Get a TTLB Bear!

Teddy Bear
Need a little something to snuggle up to at night?
TTLB has you covered! For a limited time only (I am planning on living forever, but eventually the Universe ends…) TTLB readers can purchase their very own Truth Laid Bear Teddy Bear!
The TTLB-TB comes in two editions: the Premium Bear for $15.99 , and the Basic Bear for $12.99. The actual bears are identical: the only difference is the price (the Premium kicks back a few bucks to little old me, the Basic edition is at the rock-bottom price provided by CafePress).
It makes a great gift for that special sweetheart — show them your sensitive and cuddly, yet morally serious and intellectually challenging side! Or get one for the munchkin — it’s never too early to start indoctrinating the youngsters!
Accept no imitations! Act now and be the first on your block to have a genuine TTLB-TB, before they’re all gone!
PS – I also note that CafePress now allows the creation of “thong” and “panty” products. While I have not added these to my store as yet, we aim to please our readership ’round these parts, so please, if there is a pent-up demand for TTLB lingerie — this bear wants to know!
Update: Never let it be said that I don’t respond to consumer demand! By request of the fair Erica, TTLB undies are now available at both the premium and basic stores.
Hmmm. I see this as the next big thing in mindless blogging competitiveness. Sure, Pejman and Stephen might get more hits than I do, but I’ll bet I can get more of the lovely ladies of blogdom to wear TTLB-branded bloomers! (I almost said “to wear my panties”, but caught myself in time…)
Update Again: Hmm (II). It seems Allen Prather is upping the ante….

Galeon issues?

Just had a report from a fellow running Galeon who indicates that TTLB doesn’t render correctly using that browser. It’s Unix-only, so I’m not able to test it directly myself. But it would be odd — I use Mozilla myself (Galeon is built on the same rendering engine) and don’t see problems.
Anyway, if you’re using Galeon, I’d appreciate feedback if you’re seeing odd stuff or whether all appears well. Screenshots would be doubly-nice if you want to be a real help. Thanks….
-NZB
Update: The problem actually does appear in Mozilla as well. The issue appears when viewing TTLB in a non-maximized window, so there’s not enough room to show the whole width of the page in the browser. In IE, you can scroll left-and-right and see the whole page. But in Mozilla, you can’t scroll all the way left — the far-left of the page gets cut off.
Hmmm. I’ve no clue. Anybody with suggestions, chime in!

Cross-Blog Debate Lives On

Whoah.
I’ve been puzzled for some time as to why I’ve continued to get “heat” from the Cross Blog Iraq Debate — lots of folks coming into the site with that as their entry page.
I was hampered in figuring this out by the fact that I didn’t have my SiteMeter code on the redirect pages I created to translate the old host’s URLs to the current ones, so I was losing the referrer info.
So anyway, tonight I finally figured it out: Go to Google or Yahoo and search on “blog iraq”.
Not only is the debate the #1 result, but eight of the top ten results on the first results page refer to it.
Yipes. I get it now…

The Quality of Mercy

Thought for the night (it’s a dark one — the night, and the thought):
Clearly, there are some Iraqis who are willing to sacrifice their own lives to defend the Hussein regime.
I submit the following proposition, then: to ensure a safe and stable future for Iraq’s soon-to-be-emerging democracy, is it not wise for Coalition forces to ensure that those willing to make such an ultimate sacrifice, do so?
Accepting surrender from those who fought (or didn’t) under threat of their own lives is mercy, and builds a stable foundation for Iraq’s future. But is not the converse true: that accepting the surrender of those who truly wish for the preservation of Hussein’s tyranny undermines that same future?
Put another way: will the inevitable mercy we will see in the short-term — as Coalition forces accept the late, but unavoidable, surrender of Republican Guard units worn down over days and weeks of punishment — breed long-term suffering as those die-hards slink into the night, only to emerge later as guerillas, terrorists, or worse?
Would it be best for Iraq’s future if those units we know to be stacked with loyalists somehow are never presented with the opportunity to lay down their arms?
And would it be moral for Coalition forces to ensure they never did get that chance?
Discuss.
PS – If you’re upset by the very thought I’d contemplate such a thing, see my response to Shelley Powers in the comments.

The Corner: Amateur Hour

Michele and Alan at Avocare have set up a new community warblog: Command Central.
The idea is “a temporary group weblog, to run the duration of the war. We see it as something akin to The Corner – short posts, lots of links and banter between the posters. ”
Yup, sounds like the indie version of the Corner. I’m signing up, as long as I don’t have to post boring stuff about my dog or William Shatner.

Anticipation…

Steve reports he’s on the job.
Whole lotta nothing being shown on the teevee now. Lots of talking heads trying to find different ways to say “target of opportunity” over and over again.
Hmmm… hey Steve, do you have a deck of cards or something? This could get dull real fast…
-NZB
PS – An no, unlike the intrepid VodkaGuy, I’m not planning on blogging all night. That dratted Real Job to get to and all that, you know; a bear must get his beauty rest…
PPS – Sean-Paul is on duty as well. Remind me again, who was supposed to bring the beer to this party?

And so it begins

Looks like it’s on tonight. Or rather, this morning, Iraq time.
Could we really be intending to do the first phase of full-scale bombing in daylight? Given all the ‘shock and awe’ talk, I suppose it’s possible.
And where the hell’s the usual crew? Bill? Steve? Glenn? Come on, I’m the B-list here, boys, get yer damned pages updated….

Memo to Journalists in Iraq: Get Out

Am I the only one who gets a sinking feeling whenever CNN or MSNBC shows one of their (few remaining) correspondents reporting live from Baghdad?
Folks, let me be clear. If by any chance any of you intrepid journalists are reading this humble blog: get the hell out of there. I can do without the live video and headshots of you bravely silhouetted against the night sky filled with tracer rounds, honest.
And more to the point: I can also do without the shot of you, haggard and terrified, a week from now on a shaky videotape released by the last Special Republican Guard units remaining loyal who have holed up in a mosque with you as their hostages.
This is not Gulf War I. This is real, and nobody is screwing around.
Get. Out. Now.

Hostage Rescue

It would seem that today will be the day.
I can’t help thinking of this conflict less as a war, in the traditional sense, and more as a hostage rescue. The lunatic has holed up, armed to the teeth and surrounded by innocent bystanders who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His henchmen stand by his side; some rabidly willing to die for the Great Man; others who long ago took what they thought was the path of least resistance, hoping against hope that it would never lead to this moment here. And many, many more who were dragged into the fight; told to place their body in front of his, else they and those they love would lose everything.
The lunatic continues ranting and raving, threatening to wreak havok if his own worldview is not confirmed as the only true one; if his demands are not met and his whims are not indulged.
The question is not whether the lunatic wins; it never is. The question is how many innocents die when the law finally comes to take him down.
Today, or very soon, we’ll begin to learn the answer to that question.
My best thoughts and wishes go out to the men and women of our military, those of our allies, and the innocent people of Iraq. And yes, in that order. And I fix my hopes on the remote possibility that, against all logic, we will not see reprisal attacks against innocents here at home and around the world — and if not, that they may be limited, and that the loss of life and property be small.
I have no prayers to give, but on days like these, sometimes I wish that were not so. But it is, and so to all those confronting the lunatic for this last time, I can say only: good luck to you.
PS – To those of you who are about to add a comment saying that my description applies better to George Bush: don’t bother. You’re just embarassing yourselves.
Update: Rand Simberg agrees

Marduk’s Musings

Please welcome Marduk’s Babylonian Musings to the TTLB adstrip. It’s been a while since we’ve had an actual paying customer, and I’m pleased that Marduk has chosen to sign up, given his illustrious mission statement. He describes his blog as:
“An examination of anti-semitism on the web, particularly in its disguise as anti-zionism”
Amen to that!
But there’s still plenty of room on the adstrip, so by all means, if you’re interested in supporting the site, sign yourself up. Or, alternatively, you can buy some spiffy TTLB stuff.
I don’t have a tip jar, and have no intention of going on a ‘pledge drive’ anytime soon, but hey, every little bit is nice.

Iraq Timeline Blog?

Folks –
I’ve been accused of being an idea bear, and here I go with another one. But I’m not at all convinced I’ve got the time to deal with it myself, so I’m throwing it open for feedback and volunteers.
I’d like to see an Iraq Timeline blog, set up something like this:
– Each day the editor posts a brief paragraph summarizing key events in the conflict.
– The day’s post is then made available for TrackBack pings
– Any blogger who is TrackBack-enabled and is writing on Iraq that day can ping the day’s post
– Ideally, the editor(s) could also then sweep the blogs and manually add links to non-Trackback-enabled bloggers (and could also get them sent to them via email)
I’m picturing a very simple layout; something that looks literally like a timeline. Just the date, a brief summary paragraph, and then a list of links for each day’s entry. I think it would be a very useful tool both in the coming days — to be able to quickly review the Blogosphere’s reactions to the latest events — and, frankly, as a historical record years from now.
Anyway, I’ve got way too much going on, so I don’t think I can drive this. But I’m asking folks to:
a) Tell me if they find this interesting
b) Tell me if they would be willing to participate by either regularly pinging such a blog or sending their links via email
c) Tell me if they’d be willing to help out as an ‘editor’ if I set up such a page
d) Tell me if they’d be interested in driving the whole darned thing on their own blog
And oh, Michele: in answer to your question: I think we’re going to war. And it is not a good thing. But it is less bad than all the other alternatives I can see.

Ecosystem BugFixes

Did some significant rearchitecting on the Ecosystem scripts today, both to improve performance and squash some nasty bugs that were preventing the scans from actually hitting all blogs every day.
The major change is that now the process is multi-threaded: ecoscan.php executes a loop which grabs one weblog at a time and spawns an instance of scanblog.php to actually grab the data. It also monitors itself to ensure it never has too many processes running (currently set to ten) so it doesn’t crush the server.
This improves performance by parallelizing the main work, of course, but also minimizes the impact of an issue where the scan routine just hangs trying to open some blogs on occasion (it still hangs, but now you only lose one thread of many).
Anyway, data quality should be improved today, and hopefully will continue to trend upwards. New release of the relevant files is available at SourceForge.