December 31, 2004

Last Cat Blogging Of 2004

Tory James

Fri, 31 Dec 2004 09:05:16 PST - Link


What If...

smartwithheart steps into the quicksand while holding firmly to the third rail: Challenging the Historicity of Jesus

I went to Catholic school from 1st through 6th grades. Needless to say this sort of thing never came up in Cathechism class. I'd never really given much thought to the subject before, because that issue wasn't central to the philosophy (which I endevor to follow). I'd been much more troubled that in the last 200 years the message of Christ had been subverted and distorted beyond recognition of his contemporaries. This is an eye-opening evaluation of the historical evidence.

Fri, 31 Dec 2004 11:06:03 PST - Link


Peak Oil Countdown

To quote my energy editor Dale Allen Pfeiffer, a geologist: it appears that the year 2007 will be important. A new study published in Petroleum Review suggests that production might not be able to keep up with demand by 2007. The study is a survey of mega projects (those with reserves of over 500 million barrels and the potential to produce over 100,000 barrels per day of oil). Mega projects are important not only because they provide the bulk of world oil production, but also because they have a better net energy profile than smaller projects, and they provide a more substantial profit than smaller projects.

Bear in mind that the planet consumes a billion barrels of oil (or two mega fields) every 11-1/2days.

The discovery rate for mega projects has dwindled to almost nothing. This can be seen in the data for the last few years. In 2000, there were 16 discoveries; in 2001 there were 8, and in 2002, only 3. From discovery to first production generally takes about 6 years. If a new project can make use of existing infrastructure, then the start-up time might be cut to 4 years.

...

But there is another factor to this oil calculus. We hear complaints that a major part of the problem with current oil prices has to do with a lack of refineries. Why are no more refineries being built? The answer is simple and an irrefutable confirmation of peak oil. The refineries are not being built and massive expensive exploration projects are not being undertaken because the oil companies understand that there is very little oil left to find.

Michael C. Ruppert in an August 31 Speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

Fri, 31 Dec 2004 11:17:51 PST - Link

December 28, 2004

Tsunami Information

Ceej pointed out that the Wikkipedia is the best source of information on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

24 minutes spent reading the wikkipedia will leave you more informed than 24 hours of CNN.

When you're done, join me in bending some plastic at The Red Cross and at Doctors Without Borders

Tue, 28 Dec 2004 21:49:30 PST - Link


Again, Strange Dreams

Squirrel Services

I'm never sure what causes these mysterious mash-up dreams, but cute rodents and object-oriented programming appeared in the same place, at the same time in my dreams the other night, and it all became perfectly clear:

* Squirrels are objects that provide squirrel services. *

Right. Too much turkey before sleep will do that to you.

Tue, 28 Dec 2004 14:22:25 PST - Link

December 24, 2004

Friday Cat Blogging - Tory, Miko and T-chan

Three cats in a line

Tory: Purry holidays, everyone!

Miko: Here's wishing you the joys of family, and a warm place to rest your chin.

T-Chan: Meowy Christmas. ZzzzZzzzZzzz.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:21:57 PST - Link

December 23, 2004

Bloggercon Audio

Oh Yeah, did I mention that all of the recorded sessions of Bloggercon have been converted to .mp3 and are available at IT Conversations? Well, they have. I higly recomend Law moderated by Lawrence Lessig, Core Values moderated by Mary Hodder and Newbies moderated by Rebecca MacKinnon.

I've listened to the entire schedule, and all are worth a listen. (And yes, I dropped a tip in the tip jar, too)

If you listen closely, you can hear me adding my $0.02 from time to time.

I've been told I have the perfect voice to become a great mime.

Woot! there's a new interview with David Brin. I went to a session with Brin at Worldcon San Jose, I thought it was most rewarding.

Thu, 23 Dec 2004 19:09:46 PST - Link

December 17, 2004

Friday Cat Blogging - Miko

Miko

Yes, I'm joining the Friday Cat Blogging bandwagon.

We think Miko is half ragdoll and half squirrel. He's skittish, but very affectionate, and is the only one of our three who likes to be picked up and held. He loves to lay on my warm monitor when I'm in my den, and thinks LCDs are are for the birds.

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 22:38:25 PST - Link


What's That Cracking Noise?

Yet, aside from giving the Cato Institute and other organizations promoting Social Security privatization the space to present upbeat tales from Chile, the U.S. news media have provided their readers and viewers with little information about international experience. In particular, the public hasn't been let in on two open secrets:

Privatization dissipates a large fraction of workers' contributions on fees to investment companies.

It leaves many retirees in poverty.

Paul Krugman

Oh, what's the point. I can tell you all a thousand times (And probably will) that whatever infirmity Social Security has, bleeding the patient will be of no help. But it doesn't matter. Dubya has about half the country following him, thinking he's walking on water, but it's only thin ice.

When Dubya leaves office he'll be safe in the arms of the Saudi Royal Family, and Richard Mellon Scaife, and Rupert Murdoch, and Sun Yung Moon. The rest of us will not be so lucky.

Fri, 17 Dec 2004 08:49:05 PST - Link

December 16, 2004

More Ranma Stuff

apnea is a Ranma * Akane Only site. Great artwork and the links page is a great resource for further Japanese fansite surfing.

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 22:38:25 PST - Link


Windows XP = Extremely Persnickety

I'd been wondering about why it was that when I used my laptop at work I'd get a complete set of icons on my taskbar, but when I used it at home I'd get an abbriviated set. This happened several days in a row, regular as clockwork. At work, I'd find a full icon set, at home, I'd find that several were missing.

Tonight I did an experiment here at home. I waited a couple of minutes* between power up and actually logging in. All of the Icons showed up.

* About the same amount of time it takes to pick up my Ruri-Ruri coffee cup, and making a quick round trip the the other corner of the building for my first cup before logging in.

Oh by the way, I discovered that the firewall software that comes installed by Sony was blocking Windows Workgroup Networking. There were no hints about that in the help system. Sigh.

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 21:21:05 PST - Link


A Red Warning Light On The Dashboard Of Democracy

Rev. Jesse Jackson told the congressmen that over the weekend he had spoken to John Kerry, who has since sent a letter to each of the state’s 88 county election boards, saying he supported three areas of inquiry in the recount. Jackson said Kerry wanted “forensic computer experts” to examine voting machines, especially those using optical scan technology, because in other states, notably New Mexico, Bush had won all the precincts with that voting system in place. Kerry also wanted to examine 92,000 ballots that recorded no vote for president, and 155,000 provisional ballots that were rejected. [Ephasis Added - J.]

The Free Press

Thu, 16 Dec 2004 08:52:22 PST - Link

December 15, 2004

A Dare

Kyburg issued me a dare, I responed with eight haiku.

It's clearly not by best work, but it somehow unstuck me. Thanks, K.

Wed, 15 Dec 2004 21:47:24 PST - Link


If It Ain't Broke, Don't Break It.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, using a more realistic model, the trust fund will run out in 2052, and even then it will cover 81 percent of the promised benefits. To fully fund this shortfall would require additional revenue of 0.54 percent of GDP, less than we are currently spending in Iraq. Or, as Paul Krugman noted in The New York Times, about one quarter of the revenue lost each year by President Bush's tax cuts, "roughly equal to the fraction of those cuts that goes to people with incomes of $500,000 a year."

Molly Ivins

I'm personally ambivalent about Social Security, I don't plan to need it in retirement, and I'm expecting that it will be means tested by the time I reach that age. That doesn't mean I want it to go away. After all, my savings are "in the market" now, and between the falling dollar and the duldrums of the economy I might well find myself needing it.

I'm treating it like insurance for now; I'll pay today so that should I need it I can call on it later.

The real crisis is on medicare, not Social Security.

I feel powerless to prevent this however, it seems my swords of fact and reason make no mark on the sheild of willfull ignorance. Truth has been voted off the island.

Wed, 15 Dec 2004 13:21:09 PST - Link


Cajone Pass Under Tumbling Skys

Cajone Pass

Nikon E990 2004.11.21

Here is the view coming down from Cajone pass on Highway 15 on the way to Las Vegas. The snow in the pass had backed up traffic in the other lanes for twenty miles. This part of the road is such a long, even grade that it tricked the eye into believeing that we were traveling on the flat, and that up ahead there was a bend upwards in the world.

Wed, 15 Dec 2004 12:34:51 PST - Link

December 14, 2004

Windows Networking Gripes

You know, I have no trouble setting up Linux, and I've been able to get every machine I've ever known on the inturwebs, including aged macs and my museum piece Bebox, but for some reason Windows workgroup networking just never seems to work for me.

I have a nice solid Windows 2000 Machine upstairs with a bunch of data on it I'd like to copy to my XP laptop, and altough I have no trouble reaching Antacrtica over the inturwebs, I simply can't seem to get to my machine a few feet away.

I am about this close to installing a linux machine just so that it can translate.

Heck, the Win2K machine can see my laptop, but altough I have folders shared it says: The Network path is not found. My new laptop can't see the win2k machine.

And don't get me started about the help system. Oh, and for some unknown reason my battery indicator has dissapeared from the taskbar. What's up with that? Come ON. It's almost 2005. Toyota would be out of business if the gas gauge just disappeared randomly.

Tue, 14 Dec 2004 22:17:42 PST - Link

December 13, 2004

Objects In Fear Are Further Than They Appear

Did you know that 10 years ago, Social Security was just 35 short years from running a deficit, and now we project it will take only 38 more years?

Washington Monthly has the scoop.

Mon, 13 Dec 2004 21:21:32 PST - Link


Onionated

The Onion takes a look at roll-backs at Wal-Mart.

Mon, 13 Dec 2004 12:39:50 PST - Link

December 10, 2004

Been There, Done That.

You know, privatizing social security is such an appealing idea that It's been tried before:

In Chile:

The World Bank found that half of the pension contributions of the average Chilean worker who retired in 2000 went to management fees. The brokerage firm CB Capitales...found that the average worker would have done better simply by placing their pension fund contributions in a passbook savings account.

And Sweden

....Everyone in the new system is forced to speculate in mutual funds and results in the first years have been disastrous. From March 2000 until March 2003, the Swedish stock market declined by 68%. As of 31st January 2004, 84% of all accounts had lost money, despite the upturn in the market since March 2003.

Read all about it at Washington Monthly

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 13:47:40 PST - Link


Social Insecurity

Krugman unravels the plan.

I'm thinking it's Enron writ big—a shell game where the Wall Street firms stand to skim a nice guaranteed profit from the part of the population they’ve never had though the front door before.

Dubya wants to return this country to what it once was: a land of indentured servants, belching smokestacks, and robber barons.

Fri, 10 Dec 2004 08:57:48 PST - Link

December 9, 2004

Waiting

Waiting at Kansai Airport

2004.12.08 Kansai Airport Nikon N990

Thu, 09 Dec 2004 14:49:53 PST - Link


Fanfiction

Fiendling has some observations on Ranma Fanfiction. (Darn right, it's Ranma + Akane!)

Thu, 09 Dec 2004 14:58:10 PST - Link

December 7, 2004

Dollars and Sense.

The dollar is not what it used to be. Over the past three years it has fallen by 35% against the euro and by 24% against the yen. But its latest slide is merely a symptom of a worse malaise: the global financial system is under great strain. America has habits that are inappropriate, to say the least, for the guardian of the world's main reserve currency: rampant government borrowing, furious consumer spending and a current-account deficit big enough to have bankrupted any other country some time ago. This makes a dollar devaluation inevitable, not least because it becomes a seemingly attractive option for the leaders of a heavily indebted America. Policymakers now seem to be talking the dollar down. Yet this is a dangerous game. Why would anybody want to invest in a currency that will almost certainly depreciate?

The Economist

Tue, 07 Dec 2004 12:46:10 PST - Link


The New Explorers

IT conversations is reaching outside the tech world to present some audio interviews of more general interest. Ben Saunders crossed from Siberia to the North Pole, but had to give up the second leg of his trip, North Pole to Canada, because the ice sheet now has large areas of open water. At the present rate, the ice will dissapear before the end of the century.

Tue, 07 Dec 2004 12:46:10 PST - Link

December 3, 2004

New Toy

temp image

Say hello to my new Sony S260P. I had been limping along at 300 MHz with Win98, an 800x600 screen, and (gasp!) 32MB of RAM.

She's a good machine, and she stays nice and quiet if all I'm doing is browsing the web.

Fri, 03 Dec 2004 13:27:40 PST - Link

December 2, 2004

Tosca

We saw Opera San Jose's production of Tosca at the California theater last night. The California theater hosts a fine organ, and it was used to subtle and haunting effect at the end of the first act, where the church of St. Andrea was filled with the procession of the cardinal while Scarpia (Joseph Wright) planed his seduction of Tosca. It gave me shivers.

The California seems like an old friend already, and it seems that the reeds have been brought up out from under the lip of the stage, the mix sounded more balanced that the last production. I think it's going to be a great venue!

One of the things I like about Opera San Jose is that the audience dresses more casually than at the War Memorial in San Francisco, and the smaller room can be comfortable filled by any of the cast's voices. The War Memorial was so huge that only the strongest voices seemed to carry, and the others were lost. Where it comes to Opera, I prefer quality to volume.

Thu, 02 Dec 2004 19:57:24 PST - Link


Post Election Blues

The election may be over, but the battle over Social Secruity is just beginning. The Angry Bear is keeping an eye on things, today's post is a great place to get your feet wet. (Warning! Contains large numbers!)

Thu, 02 Dec 2004 08:34:49 PST - Link

December 1, 2004

Twisted Catbloging

Troy James

Life has gotten very busy for me over the last couple of weeks. Sorry about the lack of bloggage.

To make up for it, here's a photo of Tory James. Yes, he sometimes sleeps with his front legs one way, and his back the other. Other than that he's a very sweet kitty.

Wed, 01 Dec 2004 17:05:58 PST - Link

November 19, 2004

Oh, No. Not Again.

This morning CNN is running the Iran's Nuclear Threat headline. Dubya's second term hasn't even started and the sabers are rattling again. God help us all if this is the new bee in Dubya's bonnet. He has a proven genius for getting his way. Someone better tell the Iranians he's crazy enough to do it. We have proof of that.

But it beggs the question; You and who's army? Ours is kind of bogged down next door, remember?

Oh wait, I get it. Dubya's Iraq exit srategy is through Iran.

Fri, 19 Nov 2004 08:25:10 PST - Link

November 16, 2004

Florida Again

"We began to compare the special printouts given to us with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold, some were missing. We also found some that didn't match. In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans. Hmm. Which was right? Our polling tape, specially printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or theirs, printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape?"

Daily Kos

Here we go again.

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 22:48:00 PST - Link


Nine Years Of Autumn

Autumn Graphic

Today is the ninth anniversary of the release of my best-known fanfiction, Autumn which was selected via online voting as the Best Of Ranma Fanfiction for 1995. (Spring and Summer were also in the top ten!)

As I recall, there was an issue about Autumn having made the deadline for entry into the contest, because although I posted it a day ahead of time, the rules required that it be moderated into the newsgroup before it could be called an valid entry. The moderator was apparently out of town, but did get around to posting it that night, but after midnight by my news server.

I was quite bummed, as I'd really made an effort to make the deadline, and it looked like altough I'd posted it a full 24 hours earlier, I'd missed the deadline by 20 minutes.

The next day I saw the post on on anther news server, and it was marked as posted before midnight. It had been moderated before midnight Pacific time, but my news server dated it received on Eastern time.

Enough of that, just go read the story. It's the last of the series, so if you are totaly new to the seasons stories, they should be read in this order: Winter - Spring - Summer - Autumn

Taleswapper reviewed Autumn in "My Favorite Ranma Fanfics of FY 1996"

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 16:36:56 PST - Link


Pretty Cars

Car Design News is just chock-full of cool looking designs. Cars can look really cool if you don't have to leave room for all of the moving parts.

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 13:10:56 PST - Link


Guitars And Rants

Ed Roman has a huge guitar shop in Las Vegas. I'm not in the market for a new axe right now, but the rants section of his website is certainly worth a read.

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 08:39:23 PST - Link

November 15, 2004

Does Anybody Really Know The Real Time?

No big deal, I just tweaked my backend code to support the Pacific time zone, and I need to enter this item to test the code.

At the tone, the time will be...

Mon, 15 Nov 2004 21:45:48 PST - Link


Page Design

A while back I read on Scripting News an item on the ideal length of a line of text could be found by typing the alphabet. I couldn't remember if you typed it once or twice, or somewhere inbetween, but a google search finds mention of the alphabet-and-a-half rule.

I'm not sure if thats all small characters:

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklm

or all caps:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHI JKLM

or broken up into words:

Abcd efgh ijkl mnop qrst uvwx yz abcd efgh ijkl m


I was later unable to locate that particular item, but Usability News has some research on the subject. It looks like reading speed is not significanly affected by longer lines, but adult readers perfer shorter lines.

They mention:

the Narrow-length was perceived as promoting easier concentration than both the Medium- and Full-length conditions

I wonder if that effect works both ways; text published in a narrower format will be read with more concentration.


Human Factors suggests the historical origin of 4 inches.

Mon, 15 Nov 2004 16:41:08 EDT - Link


Rats.

I smell a rat. It has that distinctive and all-too-familiar odor of the species Republicanus floridius. We got a nasty bite from this pest four years ago and never quite recovered. Symptoms of a long-term infection are becoming distressingly apparent.

Colin Shea at Zogby International

Update: That URL is no longer working, but Kos has the whole text.

Mon, 15 Nov 2004 11:59:26 EDT - Link


Recount Ohio Close

Green Party has raised more than $144,000 towards estimated $150,000 Ohio recount — Blue Lemur

It looks like they got out their spreadsheets and decided that a little more cash might be reqired to make this happen. They are just $6000 away from the target.

I don't really expect that the election will be overturned, but I think this sort of audit will help prevent fraud in the future.

It's all well and good the the mainstream press is falling over themselves to say; "It's all okay, have faith", but we're talking about ballots here, not Angels. Us members of the reality-based community are willing to pay real money for a realty-based recount. Leave faith for the mysteries we cannot count.

Mon, 15 Nov 2004 11:41:41 EDT - Link


Peak Oil

First comes a Fictional Radio Interview with some terrific links to articles on Peak Oil. The interview is quite inflamitory, but there is a thread of truth in the narrative about how the commercial press works.

Second comes a fine exploration of the "Abiotic Oil" Controversy.

Mon, 15 Nov 2004 11:29:31 EDT - Link

November 12, 2004

I Never Should Have Quit The Ice Rodeo

I've been asking somebody to write a program, because I use Apple's iCal program, and I've got a Sidekick, which is the Mac version of the BlackBerry, and I keep my calendar and all the contact data on the computer.

Rush Yes, that Rush.

Rush has a Sidekick. And a Mac. And compares the first to the second.

I wonder if my skates still fit. The Ice Rodeo always has openings for clowns.

Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:04:15 EDT - Link


Trust But Verify

The Green Party in concert with the Libertarian Party has raised more than $40,000 towards an estimated $113,000 filing fee for a recount of Ohio ballots in the presidential election as of 1 p.m. Friday afternoon, RAW STORY has learned.

The Blue Lemur In association with The Raw Story

I just dropped $25 into the hat.

Fri, 12 Nov 2004 14:25:53 EDT - Link

November 9, 2004

Bloggercon Webcasts - Podcasting

The first of the Bloggercon sessions had been podcastorized (Hey, did I just invent a new word?) and is up at IT Conversations

I met Doug Kaye (of IT Conversations) during lunch out on the grass at the con. He comes through as thoughtfull and pleaseant in the webcasts, he's even more so in person.

There was an Apple engineer there too, (I'm sorry, I'm hopeless with names) it never ceases to amaze me when I mention that I was on the Quadra 660AV team and the person I'm talking to says "Oh, I had 5 of those."

I didn't take notes during the con, because I knew these podcasts were in the works.


I didn't find what I was seeking at the con, but that really has more to do with me than the con. I was coming off the emotional roller coaster that was Tuesdays election, feeling that the effort I'd placed into blogging in an effort to sway the country, or even one voter to vote for Kerry was for naught, and feeling that I was more of a stranger in my own country on Wednesday than I was on Monday.

Perhaps I was looking for a new story to tell, a new reason to bang out a few words, publish some images, or make some sounds. Those reasons are not to be found at a Con.

I'd made myself a promise that I would jump back into Yellow, and finish it before Christmas if Kerry won the election. (If I've just totally confused you, Yellow is a romantic Ranma 1/2 Fanfiction which has been causing me writers block since December 10, 2002. See the link to Fanfictions on my home page.)

As I write this CNN is showing footage (Megabyteage?) of the fighting in Fallujah. I'm having a hard time placing my heart back in Ranma and Akane's Nerima, a place where there is no 9-11, no Iraq war, and no vote count irregularities.

I refuse to bring the darkness of this world into theirs.

I haven't given up on Yellow.

I will find my way back.

It make take some time.

Wish me luck.

Tue, 09 Nov 2004 11:28:32 EDT - Link

November 8, 2004

Catching Up

Saturday started with a drop-off at the airport, (The alarm went off at 5:00 AM) and ended in a traffic jam on I 280 at 11:30PM, so Sunday rolled around and when all the chores were done the spirit (Johnny Walker Red) was willing, but the blogging was weak. Strange, that since I spent Saturday participating at Bloggercon. I might have something to say about it after the event soaks in a bit. I really want to listen to the podcasts of the sessions I missed. (I'll post the URLs as soon as I locate them.)

I met a lot of interesting folks, and it's really great to put faces on the bloggs and podcasts. The strangest effect I noticed was that Adam Curry somehow makes a better connection through his podcasts than he did in front of a room of 200.

I'm going to need to try one of these podcast things for myself one day.

Mon, 08 Nov 2004 16:19:53 EDT - Link


Bent Maps

Map by Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman at the University of Michigan. Released under creative commons, see http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/ for use rights.

Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman at the University of Michigan have produced a series of electoral maps including cartograms which distort the shape and size of the states to take into account population. (Image used under Creative Commons License)

Mon, 08 Nov 2004 16:17:10 EDT - Link

November 5, 2004

There's Not Enough Tin Foil In Ohio

A Recount is not out of the question.

Fri, 05 Nov 2004 12:09:51 EDT - Link


French Frustration

The President is right in saying that the war on terrorism is a new war. However let’s look at history. Polish cavalry did not stand a chance against Germany’s mechanized cavalry. France did not recognize the threat Germany was at the eave of WWII. It thought anyway that the battle would resume as it was left at the end of WWI, in trenches. Many countries did not understand that Germany had changed the rules of war, by using modern warfare techniques. And this was not the first episode of this time in humankind history: bronze shattered on steal a long time ago. So the rules of war have changed again, and we have to recognize that a new war has started, the President is right at that.

But sending tanks and bombers (in the wrong country) won’t do much good here, and the President did not get that. Not at all. This war is possible thanks to the media. A terrorist does not exist without the media. Yet the President sent poor kids to Iraq, in their tanks and hummers... without having realized that the battle was not happening on the ground, but on the air. He sent terrorism something to feed on. The President had (and by far) the upper hand after the WTC tragedy. He managed to reverse the situation, and now Al Jazeera and others are feeding the hatred towards the States in that region. This country is fighting combatants gathering from around the globe toward Iraq. Not many of them, but still enough to pin us to the ground there. And it is doing so without international support (did I forget Poland, Mr. President?). So Mr. Bush plunged in what could be described as... a world war? And with a very limited set of key allies. Forget France, Germany and now Spain if you will, let’s not realize that Europe is becoming a super-power of its own. But no support from Russia, no agreement from China... That’s a lot of people right there!

An except of Mad by William;

I am a French guy who lived for years in the States. I love the American culture: I love the work place culture, I love the fact that you can re-start your life at any time, I love the judicial system which, despite a few stupid lawsuits here and there, still manages to bring progress and act as a real counter power to the executive. And I love the fact that as a whole, American people like "nice" people, and would like for themselves to simply be good persons (don't laugh, but it is not true all around the world: the French for instance have some kind of admiration for nasty and twisted characters... but still love their children, we'll come back to that later).

Fri, 05 Nov 2004 11:01:29 EDT - Link


Curiouser and Curiouser

Broward County corrected a computer glitch Thursday that had miscounted thousands of absentee votes, instantly turning a slot-machine measure from loser to winner and reinforcing concerns about the accuracy of electronic election returns.

The bug, discovered two years ago but never fixed, began subtracting votes after the absentee tally hit 32,500 — a ceiling put in place by the software makers.

Okay, so in Broward county they use touch screens on the day of the election, but of course absentee paper ballots must be counted separately.

Who came up with this idea to start counting back down? Jeez. The right way to do that is either stop the count and throw an error, or add like ten billion to make the error stick out like a sore thumb.

Miami Herald

Fri, 05 Nov 2004 11:01:29 EDT - Link


That's Strange...

You know, maybe those Touchscreen machines aren't so bad after all.

Kathy Dopp at US Together.org has been running the numbers.

In the counties with touchscreen machines, numbers bounce around some when comparing the actual vote to an estimate based on party registration and turnout.

I had to puzzle on it a bit, but the reason that that the expected votes columns are smaller than the actual results is that only the Republican and Democrats are listed. (For example, Hillsborough county is 35.1% Republican, 41.7% Democratic, which leaves 23.2% others.)

Republicans did great in that county, 241,630 vs 210,892, so clearly they got some inde voters, and probably more cross-over votes than did the Democrats.

The spreadsheet calls those 241,630 votes a 51.2% percent change over the 159,843 predicted Republican votes.

The Democrats did similarly well in Martin County, pulling 51.5% over the predicted tally.

Now look at Calhoun County, using those optically scanned, recountable paper ballots. Republicans pulled 433.2% over the prediction, AND Democrats pulled -56.9%.

Liberty county was even stranger: 712.3% vs -59.9%.

Oh, did I need to tell you this was Florida?

Fri, 05 Nov 2004 02:06:56 EDT - Link

November 3, 2004

Election Reflection

Kerry did the right thing this morning. He looked at the evidence, and made a descision, a reality-based based descision, on that evidence. I cannot fault him for that. I was really looking forward to that sort of thinking in the administration.

The sting of electoral collage defeat was bad, but the popular vote has just plain weirded me out. Somehow a majority of voters voted to place a singularly unreflective man back into a position where he has by all measurments been a miserable failure. It's as if the country said, "Yeah, sure, he drove us into the ditch, and and he's about to wrap us around a pole, but we'll let him drive a while longer." It looks like a critical factor in the turnout for Dubya was that anti-gay marriage measures were on the ballots in many states, including Ohio. Were these folks really more afraid that gays might commit to marriage than they were about sending thier kids to Iraq? (And then on to Afganistan, and then Iran, and then Syria and then all the way to North Korea, eeeeeeEEEEEEEAAAAAAaaaah!) — [Sorry, Dr Dean.]

It was one thing, back in 2000, when Clinton made running the country look so deceptively easy, to pick a down-home dumbed-down candidate based on how much you are just like him. My freinds from Europe say although they detested Dubya, that they could forgive the American public that mistake once — we just didn't know any better. But that they would not forgive a second term. The Eurozone is already a larger economy than the USA, watch for pressure for oil and other comodities to begin trading in Euros.

Wed, 03 Nov 2004 20:44:07 EDT - Link


The Rest Of Our Lives

Setting aside my general political leanings, my personal views and feelings of partisanship, I think the result portends very bad things for America's role in the world and the well-being on all levels of this country. Changes in domestic politics, in theory at least, can be shifted back at a following election. The world, though, is different. There we are just a ship — though the largest one — on waters we can never truly control. And I fear that this result will set in motion dangerous dynamics that even the relatively young among us will be wrestling with and contending with for the rest of our lives.

Talking Points Memo

Wed, 03 Nov 2004 13:15:37 EDT - Link


We're Closed Today.

I am de-linking the paper airplanes and fanfictions for today.

Sorry, World.

Wed, 03 Nov 2004 12:04:21 EDT - Link


Oh No, Not Again.

There's something rotten in the state of Ohio. (Oh, and Florida, There's more to come in Florida.)

Wed, 03 Nov 2004 02:12:42 EDT - Link

November 2, 2004

Print Your Own!

I Voted Touchscreen, I Think...

Show the world how your really think about Touchscreen voting machines!

There are 700 or so voters in my precinct, by 09:00 100 of them had cast ballots. Gianormous turnout. Don't be left out of this one. If you don't vote, you don't get to complain afterwards.

Tue, 02 Nov 2004 13:01:15 EDT - Link


Go. Vote. Now.

It's important.

P.S. If Kerry wins, I'll finish Yellow by Christmas.

Now go vote.

Tue, 02 Nov 2004 11:24:00 EDT - Link

November 1, 2004

A Message From John Kerry

During this campaign I have asked you for so much — your time, your energy, and your financial support. Today, I ask you for one final thing — your vote.

Tomorrow, Americans will face a choice.

How will we find our way forward? How will we keep America safe, and keep the American dream alive?

I believe we begin by giving this country we love a fresh start. This morning, I would like to give you as plainly as I can the summary of my case on how — together — we can change America.

I believe we begin by moving our economy, our government, and our society back in line with our best values.

I believe we do whatever it takes to lead our troops to success and bring them home safe. And when they do come home, I believe we begin by rebuilding an America with a strong middle class where everyone has the chance to work and the opportunity to get ahead.

Tomorrow, you can choose a fresh start. You can choose a president who will defend America and fight for the middle-class.

You can choose between four more years of George Bush's policy to ship jobs overseas and give tax breaks to the companies that do it — or a president who will reward the companies that create and keep good jobs here in the United States of America.

Tomorrow you will face a choice between four more years of George Bush's giveaways to the big drug companies and the big HMOs — or a president who will finally make health care a right, and not a privilege, for every American.

This election is a choice between four more years of tax giveaways for millionaires along with a higher tax burden for you — or a president who will cut middle-class taxes, raise the minimum wage, and make sure we guarantee women an equal day's pay for an equal day's work.

Tomorrow, America faces a choice between four more years of an energy policy for big oil, of big oil, and by big oil — or a president who finally makes America independent of Mideast oil in ten years. A choice between George Bush's policy that just yesterday showed record profits for oil companies and record gas prices for American consumers. I believe that America should rely on our own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi Royal family.

Tomorrow this campaign will end. The election will be in your hands. If you believe we need a fresh start in Iraq; if you believe we can create and keep good jobs here in America; if you believe we need to get health care costs under control; if you believe in the promise of stem cell research; if you believe our deficits are too high and we're too dependent on Mideast oil then I ask you to join me and together we'll change America.

I ask for your vote and I ask for your help. When you go to the polls bring your friends, your family, your neighbors. No one can afford to stand on the sidelines or sit this one out.

And in return for your hard work, you have my commitment to always fight for you, to always be on your side. In the words of Bruce Springsteen that have become the theme of this campaign. "We've made a promise we swore we'd always remember...no retreat and no surrender."

Tomorrow we will change America and with your help I will always keep that promise to you.

Thank you,

John Kerry

Mon, 01 Nov 2004 20:05:12 EDT - Link

October 29, 2004

Please

A polite request from the patio of a building just off Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, CA.

Fri, 29 Oct 2004 13:13:54 EDT - Link


Rethuglicans In Ohio

When Catherine Herold received mail from the Ohio Republican Party earlier this year, she refused it.

The longtime Barberton Democrat wanted no part of the mailing and figured that by refusing it, the GOP would have to pay the return postage.

What she didn't count on was the returned mail being used to challenge the validity of her voter registration.

Beacon Journal

Fri, 29 Oct 2004 11:55:58 EDT - Link

October 28, 2004

I Didn't Make The Bed This Morning

Miko, Tory James, and T-chan

Thu, 28 Oct 2004 15:10:51 EDT - Link

October 25, 2004

What's Your Sign?

The Hiptop has a stong following in the deaf and hard of hearing community, but today I learned that there is even a 'sign' in use for the Hiptop. (Would that be ASL slang?) The sign mimics the motion of the display rotating open, one hand being the base, and the other the display. How entirely cool is that?

Tue, 26 Oct 2004 00:04:04 EDT - Link

October 24, 2004

More Sounds: Summer Evening

This isn't really a podcast, It's just an MP3 of a Instrumental I recorded with Clayton Neece (a former housemate) one summer evening in our backyard. I'm doing the rythmn track in open tuning, and Clayton is providing the improvised lead. This was a single take, recorded onto an Akai CS-M01A cassette deck with a pair of inexpensive condensor microphones on boom stands. There's no reverb added, but I did balance the channels and mix them to reduce the stereo separation.

The tape was digitized and mixed in Steinberg's Wavelab Lite, and Cubasis VST (unfortunately, VST only runs on my old and infirm win98 laptop.) The mixdown .wav was converted to .mp3 in iTunes, and the ID3v2 tags added in HTagEditor. All of which took far longer than I would have liked. (Why can't I get iTunes to save the tags?

It's pretty clear that my audio setup needs a lot more work before I attempt a mixdown podcast.

Summer Evening is released under Creative Commons : Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 You may use it and abuse it for non-commercial use.

Listen to: Summer%20Evening.mp3

Sun, 24 Oct 2004 14:30:35 EDT - Link

October 22, 2004

I Told Ya. He's One Of Us.

John Kerry stopped by a local brewery in Wisconsin. He took a tour, and a sip.

That John Kerry, He's really one of us. It's Berghoff time!

Fri, 22 Oct 2004 20:17:10 EDT - Link


8100 Miles per Gallon?!?!?!

So says the history page of the Fancy Carol Shell Ecomarathon team in Japan. Okay, they actualy say 3444 km/L. You do the math. (Seriously. 1 kilometer = 0.6213712 miles, 1 Gal = 3.785412 Liters)

here is their home page. (Why are so many Japanese websites laden with frames?)

Fri, 22 Oct 2004 11:30:42 EDT - Link

October 21, 2004

The world though a pinhole

The Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day website has a wonderful collection of images taken on 25 April 2004, without the benefit (or detriment) of lenses.

I gave away my wet darkroom a couple of years ago, but images like these inspire me to give it another try.

Fri, 22 Oct 2004 01:45:15 EDT - Link


Sidekick II At Amazon For $24.99

amazon.com ad

Do your Christmas shopping early! Amazon

Disclosure: I had a little something to do with the design of the Sidekick II, and I'm really quite proud of it.

Thu, 21 Oct 2004 13:13:38 EDT - Link

October 20, 2004

Sorry Don

I wrestled with the descision, but last night I decided to add the John Kerry bumper sticker image to each of the paper airplane pages.

Today I found this entry in the paper airplane guestbook From Don in JAX Florida

Comments: Great site but please remove the Kerry Edwards Sign.. Remember there are children on this site too..

Yes, Don. I am acutely aware that children read this website, That's the reason why I avoid crude language throughout the site. But it's because of the kids that those signs are there.

I care enough about the kids that I've provided these designs to all of them, all over the world, for the last four years — all on my own dime. I care enough about the kids that I have placed my support behind the candidate I know in my heart will provide them with a better future. I want them to have clean air in which to fly their planes. I want them to grow up in an economy that lets their fathers and mothers to have good jobs, so that they can spend time folding paper and chasing in the yard, rather than taking on a second job to pay for health care. I want them to live in a country that is respected and admired in the world.

I'm hoping, like anyone who places a bumper sticker on their car, or a sign on their lawn, to get people to think about my candidate. I live and drive in California, which has already decided for Kerry, so bumper stickers or lawn signs have no chance of affecting this election.

My website, however, has national and global reach. I get hundereds of hits per day on the paper airplanes, but only a handful for this pathetic excuse for a weblog. ^_^;

I have no way of measuring the ratio of adult to child (or even US vs Global) readers, but judging from the guestbook, there might be a few undecided voters that I could help sway each day. I have to try to sway them. I didn't want to wake up on November 3rd knowing that there was something so simple I could have done. (And If you have a website, I urge you to do the same!)

By the way, these are not paid ads. Far from it. I pay for this site out of my own pocket. I decided to put them up on my own, and they will remain up through the election.

Wed, 20 Oct 2004 22:14:18 EDT - Link


Why I'm Voting For John Kerry #1

Kash over at Angry Bear gives us his five good reasons for voting for John Kerry: Economy, Iraq, Democracy, Budget and Terrorism.

I agree whole-heartedly with his Reality-Based reasons, so I won't repeat them here, but I have a few gut-level reasons for voting for John Kerry I'd add to a list:

John Kerry is More Likeable: I know this goes against the grain, but if I were at a party, and came across Kerry talking with folks in the kitchen, I'd probably hang out to see what he had to say. I like smart people, they tell smart jokes, and have interesting stories. I'd also suspect I'd find a fine local beer, or some California vintage in his hand, half full, but mostly forgotten, because if he's not talking, he's listening, and listening's more fun than drinking.

He's got interesting stories; he's traveled extensively and met with world leaders. He's been there, done that, and remembers why it mattered. He has a quick smile, and a genuine laugh, and doesn't laugh at his own jokes.

I'd love to talk to him about religion, I too was an alter boy, but left the church when it was disclaiming verifyable facts of science. (I suppose that's when I became a card-carring member of the Reality-Based Community). I'd like to plumb the reasons for his remaining. I'll bet they're persuasive.

One of the Media's memes is that altough I've got ample reason to vote against Dubya, I should still lean his way because he has a record as president (and gave a good speech to the firefighters at the WTC) and Kerry doesn't have a record and didn't give that speech.

There's a lot of reasons to vote for Kerry, but in the end it is a simple choice. I do not need to place him on a scale and see if he measures up to some arbitrary standard, I need only to weigh him against his opponent so see who I would personally rather follow for the next four years. John Kerry's that man.

Wed, 20 Oct 2004 11:42:43 EDT - Link


Bush Receives Endorsement From Iran

Yes. Really.

TEHRAN, Iran — The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday that the re-election of President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbors al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Newsday

Now THATS what I call realpolitiks.

Wed, 20 Oct 2004 11:42:43 EDT - Link

October 19, 2004

Reality-Based Community

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Without a Doubt by Ron Suskind in the New York Times Magazine

I'd spent most of my computer time last weekend doing a little back end tinkering on the site, but I'd seen links to this article, but had not read it until today.

Last summer I'd read (and highly recomend) Suskind's book on Paul O'Neil, and this article re-enforces and extends that story. This president, and his administration, have open contempt and naked disdain for fact.

Once Bill Clinton was asked what big idea he brought to Washington. "Mathmatics" was his response.

Dubya's big idea is "Faith". Faith is a good thing, but it's not the only thing.

Faith cannot grow trees.

Faith cannot keep the wings from breaking off airliners.

Faith cannot balance the budget of the United States.

Faith cannot change black to white, cold to hot, or up to down.

Faith cannot put humpty-dumpty back together again.

Faith cannot bring back the lives of the soldiers killed in Iraq.

And Faith alone cannot make peace.

Dubya is asking us to disclaim the inconvenient facts, to ignore his record and place our future in his resolute, blind faith.

No, Dubya. My eyes are open, I read the papers, and I have a calculator.

Oh yeah, I have Faith too. Faith that America will awake on November 2nd, and see the inconvienient facts. Faith that America will place a thoughtful man into the Whitehouse. Faith that we will again take up the unfinished work of creating a more perfect union.

Tue, 19 Oct 2004 15:08:22 EDT - Link

October 18, 2004

This is a test

Okay, added the permalinks to the homepage. Now I need to think about doing some podcasts.

Mon, 18 Oct 2004 23:19:30 EDT - Link


Backstage At The Interwebs

Permalinks are now working. One of the features of RSS 2.0 is that each item can optionaly contain a GUID (Global Unique IDentifier), and many rss readers and aggregators use them to keep track of items. My original feed didn't have them, and I saw a lot of duplicate items roll up in LiveJournal, so I added them, in the form of a URL, but without marking the atribute isPermaLink to true. Ever since then, LiveJournal has prominently displayed the guid at the top of each item, and starting now you can click them there (or wherever they show up in your favorite aggregator or reader) and you will be taken to a new page that displays only the entries from that day.

Now I have to do a little design work to add permalinks to the html on my homepage.

Mon, 18 Oct 2004 00:55:03 EDT - Link

October 15, 2004

The Power of Nightmares

During the three years in which the "war on terror" has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. The sheer number of incidents and warnings connected or attributed to the war has left little room, it seems, for heretical thoughts. In this context, the central theme of The Power of Nightmares is riskily counter-intuitive and provocative. Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism, the series argues, "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media." The series' explanation for this is even bolder: "In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power."

The Guardian UK

Here's a scary tought; maybe the administration really is doing okay on the War On Terror, because the reality of that threat isn't really as bad as what they've been saying.

That notion is a double-edged sword. On one hand comforting, because the threat of actually being the victim of a terrorist attack has been overblown. On the other hand, it would expose the war against Sadam as a cynical fraud — based on the (now disproven) connection between Sadam and the less than great and powerfull al-Qaida.

Fri, 15 Oct 2004 11:30:41 EDT - Link

October 12, 2004

Here's Your Mistake, Dubya. Here's Your Mistake.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons are disappearing from Iraq but neither Baghdad nor Washington appears to have noticed, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency reported on Monday.

...

The equipment — including high-precision milling and turning machines and electron-beam welders — and materials — such as high-strength aluminum — were tagged by the IAEA years ago, as part of the watchdog agency's shutdown of Iraq's nuclear program. U.N. inspectors then monitored the sites until their evacuation from Iraq just before the war.

The United States barred the inspectors' return after the war, preventing the IAEA from keeping tabs on the equipment and materials up to the present day.

Under anti-proliferation agreements, the U.S. occupation authorities who administered Iraq until June, and then the Iraqi interim government that took power at the end of June, would have to inform the IAEA if they moved or exported any of that material or equipment.

But no such reports have been received since the invasion, officials of the watchdog agency said.

Yahoo

Nov 2 is coming soon. Vote Dubya's incompetent administration out of office. We're in a real mess now, and we need some grown-ups in charge.

Tue, 12 Oct 2004 10:52:11 EDT - Link

October 11, 2004

7 Out Of 10 Economists Agree

The Angry Bear comments on and points to a survey in the Economist.

It ain't pretty for Dubya.

P.S. The Economist is a conservative publication.

Mon, 11 Oct 2004 20:46:05 EDT - Link

October 10, 2004

Show Your Support

I've added this graphic:

John Kerry Bumper Sticker

to the masthead of my website to show my support of John Kerry. I ask you to do the same. You can copy the image to your own website, or link to the graphic from mine. The important thing is to show your support. Link the graphic to www.JohnKerry.com.

Think of it as a bumper sticker that can be seen from all over the world.

P.S. Drop me a line with the URL of your site, and I'll link to it here.

Sun, 10 Oct 2004 15:53:50 EDT - Link


Oh, Get Over It.

There's been a lot of speculation about that rectangular bulge in the back of Dubya's suit during the first debate. Some are going so far as to claim he was equiped with a radio receiver so as to have Rovetounge's voice in his ear to feed him answers.

Get over it. It wasn't a reciever, it's just cover for the hole where Cheney sticks in his hand.

Sun, 10 Oct 2004 12:48:44 EDT - Link

October 8, 2004

Our Favorite Phone Ever

Cover of MobilePC November 2004

They Like it, they really like it!

Fri, 08 Oct 2004 13:18:47 EDT - Link


Another Day, Another Debate

Now we now know why the misadministration wanted to move the subject of Iraq to the first debate; Things are deteriorating so fast there that westerners are no longer safe even in the Green Zone, and there's this:

The chief US arms inspector has reported that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) at the time of last year's US-led invasion. The Standard

I Bet Dubya wished he could have had the Iraq debate a year and a half ago.

Tonight will be about domestic issues, which will prove no better for Dubya, since it's now official:

For their part, the Kerry campaign can truthfully assert that the US economy currently has lost a net of 821,000 total jobs since Bush was inaugurated, and 1.63 million private-sector jobs. (Yes, the Bush economy has been pretty good at creating more government jobs.) — Angry Bear

Fri, 08 Oct 2004 11:17:42 EDT - Link

October 6, 2004

Revenge Of The Nerds

Last night the VP mentioned that should we want information on Halliburton we should visit www.factcheck.com

Okay Dick. I Clicked. You should too, but put down your coffee first ;)

Wed, 06 Oct 2004 00:48:36 EDT - Link

October 5, 2004

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

You've all heard the childish claim that "Sadam was a Weapon Of Mass Destruction" from the right wing.

Do you suppose we on the left should now claim that Dubya was his own "No Fly Zone?" Naw. That'd be to childish.

Tue, 05 Oct 2004 20:32:39 EDT - Link


"It's A Wonder That They Still Know How To Breathe" or "Dumb And Getting Dumber"

The same poll in June showed that 56% of all Republicans said they thought Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks. In the latest poll that number actually climbs, to 62%.

Editor & Publisher

Tue, 05 Oct 2004 20:11:49 EDT - Link

October 4, 2004

Custom Hiptop Case

Caselogic Hiptop Case

I found the perfect case for the new Hiptop! (AKA Sidekick II) Alas, they haven't signed me for a promotional deal, that's another Palmer.

They have Other cases too, but when I saw the Palmer case I just had to have it.

Mon, 04 Oct 2004 18:45:11 EDT - Link


Volcano Alert? I'm More Worried About That Giant Fly!

Volcano Webcam

Mon, 04 Oct 2004 16:36:22 EDT - Link


Xprize Is Ovah

Congradulations to the Spaceship One Team. October 4th now hosts two Historical Space Events

Mon, 04 Oct 2004 12:32:34 EDT - Link

October 3, 2004

Ranma's Worst Nightmare

A-Akane Restaurant Sign

The Hiragana on the sign is "A—Akane", which is something that Ranma says.

The restaurant is in Los Altos, CA. The sushi is very good. (I think Kasumi runs the kitchen.)

Sun, 03 Oct 2004 19:03:02 EDT - Link

October 2, 2004

1994 Saturn/SW2 Wagon - 116K - Auto - $2250

Saturn Wagon



Good Condition, Minor ding in hood, minor scratches.

I'm selling because I got my Prius!

Kelly Blue Book for Private Party Value is:

Fair: $2,180

Good: $2,605

Asking: $2,250 (Negotiable)

Sat, 02 Oct 2004 19:08:23 EDT - Link

October 1, 2004

Sadly, no.

I have — I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions I've made. And I made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand.

— Dubya 2004 09 30

Actually Mr. pResident — no. They Don't.

PIPA did a little research, and most of your supporters are in fact confused about your stands on many, many issues. But you'd have known that if you read my blog this morning. You do read my blog, don't you?

Fri, 01 Oct 2004 16:51:12 EDT - Link

September 30, 2004

So Long, Hiroshima Okonomiyaki

I stopped by tonight to pick up dinner, and Hank (the owner) told me over the grill, "It's the last day. We close tonight."

Wife and I were there on opening day (I think were were customers three and four) and we were there on the last day. (And many in between.)

I sat in teary stunned silence while he cooked our dinners. On the way out, I bowed deeply and thanked him.

Sayonara Hiroshima Okonomiyaki, I'll miss you.

Fri, 01 Oct 2004 00:16:10 EDT - Link


Now THAT Was A Debate.

Jim Lehrer, Thank you. You did great. Those were solid, penetrating questions. Bygones.

Anyone who thinks Dubya won that debate was watching through rove-colored glasses.

Kerry looked presidential. Calm. Attentive. Respectfull. Likeable. He had a firm grasp on the facts. He played by the rules, and stretched past his time less often than Dubya. You know, maybe he should carry one of those light things with him for the rest of the campaign. Can't you see it? Kerry in front of a crowd, he takes a question, nodds, then pats his pockets, pulls out the box, and puts it on the front of the podium. The place would explode in laughter and applause.

Kerry did let a few pitches go past, I really think he should have nailed that "Voted For War" question. Something like:

Yes, I voted to give the President the authority to go to war, and I'd do it again, and should I become president I hope that the members of the other party would put partisan politics aside and do the same for me, should I need that authority.

Sadam had not responded to the UN resolutions. More pressure was required to get him to open his country to weapons inspectors. It worked. Faced with the treat of war, Sadam backed down and permited Hanz Blix back into Iraq.

Without that vote, that pressure would not have come to bear.

Without that vote, no inspections could have taken place.

Without that vote, the status of Sadam's weapons programs would have remained a mystery.

That's what I voted for, and Yes, I'd do it again.

Fri, 01 Oct 2004 00:03:09 EDT - Link


That's Not A Debate... This Is A Debate

I've watched Jim Lehrer's news show for years. He's a folksy guy with a good nose for news. He's also reaching that age where he's probably planning to retire. Here's how he could go out with a bang...

Tonight at the top of the dabate broadcast he should pull out that 32 page memorandum of understanding, face the camera and make a statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, the candidates came up with this set of rules, but I remember what a bunch of manure the debates were in 2000, and these rules make it even harder to get to the issues. Now I'm not going to shame the candidates my pointing out which ones asked for which restictions, but the simple fact is we are here to choose the next leader of the free world, than this (waves memorandum) is horse hocky. (Rips it in half)

Now, tonight's about foreign policy. I'm not going to ask questions. I'm going to name countries, and then you two debate the issues related to that country.

Let's start with Iraq. Mr. President, you won the coin toss, would you prefer to ask the first question, or answer it?

Thu, 30 Sep 2004 11:28:10 EDT - Link


I Don' Think You' Candidate Stan' For What You Think He a Stan' For

As the nation prepares to watch the presidential candidates debate foreign policy issues, a new PIPA-Knowledge Networks poll finds that Americans who plan to vote for President Bush have many incorrect assumptions about his foreign policy positions. Kerry supporters, on the other hand, are largely accurate in their assessments. The uncommitted also tend to misperceive Bush’s positions, though to a smaller extent than Bush supporters, and to perceive Kerry’s positions correctly. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments: “What is striking is that even after nearly four years President Bush’s foreign policy positions are so widely misread, while Senator Kerry, who is relatively new to the public and reputed to be unclear about his positions, is read correctly.”

PIPA

I think what's really going on here is that the folks being polled are thinking I think labor and environmental standards in trade agreements makes sense, so of course my favored candidate does too.

Thu, 30 Sep 2004 11:28:10 EDT - Link

September 29, 2004

I Wanna Be Like Mike (Melvill)

It looks like Spaceship One made the altitude for the first of two flights required to claim the X-Prize.

In the post flight interview, Burt Rutan mentiond that the ground controllers were reccomending astronuat Michael Melvill cut the engine as soon as the ship began an unscripted roll, (which developed into a corkscrew, putting my heart in my throat) but Melvill felt he could ride it a few more seconds — to the cutoff point for achiving the minimum altitude goal. He cut the engine 11 seconds before the sheduled time, but late enough to surpass the altitude by over 9 kilometers.

Melvill bounded out of the craft after landing exclaiming, "Now that was fun!".

Oh yes, I wanna be like Mike.

Wed, 29 Sep 2004 15:22:27 EDT - Link

September 28, 2004

Memo Found

I just got an email with a link to the 32 page Memorandum! It's at the Washington Post (.pdf)

Thanks Michael!

P.S. Yes, I really do need to fix the permalinks. I finaly figured out a simple and clean way to implement that function, and should have them working within a week.

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 14:28:47 EDT - Link


Memorandum of Obfuscation

Great. This years debates are being held under rules laid out in a 32 page Memorandum of Understanding between the parties.

I'll bet Dubya read all 32 of those pages.

But I can't. And You can't. Because for some reason the news media is thrilled to report on the Memorandum, but for some reason, none of the multitude of websites I've visited, including the Commission on Presidential Debates site has linked the actual 32 page document.

COME ON. We're not talking about National Security here. We're talking about the rules of the televised debates to choose the next leader of the free world.

If anyone finds a link, let me know.

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 11:37:11 EDT - Link


Galluping Bias, or Bent Poll?

Except that yesterday, they not only did it again, they apparently felt that a 7% GOP bias wasn't good enough. So they perpetrated the same fraud upon the media (including their partners CNN and USAT) and voters and this time used a 12% GOP bias in their likely voter screen. I kid you not.

Left Coast

Why would they do this? Why would they use a model so far removed from the evidence of voter turn out the last elections?

Do they really think that Democrats will stay away in droves from the voting booth?

Do they know of some October surprise?

Have they been shown a video of Osama Bin Laden being frog marched out of his cave — the one cave with the John Kerry yard sign planted by the GOP Special Opps Team in front?

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 11:14:25 EDT - Link


Router? We Don't Need No Steenkin' Router

D suggested we purchase the Linksys WRT54G to replace our old wireless access point. Halfway through the setup I realized that we didn't really want or need the router function, and there was no way to program the router as a passthough.

I spent a little while Googling for information on using it as an access point only, and found one encouraging tech support site which cheerfully suggested I sign up (only $9.95 a month) for that one critical bit of information.

I turned down their gracious offer, and was getting ready to return the router to the store when it hit me: I could connect the existing home network to one of the regular ports, and just leave the WAN port disconnected.

Now all of the traffic on the house twisted pair net goes to the wireless — and I've got the WRT54G is opperating as a basic wireless access point, with three spare switched ports, all at he same price as the WAP54G access point (which does not have the switched ports). One of those spare ports was used to replace the repeater I'd installed for the Playstation. Ya-ta! Thanks, D.

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 02:13:05 EDT - Link

September 27, 2004

Even More Ranma Fanart

Chai By Kokemomo

Kimi to Boku (You And Me) by Kokage

Ranma Special By Hinata

strawberry shortcake By banana

Sakura Drop By Ayuri

I love Ranma fanart, and from time to time prowl the links from one art site to another. I have to wonder if there was some super popular book on web design, since so many sites seem to be built on the a similar model.

Most sites open to a splash screen, with a link or graphic to click before you get to the main site. This practice has pretty much been dropped in the USA, with the exception of some Fortune 500 wannabees with more budget for Flash than user testing.

Once you are inside, most of the sites are heavy with frames, and many are laden with javascripts. Sometimes the frames work really well, and sometimes rather less so.

Many of the sites are 800x600 hostile; I suppose I need to upgrade my aged laptop one of these days.

I'm also jealous of the some of the dingbats-like gliphs in the Kanji fonts, the musical note makes an especially fun punctuation mark.

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 00:19:10 EDT - Link


50.3 MPG

I finaly filled the Prius for the first time this morning; 8.617 gallons after 434 miles. This includes a week of commutes, test drives with freinds, acceleration tests (wow!) and a couple of 'extra' trips to try it out.

The buzz on the net is that I should expect the milage to increase after a break-in period.

In other news, today in New York, crude oil rose to a record $49.74 per Barrel.

Mon, 27 Sep 2004 20:38:28 EDT - Link

September 25, 2004

Two Hiptop Family

We picked up a second Hiptop II for wife at the T-Mobile store at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose today. They still have a couple in stock.

Ask for Aldolfo!

Sat, 25 Sep 2004 16:24:53 EDT - Link

September 24, 2004

Sneak Pix of Sidekick II

Since you can now walk out of a T-Mobile stire with a Sidekick II, I figured it would be a matter of days before someone took one apart for photos. Please don't void your warranty, just look at these.

M1 PCB

M1 PCB

Fri, 24 Sep 2004 13:57:38 EDT - Link


Bluetooth MP3?

I've been looking into adding MP3 playback to my Prius, and so far I'm not satisfied with the solutions I've found. The stereo system already has a 6 CD changer, but I've been spoiled by iTunes. 6 ordinary CDs just isn't enough. (And this from a guy who only had AM-FM in his last car.)

There are some aftermarket wiring harnesses, but I'm not even sure that they are compatable, since there may not even be a changer expansion jack on the 6 CD deck. In any case, going to RCA jacks and treating an MP3 player like a dumb CD changer is simply going in the wrong direction.

My ideal car stereo includes a hard drive and 802.11 connection, so that I could just sync my collection to the car, but there is abother option...

The car stereo is already wired for Bluetooth phone applications. It could talk to a Bluetooth MP3 player. That data pipe is bi-directional, and all of the information that the MP3 player has could be shared with the car's LCD display system; song lists, transport controls, even album art.

I'm guessing that the stereo in the 2004 Prius doesn't have the right stuff to deal with MP3 packets, but since nearly all of the plumbing is already there we'll see it in future models.

Fri, 24 Sep 2004 13:39:00 EDT - Link


Losing The Thread

I was catching up on The Daily Show (Thanks, Tivo) and just saw the interview with Richard Clark (Former head of anti-terrorism).

He made one of those oh yeah observations; why are we killing people in Iraq?

Do they have any Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Did they support Sadam?

Did they support Al-Qaida?

Just what are we doing?

Fri, 24 Sep 2004 01:49:39 EDT - Link

September 22, 2004

Le Nozze di Figaro

Opera San Jose has arrived in its new home in the beautifly restored Historic California Theater. The California is far larger and more ornate than thier privious home at the Montgomery, and I was concerned that the larger space would overwealm the cast, but last night's performance of The Marriage of Figaro put an end to my concerns.

The sound in the California is good, though different from the Montgomery. From our fourth row seats the violins have lost thier individuality—in the old theater the sounds of rosin on string were more apparent, more live. In the new theater the woodwinds are now fully under the stage, and the oboes and bassoons were obscured and muted. Overall, the effect was to take the edge off each of the instruments, and at first I was a little dissapointed. I had become accustomed to the sound from our seats in the old theater. (Note: I can only report on sound from our seats, the mix will be different in the balcony where you have a direct sound from the instruments.)

As the evening progressed, my opinion changed. The new theater has a warm, big room sound, with no noticable echo. It works well for quiet passages, and fills wonderfully on the larger.

Joseph Wright (Figaro) must love the new theater. His voice can be comfortably heard above the volume of the orchestra, and the 4X larger stage gives him room to move about. Unlike the Montgomery, the stage of the California appears to be free of dead-zones, all of the cast could be heard from any location in the set.

Sandra Rubalcava was playfull and wonderful as Susanna, one of the more difficult rolls in opera because she is on the stage for so much of the perfomance.

David Babinet Sang and Acted Count Almaviva brilliantly, a perfect mix of villan and dupe.

For me Deborah Berioli's (Countess Almaviva's) aria "And Susanna comes not" was the high point of the evening, It's one of my favorite Mozart pieces, and her voice filled the hall. I literally had goosebumps. It also sealed my impressions of the California Theater. That aria comfortably filled the new hall with emotion and sound. That same performance would have simply been too big for the Montgomery Theater, where I frequently found my ears overloaded by the volume of a strong singer.

Opera San Jose Debut Season in the California Theatre:
September 18, 2004 - April 24, 2005

Wed, 22 Sep 2004 16:36:28 EDT - Link


Oh, I Hope Not.

Yesterday Dubya delivered an address at the UN general assembly. He was speaking of Afghanistan and Iraq, and following one of his characteristic overly-long pauses began the next paragraph with:

These two nations will be a model for the broader Middle East, a region where millions have been denied basic human rights and simple justice.

As is his habit of speech, he delivered the comma as a full period stop. I imagine that many of the delegates felt a jolt of icy adrenaline as they imagned a region full of Afganistans and Iraqs.

Afghanistan and Iraq will be a model for the broader Middle East? Doesn't our pResident read newspapers [wait—he literally said he doesn't]. Doesn't he watch CNN? [no—just Faux News and Bassmasters on OLN]. Internet? [Yeah. Right.]

Afghanistan and Iraq will be a model for the broader Middle East? Sounds like a model for World War III to me.

Wed, 22 Sep 2004 11:10:50 EDT - Link


I'm Being Followed By A Moon Shadow, No It's John Ashcroft.

Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf Islam) was the cause of the airliner diversion to Bangor. He was questioned, then ejected from the country.

I don't know about you, but I'll sleep Much Better ™ tonight.

Wed, 22 Sep 2004 03:30:01 EDT - Link

September 21, 2004

It's Here.

Sidekick II

Exclusively at T-Mobile

This is what I've been working on when I'm not blogging.

Tue, 21 Sep 2004 20:31:06 EDT - Link

September 20, 2004

A Letter From John Kerry

This election is about choices. The most important choices a president makes are about protecting America at home and around the world. A president's first obligation is to make America safer, stronger and truer to our ideals.

Three years ago, the events of September 11 reminded every American of that obligation. That day brought to our shores the defining struggle of our times: the struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism. And it made clear that our most important task is to fight and to win the war on terrorism.

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America's ideals. We must reach them.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America's strength — strong alliances, to help us stop the world's most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America's power — our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values — each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made and the choices I would make to fight and win the war on terror.

That means we must have a great honest national debate on Iraq. The president claims it is the centerpiece of his war on terror. In fact, Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.

This month, we passed a cruel milestone: more than 1,000 Americans lost in Iraq. Their sacrifice reminds us that Iraq remains, overwhelmingly, an American burden. Nearly 90 percent of the troops — and nearly 90 percent of the casualties — are American. Despite the president's claims, this is not a grand coalition.

Our troops have served with extraordinary bravery, skill and resolve. Their service humbles all of us. When I speak to them when I look into the eyes of their families, I know this: we owe them the truth about what we have asked them to do and what is still to be done.

In June, the president declared, "The Iraqi people have their country back." Just last week, he told us: "This country is headed toward democracy. Freedom is on the march."

But the administration's own official intelligence estimate, given to the president last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the president is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating, for us and for the Iraqis.

42 Americans died in Iraq in June — the month before the handover. But 54 died in July — 66 in August and already 54 halfway through September.

And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August — more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever widening war-zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times — a 400% increase.

Falluja, Ramadi, Samarra, even parts of Baghdad — are now "no go zones" — breeding grounds for terrorists who are free to plot and launch attacks against our soldiers. The radical Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in the suburbs of Baghdad.

Violence against Iraqis from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Residents of Baghdad are suffering electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day.

Raw sewage fills the streets, rising above the hubcaps of our Humvees. Children wade through garbage on their way to school.

Unemployment is over 50 percent. Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 for tossing grenades at passing U.S. convoys.

Yes, there has been some progress, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Schools, shops and hospitals have been opened. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails.

But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they're sitting on the fence instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth — the truth that the commander in chief owes to our troops and the American people.

It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. But it's essential if we want to correct our course and do what's right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

The president has said that he "miscalculated" in Iraq and that it was a "catastrophic success." In fact, the president has made a series of catastrophic decisions from the beginning in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the president's failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

His two main rationales — weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection — have been proved false by the president's own weapons inspectors and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

The president also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.

He didn't tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn't tell us that he wouldn't take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn't tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn't tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured.

And America will pay an even heavier price for the president's lack of candor.

At home, the American people are less likely to trust this administration if it needs to summon their support to meet real and pressing threats to our security.

Abroad, other countries will be reluctant to follow America when we seek to rally them against a common menace — as they are today. Our credibility in the world has plummeted.

In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: "The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."

How many world leaders have that same trust in America's president, today?

This president's failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war.

The president now admits to "miscalculations" in Iraq.

That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment — and judgment is what we look for in a president.

This is all the more stunning because we're not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings... major outside studies... and even some in the administration itself... predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.

This president was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we'd be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq's infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the president has held no one accountable, including himself.

In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.

General Shinseki said it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He was retired. Economic adviser Larry Lindsey said that Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion. He was fired. After the successful entry into Baghdad, George Bush was offered help from the UN — and he rejected it. He even prohibited any nation from participating in reconstruction efforts that wasn't part of the original coalition — pushing reluctant countries even farther away. As we continue to fight this war almost alone, it is hard to estimate how costly that arrogant decision was. Can anyone seriously say this president has handled Iraq in a way that makes us stronger in the war on terrorism?

By any measure, the answer is no. Nuclear dangers have mounted across the globe. The international terrorist club has expanded. Radicalism in the Middle East is on the rise. We have divided our friends and united our enemies. And our standing in the world is at an all time low.

Think about it for a minute. Consider where we were... and where we are. After the events of September 11, we had an opportunity to bring our country and the world together in the struggle against the terrorists. On September 12, headlines in newspapers abroad declared "we are all Americans now." But through his policy in Iraq, the president squandered that moment and rather than isolating the terrorists, left America isolated from the world.

We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to our security. It had not, as the vice president claimed, "reconstituted nuclear weapons."

The president's policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America.

Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this president's watch — the emerging nuclear danger from Iran — the tons and kilotons of unsecured chemical and nuclear weapons in Russia — and the increasing instability in Afghanistan.

Today, warlords again control much of that country, the Taliban is regrouping, opium production is at an all time high and the Al Qaeda leadership still plots and plans, not only there but in 60 other nations. Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains. He slipped away. We then diverted our focus and forces from the hunt for those responsible for September 11 in order invade Iraq.

We know Iraq played no part in September 11 and had no operational ties to Al Qaeda.

The president's policy in Iraq precipitated the very problem he said he was trying to prevent. Secretary of State Powell admits that Iraq was not a magnet for international terrorists before the war. Now it is, and they are operating against our troops. Iraq is becoming a sanctuary for a new generation of terrorists who someday could hit the United States.

We know that while Iraq was a source of friction, it was not previously a source of serious disagreement with our allies in Europe and countries in the Muslim world.

The president's policy in Iraq divided our oldest alliance and sent our standing in the Muslim world into free fall. Three years after 9/11, even in many moderate Muslim countries like Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey, Osama bin Laden is more popular than the United States of America.

Let me put it plainly: The president's policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.

Two years ago, Congress was right to give the president the authority to use force to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. This president, any president would have needed the threat of force to act effectively. This president misused that authority.

The power entrusted to the president gave him a strong hand to play in the international community. The idea was simple. We would get the weapons inspectors back in to verify whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And we would convince the world to speak with one voice to Saddam: disarm or be disarmed.

A month before the war, President Bush told the nation: "If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully. We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side and we will prevail." He said that military action wasn't "unavoidable."

Instead, the president rushed to war without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work. He went without a broad and deep coalition of allies. He acted without making sure our troops had enough body armor. And he plunged ahead without understanding or preparing for the consequences of the post-war. None of which I would have done.

Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no — because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe.

Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the "capability" to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it's not a reason, it's an excuse. Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

I would have concentrated our power and resources on defeating global terrorism and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. I would have tightened the noose and continued to pressure and isolate Saddam Hussein — who was weak and getting weaker — so that he would pose no threat to the region or America.

The president's insistence that he would do the same thing all over again in Iraq is a clear warning for the future. And it makes the choice in this election clear: more of the same with President Bush or a new direction that makes our troops and America safer. It is time, at long last, to ask the questions and insist on the answers from the commander in chief about his serious misjudgments and what they tell us about his administration and the president himself. If George W. Bush is re-elected, he will cling to the same failed policies in Iraq — and he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

In Iraq, we have a mess on our hands. But we cannot throw up our hands. We cannot afford to see Iraq become a permanent source of terror that will endanger America's security for years to come.

All across this country people ask me what we should do now. Every step of the way, from the time I first spoke about this in the Senate, I have set out specific recommendations about how we should and should not proceed. But over and over, when this administration has been presented with a reasonable alternative, they have rejected it and gone their own way. This is stubborn incompetence.

Five months ago, in Fulton, Missouri, I said that the president was close to his last chance to get it right. Every day, this president makes it more difficult to deal with Iraq — harder than it was five months ago, harder than it was a year ago. It is time to recognize what is — and what is not — happening in Iraq today. And we must act with urgency.

Just this weekend, a leading Republican, Chuck Hagel, said we're "in deep trouble in Iraq ... it doesn't add up ... to a pretty picture [and] ... we're going to have to look at a recalibration of our policy." Republican leaders like Dick Lugar and John McCain have offered similar assessments.

We need to turn the page and make a fresh start in Iraq.

First, the president has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don't have to go it alone. It is late; the president must respond by moving this week to gain and regain international support.

Last spring, after too many months of resistance and delay, the president finally went back to the U.N. which passed Resolution 1546. It was the right thing to do — but it was late.

That resolution calls on U.N. members to help in Iraq by providing troops, trainers for Iraq's security forces, a special brigade to protect the U.N. mission, more financial assistance, and real debt relief.

Three months later, not a single country has answered that call. And the president acts as if it doesn't matter.

And of the $13 billion previously pledged to Iraq by other countries, only $1.2 billion has been delivered.

The president should convene a summit meeting of the world's major powers and Iraq's neighbors, this week, in New York, where many leaders will attend the U.N. General Assembly. He should insist that they make good on that U.N. resolution. He should offer potential troop contributors specific, but critical roles, in training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq's borders. He should give other countries a stake in Iraq's future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq's oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

This will be difficult. I and others have repeatedly recommended this from the very beginning. Delay has made only made it harder. After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this president may not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq. But we cannot hope to succeed unless we rebuild and lead strong alliances so that other nations share the burden with us. That is the only way to succeed.

Second, the president must get serious about training Iraqi security forces.

Last February, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that more than 210,000 Iraqis were in uniform. Two weeks ago, he admitted that claim was exaggerated by more than 50 percent. Iraq, he said, now has 95,000 trained security forces.

But guess what? Neither number bears any relationship to the truth. For example, just 5,000 Iraqi soldiers have been fully trained, by the administration's own minimal standards. And of the 35,000 police now in uniform, not one has completed a 24-week field-training program. Is it any wonder that Iraqi security forces can't stop the insurgency or provide basic law and order?

The president should urgently expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries. And he should stop misleading the American people with phony, inflated numbers.

Third, the president must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.

Last week, the administration admitted that its plan was a failure when it asked Congress for permission to radically revise spending priorities in Iraq. It took 17 months for them to understand that security is a priority, 17 months to figure out that boosting oil production is critical, 17 months to conclude that an Iraqi with a job is less likely to shoot at our soldiers.

One year ago, the administration asked for and received $18 billion to help the Iraqis and relieve the conditions that contribute to the insurgency. Today, less than a $1 billion of those funds have actually been spent. I said at the time that we had to rethink our policies and set standards of accountability. Now we're paying the price.

Now, the president should look at the whole reconstruction package, draw up a list of high visibility, quick impact projects, and cut through the red tape. He should use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton. He should stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption. And he should fire the civilians in the Pentagon responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort.

Fourth, the president must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year.

Credible elections are key to producing an Iraqi government that enjoys the support of the Iraqi people and an assembly to write a Constitution that yields a viable power sharing arrangement.

Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the president agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt. Because the security situation is so bad and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission, the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

The president should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. This won't be easy. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N. We should also intensify the training of Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened. Otherwise, U.S forces would end up bearing those burdens alone.

If the president would move in this direction, if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces, train the Iraqis to provide their own security, develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people, and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year — we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as president today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world's responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden. We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security. We must move forward with reconstruction, because that's essential to stop the spread of terror. And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it's up to them to run their own country. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read "Mission Accomplished." He declared to the American people: "In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective — a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.

In Iraq, this administration's record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.

At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the president has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.

The president often says that in a post 9/11 world, we can't hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.

George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

George Bush has not told the truth to the American people about why we went to war and how the war is going. I have and I will continue to do so.

I believe the invasion of Iraq has made us less secure and weaker in the war against terrorism. I have a plan to fight a smarter, more effective war on terror — and make us safer.

Today, because of George Bush's policy in Iraq, the world is a more dangerous place for America and Americans.

If you share my conviction that we can not go on as we are that we can make America stronger and safer than it is then November 2 is your chance to speak and to be heard. It is not a question of staying the course, but of changing the course.

I'm convinced that with the right leadership, we can create a fresh start and move more effectively to accomplish our goals. Our troops have served with extraordinary courage and commitment. For their sake, and America's sake, we must get this right. We must do everything in our power to complete the mission and make America stronger at home and respected again in the world.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

John Kerry

Mon, 20 Sep 2004 17:45:09 EDT - Link


Miserable Failure

An informal, unscientific survey of historians conducted at my suggestion by HNN found that eight in ten historians responding rated the current presidency an overall failure. Of 415 academic historians who expressed a view of President Bush's administration so far as a success or failure, 338 (81 percent) classified it as a failure and 77 (19 percent) as a success. Twelve percent of all the historians who responded rated the current presidency the worst in all of American history.

History News Network

It's an interesting read, and it really puts some historical perspective into how bad things have been before. So far Dubya's only got 12% of the Worst President Ever vote. Given four more years I'm sure he could bring those numbers up.

Mon, 20 Sep 2004 11:25:40 EDT - Link

September 18, 2004

Spanked

Dan sent me an email last night reminding me that some agrigators automatically use the guid as a permalink.

I know, I know. It was an ugly hack on my part but I do plan to make those work real soon now ™.

Sat, 18 Sep 2004 14:16:51 EDT - Link


Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Dashboard of Prius

Well, It's here. I took delivery last night at Stevens Creek Toyota. We're still getting acquainted, but I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

It’s definitely a she.

Sat, 18 Sep 2004 14:10:26 EDT - Link

September 17, 2004

Quote of the Day

...what's important for the journalist is not how close you are to power but how close you are to reality.

Journalism Under Fire by Bill Moyers

Fri, 17 Sep 2004 18:20:23 EDT - Link


Random Thoughts

The Trade Secrets show shook loose a couple of odd memories...

A couple of years ago I was sitting at lunch with other Dangerites, and I told them my theory of patents:

I think we need a patent jury system. A patent challenge would envolve calling a panel who are "skilled in the art" expressed in the patent. The jury would be paid by the challenge fee, and provided with pizza and beer, then the patent examiner would describe the problem to the jury, and give them three hours to see if they come up with the same solution that was covered in the patent. If the examiner judges the solutions to be similar enough to the patent, then the idea expressed in the patent would be judged to be invalid.

After I expressed that idea, F jumped in with:

"If that was on TV I'd watch it."

Trade Secrets is like that show.

Fri, 17 Sep 2004 14:14:07 EDT - Link


The Secret Is Out

"This is a bad place for fans of George W Bush"

Trade Secrets Radio is the name of Adam Curry and Dave Winer's new trans-oceanic internet radio program.

It's an odd mix of technology and politics, but I really like it. Give it a listen.

In a related matter, the Guitar Center flyer I got in the mail today has a nice bundle of Cubase & and a high quality PCI A/D card. Hmmm....

- Link

September 16, 2004

Testing 1,2,3

I just realised that I haven't tested my back end software against my Hiptop in a while, so that's what I'm doing now.

Thu, 16 Sep 2004 18:15:54 EDT - Link


Bounce? What Bounce?

The Harris poll, conducted by telephone Sept. 9-13, shows Sen. Kerry leading Mr. Bush 48% to 47% among likely voters nationwide. The poll also found that a slender 51% to 45% majority doesn't believe that Mr. Bush deserves to be re-elected.

Wall Street Journal

So, 51% to 45% is a slender majority?

Thu, 16 Sep 2004 10:57:03 EDT - Link

September 14, 2004

Europeans Overwhelmingly Favor Kerry for President

If Europeans could vote in the U.S. presidential election, they would pick John Kerry over George W. Bush by a nearly 6-to-1 majority, the latest HI Europe poll shows.

The Blogging of the President Via Adam Curry

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 10:36:45 EDT - Link


Grrr.

Hmmm. It looks like I'll have to add an html link to the RSS feed along with the attachment, neither Sharp Reader nor Live Journal display a link to the attachment. I'll get to it before I release new audio, but untill then you can get to the audio files from my home page.

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 01:25:33 EDT - Link


Ranma Audio Fanfiction: Red

I just remembered that I have another audio work that I can publish via RSS: an audio recording of my Ranma Fanfiction Red from July 23, 1999. I recorded this in short sections, and edited them together on my BeBox. (I had to record it in short bits because I kept choking up while I was reading it.)

If you like it, please let me know.

Listen to: Red.mp3

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 00:43:33 EDT - Link


RSS Enclosures

I've been listening to Adam Curry's Daily Source code audio feed, and he got me fired up enough to add the ability to publish RSS media enclosures with items. I'm still working out the details of my recording system, so here's that 12 second Russian Joke again. Com'on, give it a listen!

Listen to: RussianJoke.mp3

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 00:23:55 EDT - Link

September 13, 2004

Memogate

Back in the 80's I worked at a company that was building a document retreival system for microfilm. The heart of the system was an OEM camera-scanner that would show the image of the microfilm on a computer display. The resolution of the output was similar to a fax machine, and in fact we literally hacked into the hardware of an early digital fax machine to use it as a printer.

Now I'm no expert on typewriters, but I recall that our old Smith-Corona had a wonderful scent of machine oil and ink, and that it had a few extra characters like the true 1/2 symbol, and that you could easily roll the paper down a bit to place something above the baseline. I expect that any day now that an army surplus typewriter, with the th key (Handy for typing 187th) will show up on Ebay, putting an end to that argument.

My guess right now is that the documents are authentic, but that the originals were destroyed years ago, and that the images we see now were retrived via a digital microfilm scanner, at fax resolution, from the middle of a roll of microfilm containing numerous other documents from that era, and that the authenticity of that roll of microfilm is incontrovertible.

Mon, 13 Sep 2004 14:19:16 EDT - Link


Nine Years Of Summer

Nine years (and eight days) ago I released Summer, the third of the seasons stories, and it's Talswapr's favorite of the series.

A little while after it was released there was buzz about a new web tool that would analyze a page, and try to reduce the content to a minimum. Summer was reduced to one word: “Chicken.”

After months of silence, I've recently begun getting email requests to finish Yellow. I'm hoping I'll be back in the mood to write on November Third. (For World readers, that's the day after the US election.) If John Kerry wins I promise my readers a nice Christmas present!

Mon, 13 Sep 2004 13:19:29 EDT - Link

September 12, 2004

Vandals For Bush

Scratched car

On Saturday September 11, I found that my car had been vandalized in the San Jose Airport car park. Yes, I'd flown on the anniversary of 9/11, on American Airlines, no less.

Perhaps the vandal just has something against small red cars parked neatly in the middle of clearly marked spaces.

I doubt it.

Perhaps the vandal thought clearly the person who owns this car isn't supporting my favored candidate for president, but a couple of deep scratches on his hood should set him running right into Dubya's arms.

It didn't.

Perhaps the vandal was thinking that his little act of petty domestic terrorism was heroic.

It wasn't.

Sun, 12 Sep 2004 21:53:38 EDT - Link

September 8, 2004

The Finn Brothers - Everyone Is Here

Finn Brothers Cover

It's a very good day, first The Blue Nile's High, and now a new album of pop for grown-ups from the Finn Brothers.

Maybe I'll go buy a lottery ticket!

Wed, 08 Sep 2004 17:30:09 EDT - Link


The Blue Nile - HIGH

HIGH CD cover

The Blue Nile has always been very near the top of my 'favorite bands' list. After an eight year wait comes a new release, High.

It was worth every day of those eight years. It's simply that good.

Wed, 08 Sep 2004 17:09:16 EDT - Link


John Zogby Looks At Newsweek's Numbers

Newsweek Chart

Directly following the RNC, both Time and Newsweek released polls that Dubya had made big gains. CNN was all over that story like Frances on Florida, and I can only imagine what Faux News was saying. Other Polls taken at the same time were not showing anything like those sorts of gains, and a few days after the startling results of the Time poll were released, it was revealed that for reasons unspecified, they had inexplicably began counting 'leaners' who were not counted in previous polls.

Yesterday John Zogby got some information on the Newsweek poll and found that they had reshuffled the electorate, shaving 8% from the Democratic ranks, giving 5% to the Independants, and 3% to the Republicans.

I could speculate as to why two major news magazines, each part of huge media empires, published results that were at best poorly founded, and at worst calculated to tap into the advertising budgets of the candidates, but that would be irresponsible. Almost as irresponsible as publishing bogus polls, if I had access to the national media echo machine.

Wed, 08 Sep 2004 02:29:36 EDT - Link

September 7, 2004

1001

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Tue, 07 Sep 2004 16:47:02 EDT - Link

September 3, 2004

Strange Dream Smashup

Hopefully unrelated to the election, I had a very stange dream last night: Jed Clampet (played by Buddy Ebsen) and Daisy "Granny" Moses (played by Irene Ryan) were sitting in their kitchen in Beverly Hills. When Jed started to speak, he was delivering lines from Ebsen's roll in Barnaby Jones, and when Granny spoke, she was using lines from other episodes of the the Beverly Hillbillies, totaly unrelated to the scene they were in.

The scene changed back and forth from the Kitchen to the beat-up truck, each gesturing exactly as they would have in scenes delivered in those locations, but delivering words wildly unrelated to the moment.

By morning the actual dialoge had evaporated from my memory. I sincerly hope that it was just dreamed up—I don't want to find that I have dedicated much of my memory to 60's sit-coms, and 70's cop shows. I never was much of a fan of Barnaby Jones, my brother was, he watched each and every episode, just waiting and hoping for Ebson to say "Welllll—Dogies."

P.S. Jed had some great sayings, like "lower than a well-diggers heel." and "lower than a snakes-belly in a wagon-rut".

Oh wait, you know maybe that's the connection to the RNC convention...

Fri, 03 Sep 2004 11:31:14 EDT - Link


The Words

The election comes down to this. If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush. But if you believe America needs to move in a new direction, join with us. John and I offer a better plan that will make us stronger at home and more respected in the world. We offer responsible leadership and with your help, we're going to bring that leadership to the Washington!

For four days in New York, instead of talking about real plans for creating jobs, strengthening the economy, expanding health care, and bringing down gas prices, we heard almost nothing but anger and insults from the Republicans. And I'll tell you why. It's because they can't talk about the real issues facing Americans. They can't talk about their record because it's a record of failure.

Tonight, President Bush got up and told us that he's got a plan for the economy. That's exactly what he said four years ago. But with the largest deficit in American history, I don't think we can afford four more years of this president's plans. That's because for four years, this president has taken us in the wrong direction.

Remarks of John Kerry Springfield OH, September 2, 2004

This link contains only about half of Kerry's words. (And appears to be the part that CNN et.al. carried live.) C-span2 carried the remainder of his remarks, where he talked about the people he's met, and the places he's seen. The part that CNN carried was all Dean, the part that followed was all Clinton.

Fri, 03 Sep 2004 11:31:14 EDT - Link


After Midnight, We're Gonna Let It All Hang Down

John Kerry let Bush have his day, then at midnight eastern time he delivered a electrifying reply from Springfeild Ohio. (Thank you, c-span2)

It was one of those inspired locations, where the over-the-sholder shots showed a sea of very ordinary people in front of the sort of small town American buildings that Norman Rockwell would have used as background.

From time to time you could hear some heckling from the back of the crowd, and that's all American too. At least they let them in.

Fri, 03 Sep 2004 00:39:39 EDT - Link

September 2, 2004

Oh No Ya Don't!

For tonights Great A merican Shout Out I've elected to go back to my Minnesotan roots, you betcha.

Thu, 02 Sep 2004 19:49:58 EDT - Link


We've Really Turned That Corner Now.

Economic Chart

Read the analysis by Kash at Angry Bear.

Also Check out all of this morning's post, here's a preview:

Boy, I'm sure glad to be living in a time of Bush Prosperity! In the past 3 1/2 years Bush Prosperity has brought us: * Median household incomes that have fallen by 3.5% (according to the Census Bureau)
* 4.3 million more people in poverty (according to Census)
* 1.1 million fewer people working in the US (according to the CES)
* 2.2 million more people unemployed in the US (according to the CPS)
* An extra $1.0 trillion in government debt (through October 2004)
* A forecast of $1.8 trillion in additional government borrowing between 2005-2010 (according to the CBO)

Thu, 02 Sep 2004 11:55:25 EDT - Link

September 1, 2004

Frances On The Way

Server Location

This website is hosted out of Boca Raton, Florida (I think). If I'm off the air this weekend, this is why.

Ya'll hold on tight down there, my thoughts are with you. Be safe.

Wed, 01 Sep 2004 16:48:09 EDT - Link

August 31, 2004

Secrets, Secrets And More Secrets

Kevin Drum reports that the names of the platform committee members of the Republican party are a closely held secret.

Tue, 31 Aug 2004 16:41:38 EDT - Link


Domino Theory Revisited

Remember the domino theory of the '60s? The one that said if Vietnam falls to communism, then communism would spread from country to country in the region? Well, its back, but time its not communism, it's fundamentalist islam.

The first domino, Iran, fell with the peacock throne twenty five tears ago.

The second domino, Iraq, collapsed with the overthrow of Sadam.

The third domino...

Fred Kaplan of Slate is even more pessimistic. "This is a terribly grim thing to say," he wrote recently, "but there might be no solution to the problem of Iraq" - no way to produce "a stable, secure, let alone democratic regime. And there's no way we can just pull out without plunging the country, the region, and possibly beyond into still deeper disaster." Deeper disaster? Yes: people who worried about Ramadi are now worrying about Pakistan.

A No-Win Situation by Paul Krugman. He's talking about this article in Slate.

Tue, 31 Aug 2004 11:43:49 EDT - Link

August 30, 2004

Close Your Tags

</BUSH>

Image Source: Kyle, via haacked.com via boingboing.net

I rarely post images that I havn't taken myself, I hope the attribution is enough. This image was just too good to pass up, and besides, I'm sure the protester who made the sign won't mind seeing the message in a few other places. ^_^

Mon, 30 Aug 2004 20:11:03 EDT - Link

August 27, 2004

Drip... Drip... Drip...

Four years ago, this page endorsed George W. Bush for president. We cannot do so again — because of an ill-conceived war and its aftermath, undisciplined spending, a shrinkage of constitutional rights and an intrusive social agenda.

The Seattle Times

Fri, 27 Aug 2004 14:26:17 EDT - Link


Hobin Rood

Instead, note only that this is yet another article on Greenspan's Social Security agenda that fails to mention his leading role first in pushing for increases in the regressive payroll taxes in the 1980s to secure the system and then, two decades later, advocating for George Bush's massively regressive tax cuts — tax cuts that are, of course, the underlying cause of the ostensible Social Security "crisis" he’s so worried about now. It’s simply the most brazen and drawn-out Robin Hood-in-reverse scheme I've ever heard of, and it's worth emphasizing every time the Maestro opens his mouth on the subject.

Sam Rosenfeld at The American Prospect

Fri, 27 Aug 2004 13:55:51 EDT - Link


Wobegon

Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned-and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore Garrison Keillor

Fri, 27 Aug 2004 11:12:24 EDT - Link


Leave It To Fark

Lawyer resigns from Bush campaign because he gave legal advice to anti-Kerry group that has no connection to Bush campaign

Fark is one of those meta-blogs, where there's a tradition of coming up with the most inspired headlines for the linked stories. Not surprisingly, that headline is a perfect distilation of the Reuters article

Fri, 27 Aug 2004 11:12:24 EDT - Link


Et Tu Brute?

The New York financial community is expected to give the Republicans a lavish welcome when the president's party arrives for its national convention next week. Wall Street has been a big contributor to Mr Bush's record-breaking re-election fund. But one senior Wall Street figure, once talked of as a possible Bush cabinet member, said that he and other prominent Republicans had been raising money with increasing reluctance. “Many are doing so with a heavy heart and some not at all.” He cited foreign policy and the ballooning federal deficit as Wall Street Republicans' main concerns.

Republican fundraisers on Wall St shy away from Bush The Financial Times

Oh—oh. Conservatives with calculators.

Fri, 27 Aug 2004 01:17:44 EDT - Link

August 25, 2004

Shout Out

All Franken is promoting a movement where as Dubya takes the stage at the RNC, everyone who is opposed to his re-election should go to the window, open it up and shout "Fugetaboutit!". But that's pretty much a New York

This morning he asked for the regional variants of "Fugetaboutit!"

Vermont Ayup. Don't think so.
Tennessee Y'all git on outa he-ah.
Florida Enough already.
California No, Dude.
Minnesota Oh, no you don't.

More at greatamericanshoutout.org

Wed, 25 Aug 2004 13:55:27 EDT - Link

August 24, 2004

67 Cubic Miles Of Oil

1,750 Gb, the estimate of all the conventional oil that there ever was or ever will be, is less than the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in one 24 hour day.

1,750 Gb of oil is equal to 67 cubic miles. The (conventional) oil already consumed globally, plus all the oil yet to be consumed, could be fit into a cube slightly over 4 miles on a side!

If spread over the entire surface of the earth — land and oceans combined — 1,750 Gb of oil would constitute a layer 21.5 mils thick — about the equivalent of a spark-plug gap!

oilcrisis.com

That's also only two or three pixels on your monitor.

Tue, 24 Aug 2004 22:52:51 EDT - Link


He. Wasn't. There.

Stephen Gardner has been touted by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and by conservative hosts as a singularly authoritative critic with firsthand knowledge of Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) record in Vietnam because Gardner — unlike all the other members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — actually served on a swift boat that Kerry commanded. Gardner has questioned Kerry's integrity; has claimed personal knowledge of the circumstances leading to Kerry's first Purple Heart; and has spoken with authority about the events leading to Kerry's Bronze Star. Fellow anti-Kerry Swift Boat Vets member Larry Thurlow has also cited Gardner as eyewitness support for his accusations against Kerry and against Kerry's first Purple Heart. Yet while Gardner did serve as a gunner under Kerry's command on PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) 44, he has admitted that he — just like the rest of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claiming that Kerry is lying about his medals — was not present for the incidents leading to Kerry's receipt of any medals or any of Kerry's three Purple Hearts.

Media Matters (Emphasis mine.)

I make a point of not using four letter profanity on my website, but this mess has come as close as any to ending that.

Yo, media. Before you go spreading this crap arround, why don't you check the stories? Why don't you check the record?

What makes you think that the claims of a group of Bush supporters — NONE OF WHOM WERE THERE carries the same weight of eyewitnesses and contemporary records?

Jeez, If someone came up to you and claimed we never landed on the moon, would you demand Neil Armstrong disprove their claims?

He wasn't there. Ask him about things he actually saw.

Tue, 24 Aug 2004 15:30:26 EDT - Link

August 20, 2004

Ironic Artifact

Greeting card Danger Be Damned

I came across the card I got on my last day at Be, Inc.

I worked at Be...

I work at Danger now...

So I've worked at Danger, and Be, and that leaves...

Fri, 20 Aug 2004 13:09:11 EDT - Link

August 19, 2004

Neodymium

Gaussboys sells Neodymium Magnets. Powerful enough to lift anvils. Really. Wyle Coyote has an open account at this place.

Thu, 19 Aug 2004 23:48:07 EDT - Link


A Reason For Hope

In October of 2000, voters were asked whether they were “unusually excited” about the upcoming election. And now, in 2004, they've been asked again: Are they unusually excited about THIS upcoming election?

Among Republicans, the number is up - 51% are “unusually excited” versus 48% last time.

Among Democrats, the number is up from 36% to 68%.

That is not a typo.

When we were complacent and unexcited last time, we won by 537,000 votes. Now we are wide awake, fighting mad, and determined to win.

Andrew Tobias — DNC Treasurer

Thu, 19 Aug 2004 14:17:28 EDT - Link

August 18, 2004

H2 - A Moped Designed by Tax Law

The Hummer doesn't have to play by the other guys' rules because it's so heavy that it falls into a category meant for big equipment for farmers and such. A condo-dwelling salesman buying a 3-ton-plus Hummer for his job can get a tax credit up to $100,000. (A hybrid-car purchaser like me gets $1,500.) In the same incredible-hulk tax-credit category are those other well-known pieces of farm equipment, the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban and Lincoln Navigator.

Any wheeled behemoth over 4.5 tons — the "gross vehicle weight rating" of the H2 — is exempt from pollution emissions, another perk meant for heavy machinery. Its very size lets it dodge the gas-guzzler tax on sedans half its size and twice its mpg.

And because it doesn't have to post its mpg numbers, you have to rent one to do the math. Mine got, at a stretch, maybe 10 miles per gallon on roads and freeways, without running the AC.

Patt Morrison — LA times

You know, the local Hummer lot is overflowing with unsold vehicles, do you think maybe they could direct some of their production capacity back into building armor kits? Maybe they would if Dubya's $87 billion war budget had some money for it.

Oh man, I see this as a win-win-win. Every Hummer not patroling the streets of Santa Clara is two or three armor kits for Iraq, and up to $100,000 saved by not handing out tax incentives.

Wed, 18 Aug 2004 11:42:15 EDT - Link

August 17, 2004

Please To Be Listening To My Russian Joke

I've been meaning to do this for ages, even before I listened to the Adam Curry show. One of the things I like about Adam's "Daily Source Code" is that it is variable in length. On days when he has a lot to say it's longer, and on days he has less to say it's shorter.

Today I can say what I want to say in just 12 seconds (That's only 52.4 KB). It's called My Russian Joke.mp3

Feel free to pass it on, or tell it to your parents, or CC it to Air America Radio.

Tue, 17 Aug 2004 22:59:46 EDT - Link

August 16, 2004

Starsha

I'm finding hits from starsha.com in my referer logs, but I have no idea what it is. (And neither does Google—gasp!)

Tue, 17 Aug 2004 01:21:01 EDT - Link


What's Up With That New Vault Apparatus?

I was wondering about it, since it looks different from the vault horse used in the '00 games. Of course NBC hasn't seen fit to inform me about it, so I found it with Google.

Tue, 17 Aug 2004 01:13:18 EDT - Link


Don't Fret

frets.com has a lot of great articles on maintaining, repairing and building guitars. Frank Ford at Gryphon Stringed Instruments replaced the frets on my '61 Gibson B-25 a couple of years ago, and did a perfect job of it. My B-25 has a separated bridge plate, which has caused the top to arch a bit. He suggested I have that repaired, and the bridge replaced, but that old gutar plays well and has great sound just the way it is, and I'm afriad that if I had it "fixed" it would lose that magic.

In the meantime, I still lust after a big ol' J200, but so far I've not found one that could replace my B-25.

Tue, 17 Aug 2004 00:55:46 EDT - Link


Curry For Breakfast

Adam Curry, best known in the states as one of the original VJs on MTV, has a terrific weblog, and he's started doing audio blogging in the form of a program he calls "Daily Source Code". The first episode was recorded in his car as he drove from his home in Belgium into the Netherlands.

It's an interesting experiment, very geeky subject matter delivered as a personal perspective by someone with a background in broadcast. (In fact, he's been a morning radio guy for nearly a year.)

I find the notion of audio RSS attachments interesting, but I fear that anything I might come up with would be sort of the audio equivalent of my political cartooning skills. Eww. Besides, my voice sounds like a chipmonk.

Mon, 16 Aug 2004 21:15:12 EDT - Link


Your Papers Are Not In Order

Voters with active passports prefer Kerry 58% to 35%, while those without a passport are for Bush 48% to 39%.

Zogby

Kind of sums it all up, doesn't it.

Mon, 16 Aug 2004 16:07:09 EDT - Link

August 15, 2004

Meanwhile, Back in the Oval Office...

Back at the Oval Office comic #1

I know, I know. Don't quit your day job. Be gentle, it's my first time.

Sun, 15 Aug 2004 21:03:54 EDT - Link


What Josh Said

Voting for the war resolution was not remotely the same thing as going to war at the first possible opportunity.

Forcing inspections meant seeing what inspections would yield. And seeing what inspections would yield was the best insurance against getting ourselves into the current situation and finding that the WMD, which constituted the premise for the whole endeavor, didn't even exist.

Talking Points Memo

I'm not sure where this is tempest in a teapot really going, but I expect to see it come up again in the debates, and no doubt Dubya is already practicing his smirk in a mirror and rehearsing his response: "So you would have left Sadam in power, huh? Gimme a yes or no answer."

Some Americans — primarily those who have already made up their minds — will see that as a fast-ball strike.

I don't know what Kerry has in mind for his response, it'll probably include something about 1000 dead Americans, Sadam being a toothless tiger, the damage to our relationship with our alies, and if he's feeling his oats maybe something about attacking a country known to be a non-threat without legal justification.

Kerry could have used any or all of those last week, and that would have put an end to it there. My devious side suspects that he bunted last week, and he's expecting to see that pitch again, with more people paying attention to the game.

Sun, 15 Aug 2004 17:56:24 EDT - Link

August 14, 2004

Strasburg Rail Road

Strasburg Rail Road

2004.07.20 Nikon E990 Photoshop

These four railway men stopped to talk, and it looked like they'd stepped out of history. I did take the liberty of removing (digitaly) the modern lunch pails.

On our last vacation we rode on three different steam trains, I'm not a train otoku or anything, it's just a pleasant way to see some countryside.

Sat, 14 Aug 2004 14:45:55 EDT - Link


Gold And Lead

Gold medal to the organizers of the Athens Olympics for an inspired opening ceremony. The temperary sea in the middle of the stadium was great art, and the five-story bust that broke into drifting peices was breathtaking. I really wish I had seen that in person.

Lead lump of metal to NBC's faux-live coverage of the opening ceremony. When you are showing something tape delayed you're not fooling anyone when you say; "while we were away in commerical break". It's all on TAPE. It happened HOURS AGO. You can PAUSE THE DAMN TAPE while you run commercials.

Over the years the Olympic event coverage has become a re-run to me. I suspect it's because every four years they drag out the same 'bumper' music - that background stuff that they play at the top and bottom of each broadcast, an occasionaly to punctuate event changes. I really enjoyed the music that the Athenians put into their opening ceremony, I wish NBC would use more music from the host nation during the games, it would would go a long way toward making each Olympics feel new.

Sat, 14 Aug 2004 14:45:55 EDT - Link

August 13, 2004

A Little Comedy...

Q: What’s the difference between Alan Keyes and a parrot?

A: One’s loud, annoying, colorful, and says a lot of things that don’t make sense, and the other’s a bird.

Rent-a-Joke

Fri, 13 Aug 2004 11:35:17 EDT - Link


A Little Tragedy...

Deffeyes is talking not about the amount of oil in the ground, but about the maximum daily pumping capacity of oil. The problem is that even as we continue to find new fields, old fields start to decline. When the decline becomes greater than new discoveries, total oil production starts to fall. This has already happened in the continental United States, which reached its peak capacity in 1970 and has been declining ever since, an event famously predicted in 1956 by geophysicist M. King Hubbert. Kevin Drum - Washington Monthly

Fri, 13 Aug 2004 11:35:17 EDT - Link


A Hulking Farce...

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 - Fully one-third of President Bush's tax cuts in the last three years have gone to people with the top 1 percent of income, who have earned an average of $1.2 million annually, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be published Friday.

New York Times

Fri, 13 Aug 2004 11:35:17 EDT - Link

August 12, 2004

Go Away

Every minute spent by Larry King or Fox News on Lori Hacking or Laci Peterson is a minute they don't spend on health care, education, environmental quality, national security, the economy or other real issues that should be the center of public attention, especially in an election year.

A nation full of people who know more about Scott Peterson's defense strategy than they do about Donald Rumsfeld's is not a nation that shows much ability to govern itself.

Salt Lake Tribune

[via Ceej]

Thu, 12 Aug 2004 11:26:59 EDT - Link


Heimlich Maneuvers - 1988

Just then, Kerry stepped off an elevator, rushed to Hecht's side and gave him the Heimlich maneuver — four times.

The lifesaving incident made international news, and Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the maneuver in 1974, called Hecht to say that had Kerry intervened just 30 seconds later Hecht might have been in a vegetative state for life.

Las Vegas Sun

Yes, that John Kerry.

Thu, 12 Aug 2004 11:26:59 EDT - Link


Goodbye, Kind World

Worse still are the possible effects of changes in cloud cover. Until recently, climatologists assumed that, because higher temperatures would raise the rate of evaporation, more clouds would form. By blocking some of the heat from the sun they would reduce the rate of global warming. But now it seems that higher temperatures may instead burn off the clouds. Research by Bruce Wielicki of NASA suggests that some parts of the tropics are already less cloudy than they were in the 1980s.(6)

The result of all this is that the maximum temperature rise proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001 may be a grave underestimate.(7) Rather than a possible 5.8 degrees of warming this century, we could be looking at a maximum of 10 or 12.(8) Goodbye, kind world.

Monbiot.com

Thu, 12 Aug 2004 11:26:59 EDT - Link

August 11, 2004

Nine Months of Winter and Three Months Of Bad Sledding

This year, the American psychodrama, eh, is the election, and Canadians are taking unusual care, even by their standards, to try to phrase their questions delicately. "You couldn't possibly..." they begin, only to break off. "Are you not aware of what..." "Surely you realize how..." But they can think of no polite way of asking if we are such freaking idiots we haven't noticed the damage that has been done by the Bush administration to the American reputation all over the world.

The incomparable Molly Ivins

Wed, 11 Aug 2004 11:48:25 EDT - Link


But Conservatives Are Supposed To Conserve, Right?

For thirty years, the National Election Studies asked Americans which party they believed was more conservative. This is about as basic a question about ideology - and American politics in general - as one could come up with. It would probably surprise most people to learn that the proportion of respondents who correctly answered that the Republicans are the conservative party seldom rose above 60%.

Alternet

So, either 40% of the population is clueless, a position evidenced by Dubya's approval ratings floating in the low 40's, or they see the ironic contradiction in the Republican Party calling itself "conservative".

Wed, 11 Aug 2004 11:48:25 EDT - Link


Yesterday's News Today

I don't think anyone at the Boston Globe reads my webpage*, but today they pick up on something that was on my mind yesterday:

And if he sidesteps? On Monday, Kerry did just that. The senator said he would still have voted to give the president the authority to go to war because he believes "it was the right authority for a president to have." That's not inconsistent with what Kerry has said all along: that the president deserved the leverage the congressional vote gave him. But Kerry did not say whether, had he been president, he would have initiated hostilities against Iraq.

* But then again, maybe they do. I used to get a lot of hits on my paper airplanes from Boeing.com, and I know there's at least one fan of Ranma Fanfiction at the International Atomic Energy Commision. ^_^

Wed, 11 Aug 2004 11:48:25 EDT - Link


YASU - Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

There's probably a hundred Japanese restaunts within an hour's drive from here, and the menus are nearly interchangable; - Sushi - Tempura - Teriyaki, you know the drill. Not so at YASU on Jackson street in San Jose's Japantown. Chef Brett Yasukawa calls his menu 'yonsei-cuisine', my Japanese-English dictionary fails, but my taste buds tell me it's quite wonderful.

The shredded chicken with barbeque sauce over rice made me forget all about chicken teriyaki. The mixed poki was a refreshing and spicy substitute for sashimi. And what about the tri-tip, or the duck in miso sauce? Well, this is not your father's Japanese restaurant. Not unless your father is an Iron Chef.

YASU
211 East Jackson Street
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 291-0684

Wed, 11 Aug 2004 02:02:35 EDT - Link


Thanks, Chris!

Chris took a look at my feed and pointed out a couple of problems. I was double-escaping ampersands in the RSS feed, which messed up the Trademark: ™ Registered Trademark: ® and ampersand: &

I also stepped down off of CSS styling to the blockquote tag for the paragraphs that are pullquotes. Now for more testing.

Wed, 11 Aug 2004 00:30:06 EDT - Link

August 10, 2004

What Did He Say?

Over the last couple of days I've head newscasters say that Kerry would have 'voted to go into iraq' even knowing what he knows today.

Well, I thought that sounded a but odd, so I found the exact quote:

"I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."

That's very different from saying he would vote to attack. If memory serves, that vote gave Dubya the authority to act, and it (along with a lot of US and UK troops massing in the theater) was the critical leverage required to get the UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq. And it worked.

As president, Kerry might one day require that same sort of leverage, and we should give it to him.

In a realted matter, this is a good time to remember that at the time that this particular vote was before the Senate, the administration had an admission from North Korea that they did, in fact, have a nuclear weapons program. That fact was withheld from the Senators until after the Iraq vote.

Tue, 10 Aug 2004 13:04:57 EDT - Link


More Ranma Fanart

apricot's first love has some amazing Ranma and Akane images. Like so many Japanese sites, it's heavily frames and java based, hit ENTER, then the second menu item , which is "I ra su tu" in katakana, then click the radio buttons so see images.

Apricot has a great eye for the characters, fine linework, and I love the coloring style, almost watercolor in style.

Tue, 10 Aug 2004 01:39:12 EDT - Link

August 8, 2004

Nonsense And Sensibility

Paul Krugman: Well, it's really good for explaining how reasonable people can't bring themselves to see that they're actually facing a threat from a radical movement. Kissinger talked about the time of the French Revolution, and pretty obviously he also was thinking about the 1930s. He argued that, when you have a revolutionary power, somebody who really wants to tear apart the system — doesn't believe in any of the rules — reasonable people who've been accustomed to stability just say, "Oh, you know, they may say that, but they don't really mean it." And, "This is just tactical, and let's not get too excited." Anyone who claims that these guys really are as radical as their own statements suggest is, you know, "shrill." Kissinger suggests they'd be considered alarmists. And those who say, "Don't worry. It's not a big deal," are considered sane and reasonable.

Well, that's exactly what's been happening. For four years now, some of us have been saying, whether or not you think they're bad guys, they're certainly radical. They don't play by the rules. You can't take anything that you've regarded as normal from previous U.S. political experience as applying to Bush and the people around him. They will say things and do things that would not previously have made any sense — you know, would have been previously considered out of bounds. And for all of that period, the critics have been told: "Oh, you know, you're overreacting, and there's something wrong with you."

Read the rest at BuzzFlash

This echos the thoughts of a friend who initialy thought that the fact Dubya lost the popular vote (big time) would lead to him acting more as a caretaker president, or at least the weight of knowing that a majority of Americans voted for the other guy would stay his hand, and besides, we had the balance of powers to keep him in check, right?

Yeah, Right.

Sun, 08 Aug 2004 18:26:09 EDT - Link


It seemed like a good idea at the time...

JOSEPH PALMER

My bells graphic, while well within the RSS 2.0 spec, doesn't play nicely with sharpreader, and livejournal didn't even scrape it for the posting icon.

I've made a new, smaller image. Sigh.

Sun, 08 Aug 2004 15:05:25 EDT - Link


The Bells, The Bells

Liberty Bell

The RSS 2.0 Spec has a provision for adding a kind of masthead image to the feed, and I thought the Liberty Bell would be a good symbol of what my weblog is all about.

The Liberty Bell is on display in a museum across the street from where it rang in Liberty Hall. The architects of the museum thoughtfully placed it in an alcove with floor to ceiling windows that face the bell tower, so you can both wonder at its symbolism, then glance up to see where it rang.

The feed still validates, now to see how it looks in a few RSS readers...

2004.07.11 Nikon E990

Sun, 08 Aug 2004 12:30:05 EDT - Link

August 6, 2004

But — We're Picking Up Speed!

One thing is clear: calls to "stay the course" are fatuous. The course we're on leads downhill. American soldiers keep winning battles, but we're losing the war: our military is under severe strain; we're creating more terrorists than we're killing; our reputation, including our moral authority, is damaged each month this goes on.

By PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times

This is another must read from Mr. Krugman.

You know, the real October surprise may be Iraq collapsing into civil war.

Fri, 06 Aug 2004 11:08:56 EDT - Link


Results Count*

Atrios Reports 32K new jobs in July, and The June numbers were revised downward from 112k to 78K. That's a difference of 34k.

Think about that; July was +32k, but June was revised -34k. So... July is within the margin of error, right?

Dubya's going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to have lost total jobs while in office. The very fact that John Kerry is willing to step in to clean up this horrifying mess is reason enough to vote him in.

* "Results Count" is one of Dubya's campaign sound bites. They do, Dubya, they really, really do.

Fri, 06 Aug 2004 10:47:47 EDT - Link


Expression Publique

I've been trading emails with freinds in Germany and France of late, both are concerned about the outcome of the US election. I've asked them to forward any interesting articles they might come across.

The first is from Expression-Publique.com France.

Question : Which word would qualify toward the USA under George Bush ? Graph

Question : Which word would qualify your feelings toward the USA, without taking George Bush in consideration? Graph

Fri, 06 Aug 2004 10:30:16 EDT - Link


Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

Independence Hall

2004.07.11 Nikon E990, Wide Angle Adaptor

Fri, 06 Aug 2004 00:35:16 EDT - Link

August 5, 2004

Indifference to Truth

Those three ringing words: Indifference to Truth, so casualy dropped in todays Daily Howler, read like the title of a history of the last decade.

Bob Somerby uses it to describe the press coverage of the 2000 election, but it also applies to the Reagan Revolution, and Trickle Down Economics, and Tax Simplification, and the Contract with America, and The Faux News Network, and Rush Limbaugh, and it most precisely describes nearly every action of Dubya's administration.

Thu, 05 Aug 2004 23:28:36 EDT - Link


God give us men.

By Senator Robert Byrd

We will soon mark the third anniversary of the terrible tragedy that struck this nation on September 11, 2001. Three years ago, yet it seems like yesterday. We can close our eyes and see those tall towers as they stood. We can hear the voices that have been stilled.

I pray for those souls, and I pray for this country. Three years ago, I didn't dream of writing this book, but in the days that have past since that fateful fall morning, more than our soldiers have fallen under attack.

The foundations of our government have suffered. The liberties enshrined in constitution of the United States have been designed by a presidency that is bent on a ruthless pursuit of power. A President that sees himself above the law a president, a Presidency that sees itself... a presidency that relies on secrecy and manipulation in order to advance its own partisan agenda.

It is the Constitution of the United States that has been undermined, undercut, and is under attack. It is the American people's liberties that is in jeopardy. That is why I wrote, "losing America." I wrote this book to save this book. [holding Constitution of the United States] God save the constitution of the United States. God save the Constitution of the United States.

In the federalist papers, James Madison reasoned that in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. Accordingly, Madison and the other framers of constitution divided power so that no one person or branch of government could gain complete advantage. As Madison explained it, ambition must be made to counteract ambition.

That is why the framers viewed the separation of powers with such importance. No single man, no single branch of government was to be given absolute power. No single man was to have sole authority to decide the fate of the nation. Oh, how different — how different today. The separation of powers and the checks and balances in the constitution are the ultimate guarantor of the liberties of the people. It was the separation of powers upon which the framers placed their hopes for the preservation of the people's liberties.

Despite this heritage, the congress has been in too many cases more than willing to walk away from its constitutional powers. We have turned a blind eye to the Bush administration's ruthless pursuit of power. We scorn those nations that have long been our friends. We call them the old Europe. Members of congress, especially those in the majority party do whatever the president wants them to do. What has happened to the courage of men?

God give us men.

If the president says, jump, they ask, how high? And sadly, too many in our own party remain silent. Our founding fathers struggled to escape the heavy yoke of one King George. We must not submit to the dictates of another. As Brutus said to Citero, when Citero was attempting to toady-up up to Anthony, our ancestors would have scorned even a gentle master. We are at a dangerous time in our republic.

The Constitution — the very foundation of this great country is under attack. It is under a tack by a presidency that is bent upon secrecy, that has to be dragged kicking and screaming to answer questions, and that follows a path of utter recklessness. Its policies have changed the face of America around the globe from that of a giant peacemaker to that of a schoolyard bully. People who once declared a strong allegiance with America now question our purpose. That is not America. I have been in congress for more than a half century. I have lived through times of fear and times of hope. Of despair and of achievement.

I have seen our government at its best, but today I fear that we see our government at its worst. I have never seen such extreme partisanship, such bitter partisanship, and such forgetfulness of the fate of our fathers and of the Constitution. I say enough is enough! We cannot sit silently by and witness the dimming of freedom's flame! Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Make way for liberty. Let me say once again, we cannot sit silently by and Ted Kennedy and I haven't sat silently. We're not going to sit silently.

You and I, we cannot sit silently by and witness the dimming of freedom's flame. To the American people I say, awaken to what is happening. It is the duty of each citizen to be vigilant, to protect liberty, to speak out, left and right and disagree lest be trampled underfoot by misguided zealotry and extreme partisanship. So, at a time when dissent is dismissed as being unpatriotic, when one's beliefs are subject to ridicule or investigation, the strength of the individual is all the more important.

If the individual's voice is drown out, if the spirit is extinguished and the fire of freedom dies, then who — who — tell me, who — shall be left to carry on the legacy of this Republic? We can turn the tide. You and I and Ted Kennedy and general Clarke and others like them can turn the tide. We can turn the tide for the individual mind remains an unassailable force. The individual voice can inspire others to act.

A single act of bravery can lead an army against great odds. The strength of a single individual can give hope to the hopeless, voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless and the precious light of liberty will once again turn brightly. Thank you, my fellow Americans. I have seen America today, and I shall not forget you.

There is an inscription on a statue in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to the memory of the late Benjamin Hill, United States senator from the State of Georgia. "Who saves his country saves himself. Saves all things and all things do bless him. Who lets his country die lets all things die, dies himself and all things die and curse him." my fellow American, we have work to do. Let's work to save our Country.

Thank you.

Thu, 05 Aug 2004 11:15:36 EDT - Link

August 4, 2004

Sidekick II Review

Tech Test: The addictive Hiptop improves — from the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Wed, 04 Aug 2004 21:01:55 EDT - Link


T-Mobile USA Flips the Lid Open on the T-Mobile Sidekick II

Building on Success of first Sidekick(tm), Marquee Device Features Slimmer Design, Integrated Camera and Built-In Speakerphone, Some of the Many Upgraded Features

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — August 4, 2004 — Some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment will be walking the red carpet here tonight. But the brightest spotlight will be squarely focused on the biggest star — the T-Mobile(r) Sidekick II — successor to the original hit of Hollywood and action sports stars — the original Sidekick from T-Mobile.

One of the most highly anticipated sequels to hit Hollywood this year, the T-Mobile Sidekick II will be making its debut at an exclusive, VIP party featuring a performance from The Black Eyed Peas. In conjunction with the beginning of the ESPN X Games X, this star-studded event will feature celebrity Sidekick fans from sports, television and film and musicians from all over.

The public will be able to get its hands on the T-Mobile Sidekick II this fall.

"I can't live without my Sidekick," said skateboarding icon Tony Hawk. "I take it everywhere with me. It allows me to answer emails as they come in instead of coming home to 100 different messages."

The T-Mobile Sidekick II went through a low-carb diet and is 25 percent slimmer than the popular original model. At the same time, it added muscle with a fully integrated camera, and flash, to capture those you-had-to-be there moments; enhanced phone sound quality and functionality such as a speakerphone; and enhanced battery life to give customers approximately 4.5 hours of talk

A style makeover for this lean, mean machine makes it easy for anyone to personalize and accessorize.

Personalize

* HiFi Ringers - Get ringtones based on the straight-up, full-on actual recorded songs from top artists. Everything from hip-hop and rock to classic soul.
* Voice Ringers - Download voice messages from music artists and celebrities who announce incoming calls.
* Cool New Games - Download the latest games for fun anytime, anywhere.
* Contacts - Keep up to 2,000 of your personal contacts in your pocket, so your friends are always a phone call, email, or instant message away.

Accessorize

* Color Bumpers - Complement any look in a wardrobe with seven interchangeable (purchased separately) color bumpers; perfect to properly accessorize for a night on the town or a day at the beach.

The distinctive signature color screen swivels open to showcase a full QWERTY keyboard, the perfect complement for the T-Mobile Sidekick II's email and instant messaging capabilities. T- Mobile Sidekick II owners get their own email account and can set up as many as three external accounts to deliver email directly to their inbox. Yahoo!(r) Messenger is now available for download to the T-Mobile Sidekick II, in addition to the fully integrated version of AOL(r) Instant Messenger(tm) (AIM(r)) service, meaning users can IM their friends at the same time they're surfing the Web to find that perfect place to hook up tonight.

"Without the T-Mobile Sidekick, I wouldn't know how to function on a day-to-day basis," says popular actor and recording artist Nick Cannon. "It keeps the business tight."

"The T-Mobile Sidekick II makes a great device even better by enhancing the experience people loved with the original Sidekick. The new version adds more IM options, new phone capability and a built-in camera with flash, so now more than ever it's the ultimate communication device," said John Clelland, senior vice president of segment marketing for T-Mobile USA, Inc. "It seems everyone is excited about the T-Mobile Sidekick II, making it a must-have device."

The T-Mobile Sidekick II, based on Danger, Inc.'s hiptop(r) Wireless Solution, is planned to be available this fall through T-Mobile at T-Mobile retail stores, select national retailers, as well as online at www.t-mobile.com.

Along with the launch of the T-Mobile Sidekick II, T-Mobile and Danger plan to introduce software that will allow Sidekick customers to wirelessly synchronize their desktop contacts and calendar information with their T-Mobile Sidekick. This synchronization software will be available for the T-Mobile Sidekick II and previous Sidekick generations. Price of the software will be announced at a later date.

About T-Mobile USA, Inc.

Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA Inc. is a member of the T-Mobile International group, the mobile telecommunications subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT). T-Mobile operates the largest GSM/GPRS 1900 voice and data network in the country, reaching over 253 million people including roaming and other agreements. In addition, T-Mobile operates the largest carrier owned Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless broadband network in the country, available in more than 4,700 public access locations including Starbucks coffeehouses, Borders Books and Music, FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Centers, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, airports and select American Airlines Admirals Clubs, Delta Air Lines Crown Rooms, United Airlines Red Carpet Clubs and US Airways Clubs. Through its Get More(r) promise, T-Mobile provides customers with more minutes, more features and more service. For more information, visit the company Web site at www.t-mobile.com.

About Danger, Inc.

Danger's award-winning hiptop(r) Wireless Solution enables wireless operators to quickly and economically deploy new applications and services to consumers over next-generation data networks. This solution includes: the hiptop(r) Service Delivery Engine-a suite of server-based infrastructure software, which is currently hosted as a service for wireless operators; the hiptop(r) Development Platform-a platform for the development of mobile applications using industry standard development tools; and hiptop(r) device designs-hardware designs for wireless all-in-one devices, which may be customized and branded by wireless operators. Additional information about the company is available at www.danger.com.

*Compatible network and applicable wireless service plan and features required. Services may be priced separately; other terms and conditions apply.


Just in case you've been wondering why I've been so busy of late....

P.S. Getting this press release to pass both the HTML and RSS checkers really showed some interesting issues, I'm going to have to look into how to get the trademark and registered characters into legal RSS.

Wed, 04 Aug 2004 12:39:52 EDT - Link


Oh Yeah...

Photos of the Sidekick II are on the http://www.danger.com website. It's way sweet!

Wed, 04 Aug 2004 14:54:59 EDT - Link

August 3, 2004

Be Prepared

The online Preparing for Emergencies booklet (uk verson).

Tue, 03 Aug 2004 23:35:58 EDT - Link

August 2, 2004

Maybe You Should Consult A Lawyer On That...

And let me just say this to you. Knowing what I know today, we still would have gone on into Iraq. We still would have gone to make our country more secure. He had the capability of making weapons. He had terrorist ties.

Dubya, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

What we know today is that Iraq did not remotely pose an imminent threat to the United States. We also know that the only legal reason under international law to attack another county is an imminent threat.

Now I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that going into Iraq "knowing what I know today" would be a war crime.

Mon, 02 Aug 2004 16:05:34 EDT - Link

August 1, 2004

Orange Again

You know, maybe we should have gone after that Bin Laden guy after all.

Sun, 01 Aug 2004 18:38:26 EDT - Link

July 30, 2004

RSS Back

It looks like that I was able to knock down that weird bug, so the RSS Feed is now back. It still needs some tinkering, but it verifies again.

Fri, 30 Jul 2004 11:36:46 EDT - Link

July 29, 2004

Good Eats

A review of Hiroshima Okonomiyaki, my local okonomiyaki shop. I dropped a ton of flyers for the place during Fanime, the owner said he had a large number of folks come in wearing con badges, so when I came back to see him he gave me one (with pork) free! (I felt like Ranma mooching off Ukyou.)

Thu, 29 Jul 2004 20:56:34 EDT - Link


I Love The Inturweb

blueguitar.org has stacks of music gear related schematics.

Thu, 29 Jul 2004 01:02:06 EDT - Link

July 27, 2004

Something's Broken

I've got a strange editing bug in the new backend, for some reason I'm getting duplicate lines in the output. I've shut off RSS generation for a day or two untill I can get to the bottom of it. The hompage may, from time to time look strange. Sorry 'bout that.

Update: I think I found the problem, but I'm going to leave the XML off for a day or two.

Update2: Ooh bouy. The bug would cause any line to be duplicated if the first word in the line aliased to a macro name, and every time I ran the edit process, each line would be copied, including the copies, so if I did 11 new entries, all lines starting with "he" or "url" would end up duplicated 2048 times. Fortunately, it only did that to the history file.

Sigh. I'm beginning to think this home-grown backend stuff is too much trouble — nah.

Tue, 27 Jul 2004 10:03:53 EDT - Link


Because They Didn't Have Any Stupid Rocket J. Squirrel Hats

Drudge is prominently displaying a less than flattering picture of Kerry wearing a cleanroom suit while turing a shuttle at NASA. I've worn one once. It made me look fat.

Now you wouldn't never catch Dubya in a git-up like that, no siree Bob. After all when he was guv'ner of Texas (a part time position, so I've been told) he didn't even bother to find time to head down the road to the Johnson Space Center.

Now maybe it's just my secret desire to be on Junkyard Wars, and interest in anything big and mechanical, but I know in his position I would have found time to pay a visit, and maybe lean on the director to assign me a personal tour guide (any bright Jr. Engineer would do) for a few hours of up close and personal with the right stuff. But that's just me.

Tue, 27 Jul 2004 01:56:19 EDT - Link

July 25, 2004

Iron Butt

This is a contemplative, serious person — well-grounded in progressive principles — who has the good habit of getting interested in new ideas that survive scrutiny. His work habits reveal an iron butt for grunt work, as well as considerable experience in working across party lines. A non-Bush president will have to repair considerable damage abroad and at home, complex tasks that will resist grand fixes and reward the patience and tough negotiating that are Kerry attributes. But a non-Bush president will also have to think and act big and new, and the work Kerry has already done on a range of issues should inspire confidence.

Thomas Oliphant

Living in California, we don't get to see the candidates up close the way they do in Iowa, and when they got a close-up look at John Kerry they saw something they liked. Seems like Mr. Oliphant, who's personaly known him for years has a high opinion of him.

For myself, I think an Iron Butt president is just what we need right now.

Sun, 25 Jul 2004 22:14:43 EDT - Link

July 25, 2004

Sorry 'bout That

My new feed seems to have dumped an entire month of entries (And a pathetic month it's been, sorry) into the livejournal feeds.

It shouldn't happen again. One of the big reasons for my back-end re-write was to assign publish dates to each item, which should make my feed play better with livejournal.

I'm still beavering away on the permalinks. I'd originally planned to point them at the yearly history file, but while that might be okay for DSL, it could be quite a hit (185K from January 1 to today) for readers on a dialup.

Sun, 25 Jul 2004 14:36:40 EDT - Link

July 24, 2004

New Back End

I've switched over to my new back end software, so if you see the curtains rippling here and there, It's just me.

I didn't get the html permalinks in, but I decided I needed to put some miles on the edit system.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 17:22:28 EDT - Link

July 23, 2004

Another Day, Another Hard Drive

I lost the C: drive on my windows machine today, no real data lost, (I mirror and back up the important stuff) but it took nearly 3 hours just to install Windows 2000 on a new drive and windowsupdate - reboot - repeat.

It'll be quite a while before I get all my apps re-installed.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


Herr's Mill Bridge

Inside of covered bridge

2004.07.19 Nikon 990 w/wide Angle adaptor

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 22, 2004

Unfinished Work

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 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

Just back from a trip to Pennsylvania, which included a day at Gettysburg. The spot where Lincon gave that address is now marked with a large memorial, encircled by the graves of the men who died over 3 days of fighting in 1863.

Not far away is the visitors center, where there are prominent signs:

NOTICE

I was turned away for my Camera bag, and had to return it in the car.

Lincon's words, which ironically the world did note, and which have been long remembered, rang in my ears.

Picket's charge crashed into the union lines a stones throw away from this sign.

Lincon gave that speech just across the road and from this sign.

This sign is less than an hour's march from the Wheat Feild, the Pear Orchard and Little Round Top.

This is too is the unfinished work.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 19, 2004

Seven of Twelve

History News Network reports on navel excersises planned with Taiwan for this summer. Over half of the US carrier fleet (7 of 12 carrier groups) will be deployed. That's more than we sent to Iraq. During both wars. Combined.

The Chinese are not amused.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 15, 2004

A Reminder of History

Kevin Drum reminds us that whatever the CIA evidence was leading up to the war, we had inspectors on the ground for three months before the first troops crossed the border.

In case you've forgotten, they found no WMDs, only some missiles that could fly a few miles past the UN restrictions (and only then because they were lighter than the would be if the guidance package were actually installed).

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 14, 2004

A Sinister Invitation

Joe Conason Takes a look at the proposal to delay the election if another terrorist attack occurs before November 2.

I can't imagine a worse response to a terrorist attack.

We didn't delay elections during World War I, or World War II.

We didn't delay elections during the Civil War, when the fate of our union was truly in the balance.

Maybe Dubya's appointee should take a little time off and visit Lexington andt's just me.

I didn't get the html permalinks in, but I decided I needed to put some miles on the edit system.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 17:22:28 EDT - Link

July 23, 2004

Another Day, Another Hard Drive

I lost the C: drive on my windows machine today, no real data lost, (I mirror and back up the important stuff) but it took nearly 3 hours just to install Windows 2000 on a new drive and windowsupdate - reboot - repeat.

It'll be quite a while before I get all my apps re-installed.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


Herr's Mill Bridge

Inside of covered bridge

2004.07.19 Nikon 990 w/wide Angle adaptor

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 22, 2004

Unfinished Work

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 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

Just back from a trip to Pennsylvania, which included a day at Gettysburg. The spot where Lincon gave that address is now marked with a large memorial, encircled by the graves of the men who died over 3 days of fighting in 1863.

Not far away is the visitors center, where there are prominent signs:

NOTICE

I was turned away for my Camera bag, and had to return it in the car.

Lincon's words, which ironically the world did note, and which have been long remembered, rang in my ears.

Picket's charge crashed into the union lines a stones throw away from this sign.

Lincon gave that speech just across the road and from this sign.

This sign is less than an hour's march from the Wheat Feild, the Pear Orchard and Little Round Top.

This is too is the unfinished work.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 19, 2004

Seven of Twelve

History News Network reports on navel excersises planned with Taiwan for this summer. Over half of the US carrier fleet (7 of 12 carrier groups) will be deployed. That's more than we sent to Iraq. During both wars. Combined.

The Chinese are not amused.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 15, 2004

A Reminder of History

Kevin Drum reminds us that whatever the CIA evidence was leading up to the war, we had inspectors on the ground for three months before the first troops crossed the border.

In case you've forgotten, they found no WMDs, only some missiles that could fly a few miles past the UN restrictions (and only then because they were lighter than the would be if the guidance package were actually installed).

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 14, 2004

A Sinister Invitation

Joe Conason Takes a look at the proposal to delay the election if another terrorist attack occurs before November 2.

I can't imagine a worse response to a terrorist attack.

We didn't delay elections during World War I, or World War II.

We didn't delay elections during the Civil War, when the fate of our union was truly in the balance.

Maybe Dubya's appointee should take a little time off and visit Lexington and Concord, stand on that famous bridge and listen for the echo of the shot heard 'round the world.

Or maybe he should go visit Independance Hall In Philladelphia and maybe sit in Washington's chair and read the Declaration of Independance and the Constitution, and feel the weight of the wisdom that went into those documents.

Maybe then he would see how terrifingly wrong it would be, and how much it would undermine and compromise the principals on which our nation was founded and flourished.

Maybe then he would see that such a plan would be casting away our most precious treasure to keep the vandals from stealing it.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 9, 2004

Let's Make A Deal

Seems like the GOP is all up in arms about a fundraiser in NY where Whoopie used the sort of language reserved for Republican Vice Presidents on the floor of the US Senate, and have demanded that a video of the event be released.

If I were Kerry, I'd offer to trade that tape for tapes of Dick's Energy task force meetings.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


How Very Convenient

Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.

New York Times

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 7, 2004

July Surprise

This spring, the administration significantly increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan.

...

But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"—the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

July Surprise in The New Republic

This is a must read.

Go read it NOW. I'll wait.

Welcome back. I loved Sean McCormack's ironically accurate quote:

Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn't change because of an election.

That's so true. On 9/12 Dubya was already asking Richard Clark about Iraq, demanding that he re-evaluate and re-check his sources on Sadam. The neocons was already moving to make political hay of the worst terrorist in US history. This andministrations attitude and actions have remained the same.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


bo logh

a weblog in Klingon. Dang. There's no Klingon to English option at babelfish or in Google's translation tools

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


Sweet Surrender

There may be a simple, overlooked, and incredibly basic reason why the fighting in Iraq refuses to end: Namely, there was never a surrender. Saddam Hussein's government never formally capitulated...

Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 5, 2004

F911

I just got back from Fahrenheit 9/11, and I feel like I've stepped into the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant — everything I'd read about the movie seemed to describe a film different to the one I saw.

Perhaps it's because I've seen most of the information about Florida, Halliburton, Carlyle and the Bin Laden family before, so it didn't have the shock effect it might have had. I'd seen or read about most of Dubya's verbal belly flops — Moore was practically stingy with them — there's enough material there alone to make a trilogy.

What was new for me was the interviews and live footage: the troops in Iraq, and with the mother from Flint who had lost her son — one story told out of nearly a thousand.*

It's a good film, but yes, it deserves the R rating, fortunately those who will be old enough to vote in November can see the movie.

I don't mean to be flippant, but I'd like to see the alternate scenes. I'm sure there was at least one edit showing every second of the 7 minutes of My Pet Goat between when Dubya got the news of the second plane hitting the second tower, and when he stood up to leave the classroom.

* The official death toll is today 983 coalition, 865 American deaths. This does not include soldiers who perished from battlefield injuries in the hospital in Germany, nor those returned to the states on life support to give their families a last chance to say goodbye.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 4, 2004

30 Days? Did I say 30 Days? I Never Said 30 Days.

By the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in honor and tribute to the memory of Ronald Reagan, it is hereby ordered that the flag of the United States shall be displayed at full-staff at the White House and on all buildings, grounds, and Naval vessels of the United States beginning July 3, 2004.

A Proclamation that modifies the 30 day period oulined in This Proclamation.

I guess the drinking game is off.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


The Declaration of Independance - 2004

Stephen R. Shalom has annotated the Declaration of Independance with recent events by a more recent leader named George.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 2, 2004

No, Make That Four Years Too Late.

Sorry, my mind was out to lunch yesterday when I mad up my headline. Of course it was four years ago that Florida removed thousands — primarily minorities who voted overwealmingly for Al Gore from voter rolls.

The Miami Herald has aleady found 2100 who are wrongfully and unlawfully on the list.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


Half-Staff 4th

The official 30 Day mouring period for Ronald Reagan will include this year's Fourth of July. I think you could probably make a drinking game: One sip for every mention of Reagan by the talking hair, three sips for each mention by an administration official, and you have to finish the bottle on a lap dissolve simultanously showing fireworks, the Flag at half-staff, and Reagan.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

July 1, 2004

Two Years Too Late

A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday that the board of elections immediately release a list of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other news organizations that last month sued the state for access to copies of the list.

CNN

This is a Very, Very Good Thing(tm), since after the 2000 election:

My office carefully went through the scrub list and discovered that at minimum, 90.2 percent of the people were completely innocent of any crime - except for being African American. We didn't have to guess about that, because next to each voter's name was their race.

Winning the Election - The Republican Way: Racism, Theft and Fraud in Florida by Liam Scheff

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

June 30, 2004

Anyone Care For Another Trifecta?

The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush.

Detroit Free Press

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


Moore Good Questions

Moore: "-we may not of even gone into this war had these networks done their job. I mean, it was a great disservice to the American people because we depend on people who work here and the other networks to go after those in power and say 'Hey, wait a minute. You want to send our kids off to war, we want to know where those weapons of mass destruction are. Let's see the proof. Let's see the proof that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11.'"

Buzzflash

This article brought to mind one of those online games (now requires registration) where you answer questions, and it tries to guess you gender.

Back when I took it, one of the questions was something like: 'Do you secretly think that a nuclear war would be cool?'

Well Hanna, do you?

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link


One Step Forward, One Step Back

Forward: Sorry about the lack of linkage, I've been making great progress my backend re-write my to do list is now down to the Permalinks, a subject I'm possibly taking too seriously. I really do plan to set something up so that everything "item" I've written (yes, including the old entries) gets a link that will work "forever".

Backward: My work machine had a hard crash and the hard drive is toast. Here's a list of the applications I use for may job (and therefore need to re-install):


Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

June 28, 2004

What a coincidence!

From the Supreme Court: roughly speaking, enemy combatants can seek justice in US courts. Keeping them at GITMO does not shade them from the protection of the contribution.

No Wait! Look! The news from the NATO summit: we signed over the pink slip to Iraq one day early. — Err, make that two days early.

Sat, 24 Jul 2004 14:05:18 EDT - Link

June 25, 2004

Knit 1, Perl 2, Joe 0

Okay, maybe not zero, I've been making great progress on my back-end re-write for this website. I'm especially looking forward to adding some audio attatchments in the RSS feed. (Some jokes are just better told than written.)

There's also something in the air, an anticipation in the blogniverse that something big is comming — the sort of something that caused Cheney to blurt out something on the floor of the senate that would have cost him the price of a new home in FCC fines if the CSPAN mics had caught it.

Speaking of C-span, A while back I was listening to a web feed of a hearing, and afterwords they left the microphones on in the room. For 20 minutes I was able to listen in as tourists poked their head into the room and made comments. I think it was the room where they did the Watergate hearings, since one of the few things I could clearly make out was "It was in here, it happened right here." It feels like that...

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 21, 2004

It's A Long, Long Ways From Oshkosh

This morining, N328KF, AKA SpaceShipOne, made 100KM in altitude. It seems like just yesterday that Burt Rutan was flying VariEzes into the EAA convention.

P.S. someone might want to tell the talking hair on CNN that Dick Rutan, (who they had simply introduced as Burt's brother) was the reason they were in Mohave on December 23, 1987

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 18, 2004

Her er det perfekte papirfly

PL1 Over Oslo Norway

Foto: Tom Egil Jensen

I just came across this article on one of my paper airplanes from VG Nett, in Norway.

They even did a Photo essay with instructions on folding it in Norwegian.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 17, 2004

Nine Years of Spring

Just thought I'd point out that my second Seasons story; Spring was released nine years ago today. Back in '99 I started counting hits, it's been 5835 so far.

Spring has been translated into Spanish (Google cache) (Hmm. Looks Like I'd better copy these Spanish Translations to my website soon...) and also into Italian!

Still hoping for Japanese translations....

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


If This Is Free Trade, I Don't Want It.

As California struggled through the 2000-2001 energy crisis, Enron traders gloated about gouging the state. Now state Attorney General Bill Lockyer says federal regulators are heaping insult upon injury by demanding California pay Houston-based Enron and other energy companies almost $270 million in refunds.

Houston Chronicle

California pay $270 million to Enron? Do you mean this Enron:

Tapes given to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, show Enron and its partners in Nevada gouged consumers and forced utilities in that state - and others throughout the west - to sign expensive long-term contracts at the height of the crisis.

"I want to see what pain and heartache this is going to cause Nevada Power Company," says one Enron trader on the tapes. "I want to **** with Nevada for a while."

"What do you mean?" a second trader asks.

"I just, I'm still in the mood to ***** with people, OK?" the first trader answers.

CBS News [Words I'd rather not see on my hompage replaced with **** and *****]

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 16, 2004

Behind the Scenes

Posting will be a little slow this week, I'm devoting more of my energy into a re-write of my back end software. My to-do list looks like this:

Enhance "GET" CGI with startline and length
Separate the writing of the HTML and XML files
Add macro tags for .endXML, .endHTML
Add a preview / verify / commit to edit page
Add a frames-based verify page with commit button
Make backup of Macrofile before commit
Design permalink data storage structure
Add permalinks to each entry
Generate the history files from the macrofile
Convert previous years to macro language and re-generate with permalinks

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 15, 2004

You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me.

Part 1

SEATTLE — Enron Corp. manipulated the energy market practically every day during the 2000-01 power crunch and gouged Western customers for at least $1.1 billion, according to audiotapes and documents released Monday.

Chicago Sun-Times

Part 2

A federal judge has ordered that ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling should get what could be about $1 million in annual interest from some of the $66 million in assets frozen by the Justice Department when he was indicted.

Houston Chronicle

Does this remotely make sense?

This is SO STUPID I'm surprised the W3C HTML Verifier doesn't reject this post with the error message: This is such utter nonsense, that no one will belive it.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 14, 2004

Grownups

Enough with this Kerry / McCain crap. McCain is one of the few remaining grownups in the republican leadership, and the country would be better off with him having more power and influence within his party, rather than being marginalized within the Kerry Whitehouse.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

Mrs. O'Leary's cow has been on my mind a lot this weekend. Thinking Back to 1980, I recall Reagan talking a lot about knocking over lanterns, and how it was natural and right to knock over lanterns. And he knocked over a few (the largest tax cut for the rich in history) — but the hired hands saw the danger and set the lantern back (the largest tax increase on everyone in history). In the end we thought it was somehow charming that Reagan should talk about lantern knocking, and it seemed mostly harmless — except for that enormous mess of a debt — (another Cow by-product).

Unfortunately, the lantern lesson caught on with a certain breed of right-leaning cattle, and lanterns are being tipped from sea to shining sea.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 12, 2004

But Tell Me How You Really Feel

I think it is hard now to avoid seeing the true nature of the group that has taken over the Republican Party. The record is certainly clear, their intentions are clear, their activities are clear, and it's time to take a stand. After seizing control of the country by the narrowest of margins in 2000 the Republicans have illegally excluded Democrats and the public from almost all aspects of management of the government. They have positioned ideological agents throughout the departments, agencies and the courts. In one of their first acts in power they allowed companies like Enron to "harvest" the people of California and Oregon, and appointed FERC members would not do their job to stop this. Their tax cuts, that went to only a few, have bankrupted the country and spent our Social Security retirement money. They have handed out our country's natural resources, and given the right to pollute our air and water for profit to a few rich cronies. They have launched aggressive war in an imperialistic scheme to bring the Middle East's oil supplies under their control.

Seeing The Forest

When I grow up I want to write like Dave Johnson.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 11, 2004

Giveth, And Taketh Away

Against the express wishes of the U.S. Congress in writing last year's sweeping new Medicare law, it appears that low-income beneficiaries who sign up for a $600 subsidy to help pay for their medicines could face a reduction in food stamps they get to help pay for their groceries.

Reuters Via Yahoo

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


The Forcast Is Warm, Followed By Widely Scattered Glaciers

Initial tests on gas trapped in the ice core show that current carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are higher than they have been in 440,000 years.

...

"We have never seen greenhouse gases anything like what we have seen today," said Dr Wolff.

BBC (Link Fixed)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 10, 2004

MTV Movie Awards 2004

Ashton Kutcher with Sidekick

That's Ashton Kutcher reading from a Danger Sidekick

I really like having a hand in creating a product that's becoming part of the culture. I don't think it was his, I think someone just handed it to him with his lines on the screen. If he were really familiar with the product he'd have flipped it open.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Th_ Tortur_ At Abu Ghraib Was A War Crim_

We're like contestants on Wheel of Fortune with a long phrase spelled out in front of us with maybe one or two letters missing. We know what the letters spell. It's obvious. We just don't have the heart to say it out loud.

Talking Points Memo

A while back I had a discussion with M about torture and the law. Yesterday I heard an observation on the radio that crystallized my thoughts:

Torture should always be a crime.

That said I could probably think up a screenplay where the only way to save the nation from devistating attack would be to torture someone, and if I were writing that story, the torture would, in fact, take place, but the action hero would balance the value of any information they could expect to extract against the plain knowledge that they were committing a crime, without warrant or license, and will be prosecuted. He cannot ask his boss for permission, torture is a crime and approving torture would make his boss a criminal too.

The action hero would need personal proof that the person they were torturing has useful information, because that information comes at the high price of willingly facing a jury of his peers. He would have to know that the information he is trying to extract is actionable, and could be tested for truth; what is the point of getting a 10 digit number, if you can't tell if it's the disarm code, or it's the detonate code?

So what happens if our action hero tortures the wrong guy? He gets convited and goes to prison. What happens if our action hero gets the information and saves the nation? As suggested on that radio program: no president would deny pardon.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 9, 2004

I Can't Get No — Satisfaction

A growing number of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, underscoring dissatisfaction with the leadership of President George W. Bush, according to a poll published on Thursday.

Poll shows dissatisfaction with Bush The Financial TimeI recall Reagan talking a lot about knocking over lanterns, and how it was natural and right to knock over lanterns. And he knocked over a few (the largest tax cut for the rich in history) — but the hired hands saw the danger and set the lantern back (the largest tax increase on everyone in history). In the end we thought it was somehow charming that Reagan should talk about lantern knocking, and it seemed mostly harmless — except for that enormous mess of a debt — (another Cow by-product).

Unfortunately, the lantern lesson caught on with a certain breed of right-leaning cattle, and lanterns are being tipped from sea to shining sea.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 12, 2004

But Tell Me How You Really Feel

I think it is hard now to avoid seeing the true nature of the group that has taken over the Republican Party. The record is certainly clear, their intentions are clear, their activities are clear, and it's time to take a stand. After seizing control of the country by the narrowest of margins in 2000 the Republicans have illegally excluded Democrats and the public from almost all aspects of management of the government. They have positioned ideological agents throughout the departments, agencies and the courts. In one of their first acts in power they allowed companies like Enron to "harvest" the people of California and Oregon, and appointed FERC members would not do their job to stop this. Their tax cuts, that went to only a few, have bankrupted the country and spent our Social Security retirement money. They have handed out our country's natural resources, and given the right to pollute our air and water for profit to a few rich cronies. They have launched aggressive war in an imperialistic scheme to bring the Middle East's oil supplies under their control.

Seeing The Forest

When I grow up I want to write like Dave Johnson.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 11, 2004

Giveth, And Taketh Away

Against the express wishes of the U.S. Congress in writing last year's sweeping new Medicare law, it appears that low-income beneficiaries who sign up for a $600 subsidy to help pay for their medicines could face a reduction in food stamps they get to help pay for their groceries.

Reuters Via Yahoo

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


The Forcast Is Warm, Followed By Widely Scattered Glaciers

Initial tests on gas trapped in the ice core show that current carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are higher than they have been in 440,000 years.

...

"We have never seen greenhouse gases anything like what we have seen today," said Dr Wolff.

BBC (Link Fixed)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 10, 2004

MTV Movie Awards 2004

Ashton Kutcher with Sidekick

That's Ashton Kutcher reading from a Danger Sidekick

I really like having a hand in creating a product that's becoming part of the culture. I don't think it was his, I think someone just handed it to him with his lines on the screen. If he were really familiar with the product he'd have flipped it open.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Th_ Tortur_ At Abu Ghraib Was A War Crim_

We're like contestants on Wheel of Fortune with a long phrase spelled out in front of us with maybe one or two letters missing. We know what the letters spell. It's obvious. We just don't have the heart to say it out loud.

Talking Points Memo

A while back I had a discussion with M about torture and the law. Yesterday I heard an observation on the radio that crystallized my thoughts:

Torture should always be a crime.

That said I could probably think up a screenplay where the only way to save the nation from devistating attack would be to torture someone, and if I were writing that story, the torture would, in fact, take place, but the action hero would balance the value of any information they could expect to extract against the plain knowledge that they were committing a crime, without warrant or license, and will be prosecuted. He cannot ask his boss for permission, torture is a crime and approving torture would make his boss a criminal too.

The action hero would need personal proof that the person they were torturing has useful information, because that information comes at the high price of willingly facing a jury of his peers. He would have to know that the information he is trying to extract is actionable, and could be tested for truth; what is the point of getting a 10 digit number, if you can't tell if it's the disarm code, or it's the detonate code?

So what happens if our action hero tortures the wrong guy? He gets convited and goes to prison. What happens if our action hero gets the information and saves the nation? As suggested on that radio program: no president would deny pardon.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 9, 2004

I Can't Get No — Satisfaction

A growing number of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, underscoring dissatisfaction with the leadership of President George W. Bush, according to a poll published on Thursday.

Poll shows dissatisfaction with Bush The Financial Times

I wonder how the polls will look after a week of All Reagan, All The Time*

*On the subject of placing the giffer on the currency, I'm opposed to any such action until 10 years after his passing, we may feel very different about it when the baby boomers hit retirement and the cupboard is bare.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


eWeek On Danger

eWeek seems to like what we're doing: Danger May Soon Rule the Handheld Market

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


1984 Really Was Like 1984

Another Lasting Reagan Legacy was the elimination of the Broadcasting Fairness Doctrine. No longer would the license of a broadcaster rest the civic good that both sides of an issue would receive equal time. No longer would time be given to opposing veiwpoints or corrections of fact.

Catsup is a vegetable
Trees cause pollution too
I know these to be factual
Rush told me it was true.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Tin Foil Hat Time

Last January, Bush praised veterans during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The same day, 164,000 veterans were told the White House was "immediately cutting off their access to the VA health care system."

Molly Ivins in Alternet

Over the years, Dubya has a history of praising a program, then within a day or two, cutting funding for the same program. Two thoughts come to mind...

Do the books balance? I ask this because It seems that Dubya's Tax cuts for the rich, while irresponsible and unsupportable by any factual analysis, were not large enough to have had the effects on the economy we witness every day. Is there something else going on? A kind of Enron writ big?

Maybe it's just because we're actually 6 to 7 million jobs behind the population growth curve, and that's a lot of working age people who do not have productive jobs. (And many of the Dubya Memorial New Jobs are poorly paid, and lack health benefits.)

The second thing that comes to mind is that Dubya talks a lot about freedom these days, and every time he talks about something, it's soon to be on the chopping block.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


As Good a Reason as Any

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 41.4 points yesterday on the news of the successful transit of Venus across the Sun.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


BREAKING: 4th Estate Awakes From 3 Year Coma

There is no justification, legal or moral, for the judgments made by Mr. Bush's political appointees at the Justice and Defense departments. Theirs is the logic of criminal regimes, of dictatorships around the world that sanction torture on grounds of "national security."

Washington Post

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 8, 2004

This Shrinking World

Egads, now I'm keeping tabs on my family members through my SharpReader.

— My big sister

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Most. Overrated. President.

Over the course of this week we'll be hearing a lot about Ronald Reagan, much of it false. A number of news sources have already proclaimed Mr. Reagan the most popular president of modern times. In fact, though Mr. Reagan was very popular in 1984 and 1985, he spent the latter part of his presidency under the shadow of the Iran-Contra scandal. Bill Clinton had a slightly higher average Gallup approval rating, and a much higher rating during his last two years in office.

We're also sure to hear that Mr. Reagan presided over an unmatched economic boom. Again, not true: the economy grew slightly faster under President Clinton, and, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the after-tax income of a typical family, adjusted for inflation, rose more than twice as much from 1992 to 2000 as it did from 1980 to 1988. The Great Taxer By Paul Krugman

I'm old enough to have been working during the "Reagan Revolution". One of the key elements was "Tax Simplification" — which for my income group (as a Jr. Engineer in Silicon Valley) meant Your Taxes Got Higher.

That was simple.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 7, 2004

Dude, Where's My Rule of Law?

So the right to set aside law is "inherent in the president". That claim alone should stop everyone in their tracks and prompt a serious consideration of the safety of the American republic under this president. It is the very definition of a constitutional monarchy, let alone a constitutional republic, that the law is superior to the executive, not the other way around. This is the essence of what the rule of law means — a government of laws, not men, and all that.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. Read it and shiver.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Random Web Finds

When searching for frankincence, I came across (no pun inteneded) Catholic Supply, an online catalog for Catholic Church supplies. I was looking for the type that is a combined coal and scent, (Like I used to light whe I was an alter boy). They didn't have that type, but they do stock a number of other types

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 6, 2004

More on the Gipper

Another article, this one written some months ago examines Reagan's record.

You know, it does not honor the man to lie about his record.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


RSS 2.0

A Proposed clarification for RSS 2.0 spec is being floated. I took a minor part in the discussion in the comments, it looks like my concerns were not shared by the others, and admittedly, I am not steeped deeply enough in the lore of RSS to quite understand the politics.

For myself, I drank the XHTML kool-aid, and bought into the arguments of the Web Standards Project, so when someone calls something "HTML" my mind translates that into "Valid XHTML", including balanced opening and closing tags.

In order to design my XML feed I bought the O'Reilly book which was pretty discouraging, until I found the section on "Including HTML Within a Feed" block quote on page 33. The author (Ben Hammmersley) argued against the use of this feature, (and I don't recall finding any examples HTML being used in the book, either) but in the end, the ability to include real XHTML in the <description> field was the factor that convinced me add an RSS feed for my site.

My biggest concern was one of attribution: I frequently pull fair-use sized paragraphs from the sources I blog, and I was concerned that stripping out the markup (which styles them into blockquotes) would make it too hard to see what I wrote, and what I quote.

My concern to RSS moving forward is that the spec is imprecise about what they mean by "HTML" — Dave has even commented that "Plain text is also HTML" — a notion I have a hard time getting past my commitment to XHTML dogma.

I'd propose that some future revision would specify valid XHTML as the correct markup to use. The way things stand, the aggregator must guess about the contents of the <description> field. The engineer in me thinks it would be easier if the contents were explicitly plain text* or explicitly XHTML. Methinks it would be easier to strip out valid markup if the aggregator wants the plain text, then it would be to try to decode a mish-mash of plain text punctuated with markup.

* The crux of the proposed clarification is that certain characters: <, >, and &, have special meaning in XML, but at the same time are right there on the keyboard, and if they are included in the feed then data can be silently lost. The proposed change is to insist that any text in the <description> field be entity encoded like we do in HTML. I think that's a reasonable thing to do, my only disagreement is with the wording of the clarification, but that's probably a result of my XHTML goggles.

By the way, I find strict structures of XHTML to be paradoxically a lot easier to remember and code for than plain HTML, and I recommend it to all my friends.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Fair and Balanced

With the So Called Liberal Media in full beatification mode, it falls to the web to provide a little sobering balance.

Reagan began the road of crippling America's ability to care for Americans. Now we have this failed trickle down economic policy pushed by yet another President. One that leaves Americans in record debt and record bankruptcies. Instead of tax rates which fairly distribute the burden of funding America, the rich have been encouraged to avoid their fair share. Ronald Reagan began the bankrupting of America and the creation of a super wealthy CEO class, one where their great grandchildren will never have to work, an aristocracy of trustifarians. Under Reagan hypocracy and selfishness became the rule of the road. Not just in public life, where his staff routinely lied, eventually leading to Iran-Contra.

Steve Gilliard — Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

For myself, I have no tears for the Gipper, he had good innings, and has now found his reward. Nancy is in my thoughts today, she's spent the last ten years living with Alzheimer's, and her recent speech in support of stem cell research was moving.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 5, 2004

Enron. @%*&(^$# Enron.

CBS has a tape of Enron employees making perfectly clear what they did to California.

The most disturbing thing about the Enron case, is that if the crimes that coporation had been commited by an individual, that individual would be striped of his ill-gotten gains, and locked in prison, (and if I had my way, sharing a cell with Charlie Manson). Instead Enron is preparing to emerge from bankruptcy.

If there was ever a case for the coporate death penalty, than Enron is that case.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 4, 2004

The Blues Brothers

Tenet was allowed to resign "voluntarily" and Bush informed his shocked staff of the decision Thursday morning. One aide says the President actually described the decision as "God's will."

God may also be the reason Attorney General John Ashcroft, the administration's lightning rod because of his questionable actions that critics argue threatens freedoms granted by the Constitution, remains part of the power elite. West Wing staffers call Bush and Ashcroft "the Blues Brothers" because "they're on a mission from God."

Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides By DOUG THOMPSON Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue

I wonder how long it will take 'till someone photoshops Dubya and Big Bad John into a Blues Brothers image....

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 3, 2004

Fanime Scan

Pencil Sketch

Meg Deming, of Death By Sugar fame, had a booth at Fanime. This is a sketch she did of me, but it doesn't look like me, well, maybe a little, that is you'd have a hard time picking me out of a crowd from this image.

I do, however think It's a great starting point for an avitar...

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


A Busy Week for Dubya

So far he's had to Hire a Lawyer over the Valerie Plame affair

Today he's on his way to Europe, But he can use the flight to think about who will replace CIA head George Tenet, who quit this morning for "personal reasons."

These are the sorts of things that are always released late Friday, the soft spot in the news cycle, I wonder what's coming tomorrow?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 2, 2004

More Oil — Or Less

The New York Press has a great article on The Coming Energy Crunch.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Under The Hood

Troubles with the RSS feed today, It just so happens that I wrote the backend in May, — the only month that happens to be 3 letters long, and therefore a legal RFC 882 month.

Now that it's June, I had to change to codes to output "Jun"

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


When Tax Cuts

Some tax-cut advocates try to deny the fundamental fact that the tax cuts will need to be paid for. For example, some claim the cuts will generate enough economic growth to 'pay for themselves.' As discussed below, the evidence not only does not support such claims, it implies precisely the opposite result — that sustained deficit financing of tax cuts will end up reducing long-term economic growth, thereby raising the cost of the tax cuts. Others claim the repayment can be postponed indefinitely. But given the nation's large underlying long-term fiscal imbalance even without the tax cuts, such indefinite postponement of paying for the tax cuts is simply not possible — it eventually would spark a serious fiscal crisis. (Similarly, large increases in spending, such as occurred with the enactment of the Medicare drug benefit, will also need to be paid for.)

Once the Tax Cuts are Paid for, Low and Middle-Income Households Likely To Be Net Losers, on Average from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


TANSTAAFL

Also, take a look at what happens when (mis)administration's "Tax Cuts" are made permanent.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

June 1, 2004

Flip-Floppin Away

The Center for American Progress details twenty flip-flops.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


12:00 - 12:00 - 12:00

Looks like those newfangled drug discount cards are harder to figure out than the average VCR, and seniors are staying away in droves. (Thanks to Eschaton)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


My Brain Hurts

One of several surreal moments of the weekend; a simulcast of the WWII memorial dedication happening in the ballroom down the hall from FanimeCon Dealer's room. It must have seemed very strange indeed for the vets, many of whom had served in the pacific, to walk though a celebration of Japanese pop culture on their way to their event.

I also met J&D in person on Sunday for the first time, they are the second couple I know of who met and married though Fanfiction. D had just started emailing me out of the blue, like I was one of the family, and after meeting in person and a rather nice breakfast, I now feel like one.

I missed the Indy 500, My Tivo recorded the rain delay, the first 29 or so laps, and then more rain delay, then the This Week timeslot, on the same channel, showing more rain delay. No replay is scheduled. Sigh. At least I got to see the Formula 1 European Grand Prix.

Still waiting to see feedback on the Fanfic Panel...

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 29, 2004

The Fanfic Panel Is Ovah

I think it went pretty well, we ended up going for two full hours. Attendance was down from previous years, closer to 20-25, but we had a lot of people joining in the conversation - more than half the room.

I ended up with extra buttons, so I've been handing them out to anyone in a Ranma costume.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 28, 2004

Megatokyo Panel

Typical con snafu, they had people lined up for the room, then decided to move us, then neglected to pass out the "meet the vips" raffel tickets to the people who were moved. Oh well, Fred put it right in the end.

It was a good panel, almost a comedy routine between the understated Fred, and the more... "animated" Dom. It sounds like Fred will be cutting back on his convention appearances in order to improve his productivity next year.

They couldn't get the projector to work with Fred's Mac, so he would spin his laptop arround to show the prepared questions to the audience. He had collected this set of questions at each Con, since the same thing got asked at every con. I suppose it gets old after a while.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Fanime update

It took nearly an hour to get our badges last night. I had been worried about attendance, (The Fanime Website was hardly a hotbed of activity leading up to the con) but I think it's going to be a big crowd.

Printing up promo materials for the Fanfic Panel Now. Not sure if I'll be able to post them, but I'm bringing magnets, blue tape and other non-destructive means of attachment.

Expect a lot of updates via the hiptop over the weekend - GPRS coverage was spotty in the SJCC, but there were a few good areas.

Overheard in line:

"But you're still a lawyer."

"No I'm not."

"Sure you are, it's all still in your head."

"No, I deleted that character."

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 27, 2004

Standing In Line

It's 6:54, and the line to pick up badges at Fanime is about 100 meters long, almost out the door.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Backlinks

Another anime related link, this time from Italy: Dreaming of a place. It's a very sophisticated looking site, but it makes Mozzilla very very unhappy.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


This Year's Button

Fanime 2004 Button

Each year I make buttons that I give out at the Fanfic Panel, and here's this year's model.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 26, 2004

Remarks by Al Gore

Unilateralism, as we have painfully seen in Iraq, is its own reward. Going it alone may satisfy a political instinct but it is dangerous to our military, even without their Commander in Chief taunting terrorists to "bring it on."

Our troops are stretched thin and exhausted not only because Secretary Rumsfeld contemptuously dismissed the advice of military leaders on the size of the needed force - but also because President Bush's contempt for traditional allies and international opinion left us without a real coalition to share the military and financial burden of the war and the occupation. Our future is dependent upon increasing cooperation and interdependence in a world tied ever more closely together by technologies of communications and travel. The emergence of a truly global civilization has been accompanied by the recognition of truly global challenges that require global responses that, as often as not, can only be led by the United States - and only if the United States restores and maintains its moral authority to lead.

Make no mistake, it is precisely our moral authority that is our greatest source of strength, and it is precisely our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations and mean compromises of conscience wagered with history by this willful president.

Move On PAC (Rush Transcript)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Spam Spam Spam Spam

I give up. The Bayesian filters in Mozilla are no longer up to the task of sorting the avalanche of spam that fills my inbox each day. I've had as many as 1000 spams within a 24 hour period, with up to 100 a day getting past the Bayesian filter.

Last night I signed up for the Spam Arrest filtering service.

So if you want to send me an email, please expect an email from Spam Arrest pointing you to a webpage where you will be asked to type a short word that appears in a graphic. That's it. A one time task. Thereafter, your messages will go directly to me.

I'm sorry for the inconvienience.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 25, 2004

Who's The Grownups Now?

The Democrats have become the eat-your-spinach party, preaching the virtues of fiscal restraint, while Republicans invite us to a free lunch. And what a feast it is! Upper-income Americans have been treated to vast tax cuts, with promises of even more are to come. Government spending, meanwhile, has ballooned - including Medicare drug benefits, farm price supports, and pork-barrel projects of every size and dimension. This year's deficit, according to the White House's own estimate, will be $521 billion - four and a quarter percent of the total economy. And then it's at least $500 billion as far as the eye can see. If Bush succeeds in making his tax cuts permanent, reducing the alternative minimum tax, and summoning tens of billions more to war against terrorism, future deficits will be much larger.

Robert B. Reich, "The Mixed-Up Politics of the Deficit", The American Prospect Online, May 11, 2004.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Cheeky Spam

Your mailer do not support HTML messages. Switch to a better mailer.

Poor Spammer, so sorry my mailer won't display your spam. Why don't you switch to a better job?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Fanime Links

In preperation for this Saturday's panel I put together Fanime 2004 Resources — A sorted list of links related to copyright, writing, and fanfiction.

While putting it together, I re-discovered the WordPlay Screenwriting site, which has some really terrific inside Hollywood essays, and the original (And in my humble opinion, far superior) script for the American version of Godzilla

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 22, 2004

Pencils Down!

Tony also found Gen. Clarks essay compelling, and has a fiendishly clever suggestion. (I wonder if he can suggest something to remove the coffee I spit all over my monitor when I read it?)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Blowback

Can it be that Iran duped the Neocons with Ahmed Chalabi? Talk about blowback, the US supported Sadam back in the 1980-8 Iran-iraq war, can it be that Now they've used the US army to depose him in 2003?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Dude, Where's My Duds?

Iraq declared that it had produced 170 of these base-bleed sarin artillery shells as part of a research and development program that never led to production. Ten of these shells were tested using inert fill — oil and colored water. Ten others were tested in simulated firing using the sarin precursors. And 150 of these shells, filled with sarin precursors, were live-fired at an artillery range south of Baghdad. A 10 percent dud rate among artillery shells isn't unheard of — and even greater percentages can occur. So there's a good possibility that at least 15 of these sarin artillery shells failed and lie forgotten in the Iraq desert, waiting to be picked up by any unsuspecting insurgent looking for raw material from which to construct an IED.

Iraq sarin shell is not part of a secret cache By Scott Ritter in the Christian Science Monitor

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 21, 2004

Not At All Conservative

It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is doing. Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the 20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the authoritarian.

Charley Reese

I sometimes wonder how any ethical conservative can support the actions of this administration.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


No words

I have no words to describe how I feel about the attack on a wedding in Mukaradeeb.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


World Wenders Part 2

More than anything else, we should keep in mind the primary lesson of the fall of the Soviet Union: Democracy can come to a place only when its people rise up and demand it.

Broken Engagement by Gen. Wesley Clark in the Washington Monthly

That quote is remarkably in tune with:

The Bureau does not create revolution. It creates the necessity for revolution. Given that necessity, the native populations are perfectly capable of handling the revolution.

from The World Wenders don't you think?

The theme of my short story After Black was that you could not force someone to be happy, that all you can do is to provide the environment for them to become happy, and it was up to them to do the rest. Substuting democracy for happiness does not seem to strain that theme.

Gen. Clark was my first pick for president, based on seeing him speak on C-span, and this article makes me feel a little nostalgic for the week or two when it seemed like he had a real chance.

I'm not sure he could have written this article were he the nominee, there's a little too much truth in it.

About halfway through the article it hit me; this really was Gen. Clark's writing and thinking, not a speechwriter, not a columnist, not a historian, it was really him. Then I thought: Has Dubya ever in his life written anything approaching this clarity and detail, and would he have read it to the end?

This is how real grown-ups think. Dubya may have made a big show of demanding coats and ties in the oval office, but that's just dress up.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 20, 2004

Public Morality

But the differences in the two moral systems also play out on the social or civic plane, and not just on the individual level. And in that civic sphere, the differences come down to this: Liberals believe in public morality and in adherence to democratic process, while conservatives value personal morality and positive, efficiently achieved results.

Michael Tomasky, "End Times", The American Prospect Online, May 17, 2004.

That paragraph precisely and succinctly sums up the reason I call myself a liberal. It's a really terrific article, one of many at The American Prospect Online.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 19, 2004

If We Pull This Off, We'll Eat Like Kings.

Do you remember that Far Side cartoon? (Sixth from the top.)

Two tiny spiders have spun a web at the bottom of a playground slide.

The one speaking that line is surely William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and chairman of the Project for the New American Century I listened in horror to his interview on Fresh Air. He sounds so reasonable, so casual about sending our troops off to die in his war (and sending lots more). So offhand about the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the war, and happy to spend anything it takes. So comfortable with raising taxes - but only to support the war. Oh, and he says he sleeps well at night.

Update: For some reason the Server at NPR will not accept the "&" in the URL, and if I leave it out (Hard to do since my backend always fixes them) Then I'd get an error on checking the XHTML.

I'm siding with the W3C on this. Please cut and paste the URL below to get to the page.

Update Update: My Bad. URL now works. Small error in the url handling routine. Won't happen again.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


My Pet Goat

In one of the film's most dramatic moments, we watch the president attending an elementary school class on that ill-fated morning of Sept. 11. An aide whispers to him news of the plane crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The look on Bush's face is stunned, as any person's would be. A clock ticks away. The president looks as though he'll never get up from that seat. The minutes tick by.

"Was he wondering if he should have shown up to work more often?" Moore says in voice-over, this comment connecting with glimpses earlier in the movie of Bush's frequent stays in Texas to clear brush and play golf. The president stares at the children's book he's holding. It's called "My Pet Goat."

"Fahrenheit 9/11": Connects with a hard left MSNBC

He sat there for seven minutes. The leader of the free world sat in a room full of school children after being told that a second aircraft had attacked the World Trade Center for seven minutes. After a summer of the the CIA director running around "with his hair on fire", he sat there for seven minutes.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 18, 2004

Behind the Scenes

xml gif

Say hello to the new XML link graphic. It's at the bottom of the left sidebar.

I was pleased and surprised to find that in less than a day I'd been syndicated into Live Journal Thanks, D.!

Rss gifAnd that little bit of RSS candy? That's a link to the RSS validator. My content management system is still shaking out the bugs, so I wanted a quick way to test my feed after every posting.

My todo list for the site includes adding permalinks (Which will probably drop you into the history file at the date of the entry) and some better timestamps for each item. All that will have to wait untill after the Fanime Convention, I've got a panel to organize, buttons to make, and a chapter of Yellow to release in the next two weeks.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Not a Good Day

Q: I would like to go back to the first incident, when the survivor asked why did you kill his brother. Was that the incident that pushed you over the edge, as you put it?

A: Oh, yeah. Later on I found out that was a typical day. I talked with my commanding officer after the incident. He came up to me and says: "Are you OK?" I said: "No, today is not a good day. We killed a bunch of civilians." He goes: "No, today was a good day." And when he said that, I said "Oh, my goodness, what the hell am I into?"

Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government' in the Sacramento Bee

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Diebold

"What we found was that all the voting machines used the same secret encryption key code, that the code had never been changed and that all of the developers had access to it," he said. Other problems with the technology have led states to reconsider e-voting in the upcoming presidential election.

Stubblefield dismisses conspiracy theories that surround Diebold. "In some ways it's far worse than that, they just did not know what they were doing," he said. For example, they were able to analyze the Diebold voting machine source code because the company had accidentally left it on an open FTP server.

SearchSecurity.com

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 17, 2004

$41.83 a Barrel

CNN/Reuters has another interesting graphic, this time about the price of oil.

I have to wonder, are the inflation adjusted bars for prior years year-to-date averages as well, or are they the peak price? After all, today's peak price would graph out to be about the same as the price during 1974 Oil Embagro.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 16, 2004

Flipping the Switch

I'm testing a new version webloging backend software, so if you should find the occasional error in the xhtml, I'm working on it.

The big reason for the change was that the new script supports an rss 2.0 feed!

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 14, 2004

The War Is Over (!)

Freeway Blogger has the associated press photo.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Why Do You Think They Call Us Subjects?

Up the road in La Crosse, the clampdown on civil liberties was even more sweeping. Wolf and hundreds of other Wisconsinites and Minnesotans who sought to express dissents were videotaped by authorities, told they could not make noise, ordered not to display certain signs and forced to stand out of eyesight of Bush and his entourage. Again and again, they were told that if they expressed themselves in ways that were entirely protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, they would be "subject to arrest."

Up the road in La Crosse, the clampdown on civil liberties was even more sweeping. Wolf and hundreds of other Wisconsinites and Minnesotans who sought to express dissents were videotaped by authorities, told they could not make noise, ordered not to display certain signs and forced to stand out of eyesight of Bush and his entourage. Again and again, they were told that if they expressed themselves in ways that were entirely protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, they would be "subject to arrest."

John Nichols: When King George travels, liberties suffer

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 13, 2004

Friedman Gets A Clue

I admit, I'm a little slow. Because I tried to think about something as deadly serious as Iraq, and the post- 9/11 world, in a nonpartisan fashion — as Joe Biden, John McCain and Dick Lugar did — I assumed the Bush officials were doing the same. I was wrong. They were always so slow to change course because confronting their mistakes didn't just involve confronting reality, but their own politics.

Dancing Alone By Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times

I paid a lot of attention to Mr. Friedman's opinions prior to the war. He'd made a number of media apperacnces, and it was perfectly clear that he had great resepect and genuine affection for everyday Iraqis. As the build up to shock and awe approached his columns seemed to be more Pollyanna than political reality.

His support for the war was dissapointing, since it was he himself who said that it had to be for the right reasons, done the right way, with the right coalition for it to work. (I make that three strikes...)

Finaly, he's beginning to think that Dubya Inc. had something other than "a decent outcome in Iraq" in mind for this war.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 12, 2004

@-navi

@-navi is like mapquest for Japan, good for an hour or two of tracking down places I've been.

Here is the Tokyo tower, (at the 9:00 position) the Tokyo Prince Hotel (2:00 position) and a very large shrine (4:00 position). Fans of Tenchi Muyo will remember that the big white canon used to send Kain to another dimention was parked at that very shrine.

(update) when I re-tried the link on another machine I discovered that the url did not follow the map location (I think there's some Java magic envolved) the URL now drops you next to Tokyo Tower Tokyo Tower

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


The World Menders

Democracy Imposed From Without Is The Severest Form Of Tyranny

— Motto of the IPR (Interplanetary Relations Bureau) From The World Menders (1971)by Lloyd Biggle Jr.

Those words are haunting even now, 33 years later, but then 44,245 US sevicemen had been killed in Vietnam by the end of '70, and there was no end in sight.

The World Menders offers a few other axioms:

Democracy is not a form of government, it is a state of mind. People can not be arbitrarily placed in a state of mind.

One measure of the urgeny of revolution is the freedom the people have, compared to the freedom they want.

The Bureau does not create revolution. It creates the necessity for revolution. Given that necessity, the native populations are perfectly capable of handling the revolution.

Fundimental to any Democracy is the people's right to be wrong. No Democracy has ever survived the abolishment of the principal.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Think of that.

The deficits are now projected at $400 billion this year and at comparably destructive levels for the indefinite future. The tax cuts are responsible for more than $3 trillion in long-term revenue losses over 10 years. And Greenspan hasn't even spoken out against the president's campaign to make the cuts permanent.

Just imagine the outcry from Greenspan, Wall Street, and the Republican Party if these deficits had been the result of social spending rather than tax cuts for America's wealthiest. For half of the cost of the projected deficits — $200 billion a year — we could have universal, high-quality child care and health insurance for all Americans. Think of that.

What Greenspan won't admit about deficit by Robert Kuttner for the Boston Globe

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Heh.

The edlin line editor was thrown together in two weeks in 1981, and was expected to have a six-month shelf life. Some industry pundits have suggested that this is the only Microsoft-written MS-DOS program that is bug-free; this is entirely false, however, as Seattle Computer Products, not Microsoft, wrote EDLIN.

Wikipedia

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 11, 2004

Peak Oil Revisited

A growing number of geologists and analysts in the energy industry have been saying for some time that global oil reserves may be dangerously exaggerated. With oil prices currently at around $37 a barrel, the highest for nearly 15 years, and the threat of diminishing supply or terrorist attacks on the energy industry, the question of reserves has assumed a greater importance than ever.

The Daily Star

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


The 6 1/2% Solution

Sixty-two percent of the energy that begins as gasoline in a car's fuel tank was lost as heat in the engine combustion process; 17 percent was lost to engine idling; 6 percent to the transmission; and 2 percent to accessories, such as air conditioning and power steering.

In the end, just 13 percent of the energy in the gas tank made the car go—and half of that was subsequently lost to wind and tire resistance.

Supercar: The tanking of an American dream from the Chicago Tribune. The pull quotes were from Part 3.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 10, 2004

The Big Mo

I have made a career of taking bungee jumps in my election calls. Sometimes I haven't had a helmet and I have gotten a little scratched. But here is my jump for 2004: John Kerry will win the election.

John Zogby of Zogby Poll fame.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 9, 2004

Followership

First month sales of the new Prius in Japan were 17,000 and in the United States there were 10,000 pre-orders. Toyota expects to sell 100,000 hybrid vehicles this year and perhaps 350,000 by 2006.

American car manufacturers are scrambling to catch up with the Japanese. They've discovered they are years, not months behind. In late 2002 Ford announced it would be introducing a hybrid in the fall of 2003. In late 2003 Ford announced it was postponing introduction until late 2004. GM declared it would introduce a hybrid pickup in 2004. In late 2003 it announced it was delaying introduction of a full hybrid until 2007. Dodge had said it would introduce a hybrid Ram Contractor in 2005. In late 2003 Daimler/Chrysler canceled its plans to build a hybrid SUV.

This is all very embarrassing to this native-born American. I'm convinced that American engineers are the equals of their Japanese counterparts. It is American CEOs who are not the equal of their Japanese equivalents.

A Tale of Two Countries By David Morris in AlterNet

Mr Morris has several interesting articles at Alternet, including one on solar energy

These stories are stark illustrations of what may be the greatest threat to the United states: our most powerful corporate "citizens" are structured to act without regard to to the common good of the nation (and the world).

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Spaceman

Spaceman

I loaned the 1st season of Ranma to Jasper under the same terms that I give everyone — If you return it late, you owe me a drawing. He was late. ^_^

I really like this drawing because there is no up or down, just like in space.

Thanks, Jasper.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 8, 2004

Pottery Barn Rules

This morning's Boondocks — featuring Colin Powell moonlighting in a Pottrey Barn — set me to thinking.

We've all heard that Powell famously told Bush about Iraq that the Pottery Barn rule was in effect: "If you break it, you own it." When this reached the press, a spokesman for pottery barn stepped forward to set the story straight.

Pottery Barn does not sweep the shards of the damaged object into a bag, and ring it up on your MasterCard, they simply write off the damage. Practically speaking, I'd bet that if you were to saunter into a Pottery Barn — say because you heard that there might be Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Activities going on between the flatware and the placemants, and started to smash everyting in your search, they'd be on the on the phone to 911, and your MasterCard might well become envolved.

The genuine Pottery Barn Rule might be more soberingly applicable to our situation in Iraq than the mis-stated If you break it, you own it rule.

What really happens when you break something at Pattery Barn goes something like this: First, you appologize profusely for your blunder to each and every employee you meet as you make a few rushed guilt purchases, then you slink out of the store and rush to your car to avoid bumping into shoppers who might have wittnessed your faux pas*. For months afterwards you avoid the store — crossing to the other side of the mall as you walk by, all the while feigning rapt interest in the saccharine displays in the window of the Hallmark store. It's not until some months pass, and some niece gets engaged, and registers at Tiffany, Gucchi, Prada, and Pottery Barn do you pass through the doors again. (And even then only then after visiting each of the other stores.)

Those are the real Pottery Barn Rules.

* Not applicable in Texas. They call it something else there.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Pinnacles

Pinnacles National Monumnet

Pinnacles National Monumnet

2004 05 02 Nikon 990 w/Polarizing filter

This is the western part of the original geological formation, the eastern part can be found 195 miles to the south, on the other side of the San Andreas fault.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 7, 2004

Outrage Fatigue

The pictures out of Abu Ghraib have wrapped the needle on my outrage meter around the stop pin.

Dubya's vowed to get to "get to the bottom" of this.

We don't need to "get to the bottom" of this. We've seen the bottom of this on the front page of every newspaper, and on the top of every news show.

What we really need to do is to get to the top of this.

What we really need to do is close that prison, put a fence around it, and place those responsable for the abuse inside the fence with picks and hammers.

Let them leave when not one stone stands upon another.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

May 4, 2004

On Being Human

Just when we thought we had a pure and simple hero, a millionaire athlete who gave up wealth and fame to become the ideal patriot, to make the ultimate sacrifice, his friends and family complicated everything. They turned Pat Tillman into a human being Monday, showing us what was really lost during that ambush in Afghanistan, insisting that we question every assumption we've made since he died an icon on April 22.

sfgate

Mr. Tillman appears to have been a far more complicated person than made the headlines. I wish I'd known him.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


There's something Rotten in the State of Florida

First, the purges. In the months leading up to the November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida. At least 90.2 percent of those on this "scrub" list, targeted to lose their civil rights, are innocent. Notably, more than half—about 54 percent—are black or Hispanic. You can argue all night about the number ultimately purged, but there's no argument that this electoral racial pogrom ordered by Jeb Bush's operatives gave the White House to his older brother. HAVA not only blesses such purges, it requires all fifty states to implement a similar search-and-destroy mission against vulnerable voters. Specifically, every state must, by the 2004 election, imitate Florida's system of computerizing voter files. The law then empowers fifty secretaries of state—fifty Katherine Harrises—to purge these lists of "suspect" voters.

...

Florida's electorate is 11 percent African-American. Florida refused to count 179,855 spoiled ballots. A little junior high school algebra applied to commission numbers indicates that 54 percent, or 97,000, of the votes "spoiled" were cast by black folk, of whom more than 90 percent chose Gore. The nonblack vote divided about evenly between Gore and Bush. Therefore, had Harris allowed the counting of these ballots, Al Gore would have racked up a plurality of about 87,000 votes in Florida—162 times Bush's official margin of victory.

VANISHING VOTES by Greg Palast

Mr. Palast is the last living 'investigative reporter'.

These noble creatures, which once roamed the continent in thundering herds, have In the last 30 years been killed off by their only known natural enemy, corporate media ownership.

Although Mr. Palast is a US citizen, and lives and works in the USA, he reports for the UK's Guardian, a paper which notably finds the theft of the US presidency to be more newsworthy than Michael Jackson.

How very quaint.

Buy his book: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 30, 2004

Summary Judgment

Defendant begins the descent into Alice's Wonderland by submitting a Motion that relies upon only one legal authority. The Motion cites a Fifth Circuit case which stands for the whopping proposition that a federal court sitting in Texas applies the Texas statutes of limitations to certain state and federal law claims. That is all well and good — the Court is quite fond of the Erie doctrine; indeed there is talk of little else around both the Canal and this Court's water cooler. Defendant, however, does not even cite to Erie, but to a mere successor case, and further fails to even begin to analyze why the Court should approach the shores of Erie.

National Review

It starts out a bit dry, but quickly turns into a brilliant lesson in the deadly use of the English language.

Amazon, this really peaves me, after all, you can charge my credit card in seconds, but it takes you DAYS to simply hide my personal info? FIX THAT.

Those of you with personal websites might want to seach your domain on A9.com to see if Amazon is has made it really, really, really easy for scary, scary strangers to find your phone number and address.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 23, 2004

Separate But Unequal

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice briefs House and Senate Republicans on the situation in Iraq. The closed-door briefing comes near the end of a series of Congressional hearings examining troop deployment extensions, military costs and the planned June 30 transfer of power to an Iraqi government. Rice also met with some Senate Democrats in a meeting that was arranged at the last minute.

NPR Audio

Rice spent more than an hour privately breifing and answering questions from members of her own party in the house, then crossed over to spend another hour with Senate Repubs.

There was then a hastily called meeting where she was to brief Democrats, but that breifing was cut to just 10 minutes when the Senate Repubs called a vote.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Hello Kitty Headlamps

Really. Pink.

Also available in blue.

Or you could go with the ever popular Hello Kitty War of the worlds Death Beam (Plugs into your cigarette lighter socket.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 21, 2004

I'm number 648,950!

A9.com, An Amazon.com company has started a new search service.

I didn't talk about it at first, because they have a little "Site Info" button that leads to an Amazon Page which had data-mined personal info for all of the world to see. It took several days for the "Correct errors or omissions in the Contact Information." page to remove my home phone number and home address.

Amazon, this really peaves me, after all, you can charge my credit card in seconds, but it takes you DAYS to simply hide my personal info? FIX THAT.

Those of you with personal websites might want to seach your domain on A9.com to see if Amazon is has made it really, really, really easy for scary, scary strangers to find your phone number and address.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 20, 2004

It's the... Oh Never Mind.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the administration has announced its intention to make John Negroponte our first ambassador to postwar Iraq, to take up residence in what will be the world's largest embassy after June 30. Negroponte was one of the key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal, the cockeyed plot that sold U.S. arms to Iran and used the money to finance an illegal war in Nicaragua. So, our first ambassador will be a man who armed Iraq's enemy during that war.

Negroponte speaks no Arabic, he is a specialist in covert operations in Latin America and he has no Middle East experience aside from the Iran-Contra insanity. He is, however, a bona fide, certified, chicken-fried neo-con. Is anyone else appalled?

Molly Ivins

I am, Molly. I am. I really am.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


I Liked It Better...

When They Belived In Elvis.

So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again.

George Monbiot in The Guardian

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 17, 2004

Free Market? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Free Market

Wampum tells the story of Creekstone Farms, who felt they could make more money by testing every head of cattle for Mad Cow.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 16, 2004

UK Paper: "THE PRESIDENT'S BRAIN IS MISSING"

Millions see Dubya fluff question on conflict By Mark Ellis, Foreign Editor

PRESIDENT George Bush was laid bare to the world as a bumbling embarrassment yesterday when he couldn't think up an answer to a reporter's question.

The Mirror

Go look. That is the actual headline. You know, that paper really doesn't like Dubya.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 15, 2004

You have got to be kidding me.

This is just wrong.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 14, 2004

Sign Of Our Times.

Sign at bake shop for croquette buger.

Actual Sign from local bakery. They have great curry pan, but I just couldn't bring myself to ask about the croquette buger.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 13, 2004

Are your children deeper in debt then they were four years ago?

To put this in some perspective, the budget deficit last year was approximately $4000 per household. If you assign that debt to each household, the median income has fallen by something like 10% since Clinton�s time. Now that is obviously unfair because that can�t be exactly how the deficit is made up, but it�s clear that on any reasonable assignment of the costs of deficit financing the overall performance is much worse than the 0.6% fall that CNN/Money is prepared to run with.

Crooked Timber

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 12, 2004

Da Da Da...

What do we want?

PATIENCE!

When do we want it?

NOW!

—Al Franken (At the Florida Recount '2000, in response to the republican riot demanding a stop to the recount.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 11, 2004

Red Tree

Red Tree in Kyoto, Japan

Tree In Kyoto Park, November 20, 2001. Nikon E990

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 8, 2004

NetSky? SkyNet? Is that you?

Overnight I got over 1,000 copies of the latest virus sent to my email account. Thanks loads, Bill.

That's it. I'm not going to read another email unless it has "Swordfish" in the subject line.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

April 5, 2004

Le'me out.

Fox at Minnesota Zoo

Fox at Minnesota Zoo ~1980. Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor, TriX-pan

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 31, 2004

I'm In The Wrong Business

Prius Engine Cutaway

MEGACHEMCO LTD makes those amazingly cool cut away models of just about anything mechanical. This is a close up of an actual cutaway Toyota Prius engine. It looks like they buy a engine or a transmision or whatever, and cut it open for educational purposes. They also make and sell Wind Tunnels, so if you've been looking all over for a Continuous Supersonic Wind Tunnel, well, they have exactly you are looking for.

(Photo: Megachemco)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Watch Your Step! or Snow Job

"There is not a single company left in the United States that makes ladders. The lawsuits got to be too much for the ladder industry," read comments Snow prepared for a conference sponsored by the Small Business Administration.

But when the department discovered there were some 11 producers selling $850 million worth of ladders in the United States, those words were left unspoken and deleted from a speech text posted later on the department's Web site.

Yahoo! News

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 30, 2004

Trees and Fog

Trees at night in the fog

Date ~'73-77. Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor, TriX-pan

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 29, 2004

Advice on Writing...

From the University of Southern Mississippi: The 39 Steps: A Primer on Story Writing

From Orson Scott Card: Uncle Orson's Writing Class His OSC Critique is particularly brilliant.

I disagree a little with his assertion that "the first paragraph is free" from his Beginnings lesson, though. Maybe it's because I specialize in short stories, but I think the first paragraph is a critical part of a story, because it is where the reader is beginning to synchronize with the author, adjusting to his writing 'voice'. It's one of the reasons that my prose format is relatively uncluttered prior to the first paragraph. I want that beginning of the story to stand clearly out as if they had turned a page in a book.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 28, 2004

Call for Panelists - FanimeCon 2004 Fanfic Panel

Con Website: http://www.fanime.com/

Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California

Con Dates: Memorial Day Weekend, 2004 (Friday May 28 - Monday May 31)

Panel Schedule: 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 29, 2004 (Tentative, Room TBD)

Moderator: Joseph Palmer


I'm seeking three to five panelists for this year's panel.

Traditionally, the Fanime Fanfic Panel has been all authors, but this year I'm very interested in having an archivist or reviewer or other expert to join the panel.

I'm hoping to make this a audience participation event, in previous years we've had some of the best questions come from the panel, and some of the best answers come from the audience.

The focus of the panel will be on writing, publishing and promoting anime Fanfiction.


If you're an author, please email the following information to fanime2004@josephpalmer.com



If you're an archivist or reviewer, or have other expertise that might be appropriate to a Fanfic Panel, please email the following information to fanime2004@josephpalmer.com



There is also a discussion thread at the Fanime Bulletin Boards

Please feel free to join in.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 26, 2004

Separated at birth?

Drone

(Photo AP) The UVonline reports on the IDF mini-drones.

(update - This has been picked up on Slashdot, they link to a longer BBC article.

PL-4

You know, aside from the vertical tails, it looks a lot like PL-4

Truth be known, the original PL-1 was my attempt at making a paper version of the XB-70 Valkyrie. The strange thing is, the XB-70 used the downward winglets to go fast, I found they are good for making paper planes fly slow.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 23, 2004

Hah. You Call That A Great Depression?

The United States is shouldering a greater debt burden today than it did during the Great Depression.

The total amount owed - by consumers, businesses, governments and financial institutions - totaled $34.4 trillion at the end of 2003, according to the Federal Reserve. The economy produced $11.3 trillion of output.

That makes the nation's debt triple its gross domestic product. In 1933, debt was about 2 1/2 times GDP, according to a study by the Gabelli Mathers mutual fund.

Miami Herald

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 18, 2004

Will No One Send A Calculator To The Whitehouse?

Mounting deficits, a threat to the nation's long-term economic health, are the natural outgrowth of these stark percentages. The White House claims that the economic slowdown is primarily responsible for these deficits are wearing thin. Indeed, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just issued a report that attributes only 6 percent of this year's $500 billion deficit to a sluggish economy. Far more dominant as factors behind the red ink are the costs of the president's progressively deeper tax cuts, weighted for the affluent, and the Iraq war.

The New York Times

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 17, 2004

The Tears In Spain Fall Mainly Everywhere.

A couple of people have asked me what I thought about the horrifying bombings in Madrid, and the effect on the elections there, but the simple fact is I don't know enough about the political environment in Spain to have any evidence-based opinions.

It was discomforting, to see a government change just days after an attack, but as the news trickles in, the fog clears to present a more complicated situation.

Besides, if you are uncomfortable with the notion that a terrorist attack can have an effect on an election, think back to the 2002 elections right here at home.

P.S. There are many more great graphics at Professor Pollkatz's Pool of Polls

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 16, 2004

Of Course I Can't Hear, I've got a Fender in My Ear

I began to title this post "We Were Liberated From The Four Minute Song", in reference to a line in the Who's We won't get Fooled Again, but partway thought typing it I thought, wait—was it "three minute song"?...

Three minutes in Google in showed me the error of my ways, for the line is actually: "We were liberated from the fold, that's all." For the last three decades I've been hearing the lyric wrong. Sigh.

Anyway, the topic of the post was going to be why my site doesn't support RSS.

The topic came to mind because I'm seeing a load of hits from Scripting News, the wellspring of RSS, and over that last couple of months I've been thinking about adding a feed. My back end is a hand-rolled perl script, so to implement the feed I'd have to do a weekend of tinkering, which is no minor thing, but the main reason I haven't taken the plunge is related to my misheard lyric; I've been liberated from the four line post.

It's a bit ironic that the post that Dave picked up was that sort of thing that is ideal for RSS - a pithy offhand comment - the sort of thing I'd say outloud for laughs, but at best an incomplete thought.*

I still wrestle with the style of my blog, but I find (as I look back through by history files) that I'd have a very hard time writing the item synopsis for many of the entries. Maybe it's the storyteller in me, but for some of the entries, I think a leading synopsis would dilute the impact of the actual post. (And I don't want to do that.)

At the same time, many of my titles are jokes or puns, and if the title was all I published in the RSS, then a reader would frequently get a misleading idea of what the post is all about. (And I don't want to do that, either.)

I hope over time I'll find a way to to keep the style of my blog intact while finding a way to deliver a coherent RSS feed. In the meantime, I'll just keep posting in the rather random style of the site.

(*Disclosure: I tried doing marketing, when I tried my own startup, and I was a dismal failure at it, so I have a deal with the splendid and talented Danger Inc. marketing team: I don't do marketing, they don't design PC boards.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 15, 2004

Yeah, Right.

Dave Winer called me a marketing guy. Me, a marketing guy? I don't think so.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Wired Rave Awards

Tonight at the Wired Rave Awards I got a chance to speak with Burt Rutan, the designer of a number of inventive aircraft, including the Voyager, the first (and so far only) aircraft to fly around the world non-stop, with no refuling.

Years ago (Many Many years ago, like '76-78 era) I went to go see Mr Rutan speak at the Oshkosh EAA convention. I arrived a bit late and found myself a seat off to the side of the stage, on a little platform that held the organ for the Sunday morning church services. There was an old wooden folding chair I tried, but it proved to be unsafe for human use, so I sat on the edge of the platform.

A few minutes into Mr Rutan's presentation an older gentleman came to sit, I whispered a warning in his ear as he went for the chair, and he joined me on the platform.

Partway through the presentation Mr Rutan looks over at us, (I thought the audience that we had a special guest, and introduced the gentleman as August Bellanca of Bellanca Aircraft fame.

The presentation was about the Defiant, an inline twin engine arcraft built of composite materials. Part of the presentation was Mr Rutan harmlessly bouncing up and down on on a composite wing panel, then on an aluminum part, which promptly buckled and bent. Mr Bellanca seemed quite taken with the demonstration, and Mr Rutan even handed him the panels to examine.

Judging from what aviabellanca is up to these days, Mr Bellanca was very impressed with the presentation, and came away with ideas to transform his aircraft. I came away from it with a nice memory, and a pretty good reason to chat up one of my engineering heros tonight.


BTW, I rolled back to date on this entry - I was writing it from CA, where it was still Monday, but my server is in FL, where it was already Tuesday. Maybe I should look at my blogscript to see if I could easily fix that....

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 14, 2004

Quote of the Day

That's it. It's one thing for a ghost to terrorize my children, but quite another for him to play my Theremin. — Homer Simpson.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Don't Look Away

Chart: Interest payments exceed all domestic progams by 2010

The Citizens for Tax Justice take a look at Dubya's budget: Bush Still on Track to Borrow $10 Trillion by 2014 (.pdf) (Warning! Contains Tables and Graphs of actual economic data. Not suitible for dittoheads or neocons.)

Yes, what you are looking at is a chart showing that by 2010 the annual cost of interest on the national debt will exceed annual spending on all domestic programs (excluding homeland security)

This is the road Dubya has put us on.

This is where he wants to lead the country.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Running out of oil — and time

Thus, when we peak becomes a rather pressing question. Some pessimists tell us the peak has already come, and that calamity is imminent. That's unlikely. But the optimists' forecast—that we don't peak until around 2035—is almost as hard to believe. First, oil demand is climbing faster than optimists had hoped, mainly because China and India, the sleeping giants, are waking up to embrace a Western-style high-energy industrialism that includes tens of millions of new cars. Second, even as oil demand is rising, oil discovery rates are falling. Oil can't be produced without first being found, and the rate at which oil companies are locating new oil fields is in serious decline. The peak for world discoveries was around 1960; today, despite astonishing advances in exploration and production technology, the industry is finding just 12 billion new barrels of oil each year—less than half of what we use. This is one reason that oil prices, which had averaged $20 a barrel since the 1970s, have been hovering at $30 for nearly a year.

Oil companies, not surprisingly, are getting anxious. Despite the fact that the current high oil prices are yielding massive company profits, companies are finding it harder and harder to replace the oil they sell with newly discovered barrels. On average, for every 10 barrels an oil company sells, its exploration teams find just four new barrels—a trend that can go on only so long. Indeed, most Western oil firms now say the only way to halt this slide is to get back into the Middle East, which kicked them out during the OPEC nationalizations of the 1960s and '70s. This has, in fact, become the mantra of the oil industry: Get us back into the Middle East or be prepared for trouble. And the Bush administration seems to have taken the message to heart.

Petroleum World

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 13, 2004

Old House

Photo of House

c1975 Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor, Tri-X pan (Detroit Lakes, Mn.)

This shot was taken just at sunset, and is a bit underexposed, but I like it for its historical look.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 12, 2004

Fountain Fish

3 Fish in a fountain

I loaned Dave a book (The Great Unraveling — highly recommended) under the terms that the late fee would be a quick-sketch drawing.

Fortunately for me, he got busy, and began to feel guilty about how long he had the book, and returned it with this cool and enigmatic sketch.

Dave's other comics can be found at: Dave Bort Draw Now

I think next time I lend him a book, his late penalty would be to complete a link graphic...

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 11, 2004

More Backlinks

- Ranma 1/2 - Red, Orange, Black, After Black, Yellow, and Manila by Joseph Palmer - When I saw the link to these stories on animefics, I went, "Ooh! Yay! Ranma/Akane fic! I love those! *sparkle*" And it had been a long time since I'd read any Ranma/Akane that I'd really liked, so I was looking forward to them and... I found that what I liked about them was what I liked about the original series, in a way. I've read other fics that have made me go, "Oh, my god, that was so amazing!" more than this one did, but these stories had a special... charm tg that by 2010 the annual cost of interest on the national debt will exceed annual spending on all domestic programs (excluding homeland security)

This is the road Dubya has put us on.

This is where he wants to lead the country.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Running out of oil — and time

Thus, when we peak becomes a rather pressing question. Some pessimists tell us the peak has already come, and that calamity is imminent. That's unlikely. But the optimists' forecast—that we don't peak until around 2035—is almost as hard to believe. First, oil demand is climbing faster than optimists had hoped, mainly because China and India, the sleeping giants, are waking up to embrace a Western-style high-energy industrialism that includes tens of millions of new cars. Second, even as oil demand is rising, oil discovery rates are falling. Oil can't be produced without first being found, and the rate at which oil companies are locating new oil fields is in serious decline. The peak for world discoveries was around 1960; today, despite astonishing advances in exploration and production technology, the industry is finding just 12 billion new barrels of oil each year—less than half of what we use. This is one reason that oil prices, which had averaged $20 a barrel since the 1970s, have been hovering at $30 for nearly a year.

Oil companies, not surprisingly, are getting anxious. Despite the fact that the current high oil prices are yielding massive company profits, companies are finding it harder and harder to replace the oil they sell with newly discovered barrels. On average, for every 10 barrels an oil company sells, its exploration teams find just four new barrels—a trend that can go on only so long. Indeed, most Western oil firms now say the only way to halt this slide is to get back into the Middle East, which kicked them out during the OPEC nationalizations of the 1960s and '70s. This has, in fact, become the mantra of the oil industry: Get us back into the Middle East or be prepared for trouble. And the Bush administration seems to have taken the message to heart.

Petroleum World

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 9, 2004

Half Full, or Half Empty?

Either Way There's Only Half Left.

A memo, circulated to Sir Philip Watts and other senior executives in early 2002, warned that the company's method of booking oil and natural-gas reserves appeared to be inconsistent with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (news - web sites) guidelines, these two people said. The memo pointed out that the company might have to revise downward its reserve tally by the equivalent of about one billion barrels of oil, these people said.

On Jan. 9, the world's third-largest publicly traded oil company by market value announced it would cut its oil and natural-gas reserves by about 20%, or 3.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent. A good chunk of the overbooking occurred during Sir Philip's tenure as the companywide head of exploration and production between 1997 and 2001. He became chairman in 2001.

Dow Jones via Yahoo News

O—kay. So an Oil company must report reserves based on rules made up by the Securities Exchange Commision. Are these the 'reserves' that folks point at who believe that we have extra decade or two of petroleum before the Hubbart peak? Have the other Oil companies been padding the 'reserves'? what if all of them have been reporting 20% more reserves? And anyway, why is the SEC setting the rules? Do they have a department of geologists who set the standards?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 7, 2004

The Big Picture

Take a look at the employment index chart over at The Big Picture

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 6, 2004

California Screamin'

California Screamin'

Nikon 990E 2002 09 14

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 5, 2004

Jobs? We don't need no stinkin' Jobs

The Labor Department's report said private-sector employment was unchanged in February, while the government added 21,000 workers.

The report also showed job creation in December and January was weaker than previously thought, adding to the gloomy tone of the report. The department revised lower its count of jobs gains in January to 97,000 from 112,000 and for December to just 8,000 from 16,000.

Yahoo!

At January's growth rate it would take over 8 years just to get back to the employment numbers of Jan 20, 2001.

Over the last three months, employment has risen an average of just 42,000 per month, down from the 79,000 average of the prior three months. It is also far short of the 150,000 or so jobs needed each month just to keep pace with growth in the labor force.

In those same 8 years, we'd need to add 14,400,000 new jobs. At January's growth rate only 2,016,000 new jobs would be created (And those would be in government), and there would be 12,384,000 people entering the workforce and not finding work.

Of course, In January, the private sector was flat, while all of the growth in jobs was in the government sector. Could that be where Dubya wants to take the country?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Understanding the severity of the current labor slump

Payroll Jobs Graph

A number of factors must be considered in order to understand the severity of the current labor slump:

The record length of time that jobs have failed to recover
Prior to the current slump, jobs had never fallen over a two and a half year period since monthly job numbers began in 1939. After five months of job gains, payroll jobs in January remained 2.3 million below the level of March 2001.

The growth in the working age population since the recession began in March 2001
Even as jobs were shrinking by 1.8%, the working age population (i.e., the number of people of working age) was growing by 3.7%. Had job growth kept up with working age population growth over that period, 7.1 million more payroll jobs would have been filled in January 2004.

The effect of the "missing" labor market on the unemployment rate
The unusually prolonged period without adequate job growth has caused an unprecedented number of people to refrain from actively looking for work, and therefore to be excluded from the unemployment measurement.

The Economic Policy Institute Takes a look at employment in a report (.pdf) putting the current situation against the last 50 or so years:

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Oil? We don't need no stinkin'... hey, waitaminute!

What will happen when the oil runs out?

It's amazing, the things you find a couple cliks away when you Ask Google News about the Hubbert Peak

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


F1

The first race of the Formula 1 season is this weekend at Albert Park, South Melbourne Australia. Once again the Speed Channel (DirecTV 607) is covering most of the races.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 4, 2004

Where do you want to go today?

Point A

But in that case, what's it all about? If everything Bush and his officials do is political, what is that they want to do with their power?

Old-line Republicans that I know cling to the belief that the Machiavellianism is only temporary, that it's embraced in service to a higher goal. Once the 2004 election is over, they say Bush will show his true colors as an idealist, someone who genuinely believes in small government and free markets.

But if Phillips is right—and I think he is—there is no higher goal. Bush's motivations are dynastic—to secure his family's rightful place. While he may have some policy biases—like that "instinctive policy fealty" to the investment business—policy is basically there to serve the acquisition of power, and not the other way around.

The Wars of the Texas Succession By Paul Krugman

Point B

At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism." Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal.

President George Bush and the Gilded Age

Dubya's now running ads claiming he knows where he wants to take this country. Funny thing, he never actually says where he wants to take the country.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 3, 2004

Got Soap?

David Kay, the man who led the CIA's postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has called on the Bush administration to "come clean with the American people" and admit it was wrong about the existence of the weapons.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Kay said the administration's reluctance to make that admission was delaying essential reforms of US intelligence agencies, and further undermining its credibility at home and abroad.

The Guardian

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

GENEVA (Reuters) - The world's second-largest reinsurer, Swiss Re, warned on Wednesday that the costs of natural disasters, aggravated by global warming, threatened to spiral out of control, forcing the human race into a catastrophe of its own making.

In a report revealing how climate change is rising on the corporate agenda, Swiss Re said the economic costs of such disasters threatened to double to $150 billion (82 billion pounds) a year in 10 years, hitting insurers with $30-40 billion in claims, or the equivalent of one World Trade Centre attack annually.

Hey, wait a minute. Are you telling me that Global warming could hurt big business? Someone better tell Dubya, quick.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


We didn't listen to you before, why should we listen to you now?

The casting was a dead giveaway. For the first time since annual threat assessment briefings by the heads of key intelligence agencies began a decade ago, the director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was disinvited.

Roberts and his Republican colleagues decided to preclude the possibility that some recalcitrant senator might ask why INR was able to get it right on Iraq when everyone else was wrong.

No Skunks Allowed

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

March 2, 2004

Stuper Tuesday...

I voted touchscreen, I think...

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Put the Lime in the Coconut...

The world is quickly running out of oil. In the year 2000, global production stood at 76 Million Barrels per Day (MBD). By 2020, demand is forecast to reach 112 MBD, an increase of 47%. But additions to proven reserves have virtually stopped and it is clear that pumping at present rates is unsustainable. Estimates of the date of "peak global production" vary with some experts saying it already may have occurred as early as the year 2000. New Scientist magazine recently placed the year of peak production in 2004. Virtually all experts believe it will almost certainly occur before the end of this decade.

Will The End of Oil Mean The End of America?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Is that an Ozone Hole? Oh no—it's not! Oh yes—it is!

I had a great discussion last night with a self-described conservative, and part way through he got me thinking about the ozone layer again. (He claimed to have heard that the ozone holes were closing up). Since I haven't heard anything like that I decided to prowl arround the web and look for recent actual data.

I found a detailed Report (2003/3 Winter .pdf) by the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit. But I'm afraid the report did not back up my freinds position.

On-going observation of ozone loss during successive Arctic winters is important as substantial losses can occur. A striking feature of Arctic ozone loss has been the large interannual variability of the ozone loss and its strong dependence on temperature. For example, there were losses of <10% in 1998/99 and >65% in 1999/2000 at around 18 km. Losses of 50% or more have been seen at the same altitudes in the Arctic in several winters since the early 1990s. Chemical losses in total ozone in the Arctic vortex have varied between about 5 and 30% since the early 1990s. Overall a decrease in total ozone in the Arctic region has been observed since 1980, although there is considerable year-to-year variation in the observed values. This variability in the ozone loss is to be contrasted with the Antarctic where nearly complete ozone loss has taken place in all winters in the 1990s at altitudes between about 15 and 20 km.

So it's true that from time to time the level of Ozone is rising (or falling!). Metaphoricaly, talking about those variations is like talking about the tides, when the the real issue is rising sea levels.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 27, 2004

The Last Thing the Titanic Needs is Another Iceberg

After supporting tax cuts for the wealthy, which have already blown a gaping hole in the federal budget, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told lawmakers on Wednesday that Congress should extend the cuts indefinitely — at a cost of $1.5 trillion over the next ten years — and pay for it by slashing Social Security.

The Class Warrior in Alternet.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Science? We don't need no stinkin' Science!

FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION

1. There is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health,public safety,and community well-being.

2. There is strong documentation of a wide-ranging effort to manipulate the government's scientific advisory system to prevent the appearance of advice that might run counter to the administration's political agenda.

3. There is evidence that the administration often imposes restrictions on what government scientists can say or write about "sensitive" topics.

4. There is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented.

Scientific Integrity in Policymaking
An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science

From Union of Concerned Scientists

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 26, 2004

Truth? We Don't Need no Stinkin' Truth!

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Dennis Hastert has hardened his opposition to extending the deadline for the independent commission studying the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, even as the panel's leaders pleaded yesterday for more time to complete their work.

Boston.com

Investigation into why the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up in re-entry, killing seven astrounats. — $50,000,000

Investigation into Bill Clinton's affair, where one blue dress was stained. — $40,000,000

Investigation into the worst terrorist attack in US history, resulting in the loss of 3000 lives. — $14,000,000

Shutting down the 9-11 commision before a full investigation. — Four more years.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 23, 2004

You had me at Regressive Tax Cuts

The reasons to defeat Bush escalate daily. The administration enacts regressive tax cuts; wages pre-emptive wars and lies about their justification; hacks away at civil liberties and appoints hard-right judges to shut down challenges; and undermines the union movement. The Bush administration attacks root structures of democracy by disenfranchising tens of thousands of Florida voters, redistricting dozens of Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan Congressional seats in raw power grabs, and jamming Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire. It brands those who oppose it as allies of terrorism.

That doesn't even count global warming, which (as sources from Fortune Magazine to the New York Times and a Pentagon study have recently warned) now brings the potential for melting polar ice caps to shutting down the Gulf Stream and plunging Europe and northeastern North America into a man-made ice age.

The Lone Ranger Of Righteousness By Paul Loeb, — AlterNet

Hey, Nader. Look at the last 3 years, then turn around and extrapolate 5 forward. Do you like what you see? Is that the kind of country you want? Do you even recognise it? Idiot.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 21, 2004

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

2004.02.21 Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos is just south of Carmel, California. It's a stunningly beatiful park, and surprisingly small. You could walk all of the trails in a single day, but only if you didn't stop to take a picture every few meters.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Random Acts of Flowers

Flower Power takes on a different meaning as folks from the red states are ordering flowers to be delivered to couples waiting to be wed in San Francisco.

Awww.

It's so easy to take a studied, balanced, maybe we should just have civil unions position on this — easy, that is, until you see the couples, and hear their stories. The first couple to be married had been devoted partners for 51 years. I got all teary eyed just seeing them on tv. If we don't recognise that commitment for what it is, then I think we're cheapening marriage for everyone else.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 19, 2004

The Midwest Shifts to the Left

CNN Screenshot

CNN 2004.02.14 11:16:20

This unretouched graphic shows a distinct leftward shift in the Dakotas. ^_^ I had to wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the story, after all, unemployment is a lot of big, big numbers. I wonder if the same intern who did the map did the numbers?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 18, 2004

Talking Points Memo

One of the key points the White House never mentions is that, notwithstanding what people thought before the return of inspectors, we found out quite a lot during the brief period when inspectors were in the country. And almost all of what we learned was damaging to the White House's case for war. Indeed, one reason for the hurry to start the war was the fear that the case would collapse entirely.

Josh Marshall in Talking Point Memo

One of the reasons I like TPM is that Mr. Marshall doesn't feel the need to print something every day, But when he has something to say, it's well worth the listen.

I cringe every time the Whitehouse claims that the WMD might have been spirited away during the war, or that critical evidence was hidden or destroyed during the looting. We had UN inspectors in Iraq, chasing every lead the world's intellegence agencies were passing in, and those leads were garbage.

I's now perfectly clear that everything that comes out of this administration, be it about global warming, the effects of tax cuts on the economy, or Dubya's Texas Air National Guard service must be given no more credance than the WMD claims.

After all, if Dubya, Inc. was willing to obfuscate the truth in order to rush to war, what subjects would they tell the truth about?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Pot, Kettle. — Now with 2800% More Black!

Happily for politics as usual, Kerry has surged to the fore and is now undergoing the pluperfectly idiotic political experience of being called the candidate of special interests by Republicans! Oh, this is so rich, how can you not rejoice? President Bush has only raised 28 times as much money from corporate special interests as John Kerry, and four times as much directly from lobbyists. But that didn't stop the Bush campaign from sending out an email video to 6 million supporters accusing Kerry of being the candidate of the special interests!

Molly Ivins

(Update: My original headline had it as only 2300% more black. It's 2800%. My bad.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 16, 2004

The Urban Institute of Large Numbers

Brad DeLong explores the effects of the long term deficit on the long term interest rates.

Now if we ould only get the president's council of economic advisors to explore the effects of the long term deficit on the long term interest rates.


This story brings to mind a missed opportunity in one of the 2000 debates: Dubya made a joke (if you call it that) about Gore inventing the calculator, and Gore brushed it off. I would have loved it if his response had been: I've never said that I invented the calculator—but I know how to use one."

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 14, 2004

Sailor Take Warning

Sunrise Image - Red Sky at morning - Sailor take warning.

Sunrise 04.02.14

This was the view out of my window this morning. The sun was just over the horizon, but peeking in under the cloud cover. This Photo doesn't really do the light justice, and seconds later the sun was in the clouds.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 13, 2004

Economy Sails Away From Workers

The story is so common-place as to be a cliche. Another 3.3 million jobs are predicted to transfer offshore in the next decade. Who is to blame? Is this all really the fault of overpaid workers? I don't think so. Between 1979 (when Michigan auto workers were hammering Toyotas) and 1995 (when White was closing), the salary of the median American worker had actually dropped 4.6 percent, from $25,896 to $24,700.

But, during the same period the top 1 percent of U.S. families had an increase in income of 78 percent. The American wage gap between a typical CEO and a typical worker had grown from 40 times to 190 times. The differential is now over 500 times.

Cathy N. Davidson, vice provost for interdisciplinary studies at Duke University [Newsday]

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


BUSH A NO-SHOW AT ALABAMA BASE, SAYS MEMPHIAN

Though some accounts reckon the total personnel component of the 187th as consisting of several hundred, the actual flying squadron — that to which Bush was reassigned — numbered only "25 to 30 pilots," Mintz said. "There's no doubt. I would have heard of him, seen him, whatever." Even if Bush, who was trained on a slightly different aircraft than the F4 Phantom jets flown by the squadron, opted not to fly with the unit, he would have had to encounter the rest of the flying personnel at some point, in non-flying formations or drills. "And if he did any flying at all, on whatever kind of craft, that would have involved a great number of supportive personnel. It takes a lot of people to get a plane into the air. But nobody I can think of remembers him."

"I talked to one of my buddies the other day and asked if he could remember Bush at drill at any time, and he said, 'Naw, ol' George wasn't there. And he wasn't at the Pit, either.'"

The "Pit" was The Snake Pit, a nearby bistro where the squadron's pilots would gather for frequent after-hours revelry.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 11, 2004

No, in fact, we weren't all wrong.

A second emerging thesis of defense by the administration in light of no weapons is, as David Kay said, "We were all wrong."

No, in fact, we weren't all wrong.

Bush said Sunday, "The international community thought he had weapons." Actually, the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency both repeatedly told the administration there was no evidence Iraq had WMD. Before the war, Rumsfeld not only claimed Iraq had WMD but that "we know where they are." U.N. inspectors began openly complaining that U.S. tips on WMD were "garbage upon garbage." Hans Blix, head of the U.N. inspections team, had 250 inspectors from 60 nations on the ground in Iraq, and the United States thwarted efforts to double the size of his team. You may recall that during this period, the administration repeatedly dismissed the United Nations as incompetent and irrelevant. But containment had worked.

Molly Ivins

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 9, 2004

ARF! ARF! — Dog Will Hunt

To make a long story short, Bush apparently blew off drills beginning in May 1972, failed to show up for his physical, and was then grounded and transferred to ARF as a disciplinary measure. He didn't return to his original Texas Guard unit and cram in 36 days of active duty in 1973 — as Time magazine and others continue to assert based on a mistaken interpretation of Bush's 1973-74 ARF record — but rather accumulated only ARF points during that period. In fact, it's unclear even what the points on the ARF record are for, but what is clear is that Bush's official records from Texas show no actual duty after May 1972, as his Form 712 Master Personnel Record from the Texas Air National Guard clearly indicates:

CalPundit untangles the famous "torn document" relating to Dubya's National Guard record.

Gee, if ARF is a paper outfit, did he fly paper airplanes?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 8, 2004

FanimeCon 2004

Tendou Akane

A couple of weeks ago I put in a proposal for the Fanfic Panel at FanimeCon 2004. This moring I got an email from the panels coordinator, with a tenative slot at 10:00 AM Saturday May 29.

Needless to say I'm pretty jazzed about this, I was very bummed to miss the Con and Panel last year — even if it was to go to London.

No specific plans yet, but here's what I proposed for the Con Program.

Fanfiction Panel
From inspiration to publication - Join us in a spirited discussion of the hows and whys of writing and publishing fanfiction. It doesn't matter which series you choose, or if you're a first time author, or an old-timer, there's simply nothing better than getting together with other authors to inspire and arouse your creative muse. Panel moderator: Joseph Palmer

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 6, 2004

Courthouse

Hallway in courthouse

Nikon E990 - 2002.04.01 Santa Barbra, CA

One of the reasons I like the Nikon is that swiveling lens lets me get shots like this. I was holding the camera over my head, against a wall to stabilize it. Who needs a tripod when you have walls?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Like Father, Like Son.

Bush's 47 percent approval rating is the same as his father's at this stage in his presidency 12 years ago before he lost to Bill Clinton.

Just under four in 10, 37 percent, said they would definitely vote to re-elect Bush as president, while 43 percent said they would definitely vote for someone else, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Another 18 percent said they would consider voting for someone else.

...

"I think he's run the country into the ground economically, and he comes out with these crazy ideas like going to Mars and going to the moon," said Richard Bidlack, a 78-year-old retiree from Boonton, N.J., who says he voted for Bush in 2000. "I'm so upset at Bush, I'll vote for a chimpanzee before I vote for him."

Yahoo News

Yahoo! Indeed!

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Republican Welfare

Writing in The New York Times last week, Daniel H. Pink used the Tax Foundation�s figures to come up with his own political analysis. He divided the country into "Giver states" and "Taker states" and looked at their 2000 election results. It turns out that Bush got 78 percent of his electoral votes from Taker states, while Gore got 76 percent of his electoral votes from Giver states.

Pat Cunningham — Rockford Register Star

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 3, 2004

Independence, or Round Up The Usual Suspects

So Dubya's going to name the members of an "independent" commision to investigate the distortion of intelligence that lead to the war in Iraq. Who do you think he'll nominate? Henry Kissenger again? James Baker? No Wait — he could have Dick Cheney run the investigation — he did so well on that whole energy thing, right?

I have a nomination for the chairman: Dubya's former treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill. He has already been vetted by the Senate, and has held the oldest cabinet position in our nation. Yes, he's a Republican, (Or as American Politics Journal put it: conservative, corporate and Republican to his marrow") but as he said in his own words:

"I'm too old to begin telling lies now."

and

"I'm old and I'm rich. — What can they do to me?"

Sorry Paul, we can ask you to serve your country one more time.

According to Ron Suskind, author of The Price of Loyalty Mr O'Neill is "the most evidence driven man I've met". As an engineer, I can really respect that.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Budgets of Mass Destruction found in Washington

The Era of Fiscal Responsibility is Over
In what may be the most deceitful budget submission in memory, President Bush claims that the United States can continue operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, fund a trillion-dollar tax cut, increase spending on defense, homeland security and counterterrorism, and launch a manned mission to Mars, while cutting the $521 billion deficit in half over the next five years. And astoundingly, even these depressing deficit projections are wildly unrealistic. They rely on a grab bag of gimmickry and distortion that, taken together, dramatically underestimate the scope of America's fiscal crisis. A more sober budget projection reveals that, five years from now, the budget deficit will be $477 billion�almost exactly what it is today.

...

NOT INCLUDED — FUNDING FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN:
The president's budget does not include any funding for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq or Afghanistan beyond September 30. The administration used the same gimmick last year, then requested $87 billion in additional funds. It has already been reported that the administration plans on requesting at least $50 billion in additional spending for Iraq and Afghanistan�but only after the November elections.

Center for American Progress

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

February 1, 2004

Sunrise, Katsura Japan

Sunrise

2001.11.19 Nikon E990

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Irony is so dead.

Tony Blair and George Bush have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for waging war on Saddam Hussein.

The Telegraph UK

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 31, 2004

Life With Bill

So I reinstall XP, configure the network connection, and start restoring 8.1 gigabytes of data. About two minutes into this process, XP pops up a dialog telling me that the Remote Procedure Call service has terminated and that XP will reboot itself in 50 seconds.

David Ramsey recounts his recent experiences with Windows XP: I Was a Naive Fool

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Tee Hee!

BOSTON — Addressing guests at a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser, George W. Bush pledged Monday that, if re-elected in November, he and running mate Dick Cheney will "restore honor and dignity to the White House."

The Onion.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 28, 2004

Appalling

"Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling."

www.whitehouse.gov (That's the real one) news release

Not just our children.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 27, 2004

STOP THE TRAIN. THE BRIDGE IS OUT.

CBO Projects Record Deficit

The federal government will run a record $477 billion budget deficit this year and could accumulate nearly $1.9 trillion in additional debt through 2014, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

If President Bush succeeds in making his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, the deficit could reach nearly $3.5 trillion over the next decade, with the tax cuts alone costing the Treasury $295 billion a year by 2014, CBO said.

Even without that change, the government's long-term finances have worsened considerably in the past six months, largely due to the war in Iraq and passage of the $400 billion law adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. In August, congressional forecasters predicted a 10-year deficit of $1.4 trillion through 2013. That figure has jumped nearly a trillion dollars since then.

Washington Post

Dubya, you should have paid attention to Paul O'Neill in those meetings.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Mars Rover Rescued by the rm-star?

The suspected cause will be familiar to any computer user who multitasks too much: too many files were open. A flaw in the rover programs allows the creation of an unlimited number of files, and the computer crashed trying to keep track of them, mission managers said.

New York Times


During the battle, User spies manage to snarf source of the Empire's ultimate weapon; the dreaded "rm-star", a privileged root program with the power to destroy an entire file system at a keystroke.

Unix Wars

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Red Ink Realities

Even conservatives are starting to admit that George Bush isn't serious when he claims to be doing something about the exploding budget deficit. At best — to borrow the already classic language of the State of the Union address — his administration is engaged in deficit reduction-related program activities.

PAUL KRUGMAN in The New York Times

A real must-read article.


"People ask me what great new ideas did you bring to Washington. I say, 'Arithmetic.'"

William Jefferson Clinton via Hesiod at Counterspin Central

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 26, 2004

Photo Linkage

Metal Dreams Photograph and Musings offers terrific photos from all over North East Wisconsin. I get shivers just looking at them. (Scroll to the bottom picture...)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 25, 2004

Reconstructing the past

Sorry about the mess at the bottom of the column, I'm trying to reconstruct the 1999 entries using The Internet Wayback Machine and various backups.


Update: I've found pretty much everything for '99 and '98 (It wasn't much) but I'm a bit bummed... I couldn't find a backup of my very first homepage in ealy '97. :(

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 24, 2004

Study. Hall.

School Hallway

c. 1975 Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor Tri-X Pan

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 23, 2004

It's Friday, and the Network Reporters have gone for the Weekend...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - David Kay, who stepped down as leader of the U.S. hunt for weapons of mass destruction, said on Friday he does not believe there were any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq

Yahoo! News

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 22, 2004

Calpundit Crunches the SOTU Numbers

CBO Chart

Calpundit Has compared the budget outlined in the State of the Union against Congressional Buget Office projections. It's not pretty.

David Corn has more SOTU Analysis:

"Specifically, the OMB figures are likely to exclude the costs of fighting terrorism internationally after September 30, 2004; to fail to reflect the full costs of the Administration's own "Future Year Defense Plan;" to omit the costs of extending relief from the mushrooming Alternative Minimum Tax after 2005; and to omit the costs of extending a series of very popular tax breaks."

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 21, 2004

In a classic open market, today's wind power technologies are competitive with coal, but leave it in the dust once ecological externalities are factored in. Price instability is pushing natural gas out of range. Oil hasn't been a significant generator of electricity for a century (except, ironically, in Hawaii, where a conversion to solar power is being pushed hard). Finally, given the realistic life cycle, the threat of terrorist attack, and the cost of waste disposal, atomic power is barely worth mentioning.

...

Estimates from John Turner at NREL indicate that a single PV array installation in central Nevada covering 100 square miles could generate enough electricity to meet the entire nation's needs. Far less ambitious projects could power Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno, and other cities in the inter-mountain West.

Free and Green In Mother Jones

Yeah, 100 square miles sounds like a lot, but for reference, that's half the size of of Camp Pendleton

I've sometimes wondered if we couldn't kill two birds with one stone. Here in California, we have thousands of miles of open canals to ship water from Northern California to LA, and evaporation losses are significant. What if we covered the canals with PV arrays?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 20, 2004

Mental Photoshop

Tonight, during the State of the Union, I was imagining how I would feel next January, with John Kerry giving the speech, and John Edwards sitting in the #2 position.

It was a very comforting feeling.

Those Iowans — they're a pretty smart bunch, you know.

(Clark - Edwards felt pretty darned good too.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


xwave - A Waveform Font

xwave Font Sample

Xwave is a TrueType™ font that has electrical waveform gliphs. I created this monospaced font with Type Tool, an inexpensive Font creation tool.

The image above shows the key mappings, and gives a sample timing diagram. (The trick is to use a word processor and set the position of the signal name to a right-tab, then build up the waveform from a left tab.

I've found this font useful when designing some pretty gnarly bits of logic, I hope you will too. I hereby grant permission to use the font for pretty much any legal use, but I retain the ownership rights. (You cannot just turn around and sell it.)

Download xwave (It's in a .zip file - containing the font and the .gif cheat sheet from above)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 19, 2004

Putting the COM in .COM

Yes, josephpalmer.com has gone commerical.

You too can now own your own "It's latte, then you think." mug, exclusively though cafe press

So you don't forget, order before midnight tonight. Quantities are unlimited, this is an unlimited time offer.

The fine print:
* No assembly required.
* Coffee not included.
* If you are a neocon, or are planning to become a neocon, see your doctor before use. (A cure is on the way!).
* WARNING: Lattes may cause wakefullness.
* JosephPalmer.com is not responsible for burns resulting from hot coffee spills — please sip responsibly.
* Batteries not included.
* Use product open side up.
* If dropped, product may contain small pieces unsuitable for children.
* No lattes were harmed during the the making of this cup.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Politics as Sports

I've had a revelation.

Up until this week I though that political reporting had focused too much on the horse race of the election, and not enough on the issues. I despaired that political reporting had become too much like sports reporting.

I was wrong.

Political reporting needs to be more like sports reporting. Political reporting already has the reporter who 'calls the plays', and they have 'color' people (far more of the latter than the former) what they are missing is the statistician to keep them honest. Don't tell me that Americans don't like facts and figures, sports reporting is all about facts and figures.

Yesterday's football games were filled with statistics on 'third down conversions', and 'completions' and whatnot.

Don't get be started about baseball, with it's private language of runs, hits and errors. A batter can't step out of the dugout and pick up a bat without the commentator retelling his whole history, distilled into a handful of numbers. And Heaven help him (or her) there was ever a real gaff in their record, a title losing error, a bad call, a ball dropped at a critical moment, because the color commentator will make sure to dredge up that mistake for the rest of the players life.

Just imagine what political reporting could be....

Announcer: - Good evening and welcome to tonight's state of the union address.

Color: - Tonight is the president's third state of the union, and it looks like weve got a great crowd.

Stats: - This is day 1096 of his term, he has 366 days - just over one year - left in his first term.

Announcer: - This event is always a highlight in the president's year, where he gets to set his agenda for the coming year.

Color: - Looking back to last year's event we heard a lot about the biological terrorism threat of 25,000 liters of anthrax from Saddam Hussein

Stats: - We now know that zero liters have been found, so that's scored as having an EF - that's an 'exaggeration figure' of 2,500,000%. Now normally we would assign an ER - 'exaggeration ratio' to this but since literally ZERO anthrax was found, that ratio would be infinite.

Announcer: - What about the 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin from last year?

Color: - That's nearly enough to give everyone in LA a Botox treatment!

Stats: - Again, Zero found, for a EF of 3,800,000%

Announcer: - What about the significant quantities of uranium from Africa?

Stats: - Zero found, but here's where it gets tricky, since no exact amount was in the address last year, we have to extrapolate a number. Now if the Uranium were weaponised...

Color: - You need big factories to do that right?

Announcer: - Yes, but none were found.

Stats: - ...if it were weaponised and delivered to a major city.

Color: - With those Unmanned Arial Vehicles we heard about....

Announcer: - Well, those UAVs turned out to be so small they couldn't deliver two six packs from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.

Color: - Yeah, but what if it were lite beer?

Stats: - Getting back to the uranium, we estimated a bomb might kill 125,000 people, for an EF of an astounding 12,500,000. That's a personal best for the president - for exaggeration. But it's going to have an asterisk because of the estimation process.

Color: - That's too bad, well maybe he'll do better tonight.

Announcer: - Okay, the president is about to enter the chamber what are people looking for tonight?

Color: - Jobs. People are looking for jobs.

Stats: - This president has a respectable EJA - that's earned Job Average of 2281.

Color: - 2281?

Stats: - No, wait, I missed the minus sign. It's a negative 2281.

Announcer: - Just what is the EJA?

Stats: - It's the number of jobs added or lost per day of the president's term - We have to go back to (shuffles papers) Herbert Hoover to see a worse record. Our last president had an EJA of — get this — 8000!

Color: - 8000, that's quite a record. But for this president, haven't there been any new jobs created?

Stats: - No, there's new jobs, but not enough. In a nation of 300 million people, roughly 3800 a day begin looking for their first job.

Announcer: - So if this president wants to go into the next election with a positive EJA?

Stats: - It's statistically impossible.

Color: - The president is at the door for his third and possibly last State of the union address.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 18, 2004

Ice Golf

Golfing on Ice

~1974 - Ice Golfing Tournament on Little Detroit Lake

I really like this scan because it feels really old, there's nothing in the image that gives away the date.

In unrealted iTunes news, my dottering HP CD drive was unable to rip many of the CDs in my collection (iTunes would just truncate the song when an error occured) so I picked up a Plextor PX-708A. Plextor has a reputation for being the best drive for reading CDs, and it's proving it by flawlessly ripping and compressing CDs at up to 5X* that the HP just gave up on.

* I suspect that this is now CPU bound. My first PC was at 4.77 MHz, then I got a 40 MHz Macintosh, then a 400 Mhz P2, so I've got my eye on upgrading to a 4 Ghz machine when they come out later this year. In the meantime I'm still using a hand-me-down 800MHz P3, and I wouldn't even have that except that somone literaly handed me the CPU because they'd upgraded.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Angry In Iowa

I talked to a couple - he a pig farmer, she a secretary for the local schoolboard - and they say they have only caucuses once or twice in their lives. But they are turning out, and they say they don't remember their friends and neighbors talking about politics as much as they are this year. And they don't ever remember them being so upset, angry and disappointed with what's going on in Washington

Daily Kos

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Creative Class War

But having talked to hundreds of talented professionals in a half dozen countries over the past year, I'm convinced that the biggest reason has to do with the changed political and policy landscape in Washington. In the 1990s, the federal government focused on expanding America's human capital and interconnectedness to the world—crafting international trade agreements, investing in cutting edge R&D, subsidizing higher education and public access to the Internet, and encouraging immigration. But in the last three years, the government's attention and resources have shifted to older sectors of the economy, with tariff protection and subsidies to extractive industries. Meanwhile, Washington has stunned scientists across the world with its disregard for consensus scientific views when those views conflict with the interests of favored sectors (as has been the case with the issue of global climate change). Most of all, in the wake of 9/11, Washington has inspired the fury of the world, especially of its educated classes, with its my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy. In effect, for the first time in our history, we're saying to highly mobile and very finicky global talent, "You don't belong here."

Washington Monthly

(Thanks for the pointer, Dave)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


"It's latte, then you think." -J.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 16, 2004

US D0484503

US Design Patent D0484503

US Design Patent D0484503

The first I heard of this was a bit of four color junk snail mail from United States Patent Commorative Collection

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Going Backwards

From the Washington Post:

For the past four decades, Iraqi women have enjoyed some of the most modern legal protections in the Muslim world, under a civil code that prohibits marriage below the age of 18, arbitrary divorce and male favoritism in child custody and property inheritance disputes.

Saddam Hussein's dictatorship did not touch those rights. But the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council has voted to wipe them out, ordering in late December that family laws shall be "canceled" and such issues placed under the jurisdiction of strict Islamic legal doctrine known as sharia.

From Riverbend at Baghdad Burning

Don't get me wrong- pure Islamic law according to the Quran and the Prophet gives women certain unalterable, nonnegotiable rights. The problem arises when certain clerics decide to do their own interpretations of these laws (and just about *anyone* can make themselves a cleric these days). The bigger problem is that Shari'a may be drastically different from one cleric to another. There are actually fundamental differences in Shari'a between the different Islamic factions or 'methahib'. Even in the same methahib, there are dozens of different clerics who may have opposing opinions. This is going to mean more chaos than we already have to deal with. We've come to expect chaos in the streets... but chaos in the courts and judicial system too?!

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Drive-By Wreath Laying

The president's visit to King's resting place lasted less than 15 minutes. Escorted by Coretta Scott King and Christine Farris, King's sister, Bush placed a wreath before King's tomb, bowed his head in prayer briefly and departed.

Hundreds of protesters, black and white, stood across the street from the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, bearing signs that read, "Impeach The Liar," "Bush Zionist Puppet" and "Money For Jobs And Housing, Not War."

Five Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority buses parked in front of them blocked their view of the president. Police in riot gear stood atop the vehicles.

Knight Ridder

Oh, get real. Those buses were there to block the presedent's view of the protesters.

I'd really, really like Dubya to see one of these protests. Id like him to see with he own eyes that people are angry about where he is taking this contry.

Do you think the secret service might also be envolved in making the Superbowl a 'free-speech free zone'?

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 15, 2004

Paul O'Neill on Fresh Air

At one point in the interview Terry mentions that he was Secretary of the Treasury for "two years". He corrected her: "twenty-three months".

He sounds like the kind of man that when asked "What color is that house?" would reply; "It's white on this side."


Matias brought his toy tanks into work today, at at lunch we had a pitched battle over some very tough terrain (Okay, it was an overturned paper plate and some napkins, but the tanks did quite well.)

He also links to an terrific article by Michael Crichton.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 14, 2004

Fiscal Nightmare

The most ominous sign of trouble came from an unlikely source, the International Monetary Fund, which in the good old days was the sharp crusading edge of Washington's export of capitalism. Yet it is the IMF that is now crying foul at the administration's economic plans. Last week, a team of economists from the fund predicted that the U.S. could owe 40 percent of its total economy within a few years - a statistic that will take the United States to an Argentinean scale of indebtedness. Quite apart from the effect of this massive debt on the U.S., the IMF is worried about what will happen to the world economy when things come unstuck. The economists do not envisage a soft landing with a deficit on this scale.

Indeed, the United States' position is worse than it looks since it's problems run deeper than the national level. Thanks to a federal system of government, much of the money that central governments control in other countries is spent in this country by state, county and city governments. And they are all facing growing deficits. It all adds up to a fiscal nightmare.

The Real National Security Threat: The Bush Economy in Alternet

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 12, 2004

Economists for Dean

The Economists for Dean website has some interesting reading, and some great links, including one leading to An Unequal Exchange by Paul Krugman

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 11, 2004

Tmsuk T-52 Enryu - Rescue Labor

T-52 Enryu Labor

This thing looks a lot like the farming labors from the Anime series Patlabor.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 8, 2004

Perfectly Legal

Fresh Air has a superb interview with Journalist David Cay Johnston, Author of Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich - and Cheat Everybody Else.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Microsoft Fright Simulator?

A mother's enquiry about buying Microsoft Flight Simulator for her ten-year-old son prompted a night-time visit to her home from a state trooper.

The Register

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Frosty Leaves

Frosty Leaves

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 7, 2004

New Years Resolution:

Q: Do you have a New Years Resolution?

A: Yes. 1600x1200.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Deflation Nation

An intoxicating look at the economy (with sobering charts and graphs) at The Wiskey Bar.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Paper Airplanes of Mass Destruction

Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper — Washington Post.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


UPDATE: WMD FOUND!!

The cache included sodium cyanide and other highly toxic chemicals, as well as land mine components, briefcase bombs, trip wire and more than 60 fully operational pipe bombs.

No, not in Iraq, in Texas.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 6, 2004

4 Bars!

4 bars on hiptop

Yay! Looks like a new cell tower has been installed nearby. Ironically enough, prior to tonight, I'd never had enough signal to use my hiptop at home. Now I've got 4 full bars throughout most of the house.

For some reason, this pocket of San Jose was the last to get everything. First it was Cable TV, we have underground utilities on our court, so the folks around the corner (with utility poles) had Cable for years before we got it. Then we had to wait 'till last fall to get DSL, even though houses closer to the CO had it for years. Eventually they installed a repeater a few blocks away, but since it was past our street, people further away got DSL months before we did.

Things are looking up.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 5, 2004

Awww.

Random Squirrel, One each.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 4, 2004

The Spirit has Landed

Panorama of Mars from Spirit

We watched landing on the NASA channel last night, and the 15 minutes between the first indications of the atmosphere and the acquisition of signal from the surface were tense and dramatic, and what's more they were real.

Since I design PC boards, I like to say that when I "do a compile" it takes two weeks, and costs thousands of dollars. Last night I watched a room full of people — each of whom is representing a much larger team, complete a compile that took years, and millions of dollars, and get it right. Now that calls for a New Board Dance.

Image from the Image Library at JPL

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 2, 2004

Photos

Trekearth offers "Over 24,877 photos from around the world".

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


iTunes? Not I

iTunes is so far a mixed experience. The first thing I searched for: "Steely Dan" brought FM to the top of the list. ($0.99 For a song otherwise only available on compliations, which I don't need since I own the whole catalog on CD — ka-ching!)

After that things went downhill, nearly every song I've looked for isn't (yet) available:

I've tried searching for a couple of old favorites: Gerry and the Pacemakers' Ferry Cross the Mersy and The Vogues' 5 O'clock World with no luck.

Then I looked for something a newer, but further afield: Punjabi MC (Mundian To Bach Ke). Okay, this may be a bit esoteric, but he's well known in Europe, and his music is an explosive blend of bhangra with hip-hop.

It also looks like some of my favorite bands are AWOL: The Blue Nile , The Split Ends , Japan and Emerson Lake and Palmer

I'm sure that over time the iTunes back catalog will fill in, and I'm looking forward to a larger world music section, (J-pop, please), but even today iTunes is an impressive product, and may one day be seen as a more important industry first step than the Macintosh.

Update: Make that "Split Enz" and two albums show up. ^_^;

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

January 1, 2004

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

No, that' not Tri-X pan, that's a recent digital photo that's been washed through Photoshop. The original color shot was nice, but the B&W seems more evocative.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Linkage

Amaiblog - links to Art, Animation, and other such Chaos.

AnimeReseach.com An academic look at Anime. (Really.)

Live Action Sailor Moon. (Be very afraid.)

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


After Saddam ... Now What?

Kenneth M. Pollack has put together perhaps the best single article I've ever read on the middle east.

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link


Concrastination

Now, the three months before I start a new novel, I don't write a word. Rather I work on my main character's scrapbook. The very process of collecting her preferred poems, swatches of her favorite colors, and petals from the flowers she grows gives me time to find her.

Procrastination as a Writing Solution By M.J. Rose

I have, of late, wondered if my blogging is getting in the way of my writing (such as it is). In a typical week, each minute I spend on the mechanics of typing a blog entry and getting the URLs right is suported by a half hour of thinking about things that I might blog. Not that I sit down for a proper think, but when I'm driving, eating lunch, or working in the yard (especially then) I stew the articles I've read.

I've sometimes worked myself into a real lather over things I want to write, only to find that when I get back to my computer, my internal dialog, having fully explored the issue, has left me with nothing to say here. It doesn't leave much time to be in the place I'm trying to describe in fiction, and I've found I really have to be there with my (borrowed) characters to write anything I'm at all satisfied with.

In 2004 I suspect the ratio of blogging to fiction will again favor blogging, for two reasons;

Firstly, I think the 2004 election is critical to the future of our Democracy, and while I personaly might not find the words, perhaps one of the stories that I link will help convince you (oh, yes, I mean you,) to register and vote. (For Clark, or for Dean, or whoever wins he nomination — frankly it's too early even or me to pay attention.)

Secondly, I find blogging doesn't require the same solitude and concentration that fiction requires, so instead of hiding away in my office, I can be in the living room with wife, with the TV in the background (like right now).

Tue, 29 Jun 2004 02:31:40 EDT - Link

2004