Home / 2002 History
January 1, 2002
Woah! I'm getting loads of hits from www.totallybe.com
January 3, 2002
Welcome to 2002, now get informed.
I know from experience that even mentioning income distribution leads to angry accusations of "class warfare," but anyway here's what the (truly) nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently found: Adjusting for inflation, the income of families in the middle of the U.S. income distribution rose from $41,400 in 1979 to $45,100 in 1997, a 9 percent increase. Meanwhile the income of families in the top 1 percent rose from $420,200 to $1.016 million, a 140 percent increase. Or to put it another way, the income of families in the top 1 percent was 10 times that of typical families in 1979, and 23 times and rising in 1997.
... But as I've said, both casual observation and the Poole-Rosenthal numbers tell us that the Democrats haven't moved left, the Republicans have moved right.
PAUL KRUGMAN in the New York Times
January 4, 2002
Be to auction off 20 BeBoxen!
January 9, 2002
Nobody is proposing raising taxes, but some fiscally prudent voices have been raised on behalf of postponing some of the generous tax cuts the Republicans gave to the rich in April. You may think Americans are smart enough to tell the difference between raising taxes and postponing tax cuts, but apparently Republicans don't. You can already see what a great political debate this is going to be.
Molly Ivins -- You do that voodoo economics so well
Yeah, some debate. "Does not." "Does too." That's not news, and whenyou see that kind of 'entertainment dressed as news' on TV, switch to the Food channel, fire up your computer and get some real data from the Congressional Budget Office. For example;
Increasing the after-tax income of businesses typically does not create an incentive for them to spend more on labor or to produce more goods and services because production depends on the ability to sell output.
Well Duh. Give Ford a billion or two, and they won't rush out and open a new factory, they will fire up a spreadsheet, find that theycan build everything that they can sell, then look for places to cutcosts. Welcome to the free market.
Hey, Ford, I'm in the market for a small, safe, 60+ MPG vehicle, and I'll pay cash.
January 10, 2002
The Hiptop on CNN
Danger's Hiptop (The thing I work on when not writing fanfiction) can be seen in a video clip on the CNN Website.
Enron is not Bush's Whitewater
Commentary: It will be worse
What it is about, and what the public will get to hear and read about in wrenching detail over the coming months, is how business gets done down in Texas. How a small group of business leaders exert enormous clout over Bush and his team in getting the rules changed to their benefit.
It will explain why Bush has locked up presidential records, locked out any voices opposed to his pro-business agenda and rammed through an expensive economic plan that wiped out the budget surplus but to date hasn't had any positive effect on the economy.
It will explain what influence Enron Chief Executive Ken Lay and his advisers had with Cheney and his energy taskforce when they met six times last year while the vice president was putting together the administration's energy policy.
And it will explain why Bush is now thinking about acting on a proposal from that very taskforce that seeks to roll back a key provision of the Clean Air Act that helps keep factory pollution down by requiring new controls when old plants are upgraded.
David Callaway, CBS.MarketWatch.com
The game is afoot.
January 10, 2002
The Hiptop - Best of CES Winner
Danger's Hiptop took home an award from the 2002Consumer Electronics Show In Las Vegas.
Scroll down to "PDA, Handheld, and Mobile Wireless"
Also, you should know this: when they announced the award for best of show overall the speaker said the following: "this year's winner was a surprise to many of the judges - there was RAGING debate, some fist fighting, and many of the judges feel that the runner simply got robbed. All of the judges wanted to take home the product of the runner up - which was...Danger's hiptop"
-- From Renee, at the Consumer Electronics Show Awards
January 12, 2002
No more predictions
Back on the ninth, I described what would happen at Ford — if they got a tax break. It wasn't a prediction per se, and I'd simply picked Ford out as a "Generic Big Company"...
Needless to say I was a bit taken aback to hear a couple days later that Ford had indeed found "places to cut cost".
Places like "assembly operations in Edison, N.J., St. Louis, Mo. and an Ontario truck plant as well as as an aluminum casting plant in Cleveland and Vulcan Forge in Dearborn".
January 14, 2002
Crony Capitalism, U.S.A.
Sad to say, none of this is clearly illegal — it just stinks to high heaven. That's why the Bush administration will try to keep the Enron story narrowly focused on one company during its death throes. Just remember that the real story is much bigger.
PAUL KRUGMAN in The New York Times
There's a little bird tells me that this is the narrative of the decade, not Enron, that's only a footnote, a preface, like the break in at the Watergate.
January 15, 2002
Spencer Abraham's Dream Car
Meanwhile, the administration is getting rid of the only program that seemed to be making any headway — a joint industry-government undertaking begun by Vice President Al Gore called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. Mr. Abraham belittled the program because it had no chance of reaching Mr. Gore's lofty target of a commercially viable car that could get 80 miles a gallon by 2004.
I went to the auto show in San Jose on Sunday, and was disgusted that nearly every passenger car was listed on the 19-23 (city) MPG range. I didn't even look at SUVs. It's 2002, and cars are getting the same milage they got in 1982. Don't buy them.
January 17, 2002
A Silicon Valley funeral for Be Inc
For myself, I was on my way out the door, but turned back. It was just too depressing.
January 18, 2002
Enron: A Scandal So Good That It Hurts
You could wish you were high-minded in this age, but weren't you looking for 25% gains on your retirement holdings too? It didn't matter if a company made something, only if it made something happen. It mattered less whether a deed was right than whether you were "in" or "out."
Where is the smoking gun?
It's in our hands.
JOHN BALZAR in the LA Times
Maybe it's not so much a smoking gun, as it is a double-edged sword.
To date, I've read nothing that leads me to believe that the administration nor the members of Congress, nor members of the Senate have broken the laws of the land. Their role was to change the laws -- so that companies like Enron, the "Seventh largest US Corporation" could pay less taxes than I do personally, by washing their 'profits' through 881 offshore subsidiaries.
It makes me mad as hell.
Enron got to where it was through secrecy and obfuscation of their real financial conditions.
In this election year, we see secrecy and obfuscation from the White House. Dubya had a fit when it was leaked that should we retaliate against the terrorists, they would try to hit us again. Let's think about that.
A) We Do Nothing -- the terrorists try again.
B) We Hit Back -- the terrorists that are left try again.
Dubya blew a fuse over something leaked that is so freaking obvious to the American people -- 'the people that he trusts', and don't even get me started about the administration's energy policy -- the one with Kenny-boy Lay's finger prints all over it...
Then there's the little matter of an executive order that hides twelve year old Presidential documents from the public, and the Justice Department issuing guidelines crippling the freedom of information act...
Maybe it's just me, but draining Social Security buy running deficits into the future -- to pay for tax cuts to the Enron set... That sounds a lot like the Enron 401K plan.
January 18, 2002
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SURPLUS?
As the graph on the next page shows, over the past year the Congress and the President agreed to legislation that reduced the surplus by a total of $2.3 trillion over the ten-year period from 2002 to 2011. The tax cut accounted for 72 percent of these costs.
The CBPP is highly respected by both the left and the right. Unlike the mass media networks, they are proud to fire up the spreadsheets and really get to the bottom of the numbers. (It's "follow the money", right?) Well, It's OUR money.
January 24, 2002
Do the Right Thing
The comment period closes Monday morning for expressing your opinion of the DOJ's tentative settlement with Microsoft.
It's really quite easy, (and critically important) that you comment. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject = 'Microsoft Settlement') You don't need to say anything more than;
I am opposed to tentative settlement of the United States vs. Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.
Follow that with your full Name, City, State, and any affiliation you might have with the case. (For myself... well, I worked at Be, Inc.)
There's more info here.
January 27, 2002
Energy "Crisis" Was A $71 Billion Hoax, And It's Not Over, Report Says
The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights has issued a report on the California Energy Crisis.
You know... regulation sounds really good to me just now.
Enron's not the only rotten apple in this barrel.
January 29, 2002
WASHINGTON -- NEWS organizations do not have the right to attend upcoming depositions in the continuing antitrust battle between the nine hold-out states and Microsoft, a U.S. District Court judge ruled.
Yahoo Finance reports that today the Dow dropped 247 points on Fears of Accounting Irregularities. I'm more worried about regulation Irregularities.
February 10, 2002
Some of the public comments opposing the DOJ settlement on the Microsoft case have been made available on the openlaw website.
There's several comments linked, comprising several hundred pages of comments in total. Provisions of the proposed settlement are shown to be ineffective in preventing future violations of the Sherman Act, and some of the provisions amount to permission to violate the Act.
Especially amusing was the chart on page 41 of the ProComp analysis which shows the twenty step path that an Independent Software maker would have to tread to receive APIs from Microsoft.
What seems to get lost in the mainstream press is that the findings of Judge Jackson were fully upheld by the District Court of appeals -- in other words, every judge who examined this case has found Microsoft to be in violation of the Sherman act. I cannot see how justice can be served by the imposition of a settlement which essentially requires Microsoft to not violate the Sherman Act. This equates to: "You have broken the law, and now your doom shall be -- to stop violating the law. (Oh and we've changed the law, so that some actions that were found to be violations by learned judges in two courts will now be ignored.)
It's clear that the Bush DOJ would prefer that this case had never happened. As evidenced by the linked comments, the proposed settlement offers far less to the public -- even after two courts have ruled on the matter -- than would be just.
I fear the proposed settlement is , like Enron, a system of a larger problem; the extraordinary, un-checked, un-balanced powers of Large Corporations.
The worst part of this case is that Microsoft didn't need to commit these acts. They have smart people, good technology, and a war chest that gives them the resources to win a clean race, without resorting to illegal actions.
I'm looking to read Tunney act legal comments in favor of Microsoft, so if you know where they might be found, let me know.
February 10, 2002
I've finally finished chapter 10 of the Colors story "Yellow"
Look for it (and all my other Ranma stories) on my Fanfiction page.
February 12, 2002
Microsoft's Political Donations
Judge Kollar-Kotelly heard that total donations to political donations from Microsoft and its employees to political parties, candidates and PACs in the 2000 election cycle amounted to more than $6.1 million. During this period, Microsoft and its executives accounted for $2.3 million in soft money contributions, compared to $1.55 million by Enron and its executives for the same period.
By Matt Loney ZDnet (UK)
February 15, 2002
Comments on the United States v. Microsoft Settlement
The DOJ has posted the 47 major comments they recieved as provided by the Tunney act.
Focusing only on preventing a repetition of the unlawful actions Microsoft took in 1995-98 is like negotiating an end to World War II by letting the Germans keep Paris as long as they promise to rebuild the Maginot Line.
--From the Software and Information Industry Association's comment
February 19, 2002
Colores en Español
Ranma todav?a distingu?a sus huellas en la cima de la cerca, eso no era problema para nadie, s?lo ?l distingu?a la cima y a ?l no le importaba el poco polvo que hab?a all?. Esto quer?a decir que ?l hab?a seguido esta ruta antes pero no lo suficientemente a menudo como para que sus huellas se nublaran la una a la otra.
The first two Colors stories, "Rojo" (Red) and "Anaranjado" (Orange) have been Translated into Spanish!
February 19, 2002
Be Sues Microsoft, Alleges 'Destruction'
MENLO PARK, Calif. (Reuters) - Be Inc. , the failed maker of a computer operating system hailed by some as a high-powered rival to Microsoft Corp.'s dominant Windows platform, said on Tuesday it is suing the software giant for allegedly destroying its business through anti-competitive practices.
Reuters, via Yahoo!
Disclosure: I still hold some BEOS Shares.
The PDF of the filing can be found at the Be website. The game is afoot!
March 11, 2002
I received this email this morning ^_^
A hearty congratulations!
Your story has been voted into the top stories for the month of November 2001! This is a great acheivement, since many stories are written throughout the course of the year, but very few have the distinguished honor of being remembered for more than just a couple of weeks.
Your story was eligible in the category ONESHOT FICS. The story chosen was:
(rank) (title) ---------------------------------- FIRST Colors: Yellow
Thanks to everyone who voted!
Click the picture to go the the Ranma Awards site.
March 11, 2002
I'm Number Three!
March 17, 2002
XHTML 1.0 STRICT
More puttering with the HTML. I've re-designed and recast my home page into XHTML 1.0 Strict. It should display a working page for everyone, (Yes, you too, Lynx users) but those with older, non-standards compliant browsers may see a few visual artifacts.
March 22, 2002
Journalism & Democracy
Government can send us to war, pick our pockets, slap us in jail, run a highway through our garden, look the other way as polluters do their dirty work, take care of the people who are already well cared for at the expense of those who can't afford lawyers, lobbyists or time to be vigilant. It matters who's pulling the strings.
-- Bill Moyers in The Nation
March 26, 2002
Gateway bows to Microsoft's power
Gateway also faulted another provision of the new licensing agreement, which requires PC makers to pay a Windows royalty on every PC shipped, even if it didn't include Windows. To top it off, to qualify for market development funds, PC makers have to put a Microsoft OS on every PC. As a result, trying to sell non-Windows PCs, or even PCs without software, is a financial loser for computer makers.
--Joe Wilcox at ZDNet News
A "financial loser"? Try: "textbook example of monopoly maintenance". Any conceivable fair resolution of this case must prevent Microsoft from having any say in what other operating systems an OEMs might provide to their customers
March 29, 2002
An Oil Company Proves Bush Wrong On Climate Change
Speaking at Stanford Business School on March 11, 2002, BP chief executive John Browne announced that his company had met its self-imposed target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- nearly eight years ahead of schedule, and at no net cost to the company.
...Browne set another first in the energy industry by pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from his firm's operations by 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2010, nearly twice the average cut called for by the Kyoto Protocol. At Stanford, he revealed that "we've delivered on that target," well ahead of time. BP had reduced emissions by more than nine million tons below their 1990 level.
April 19, 2002
Wealth Versus Health
True, skeptics have raised a few questions. Given that we face a major new demand on the budget, shouldn't we reconsider a tax cut proposed in more peaceful times? (Instead, the administration wants to make the tax cut permanent.) Don't taxes normally go up in wartime, as a matter of shared sacrifice? And isn't it a little strange, given all the martial rhetoric, that the administration's recent 10-year budget proposal allocated more money to a second round of tax cuts ($665 billion) than it did to new defense spending ($625 billion)?
By PAUL KRUGMAN in the New York Times
Did you know: If you connect the dots between Enron, Anderson, "The Energy Policy" and the Bush Whitehouse, you get a picture of last year's tax cuts?
May 12, 2002
Fanime 2002 Buttons
This is the artwork for the butons I gave away at the Fanime Fanfic Panel. I'm having a lot more fun with Photoshop since Matias showed me a couple of tricks...
For this image, I scanned and scaled some Manga images, than created paths on a layer to do the lines. Even with a Graphire Graphics Tablet I can't do lines very well, so the paths let me fiddle with the lines until I get what I want (and no erasing!). Then I did a "stroke path" onto a new layer which produces the nice lines. Each of the major elements (like faces, hair and clothes) are then paint bucketed onto individual transparent layers.
The real trick is then to turn on "Lock Transparent Pixels", which automatically prevents you from painting outside the lines. This makes adding the highlights in the hair, or adding shadows on the face really easy, since you can use gianormous brushes without messing up your layer outlines.
I LOVE Photoshop 7.0!
May 17, 2002
Connecting the Dots
For the last couple of days in the US, the for-profit commercial news services have been falling over themselves to cover the 'news' than the (Texas) Whitehouse had (vague) warnings months before the terrorist attacks. Most of that info has been percolating on the web, in great detail, so it didn't come as much of a surprise to me. Nor do I imagine the scene where Dubya's munching pretzels in a briefing and suddenly makes the connection between an FBI report from Arizona, and one from Minnesota. By all accounts those reports never crossed his desk. And anyway, it's not his job to say "Hey, what if these two reports are connected?" That's for the FBI and CIA and other more exotic members of the intelligence alphabet soup.
It strikes me as so ironic, that the very same for-profit press that bent over flat backwards for Dubya on the 2000 campaign, the Florida debacle, Enron, Tax Cuts, and multiple assaults on personal and constitutional rights has suddenly developed a spine on this issue.
They were far too kind to Dubya on things that really were his fault, and now they are being far too hard on him for something that is not.
May 18, 2002
I've had a "Baking Accident" with the file structure on the site, (I didn't know CuteFTP could do that!) everything was saved but may not be where it's supposed to be. Expect things to return to normal (such as it is) over the next couple of days.
May 19, 2002
Gaming the System
Were Californians profligate wastrels? In 1998 California ranked 46th in the nation in per capita energy usage. By 2001, they had moved to 49th. Long before the Enron gouge, state and local governments were offering subsidies and rebates for energy conservation measures such as insulation, fluorescent lighting, and alternate energy sources such as solar panels and wind. California already led the nation in energy saving programs.
So not only did corporate America cheat California, but their right-wing media toadies lied about us in the bargain.
Zepp nails it on the head. California was pillaged by Enron et.al. while the White House stood by, with the FERC acting as lookout.
It's practically un-American to be in favor of "Big Government". Over the last few years we've been warned that somewhere in a faceless building in Washington DC sits a bureaucrat (probably the co-chair of the department of redundancy department) who has nothing better to do than make our lives miserable.
That said, I'm much more concerned about the imbalance between our elected* Government and the power of mega-corporations, (including the mega-corps that own those media outlets that warn us all about the evils of big government). Our founding fathers did not anticipate Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. The balance of power so enduringly crafted in 1789 between the Judiciary, Executive and Legislative branches did not anticipate corporations with the economic, political and media influence of an Enron, Carlyle Group, Newscorp, Clear Channel, GE, or Microsoft.
In Enron vs California we have a case where Enron has brazenly committed acts that would make organized crime blush. Billions of dollars have been pillaged, with a nod and a wink from the very government agencies charged with protecting us. Enron wasn't locked down, not one person has been marched off in handcuffs. Enron used rooms full of traders to obfuscate their crimes, then hid the money behind hundreds of off-shore special purpose entities.
Where in the constitution do we find these special purpose entities? (And where can I, a simple citizen get one?) Where is the balance of power to corporations that can pump millions of dollars into the political process?
Where is the balance of power to a Microsoft who has been found to be in Violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. (Note: Microsoft can't even technically be called GUILTY, since guilt is a criminal concept, reserved for acts like sharing MP3s.) Even though the district court found numerous violations of law, and the circuit court upheld on appeal all of the district court's findings of fact, and most of the findings of law, and the Supreme Court refused review, Microsoft still has the resources to stiff-arm the Justice Department. It's chump change to Microsoft. They have 40 BILLION dollars in cash. This lawsuit is costing them about what an anchovy pizza costs the average American, and they are probably deducting the cost.
Where is the balance?
* A subject for another rant
May 21, 2002
"His economic plan could fit on the back of a shampoo bottle: 'Cut taxes, increase spending, borrow, repeat,' "---
---"If he keeps repeating that plan, he will surely endanger Social Security benefits and slow our economy to a halt, just when we need the most economic strength we can muster to fight and win the war on terrorism."
Joseph I. Lieberman quoted in the Washington Post.
Another Republican Presedent, another huge debt. (But this time, just in time for the baby boomer's retirement!).
Doesn't anyone in the Republican party know how to run a spreadsheet? Doesn't anyone in the White House recognise that basing ten-year budget projections on the tax returns of the one year in history where Nasdaq went "tulip bulb" is bad economics?
One theory holds that by cutting taxes, the Republicans are placing the Government on a starvation diet, with the final goal "to shrink government to the size where you can drown it in a bathtub."
Well, the Government was already small enough to miss the clues leading up to September 11th. The Government is already small enough to not notice that Enron (Once 7th in the Fortune 500) was a giant ponzi scheme. The Govenrment is already small enough to miss the pillage of the California energy Market. The Government is already small enough to be pushed arround by Microsoft.
What happens to you and me when the the bathtub is finally filled?
May 23, 2002
Long Term Planning
This is a story found on usenet:
An entomologist at New College, Oxford ("New" because its only a few centuries old), discovered beetles infesting the oak beams supporting the roof of the Great Hall. It was fairly urgent that these be replaced before the roof collapsed -- but anyone who has looked at the price of oak lately can tell you that this was not something the college budget was prepared for.
Since oak from a commercial supplier was out of the question, someone suggested that the college Forester be sent for. His job was to administer the various scattered tracts of land that had been deeded to the college when it was founded. The trustees hoped he might know of suitable trees on college land.
It turned out that there was indeed a suitable stand of mighty oaks. They had been planted when the college was founded, and down the centuries each Forester had told his successor: "You don't cut those oaks; those are for when the beetles get into the beams in the Main Hall."
That Social Security Trust Fund is for the baby boom.
Do you hear chainsaws?
May 25, 2002
From time to time I find new sites that have linked to mine. Today I discovered Donna's Journal.
(In case you're wondering, The test said I was Hiyama Hikaru.)
June 4, 2002
Flunking Econ 101
In the year 2000, the California state tab for electricity was seven billion. In the following year, the state paid more than ten times as much. "Serves you right, California, for not building more power plants," said the critics. But power enough is available from outside the state. And just where did that extra seventy billion go -- cash extracted from the citizens and shopkeepers throughout this state? Largely to Bush's and Cheney's Enron pals in Texas.
Ernest Partridge, in Democratic Underground
Have you read that over the weekend the administration woke up and recognized that global warming is real? Not that they want to do anything about it...
Now I wish they'd take a look at Mr. Partridge's article on economics.
June 4, 2002
Flunking Ecology 101
I spoke too soon. The Washington Post now reports that Dubya is rejecting the EPA report on global warming.
Prediction: Just like the ANWAR impact report, we'll see a new assesmemt of the global warming data within two weeks.
June 4, 2002
Surfing in Deep, Deep Water
Once in a great while I'll come across a website where content comes before style, where the author digs deep enough to expose the roots of the issue. The Online Gadfly is one of those sites.
June 5, 2002
Fanfic Links in German from kreienkamp.net
Bei der Seasons Serie handelt es sich um eine Sammlung von romantischen Kurzgeschichten, die das Näherkommen von Ranma und Akane im Verlauf der Jahreszeiten zum Thema haben ...
Seasons Serie--epische? No way!
June 9, 2002
Actual Photo ^_^
June 11, 2002
Filings in the Microsoft Case
The for-profit news outlets (You know, the ones who live on ad revenue) will condense this info down to perhaps five paragraphs, or a 20 second spot on the evening news. (As long as there were no cats stuck in trees today)
OR, you could bypass the filters and read the very same documents that the reporters will skim to do their stories:
Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:
Note, the US attorneys General are clever boffins where it comes to law, but not so clever where it comes to web standards. I can't give you a full URL to the paperwork since their web server chokes on the encoding for the ampersand.
Go to the page above, the documents are listed under "Litigating States v. Microsoft, Remedies Proceedings"
June 18, 2002
I checked my logs today, and found a hit from Greenland
Now I just need one from Antarctica...
June 26, 2002
My flight between Minneapolis and Phoenix passed near Show Low, This was one (the smaller) of two fire fronts visible from the air.
July 4, 2002
The Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
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.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
July 8, 2002
Meeka-chanhas a nice Fanfics Link page. Take a look!
July 8, 2002
Et tu, Tony?
"Blair, Bush and [French President] Jacques Chirac were discussing economics and, in particular, the decline of the French economy. 'The problem with the French,' Bush confided to Blair, 'is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur'
Across the Pond, Bush Gets Quayled -- Washington Post
July 21, 2002
Six months ago, it intentionally understated its operating red ink by a whopping 60 percent, or roughly $60 billion. When it finally faced a portion of the truth this week, its deep aversion to the truth assumed awesome proportions. To mask its medium-term problems, it loaded expenses into this year's accounting period, ostensibly to make the outlook for next year less gloomy. However, in doing so, it also made assumptions about revenues and expenses through the rest of this decade that set off gales of laughter among those who watch these numbers for a living.
I'm shocked, shocked--I tell you--to find accounting irregularities in the Bush Budget.
July 21, 2002
The president's new pitch
Bush, the president, is trying to lead the charge toward "Corporate Responsibility." But Bush, the businessman who felt right at home in that Wild West world of wheeling and dealing, needed the weight of his family name to survive a series of questionable corporate deals that made him a small fortune and left investors holding a near-empty bag.
July 23, 2002
Everything you know is wrong.
Okay, not everything, but this Reason article takes the old QWERTY - Dvorak argument to task.
Next thing you know we'll find out thatfunction keys on the leftare superior. (I'm still using Omnikey keyboards, both at work an at home.
Of course, you could take things to theextreme
July 30, 2002
President George H. W. Bush called Reaganomics "Voodoo". Now President George W. Bush is giving us Voodoo II. This Enron system of accounting hides the truth by juggling two sets of books. It is like paying off one credit card with another.
By Ernest Hollings in The Financial Timesof London
Now we know why Bush pushed so hard for his* tax cuts so early in his administration. He had to get them into law before starting the second half of his plan--raising the national debt.
See, a large national debt works the same way as a tax cut--a tax cut for the rich. Here's how:
Case 1: Budget in the black, minimal working debt. In this case, progressive income taxes cover the operational budget, and flat social security and Medicare payroll taxes pay for... Social Security and Medicare.
Case 2: Budget in the red, large national debt. In this case, progressive income taxes are not enough to cover the operating budget, so we (our elected representatives) borrow some of the social security money to pay interest on the debt. This has a three pronged effect; First, Social Security is under funded, leaving a huge mess for the next generation of workers and retirees. Second, the lowest income citizens pay a higher percentage of the operating budget, making a mockery of progressive taxation. And third, the lion's share of that debt is sold, providing a risk-free investments, to wealthiest citizens, removing that capitol from private investment, (where it would have been used to create jobs). Oh, and that interest on the debt paid by taxes on miners and firemen and cops and the rest of us? -- that interest is paid to wealthiest citizens who can afford to buy up that debt, and to them it's tax free income.
The loop is closed, public debt makes the rich richer.
* Okay, the tax cuts are not just for Dubya, they also benefit Kenny boy, and Poppy, and Dick, and a few of their friends.
P.S. There's a fourth prong, keeping the country in debt does have an effect on the budget, there's simply no money is left over for infrastructure** or social programs, like national health coverage, or senior prescription drug coverage, but that's a different debate.
Myself, I want to hear the arguments and trade-offs before I'd vote for such programs, but with the treasury empty (and renting space) those arguments have been foreclosed.
** Except for sports venues. Seems like we manage to find the tax money to buy baseball parks...
August 4, 2002
I spent the day building a macro weblog cgi, so now I don't have to type in any html when I add an entry.
I know there are weblog tools out there, but I kind of enjoy mucking around in xhtml and perl cgi, and I like knowing how my site works. (And besides, since I'm militant about html and css, I can do things my way)
This also signals a shift in the content of the site, since it's a lot easier for me to add stuff, I'll probably be mixing in more informal content between the serious stuff.
I've been thinking about adding another column to the layout, but I've not found a three column site that I liked with 'contents' - 'weblog' - 'content', so for now I'll try this with intertwingleing.
There's more in it, please stay tuned...
August 5, 2002
I think not.
The Register reports that if you download sp3 for Win 2K, Microsoft wants the right to automaticaly do undefined updates to your machine. The EULA would legaly permit Microsoft to do just about anything they want.
Sorry, Bill. No. I'm not driving a jukebox here. I have hundreds of hours of work in some of the cad files I have, what if your software decides I don't have the rights to my own work, and deletes it?
And don't get me started on Palladium. One thing is for sure, if that pig flys there will be a huge sucking sound as people rush to go out and buy computers, computers that are compatable with non-Palladium software.
August 6, 2002
Danger! Coming soon:
Janis Ian has published two positively brilliant articles about the music industry, and the internet;
The Memory Hole
As Brendan Nyhan pointed out in Salon, if you go to the O.M.B.'s Web site now you find a press release dated July 12 that is not the release actually handed out on that date. There is no indication that anything has been changed, but the bullet point on sources of the deficit is gone.
By PAUL KRUGMAN in the New York Times
August 8, 2002
Hiptop er... Sidekick in the Wall Street Journal
It resembles neither a traditional PDA nor a traditional cellphone. Instead, it looks like a bar of soap with tapered ends, or a small Nintendo Gameboy.
Okay, here's my story:
On the Friday before my first day at Danger, I was standing in the shower, looking at the bar of soap in my hands. I'd learned about the Danger device / hiptop / sidekick during my interviews, and I was thinking about all of the ways that a keyboard could be exposed from an object the size of a bar of soap. (1) I'm not sure if that's where Mr. Mossberg got the soap idea....
I imagined sliding out the keyboard in a little drawer, but that puts all the weight out of your hands. (In an odd way, a wet bar of soap is an ideal model, since the slightest imbalance will cause it to slip. After about 10 minutes (Or two gallons, your milage may vary) I fell on the idea of a single axis rotation of the hinge to reveal the keyboard.
Later that morning I went up to the Danger offices to sit in on a meeting -- just to get a feel for the place, and sitting on the table in the glass conference room was a post-it note pad. (No soap.) I peeled off a chunk of sheets, then drew a keyboard on the remaining pad, then demonstrated the idea by rotating the top of the pad. The room got rather quiet...
ANYWAY, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
It was created by Danger Inc., an upstart Silicon Valley firm staffed with veterans of Apple, General Magic and other innovative companies.
BTW, one of those innovative companies was Be, Inc. (R.I.P.) Danger may have more employess who are ex-Be than we have from any other company.
(1) At this point, if I'm telling the story in person, I usualy joke about thinking, 'Oh man, I'd better not drop this!'.
BTW, one of the reasons I've been mucking arround in my weblog code is that I can now update from my Hiptop, err.... Sidekick.
Update 2002.10.02 Yo, Metafilter! I really can't lay claim to the "form factor". I do claim the idea of the rotating screen, but in a way, that's like claiming the idea of going to the moon...
A whole lot of work by people a whole lot smarter than me went into making that sodden rotating screen idea become reality. (Thanks, Andy & Bill!)
Practicing Class Warfare
The Associated Press recently released a study providing evidence that, while they may not have increased pork barrel spending, they certainly took actions that proved financially beneficial to the more affluent suburbs and GOP leaning farm areas. (1) This resulted in an average of $612 million more in federal spending last year in districts represented by Republicans than those represented by Democrats.
Knight's articles are wonderfully footnoted, with direct links to the source articles.
August in Texas again
Don't spill a single drop!
Dubya's back at the ranch, and that puts me in mind of a television "news" piece from last year:
Dubya was giving the press a tour of the ranch, and they stopped in an arroyo. Dubya pointed to the rocks above describing the waterfall that appeared seasonaly. It was a place he liked to go to have a good think.
"I like to think about economics here", said he.
As the camera panned the dry stream bed, my first thought was, "Yeah, trickle down economics".
August 9, 2002
A media guide says the participants on the eight panels will have "diverse points of view," but the White House official acknowledged that there are limits. "I don't think there's any point in picking someone who has the opposite point of view," the official said.
By Mike Allen in the Washington Times
Better leave your calculators and spreadsheets behind, it's vacation time, time to get back to the heartland. (you remember the heartland, that's where Newt & Sons. is sending that extra $612 million per congresional district.)
Yup, It's high time for a good old-fasioned economic pep rally! It's be great! we'll have marching bands (Oh you betcha!) and pom-poms and everyone will be filled with that old Harvard Business School spirrt:
Insider Trading— cook the books
If numbers look bad— blame the masses
If company books are rotten to the core
Tax cuts— Tax cuts— Tax cuts YAY!
See, that's all it will be, really, since there won't be anyone there who disagrees with theRepublican Playbook.
August 10, 2002
It's the FUTURE, Stupid.
The coming end of the petroleum age involves much more than the question of whether or not we continue to drive SUVs. Petroleum is the source of plastics, medicines, and other industrial and consumer products too numerous to mention. But most significantly, petroleum is the foundation of industrial agriculture. Thus the threatened depletion of this vital resource entails nothing less than the issue of how we or our children and grandchildren will eat— how we will survive.
Now geologist Kenneth Deffeyes (a former colleague of Hubbert), in his new book Hubbert's Peak (Princeton University, 2001), foresees a decline in world oil production as early as 2004. Numerous analysts, publishing in such prestigious peer-reviewed journals as Science, Nature and Scientific American, concur, setting the peak at some time within this decade. (World-Watch, March/April, 2002, pp 33--4)
The oil trap By Ernest Partridge
Following that peak in production, we'll see crude oil prices rise, higher and higher, disrupting the economic ecologies of industry after industry.
We're not going to run out of oil, it's just going to become economicaly obvious that we no longer have oil to burn.
In the meantime, the automakers fire up the spreadsheets and determine that maximal profits are made by selling SUVs, and by buying off congress to keep those pesky CAFEstandards (frozen since 1985!) from gettingin the way.
It makes my engineer's brain swim, just thinking about it. All of the technological advances in materials, manufacturing, and computer control, and we still only demand the same milage as 1985.
We can clearly see the bend in the road, yet the VP's energy report (now with 50% more oil lobby content!) says stay the course, a billion pints of light (crude). And this from a White House that in early 2001 squinted into the future and foresaw that massive tax cuts were desperately needed for 2011, six years after this presidential term.
It makes me want to spit.
August 11, 2002
The GOP knows you don't need a fresh $170 billion to catch a few thousand terrorists. The party's broader post-9/11 strategy is to use such hikes to run out the clock on social justice in the next few years, until the baby boomers' costly retirement makes any new spending initiatives impossible. If the defense budget can't be challenged, Bush will be able to take $170 billion a year permanently off the table for domestic purposes - enough to pay for universal health coverage, urban school improvement and much more.
By Matthew Miller, Tribune Media Services
August 13, 2002
Loose grip on reality
AUSTIN, Texas — Some days, you have to believe right-wing ideologues have lost touch with reality completely. Their latest proposal to prevent future Enrons is— ta-da!— cut the capital gains tax.
Molly Ivins inworking for change
The Big News from Waco!
"I can assure you one thing that, ahh, if somebody broke the law they're gonna be held accountable"
Dubya, in Waco this morning, sitting over a sign that reads 'Corporate Responsibility' (Transcribed word for word off my Tivo)
Size of Tax Code
The number of words in the tax code has been steadily increasing. In 1955, there were 409 thousand words in the Internal Revenue Code, and 40 years later in 1995 there were more than 1.4 million words. Today, there are more than 1.6 million words. The number of sections in the code has been rising even faster than the word count.
Word counts alone would not be convincing, but a survey of the code's sections and subsections completes the picture of growing complexity. In 1954, there were 103 sections; today, there are 725. That's an increase of 604 percent.
That's a lot of tax code, something on the order of 8,000 pages. Somewhere in there is the tax code that applies to ordinary folks; wage income, interest and dividends, deductions— the basis of the 1040 tax form. (Who can guess, maybe 200 pages that cover 98% of individual tax returns?)
The rest of that tax code was bought and paid for by special interests, and that's the problem. A lot of what we think of as corporate malfeasence is legal, and in spite of the comforting words that Dubya said this morning, no one will be "held accountable" for having 800+ offshore special purpose entities if they show, in that other 7,800 pages of tax code, a stay out of jail card.
I have the economic pep rally on c-span, and at about 10:15 Dubya took a powder to get back to his vacation, promising that he would look over the summaries of the comments. (Me thinks Al Gore would have chosen to listen and participate in the forum over a quick nine holes in the Texas heat.)
August 14, 2002
People do not live and work in order to buy stocks. People exist in complex webs of relationships with family, work, community and many other rewarding adventures and obligations. The larger purpose of the economic order, including Wall Street, is to support the material conditions for human existence, not to undermine and destabilize them.
I wish I'd said that.
August 15, 2002
This is what that little camera on the Hiptop is for. I can't get over how a journal entry that doesn't have a picture seems so empty.
August 16, 2002
I'm a Garage Kit Action Hero!
In typical Danger style, each employee who had been with the company for more that two years got something special today! That's me in the middle, and Brian with the twezers, Vic, and Dave (holding the outsized anti-personel FPGA)
August 18, 2002
Neil Finn's One All
I'm not sure how to do this. In this age of rap, Britany, boy bands, and metal-sound-alikes it's like finding an alien artifact.
Holding this CD in my hands, it's easy to get worked up about this recording, because it's proof that in spite of the spreadsheet driven record companies*, great music hasn't disapeared. (It appears to have just changed its address to New Zealand.) *Funny how you can swap those four words around and get the same feeling.
Fortunately, One All is its own antidote. The songs take over, drowing my nostalgia for a time when great records were more frequent than birthdays.
August 23, 2002
I have no idea how it happens, but every now and again someone discovers my paper airplanes and for a week afterwards I get a whole load of hits from links like these.
BTW, If you've never tried them, please do. It's a lot of fun for the price of a piece of paper.
August 24, 2002
The Best Kept Secret (Service)
One of largest demonstrations ever in Stockton invisibleto Bush.
I wonder if he knows that people are taking to the streets? I remember on inauguration day that his parade route was lined with protesters, so many that the major networks had a hardtime keeping them off-camera. The barking heads of network news did comment however, they thought it was bad form to protest on such an occasion, after all, they'd managed to put Florida behind, why couldn't everyone?
Since that day, protesters are kept in 'Free Speech zones',well out of sight (and mind), all preseumably to prevent Dubya from glimpsing a child carrying a "You have no mandate" sign.
That's no secret.
Even more links!
August 25, 2002
Physician, Heal Thyself
The other day I found a hit from a feed from pixelsurgeon, but when I went to check out the root site. It came up blank.
You know with a name like pixelsurgeon, you'd think that the site would pass the W3C HTML Validation Service
Well, I looked again today hoping to read it, and again it was blank. Then I thought, well I'll try another browser (Interent Explorer). Wha'd'ya know, the site came up.
August 27, 2002
Trees cause forests, and forests cause forest fires, so....
A final thought: Wouldn't it be nice if just once, on some issue, the Bush administration came up with a plan that didn't involve weakened environmental protection, financial breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations and reduced public oversight?
Bush on Fire By PAUL KRUGMAN in The New York Times
September 1, 2002
It was supposed to be a reading, but Brin forgot his reading glasses, so he spent more time (even into Card's scheduled time) speaking off the top of his head, which was more than fine with me.
Brin had two major themes on his mind. The first was the demographics of Science Fiction prose fandom. A quick look around the con demonstrated his point; I saw very few faces that were too young to have watched Armstrong take the first steps on the moon. Maybe it was the high admission prices to the con, but I'm a afraid its more than that.
Brin pointed out that our culture has embraced Science Fiction. It has. Take a look at your Movie or TV listings, or at your DVD or videogame collection. Unfortunately, while the ideas (if not the ideals) of Science fiction have become mainstream, written science fiction has not found the same acceptance.
I myself grew up on science fiction, reading Asimov, Clark, Biggle and Heinlein late into the night. As a teen I found it a bit subversive, since it was my introduction to "adult" fiction. Even now I prefer stories that are a little too optimistic for the mainstream.
Digitaly we can create any any person, any place, any time, any universe. What did they do in Final Fantasy? they created a destroyed New York.
— My rant from yesterday
Brin looks out at the graying crowd and wonders where the Science Fiction readers of tomorrow will come from. He has a point, (and a fine website). For my part I will be adding a section to my site where I recommend my favorite books for young adult readers.
His second theme was about privacy and freedom. He pointed out that there are two groups on the privacy side, one side wanting to place the strong encryption tools into everyone's hands, so we can prevent our public servants from prying, the other side wishes to erect a wall of regulations to restrict the activities of our public servants. He pointed out that either way, they will get our information, and that the real problem is not us keeping secrets from the powerful, but the powerful keeping secrets from us.
That point rang like a bell in my head.
David Brin is one of my favorite authors, and now that I've heard him speak, I think he's one of the great minds of our age.
Orson Scott Card
Card had news about the Ender Movie, it's in progress, but as he said, it isn't a sure thing until it's in theaters. He then read from something he called "Polish Boy". Card's a great reader, and the story was quite good.
I love many of Cards books, and I wish we'd have had time for questions. Card is a Mormon, and has written books about the founding of the Church, but he has also written fiction where the actions his characters is in opposition to the values of his church. (Or any other religion, for that matter)
Maybe it's a stupid philosophical question, but I've never heard an author speak to the issue....
September 4, 2002
We pretend he won the election, he pretends to represent us.
Question: Who actually received the most votes in Florida's 2000 presidential election?
Answer: Al Gore. State election officials ultimately declared George W. Bush the winner by a margin of 537 votes, but during and after the election dispute, questions remained about the uncounted ballots of 175,010 voters, ballots that had been rejected by error-prone tabulating machines employed in many Florida counties. Confusion and conflict, much of it generated by partisan intrigue, prevented these ballots from being counted during the election controversy. However, in 2001 every uncounted ballot was carefully examined in a scientific study by the University of Chicago, which concluded that when all the votes were counted, more votes had been cast for Gore than for Bush.
September 5, 2002
mikepop meets hiptop
Mike over at Bedope has ahiptop weblog!
Be sure to have a peek athipshakeas well.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing constitutional concerns, Vice President Dick Cheney ( news - web sites) and the White House are refusing to turn over information in two lawsuits against the Bush administration's energy task force.
Cheney Won't Release Energy Papers By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Are you kidding me? Those meetings should have been on c-span.We're not talking about national security here, we're talking about policy of the executive branch of our government.
November is near. You know what to do.
September 10, 2002
Rats in the Woodpile
We've got rats in the woodpile, but let's not burn down the manor house to get them.
Perhaps what we need is an Office of Homeland Freedom.
The sing-songy refrain of "national security" has served as the constant accompaniment to the Bush administration's domestic response to the horrible events of Sept. 11. It is the justification for executive orders, policy changes and federal legislation that have eroded civil liberties once held inviolate in this country.
Some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act following the terror attacks:
September 11, 2002
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not hallow— this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us— that from these honored dead we may take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
September 19, 2002
'Even if Iraq managed to hide these weapons, what they are now hiding is harmless goo'
The Guardian (UK) Has a Q&A with Scott Ritter, a former US Marine, and weapons inspector in Iraq.
September 21, 2002
Murdoch plan for 'Pop Idol' president
A RUPERT Murdoch television game show could choose the next president of the United States, according to the Drudge Report.
The internet news magazine yesterday said the US cable channel FX was planning an ambitious, two-year endeavour that will culminate in the American public at large voting on a "people's candidate" to stand for president of the United States in 2004.
During subsequent episodes, the Drudge Report said, candidates will square off in numerous competitions, including debates. The number of semi-finalists are to be whittled down each week, based on live audience response and telephone/internet voting.
When I first read about this in the Drudge Report* my reaction was "You've got to be kidding me, this is the worst idea in the history of civilization."
*Visits to the Drudge Report are a dirty pleasure of mine. Matt Drudge picks his stories and writes his headlines with a right wing slant, (hey, that's where the money is!) and he reports as much on Hollywood as he does on politics, but he never misses the big story of the moment, even if the big story of the moment doesn't agree with his politics. (You know what they say about Journalists, they eat their own.)
But then I got to thinking... what could actually happen? What if there really was such a show? What would happen if the right kind of people made it past Murdoch's casting couch, and into the cast? Looking at the kind of people who are chosen for Real World, Big Brother, and Survivor, we could have something very good for our republic....
There's one thing to be said about the other reality shows, they always try to put together an interesting cast... They try to cast someone who is gay, an African American, an Asian American, someone devoutly religious, a veteran, and a grandparent... (but never on Real World, of course.)
"Who wants to be President?" would have these people too. But since the show would be a political podium from the start, it's probable that the folks who made it onto the show would be articulate, with a flair for the dramatic turn of phrase.
No, I don't really think that anyone picked by a game show will become president. (Oh, why, why do I shudder so as I write those words?) But on the other hand, I think that bringing the unscripted, unvarnished un-polled views of — for lack of a better phrase — ordinary American citizens onto the political discourse might be a very good thing indeed.
For years we've let the inside-the-beltline press report the horse race, and we've let political candidates get away with presenting the same 40-minute canned speech, day after day, crafted and tuned by poll - wizard Wormtongues.
I for one would love to see the mainstream candidates forced to respond each week to the issues brought up by our "Who wants to be President?" cast. In fact, I have an idea:
What if "Who wants to be President?" ran for 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes, split up between the major party candidates. What a sight that would be, instead of campaigns buying commercials, supporters could buy commercials during the campaign.
I hereby announce my candidacy for "Who wants to be President", representing the "I'm Just A Simple Country Engineer" Party. My platform is the restoration of the balance of power between the private, (that's you and me) public (that's business and corporations) and the government (you know who).
My campaign motto?
Vote Bush Off the Island!
September 22, 2002
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
I saw the movie (screened as Spirited Away here in the USA) yesterday, presented with Japanese soundtrack, with laser-scribed subtitles in English.
It's simply the most visualy stimulating and beautiful film I've ever seen. That the plot was simple, and fairly linear, was the only indication that Spirited Away is not aimed at an adult audience.
The soundtrack was finely balanced, and in a way almost transparent, in that unlike nearly every recent Hollywood movie*, it did not sound trite or tired, nor did it call attention to itself, but the movie would be greatly diminished without it.
*I don't know about you, but lately many film scores sound to me like a bad cross with recessive genes from John Williams and tin-pan alley. (Except Danny Elfman scores, which are full of humor and joy.)
Hayao Miyazaki has once again raised the bar. Go see this movie.
September 24, 2002
Flying in Circles
Last week I received a interesting entry in my Guest Book, I'm going to re-produce it here, then reply;
Me and my sons appreciate the nifty paper airplane instructions. However, if the emotional, irrational political/philosophical sentiments expressed on other areas of this site applied to flight dynamics, we would all be road tripping across the globe until the end of time. Thank God for the immutable principles of physics, which are oblivious to useless liberal ideology. Couldn't fly without the right wing. hahaha
Dear Mr. PapierBaron
It brings me much joy to hear that you and your children enjoyed the planes, and thank you for taking the time to comment on the rest of the site.
It's funny that you should make an analogy between flight dynamics and politics, because, in fact, I apply the same principals to both.
In the case of paper airplanes, I refine my planes by testing design after design, learning from each experiment. Since I'm seeking balanced designs, I cannot reject a candidate plane on a single toss. I re-examine its flight characteristics over and over until I am satisfied that either it works the way I want, or it doesn't make the cut. I learn as much (or more) from failed designs as I do from successful ones.
In the case of my political and economic thought, the development process is much the same. While I don't get to do direct experimentation on the political world, (just as well for all of us, eh?) I do get to observe the dynamic political systems from afar, both with my own eyes, and with the eyes of observers from all across the political spectrum.
The question is, who's data do I believe? While both the far left, and the far right seem equally distant from where I stand, I can not reject their most earnest ravings without wondering if there might be some truth there to be found. Neither extreme ever seems to present arguments that go beyond echoing ten second sound bites, and that's where they lose me. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, not in the menu.
I watch the political coverage on Sunday morning, but it sometimes seems that reasoned discourse has been replaced by circus maximus—the louder you shout—the higher the ratings, the more often you say something, the truer it becomes.
My most reliable sources are a rare breed, those journalists who are willing to take up a calculator, and see if the numbers really add up. These Journalists are unafraid of the boring task of checking facts and historical data. I'm an engineer by trade, show me the numbers.
Finally, my political opinions are refined when I convolve information from these sources against my own personal beliefs, and in a word, I believe in the future. I believe that mankind must remain on this Earth yet for billions of years, and it is my solemn duty to them (and by extension, to all of you today) to leave this Earth a better place.
You've seen, with your own eyes, that proof of what happens when I apply my principals and methods to the design of paper airplanes, I invite you to re-examine my views on other subjects knowing that I've come by them in a similar way. ^_^
September 24, 2002
Judge Concludes Energy Company Drove Up Prices
"El Paso Pipeline withheld extremely large amounts of capacity that it could have flowed to its California delivery points," Judge Wagner said in the ruling. El Paso's actions significantly increased the price of natural gas flowing to California, he added, and "substantially tightened the supply of natural gas at the California border."
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. with LOWELL BERGMAN in The New York Times.
I told you so!
There's a lot of shoes left to drop. The next really big one will be the pipline companies that have manipulated the price of natural gas.
From my weblog entry for May 18,2001
September 25, 2002
Physics Life, a website started yesterday by the Institute of Physics, brings out the subversive side of science by encouraging students to flick rubber bands at each other, use their mobile phones to play computer games, and construct a paper aircraft which, as stringent tests conducted by The Times proved, will fly across even the largest classroom. The ten-step guide should provide hours of innocent enjoyment to students seeking a distraction from their textbooks.
Nigel Hawkes for the (London) TIMESONLINE
A week or so ago I got a request to reproduce one of my paper airplane designs in a press relese promoting www.physics.org, an educational site. Normally I refuse all commercial requests (and I've had some doozys) but I bend that rule for education related requests.
Well, The Times of London decided to try out the plane, and did a nice story about the site. Since then, I've had over 4000 hits from www.physics.org!
I'm still waiting to get slashdoted....
September 30, 2002
At least on paper, it's the only way to fly
SCIENTISTS have produced plans for what may be the perfect paper aeroplane. Designed by American Joseph Palmer, the PL-1 glider resists stalling and flies smoothly with a simple toss.
Sun Herald 29/09/2002 Cost - $1.10 361 words
Sun Herald (Sydney Australia)
Well, golly. Yesterday I couldn't even spell scientist and now I are one.
I do wish they'd have asked permission before printing my work, and I'm really not happy about them now asking for money to see my work...
Update: 6:12 PM I still think they should have asked, but I'm not nearly as miffed about it as the previous paragraph might lead you to think.
Update 9:00 PM. The Sun Herald wrote to tell me that they have removed the article from their web store. This seems a fair solution, in that they will no longer charge for the design.
Update 9:00 PM. Oh never mind....sorry 'bout that billabong crack.
Today's Jing Jing fortune: You will soon receive an unusual proposition.
October 1, 2002
I got interviewed by ABC Radio in Sydney Australia this afternoon (morning their time). No, not about the Sidekick, it was about my paper airplanes! Now I'm getting a pile of guestbook entries from all over Eastern Australia.
I visited Australia about 10 or 12 years ago, and now I want to go back.
It was twenty years ago today...
I've been informed that twenty years ago today the first CD player went on sale. I hope that's a good omen for the Hiptop, Er... Sidekick.
HARDWARE - MUST SHIP TODAY*
For the last two plus years Danger has been beavering away in anticipation of this day. Needless to say, yesterday we were all bouncing off the walls like expectant fathers, (except the folks actually envolved in the press release, who were "in the delivery room")
This morning you can walk into a T-Mobile store and buy one.
The Dangerites will be hanging at the T-Mobile store at 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto this morning (they open the doors at 9:00 AM), if you're in the area drop by — rumor has it that store will be receiving extra units. (I really wish I could have mentioned that yesterday — when I got an extra 5000 hits from hardocp)
Google's News Search on T-Mobile Sidekick
The Register It's a fair cop, Andrew. ^_^
* From a sticker on my guitar in my office
October 2, 2002
Now why won't the one about becoming wealthy come true?
I wonder if Monday's Jing Jing fortune:
You will soon receive an unusual proposition.
is somehow linked to the Radio Interview I did...
I got another email this morning—this time from Australia's West coast network...
You know, I'm really going to have to re-think my copyright policy. In the end I'm just trying to prevent someone else making money on them (Goodness knows I don't...)
I'm now leaning towards letting newspapers and general educational magazines run the designs—as long as they first ask permission and protect my copyright. (I may ask for a copy of the publication in payment ^_^) I really do plan to keep them up on the web for free, so you can see how having them published in a book might cause the publisher to frown upon my website... Hmmmm....
October 4, 2002
Lloyd Biggle, Jr. (1923-2002)
Dr. Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Ph. D., musician, author, and internationally known oral historian died September 12, 2002, after a twenty-year battle with leukemia and cancer.
I know it's not exactly news, but I only heard last night.
Lloyd Biggle Jr. was one of my favorite authors, and "Monument"is my favorite book of all time. It's the one book that I pick up at used bookstores just to give to people. I find myself reading it at least once a year, usualy on a sultery summer afternoon, with a jar at my elbow. It's one of the finest ways to spend a day. (I'd love to see an anime of it one day...)
I don't feel like I'm saying enough here, since his books have had a profound influence on my own meager writings, and on my life.
Goodbye, Lloyd, I'm a better man for having known you.
During the Persian Gulf War, the United States was able to convince Saddam Hussein that the use of weapons of mass destruction would result in his being toppled from power. This time around, the object of an invasion of Iraq is to topple Saddam Hussein, so he has no reason to exercise restraint.
October 5, 2002
Site of the day
Joseph Palmer's Paper Airplanes
Um, Guys, I'm really really honored to be your site of the day, but... I didn't design the world record breaking paper aeroplane. That's Ken Blackburn.I link to his site from mine, but that's as close as I am to the world record.
Bush tax 'cuts': A dirty deal for the middle class is coming
The dirty secret of Bush's tax cut is that while ordinary income tax rates were reduced across the board, the rates and terms of the alternative minimum tax went unchanged. Taxpayers in the middle classes looked at the new, lowered rates promised under Bush's package and anticipated their benefits. But many of them did not realize they would answer instead to this different tax formula.
Last year, barely 2 percent of the nation paid these alternative rates. By 2010, they will apply to a majority of people earning between $50,000 and $100,000 and 95 percent of those who earn between $100,000 and $500,000, according to the tax center's study.
What's critical to remember is that a huge chunk of the predicted "surplus" (remember that surplus?) came from tax revenue scheduled to come in under the present wording of the AMT laws.
This train wreck was cynically scheduled in the Bush 2001 tax cut bill, and now the Whitehouse is pushing to make the irresponsible cuts in that bill permanent. They have to hurry, because soon millions of additional taxpayers will be facing the horrifying complexities of filing the AMT, and will demand change.
It is unconscionable a taxpayer with ordinary income, a mortgage, and some mutual funds should find themselves lumped in with the ultra-rich taxpayers with their off-shore special purpose entities, and their oil depletion allowances, and their clever Aurthur Anderson accountants. The middle class will flood Washington, and AMT will have to change.
But not just yet, not until Dubya locks in his tax cuts...
October 13, 2002
Why the CIA thinks Bush is wrong
...the senator's hardman approach paid off when the director of the CIA admitted that the only reason Saddam would use WMDs against the United States was if he was backed into a corner -- due to a strike by the American military -- and realised he was about to fall. Saddam, Tenet was saying, would only become the nightmare that Bush envisaged, if Bush attacked him first.
Clear and convincing evidence that this week's vote was a stampede to stupidity.
October 12, 2002
The Silenced Majority
...Americans can stop America's next war as they have stopped similar planned or actual idiocies in the past. That the Bush clique pays scant heed to Arab and Muslim concerns, has no time for "euro-wimps" and other appeasers is brutally clear. But domestic public opinion is a different story - and that story is changing. Slowly, inconsistently but palpably, ordinary Americans are making their voices heard. ...
The voice of America by Simon Tisdall in The Guardian
I'd like to thank one of my Senators, Barbara Boxer, and my Congressman, Mike Honda for voting against giving Dubya-oh-seven a license to kill.
It frightens me that Dubya has been granted such power over the rest of the world, a world which held so very little interest for him, that prior to becoming president, he didn't even have a passport.
Well— now he's got the biggest six(megaton)-shooter in the west, and what does he do? Does he mosey on down to the UN, to let them know that he'll be standing behind them? No. Does he tell them that "If the Iraqis refuse t'let y'all inspect under any stone, that stone will be pounded into dust?" No. What does he do?
Bush Plans Two-Week Campaign Tour
President Bush will hit the road for 14 straight days before the Nov. 5 elections, stopping in as many as four states a day during a taxpayer-subsidized campaign spree that appears unconstrained by preparations for war.
By Mike AllenWashington PostStaff Writer
The Dinosaur War - To Protect Corporate Profits
Nonetheless, corporations have claimed the human rights the Founders fought and often died to bequeath to living, breathing humans. And, using those rights, they've usurped our government to the point where our domestic policies are now based on what's best for the corporations with the largest campaign contributions, and our foreign policy has become a necessary extension of that.
by Thom Hartmann in Common Dreams
October 14, 2002
Do you remember that one of the very first acts of Dubya's Whitehouse was to seal the records of the Reagan/Bush administration? I guess it just wouldn't do to have historians, reporters and, well, us voters learning the sordid details of our envolvement in Iraq.
Secrecy is the kriptonite of democracy.
But now let's list exactly what we really must forget if we are to support this madness. Most important of all, we must forget that President Ronald Reagan dispatched a special envoy to meet Saddam in December 1983. It's essential to forget this for three reasons. First, because the awful Saddam was already using gas against the Iranians - which is one of the reasons we are now supposed to go to war with him.
Second, because the envoy was sent to arrange the re-opening of the US embassy, in order to secure better trade and economic relations with the Butcher of Baghdad.
Third, because the envoy was - wait for it - Donald Rumsfeld. Now you might think it strange that the US's defence secretary, in the course of one of his folksy press conferences, hasn't chatted to us about this interesting tit-bit.
Lest we forget: the Bushes' history is one of support for tyrants, betrayal and oil, oil, oil
October 15, 2002
State of Texas General Services Commission
Yo, Texas, What's up with all these hits? (The last 3 digits have been changed to protect the guilty.)
Tuesday, 15-Oct-2002 15:32:09 EDT - 168.49.220.xxx -
Bali proves that America's war on terror isn't working
...That meant, among other things, a new alternative energy strategy, aimed eventually at weaning the west off oil. No longer would the US and others need to manipulate the Middle East just to safeguard their petrol supply. They could let the peoples of the Arab world choose their own governments for once. The US would move its troops out of Saudi Arabia, healing one of the sores Bin-Laden most likes to inflame: the presence of "infidels" on holy Muslim soil. And Washington would pick up where Clinton left off, devoting serious political muscle to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Genuine movement in that area would instantly rob the Islamists of one of their greatest recruiting pitches.
Jonathan FreedlandThe Guardian
If you read one article today, read this one. Here in the US, the jingoistic cheerleading has all but drown out this sort of analysis.
In a related matter, I've read that both Toyota and Honda will be selling/leasing fuel cell vehicles 'by the end of the year'. Scientific American reports that the cost of hydrogen is about 130% that of gasoline, per mile. Would you pay 30% more at the pump to walk away from the Middle East? (And have cleaner air, while we're at it?)
It's inevitable, and not so far away.
October 17, 2002
In Deep Voodoo
In other words, the governing economic theory is a dogma, without what Freud called a "reality principle a cognitive device whereby "the real world" can significantly impact and correct the dogma. Case in point: the doctrines of "supply side" and "trickle down," whereby a cut in taxes and diversion of still more wealth to the wealthy "must" result in economic growth, enhanced revenues, and improved standard of living for all. It was tried in the Reagan administration and, as we well know, failed spectacularly, as the national debt tripled. But never mind that, say the true believers. When the Clinton administration rejected "supply side" theory and raised taxes, two ex-Professors of Economics, Dr. Phil Gramm and Dr. Dick Armey, predicted economic catastrophe. Their dogma so stipulated. Instead, the federal budget once again showed a surplus, and the United States enjoyed a decade of unprecedented prosperity. Unfazed by this compelling evidence, the Bush economists reinstated "supply side" economics (what Poppy Bush called "Voodoo economics" before he joined the Reagan team) and, well, you know the rest. As true dogmatists, conservative "supply side" economists prefer not to be "confused by the facts." Instead, they believe their own propaganda and adhere faithfully to their doctrines. When reality is found to be inconvenient, they proceed to "invent" a more congenial "reality." These are paradigmatic "post-modernists" for whom "reality" is simply what they want it to be. Scientific evidence, history, practical experience, even common sense, be damned.
Dr. Ernest Partridge in Democratic Underground
Turn off the TV, and read Dr. Partridge's work. There's more truth here that you'll get in a year of CNN.
Abracadabra, Why Iraq! Because of Economic Decline in Bush Country
According to Wilshire Associates, close to $8 trillion in investor wealth—greater than the $6.62 trillion national debt—has evaporated since the spring of 2000. That means the US stock markets lost an amount equal to three-quarters of what the world's leading economy produced in the past year. By my calculations— since the newspapers and securities firms refuse to report this decline, acquiring figures and using one's calculator are the only way to find out exactly what has happened—the $8 trillion decline in wealth means that an amount roughly equal to $29,5000 per person has disappeared into the pit of the plummeting stock market.
Huck GutmannCommon Dreams
Well, It looks like we're on the Road to Recovery, but unfortunatley, that road leads through another recession.
October 23, 2002
Well, things have really returned to normal. That big bump in traffic started with a link from www.hardocp.com.
Boeing Bird of Prey
Boeing Bird of Prey aircraft -- (Photo Boeing)
I think it looks a little like PL2 Don't you think?
I used to see a lot of hits from boeing.com in my hitlogs for my paper airplanes—I wonder where the Boeing engineers got the idea for downward winglets? ^_^
October 25, 2002
Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone 1944 - 2002
A light in the darkness has been extinguished. CNN has the details.
Aguirre said aggressive prosecution is the only way to prevent continued public losses in deregulated markets. "There were scores and scores of people involved in this illegal activity," he said. "What we need is for some of these traders to do some serious jail time."
Also on trial as a result of Beldon's plea is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is charged with enforcing "reasonable" rates, but which failed to intervene as the California crisis dragged on. Since then, critics say the agency has failed to punish clear cases of misconduct. "The big effort at the FERC to preserve the innocence of the key players has just taken a big hit," said McCullough, the Portland analyst.
It could happen to you.
The most damaging weeks of the "crisis" in California were from when the Supreme Court ended the recount in 2000, to when Jim Jeffords walked across the isle in the Senate. These 'trading companies' had their boney fingers around the necks of California's Power Grids and Natural Gas Piplines, and they want more. They want water systems, and sewer systems, and cable tv and satellite, and if they could swing the deal with Dubya, the very air we breathe. (Okay, they can't really get all the air, but they seem intent to lobby to change the rules to pollute the stuff they can't control.)
Next month, Dubya isn't on your ballot, but you have a chance to stop the other Enrons from attacking your state.
October 28, 2002
Cronkite warns Iraq conflict (could) cause WWIII
Cronkite said storming Iraq with military force would result in World War III.
He said journalists face the problem of protecting people's rights while at the same time trying to gather all facts so the story can be told.
"We can't do that unless we have the facts to work with," he said.
Cronkite said he is appalled that the media is not permitted to accompany U.S. troops in action.
"We might have thought we did in the Persian Gulf War because they permitted us to cover briefings and talk with troops before actually going into combat," he said. "But even then, censored officers stood within ear range."
Journalists couldn't report any losses in combat, so the history of the Persian Gulf war is incomplete, he said
The BattalionTexas A&M's News Source
That's World War Three. For real. Not the book. Not the Movie. Not the video game.
October 29, 2002
Help! I've fallen into thememepool
November 1, 2002
Brer Microsoft Thrown In Briar Patch!
Hiptop Meets Amazon!
A Plea for Divided Government
A list from www.buzzflash.com
While Bush has been President:
Unemployment has risen from 3.9% to 6.0%;
42 States will or expect to make Medicaid Cuts;
41.2 Million People in America Have NO Health Insurance;
Number of Americans living in Poverty rises for first time in eight years;
Bush Budget Will Spend the Entire Social Security Trust Fund Over Next Two Years;
"Consumer Comfort" has dropped from +20 to -20 in one year;
49% of Americans Are "Dissatisfied With The Way Things Are Going in the United States at this time," up from 29%;
Bush Budget Posted First Deficit Since 1997, Predicted Deficits Until 2005;
98% of Pension Funds expected to be Under-Funded;
"Consumer Confidence" continues to drop;
U.S. debt will have "Major International Consequences."
That way lies disaster.
The most disturbing story I've seen lately was about the administration's efforts to pressure the CIA to stop their pesky reports that 1) there is no known connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, and 2) Saddam will likely only use any weapons of mass destruction if we attack him. It's never useful to force your intelligence agency to twist the evidence to suit the policy you've already chosen. That way lies disaster.
November 2, 2002
Please Vote for Democrats in Congress and the Senate
Reason #1 We need an Independent Commission to investigate Sept. 11. We need to know what really went wrong, if we want to prevent it from happening again. The Whitehouse whines "It'll git in the way of our war on terra!", maybe—but Dubya, so does flitting around the country in Air Force One.
Reason #2 We have lost our credibility in the rest of the world. Kyoto. Test Ban Treaty. ABM treaty. World Court. Dubya turned his back on the rest of the world, and they've noticed. On Iraq, we have a coalition of two, and my friends in the UK say that if push comes to shove, there will be a call for new elections. Then we go it alone.
Reason #3 The Securities and Exchange Commission couldn't find gambling in Las Vegas. This agency which is supposed to protect us from the Enrons, WorldComs, and Aurtur Andersons. Just in the news, The SEC chairman, Harvey Pitt, skipped over John Biggs, (a real reformer) in favor of William Webster. Of course, when the commission voted, only Pitt knew that Webster's had connections to a company being sued for fraud. Fox, meet henhouse.
Reason #4 It's The Economy, Stupid . . . (Loads of links!) Dubya put tax cuts for the top 1% ahead of everything else. Maybe the top 1% are happier paying less taxes, but they'd be richer still if the economy were doing well.
Reason #5 Do Lower Taxes Mean Faster Economic Growth? If you watch The West Wing, you'll know what I'm talking about when I say "Ten Word Answer". Dubya asserts that reducing taxes at the high end of the scale makes more jobs. Sounds logical, but there's simply no evidence to support it. A business will hire only when they believe that another employee will bring in more profit.
Follow the money.
If the owner of, say, the local auto dealership took a look at his paystub, do you think he'd really say; "Oh! Hey!, my salary hasn't changed, and our sales haven't changed, but I'm personally taking home some more money, so let's add another employee to the payroll!"
Now on the other hand, if the economy isn't dragged down by interest on the debt (put there because Dubya's only economic plan is to cut taxes on the wealthy) there's a lot more people coming in the front door, looking for cars. That's the time to add another employee to the payroll.
November 4, 2002
I was hoping to have some brilliant plea for sanity, some words that would ring as true as Gettysburg Address, or the preamble to the constitution, but I don't.
All I can say is I'm just a simple country engineer, and my heart and my calculator tell me our nation is going the wrong way.
Tomorrow, we have a chance to vote for a divided government.
Tomorrow, we have a chance to put people ahead of big business.
Tomorrow, we have a chance slow the mad rush to war in Iraq.
Tomorrow, your vote matters.
November 5, 2002
Good News 18:00 PST.
Harvey Pitt had resigned as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A real debate.
I watched the Coleman-Mondale debate this evening. (Thanks, Tivo!) I think both candidates made points, and depending on your political bent, you might declare either one the "winner", but most of all, It was so refreshing to see the candidates themselves driving the debate, with the modators all but disapearing from view.
Try to catch a replay on C-Span. This is how debates should be.
One more thing, I was listening in on c-span3 this afternoon, they were re-playing hearings on the reporting of Election 2002. One after another the heads of networks, and the head of the Voter News Service grovled about having got every prediction of every race right except one, Gore-Bush in Florida.
These guys were falling overthemselves to apologise for predicting that Gore had won.
The one thing that didn't come out in the hearings, was that the polsters got it right! More people did try to vote for Gore, and had it not been for Butterfly ballots, or the flawed lists that took away the right to vote of largely Democratic leaning voters...
November 6, 2002
The democrats (Okay, WE democrats) took it on the chin yesterday, and I've had enough time and scotch to make a couple of observations.
1) It's not enough to wave our arms and point at the holes Dubya's punching in the bottom of the boat.
2) It doesn't matter that punching holes in the bottom of the boat is a really bad idea. Dubya's convinced it's the right thing to do, and people do like a man who sticks to his convictions.
3) Chasing behind him with a bucket of plugs and a hammer only gets you called an obstuctionist.
4) Holding the punch while Dubya swings the hammer is the worst idea of all. Are you listining to me, McAuliffe, Daschle, and Gephardt?
panis et circenses
Yesterday Americans went to the poles and voted, and our least qualified, least constitutionally legitimate president in history will now be free to prosecute his oil war in Iraq, appoint far-right-wing judges, and bankrupt the treasury to comfort the comfortable.
It makes me want to spit.
panis et circenses Is latin for "Bread and Circuses" a palliative offered especially to avert potential discontent -- Merriam Webster's
November 8, 2002
CNN at the UN
The UN is getting ready to vote, and CNN has it live, sort of... Jean-David Levitte, the French Ambassador, one of the permanent members of the security council was speaking, but not on CNN. On Levitte was on the screen, but Wolf Blitzer was talking.
It was not a good translation. In fact, none of what Blitzer was saying was comming from the French Ambassador.
Thank goodness for C-SPAN. They had the live feed, from the UN, with UN translators.
November 9, 2002
OKONOMIYAKI IN SAN JOSE!
Hiroshima Okonomiyaki House is opening a shop on Williams Avenue at Winchester! (It's like 300 steps from my front door... )
This shop specializes in a healthy Hiroshima Style; a thin crepe of batter layered with vegetables, noodles, toppings and sauce, low on oil and added fat. I'll post a full review when they open.
November 11, 2002
Behind the Smile
There is a method to the G.O.P.'s tax cut madness, beyond the obvious benefits to the very rich. Conservatives have long reasoned that the only way to destroy popular programs that actually help ordinary Americans (Social Security, Medicare and so on) is to starve the government of the money needed to pay for them.
...The way to cripple such programs without openly opposing them is to bleed the government of the money to pay for them. With the prospect of budget deficits stretching far into the future, and with the first wave of baby boomers already well into their 50's, the day of reckoning for Social Security and Medicare is not far off.
From Behind the SmileBy BOB HERBERT in the New York Times
There's more. (Isn't there always more?) More and more of your tax dollar will be going ONLY to pay interest on Dubya's exploding debt.
November 17, 2002
A Little History
Certainly the media showed its soft side last week. As George W. Bush piously observed Veterans Day, media pundits somehow restrained themselves from pointing to the irony that the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, who's sometimes referred to as a "former fighter pilot," has an embarrassing military past. His records show that for months at a time during the Vietnam War, Bush could be classified as, at best, "absent without leave" (AWOL) or, at worst, as an army deserter.
...It's not that the media are not hard on military laggards. While there were only 49 media stories about Bush's military past during his presidential campaign, there were a whopping 13,641 media reports on Clinton's Vietnam-era draft dodging during his first presidential race, according to former Clinton aide Paul Begala.
"What did Dubya do in the war, daddy?" — an editorial in the Toronto Star
Please note that this artical was published in Canada. 49 vs 13,641. Where's that "Liberal Media" when you need them?
November 20, 2002
One Democratic senator who voted for the domestic security department said he and his colleagues were exasperated by Mr. Byrd's delaying tactics on this and other measures.
"More and more of our members feel he's dragging it on and on ad infinitum, which is not necessary," that senator said. "Make your point. Have a vote. And move on. He's not willing to do that. He's from a different school. At some point you have to say, 'Enough is enough.' "
Byrd, at 85, Fills the Forum With Romans and Wrath By JOHN TIERNEY inThe New York Times
His point is this; you're voting to eviscerate the Constitution, you're in a damned hurry, and you don't even know what is in the bill. This bill started out at less than 50 pages, and has ballooned to 484. You never read it, let alone pondered the effects.
Move on? More likely future generations will seek out your grave just to spit upon it.
November 21, 2002
Almost there: a commercially viable fuel cell
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that promises to generate electricity as cheaply as the most efficient gas turbine.
Their innovation, which paves the way for pollution-free power generators that serve neighborhoods and industrial sites, lies in replacing ceramic electrodes with stainless-steel-supported electrodes that are stronger, easier to manufacture, and, most importantly, cheaper. This latter advantage marks a turning point in the push to develop commercially viable fuel cells.
Science BeatBerkely Lab
November 22, 2002
I told you, I told you twice.
The evidence, a transcript of a tape-recorded telephone conversation between an employee at Williams Companies, the Tulsa, Okla. based energy company, and an employee at a Southern California power plant operated by Williams, shows how the two conspired to jack up power prices and create an artificial electricity shortage by keeping the power plant out of service for two weeks...
But here's the real tragedy. The evidence has been under seal and in the possession of President Bush's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the governing body that is supposed to make sure power prices is just and reasonable, for more than a year.
Bush, Cheney and the Great Rip-Off of California Ratepayers by JASON LEOPOLD in www.counterpunch.org
I wonder when the FERC was going to get arround to telling us.
November 26, 2002
Low-Income Taxpayers: New Meat for the Right
And the truth is, low- and middle-income people do pay a lot in taxes. They just don't happen to pay the taxes that supply-side conservatives want to cut.
The Journal's editors make only a passing comment on payroll taxes. But the basic FICA tax takes a much bigger share from middle and low incomes than from large ones. The 6.2 percent tax applies on incomes up to $84,900, meaning that if you make that or less, you pay the full 6.2 percent. But Richard Sims, the policy director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, took the recently published example of a top CEO who earned $122.5 million in 2000 and calculated that his FICA tax rate was 0.00043 percent. Lucky ducky.
Sims also notes that sales and excise taxes hit hardest at low- and middle-income people who have to spend most of their earnings on taxable items, can't save a lot, and don't put much of their money into financial, accounting and legal services, which generally aren't taxed.
According to Sims's figures, the bottom 20 percent of Illinois residents pay 10.8 percent of their income in sales and excise taxes, compared with only 1.4 percent paid by the top 1 percent of earners. In California, the comparable figures are 7.4 percent and 1.0 percent; in Arizona, 8.1 percent and 1.2 percent; in Colorado, 5.1 percent and 0.8 percent.
By E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post
December 2, 2002
Toyota, Honda deliver first hydrogen cars
Toyota and Honda on Monday delivered their first market ready zero-emission hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.
The University of California got the first two Toyota hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which have a range of 180 miles and a top speed of 96 mph.
In Los Angeles, Honda Motor Co. delivered its first street-certified hydrogen-powered fuel cell car to Mayor James K. Hahn. The City of Los Angeles is leasing five Honda fuel cell test vehicles for "real world" driving by city staff.
Remember this day. 50 years from now you can look back and remember that with very little fanfare, the world began the change from oil to hydrogen.
In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, non-stop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking-discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue.
And these people are running the country?
December 3, 2002
In Media Res
This week Al Gore said the obvious. "The media is kind of weird these days on politics," he told The New York Observer, "and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party."
The reaction from most journalists in the "liberal media" was embarrassed silence. I don't quite understand why, but there are some things that you're not supposed to say, precisely because they're so clearly true.
By PAUL KRUGMAN in The New York Times
Gore spoke the 'obvious' in the New York Observerread it for yourself.
December 4, 2002
INVENTING INVENTED THE INTERNET!
No one said Boo about Gore's remark. Then, the RNC spin-points arrived:
Invented the Internet? Gore's recent statement to the New York Observer referred to precisely this kind of press coverage. Invented the Internet is an obvious case in which "Republican talking points" were deftly "injected" into the work of the mainstream press. No one-no one!-said a word about Gore's remark at the time it was made. But when the RNC sent out its points, pundits simply ran to recite them. And so it went, throughout the campaign, as the RNC scripted your hapless press corps. Indeed, there's long been a phrase for such work of this type. As the RNC sent out its points, the press corps became useful idiots.
Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler
Bob Somerby's Daily Howler is always good. He has a calculator, and access to LexisNexisand he's not too lazy to use them.
December 6, 2002
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and the White House's top economic adviser, Larry Lindsey are resigning at the request of the White House in a shakeup of the Bush administration's economic team. O'Neill's departure had been predicted, because he did not get along well with Republicans in Congress, and never had the full support of Wall Street.
Okay, so two of the architects of the train-wreck tax cut have resigned. I wonder if they finally fired up a spread-sheet, and found that no matter how they work the numbers, this track ends in a mire, and told their boss. (Why do I suspect their replacements will call for tax cuts to fix the deficit?)
What worries me the most this morning is the timing of the announcement. Dubya's Whitehouse normaly hides its bad news at the end of the day Friday, (so as to fall into the usually ignored Saturday news cycle).
Watch out for some other "news" scheduled to push this off the evening news.
December 10, 2002
I've never been a big fan of the little camera that comes with the Hiptop, (I've been a Nikon man for literally 30 years) but Lee proves that it's not the camera, it's the photographer.
December 11, 2002
Now THIS is what flash is for: http://dubyadubyadubya.com
December 13, 2002
Kissinger Quits As Chairman of 9/11 Panel
WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger stepped down Friday as chairman of a panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, citing controversy over potential conflicts of interest with his private-sector clients.
Associated Press as reported in the Washington Post
December 15, 2002
How did Iraq get its weapons? We sold them
THE US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
Reports by the US Senate's committee on banking, housing and urban affairs — which oversees American exports policy — reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.
By Neil Mackay and Felicity Arbuthnot in The Sunday Herald
You know, I really expect that the complete declaration of WMD by Iraq will be leaked to the Internet, probably by Iraq itself. I caught a few minutes about the declaration on C-span, and one of the things mentioned was that the declarations document the disposition of the materials in question, from purchase to destruction.
This could prove very embarrassing to America, to be both the creator of Frankenstein's monster, and the torch-carrying vigilante mob bent on his destruction.
It would be an Irony indeed, should that detailed WMD sourcing information leak out of Iraq, after Dubya took unprecedented measuresto assure that it wouldn't leak from the US side.
December 16, 2002
Twice in the past two decades, supply-siders have tried to prove that a booming economy can be created by deep tax cuts— resulting in more tax revenue—buttressed by ending mettlesome federal oversight and bureaucratic regulations.
Unfortunately, the Republicans' attempts to do this have left taxpayers saddled with hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, fomented waves of corporate corruption and may end up costing pension funds and small investors trillions of dollars.
Voodoo economics, 21st century style
Next time you're in the oval office, pick up Dubya's magic "8-Ball",and remove little "More Tax Cuts" note he's taped over the window.
I'd love to be there to see the look on his face the next time he shakes it and it comes up "My sources Say No."
December 18, 2002
CNN: Mice, tablet, wireless dominate year
Peter: Did you see the CNN Article?
Me: No, what's it about?
Peter: Let's see, there's the mapping of the mouse genome, they found water on mars, there's a new genus and species of man, and the Hiptop...
Me: You've just written my weblog entry for today.
December 12, 2002
I've released a new chapter of "Yellow".
I know it's not much, and sorry it's taken so long. I'll put up the unstyled version later, when I have a little time.
There's also another change, the format now leans more on the style sheets, and yes, it's still xhtml 1.0 valid
December 20, 2002
Lott Mess Monster
Lott's stepping down, but fortunatly for the republicans, a replacement majority leader has been located in Dubya's pocket.
CNN has the sordid details.
December 20, 2002
The WIRED Rave Awards
The WIRED Rave Awardscelebrate innovation and the individuals transforming commerce and culture. These innovators in business, science, politics, art, entertainment, and design are The People Changing Your Mind.
To identify this year's nominees, WIRED has assembled an esteemed international jury of visionaries who, along with the editors of WIRED, form the Brain Trust for the WIRED Rave Awards. The nominees for 2002 have, in the collective view of the Brain Trust, contributed to the creative evolution of their craft or field.
WIRED is honored to present the WIRED Brain Trust and The People Changing Your Mind: the nominees for this year's WIRED Rave Awards.
Matias Duarte (Danger), Andy Johnston (Function Engineering) and myself (Danger) have been nominated for the HipTop in the "Industrial Designer" catagory.
I'm humbled and honored to be among such nominees.
December 25, 2002
December 29, 2002
El Portal de Ranma Y Akane
It never ceases to amaze me... I had a look thru the hit logs of the folks who've read the latest chapter of Yellow, and found hits from all over the world. The UK, Canada, and Australia I can understand, after all, we all speak the same language (sort of) but I still see hits from Poland, Japan, Slovinia...
I guess it really is a small world, after all. (Now try and get that dang song out of your head!)
December 30, 2002
Japanese Ranma Fansites
Even if you can't read much Japanese, (like me) it's worth bumbling arround these sites and randomly following the links to the artwork.
Up To You
UP TO YOU has a lot of shuojo inspired Ranma Images. It's a mystery that Ranma and Akane can come thru in a totaly different drawing style. The site is blind-frame based, which makes it harder to navigate, so I've selected a few of the most interesting frames:
A common element of the sites I've located is collections of Hit Graphics. I'm not sure if they are done by the site author, or by the guests.
Gallery-Top guides you to each of the individual pages. click the coffee cups to enter each gallery.
Nabiki's Room Is worth the visit for the title image alone! The expression is perfect Nabiki.
Make sure to check out the images in Nabiki's Room Gallery. I like the polaroid photo-album layout.
The 1/2 Haku homepagemay be sparse, but hides some surprises. (Click the "Attention Please" animated Icon at the bottom)
Perhaps the most startling discovery is the Pictures page. These images were apparently created by guests using a java based paint application, right there on the page. There is something primative, yet provacative in the designs. I really love some of these, like the muted one of Ranma in a pink dress (Number ) and the near scribble of Akane (Number ), but my favorites are (Number ) Akane and (Number ) Ranma. Don't forget to click the button at the bottom of the page to see more images!
No web site would be complete without a page of LinksEven the link banners are beautiful!
BulbOpens on a christmas message (At least for now).
If you like that image, you'll love the others linked from the Illustrations page. (Click the orange stars)
The Novelspage links to Fanfiction! (And I love the background image). Some of the stories are illustrated, follow the link marked 3/16.
Last but not least is a site curiously named Polish. The graphic links are in English, so it's an easy site to navigate. There are tons of images in the gallery. Have fun!
December 31, 2002
Rebuilding the Food Pyramid
The dietary guide introduced a decade ago has led people astray. Some fats are healthy for the heart, and many carbohydrates clearly are not.
I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you! It looks like Doctor Dean Edell has it right in his book: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry(Highly Recomended.)
Links of the world:
[Suddenly everything...] [Leon Friedman -- The American Prospect] [News.com] [Bill Moyers -- Keynote Address ] [Fark.com] [Nyanko-web] [ Antarctic Webcam] [ Steve's Anime Links!] [Fronz.net Quotes] [Danger Coverage] [Danger Coverage] [Iceberg Lettuce] [The Smirking Chimp - Political News Digest] [Avant Stellar Keyboard] [142 Key Programable Keyboard!] [The Spark Gender Test] [New York Times Danger Coverage] [The New Republic Online] [ BeatCraft ] [Thanks BeBox photos] [The stories: Jan's Anime Pages] [Jan's links] [A Fan's View] [Fanimecon Fanfic Panel] [The Ranma Fanfic Awards] [The REGISTER] [US Treasury Public Debt website.] [Lights of America] [Anipike] [How to draw Manga] [Digital Knight Communications] [DKC Links] [Ranma & Akane Together 4-ever FanFiction Guide] [Bridget & Jamie's Fanfics and food] [Links of doom] [Sumo Senshi - MAKE UP!]] [MisterPants] [New Blood Productions] [The Most Influential Ranma Fanfiction Authors of the 1990's] [Copyright 101: A Brief Introduction To Copyright For Fan Fiction Writers] [Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction, and a New Common Law ] [hello kitty mobile] [Danger Research (My new job)] [Rothenburg ob der Tauber] [Microsoft Case Links] [Courtney Love does the math] [Carlsen Comics] [Wildside Press] [KAXE Radio] [Scripting News] [XHTML Introduction] [XHTML Spec.] [HTML Tidy] [W3C Validation]
Copyright © 2002-2004 Joseph Palmer. All Rights reserved