July 2016 Archives
I just figured out a frustrating computer configuration issue so I thought I'd share the solution.
I recently bought a set of Bluetooth headphones but was unable to get them to work with either of my computers. The headphones worked fine with my mobile phone, and would successfully "pair" with the computers. However, once they were paired the computers would not recognize the headphones as an audio device. The computers had the generic Bluetooth adapter drivers from Microsoft, so I assumed that the problem was with the headphones.
But nope, the problem was with the Bluetooth drivers! The generic driver will let your computer pair with any Bluetooth device, but it doesn't know how to use most things, including audio devices. Consequently, even though the headphones showed as paired the Device Manager control panel showed them as unknown devices and the Sound control panel didn't show them at all.
The solution was simple enough: download and install the manufacturer's drivers for the Bluetooth adapter.
I was so used to the generic drivers working for everything -- or Windows Update magically finding the right drivers -- that I just didn't think in this direction early in the troubleshooting process.
Think what you will about Social Security, but your earnings record is a poignant monument to the thousands of hours of your life you spent working. My record shows 21 years of earnings now, and each row on the table brings back memories.
Megan McArdle bemoans Trump's negativity and lack of policy detail, but eventually realizes that most people feel negative and don't care about policy details. McArdle and I care about policies, but most people just want their itches scratched, and Trump is doing it. There are a lot of people who are angry at being continually dismissed by the "elite", and they believe that Trump hears them and cares about them.
The big hits were praise of the police, attacks on Hillary Clinton, and anything perceived as making liberals look small. When he got into the part of the speech where he talked about what he might actually do, his audience started to look a bit bored, their clapping to sound dutiful rather than enthusiastic. Lucky for them, the policy section was brief. Trump's account of all the terrible things happening in America hardly left room for an expansive or detailed vision.
He promised to be splendid on trade, fantastic at stopping immigration, and the most magnificent tax cutter you've ever seen. How was he going to accomplish these things? By being awesome, of course. After a year on the campaign trail, Trump still hasn't really gotten beyond his own fantasticality as the basis of his policy agenda.
Of course, I'm not sure how much people will care. What the audience seemed to want was not so much someone to fix their problems as someone to validate their belief that these are problems -- problems that they feel liberals create and then systematically deny. As they say in 12-step programs, the first step is admitting that you have a problem, and if Trump seems like the only one who's willing to make that admission, then, well, isn't he one step beyond everyone else?
In her last paragraph, McArdle also twice applies the word "dark" -- the Left's attempt at a linguistic kill shot aimed at Trump. I wonder if she knows why she chose that word?
FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that Hillary Clinton lied to them.
During an extended exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Comey affirmed that the FBI's investigation found information marked classified on her server even after Clinton had said that she had neither sent nor received any items marked classified.
"That is not true," Comey said. "There were a small number of portion markings on, I think, three of the documents."
Asked whether Clinton's testimony that she did not email "any classified material to anyone on my email" and "there is no classified material" was true, Comey responded, "No, there was classified material emailed."
"Secretary Clinton said she used one device. Was that true?" Gowdy asked, to which Comey answered, "She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as secretary of state."
Gowdy then asked whether it was true that Clinton, as she said, returned all work-related emails to the State Department.
"No, we found work-related emails, thousands that were not returned," Comey said.
"Secretary Clinton said neither she or anyone else deleted work-related emails from her personal account. Was that true?" Gowdy asked.
"That's a harder one to answer," Comey responded. "We found traces of work-related emails in, on devices or in slack space. Whether they were deleted or whether when a server changed out something happened to them, there is no doubt that the work-related emails that were removed electronically from the email system."
Gowdy asked whether Clintons' lawyers read every one of her emails as she had said. Comey replied, "No."
Lie, after lie, after lie. This is a political trial now though, so I hope the American people are paying attention.
The decision not to charge Hillary Clinton for her "extremely careless" handling of classified information is opening a new line of defense for others who stand accused of similar misdeeds.
Mark Zaid, a defense attorney for national security whistleblowers and people accused of mishandling secrets, says he plans to ask for "the Clinton deal" in the future.
And Zaid says he probably can get it.
In 2015, shortly after former CIA Director David Petraeus received a plea deal featuring probation and a fine for sharing highly classified information with his mistress Paula Broadwell, Zaid says he called the Justice Department on behalf of a client accused of taking classified records home.
"We absolutely got on the phone to the prosecutor and said, 'We want the Petraeus sentence. We want the commensurate, parallel sentence.' And we got it!" he says, winning a $5,000 fine and a short probation term instead of possible prison for a now-retired intelligence agency employee.
It's hard to see how this decision makes America safer, and it certainly undermines the rule of law.
Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, cited the case of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kristian Saucier, who pleaded guilty last week to possession and retention of national security information for taking cellphone photos inside the classified engine room of a nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic.
"That person's been prosecuted and he will get five or six years and a dishonorable discharge," Issa told CNN. "There is a double standard."
FBI Director James Comey recommends no charges for Hillary Clinton. She exposed highly classified data to "hostile actors", but there's no "direct evidence" that her servers were hacked -- and none would be expected. Thousands of work-related emails were recovered that weren't turned over in 2014. Hillary was "extremely careless" with highly classified information, but the evidence doesn't show that she was intentionally trying to damage the United States. She broke the law, but "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a case against her.
Comey seems like an honorable man, and this conclusion seems reasonable to me, even though Comey is clear that there was plenty of evidence to support criminal charges. I don't understand the reasoning for not recommending charges, but it seems that Comey suggests that administrative penalties would be more appropriate. (Of course, no such administrative penalties are now possible.)
In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.
Despite the lack of criminal charges, I hope that the American public imposes political consequences on Hillary for her reckless behavior. From a political perspective, Comey's statement was probably the best possible outcome for Trump. Video of the FBI director calling Hillary "extremely careless" is powerful stuff.
My opinion is that the people who are lamenting this result are missing the subtlety of Comey's statement and decision: Hillary has been convicted as dishonorable, dishonest, and careless without the need for a trial. No endless motions, no delays, no jury tampering, no arcane court rules, no backroom deals, no plea bargain. If America wants to elect an incompetent, lying crook, then no indictment will prevent it.
Reason does a super-cut, interposing Comey and Clinton.
I've got a mother, a wife, and several daughters, so let me say up front that I'm all for empowered women. I just think it's interesting to note that the phenomenon of "power couples" didn't exist 100 years ago -- women didn't wield much public power, so marriages weren't a vehicle for amplifying power in democracies. (Of course, marriage was always a tool of power in aristocracies.)
It's not obvious to me how the incestuous corruption of these "power couples" can be reined in. Tracking all the interrelationships adds a level of complexity to the conflicts of interest -- the conflicts would be easy to analyze in a database, but how could the output be understood by a mildly interested human?
It's also worth noting that "power couples" are the cornerstone of cross-generational "meritocracy". The first few generations of meritocracy seemed great, as the decedents of cobblers became software engineers, but those first-order effects are becoming more rare thanks to assortive mating. It seems like we're reaching a stable state, wherein the descendants of the new upper class inherit the power "earned" by their parents.
In forming perceptions about Benghazi, the Iran deal, globalization, or illegal immigration, it is sometimes hard to know who is making policy and who is reporting and analyzing such formulations -- or whether they are one and the same. National Security Advisor Susan Rice is married to former ABC television producer Ian Cameron. Ben Rhodes, who drew up the talking-points deceptions about Benghazi and seemed to boast of deceiving the public about the Iran deal, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. Will 60 Minutes do one of its signature hit pieces on Ben Rhodes?
Secretary of State John Kerry -- who famously docks his yacht in Rhode Island in order to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on it -- is married to Teresa Heinz, the billionaire widow of the late senator and catsup heir John Heinz. Former Obama press secretary Jay Carney married Claire Shipman, senior national correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America; his successor, Josh Earnest, married Natalie Wyeth, a veteran of the Treasury Department. Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's "body woman," is married to creepy sexter Anthony Weiner; perhaps she was mesmerized by his stellar political career, his feminist credentials, and his tolerant approach to deviancy? And on and on it goes.
These Christiane Amanpour/Jamie Rosen or Samantha Power/Cass Sunstein types of connections could be explored to the nth degree, especially their moth-to-the-flame progressive fixations with maximizing privilege, power, and class. But my purpose is not to suggest some conspiratorial cabal of D.C. and New York insiders, only to note that an increasing number of government and media elites are so entangled with each other, leveraging lucrative careers in politics, finance, and the media, and doubling their influence through marriage, that they have scant knowledge of and less concern for the clingers who live well beyond their coastal-corridor moats. And so when reality proves their preconceptions wrong -- from Benghazi to Brexit -- they have only outrage and disdain to fall back on.
Jonah Goldberg proposes a brilliant thought experiment: we've got a "No Fly" list, and Leftists want a "No Buy" list for guns -- how about a "No Abort" list?
I have an idea.
The federal government needs to compile a list of women who shouldn't be allowed to get abortions. The criteria for getting on the list must be flexible. If an official at, say, the NIH or FBI think that a woman should be a mother for some reason or other, he or she can block an abortion. Maybe the woman has great genes or a high IQ or the sorts of financial resources we need in parents. Let's leave that decision where it belongs: in the hands of the government.
Heck, there's really no reason even to tell women if they're on the "no abort" list. Let them find out at the clinic. And if they go in for an abortion only to discover they are among the million or more people on the list, there will be no clear process for getting off it, even if it was a bureaucratic error or case of mistaken identity.
Goldberg goes on to catalog some of the maddening contradictions that the Left's pro-abortion devotion leads to.
There's a deep and perplexing contradiction here. If abortion is just another aspect of "women's health" -- currently the preferred euphemism for the procedure -- why have higher health and safety regulations for dentists than abortionists? If abortion is just another aspect of 'women's health' -- currently the preferred euphemism for the procedure -- why have higher health and safety regulations for dentists than abortionists?
But that's just the first of many contradictions. The court allowed Whole Woman's Health to sue in the first place, even though the company has no right to an abortion, and third parties aren't supposed to have standing to sue for someone else's constitutional rights. The Left loves to say "corporations aren't people" -- unless they're suing for abortion rights. Then the new mantra is: "Corporations are people, but human fetuses aren't."
Abortion is a shameful evil that stains humanity.
Two disheartening stories -- first, California's high speed rail debacle.
Sold to the public in 2008 as a visionary plan to whisk riders along at 220 miles an hour, making the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a little over two and a half hours, the project promised to attract most of the necessary billions from private investors, to operate without ongoing subsidies and to charge fares low enough to make it competitive with cheap flights. With those assurances, 53.7 percent of voters said yes to a $9.95 billion bond referendum to get the project started. But the assurances were at best wishful thinking, at worst an elaborate con.
The total construction cost estimate has now more than doubled to $68 billion from the original $33 billion, despite trims in the routes planned. The first, easiest-to-build, segment of the system -- the "train to nowhere" through a relatively empty stretch of the Central Valley -- is running at least four years behind schedule and still hasn't acquired all the needed land. Predicted ticket prices to travel from LA to the Bay have shot from $50 to more than $80. State funding is running short. Last month's cap-and-trade auction for greenhouse gases, expected to provide $150 million for the train, yielded a mere $2.5 million. And no investors are lining up to fill the $43 billion construction-budget gap.
Now, courtesy of Los Angeles Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian, comes yet another damning revelation: When the Spanish construction company Ferrovial submitted its winning bid for a 22-mile segment, the proposal included a clear and inconvenient warning: "More than likely, the California high speed rail will require large government subsidies for years to come." Ferrovial reviewed 111 similar systems around the world and found only three that cover their operating costs.
Second, the end of scientific glass blowers.
Here in Caltech's one-man glass shop, where Gerhart transforms a researcher's doodles into intricate laboratory equipment, craftsmanship is king. No two pieces of scientific glassware are the same, and for more than two decades, students and Nobel laureates alike have begun each project with Gerhart's blessing that, yes, he can create the tools to make their experiments possible.
But Gerhart, 71, is retiring, and the search is on to find someone, anyone, who can fill his shoes. In a cost-cutting world of machines and assembly plants, few glass blowers remain with the level of mastery needed at research hubs like Caltech.
"He's a somewhat dying breed," said Sarah Reisman, who relied on Gerhart to create 20 maze-like contraptions for her synthetic organic chemistry lab. "There just aren't as many scientific glass blowers anymore, and certainly not ones that have Rick's level of experience. Even a fraction of that experience, I think, just isn't out there."
We can't build anything new, and we're even losing the ability to build many old things.