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WordPress.com Changes to Commenting is an Attempt to Combat Fake Comments? FAIL

March 16, 2012

As more and more WordPress.com bloggers (like here and the DoD) begin to realize that their commenting system has had a surprise and unwelcome shot to the foot, the confusion and discontent is spreading rapidly. For the moment, we sit here at the mercy of the top folks at WP.com, hoping that my instruction thread has limited the damage, and alleviated a lot of the confusion for our readers.

While we wait and see if they’ll realize their mistake and/or change this, I believe I’ve stumbled upon what prompted this sudden move:

If I’m reading that right, it looks like my theory that this was intended to be a solution to nefarious gravatar/nic-jacking was correct, as this appears to have been done as a reaction to one case involving a victim of above-average influence on the net? Wow.

Even if it was properly executed (which it isn’t even close), it’s a boneheaded sledgehammer solution to a fly-sized problem. The thinking is still flawed, since anyone can still simply steal an image and apply it to their own gravatar account, if they really wanted to impersonate another netizen. Like with an IP, only the webmaster or admin would be able to tell the difference, and even they would not be able to verify which email addy what the legit one, right? To the rest of the world, the commenter is successfully impersonated. For example <—simple demonstration, with one of my other accounts.

Hopefully they're smarter than this, and switch it back…soon.

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Introducing: WPPBA Chat!

June 8, 2009

I’m going to take the opportunity to apologize to the members of the WPPBA for my recent absence.  I’ve been focused on other sites as of late, and have been spending a lot of my time online as a guest blogger elsewhere.

So, in an effort to make up for my desertion, I’m pleased to announce that I have received the rights to (well, permission, actually*) a WPPBA chatroom!

WPPBA CHAT

Go ahead and add the link to your sidebars, come on in, and make yourself at home.  But do play nice.

*The chatroom (code name: Table 9) is operated by my netizen pal Roses, who has graciously offered to expand the room to the WPPBA.  It operates 24/7, and has all the normal Java features.  Currently, the room is quite popular with netizens from other sites I frequent (or used to frequent; namely, LGF).  There are a dozen or so political blogs from outside the WPPBA that link there, so when you come in you may want to introduce yourself and all that.

 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Zzzzzzzzz…

March 13, 2009

Sorry about the lack of activity here lately.  But like it reads in the sidebar, I do spend a lot of time perusing other sites.

I do, however, have one announcement, in that the Chamber now has nested comments (in other words, you can “reply” to another commenter, resulting in an indented comment directly below theirs). 

I thought it would be kind of a cool addition for when I become inspired to post something meaningful again….eventually.

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Nation Of The Apes

February 20, 2009

I sit here in front of my laptop while sucking down a tall glass of Folgers Black Silk, and wonder what the next topic of discussion should be….hmmmm…

First, as a point of reference, I ask that readers watch the following commercial:

Remember that one?  It wasn’t particularly controversial, right?  I mean, the use of chimps in the ad was clearly used as a parody of human behavior.  Specifically, the team working for careerbuilder.com knew that the audience would relate to the frustration of dealing with boneheadedness in the workplace, and the creative use of primates conveyed the message fairly well.  In fact, there were a few of these commercials, which would be an indication that the people at Cramer-Kressalt Co. (the ad team) thought this idea was a winner, I suppose.  (They did claim the top spot in “The Funniest Commercials of 2005.”, although PETA, predictably, wasn’t thrilled about them).

Now, enter the now-infamous NY Post cartoon that was published the other day:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Aaaaand…..KABOOM!  Controversy erupts, blog wars rage,  protesters march in New York, and the airwaves are filled with hours of commentary.

But who was offended?  PETA?  The family of the unfortunate woman mauled by the pet chimp (the story that inspired the cartoon)?  

Nope. 

People apparently saw racism in the cartoon.  You know, stimulus bill ->black president-> ape -> shot dead by police.  Or something. 

Personally, I think that the cartoon missed the mark (as so many deadline-constrained political cartoonists do), and wasn’t funny in the least. But I don’t think it was racist. I think its just a stupid cartoon.  Or as I wrote over at Sadly No!:

Had the primate had a “Obama” tag on his chest, well, then yea, I’d definitely see that as racist. But there wasn’t. The toon was to be interpreted as referring to a stimulus bill that could be seen as written by an out-of-control ape (like the careerbuilder.com ads). In fact, given the way it was written, the lack of label and the apparent ignorance to the hypersensitivity of certain corners of the audience, I’d say that it could have only been penned by someone who was explicitly not racist.

This actually puts me in agreement with many of the blog entries that I’ve seen on the right side of the fence, which is a rather unusual place for me.  OK.  I just call it as I see it. 

The NY Post, for their part, sticks to their guns today (sorta):

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.

Period.

But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

Exactly.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: Several of my fellow WPPBA bloggers have taken on this topic as well:

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Phelps Fallout

February 10, 2009

It has been quite a while since my last toke of the weed (a couple years, actually), so my interest in this might not be what it once was, but I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder why the heck I just saw this headline: Eight arrested in Michael Phelps case

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – New details have emerged about a party where Olympic champion Michael Phelps was spotted.phelpsbong

On Feb. 2, a British tabloid published a picture of the 14-time Olympic gold medalist using a water pipe to smoke marijuana. The picture was taken at a party in Columbia back in November when Phelps was here for a visit.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has been taking a lot of heat from people in this country and all over the world.

They want to know why Sheriff Leon Lott is going after Michael Phelps.

Many are saying the sheriff should concentrate on more serious crimes, or at the very least, not focus solely on the Olympic champion when there were others at the party who were also breaking the law.

Now it appears the case has expanded beyond Phelps’ activities.

I swear, someone could break into my house tomorrow, steal all my stuff, kill my dog, and piss on the floor, and all I’d be able to do is file a report that would get placed on a shelf somewhere and eventually get ignored. But someone takes a pic of Michael Phelps taking a hit of pot, and suddenly there’s some sheriff who thinks he’s Horatio Caine and the CSI team performs 128-bit analysis of the photo, dusts for prints, checks shoe sizes and tread on the carpet, samples the wallpaper for residue, and pulls hair out of the bathtub in search of the perps responsible for this heinous crime. 

I’m sure that I’m not the only one out there wondering why this is even a big deal to begin with.  Heck, I wonder why people swoon over Michael Phelps at all.  Sure, the guy won a ton of gold medals, but he’s a swimmer.  Just think about it, no one gives two turds about swimmers otherwise.    It’s not like people are going to the sports bar on Mondays to watch Monday Night Swimming, after all.

Anyway, since the guy is freakishly good at swimming, he’s apparently perceived as some role model (for reasons that are obviously beyond me, he’s near the top with almost 2 million fans on facebook), and the fact that he has had his picture taken with a bong to his lips represents some sort of scandal.  I suppose that may mean something in the realm of endorsements and the sales of his Officially Licensed Merchandise, but for God’s sake, leave the other poor saps at the party out of the blast radius. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Take the Ten High Challenge

January 25, 2009

With the status of the nation’s economy being what it is, it stands to reason that everyone is trying to save money wherever they can these days.  Some people are clipping coupons for the first time in their lives.  Others are cutting back on, or just plain giving up activities that they’ve enjoyed in the past.  In this spirit (pun intended), I’m going to offer up a little discovery I made on my last trip to the liquor store:  Ten High Whiskey 

Now, I certainly understand that alcoholic beverages in general are something that can be lived without, but I’m not willing to make that sacrifice just yet.  So, after having one of those “Nothing beats Jack Daniel’s/ but it’s so expensive!” conversations arguments with the girlfriend, I headed to the store to try to prove a point.  I told her that I could buy the cheapest whiskey on the shelf and she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, especially when we’re mixing it with cola (or in this particular case, Dr. Pepper).   At $45.99, the Jack really outta blow the cheap stuff in the plastic bottle out of the proverbial water, right?   The Ten High is almost 1/3 the price ($16.99).  Anyway, I”m sure people all over have had this conversation for decades, but this my first time with it, so bear with me.  The Challenge:

1.75L - $45.991.75L - $16.99

For this experiment, I poured double shots into two identical glasses with the same amount of ice, and picked different colored straws so I wouldn’t get confused when I presented it to her.  Once the Dr. Pepper was in there, I noticed that the glass with the Ten looked and smelled the same, right down to the frothy residue left on the side of the drinking vessel.  She took several sips out of each one, thought about it, gave me a weird look, and I asked “So which one is Jack?”.

She guessed wrong.

So, there you have it.  Now we can play games and have drunken sex, and spend the other $29 on a trip to the movie theater me.   Good times.

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…(pt. II)

January 21, 2009

Yea, I know I’ve been over this before, but I thought I’d mention that there now appears to be a website created for the purposes of formally thanking Bush for it (h/t LGF):

bushmissionaccomplished

Never mind the irony that Bush has stated on multiple occasions that he regrets the whole “Mission Accomplished” thing, of course.  On his watch, nearly 3000 died in the worst terrorist attack in American history.  In response, he turned around and invaded a country that had nothing to do with it, resulting in even more American lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent…and nearly 6 years later, we’re still there.  But we’re supposed to thank him, because the batshit crazy cave-dwellers haven’t managed to pull off another stunt with knives and flying lessons?    They’re saying that not allowing the same mistakes and oversights to happen again is cause for some sort of praise, and willfully ignoring the fact that the battle was being waged well before 9/11, and making the assumption that those of us that hadn’t died horrifying deaths would be living under bin Laden’s rule if it wasn’t for the protective blanket provided by Papa Bush.   I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. 

Well, if one admits that it’s a cop-out for unconditionally supporting the guy all these years, then maybe I get it.

Anyway, if you click the image, you’ll see also that the site’s founders make the claim that “the president’s Number One Mission is to protect our nation” (bold in original).   But as we saw yesterday, the oath requires the president to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States”.   Much has been made of the conflict between the two principles during Bush’s eight years in office, certainly, and I would assume that the ultimate goal would be to avoid sacrificing one for the sake of the other.   So how did Bush do with regard to the actual oath?  Pretty poorly, it would seem. 

So go ahead and thank him, if you wish.  You’re just a couple clicks away.  Give him the ol’ A for effort.  For myself, I think instead I’ll wait see if Obama is capable of cleaning up the mess first.

Exit thought:  That image of Bush has always spooked me.  Is it a gay lover look?  A Manson-esque stare?  The failed televangelist?   I’m not sure, but I’d take his ridiculous eyebrow-contorting phony smirks any day of the week over that crazy mugshot.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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2 Years Of Chamber Battles

January 16, 2009

I just thought I’d mention that the Chamber just had its 2nd birthday.   I’ll crack open an adult beverage to celebrate, but first I thought it’d be kinda neat to offer a little insight on where we’ve been.  A sort of “by the numbers”, a couple years in:

chamberstats

Top 10 posts all-time (by hits):

Title Views  
WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance 4,929  
Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush 4,797  
Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina 2,379  
Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Ke 1,685  
Racy Idol Photos: Brilliant! 1,654  
The Perils Of Posting Legitimate Questio 1,534  
The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. War 1,383  
Who The Heck Is Johanna Cardona? 1,359  
Greetings Lizards! (Update: Banned) 1,285  
Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”? 1,182  

Top 10 search terms (how we were found):

Search Views
karl rove 2,900  
chenzhen’s chamber 2,287  
big mac 975  
chevrolet aveo 728  
tall 642  
george w bush 605  
johanna cardona 583  
godzilla 515  
chenzhen 455  
cyrus the great 430  

Top 10 clicks (links visitors clicked):

URL Clicks
time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,16… 264  
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonella_Barba 208  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 176  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 175  
technorati.com/search/johanna%20cardo… 139  
redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm… 122  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/… 115  
wordpress.com/tag/wordpress-political… 99  
littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog 89  
technorati.com/search/video%20johanna… 85  

Traffic by the month:

chambergraph
click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it!  A modest blog, to be sure, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun so far.  Here’s to a couple more!

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Bush’s Departure Reminder

January 16, 2009

Somewhere within all the coverage of the jet diving into the Hudson river, I happened to notice Bush decided to give a farewell speech (something his father didn’t do).  As it turns out, I’m kinda glad he did, ’cause I’d almost forgotten to pick up some beer for the party I’m gonna have in a few days.  I’m sure he’s glad he did it too, ’cause if nothing else, it gave him one last chance to stand up in front of America and make those ridiculous eyebrow-contorting smirks:

bushfunnyface1

from yesterday's video

After this boilerplate performance, I take great comfort in the thought that this was the last display of fumbled phrases and childishly robotic over-enunciation of everyday words.  The last attempt to whitewash his unwise decisions with platitudes about “taking the fight to the terrorists” and head-scratchers like “promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity”.   The last Bush speech from behind a podium. 

Finally, it’s over.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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“The Music” Vs. “The Message” (w/poll)

January 9, 2009

Sometimes, the inspiration for threads here in the Chamber come from rather odd places, and this is going to be one of those times.  You see, yesterday, I was hanging out on the showroom floor at the dealership, and I couldn’t help but notice that the background music playing over the speakers was what I used to call “Jesus music” (these days, usually referred to as “Contemporary Christian“).   It was playing all day.

At first, I couldn’t understand why in the heck someone would decide such a thing was appropriate for the environment (considering the fact that any Buddhist, Hindu, Hmong, Jew or Muslim could walk through the door and want to buy a car), but then another thought struck me.  First though, I should say that, during my time in this particular profession, I’ve come to realize that this genre is more popular than I would have expected, based on how many radios are tuned to KTIS when we hop into customer’s cars and run them through the wash.  But I didn’t really take the time to stop and ponder it all until yesterday.  christian-albums

In any case, the thoughts began with something like “What the heck is with this stuff, anyway?”.

I’ve got to wonder if anyone would be rocking out to “Awesome God” if you changed the lyrics to, say, something about beer.  Or women.  Or politics.   Also, is it just me, or do all the male vocalists sound the same?  I mean, I think I could tell that I was listening to CC before I heard the first “savior” or “redeemer” uttered in the song, just based on style.  I dunno, there’s just something about it that gives it away. 

Look, I enjoy all kinds of music.  My MP3 player often skips from reggae, to pop, to classical, to metal, to hip hop when I’m playing it.  I can understand why some people enjoy opera and country, even.  But the vast majority of what I was listening to yesterday was just plain bland and mediocre.

So, I guess I have to assume that our KTIS junkies out there listen to it for the message rather than the quality of the music.  I guess there is that choice.  But I can’t help but think that, at some point, one would have to deduce that what you’re listening to is simply the best material recorded by people who happen to sing about Jesus, and that you’re ignoring the huge selection of tunes out there that are really much better from the perspective of raw musical talent.   So why continue?  Perhaps it could be viewed as a sacrifice of sorts, like some kind of perpetual Lent?   

Anyway…

I had this discussion with my girlfriend, and I was surprised to find out that the lyrics themselves actually effects her taste in music as well.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that shocked, ’cause once I thought about it for a second, I guess I could understand that there would be people out there who can’t get into anything instrumental, no matter what sub-genre.  A sort of a “can’t like it if I can’t sing it” mentality.  And if one is going to sing it, it’d be more entertaining if the subject was something meaningful to them on a personal level, I imagine.   That’s her, and maybe that explains the KTISers as well.

As for me?  I told her that I’m quite the opposite; the song could be about a dog taking a poop on a rug, and as long as it was catchy, I’d probably like it.   It’s definitely more about the rhythm and harmony in my world.  Give me some powerful chords, groovy beats, and impressive solos, and I’m usually diggin’ it.  

So, I have to ask, who’s more weird?

(I suppose there could be a third, less common category: principle.  By that I mean the selection was about the artist him/her/themselves, and not the lyrics or music per se.  For example, you choose to listen to U2 because of the work Bono does, or don’t, based on it.  What happened with the Dixie Chicks might be another example)

-Exit question:  Is there a name for the two schools?  Or should we coin them in this thread?

-Added miscellaneous factoid:  Did you know that they sang “Shout to the Lord” on American Idol last year?  I didn’t think I’d see that, but here it is:

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Dipshits For Franken

January 5, 2009

Well, the long and arduous task of hand-counting nearly 3 million ballots is complete, and it appears that Franken has emerged victorious:

The state Canvassing Board certified final results this afternoon in Minnesota’s marathon U.S. Senate race, but that won’t end the battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, whose Senate term ended on Saturday.

Moments after the board certified that Franken had eked out 225 more votes than Coleman, attorneys for Coleman said they would file a lawsuit within 24 hours.

Of course Coleman will sue, so the drama isn’t quite over yet.  But considering the 400+ vote swing, I’m inclined to take us back to a post I made back in November, before the recount began, where I posed this question:

If Franken does wind up winning, and it’s the dummies that put him over the top, what does that say?

Now, I say dummies, assuming that the majority of the people who weren’t counted by the machines the first time around were my fellow Minnesotans who did something like this on election day:

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

Needless to say, part of me wishes that the recount swung the other way, even if I voted for Franken myself. After all, there’s something to be said about an association with people who aren’t bright enough to fill in a little circle on a ballot.  And while there are those who may theorize that “funny business” was at play in the outcome, there were those who predicted from the very beginning that the undervotes would fall in Al’s favor, based on demographics and exit polls (which is a nice way of saying that the elderly and uneducated are more likely to vote for Franken, and are also more likely to screw up their ballots).   Is my reasoning sound?  I’m not certain, and maybe I’m too lazy to dive in and research it down to the last vote cast.  But on the surface, it looks like Franken might owe his victory to a smattering of dipshits, if this was indeed the statistical handful of voters that put him over the top.  

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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A New Chariot, And A Challenge

December 23, 2008

Well, I decided that the winter beater was a little too beat, so I pulled the trigger on one of these Aveo 5 SVM’s that we had on the lot at my store.  It was a steal, ’cause it was sitting out there 60 days and the boss had it priced for less than what we owned it for.

Anyway, it’s a silver 2007 with about 12,400 on the odometer.  It seemed like a smart buy since it has plenty of factory warranty left, my techs said they hardly ever have problems, they hold their resale well, and I should be able to achieve some pretty respectable MPG’s with the little 1.6L engine.  Although, I did splurge and get some 16″ wheels for it (since I naturally get a discount, and the stock 14’s were just too cheap-looking), so it might effect my efficiency a tad.  We’ll see.

czaveo1

By the way, SVM stands for Special Value Model, which means that this car is about as no-frills as one can find these days.  A basic AM/FM radio, crank windows, 5-speed manual transmission, no A/C, cruise, or power…anything.  Pretty much just the essentials are included, although it does have side impact airbags and a nifty digital clock right on the dashboard.

As far as the MPG’s go, I thought I’d spend the winter tracking the tank and see what this little golf cart can do.  The goal is to beat my summer car, the modified 2000 Cougar aka “Slow and Low”.   On paper, this looks easily achievable, considering the official EPA numbers:

aveovscougar

The Aveo is definitely at a disadvantage, however.  Consider alone the ambient temps here in Minnesota in the wintertime (below zero for most of last week), which translates into both less efficiency when she’s going, but also burning gas while she sits there warming up (I’m sorry, but when it’s 10 below, I’m going to run it for at least 5 minutes.  The car was so frozen the other day that the clutch actually stuck to the floor).  Now, add the snow factor (and all the spinning and slogging that results), along with the fact that I wouldn’t consider myself as an expert with a stick shift, and that I won’t be logging nearly as many highway miles (I’m transferring to a store that is much closer to home)….I think we might have a pretty good competition here.

So, for the record, Slow and Low burned 213 gallons of fuel and travelled 6505 miles last season, which sets the mark to beat at 30.537 MPG.  Can this little Aveo do it? 

Mileage logs will be tracked here.   Or, better still, I’ll try to figure out a way to paste the tracker button

somewhere on the main page (it’s a little too wide for the sidebar).

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Holiday Greetings, From The Chamber

December 18, 2008

I just thought I’d mention that my activity will be a little light around here, with all the hustle and bustle and whatnot.  But don’t worry, I’m still checking in when I get the chance.

Anyway, here’s one of my rare open threads.  But if the holiday season isn’t a sufficient topic of discussion in and of itself, I’ll take the liberty of adding a little entertainment in my own style…

So, since I was in the mood for some classic kung fu from the ’70’s, I’ll present the final scene from The Mystery Of Chessboxing (aka Shuang ma lian huan), where the infamous Ghost Faced Killer meets his demise. 

I know its cliché, but they just don’t make ’em like this anymore.  Too bad, really.

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Coining Blago’s Hairstyle

December 14, 2008

Well, people started talking about it the minute the Illinois governor made headlines last week, so I figured that I might as well give my 2¢.  The topic?  Blagojevich’s hair.  Just what do you call it, Mr. Google

But hairdressers all over America needed little else than to look at his hair — “there’s no name for that,” said Calvin Klein’s hairstylist Roberto Novo. “Ugh” — to gasp in horror.

OK Roberto, I’ll consider that a challenge, and offer up my take.  There was one resemblance that immediately came to mind for me (probably because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life):

blagovshelmet

I’m going to call it…the CCM

(please excuse the fact that I reversed the image; I did so for illustrative purposes)

So with that, I pat myself on the back for my moment of brilliance, and open the thread up to general Blago discussion. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

BTW-  I still can’t pronounce the guy’s name, so “Blago” it shall be.

Update:  I’ve been running into a few more side-by-sides, so I’m going to post them here as I go:

Bla-lego-vich

Bla-lego-vich

(h/t Tex)