Elizabeth Dole has released an ad that has audio of her opponent, Kay Hagan, shouting “There is no god.” But there’s a little problem with it. That never actually happened. Dole either faked the audio, or used another women who sounds a lot like Hagan to record it and played it over a picture of Hagan. Kay responded with two ads of her own, and a cease and desist letter calling the accusation that she is an atheist slanderous.

Now, slander is defined as “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.” Now, I can understand that calling Hagan, who is active in her church, an atheist would be innaccurate. But is it defamatory? Are Christians really that insulted by being accused of being atheists that it would be slander? Would it really be so bad for a group of people to think you’re an atheist.

So I’m not sure which is more insulting: That calling someone an atheist is considered a political attack, or that such an attack is considered slander by believers. I mean, how do you think people would have responded if Obama had called the attacks that he is a Muslim slander?

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Continue reading “Calling someone an atheist is apparently slander”

My 27th birthday is approaching, and I’ve decided to make it an open invitation to anyone who can read this. I’m planning a pub crawl for Saturday, September 27th, starting at American Bar & Grill on Plum Street in Lancaster around 8:30 and working my way down the bars on Plum to Quips or Lancaster Brewing Company.

If you can’t make it out at 8:30, I’m going to be putting my current location and state of inebriation on my Twitter feed which is also on the right side of my blog. So to find out where I am, check there before you come out.

No need to bring presents. Just show up and maybe buy me a drink. Good company is the best present I could get.

I’ve been noodling with SSH to make my life easier at work. One thing I found out about was how to make host aliases in your SSH config file. (It’s usually located at ~/.ssh/config). And it’s pretty easy to do. Here’s an example:

Host webhost
   User host_user
   HostName example.com
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/some_id_dsa

The reason this is better than your hosts file (/private/etc/hosts) is because you can do things like scp ~/somefile.txt webhost:~/upload.txt and scp, since it uses ssh, will realize you want to do this: scp -i ~/.ssh/some_id_dsa ~/somefile.txt host_user@example.com:~/upload.txt

If you do a lot of sshing and scping like I do, you’ll find this extremely convenient. And if you use ssh keys, it makes working on multiple machines as easy as working on a local machine.

I just had a problem to solve: Compare two server config files on two servers to make sure they’re the same. Rather than using scp to copy the file from one machine to another, I used ssh’s ability to run commands remotely to get the contents of the file and piped it into diff. Here’s an example:

ssh user@server1 'cat /path/to/config/file.conf' | diff /path/to/other/config/file.conf -

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the user to write a shell script that will do this automatically, though it should be fairly easy to do.

In this great endorsement of Obama, Michael Moore says:

Pennsylvania, the state that gave birth to this great country, has a chance to set things right. It has not had a moment to shine like this since 1787 when our Constitution was written there.

I disagree. I think Pennsylvania has had a couple great moments since the Constitution. The Battle of Gettysburg, for example, was the turning point of the Civil War. And the Dover School Board case, where a solid blow was struck against the anti-American intelligent design movement, was decided in my hometown of Harrisburg.

So securing Obama’s nomination and eventual victory isn’t the only great moment Pennsylvania has had since the Constitution. It’s just the most recent.

Drexel Dems had a great post about why some woman from Latrobe got to ask Obama a question. According to them, her first appearance on the national stage came from a NY Times article where we learned that, even though she’s 52, unemployed, and living in a small town, she only seems to care about whether her president wears a lapel pin.

She’s exactly the person Obama is talking about when he says that people in small towns are bitter and cling to things like religion or guns or lapel pins. It’s not that their bitterness makes them love these things. It’s that they’re so disenchanted with government that they don’t think it can fix the big things, like the economy, so they focus on the little things.

In other words, she is an example of the attitude Obama was talking about. Maybe ABC was trying to be ironic when they let her on to ask her question. Or maybe they were just their usual clueless selves.

A while back I had to set up Movable Type on a system where the Perl binary wasn’t in the usual location. So I wrote a quick and dirty shell script that you can run on a directory to replace the perl call (usually /usr/bin/perl) with whatever you want, as long as it’s an executable.

Note: This code comes with the usual caveats. Don’t come crying to me when you run it on a production instance of your blog and you lose your job and your wife leaves you and you end up in a van down by the river. Read the script and check your work.

Replace Perl Bin

In case you hadn’t heard, A Democratic state representative from Illinois, Monique Davis (D – Chicago), has, well, I think she said it best:

Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) interrupted atheist activist Rob Sherman during his testimony Wednesday afternoon before the House State Government Administration Committee in Springfield and told him, “What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous . . . it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

“This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” Davis said. “Get out of that seat . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Audio of this bigotry and my letter to her after the jump.
Continue reading “An Open Letter to Representative Monique Davis”