", NULL));
return 0;

Not stupid enough? How's this:

pushchar(char c, String* s) {
memmove(STR(s)+1, STR(s), sizeof(char)*LEN(s));
STR(s)[0] = c;
return s;

rev2(const char* r, String* s) {
if (0 == *r)
return STR(s);
return rev2(r+1, pushchar(*r, s));

All of that stuff compiles without error or warning with gcc and CFLAGS = -Wall -pedantic -std=c99, except the ?: tomfoolery. The more stupid things you can do the better, as long as you know you're being stupid and you're being stupid on purpose. Plus, you'll gain an appreciation for high-level languages and Greenpun's Tenth Rule that's been cultivated bottom-up.


Dr Aybabtu

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ALIEN

ALIEN, n. An American sovereign in his probationary state.

daily dose of w

I don't see many shades of gray in the war and terror. Either you're with us or you're against us. And it's a struggle between good and it's a struggle between evil.

8 Feb 2002
Speaking in Denver, CO at the 2002 Cattle Industry Annual Convention.
(Source: C-SPAN)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ALDERMAN

ALDERMAN, n. An ingenious criminal who covers his secret thieving with a pretence of open marauding.

daily dose of w

My opponent keeps saying I give too much tax relief to the top 1%, but he hadn't heard my latest proposal. The bottom 99% will do well when they get to split Dick Cheney's stock options.

19 Oct 2000
Joke delivered at the Al Smith Memorial dinner in New York.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AIR

AIR, n. A nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor.

daily dose of w

I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating.

3 Apr 2000
As reported in U.S. News & World Report.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AIM

AIM, n. The task we set our wishes to.

"Cheer up! Have you no aim in life?"
She tenderly inquired.
"An aim? Well, no, I haven't, wife;
The fact is -- I have fired."


daily dose of w

I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.

27 Jan 2000
During a campaign speech in Nashua, New Hampshire.

When a classic resurfaces from time to time, it's nice to sit back and savor it. One of the all time greatest.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AGITATOR

AGITATOR, n. A statesman who shakes the fruit trees of his neighbors -- to dislodge the worms.

daily dose of w

I think we ought to have high -- high standards and set by -- by agencies that rely upon science, not by what may feel good or what sound good.

15 Jan 2000
From Republican Debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

And none of that godless "theory" of evolution, ya hear now, huh?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How to Spot a Christian (Type H)

There are may varieties of Christian and subclassing the species can be a challenging and complex task. Christians that adhere to teachings of Jesus are rare and those that strive to understand why they might want to follow those teachings are rarer still. The Type H is one of the most prominent Christian varieties. It is easily distinguished from the rarer varieties, in that it has little to do with the teachings of Jesus, and even less interest, although it likes to proclaim that it does. The Type H is distinguished by:

  • A preference that tax money go to kill foreigners rather than help poor people

  • A belief that poverty is simply a character flaw and has nothing to do with them

  • Rigid application of the death penalty is a good thing and probably should get expanded in scope

  • Takes selected passages from the Old Testament out of context as its moral compass

Typically, the Type H is docile enough, but can be dangerous when provoked. If you're a young black man, you'll probably automatically provoke the Type H, unless you're a famous professional athlete with a reputation for being nice. Stick to the weather or sports, and you should be fine. There is nothing to be gained by engaging the Type H in anything weightier.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AGE

AGE, n. That period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we have no longer the enterprise to commit.

daily dose of w

If you're sick and tired of the politics and cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign.

16 Feb 2000
Speaking at Hilton Head, South Carolina during presidential campaign.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AFRICAN

AFRICAN, n. A nigger that votes our way.

daily dose of w

My pan plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt.

27 Feb 2001
From a speech concerning the proposed federal budget.

Even though he muffed the quip, it captures the essence of the Contract on America hypocrisy. Bald faced lie. Read my lips: Biggest - debt - ever. Biggest - deficit - ever.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: AFFLICTION

AFFLICTION, n. An acclimatizing process preparing the soul for another and bitter world.

daily dose of w

I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked.

21 Nov 1999
From an appearance on Meet the Press.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Flagr is cool

Flagr is pretty slick. The idea is that you can make a flag -- kind of a geographic bookmark -- by sending a text message with your cell phone. It's going to be interesting to see how they are going to turn a buck, but I wish them well, it's cool.

This Bike is a Pipe Bomb

This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb as tracked by Wikipedia. The TBIAPB timeline doesn't right quite right, but maybe it is. I'll have to an expert dig into it...

War on Common Sense

I've got to start ranting about this. Will fill in details later. Must determine how true: What's wrong with the gummint? Republicans, is this *really* what you voted for?

Ambrose's Antidote: AFFIANCED

AFFIANCED, pp. Fitted with an ankle-ring for the ball-and-chain.

daily dose of w

We can outcompete with anybody.

11 Mar 2004
Bay Shore, New York.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ADVICE

ADVICE, n. The smallest current coin.

"The man was in such deep distress,"
Said Tom, "that I could do no less
Than give him good advice." Said Jim:
"If less could have been done for him
I know you well enough, my son,
To know that's what you would have done."

Jebel Jocordy

daily dose of w

I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves.

21 Sep 2003
Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ADORE

ADORE, v.t. To venerate expectantly.

daily dose of w

They're seeking chemical, biological, and nucular weapons.

6 Nov 2001

Speaking from the White House via satellite to Central European leaders gathered in Warsaw, the President is referring to the goals of the Al-Qaida terrorist group. Aired on ABC Evening News.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote: ADMONITION

ADMONITION, n. Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.

Consigned by way of admonition,
His soul forever to perdition.


daily dose of w

The government is not the surplus's money, Vice President.

5 Nov 2000
From The Washington Post.

You think just because the words are garbled in his mouth they're garbled in his mind?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ambrose's Antidote:

ADMIRATION, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.

By God, she reminds me of me! -- Rooster Cogburn

daily dose of w

I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking.

10 Aug 2000
Salinas, California