More Reasons to Halt the Death Penalty

I’ve not blogged about this topic before, but I came across 2 newspaper articles this morning outlining major deficiencies in the system. While in college, I wrote an argumentative paper against capital punishment, and I still stand by that stance. I don’t believe those convicted of murder should live in the lap of luxury, however I don’t believe we’ve perfected a system to take another’s life in response to murder. This article from the Columbus Dispatch details failure in the actual lethal injection process, in which failure to establish an IV led to a prolonged process, that had to be done behind closed doors.
In this NY Times article, short comings in the state of Texas’s method of reviewing deaths by arson. Currently in Texas, the reviews are made by people who’ve never attended any formal training in the area. The article outlines the execution of an innocent man due to the process.
So mistakes a plenty, no empirical evidence that the death penalty prevents murders, and mountains of tax dollars spent to litigate death penalty cases, can we end this archaic practice now?

Thumbnails on Home Page

This little tutorial is intended as a means of providing WordPress users the means of posting a thumbnail image on their home page, and having a full size image on the single page view. This is accomplished using the image uploader built into WordPress, and CSS. If you are intending on using excerpts on the home page, then the addition of Kaf’s Excerpt Reloaded plugin. His plugin allows for the inclusion of tags within the excerpt, something the built in function the_excerpt does not.
The first step is to make sure you have the_content or the_excerpt wrapped in a unique div class. I’m not sure of the exact correct semantics, but I simply call my home page excerpt “home”, and single page div “single”. (Note, depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a separate class for the single page view. I actually wound up not using single in my theme, as I was able to use the class “primary” from the original code. The objective is to have a parent div to call with the specific class we assign the thumbnail).
Next, when you upload your images via the WP upload, be sure to note the path. Generally speaking, both the created thumbnail and full size image are placed in the same directory. the difference being the thumbnail file is yourimage.thumbnail.jpg. So now that you have uploaded the image, and the thumbnail has been created, it’s time to place both the thumbnail and full size image in your post. We are going to code the image directly, and not use the WYSIWYG or quick tag buttons, as we need to add a class directly to the image. Again, not sure about proper semantics, but I used “big” and small, obviously for the full size and thumbnail, respectively. Note, if you want to also float the image, you can use two classes, simply leave a space between each class. An example would look something like this :
Now to create the CSS to hide images on the different pages.
First, to hide the full size image on the main page, we need to add to our style sheet .home .big {display: none}.
Then to hide the thumbnail on the single page view, we add .single .small {display: none}.
That’s it. A couple of simple CSS classes and the built in image upload. A note about the code. Depending on your theme, you may or may not need to create a few more templates. If your theme only has an index.php file, then you’ll need to save a copy of that as single.php then make the changes to that, as outlined.
I’d love some feedback on the semantics of the classes, as that’s still an area I’m learning about, as well as any general feedback about the concept. It works fine for the theme structure I’m using, but if you run into any problems with your theme, please leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you make it work.

CSS Spring Reboot ’06

rebootrebootI’m in the process of installing my new look for the CSS Reboot, so if things look a little wonky, bear with me. Also, if you notice something awry, please leave a comment.

EditLooks like CSS Reboot is back online, so a little while from now, hundreds, if not a 1000 or more sites will be officially launching new designs. A great way to see the freshest designs and ideas out there.
Edit 2Oh, yeah, I also gave a little face lift to the rarely used

Bright House Drops the Ball (or How Not to Conduct Customer Service)

So, I mentioned I’m getting a sweet deal on digital phone from Bright House. In the time since, I’ve had about 6 telephone conversations getting to the bottom of the price. The day after I signed up, I received a letter offering me the service for $6.55 less than the night before. Seems a simple 2 minute explanation that the price offered the night before included tax and fees, the lower price was before. That they were one in the same. Meanwhile, I reported to them that once again, I was experiencing poor picture quality on my living room television. Continue reading “Bright House Drops the Ball (or How Not to Conduct Customer Service)”

Hey, HuffPo, a few Suggestions

I just removed the HuffingtonPost from my RSS aggregator, as the Vongage ads were the last straw. It’s bad enough I can’t get a feed with excerpts. I know some people don’t like excerpts, but a site as prolific as HuffPo (not to mention, the “bloggers” at HuffPo are some long winded essayists) You miss one day of reading, and there’s 30+ full length posts to wade through. Lately, I’ve found myself ditching them anyway without even reading headlines.

So why not offer a feed of your blog posts in excerpt form without ads. If the article sounds interesting, I’ll click over the site, and you inundate me with as many ads as you like.

New Pig Book is Out

Citizens Against Government Waste has released their annual report outlining the pork barrel additions to spending bills from Congress.
Some of my favorites are:

  • $3,000,000 for the Animal Waste Management Research Laboratory in Kentucky
  • $1,099,000 for alternative salmon products in Alaska – WTF are alternative salmon products?
  • $6,435,000 for wood utilization research in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Mich., Minn., Miss., N.C., Ore., Tenn., Wash., and W.Va. Since 1985, $86 million has been sapped from the taxpayers for this purpose – Um we’ve kinda got an idea how to use wood, don’t we?
  • $1,000,000 for the Gaming-Technology Software Initiative in Michigan- huh?
  • $13,500,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), which has released a five-year strategy focusing on grassroots reconciliation and cross-community projects such as: the construction of Creggan Community Café and Catering Ltd., the Newcastle YMCA, the Donegal Town Waterbus, the Leitrim Food Center of Excellence, the Chef Development Program, and funding toward the World Toilet Summit. – World Toilet Summit, come on…
  • $46,908 for Hampton Jitney, Inc. The Jitney is known primarily for shuttling wealthy New Yorkers to their summer homes in the Hamptons.
  • $4,000,000 for a visitors center at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska – yet another pork barrell project from Sen Stevens. What gets me about this one is A, $4 million is a lot for a visitor center, and B, this is a guy who basically wants to ruin another wildlife refuge in Alaska for the sake of oil. Will the visitor center at Kodiak have pictures of the other, to make up for the loss?
  • $21,750,000 added for the National Writing Project, a program established by Congress and developed by the DoE, which aims to enhance the writing skills of grade school teachers
  • $100,000 added by the House for the Harpers Ferry Police Department in West Virginia. The population of Harpers Ferry was less than 400 in 2004 and the police force today consists of two full-time and one part-time police officers..
  • $5,880,000 for the Zora and Main Street Interchange in Missouri- Joplin requested the funding, purportedly to maintain safety and prevent congestion in the town of 50,000 people
  • $500,000 for construction of the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina – yep, you read that right

Those are just some highlights of the highlights, I’m sure there are even more mind blowers in there.

Guess He Heard the Footsteps!

New services around the country are reporting that good ol’ Tom “The Hammer” DeLay is stepping down from his bid to run again for Congress. Couldn’t be better news to me. I just wonder why it’s taken so long. Perhaps he got advanced warning of the extent of Tom Rudy’s cooperation, and pending charges that will be harder to shake.
I also wonder if those who donated to his re-election can ask for a refund, and how the successor is chosen. A run off between the remaining 3 candidates?
I also wonder if Bush and the Rove machine will continue to stand by their man, or will attempt to distance themselves and the White House from DeLay.
I’m sure some answers will come sooner than later, but that’s at least one perpetrator of the culture of corruption that won’t be influencing the laws of our country, and won’t be perpetuating the good ol’ boy network on Capitol Hill come this fall.

Free Long Distance and Double the Internet Speed for Half the Cost?

Sign me up. Got the call from the local cable company, Brighthouse tonight saying that with our current package, I can add VOIP telephone and and twice as much download rates for Road Runner for basically half of what I pay monthly for my traditional phone service. And they claim they have battery backup for phone service in case of power outage (we keep an old fashioned phone around for those just in case moments, though a cell phone now makes it less used). How can you beat that. And one less bill a month to deal with.
So if anyone has any experience with the digital phone service, I’ve still got two weeks before they come to install, I’d really love some feedback.

More Smoke and Mirrors from Bush’s Environmental Policies

Fewer Marshes + More Man-made Ponds = Increased Wetlands – New York Times
I’d really like to meet the genius who came up with this idea. “Hey, we can turn a negative into a positive if we simply start counting any puddle as wetlands. Heck, the golf course that surrounds my new house must have at least 15 ponds, let’s start counting those…ah screw the pesticides and fertilizers that filter into the ponds…”.
As a Florida native, it breaks my heart every time I take a drive through an area that once used to be “swampy”, and now is condo, or subdivision. I do enjoy playing golf, but would never trade a cypress swamp for a course. And nor do I think my goverment should either.

Tom, Can You Hear the Footsteps?
In case you’ve been asleep the last 4 days, Abramhoff got 5 years 10 months for his role in the Sun Cruz line purchase. Still to come are sentences for his multitude of other indiscretions while a lobbyist. Though that sentence is bound to be lessened based on his cooperation with prosecutors, and run concurrent to these charges. I really hope these prosecutors are holding out for DeLay, and not just Ney.

Jan Schneider for Congress FL-13 in 2006

Jan Schneider for CongressJust a note to any readers in Congressional district 13, to support Jan Schneider in her attempt to take the seat vacated by Katherine Harris. I’ve gotten several emails pushing for her support, and come across a couple of blog posts as well, so I took a minute to check out her credentials. Not your soccer mom got bored, or super rich white girl with nothing better to do type of candidate. It’s also my understanding that a recent Democrat convert is being supported by the DNC. I hope that’s not the case, and all because one may have a few more dollars than the other. Shame shame.

I’d love to know more about this one, so if you have any details, do share.

Happy (Belated) Anniversary to Me!

So, just over a year ago I started blogging. I believe I’ve grown quite a bit in my web knowledge in a short time of actually using a site I’ve started. I tried doing something with just about every free resource out there, it just never “took”. It wasn’t until my friend over at tiny little dots adopted WordPress, and thus I installed it on my newly purchased domain, did the light go on. At once I felt at home. I immediately begin cramming massive amounts of CSS knowledge into my already crowded head. I now can I say I can see myself actually putting food on the table and a roof over my head some day doing this stuff full time. I’ve got a long way to go, and need to particularly see where I “fit in”, but it is quite exciting, a feeling I lost quite some time ago in regards to cooking.

So a hardy thank you to tiny for adopting WP and to trench for my first blogroll link. Also a big thanks to the many people who’ve stopped by and left a comment, it’s always nice to know someones reading the site 🙂

I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next year of doing this brings, what direction things will go, but if the first was any indication, it’s going to be great.

Favorite Mac freeware

A last minute entry into’s contest, listing your 5 most favored freeware apps. Their list is quite extensive, and I’ve found several apps I didn’t know about, but for the most part, these are the ones I use day in and day out. (I can’t say these are in any particular order)

  1. Cyberduck – a super great FTP client, that works hand in hand with several text editors and CSS Edit to allow editing files directly on the server
  2. Smultron – my text editor of choice. As noted, it works flawlessly with Cyberduck
  3. Growl – A sytem wide notification app, that works with numerous apps, including cyberduck to notify you when a file’s been up/down loaded, in itunes when a new song plays, can set up a gmail or mail notifier, and numerous other apps all with an unobtrusive faded in box in the upper right corner
  4. Adium – my IM app of choice. I don’t do IM with a lot of different people, however, I do a lot of work with people all of the world, so having AOL, yahoo and gtalk all in the same app makes it quite easy to connect with a client in their IM of choice
  5. VooDoo Pad lite – A fantastic note app, that works like a little wiki right on your desktop. I really love how I can make a table of contents type page, and then create “links” to new pages. I can really simply, and quickly organize a project this way. Also supports drag and drop functionality too, so I can drag an image to a page, a link generally anything. I’ve seriously thought about purchasing the “pro” version, or what ever they call it, simply because I use the app so much.

Some other apps I use/recommend are obviously firefox, as well as vienna and flickr export an iphoto plugin that allows quick and easy sharing of your photos via flickr.

If I’ve missed a great app, I’d love to know about it.

Landzilla- From the Swamp WordPress Theme Updated

I had a client who chose the Landzilla theme, but wanted some color changes. While in the process of doing that, I found the theme used a single index file, with no seperate header, sidebar, footer, etc. So I’ve repackaged the theme with the new colors, a few other changes, as well as a .psd file to insert your own 181 x121 pixel images into the four boxes in the header graphic.
A screenshot can be seen here.

Here’s the download.

Any questions, just leave a comment, I’ll try to help.

Oh, the name, well, Florida is really just one big swamp…

Pimping Emusic Again

I just can’t say enough about this site, and have been that way for the 5 on and off years I’ve been using it. I’ve downloaded everything from Charlie Parker to the Cows. Some of the recent stuff I’ve downloaded includes Tres Chicas, Minus the Bear, and some old stuff including fIREHOSE’s if’n.
So if you are interested in a free trial -50 downloads (will require credit card, but won’t be charged unless you don’t cancel after month), and want to help me get some free downloads (if you like the service and keep it after the month trial, I get 50 downloads myself), leave a comment or use my Contact Page. I’ll send you the special link that will help me get the hook up too.