Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

“Your Rallies Are Beginning to Look Like Lynch Mobs”

An author and former campaigner for John McCain says in the Baltimore Sun what actually does need to be said, out loud, in public:

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence… you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

I wonder if McCain is actually thinking about the consequences of what he’s doing at his campaign stops right now, and the unease it give the people who do think about consequences, both on the right and the left. I don’t want John McCain to win the election, but I also don’t want him to actually lose his soul, either. These progressively scarier campaign stops look and sound increasingly like someone who’s abandoned his better judgment for a last-shred grab at the crown by any means necessary. I like a lot of folks used to like McCain. I don’t think it’s a matter of us having always been deceived; I think it’s a matter of what we thought we admired in the man simply being tossed out in the course of extraordinarily bad political calculus.

I wish I could be more snarky about this. But the fact of the matter what John McCain is saying — and what he’s not saying, to the nutjobs in his crowds (whose words, even if can’t hear them at the podium, he’s certainly been told of by now) — worries me. He’s not just making the Secret Service’s job harder for the next four weeks, you know. Given the state of the polling, he’s very likely making it harder for the next four years, for a guy whose Secret Service detail was already going to be working overtime. I’m not sure why McCain doesn’t see this, or why he doesn’t care if he does.

Update, 8:07pm: Apparently McCain is beginning to reel things back in. It’s a good start. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Input on “Possibly Related Posts”

This particular install of WordPress has a feature called “Possibly Related Posts,” in which at the end of a post I make, an automatically-generated list of presumably-related news and blog posts appears just before the comments queue. I’m pretty sure it keys off of links to news sites and other blogs in the entry itself. To check, here’s a link to a recipe for mac & cheese pancakes; presumably the “PRPs” for this entry, if they arrive, will have something to do with cheese and/or macaroni and/or pancakes.

I’m not entirely convinced these PRPs will not be intrusive or annoying, but then again maybe you all will find them interesting. So, feedback, please: Keep the “possibly related posts”? Or dump them? I crave your opinion, and also, now, mac and cheese pancakes.

Update, 6:15pm: I’ve decided they’ve annoyed me too much to keep. I’ve turned them off. Thanks, everyone, for your input.

Meanwhile in Connecticut

The Connecticut Supreme Court grants same-sex marriage rights. Good for them. It’s a nice kick in the head to the hateful folks currently trying to destroy marriages in California with Proposition 8, who unfortunately at the moment seem to be gaining ground in their efforts. I recently donated money to the “No on 8″ folks, because they need it; I suggest you do it as well, if you think legal, existing marriages should not be voided simply because they make someone else uncomfortable. A relevant comment about that topic from the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling:

 Although we acknowledge that many legislators and many of their constituents hold strong personal convictions with respect to preserving the traditional concept of marriage as a heterosexual institution, such beliefs, no matter how deeply held, do not constitute the exceedingly persuasive justification required to sustain a statute that discriminates on the basis of a quasi-suspect classification. 

Amen to that.

How You Know Just How Bad the Economy’s Gotten

For the first time anyone can remember, a Michigan Mega Millions lottery winner has voluntarily chosen the “annuity” option, rather than taking the lump sum and hoping to make a killing off of it through investments.

It’s madness out there! Madness!

Post-Switch Stuff

So here we are, in Whatever’s shiny new digs. Some of you will have noticed a few minor differences; let me go over them and some other things.

1. As noted before, Whatever is now being hosted via WordPress.com’s VIP program. This is the same program that hosts blogs from places like CNN and the National Football League and Icanhascheezburger.com, and they serve those without a hitch, so I expect they’ll be able to handle my own somewhat more modest number of visits without much of a problem. I’m not saying that from time to time you won’t ever have a problem accessing the site now; but I am saying if you are having trouble, it’s probably my fault, not theirs. I apologize in advance for my incompetence.

2. You’ll notice also that Whatever now has a slightly different URL: whatever.scalzi.com instead of scalzi.com/whatever. This is because we decided that it was smarter to point just a subdomain of Scalzi.com at WordPress.com rather than the whole domain. Why? Well, among other things, it means I can still receive e-mail, and also I don’t have to worry where to park all the other domains I own (I own about 20).

What does this change of domain mean for you? In the short run, not a thing, since “scalzi.com/whatever” automatically forwards to the new URL. However, at some point in the future you may want to update your links to more accurately reflect the new address. No rush, just saying. That new URL again, in case you missed it in bold letting just one paragraph ago: whatever.scalzi.com.

3. In addition to changing the URL of the main page, all the entries generated by the original WordPress install on Whatever (dating back to September 30, 2007) have new URLs as well, here in the new digs. Does this mean all your old links no longer work? No! And that’s because the very clever tech person with whom I’ve been working on this switch over has done some sort of magic by which links to old entries get forwarded to the new entries without a hitch. I don’t claim to understand it, I’m just glad it happens.

However, from time to time there may be a glitch and the new install might drop a link. When/if that happens, you should land on a 404 page here. Don’t panic; just use the search bar, available on every page of the install, to find the entry you’re looking for by typing in a word or phrase from the entry. Easy.

4. Which reminds me: The search function on Whatever now actually does not suck. Try it! You’ll see.

5. What happens when a link goes to one of the older pages on Whatever (i.e., from before September 30, 2007)? For now, they still go to the old page. However, one of the things we’re working on is porting over  the entries from Whatever’s earlier versions. This is going to take a little bit of time, because that’s about 2,800 entries with about 90,000 comments. Which is, you know, a lot. When this is done what I’ll do is put in redirects for some of the more popular pages (Being Poor, Bacon Cat, etc) to the new install. But in the short run, everything is still there. Which is a long-winded way of saying: On average, your links into Whatever will still work.

6. Because of technical backend requirements of WordPress.com, some previously appearing widgets on Whatever are no longer here. One of them powered the “preview” button for the comments. I’ll look around for a replacement, but in the meantime, you know, just re-read your comments before you post them.

7. I’ve disabled the “Snap preview” function which was previously on since the switchover, since I find it enormously intrusive.

8. The RSS feeds should have transferred over without a problem, but you never know; glitches happen on a one on one basis. Obviously if your RSS feed for Whatever has gone wonky, come back around to the actual site and re-plug in.

9. Someone noticed the favicon for the site now has a default WordPress “W” in it. I’ll probably get around to fixing that eventually, but in short run, I don’t mind. The previous favicon I had also was a “W.” It fits the site.

10. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ryan Boren, who helped me immensely with the transfer of the site (and when I say “he helped me” I mean “he did all the work, while I stood around pretending to be useful”), and for suggesting the WordPress VIP solution in the first place. So when you come to the site and marvel at how quickly it loads up, and its complete lack of internal server errors when you post comments, you know who to thank, and it’s not me, it’s him. Please feel free to shower him with appreciative comments and/or fruit baskets.

If you have comments/questions/complaints/praise about the new install, go ahead and drop them into the comments thread. Thanks.

Hey, You Can Comment Again

Yes, The Switch has happened. It should be largely unnoticable, give or take a broken link or two, which we’ll deal with when we find them. I’ll have more to say about it later. But in the meantime: Look! You can comment again! Use your power responsibly.