Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Orthogonal politics

My Mom just set up a Facebook profile! So I was looking through my profile, since I knew I had some pictures of the kids up there, and saw that my "Political Views" were listed as Liberal. Hunh. Not really accurate. But then, I have no idea how to classify my political views, since I am simultaneously:

  • Strongly pro-first amendment - I support the ACLU, EFF, EPIC and other free-speech groups
  • Strongly pro-second amendment - I support gun ownership, the rights to concealed carry and open carry firearms, and the duty of citizens to serve as the Militia of the United States; I oppose the Assault Weapons Ban and legislation prohibiting ownership of firearms

In fact, going through the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, following the changes from the 14th and 19th Amendments, I find the entire basis for my political views.

  • Article I, Section 8, Clause 11: The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War
  • Article I, Section 9, Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed
  • Article I, Section 10, Clause 1: No State shall ... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts
  • Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Just read it, if you haven't done so in a while. It seems strange that many more people know the preamble to the Constitution, but couldn't tell you that only Congress has the power to declare war.

Since neither the Democratic or Republican parties appear to represent and support these same principles, I cannot correctly be called a Democrat or a Republican. The modern labels of conservative and liberal are next to useless in describing my views on executive privilege, protection against centralized state power, fiat currency and the rights of individuals to protect themselves and their country.

So I am orthogonal to these labels. And that's fine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This is my screenrc.

# xabbott /.screenrc
# this is messy as i just took random things from others. -.-
# from

activity "%c activity -> %n%f %t"
autodetach on
altscreen on
bell "%c bell -> %n%f %t^G"
defflow auto
defscrollback 10000
defutf8 on
msgwait 2 # 1 second messages
startup_message off # disable the startup splash message
shell -bash
vbell_msg "[[[ ding ]]]"
vbell off
nethack on

term screen-256color
termcapinfo xterm*|Eterm|mlterm|rxvt 'hs:ts=\E]0;:fs=\007:ds=\E]0;screen\007'

hardstatus alwayslastline
hardstatus string '%{gk}[ %{G}%H %{g}][%= %{wk}%?%-Lw%?%{=b kR}(%{W}%n*%f %t%?(%u)%?%{=b kR})%{= kw}%?%+Lw%?%?%= %{g}][%{Y}%l%{g}]%{=b C}[ %Y-%m-%d %c ]%{W}'

# remove some key bindings
bind k
bind W
bind ^k
bind .
bind ^\
bind \\
bind ^h
bind h
# make them safer
bind 'K' kill
bind 'W' windowlist

# F8 to turn the status bar off
bindkey -k k8 hardstatus alwayslastline
# F9 to turn the status bar on
bindkey -k k9 hardstatus alwaysignore
# F1 and F2 to move one screen forward or backward
bindkey -k k1 prev
bindkey -k k2 next

# eof

Monday, January 12, 2009

Practice Safe Computing!

Got a message on Facebook from my brother-in-law, who is diligently installing Office 2007 in a virtual machine on his MacBook for his online class this semester at NoVA:

ANYWAYS, i was wondering if you suggested any good (and free) antivirus/spyware/firewall software since i will now be plagued by windows. thanks for the help! hopefully this will give you something to do at work, instead of playing with sharpies.

I love Sharpies. :)

Don't bother downloading/installing firewall software, just make sure that Windows Firewall is turned on, and check the exceptions list to make sure there's nothing stupid in there. That's all that I do on my XP/Vista installs.

I use the free version of AVG Anti-Virus (the old 7.5 version, not the current 8.0 version). It's not quite as slick as McAfee or other commercial AV packages, but it works for me, and it's fairly light on resource utilization. It only uses about 10MB of memory, compared to over 100MB for McAfee AV, which definitely helps in virtual machines. You can download it from:

Avast! antivirus Home Edition works well too, some folks prefer it to AVG. Also available for free from:

If you're a careful and conscientious PC user, and install a firewall or address-translating router (like a Linksys WRT54G) between your PC and the Internet, and browse with Firefox + AdBlock Plus + NoScript, and don't visit malicious sites, and don't download software you don't need or aren't familiar with, and keep your system patches + antivirus up to date, there's no real need to run anti-spyware/malware software. If you feel the need to burn memory and CPU cycles and disk time to defend yourself against malware, I'd recommend Windows Defender:

It works, and isn't a complete and utter pig.

If you do find spyware or malware on your PC, AdAware still works for detection and removal. I know there's newer tools out there, but I haven't had issues with AdAware, so that's what I use.

Good luck!