Monday, December 18, 2006

The cutest Christmas song you (maybe) never heard...

This is about the cutest Christmas song that I have never heard and it has been around since 1953.

Give the page time to load and the song will play too.

The girl singing this song is Gayla Peevey. She is only 10 when this was recorded. More background here: http://www.theydeserveit.com/christmas/hippopotamus-song.html.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cool geek toys, #1

The "Cool-It USB Beverage Chiller" looks interesting. It looks to be just a TEC but that is like saying it looks to be just a DVD burner. 15 years ago, these were quite "Star Trek".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Heh

Karma can be quite funny at times...

And you have got to love this bit: What will the Democrats do with their majorities in Congress? The 2006 campaign was pretty much an idea-free zone and provides only a few clues.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A new essay from Bill Whittle.

and as usual, it is worth reading, twice...

And another related item worth a read.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Justice, Saudi style...

A Saudi Arabian court has passed sentence in a brutal rape in which attackers kidnapped a woman, pulled her into their car, and gang-raped her while one of the men used a mobile phone to videotape the attack. The verdict? Guilty -- for the woman, for the crime of being alone with men to whom she was not married.

Another example of Palestine pride

It takes a special kind of amoral ruthlessness to desecrate one of your own holy places and use it as a hideout and to shoot at your opponents. If such a thing were done by Christians, there would be world wide condemnation. But not when it is done by Arabs. In that case it is just an all too common occurrence and is treated as a non-event. It does not even garner much attention when those same gunmen use willing women as human shields to try and make their escape. In this case, two of the gunmen were killed as were two of the female shields. If this gets any significant air time, it will be to condemn the Israelis for “gunning down innocent women at a mosque” with little or no mention of what was really going on there.

As is typical, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas "saluted the women of Palestine ... who led the protest to break the siege of Beit Hanoun." Haniyeh urged U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to witness firsthand "the massacres of the Palestinian people," and appealed to the Arab world to "stop the ongoing bloodshed."

What sparked this clash, you might ask? The article states the mosque standoff came on the third day of Israel's fiercest bid in months to halt Palestinian rocket fire on Israeli border communities. This can’t be! There is a cease fire so there is absolutely no way that any Palatines or Hamas would be firing rockets into Israel. There must be some mistake.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Keep the kids out of it...

I think this sort of thing is sad and pathetic. Using kids to parrot grown-ups words in an effort to sway adults is exploitation plain and simple. It is just wrong in political ads, in protests and in marches. It is wrong when pro-life protesters do it and when anti-war protesters do it.

Leave the kids ALONE! Those that do this sort of exploitation thinking they are making a point are mistaken. Adults know these kids are not expressing anything other than the opinion of their parents and to use kids in this way just debases the message. If you want to express your opinions, fine and dandy just leave the kids out of it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Voter fraud is alive and well in the south!

It just is not the fraud you have been told to expect. Democratic groups are already putting into action their game plan of claiming voter fraud and disenfranchisement of voters. It seems though that at least in Missouri they are playing both sides at once.

Let us not forget the tire slashing incident that occurred Milwaukee. Some Democratic operatives slashed the tires of GOP 'get out the vote' vans but there was no disenfranchisement there, gosh no, cause that only affected GOP voters and everyone knows they are just evil and as such, don't count.

This is sort of activity (and it also includes the shouting down of speakers at collages, the vandalizing of GOP offices, the false accusations and the purposeful misrepresentation of the statements and positions of conservatives) is part of the same mindset. That liberals know what is best for "us" and it is a shame that we are just too stupid to see it and as such, they have to do whatever it takes to do what is best for us. If that means lying, stealing elections, engaging in voter fraud, and vandalism, well that is just the price they are willing to pay to do what is best. Don’t you understand? They are being the heroes and doing what must be done for the common good. That their idea of the common good might not match with yours or mine is irrelevant because we are irrelevant and our ideas don’t matter.

Update 11/1/06:
Yet more possible voter fraud, this time in Kansas City. I see a bit of a trend here...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This is how you support the troops!

Aussie lass Beccy Cole who is singing "Poster Girl" in response to some of her fans who disagree with her supporting the Diggers, the Australian soldiers fighting in The Long War.

Monday, October 9, 2006

The Federal Budget Deficit: Bush Benchmark Achieved, Ignored

Yet more good news you will never hear about...

I was wondering about the whole "no economic news" thing lately as the economy is running strong, wages are up, deficit is down but the networks are mum. I guess this report is just part of the same "news blackout". You would think, by the silence that it was a government secret of national security or something. Wait no, if it was a national security secret, the Times would carry it front page. Maybe that is what George should do to get some press on this, slap a Top Secret sticker on it.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Boo Friggen Hoo

Now more than any other time in American history, maybe even in world history, a person is able to make of this life, what they wish. Hard work and effort will overcome much. Multitudes flock to this country from all parts of the world, even today, to take part in the opportunities that America makes available. That is key. America does not give you anything but the opportunity to fail or succeed. As just some random person, you are more in control of your future, here, now, in America then anywhere else in the world.

This being the case, why is it that so many continue to live and view their lives as though they were living in the 1950/1960? As an example, I submit the following:

In what amounts to a chromosomal crapshoot, I hit the jackpot. My award is beyond invaluable, because it amounts to societal immunity, failsafe and bulletproof, also serving as my key to success in virtually any endeavor I undertake. In fact, I should have rephrased that. I didn't hit the jackpot, I am the jackpot. I live pricelessly every day.

You see, following my conception, my identity anxiously bade the gestation period, awaiting the answer to the question posed when a white parent and a brown parent have a child together. While at one extreme, I could face prejudice, suffer discrimination, hate crimes, endure unwarranted fears and, in sum, take an insecure, uncomfortable place in society, there was also the chance of being wholly accepted, unconditionally trusted, overestimated, essentially enjoying a ridiculously smooth ride through life. I emerged into life red with dark, dark hair, evidence that I was indeed my father's son, but in less than a year my native colors washed away into a rosy cherubic theme.

Schools at all levels go out of their way to push and promote diversity awareness and affirmative action. There are EEO rules, regulations, and laws aplenty for business and government conduct in hiring, promotions and firings. Studies galore show constant reductions in racial stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination. So why are so many still crying about a condition that is mostly cured?

I am white and have grown up in mostly white neighborhoods. My family would have been considered lower middle-class. I had some black friends growing up and they were usually better off than my family. Both of my parents worked. I graduated high-school but could not afford to go to collage so I joined the military instead and got training in computers. I worked at improving my career and life. I took advantage of opportunities and made some of my own. I am in my early forties, have worked for my self and for others. I am now at the management level and make a good living. I am still working on my collage degree. I hope to complete it within the next 3 or 4 years. I do not believe that anyone “held me down” but no one handed me anything either. Life is what you make it. If you are not happy with your lot in life, why not try working at improving it and quit your crying already? I would give odds that any random person in China, India, Korea (north or south), Africa, or the Middle East would trade places with you in a flash. So do us all a favor and just grow up.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Tequila Mockingbird

On October 3rd, Dahlia Lithwick had an article on Slate. It is titled:

Tequila Mockingbird
Justice Scalia opens the 2006 term with a bang.
By Dahlia Lithwick

The relevant section is:

Crooks adds that there are cases in which deportees have been extradited back to the United States based on violations of their supervised release, and that he may in the future want a visa to visit the United States, since his children live here. Justice Scalia says that "the doctrine of standing is more than an exercise in the conceivable. … Nobody thinks your client is really, you know, abstaining from tequila down in Mexico because he is on supervised release in the United States."

Nobody laughs. But then, nobody winces or flinches, either. Somehow, a remark that would have flattened us had a Souter spoken it is just a solid day at the office for Scalia. I have no idea where the tequila comment should register on the nation's macaca-meter. The more interesting question is about Scalia's deliberate carelessness with language, his sense that he is somehow above the sorts of linguistic delicacy the rest of us expect in our dealings with others. Indeed, he seems to think it's his obligation to be ever more reckless with his words, perhaps because he's about the only guy left who faces no consequences for his rhetorical body-slams.

What my questions is, what is the big deal? Why is she trying to manufacture an issue here? Scalia implied that Mexicans drink Tequila. This is equivalent to saying French men drink wine or Russians drink Vodka. The only problem I can see here is someone trying to invent an issue of racism or insensitivity where none exists. Dahlia, grow up already, everything is not a slight.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Geneva Con

Extracted from "Best of the Web Today" for Tuesday, October 3, 2006...

"Iraqi officers loyal to Saddam Hussain filmed their cold-blooded murder of two British bomb disposal officers who were captured after a roadside ambush," reports the Times of London, which describes the March 2003 incident:

An inquest was told that Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, thought that they were being taken to hospital for treatment, but instead they were moved to a compound run by Saddam's military intelligence.

The harrowing ordeal lasted for hours until Iraqi agents killed the pair. The soldiers were buried in a shallow grave.


We keep hearing that if we don't accord Geneva Convention protections to al Qaeda detainees, our soldiers will be at risk of mistreatment. But here is how an enemy--one that, unlike al Qaeda, actually is a signatory to Geneva--treats Western soldiers. So what exactly do we gain by even meeting our obligations under the Geneva Conventions, much less exceeding them?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Who Should Apologize?

Kirsten A. Powers nails this so much better than I could. Read the whole thing and then send a link to 10 of your friends.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The center of all evil?

For those that believe Israel is the center of all evil and oppression in the Middle East, please answer me this: why if Israel is so evil and oppressive, do they allow an Islamic collage, Al Qasemi to be in Israel? Can you name one Israeli collage in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, or Syria?

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Truth to Power

I find it incredibly amusing when I hear or read about some liberal or left-wing or democrat “speaking truth to power”. Right now, in this country, you can stand just about anywhere you want and say just about anything you want and this is the norm, despite what a lot of left leaning people/publications would have you believe.

Truly speaking “truth to power” was that guy in Tiananmen Square in China standing in front of that tank. Speaking truth to power is being a political dissident in North Korea. You know, places where people still disappear in the middle of the night to never be heard from again? Despite what some would have you believe, that does not happen here in America. There are ZERO penalties for saying just about any thing you want. Heck, you have people on cable news shows and radio shows advocating the killing of the President of the United States with impunity. If this were truly the country of oppression of free expression that some prattle on about, none of these folks would be around anymore, yet they not only exist, they proliferate. So save me your crocodile tears over how civil liberties are dead and freedom is just an illusion until after you have spent years in a high security prison, in solitary, for writing about wanting to be free like what used to happen in the old USSR.

Yet another reason I'm glad I live in Florida...

though as the author points out, the "forces of evil" will stop at nothing to roll back the tide.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

MTV workers get nasty

This sort of thing is so ironically funny. The liberals/left are always going on about how they are the ones that support diversity, equality and free speech but it also seems they are the first to stop others from having their free speech.

Watch the video. And as to “Rock the Vote” see my prior, related post on voting: Stupidity in action, example #1

Monday, August 28, 2006

Beech Sheets

I was in Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day getting some bed linens. I was looking for Jersey Tee-Shirt sheets. They are really good, comfortable sheets that are soft, cool and flexible. I must have checked half a dozen stores looking for them. I finally made my way to BB&B and they had tee-shirt sheets but not Jersey.

They also had something called Pure Beech sheets. The sample swatch felt quite good so I figured what the heck and got a couple of sets to try. I have been using them for a week now and I must say, they are really good sheets. They feel very similar to quality tee-shirt sheets with an extra touch of silkiness. I do like them quite a bit. The BB&B site says "These unique sheets are made from modal, a fiber created from the beechwood tree. The result is a fabric that is soft and light as silk..." I have to agree. We will see how well they stand up to the test of time but right now, they get two thumbs up.

Update: 2/12/08
Have been using these sheets on and off since they were purchased. They have resisted "pilling" and have remained comfortable and soft. They have shown very little ware. A good buy indeed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Healthcare can be good, fast, or cheap, and you get to choose two. Just like most every other engineering problems.

That is a balls-on accurate statement in one of the comments to the initial posting. My choice for the two out of three are good and fast. I can usually live with good and cheap but want the first option available when needed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In a scary world, America can be scarier.

That is a good line and a good article. Read the whole thing.

I just wish that line above was the line that he ended the article with. Instead it was followed by: But it's all a long time ago now.

Sadly, he may be right.

Is the CFC solution worst than the problem?

I have just got to laugh at this sort of thing. This really is "ironic".

Once again, in their rush to "fix a problem", it seems that the environmentalists have only managed to make it worse. Cause, well everyone just "knows" that there is a global warming problem and has been for years. Everyone who is anyone. From Green Peace to Al Gore. So we must "do something" and fix it NOW. Why waste any more time with silly things like studying the problem to see if there really is one and evaluating options for fixing it when it is just so much easier to jump to conclusions and rush into action. Cause at least that way you are "doing something" and in this "feelings" over "facts" era we currently live in, regardless of outcome, you can at least say you tried to do something.

News crew still missing!

The Fox News crew composed of American Steve Centanni and New Zealand-based cameraman Olaf Wiig are still missing. It has been over a week since they were kidnapped while in the field in Gaza. Where is the MSM on this story?

Update: 8/22/06
What kind of asinine, partisan garbage is this?

...the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of 'fair and accurate' news reporting. As a result, there's not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media.

Actually, what is so awful about declaring in front of the world that you strive to be "fair and balanced" unless that is so out of step with the rest of the media that it causes you to be excluded from the club. Also, to be so petty that you will put ideology before being human is just sick. If it were a crew from CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN or any other news group but Fox, there would be nightly announcements as to the status of the kidnapped crew. But this is Fox, so it is not news at all and they just got what they deserved cause, well, they are Fox.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Melanie Phillips on “Londonistan”

A very direct woman discussing a very important issue. It is a bit long but you should watch the whole thing. She is not afraid to tell it like it is.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

WOW, Some in Hollywood do get it!

It would appear that at least 85 citizens of Hollywood get it. It being terrorism and the true instigators. No mention of the U.S. or Israel here. In this case, hurray for Hollywood!

Media bias? What media bias? II

An 8/14/06 Associated Press headline reads "Rockets Hit Lebanon Despite Cease-Fire".

This sure as heck sounds like Israel has broken the cease-fire doesn't it? Well not really because if you bother to read down to the second paragraph of the story it goes on to say:

... Hezbollah guerrillas fired at least 10 Katyusha rockets that landed in southern Lebanon early Tuesday, the Israeli army said, adding that nobody was injured. The army said that none of the rockets, which were fired over a two-hour period, had crossed the border and so it had not responded.

Would you have written that headline for this story?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

A strong dose of clarity...

Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Palestinian video you won't see on CBS

This is a long video that attempts to document what is going on in the Palestinian battle video clips that you see on the nightly news. Watch it all.

Update: 7/8/2008

This video is (I am surprised to say) still available on YouTube. These generally don't last all that long.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The rest of the "Qana" story...

Watch the entire video.

Nothing up my sleeve…

It seems to me that anytime you try to have a substantive debate with “leftists” on an issue, the issue gets reframed to be about something else that is easier for the leftist to defend. As an example, I was watching one of the Sunday morning shows and the show did a segment on immigrants and immigration. They showed clips of lovely, happy people marching in parades and waving American flags, having cookouts, playing sports, etc. All the while droning on and on about how these people are working to assimilate into American life. There was even a clip of a birthday party and the producers took great pains to point out that the children all had American names. Who can or would want to argue against that? People coming to America to work and live in American communities and make a better life for themselves and their families while working to integrate into America and the American dream. The answer is almost no one.

The current issue is not nor has it been about legal immigration. It has been and is about illegal immigration. People coming into this country in violation of our laws. Living and working under the radar, paying no taxes while making use of our social services, educational system, and healthcare. Not striving to assimilate into American life but demanding that America accommodate them by allowing them to get drivers licenses, photo IDs, and bilingual education, documents and signage. This is the debate. Not the smiling, happy legal immigrant family working to fit into America like the millions that came before them. That though is a much harder debate to have if you are pro-illegal immigration and support lax immigration enforcement. So what do you do if you support what nearly all other reasonable people would oppose? You reframe the debate and hope that no one is paying attention. You don’t have to worry though, because you do have help. The media is always eager to go give you a hand, mostly by slanting their news and stories to help support your position (like in the weekend segment above). This way you don’t have to argue your position that our immigration laws may be unfair and unjust and make it too hard for poor people to get into the country legally and as such have no choice but to break in, which is a valid debate to have but harder to defend. Instead you and your cohorts reframe the issue to paint those that oppose illegal immigration into people that oppose immigration. Makes it much easier to vilify them and gives you catchier sound bites. Heck nearly everyone in this country is a result of immigration. Only a fascist would be against immigration! See how much easier it is to argue that position? A little slight of hand, a little miss-direction and there you go, a much more tenable position. If you yell it often enough, many will forget the original issue and believe that the lie is the issue. Only problem with that is honest debate and honest solutions are lost.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Peace prize winner 'could kill' Bush

When I read stories like this I can not help but feel that these individuals are not very sincere in their beliefs or efforts. Betty Williams is quite willing to talk at lengths on the evils of America and President George Bush (and on how she would not mind him dead) but where was she while Saddam Hussein was imprisoning and killing women and children? Why is she not so outspoken on Hezbollah and Hamas using women and children as human shields? How about the militarization of the children of Palestine? Again no words of reproach on that subject. She seems fairly silent on the issue of North Korea and the multitude of starving children there. Let us not speak of Darfur in Africa either. It is just so much easier and safer to wail against the favorite whipping boy of the left than to attempt an argument of substance against those that actually target women and children with malicious intent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem cell veto

President Bush has dusted off his veto pen and used it to deny federal funds for stem cell research. Based on the response from the media and the medical community, you would have thought that he had personally condemned every ill person in the country to death. GWB did not outlaw stem sell research. He simply said that federal funds can not be used for it. It is still legal and available as long as federal funds are not used. Private enterprise is free to spend as much money on stem cell research as they want. If it is as promising as the “experts” say, companies should not have any problem spending R&D funds on it. The Gates Foundation just gave over 250 million dollars for development of an AIDS vaccination. Private funds will go to stem cell research too, if it is worth it.

My question is why did it take him so long to get around to using his veto pen and is this really the only thing he could think to use it on? He should let me borrow it for a while. Does it take standard refills?

Vacationing in Lebanon

A number of Americans are currently vacationing in Lebanon. Some of them have decided to leave but are unable to as a result of the current situation and are wanting/hoping that the U.S. government will help them get out of the country. The government is planning to charge the evacuees for the cost of transporting them out of the country. A number of people (congressmen and others) are decrying the inhumanity of expecting evacuees to pay to be rescued.

Let me get this straight, these people made their own decisions to take themselves and their families to Lebanon for business or pleasure, are apparently shocked when there is an escalation of military action and cry/demand the government to help them get out of harms way. Not content to be saved from a dangerous situation that they placed themselves into by their own poor decisions but want it to be done on my dime.

I am not completely heartless and am not saying that these people should be left there to whatever the fates have in store for them. I don’t think that they “deserve” to get hurt or killed. My point is that I am getting awfully tired of people getting themselves into jams through their own lack of personal responsibility and poor decision making skills and then expecting the government to pull their bacon out of the fire at my expense. Grow up already!

Update:
I have recently heard that some of the folks that were rescued have decided to sue the government because of the time that it took for them to be saved. I really hope that this is not the case. If it is true, anyone connected to the filing of this lawsuit should be stick-beat. These people have put solders and others in harms way for the expressed purpose of saving their pampered *sses. I guess this is what passes for gratitude in the new millennium.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stupidity in action, example #1

This is about the most asinine thing I have come across this month, Arizona wants to run a lottery with the expressed intention of encouraging voter turn-out.

OK, so we are going to tell folks that if they vote, they will have a chance to win a million dollars. Who is this likely to encourage to vote? Someone that understands the issues of the day, who knows who the people running for office are and what they stand for or some num-nuts sitting at home thinking that is sure would be nice to win a million dollars and all they have to do is go vote. Don’t even need to buy a ticket! What a bargain!

I don’t want to encourage voter turn-out. I don’t want it to be fun. I don’t even think I want it to be convenient. I want everyone that is going to vote to have to show a photo-ID and answer a simple government trivia question. Voting is serious business with the goal of helping to direct the country. If you have to be bribed into voting, I would rather you didn’t. Drinks should be half price on Election Day so that those who would rather not vote have a better excuse to stay out of the voting booth.

And before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, requiring a photo-ID is not equivalent to a poll-tax. It is simple common sense. You are claiming to be a specific individual that has the right to vote. Why is it too much to ask that you prove it with photo-ID? You need that much to cash a check for crying-out-loud.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Older iPod Tricks

I have a fairly old (G3?) 40G iPod that I like a lot and use a lot. I had to send it off to Apple a year or so ago for a new battery. They sent it back with all data intact! I was very pleased.

iPod notes:

The iPod has a special Disk Scan utility that can be used to check the hard drive. Follow these steps:

  • Do a Reset - Press the Menu Pause/Play buttons until the Apple logo comes up.
  • At the Apple logo, press the REW, FF, Menu and "Action" (the center) buttons.
  • The iPod will begin to go through a disk scan and will show a disk icon with progress bar
  • At the end you will be presented with a Disk icon with a check mark or a sad iPod icon.
  • If you get a sad iPod icon you need to send your iPod in for repair.
  • If you've initiated the scanning test and don't wish for it to complete, reset the iPod.
  • The scan takes between 15 and 60 minutes to complete (be plugged in as it eats battery).
To enter iPod Diagnostic Mode:

  • Do a Reset - Press the Menu & Pause/Play buttons until the Apple logo comes up.
  • At Apple logo, press the REW, FF, and "Action" (center) buttons.
  • You will then hopefully see a menu of diagnostic tests.
  • Item "O" will be an item called "HDD Scan". Scroll down to this item using the "Next" button (the wheel will not work) and then choose it with the Action button. The test may take a few minutes.
There are a number of other tests available from this menu (use B - reset to get out) and WARNING some of these test can wipe your iPod and cause you to loose all data and songs that are on it including anything on a PC partition on the hard drive (I did not use warning in all caps for nothing).

Update: 7/08/2008

And the ultimate trick is to recycle your iPod as a stand-alone USB drive like I did here.

Update: 4/20/2010

Another great site for iPod button secrets is here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hunger Strike, Lefty Style

It is pretty amusing that the Code Pink web page on fasting includes a message on the Cindy Sheehan hunger strike next to a picture and quote from Gandhi. Why is that funny?

Gandhi fast: water

Sheehan fast: “…closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it…” and “blended juice drinks with protein powder

Not quite the same thing.

I don’t know which is funnier, the Sheehan definition of a hunger strike or the Hollywood definition. Hollywood is lending their support by partaking in a “rolling” hunger strike. You don’t eat for 24 hours and then pass on the hunger strike to another pampered Hollywood liberal.

Boy, that sure is keeping the faith!

Friday, July 7, 2006

I want my full function DVR...

"I'm not so sure that the whole issue really is one of commercial avoidance," Shaw said. "It really is a matter of convenience -- so you don't miss your favorite show. And quite frankly, we're just training a new generation of viewers to skip commercials because they can. I'm not sure that the driving reason to get a DVR in the first place is just to skip commercials. I don't fundamentally believe that. People can understand in order to have convenience and on-demand (options), that you can't skip commercials."

I say NUTS to that. What did people do before DVRs? They bought VCRs and taped the shows. What did they do when they watched the taped shows? They would fast-forward through the commercials. So this is nothing new. It is just with the new technology, they might have a chance to stop it.

Is the ability to skip commercials the MAIN reason people get DVRs? I have to agree with Shaw that the answer is very likely no. But it is a very compelling reasons and I strongly suspect that if you ran a poll and asked all DVR users what their #2 reason is for getting a DVR, it would be skipping commercials.

I think that he is kidding himself that there would not be a citizen backlash. The entire media industry has shown that there are no lengths to which they won’t go to, to push ads at us. Buy any DVD movie now a days and there are ads in it and there are ads in theater movies. You mean to tell me I get to pay $12 to $24 for a DVD movie and get to have product ads in it too! Oh boy, lucky me! If there are any TV conflicts, I always watch the cable show and DVR the TV show. By taping the TV show, I can watch a 60 minute show in about 40 minutes. That is a big time and aggravation saver.

The ads, as they stand are fairly annoying. I am not sure which is more bothersome, the idiotic content or the mind-numbing repetition. It is bad enough to sit through an obnoxious commercial but then to have it run again within the same commercial break is just too much. The other HIGHLY annoying thing that they do is upping the volume. When I DVR, I just skip it but when I am not DVRing, I just mute the TV completely. It is much quicker then trying to turn down the volume to a reasonable level and then turn it back up to be able to hear the show when the commercials end.

Take away my fast-forward and I will just have to dig out my VCR from the closet or go get an open source DVR system. Hey, that would be a good business, black market DVRs that support FF if the mainstream take it away…

Cindy Sheehan Telethon

Now this is a telethon that I could really get behind!

Criminal responsibility

There is a story that is currently on the news in Florida. It relates to a policeman that was shot while trying to apprehend a drug dealer. The nut of the story is that the police tried to stop the individual. At first he ran. When he could run no more, he pulled a gun and the shooting started.

There was more than one policeman at the scene. When the shooting stopped, one of the policemen was shot in the spine and left paralyzed. The perpetrator in now on his second trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury.

The point of contention is that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman is still in his body. They can not remove it. Since they can not present clear and conclusive evidence that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman was fired from the perpetrator’s gun, his lawyer is saying that he should not be held responsible, that one of the other policemen could have accidentally shot the first one, causing the injury.

I have to ask, so what? Who, besides this lawyer, cares if the bullet was fired by one of the policemen or by the perpetrator? The policeman would not have been shot if the perpetrator had not ran in the first place and started shooting in the second place. As soon as he ran, any and all ill affects of his running should be on him. This is the same sort of backward thinking that has led to no-pursuit rules for police.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Thank you New York Times...

Sorry but this is just plain funny...

Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He told Bush that 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.

To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face. Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken. Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazillion?"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thoughts on Myers-Briggs and relationships

I ran across a web site that let you take a Jung - Myers-Briggs type of personality test. Not anything elaborate but interesting none the less. I sent it on, to my wife to take too. Three weeks go by and she had not taken it yet so I remind her and take it again myself, to see if I come out any differently based on the time/attitude difference.

She scored as an ESTJ and I scored as an INTJ. I scored identical numbers on two of the traits and fairly close on the other two so I guess my "score" could be considered accurate within the parameters of the test.

The site also allows you to see a relationship matrix. How one group might relate to another. It seems that ESTJ and INTJ are considered counterparts. This side defines counterparts as perform similar functions in totally different realms.

This got me thinking about compatibility and some of those online sites that promise to find you someone that is compatible (what ever that means). I would be curious to see the results of a test with three groups; group 1 would be people that the site says are ideally suited and compatible, group 2 would be people that the site says are absolutely not compatible and group 3 would be totally randomly selected. Each group would be told that they are ideal matches. I would like to see the results of the percentage of those that work out in each group. I am wondering how the interactions of a couple would be affected if they both thought that they were “ideal matches”. Would that cause them to work harder at making their relationship work? The reasoning being “if I can’t make it work with my idea, what chance do I have with anybody?”

Continued Palestinian Chutzpa

Again, I thought there was a cease fire going on!?!

In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.

According to the statement, the first of its kind, the group has managed to manufacture and develop at least 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons.

The group said its members would not hesitate to add the new weapons to Kassam rockets that are being fired at Israeli communities almost every day. It also threatened to use the weapons against IDF soldiers if Israel carried out its threats to invade the Gaza Strip.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bill is back (Whittle that is)!

Always worth a visit. Welcome back Bill, we missed you!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Keyboards

I think that these air keyboards are cool but I also think that these virtual (laser) keyboards are cooler (here and here)!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Palestinian Chutzpa

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that "an Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip late Thursday killed a prominent militant who was the security chief of the Hamas-led Palestinian government."

The strike killed Jamal Abu Samhadana, 43, leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, a group responsible for many recent rocket attacks on southern Israel and suspected in the 2003 bombing of an American diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip in which three security officers were killed.

To me the important part here is the line: a group responsible for many recent rocket attacks on southern Israel. But wait, this can’t be so! It is just not possible because I read just this past week that Israel was once more threatening the cease fire between Palestine and Israel. But this Chicago Tribune article alludes to “recent rocket attacks” originating in Palestine. If this is true, how can Israel be threatening a cease fire that apparently Palestine is not trying to honor?

This appears to be a common theme with the Western press. Palestine and Israel declare a cease fire, the Palestinians routinely ignore it and as soon as Israel takes defensive action the press screams that Israel is threatening the cease fire.

I also like this part: called the killing an assault on the government and said that militant groups vowing revenge had a right to respond.

OK, so this guy is the head of a group that is responsible for recent rocket attacks against Israel and when Israel kills the person responsible, a Hamas leader says they vow revenge and have a right to respond. That is what Israel was doing, responding to a series of rocket attacks. In part: the group was responsible for a series of deadly attacks on Israeli settlers and soldiers in the Gaza Strip before the settlers were withdrawn from the area last year.

The only word for this is chutzpa!

P.S. for anyone unfamiliar with the word, I found this great definition online: A classic example of chutzpa is someone who kills his father and mother, then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.

Media bias? What media bias?

A recent CBS poll finds that 60% of Americans say it's likely "that the United States will ultimately find success in Iraq," and more than 50% say "Iraq will eventually become a stable democracy."

Any normal person would view these results and think that was good news. Not CBS. What was their headline for this survey? "Poll: Zarqawi Death Has Little Impact."

The data that CBS chose to highlight in order to support their headline includes:

Half think the level of violence in Iraq will be unchanged by Zarqawi's death, while 30 percent say it will actually lead to more attacks against U.S. forces. Just 16 percent think the number of attacks will decrease as a result of his death.

Sixty-one percent also say Zarqawi's death won't have any impact on the terrorist threat against the United States, while 22 percent it will increase that threat. Thirteen percent predict a decreased risk of terrorism.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where have all the crispy M&Ms gone?

I really liked the crispy M&Ms. I can not find them in any of my local stores anymore. Are they no longer made? Rats…

9/2015 update: I should have come back here sooner and posted an update. They are back. Don't know for how long but they are back for now and I am loving it!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Andrew Sullivan on a roll

"A reader captures what has been in my mind and gut for the last few days: 'The BBC just released a video alleging yet another covered-up massacre of civilians by American personel [sic] in Iraq. 5 women, 4 children, and 2 men in Ishaqi in March. Just when I think I'm totally numb, I find out a fellow American may have executed a 6 month-old baby in the name of protecting me, and I can't hold back tears. What country are we in?' The same country that now practices torture. Cheney country." -- Time magazine's Andrew Sullivan, June 2, 2:55 p.m

"Raw Story has now posted some photos of the corpses of children murdered in Ishaqi. Don't go there if you are squeamish, or believe that possible war crimes should not be covered by the media. Investigations continue, and exactly what happened has not been established. But the omens are grim. And these pictures of infants with bullet holes in their skulls simply defy my comprehension of what has happened to this country." -- Time magazine's Andrew Sullivan, June 2, 3:49 p.m

"The conclusions about Ishaqi also seem to me to be provisional. More evidence may yet emerge. We should be cautious about drawing any firm conclusions yet." -- Time magazine's Andrew Sullivan, June 2, 7:54 p.m, responding to the news that an investigation has cleared U.S. troops of wrongdoing at Ishaqi.

Interesting how his tone and excitement changes as the story moves from quite possible U.S. atrocities to just atrocities. Andrew starts out opining "what country are we in?" and moves on to a bit of the standard not in my name but as the story continues to unfolds and it looks like this might (oh my) not be the result of U.S. action, we "should be cautious about drawing any firm conclusions yet." Most definitely Andrew, let us not get too far ahead of ourselves. Though you could still luck out and this tragedy may yet have been the direct result of U.S. action then you could go back to crowing.

Quotables...

The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last four years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for four years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation. --John Kerry, Oct. 9, 2002

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Popular Mechanics has a summary of the Katrina report...

I wonder if this report will get as much coverage as the media gave their wild and speculative Katrina stories (somehow I doubt it).

Government or contractor negligence was not discovered. The practices and design criteria did vary however since 1965. The piecemeal construction of levees, floodwalls and gates over the decades led to “inconsistent levels of protection.” Protection erected around the 17th Street Canal for example was not as strong as those at the Orleans Canal, which incorporated more conservative designs and practices. Materials also ranged in strength and fortitude.

IPET also determined Katrina’s surge levels were as much as six feet higher than design levels in the eastern and southern portions. And the waves were “long period ocean storm waves” allowing them to run over the levees. Some waves generated velocities of 10 to 15 feet-per-second over levees.


All but four breaches were due to overtopping and erosion. A key element leading to failures at the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue was the formation of gaps behind I-walls. The morning of the hurricane, water had already rose 1.7 feet above the tops of the levees and floodwalls to an elevation of 14.2 feet. As the water passed over the levees, it eroded the soil supporting the walls degrading their stability and resulting in catastrophic flooding.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The crazies are taking over!

I just can not believe that these are the types of people that are being elected to high office in this country. No wonder the government is so messed up. If you can stand it, please read the entire thing. Here is just a sample:

Let me just say this and you’ll understand. If I said, “a microphone is on the table is the message,” 10 Republicans around the table would say a microphone is on the table, a microphone is on the table, a microphone is on the table. Ten Democrats around the table would say a microphone is on the table, it’s next to a glass, there’s all these people sitting around, it’s in a room with a chandelier, there are windows in the room… Now why are you doing that? Just say what we’re going to say! Just say it! This is what we want them to know! But I think if I said it that way, they would understand it better, there’d be more context… They have this much time for us -- you got to get in before the window closes. The microphone is on the table! [inaudible]

Contrary to what you might think, this is not the rantings of a street corner paranoid, standing on a milk crate. This is the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in her own words. Read it and be afraid, be very afraid...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Scientists Create World's Smallest Brush

What will they come up with next? As noted in the article, this has real possibilities for greatly improved water and chemical filters. I wonder if it could be adapted for desalination.

Friday, May 5, 2006

More hilarious Howard

"I was recently asked about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. When it comes right down to it, the essential difference is that the Democrats fundamentally believe it is important to make sure that American Jews feel comfortable being American Jews."--Howard Dean

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The myth of the wage gap

Yes, on average, women make 75% of the salary of men but the real reason is not sexism.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

If you care about the Internet...

If you care about the Internet, unrestricted speech and browsing, you will go to this site, read it and follow along, before it is too late...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Howard Dean, a laugh a minute...

I can not help but wonder if Howard Dean would have make this remark if it was more widely known that the target of his joke was a career Democratic civil servant. I’m thinking not. I also wonder if he would have said it if a Democrat was president. Again, I’m thinking not.

I am not commenting on the target of this joke. That individual is indefensible. I am just pointing out the obvious politicizing of an issue for pure, cheap partisan politics from someone whose primary job these past months consisted of repeatedly and angrily inserting his foot into his mouth. That the democrats elected and continue to support this man as the head of their party is truly sad.

You do your best, fight your hardest and push yourself the most when you are up against a worthy opponent. This holds true in politics as well in life. How can the Republican Party possibly stay in fighting trim with the current Democratic Party as their only opponent? No wonder the current congress is such a mess. No competition.

Update: 4/20/06:
I stand corrected, it would appear that Brian Doyle is not a career Democratic civil servant after all.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Just what the world needs, programmable soda...

From the "fact imitating fiction" department comes programmable soda.

Providing choice at the point of consumption creates tremendous advantages for the consumers as well as the manufacturer," noted Glenn Wachler, advisor to IPIFINI and co-inventor of IPIFINI's Choice-Enabled Packaging.

This actually sounds rather appealing. You pick your flavor after you buy your soda. You can have a case of every flavor. No more buying cola, orange and grape. Just buy "every flavor" and decide when it comes time to drink it. Will our grandchildren think that it was cute that we used to buy pre-determined soda?

Friday, April 7, 2006

The Plame Game

This posting covers two very important facts about this entire episode that I don't think gets nearly enough coverage.

The first is; as the President of the United States, GWB is the "owner" of all government information, classified or not and if he chooses to release some, so what? It is his to release.

The second is:

And I think the overwhelming evidence points to this being the major reason for the Plame Affair, this particular NIE leak, and other actions taken by the Administration to defend their good name.

Remember, Joe Wilson totally and completely LIED about why he went to Niger and what he found while there. He was NOT sent by the White House but by his WIFE, Valerie Plame and his report supported the White House's claims. Joe Wilson then writes an OpEd piece for the NYT that not only says he found no evidence (despite his report) but also says that he told the White House that there was nothing there and they ignored him.

Exactly what was the administration supposed to do? Allow this blatant lying to go on unopposed or try to set the record straight? Also, remember Valerie Plame was NOT undercover. She worked for the CIA but was NOT a field agent and was not protected by the laws relating to disclosure of agents and SHE recommended (dare we say pushed for) her husband to go on this trip.

This is clearly not rocket science. Plame recommends Wilson for a fact finding trip, not the White House. He finds evidence to support the administration's position and writes such in his report. He then write an OpEd piece blowing the whistle on his trip and reports the exact opposite of what he did find and lies about who sent him and why and then gets all self righteous when the White House tries to counter his lies.

If all of the rest of this shakes out as currently suspected, that the President actually authorized the disclosures, then I want to know why the heck didn't he just get on TV the day after the original story broke and say so? Call Wilson a back-stabbing, lying SOB and his wife too (cause they are) and tell the world that he authorized the release of that information to counter the Plame/Wilson lies? Would have saved a whole lot of in-between trouble if he had.

Update:
Here is how the filing (PDF) by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald describes what happened (page 23):

Defendant [Libby] testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate]. Defendant testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom defendant considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document.

So as I opined above, the President releasing information in fact declassifies it and if that is the case how can it be a leak? Oh that's right, it is NOT a story unless you can slant it against the President, for a moment there I forgot...

Update: 9/7/06:
At least some are staring to get it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The ACLU leaps too far…

The American Civil Liberties Union claimed Wednesday that California's lethal injection method violates the First Amendment rights of execution witnesses by not allowing them to see if the inmate is experiencing pain before death.

The federal lawsuit says the only reason San Quentin State Prison officials inject a paralyzing agent is to sanitize the execution and prevent witnesses from perhaps seeing convulsions.

Sorry but just because a person is involuntarily convulsing does not mean that they are in any pain. Ask an epileptic if their seizures are painful or not. Most if not all will tell you that they do not feel any pain or do not remember (only between 0.3 and 2.8% report some or any discomfort). To make the leap from a person convulsing to that person being in pain is a leap too far. It LOOKS painful to see someone convulse and that is all that the ACLU really cares about. They hope that witnesses will see someone convulse during the execution and ASSUME that they are in pain.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

America's Majority

Some positive ads about Iraq, some partisan, most not. You can see them here. We will see if any of them make it to TV.

America’s Next Top Model

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I saw the last hour of “America’s Next Top Model” last night. It was like watching a slow train wreck! I didn’t want to continue watching but I was so mesmerized by what I was seeing, that I could not look away.

For anyone [blissfully] unaware of what this show is about, I will quickly recap. A group of young ladies that wish to be “top” models were selected from around the country (world?) and in the first half of the first episode were whittled down from 30 or so to just 12 (13?). I know this because it was re-capped for the second half of the show. The second hour of this first episode followed the usual reality show format by having the remaining ladies perform some sort of task and be ranked on the results. There are non-task clips as well as interview clips scattered throughout and in the final 5 minutes, someone is sent home.

The challenge in this segment was to do a photo shoot that was run by a world famous fashion photographer (whom I never heard of as I am not into fashion). In preparation for the shoot, the ladies were driven across town to a famous hair solon (something else I never heard of as I am not into famous hair solons). The ladies were all giddy, expecting to get complete make-overs in preparation for the shoot. The host then informs them all that the shoot will be with all of them bald. You would have thought that they were told they would need to loose a finger. One lady almost fainted.

As an aside, if my dream were to be a top model (it is not) and I had made it this far in the selection process, if the host said I would need to get my head shaved for a shoot, I would be sure to be the first person stepping up to get it done and would be darn sure to do it with enthusiasm and commitment. I mean this is supposed to be my life’s dream for heaven’s sake. The man that can make this happen says to go bald; I go bald and am darn glad to do it! That should have been a point of elimination right there, and like that scene from “A League of Their Own” where the guy running the league replied to the woman that did not want to wear a dress while playing, “There are X girls in the parking lot right now that will gladly trade places with you”.

They did not actually get shaved. Much to everyone’s GREAT relief, they were told that they would be wearing bald caps to make it look like they had shaved heads. That made everyone very happy. They all then went off to the shoot location. There the bald caps were applied and it did indeed make them look bald. The shoots were completed and then the ladies were judged on the quality of their photos and one was eliminated and sent home.

This was one of the silliest, most shallow, and superficial things I have seen on TV in I don’t know how long. The judging panel was so crass as they ripped into the different ladies looks, expressions, attitudes, etc. They could not even rise to the level of the American Idol judging panel. I am dumb-struck that shows like this can be produced from season to season. It is a text-book example of all that is wrong with TV today.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

The gulag that is Gitmo

Well what do you know, Gitmo is not a gulag after all! A Reuters story on a report out of Brussels seems to indicate that it is not the hell hole that most of the MSM and human rights organizations would want you to believe.

Inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison are treated better than in Belgian jails, an expert for Europe's biggest security organization said on Monday after a visit to the controversial U.S. detention center.

MSM wrong again, go figure...

Friday, March 3, 2006

Crushing Quarters

Sorry but this is just too cool. Crushing quarters and other coins and objects using super high strength magnetic fields! For fun and profit...

Friday, February 24, 2006

The cluless-ness of Richard Cohen

This is pretty much the most clueless thing I have read this week and this statement from his op-ed demonstrates the depth of his clueless-ness:

Writing is the highest form of reasoning.

Rich can't do math and so it is a waste of time to know how. Heck, that is why we have calculators and computers, right? Please tell me you are kidding! Just because you can string a few words together does NOT mean you can reason. You column is adequate proof of that! I hate to break it to you but writing is how you express your ability to reason. It is the thought process that is reasoning, not the ability to write it down. The ability to write is a skill just like math. What algebra does is help teach reasoning in the abstract. Helps one to learn to analyze a problem, apply rules, think it through and resolve & solve it. Expecting someone to be able to do simple (yes simple) high school level algebra before they can graduate is not too much to ask, not even from a journalist.

The Colorado Kid

Read Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid” last night and I enjoyed it. Big surprise there as I am a fan of King’s writing. It is not his usual fair but it does fit in. It is a novelette and more in line with his earlier work under the Bachman pseudonym. It is not a supernatural tale but it is a mystery. One of the things I like about King’s writing is his attention to the most unusual details. In this story (and this gives nothing away so don’t worry) it is a Russian(?) coin that is found in a man’s pocket. Didn’t really need to be there but by having it in the story, King added that extra little something to make it seem more real, more possible. He does that a lot. Other than the location of the story (you write what you know) I did not catch any cross-tie-ins to his other stories though I could have missed it. A good, unusual little story to fill an afternoon with.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Some really great advice...

I have to agree with each point he makes, for the same reasons he uses:

  • If you must be a criminal don't be a con man
  • Never fall victim to envy
  • Don't expect life to be fair, because it's not and never will be

I will add one piece of advice of my own and it is just for the men...

  • Just pee sitting down

I am being very serious here. You will make your spouse, mother, daughter, girlfriend, significant other (all of the ladies in your life) so much happier than you could ever imagine. That one thing, which is no big thing to you, is a HUGE thing to them. So do them a favor and just sit down.

Well this is kind of geeky cool

Space Antenna Design Evolved by Hive of Borg

Eighty PCs running artificial intelligence software used “survival of the fittest” principles to evolve a tiny antenna that will be used on a space mission next month. NASA called the group of computers a “Borg computer collective.” After starting with a random antenna design, the hive of computers spent just 10 hours going through millions of possibilities for a space antenna. The group settled on a design that looked pretty much like a bent paper clip, determining that shape as the most efficient for the mission. According to NASA, the odd-shaped antenna perfectly matches the performance that NASA specified.

But what if you don’t think a bent-up paperclip makes a good space antenna? Tough. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

‘Borg’ Computer Collective Designs NASA Space Antenna

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dick Cheney goes hunting

I can’t say that I agree with the general ‘right side’ consensus on this incident. I think that the ‘clown suit’ was a bit over the top and Begala should have acted more professional but everything he said was correct. That Dick Cheney is the person ultimately responsible for what occurs before, during and after he pulls the trigger of a gun. Cheney did shoot a man and Cheney could have killed a man. Not in self defense. Not protecting his life or property. The VP was out relaxing and enjoying himself. That is the least stressful time to be handling a fire arm and he messed up big time. I am also not saying that he should be charged with a crime, resign or any other such thing. It was an accident. Accidents do happen though this was a completely preventable accident. He does deserve to get raked over the coals over this. I do not agree with much that has spewed forth from the press or the left (like this crass statement from S. & J. Brady) but he did do wrong. He then compounded that wrong by not coming clean sooner about what happened and when.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Telecommuting

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that allows some telecommuting and to be in a position where I actually can do it some times. I try to save these “stay at home” days for when I have a large amount of paper work to catch up on (like today). Between a laptop, cable modem, VPN, and cell phone, it is almost like being in the office except not nearly the same level of distractions and interruptions. The phone system we use at work is integrated into the email system so when someone leaves a voice mail message, it gets put into your email in-box and you can listen to it either on the phone or through the computer. Very handy when you do a fair bit of traveling (or occasionally work from home).

Monday, February 13, 2006

The mice that roared...

Howard Dean, the New York Times, Pres. Jimmy Carter, Martin Sean, etc. are rather upset at the current president for illegally wiretapping1 the phone conversations of American citizens. They are also mad at him for Abu Ghraib prison and for illegally detaining non-combatants2 while waging his war on terror.

Where is the equal measure of outrage for Castro, Kim Jong II, and Saddam Hussein3? These leaders of their respective countries routinely spy on their own citizens. They routinely hold their citizens indefinitely for political crimes, that is if they don't just make them disappear. And despite what the MSM would lead one to believe, U.N. inspectors documented Saddam's torture chambers4, rape chambers and mass graves. North Korea is starving to death because of one man's will to hold on to power at any cost.

Where is the outrage at these murderous regimes? Where are the editorials, the protest, and the calls for justice and the crying for the suffering? That this group and those like them can howl endlessly for the alleged fall of America but can spare not one word for those that are truly oppressed and truly suffering and have no voice says all that need be said as to the character and motives of those that scream on.

1) Allegedly as this is still being investigated as to if it is criminal or not. According to the president, members (red and blue) of the congressional intelligence committee were routinely informed of the program and its' progress and the president's position is that this was authorized by congress outside of the Patriot Act. Supposedly only international calls to and from those with known ties to terrorist were/are being monitored. Oh, and Pres. Bill Clinton ran a much more extensive domestic spying program that was much more inclusive and indiscriminate but you don't hear much about that.

2) Allegedly again as the president feels this action does not overstep his authority and is still being investigated and ruled on (he lost some and he won some).

3) Oh, never mind about this one, he is not doing this any more but he was until the US made him stop.

4) I mean REAL torture. Spanish inquisition kinds of stuff like having your nails ripped out, bones broken, fed into wood chippers, raped, etc. Not frat boy stuff, like being made to wear woman's panties on your head or having to sit around naked for a bit.

Friday, February 10, 2006

1 large person + 1 small plane = big trouble...

OK, here we go again. The background is (please feel free to follow the link and review for your self) a large woman is upset at Southwest for requiring that she purchase a second seat ticket before they would let her board the plane. Part of her complaint is that the policy is applied in a non-uniform manner (valid) and that the decision to require or not require the additional seat is made by the gate attendant (not valid and I will tell you why) and that the policy was difficult to locate on their web site (valid). What really got me though was this passage:

But you know what? I didn’t choose the plane. The airline did. This situation is caused by the space, not by my body, just like access to public spaces for people with mobility impairments is impeded by curbs and stairs and narrow bathroom doors, not by the wheelchair itself. Of course, the airline is under no obligation to design a plane that suits me, but if they are offering a particular service which I purchase a ticket for, and I am willing to suffer temporary discomfort for the benefit of traveling swiftly to a distant destination, isn’t that my decision, not theirs?

What? “This situation is caused by the space, not by my body…” You mean to say that you are one of those rare individuals who actually have a glandular disorder and it is through absolutely no actions on your part, that you are the size you are? If that is the case, you may have a point and please accept my apologies and you can stop reading now.

Then there was this gem: "Why is any other passenger’s comfort and right to travel affordability more important than mine"?

OK, first off, the ability to freely travel is a right, but there is no right to air travel. Today, most people assume it is but it is not. You use the airline at their discretion and they have the right to refuse service to anyone. If you do not feel that it was fair that they refused you service, you have the right to sue them for redress. Also, you are not the only one on the plane. There will be others there as well that will need to maneuver in the same area that you do. Someone will need to sit next to you (if you do not purchase a second set) so what about their expectation to be able to make use of all of the space that they have paid for? If you are of a size that a belt extender is needed, that means that you will not easily fit into the set dimensions. You will “over flow” to the sides. That means that the person that is seated next to you will not be able to have full use of their space. How is that fair to them? I have had the occasion to ride on an airplane next to a larger than average person on more than one occasion and it is NOT fun. I am not referring to the individual persons, I am referring to being turned into a sardine in MY seat, the seat that I paid for and do not get full use of. The extra seat (you did not want to buy) was to give everyone ample (or at least their expected) room.

As to your issue with the gate attendant making the call as to the need for a second seat, the gate attendant is the guaranteed last person to see the passengers before the plane leaves. They are in the best position to know the capacity of the plane and the availability of seating. They should make the call.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Rights

This column contains one of the best descriptions of a real “rights” that I have run across recently:

…a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech, or freedom to travel, is something we all simultaneously possess. My right to free speech or freedom to travel imposes no obligation upon another except that of non-interference. In other words, my exercising my right to speech or travel requires absolutely nothing from you and in no way diminishes any of your rights.

ABSOLUTELY 100% CORRECT! Thank you so very much! Coming across this column and this passage was like finding an oasis in the desert. I am just so very tired if hearing every single special interest group in the world prattling on about this or that so-called right. The right to a place to live, a living wage (what ever that is), medical care, food, Internet access, WiFi access, ad nauseam. It is like grand sale day at John’s Bargain Store with all the claims for these rights.

I FEEL that everyone should have all of these things but I also FEEL that they should have them as a result of their own EFFORTS, not as a result of a third-party agency (i.e. the government) taking something away from one person to give to another, that the other already has equal access to (just not the means to buy it). For example, the prescription drug benefit that is getting all kinds of attention right now. It is decried as not doing enough to help old folks with their medicine. I am sorry but why is it a mandatory requirement for me to help someone else pay for their medicine? I have insurance that helps pay for mine. I have insurance because I have a job. I do a good enough service for a company that they continue to employee me and pay me money every week. I use this money that I earned to pay for things I want and need. I also set money aside for when I am old and/or out of work. This is called planning for the future. I do all of these things because I am a responsible person and wish to make decisions for myself and take care of myself. If I don’t happen to have enough money for all the things I want or need then I have to make choices, set some priorities and live with the consequences of those choices.

Because not everyone is like me and actively taking responsibility for today and tomorrow, the government takes some of the money that I earn and gives it to others that are less prepared for today and the future. The government does other things to help the country to operate but it seems to spend less and less time, effort and MY money doing what it was originally designed to do and instead is spending more and more time, effort and MY money trying to be grandma to everyone.

The only real right everyone in this country actually has is the right to FAIL. The right to try to make a life for yourself and your family and to fall flat on your face in that effort. You also have the right to pick yourself up, dust your self off and try again. You do not have a right to expect anyone to help you or for the government to give you anything because you don’t think something is fair. Life is not fair but generally speaking, it is what you make of it.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Stephen King, Cell

I just received a copy of Stephen King's Cell as a gift. I am looking forward it quite a bit. I did not even know he has written a new book. From the book jacket, it sounds to be along the lines of “The Stand” but that is just a first impression. I will try to post a review when I have finished reading it.

I like King's writing a lot and have enjoyed his other books a great deal. His Dark Tower series was very engaging. I appreciate King’s writing style. He can be very succinct in his descriptions and word usage. Many writers will use 150 words to tell you 100 words worth whereas King can get the same accomplished in 75. He also has very expansive stories. They are not ‘drawn out’ to fill pages, there is just a lot to tell. I like that. A Stephen King story is big enough to sink your teeth into and take a big bite. No nibblers here!

1776, the book

I finished reading 1776 by David McCullough this weekend. Found it quite interesting. If you are not familiar with this book, it is touted as an accurate account of the first year of the war for independence. It relies heavily on material from that period and includes copious references. It is written in a conversational style with excerpts from actual letters, documents, diary entries and newspaper articles. It is not at all dry reading. I would look forward to a follow-up book that covered the entire war in this style and to this level.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Muhammad

I have decided to join the ranks of those blogs that are posting the Muhammad cartoons in support of free expression and in support of the Denmark press. I am doing this for one main reason. No group, under any circumstances should be able to dictate limits to my first amendment rights without a very strong national security reason. It is one thing to expect those that exercise their right to free expression to use that right responsibly. It is quite another to have a group that goes out of its’ way to exercise that right to denigrate other groups but can not stomach even the smallest showing in return.

And as to the excuse/argument that it is the equivalent of a mortal sin in Islam to show an image of Muhammad, I say bunk to that! There is ample proof available to show that this ‘rule’ is selectively enforced, at best. Check out this site for a start and Google from there.


























Update 2/6/2006:
I have been following this story like a lot of people that are ‘browsers’ and have read opinions on both sides of the discussion. On the one hand you have those that say that publishing the cartoons is wrong because it offends Muslims. On the other hand you have those who say so what, it is called freedom of speech. I chose to post the cartoons for the reasons stated above and I still believe that it was and is the right thing to do.

I can understand the position of those that say (as do I) that with rights come responsibilities but I also say, you can not have it both ways. The Arab press is constantly publishing the most vile, hurtful and hateful stories, cartoons and lies of Israel, Jews and Christians. They don’t seem to see anything wrong with that. So satire is not the problem It is also (despite what you might have heard or read, see top of this post) not uncommon to see images of Muhammad in Arab countries as well as the rest of the world. So that is not the problem either. The problem seems to be that it was done by Westerners, at this particular time. As others have said, if you find the material offensive, you can do what every other individual or group does when it feels wronged in a CIVILIZED SOCIETY, you write a letter, hold a protest, and/or boycott. You do not do as has been done, riot in the streets, burn a few buildings, and threaten a bunch of other innocent people with death and destruction.

Oh well, just another ho-hum day in the life of the religion of piece…

Update 2/16/2006:
I have wanted to update this story with more recent information and did not get a chance until now. For anyone that does not know. The big picture on this appears to be that a Danish newspaper printed the twelve cartoons shown above back in September of 05. At that time some Danish imams got upset and tried to start a ‘row’. It quickly fizzled out and nothing came of it. The imams then decided that if they could not get any traction in Denmark, that they would try their luck in the Middle East. To help explain their case, the imams put together a pamphlet on the cartoons and (their view of) the prevailing sentiments toward Muslims, in Denmark. As the cartoons were rather bland, even by Muslim standards, the imams decided that the pamphlet needed a little ‘spicing up’ and they added three additional cartoons/images to it that were NEVER published in any paper in Denmark or anywhere else. In fact, one of the three was not even about Mohammad. It turns out to be a very pixilated photograph of a Frenchman in a hog calling contest. There is also some concern as to the true origins of the other two added items. Regardless, the imams took their ‘enhanced’ pamphlet on a road trip to the Middle East and showed it off to a number of the local imams. These local imams then whipped up their followers into the blood thirstily rage that was shown in various videos and news stories. As people have died/been killed, buildings and cars burned and lives directly and indirectly threatened, calling the rage blood thirsty is not over the top.

It is not clear whether any of the actual folks doing the rioting have seen any of the original cartoons or not, as very few if any of the papers in the Middle East will run them. There is also much confusion in America about the cartoons as very few U.S. papers will run them. If anything, this situation helps to demonstrate that more information is better than less. Either out of fear and/or sensitivity, most news organizations have not run all of the original cartoons nor have they deeply covered this story. This leaves the facts to speculation and allows some to take advantage of the situation. How many of those that are involved in the rioting and protesting would still be there if the full truth were known? I am not saying that there would not be some response just that we do not know how much more restrained it would be if all of the truth were known. Part of what gives these imams their power is ignorance and bowing to fear or sensitivity as opposed to truth feeds that power. As to if anything will happen to the original Danish imams for instigating all of this, no one knows. And that is the “rest of the story”.

Update 2/17/06:
The Danish cartoonist’ rebuttal is in stark contrast to the Muslim rebuke. Follow the link. "Gevoelig" means "sensitive" in Dutch.

Update 2/24/06:
U. S. Cartoonists fight back.
And other comments...

Update 3/1/06:
MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism
and a very interesting rebuttal that is worth reading.

Update 3/14/06:
In his own words...

"I'm glad there was pain, and I wish there will be more pain," Moussaoui said. . . .

In a lengthy explanation of why he hates Americans, Moussaoui said Islam requires Muslims to be the world's superpower as he flipped through a copy of the Quran searching for verses to support his assertion. He said one verse requires Muslims "to fight against all who believe not in Allah."

Update 5/26/06:
Something has happened to the photo links but they are fixed now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Kennedy, Alito and the Supreme Court

Well it looks like Justice Alito has been confirmed after all. This entire episode is just another step in the ever quickening downward march of the “loony left”. Alito is, by the statements of everyone in the legal profession that knew him (from both sides of the fence) a fair, intelligent and open minded judge.

That is just not good enough for those on the left. A good and fair judge is not enough. You must be a warrior for social change. A progressive. That is the new code word for liberal, in case you did not know. The word “liberal” has been so tainted that a new “code” word was needed. Progressive was picked.

This mind set is very well illustrated by one of the poster boys for the “progressives”, Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Sen. Ted Kennedy on C-SPAN said in a speech to the President, of Justice Alito, “And that is what we are doing (voice quavering) with this nominee. HE FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE before this Judiciary Committee that he was committed to the continued march for progress...”.

I did not realize that the Supreme Court was responsible for continuing the march of social progress. I thought the point and purpose of the Supreme Court was to uphold or strike down laws and court rulings as judged by how well they conform to the framework of the constitution. To rule on law, not make it. I guess that makes me also, out of the main stream…

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Oscars

I don’t watch the Oscars. There I said it out loud. I also don’t watch the Golden Globes, the Peoples Choice Awards or any of the other “entertainers honoring entertainers” award shows. I don’t care much if they are sports stars, music stars, movie stars or any other ‘stars’ of the entertainment class. All of those ‘shows’ are just self congratulatory self-love fests of ego stroking.

Part of my disdain for these public shows of self adulation is rooted in my general apathy toward the entertainment industry as a whole (which in my mind includes all of the groups mentioned above) and partially because nothing that happens in the lives of highly paid, generally over indulged stars has any affect on my life (unless one of them happens to decide to give me a few million dollars). It is really sad that more people can tell you who JayLo is currently dating/married to/going with/whatever than can tell you the name of the Secretary of State of the USA or has a clue about the current political scandal in Canada.

While we are on the subject, I really do not care what Sean Penn, George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Nugent or any other celebrity/star thinks. All of these people are paid to entertain me and that is all that they should do. Anything they say that is outside of a paid performance should carry the same weight and get the same attention as that of any random, anonymous person off of the street. To allow these folks to comment on any subject outside of their chosen field of pursuit and treat it as some sort of insightful addition to the debate would be hysterical if not for the fawning multitudes that fall all over themselves to drink from these self anointed fountains of wisdom.

I am not saying that this group of people can not contribute to the debate on any subject or that they should not be allowed to talk at all. I am just saying that their comments should be treated just as those from any other random person and not as a holy mandate. You would not normally ask your mailman for information on spinal surgery. You would not normally ask your doctor about setting up a collage trust. Why would you think that an entertainer would have much relevant to say concerning world affairs or politics? Is the thought that because they are so wealthy that they can afford to spend more time actually learning all about these subjects and can spend huge amounts of time discussing the finer points with other deep thinkers? I think not. Me thinks it is just because they are ‘stars’. Well this is still America and anyone has the right to say whatever they want but I have a right too. The right not to have to listen to them exercising theirs.

Hypocrisy Example #219

The controversy following revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored suspected terrorist related communications since 9/11 reflects a severe case of selective amnesia by the New York Times and other media opponents of President Bush. They certainly didn't show the same outrage when a much more invasive and indiscriminate domestic surveillance program came to light during the Clinton administration in the 1990's. At that time, the Times called the surveillance 'a necessity.'

When a Democrat does the same thing as a Republican, the Democrat is doing it for noble and good reasons while the Republican is doing it because they are just plain evil. Media bias, what media bias?

Four Kings

I saw Four Kings last night for the first time. It was their second episode. Most likely, I will not be watching any more.

It is about four single guys that are sharing an apartment in the city. That means that the show is about four different flavors of ‘hound dogs’. Last night’s episode was mostly about trying to hook up, specifically trying to get a one night stand. I can only assume that this is what each episode will be about as it involves four single guys, trying to hook up.

There was one part that was rather amusing though, if I am not giving the writers too much credit. One of the regulars had to baby sit an ex-girlfriends young twin daughters. The guy was having trouble sleeping and the twins said that they could help by singing him to sleep. They then broke out in song. I had a flash back to those old Japanese monster movies from the 70s. A few included a pair of vary tiny (like 9 inches tall tiny) twin native girls that could sing to attract monsters or to put them to sleep. I hope that is what they were going for because if it was, it was quite inspired.

Monday, January 9, 2006

The deafening silence of NOW

The silence from NOW is not quite unexpected. This is really not much different than the deafening silence from NOW during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. They are all for woman's rights until it runs up against their political leanings. It was fine for Clinton to take advantage of a much younger, subordinate from what is arguably the most powerful of power positions because, one can only assume, he was/is a Democrat.

This is in sharp contrast to the allocations against Arnold S. (when he was running for governor of CA) that he had groped women some 20 years earlier. With Clinton, we had the stained dress, with Arnold we have hearsay. I am not saying it didn't happen, I am just contrasting the difference in positions and coverage and cover afforded to those on the left versus those on the right. Also where is NOW on the ritual mutilation of girls that takes place every day in Africa? I guess they have more pressing matters here at home.

Up in smoke

Very interesting OpEd on the affects and side-affects of anti-smoking laws.

I don't smoke. My wife used to. My dad smoked for over 40 years and my mother never smoked. I am of the opinion that if most folks practiced a little common courtesy and that the issue of whether you are or are not allowed to smoke somewhere were governed by the owner of the place, this would be a non-issue. If a place allows smoking and you don't like it, don't go there. Either enough folks will be like minded to cause the owner to change his mind or another business will pop up to cater to your needs.

I can see though that there may need to be some specific no smoking areas, like airplanes, where everyone is packed into a small space with no fresh air but that too can or could be managed by the business.

Too many folks forget that you should only make rules/laws on the minimum necessary and they should be as general as possible. The best set of 'laws' ever written are the 10 commandments. Religion has nothing to do with it. Read them. They cover all behavior in just 10 rules. Nearly anything that you can do today can be fit into these 10. Everything else is just thinner slices of the same bread.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Behind the minimum wage

Interesting...

New year, new start

Well I am back from my CHRISTMAS vacation, yes I said CHRISTMAS, not holiday. It is indeed a holiday but the word holiday is descriptive, not a noun. My wife and I decided to get out of town this year, way out of town. Out of the country in fact. All the way to Jamaica. We stayed in one of those all-inclusive resorts. Had a very good time. One of the things I like best about an all-inclusive is that they are all inclusive. You are not reaching into your wallet every 5 minutes for every little thing that you want to do. Included in your stay is food and drink (to include alcohol), the room and activities. In our case activities included a wide variety of non-motorized activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, swimming, volleyball, etc. One of the things that I liked about the place that we stayed is that at 11:00PM sharp, the outdoor shows end and silence takes over. There was at least one club that was always open so those that wanted to party-on could but those of us that wanted to or needed to sleep, could too. As with most vacations, it was a bit too short.

Got to play with a new video camera that we got just in time to take with us. A Sony DVRDVD403. Was very nice. Uses mini-DVDs. Either DVD-R, DVD-RW or DVD+RW. Each has different benefits and features. The camera takes videos and stills at 3 mega-pixels and has a number of very nice features. I just wish the zoom was better, more like that on the DVRDVD92.