2004-01 posts.

  1. 2004-01-05t16:30:39Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Election 2004. Martial Arts. Space.
  2. Rules of Saving. RE: Computers. Blogging.
  3. The Skepticism Of The Science Community. RE: Science. Politics.
  4. 2004-01-12t21:50:21Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Buy. Election 2004. Fun. Math. Politics. Tech. Terrorism. Work.
  5. Double Bridging The Generation Gaps. RE: Politics. zMisc. Family.
  6. I Cannot Say. RE: Philosophy. Epistemology. Politics.
  7. 2004-01-14t05:31:56Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Elections 2004. Fun. Math. Politics. zMisc.
  8. 2004-01-14t18:24:12Z. RE: Blogging. Bush Administration/War. Comic Art. Engineering/Science. Fun. Politics. Sex. Writing.
  9. 2004-01-15t06:18:06Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Comic Art. Engineering/Science. Fun. Sex. Tech.
  10. Bush On Space. RE: Science/Engineering. Bush Administration/War. Space.
  11. 2004-01-15t23:53:00Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Chicago. Business. Election 2004. Faith. Fun. Music. Politics.
  12. 2004-01-18t03:54:48Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Chicago. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Fun. Israel. Movies. Politics. Pschology. Sex. Tech. Terrorism. Writing. zMisc.
  13. 2004-01-19t22:27:19Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Engineering/Science. Lifestyle. Politics. Tech.
  14. Kerry Wins Iowa Caucuses. RE: Elections 2004.
  15. State Of The Union 2004. RE: Bush Administration/War.
  16. 2004-01-26t00:29:28Z. RE: Bush Administration/War. Bush: Iraq. Bush: Iraq Elections and the UN. Bush: State of the Union. Chicago. Economics. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Food. Sex. Tech. Writing.
  17. 2004-01-27t17:15:49Z. RE: American Power. Mars. Golden Globes. Microsoft.
  18. 2004-01-31t01:59:35Z. RE: Bush: War. Blogging. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Food. Fun. Parenting. Show Biz. Tech.

2004-01-05t16:30:39Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Election 2004. Martial Arts. Space.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • Is Halliburton the New Enron?
      • 'With Dick Cheney and Halliburton we have an admission of bribery, a Pentagon study confirming that a subsidiary overcharged the government, and a pending investigation into a major bribery and corporate scandal. Yet the American press is out to lunch'
        • Ah yes: another example of the so-called "Liberal Media".
  • Election 2004
    • Bush Bracing for Matchup Against Dean
      • "I don't think there's anybody who wins in a landslide. ... Dean has proven himself to be a pretty darn effective campaigner, so I don't want to take anything away from him. ... I think Dean can consolidate the Democratic base, and that gets him up to 46 percent. If we do a good job, the president wins by a few points, but it's not going to be huge." -Charles Black, GOP strategist .
  • Martial Arts
    • In the past few day I've added a good amount of content to my Martial Arts section, especially my Swords and Teaching sections. Much of it so far is history, vocabulary, and supporting information. In one sense I'm catching up on 13 years of general martial arts knowledge that I never wrote about while I was doing martial arts. I'm glad I got back into it since retiring in 1999. This is the type of content I really want to write and blog about: martial arts, ethics, faith, comic arts, government, engineering/science. But unfortunately beating Bush is such an important and urgent duty during Elections 2004 that it will eat up my time. 
  • Space

2004-01-09t18:45:59Z | RE: Computers. Blogging.
Rules of Saving

I've done my share of saving with computers over the years. However blogging has introduced a different light upon the topic, especially with these problems:

  • Dispersed posts may not be as satisfying as a unified work.
    • It is dissatisfying when you are interested in posts about a particular topic, but those posts are dispersed amongst posts on other topics.
    • It is dissatisfying to make new posts about a previous post when you are basically evolving the topic, since now the posts are dispersed.
    • Content distributed across multiple sites is unavoidable.
  • Archived content is untrustworthy if you suspect that it has been edited.

This has led me to develop my "Rules of Saving".

  • If you have content, then make sure you save it.
    • Save often.
    • Make "backup saves" for the short term.
    • Make "archival saves" for the long term.
  • Content evolves until it splits, becomes static, or is deleted.
    • Content can splits in one of two ways:
      • A division of the content. EG: AB becomes A and B.
      • A fork in the content. EG: HTML v3 becomes HTML v3 and HTML v4.
    • Saves of evolving content are by nature "backup saves".
    • Saves of static content are by nature "archival saves".
  • Archived content is fixed.
    • Modifications (such as additions, comments, corrections, and deletions) should be noted.
    • Modifications that change the basic content should be avoided.
    • Comments and corrections with comments should be encouraged.
  • Content size and production time influences whether to blog or web.
    • Blogs emphasize time over topic.
    • Posts are archives. Posts are like news stories for the historical record.
    • From a blogger's perspective, a web page is a "mega-post" that allows the luxury of longer content that can evolve. If you are not concerned about preserving the history of the evolution of the particular web page (except in archives), then a web page is fine. EG: A web page with upcoming movies.
    • From a webber's perspective, a blog post is a "mini-web page" that allows the ease of shorter content that shouldn't have to evolve.
    • If a post is frequently revisited, modified, evolved then it should be an evolving web page, not a blog post. EG: If I made a post with a list rules for Evil Overlords, and this list kept growing, then the list should get its own web page.
  • Content topic and arrangement influences whether to blog or web.
    • Webs emphasize topic over time.
    • If a blog has particular topics that are posted about frequently, then perhaps those topics should each get their own blog.
    • If a blog writes about a particular topic frequently, then perhaps the topic should be unified with its own web site or web directory.
    • If a web site or part of a web site frequently receives email, then perhaps that portion should have it's own blog or message board.

Some stuff I thought about while creating my Rules of Saving:

  • Printed v Web
    • Printed books, whether from 1904, 1954, or 2004, all use the same basic technology to render and read: open the book. The only issue with reading is minor: the slow evolution of the written language. Physical preservation is not an issue but duplication, distribution, and access of the books are.
    • On the other hand web sites have the disadvantage of the evolving technology. The server, network, and user systems (hardware and software), may all influence the quality (or even the possibility) of rendering and reading the content. Preservation may be an issue (esp. with magnetic but also with optical). Duplication, distribution, and access can be much easier.
    • Printed encyclopedias are forked with annual editions but web encyclopedias usually leave no historical record of versioning. Unless you want to rely on Google to do it.
  • As I was scribbling my notes on paper, I noticed that the hand writing kept a history visible of all the revisions during the evolution of the topic (because of all the crossing-outs). I was also able to do some fancy stuff quickly such as connect thoughts by drawing lines between stuff or making quick little illustrations and graphs. On the computer, all the history of the generation of the content is usually non-existent with all the cutting, pasting, and deleting. On the other hand computers have many advantages including cutting, pasting, and deleting.

2004-01-11t15:55:33Z | RE: Science. Politics.
The Skepticism Of The Science Community

"Aliens Cause Global Warming", by Michael Crichton [transcript].

  • Here is the gist of the problem he sees: "in the progression from SETI to nuclear winter to second hand smoke to global warming, we have one clear message, and that is that we can expect more and more problems of public policy dealing with technical issues in the future-problems of ever greater seriousness, where people care passionately on all sides."
  • Here is the answer he proposes: "Just as we have established a tradition of double-blinded research to determine drug efficacy, we must institute double-blinded research in other policy areas as well."

I actually like his solution as one of many safeguards we should try to implement to ensure objectivity. Certainly evidence and science is distorted often for political use. After all we do live in the age of an Iraq invasion based on the politicized interpretation of evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. I believe in The Scientific Method and the usual slew of sayings about the dangers of the human element in "science" such as:

  • "Science is belief in the ignorance of experts" -Richard Feynman
  • "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Mark Twain
  • "There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is take on board without examination." -Daniel Dennett

And yet Crichton's piece irks me in different ways. He does not take into account the intermixing of science and engineering. In the real world you need to rely on engineering fudges. Crichton gave several reason for why SETI, nuclear winter, global warming, second hand smoke, climate predicting, and future predicting in general are invalid:

  • Some of the variables used for their equations are largely un-guessable. If we can't get all the variables for the Drake equation used for SETI, should we not bother searching for life? It is still a good cause.
  • Some of the equations used are insufficient or possibly impossible because of chaos theory. If we can't get the full equations to describe post-nuclear conditions, should we just have nuclear wars? Just because systems are complex, self-organizing, hanging on at the critical state where things can go radically different, etc. doesn't mean we can study them or make warning statements. Don't you want earthquake warnings? Maybe the world isn't overpopulated as predicted because the predictions influenced the world such as China adopting a one-child policy or individuals deciding to have smaller families.
  • Some of this stuff was hyped with "Sesame Street" science. When you're trying to get kids or the general public about certain issues, sometimes "Sesame Street" science is necessary. Hooray for Carl Sagan getting a generation of kids interested in science by flying through the cosmos in spikey space ship.
  • Computer modeling and simulations are not reality and often not robust enough. Should we build all prototypes in full-scale or make some as physical or computer models? Aren't there some good models? No one complains about the little physical models that people have been using for centuries. We know the difference between models and reality.

Crichton talked about skepticism and the dangers of consensus. We all know that Galileo Galilei is the poster child of skepticism and consensus, and that scientist must always be willing to challenge the status quo. The thing is that Crichton made a similar mistake that Isaac Asimov, my favorite Science Fiction writer, did when he hit upon the consensus point in one of his novels: a scientist noticed that science was in decay because a hobbyist expert was acquiring knowledge by reading old books and picking and choosing the explanations that seemed most satisfactory without doing hard-science validation. The mistake made by both is that they attacked both scientists and laymen.

  • Individual scientists are responsible for finding the truth by experimentation.
  • Groups of scientists reach a consensus based upon common interpretation of reproduced experimentation.
  • Laymen are partially excused to rely upon the current consensus of scientists for the latest model of the truth. This is valed because we all rely on the expertise of others in many fields. How many people can fix their auto carburetor, hack Unix, weave silk, create federal legislation, and construct symphony quality musical instruments?

However this isssue of consensus is an especially important issue in the Internet Age. People are using links to validate knowledge. That can be dangerous because you cna find links on almost anything. You rely on the quality of some of the sources. Relying on bloggers can also be shaky. A person may end up visiting links and blogs that only cover a small portion of the larger arguments.

So while it was good that Crichton talked about skepticism and the dangers of consensus, but it was unnecessary for him to do it from a political bent which was one of his main points.

  • Crichton is clearly pro-WMD, pro-corporation, etc.
  • His feature example of the science community lashing out at skeptics of the science community is Bjørn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environment which exposes some weakness in the arguments by Environmentalists. Lomborg's book itself has lots of weaknesses and is worth a skeptical view. See Correcting myths from Bjørn Lomborg. The first clue is that Lomorg is really a political scientist and not an environmental scientist. Lomborg is no Galileo.

SETI, nuclear winter, global warming, etc. are all theories! Almost all claims in science are theories and are always subject to testing. This is surely a lesson that scientists have learned in the Evolution v Creationism battle. We're looking into theories, coming up with tests, examining the evidence, arguing about the interpretations. Why do you think people are out there drill for ice sample in Antarctica and stuff? Volcanoes spew out a lot of stuff but they don't spew out catalysts. Scientists arguing about stuff is good.

Someone might say something like "There is more ethics in the religious community, than there is skepticism in the scientific community" (or vice versa) but a good scientist would be very wary of making either of these claims.

Crichton's and Lomborg are fine for pointing out the dangers of politicizing science but the funny thing is that they both do it from their own particular political bents (both very right wing in this case). There is always some engineering fudging to reality but there is also a lot of good science out there. Good scientists should not have an ulterior motive, their goal should be objective knowledge about their field of study. This is very similar to the claims of "Liberal Media", when in actuality who other than the corporations, have the money and the desire to pull things in their political favor via "green washing" science?

(See also the comments at MetaFilter.)

2004-01-12t21:50:21Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Buy. Election 2004. Fun. Math. Politics. Tech. Terrorism. Work.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies.
      • 'All text is verbatim from senior Bush Administration officials and advisers. In places, tenses have been changed for clarity.'
      • I guess the anti-Bush crowd has to come up with all sorts of different ways to emphasize how deceptive the Bush administration is.
  • Buy
    • StealItBack.com. Buy stuff from police property rooms, i.e. stolen or forfeited goods. Some pretty good prices!
  • Election 2004
    • A challenger to Bush [John Buchanan]. Almost anybody would be better than Bush but I don't think the GOP is going to back anyone else. Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
    • Pat Robertson: God Says Bush Will Win in 2004.
      • "The Lord has just blessed him. ... I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him." -Robertson.
        • Pat Robertson is a fuck. And yet he'll influence the votes of his sheep.
      • ' The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, a frequent Robertson critic and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he had a prediction of his own: "Pat Robertson in 2004 will continue to use his multimillion broadcasting empire to promote George Bush and other Republican candidates." In a reference to Bush's political adviser, Lynn said, "Maybe Pat got a message from Karl Rove and thought it was from God." '
        • Way to go Barry Lynn!
  • Fun
  • Math
  • Politics
    • If the Bomb Is So Easy to Make, Why Don't More Nations Have It?
      • ' "Libya was in no position to obtain access to nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future," says a statement by the Federation of American Scientists, an independent group that tracks arms control issues. After visiting Libya last week, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, declared the country's program at "very much at an early stage." Libya may be closing down its nuclear program because it wasn't working anyway. This points to an important reality about nuclear weapons: they are extremely difficult to make. Claims that bomb plans can be downloaded from the Internet, or that fissile material is easily obtained on the black market and slapped together into an ultimate weapon, seem little more than talk-radio jabber. Nations like Libya that have made determined attempts to obtain atomic munitions have not even come close. '
      • Yep, years of economic pressure and international regulations is what's worked on Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc. Not just our military strength.
  • Tech
    • Robert X. Cringely's Predictions for 2004
      • ' The final score for last year's column was three wrong out of 15 for a score of 80 percent correct, which is slightly above my historical average of 70 percent. Maybe I was just vaguer in 2003 than I had been in earlier years. The more vague the predictions, the more likely they are to not be wrong, you know. '
      • Of his 15 predictions for 2004, I liked #6 best: ' As for SCO, they'll continue to make noise until the middle of the year, at which point the legal case will implode and the company will give up. By that time, the company executives, insiders, and major investors will have all sold their positions at a handsome profit. This was never more than a stock scam, pushing the price of SCO shares up by more than 15 times. The clever part is how they used a legal case to make public claims that would have caused serious regulatory problems in any other context. We'll see more of this ploy in the future. '
      • No mention of flat TVs like plasma TVs? Wuss!
  • Terrorism
  • Work
    • Ah. I finished several weeks worth of work on 01-06 Tue. I got rid of tables and did almost everything with CSS. The new look of my work's website is up . After I got home I got a call that the site was all screwed up on Mac browsers. On 01-08 Thu, I was worried that the Mac DOMs were screwy but the problem was largely caused by using CSS like width:30; instead of width:30px. Since then I've poured in more of the content and the site looks fine. Next project: resume work on creating the "select tree", a system for using a tree and checkboxes to select members from a chosen dimension for display from an OLAP/multidimensional source.

2004-01-13t16:03:31Z | RE: Politics. zMisc. Family.
Double Bridging The Generation Gaps

"Why can't Boomers and Gen X just get along?" by Joanna L. Krotz

By their definitions:

  • Baby Boomers are the 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. ' "Boomers tend to give themselves over to their jobs," says Claire Raines, author of "Generations at Work." They believe in paying dues, playing by the rules and building careers. Their feedback and guidance is indirect and considerate of people's feelings. "They're process-oriented," Raines says. "They're trained to believe that business results and relationships are intertwined." '
  • Gen Xers are the 46 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980. ' Gen Xers grew up in latchkey homes at ease with technology. They're self-reliant and impatient, these experts agree. .... Their management style is blunt and unadorned, focused on getting the work done, not bonding. Gen Xers are independent, skeptical and flexible--they're results-oriented. '
  • Millennials or Gen Yers are the 76 million American probably born since 1980. Smart-alecky younglings!

Of the generation gap:

  • ' "To get ahead," says Raines, "boomers learned to be diplomatic, to believe in people skills. But Xers see boomers as schmoozers, full of doublespeak." Put this mix into the workplace and watch tensions rise. '
  • ' The big bulge of boomers is aging. About 10,000 boomers turn 55 every day, and many will leave in the next few years. At half the boomer size, Gen X can't begin to fill all the jobs. '
  • ' Typically, neither side recognizes generational conflicts when they flare. People think the disagreements are because of age — "He's so out of touch" or "She has no work ethic." Alternately, antagonists figure it's a personality thing — "She's a control freak" or "He has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer." '

That would make my wife a Baby Boomer, me a Gen Xer, and our kids Millenials. That would be so tidy! On the other hand my wife and I bridge the generation gap in our perceptions as well as our ages. I think the generation gap is similar in every era. The biggest difference in the current gap has to do with the population difference and, to a lesser degree, the technological difference.

It's interesting that, according to their stereotypes, the rashness of Bush's Iraq invasion would be pegged as a Gen X solution, while the diplomatic route would have been pegged as the Baby Boomer solution. But on the other hand Bush's corporate favoritism would be a Baby Boomer thing to do, while skepticism of the same brown policies would be so Gen X.

2004-01-13t21:34:09Z | RE: Philosophy. Epistemology. Politics.
I Cannot Say

"What You Can't Say" by Paul Graham.

A quantitative indication that I'm really enjoying an article is when, as I read it, I start saving lots of quotations from it. This one is so good that I quoted around 20 paragraphs from it. At that point I decided to just do a "Save As..." on it and then make a stand alone blog entry.

As far as papers on popular epistemology, this is so much better than the Crichton crap I wrote about recently. The difference is as startling as the difference between Tolkien and Lucas.

I will, however, allow myself the luxury of including 3 quotations:

Another approach is to follow that word, heresy. In every period of history, there seem to have been labels that got applied to statements to shoot them down before anyone had a chance to ask if they were true or not. "Blasphemy", "sacrilege", and "heresy" were such labels for a good part of western history, as in more recent times "indecent", "improper", and "unamerican" have been.
In the sciences, especially, it's a great advantage to be able to question assumptions. The m.o. of scientists, or at least of the good ones, is precisely that: look for places where conventional wisdom is broken, and then try to pry apart the cracks and see what's underneath. That's where new theories come from.
I admit it seems cowardly to keep quiet. When I read about the harassment to which the Scientologists subject their critics [12], or that pro-Israel groups are "compiling dossiers" on those who speak out against Israeli human rights abuses [13], or about people being sued for violating the DMCA [14], part of me wants to say, "All right, you bastards, bring it on." The problem is, there are so many things you can't say. If you said them all you'd have no time left for your real work. You'd have to turn into Noam Chomsky.

2004-01-14t05:31:56Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Elections 2004. Fun. Math. Politics. zMisc.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • "Free-Speech Zone": The administration quarantines dissent.
      • There are 2 stories here: One is the usual Bush trampling on American freedoms. The other is that the source of this article (which is critical of Bush) is from AmConMag.com (The American Conservative)!
      • 'When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones" where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.'
        • Stuff like this makes me want to moon him.
      • 'When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us." The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, "As far as I'm concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind."
        • There are many examples like the above in the article. Are the people who like Bush blind to shit like this?!? this stuff is stuff we accuse China and Russia of doing: stifling Freedom of Speech. I know that the pro-Bush crowd can forgive Bush of lying to Congress and to the world about a war as long as he does his job, but there are 2 differences in that regard between Bush and Clinton:
          1. Clinton was lying about private sex between consenting adults (which people do all the time).
          2. Clinton was doing a much better job on all fronts.
      • 'Somehow, all of a sudden, after George W. Bush became president people became so stupid that federal agents had to cage them to prevent them from walking out in front of speeding vehicles.'
    • "Resist the new Rome" by Osama bin Laden. I'm not condoning the content: I just wanted to post this for reference. We need to study the enemy. FYI: the CIA thought this recording was authentic.
  • Elections 2004
    • At long last we got to see the best of BushIn30Seconds.org. Having to watch videos over the Internet makes me appreciate how fast TV is. I know they'll air some of the ads during the President's State Of The Union Address, but I don't know which ones.
  • Fun
  • Math
    • Cut-The-Knot.org. "Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles". I didn't know whether to file this under "Fun" or "Math".
  • Politics
    • Twilight of the NeoCons? I love his labels: the NeoCons v the Realists. The article gives a good feel of the history of the NeoCons, who they are, and what they're about. NeoCons are control freaks who want to set world agendas and use the military and regime changing as primary tools. The slippery grip that the NeoCons have on Bush explains much of the oddities in Bush's policies. This sort of stuff only confirms the need to get Bush out of there.
    • The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A.
      • 'Alisa Harrison has worked tirelessly the last two weeks to spread the message that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, is not a risk to American consumers. As spokeswoman for Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Ms. Harrison has helped guide news coverage of the mad cow crisis, issuing statements, managing press conferences and reassuring the world that American beef is safe. '
        • Astounding that our government is so fearless with beef (which we have right here in America) but was so fearful with Iraq (which was very well contain, fine and thank you).
      • 'The beef industry has fought for nearly two decades against government testing for any dangerous pathogens, and it isn't hard to guess why: when there is no true grasp of how far and wide a food-borne pathogen has spread, there's no obligation to bear the cost of dealing with it.'
      • 'Instead of testing American cattle, the government has heavily relied on work by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis to determine how much of a threat mad cow disease poses to the United States. For the past week the Agriculture Department has emphasized the reassuring findings of these Harvard studies, but a closer examination of them is not comforting. Although thorough and well intended, they are based on computer models of how mad cow disease might spread. Their accuracy is dependent on their underlying assumptions. "Our model is not amenable to formal validation," says the Harvard group in its main report, "because there are no controlled experiments in which the introduction and consequences of B.S.E. introduction to a country has been monitored and measured." '
        • OK Crichton. Here's a case where a computer simulation just doesn't cut it. But in this case we can safely test real cows where as we cannot safely have nuclear wars.
      • 'Yes, the threat to human health posed by mad cow remains uncertain. But testing American cattle for dangerous pathogens will increase the cost of beef by just pennies per pound. Failing to do so could impose a far higher price, both in dollars and in human suffering.'
  • zMisc

2004-01-14t18:24:12Z | RE: Blogging. Bush Administration/War. Comic Art. Engineering/Science. Fun. Politics. Sex. Writing.

  • Blogging
    • Why I Fucking Hate Weblogs! Hilarious but truthful stuff. 
      • Chapter 2, "Why do they do it?". He gave some reasons and of those reasons, the ones that are the closest to describing me are "The Reverse Voyeur" (I've always used the term "Closet Exhibitionist"), "The Self-Important Moron", and "The Pedant". I've said for years that I do this stuff for yourself. I was doing off-line journaling for years, then I started storing notes in a web format, then I extended my journaling with blogging. Most of my content is for myself but if some other people can benefit from my content, then why not post it publicly as well?
      • Chapter 4, "Communication Issues with Weblogs". He has two basic point. The latter point mass communication is trivial but the former point on the non-real time communication is important. Directly interacting with my wife, kids, and friends should take precedence over blogging or most things in general. However for some people blogging is not too far off from real time.
      • Chapter 6, "Acceptable uses of Weblogs". I have some commonalities with "Expert in a Field", "Chronicle", and "Author". I also like parking links in my blog because it tells me how old the link is.
  • Bush Administration/War
    • Iraq's Arsenal Was Only on Paper: Since Gulf War, Nonconventional Weapons Never Got Past the Planning Stage. I'm getting tired of posting links about the lack of WMDs in Iraq for 2 reasons: there are so many links and none of it seems to affect the pro-Bush crowd.
    • Bush Grabs New Power for FBI.
      • "While the nation was distracted last month by images of Saddam Hussein's spider hole and dental exam, President George W. Bush quietly signed into law a new bill that gives the FBI increased surveillance powers and dramatically expands the reach of the USA Patriot Act. The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge. "
      • Nope nothing scary going on here... NOT!
    • I.M.F. Report Says U.S. Deficits Threaten World Economy. How surprising... NOT!
    • Hussein Warned Iraqis to Beware Outside Fighters, Document Says
      • 'The document appears to be a directive, written after he lost power, from Mr. Hussein to leaders of the Iraqi resistance, counseling caution against getting too close to Islamic jihadists and other foreign Arabs coming into occupied Iraq, according to American officials. It provides a second piece of evidence challenging the Bush administration contention of close cooperation between Mr. Hussein's government and terrorists from Al Qaeda. C.I.A. interrogators have already elicited from the top Qaeda officials in custody that, before the American-led invasion, Osama bin Laden had rejected entreaties from some of his lieutenants to work jointly with Mr. Hussein.'
      • 'As President Bush sought to build a case for war with Iraq, one of the most hotly debated issues was whether Mr. Hussein was in league with Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Senior officials at the Pentagon who were certain that the evidence of connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda were strong and compelling found themselves at war with analysts at the C.I.A. who believed that the evidence showed some contacts between Baghdad and the terrorist organization, but not an operational alliance. At the Pentagon, several officials believed that Iraq and Al Qaeda had found common ground in their hatred of the United States, while at the C.I.A., many analysts believed that Mr. bin Laden saw Mr. Hussein as one of the corrupt secular Arab leaders who should be toppled.'
      • I'm getting tired of posting links about the lack of connections between Iraq and Al Queda for 2 reasons: there are so many links and none of it seems to affect the pro-Bush crowd.
  • Comic Art
  • Engineering/Science
  • Fun
  • Politics
    • Liberal talk radio to air in Chicago.
      • 'Ending months of speculation, political humorist Al Franken has signed a deal to host a three-hour daily talk radio program for Progress Media, a New York City-based firm that is trying to launch a national liberal talk radio network.'
      • 'Franken likely will go head-to-head with Rush Limbaugh, the embattled conservative radio host and king of talk radio. Progress Media Chief Executive Mark Walsh declined to say exactly when during the day Franken's program would air but did say it would be a "midday" program, which typically means 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Limbaugh airs on WLS-AM 890 in that time slot.'
      • Whoo-hoo! Finally another talks show that I can listen to! As it stands, there is only good old NPR.
      • And Yes: I have read his funny and rousing book: Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them — A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
  • Sex
  • Writing

2004-01-15t06:18:06Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Comic Art. Engineering/Science. Fun. Sex. Tech.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • The Texas Miracle
      • 'It was called the "Texas Miracle," and you may remember it because President Bush wanted everyone to know about it during his presidential campaign.'
      • 'All in all, 463 kids left Sharpstown High School that year — for a variety of reasons. The school reported zero dropouts, but dozens of the students did just that. School officials hid that fact by classifying, or coding them as leaving for acceptable reasons: transferring to another school, or returning to their native country. '
        • Can it be that Bush lies about education too? I'm sorry: I can't fake a "gasp!"
    • Report: Bush Planned Iraqi Invasion Pre-Sept. 11. Yeah, I know this has been out for several days but I'm storing it here for future reference.
  • Comic Art
    • PVComics.com. Protean Void Comics. Hundreds of comic strips online.
  • Engineering/Science
    • Kodak to stop selling traditional cameras in U.S.. Some may see this as the rise of digital and the fall of film (which it is to some degree), but my instinct tells me that while Kodak is big on film and disposables, they were never big in cameras.
    • University Adapts Laser to Slice Cheese
      • ' "At any other university, people would have just laughed. But this is Wisconsin. It's cheese. And this is no laughing matter," said Xiaochun Li, a mechanical engineering professor and laser expert.'
      • Cheese sticks to physical blades and regular lasers fries cheese, so they're using UV lasers. A very nice solution for cutting thin slices.
    • Samsung SDI to Introduce 80-inch PDP, Production to Start in Second Half. Holy Crap! I think I just did. 1920x1080.
    • Now I'm not really into iPods and such (Yeah, yeah I know about the new mini-iPods, the HP-Mac deal, and Sony's HI-MD Walkman), but as a Tolkien fan, this iPod T-shirt tickles me:
    • Watchmaker With Time to Lose.
      • There are a lot of Mars stories but this one is cute.
      • 'They said it couldn't be done. But in the sleepy little town of Montrose, California, nestled in the hills surrounding JPL, master watchmaker Garo Anserlian of Executive Jewelers is perfecting a timepiece for hundreds of Earthlings bound to Mars' irregular day. Past the glass cases of what looks like an ordinary jewelry store is a workshop where watches are losing 39 minutes a day. Rover controllers have to monitor Spirit (and soon, Opportunity) all the time; this doesn't just mean 24 hours a day, it means 24 hours, 39 minutes a day. The martian day is longer than Earth's, but this minimal variance can amount to physical and mental fatigue. Every day, team members are reporting to work 39 minutes later than the previous day.'
      • I am so jealous of Garo and anyone who's had an opportunity to work for NASA. Several years ago I spoke with Dave Morin, an engineer who worked on the Apollo and Gemini missions. He said it was the best job he ever had.
    • TheVosPad.com. At first I was impressed but then I saw the pictures of the all LED lit apartment, then I read this article: "Twinkle, twinkle LED, how we long for light from thee". Both confirmed what that indeed LEDs, while getting there, are not there yet. The colors are wrong and the light isn't diffuse enough. I look forward to an LED future though with its higher efficiency and lower heat output.
  • Fun
  • Sex
    • TheSafetyNet.org. "The Safety Net is a collective of men who are working to stop Date Rape and Intimate abuse."
  • Tech
    • Hey! Where's the problem? No, I'm not all riled up about this one but no one should get suspended for saying "Hey!" on the network via DOS (net send). If I were the dad I'd be proud we'd do something fun during the suspension. I wouldn't be surprised if the the school's site becomes a magnet for real hackers for short while.

2004-01-15t16:51:34Z | RE: Science/Engineering. Bush Administration/War. Space.
Bush On Space

President Bush Announces New Vision for Space Exploration Program

Ha ha! What a transparent election stunt. But I'm so pro-space that I don't care (call me a whore for space). I think Bush actually did a good job of giving a very general plan. The politicians need to give the scientists and engineers general goals and a budget, then let them come out with more realistic goals and timetables. I think NASA has been on the right track already with these relatively cheaper robotic missions.

Here are his goals:

  • Pre-goal: Start taking steps to get humans into space again esp. since we haven't done it in 30 years.
    • Fine.
  • Goal 1: He wants to finish the International Space Station (ISS) by 2010. For this he will resume Space Shuttle missions but then retire the Space Shuttle in 2010.
    • Fine. The Shuttle retirement is also fine given the next goal.
  • Goal 2: He wants to develop the Crew Exploration Vehicle by 2008 as a post-Space Shuttle vehicle for mission in orbit but especially beyond.
    • Well we need to let the engineers work on this one.
  • Goal 3: Return to the moon by 2020. Eventually we would establish a base on the moon. The base will be used to assemble and "provision" additional spacecrafts. Possibly the moon itself would provide raw materials to make fuel or air.
    • We'll need more robotic missions to the moon for this one. The low gravity advantage is fine but an orbital space station would be preferred to over the moon if it turns out that we can't get raw materials from the moon. But whether we make ships from a moon base or an orbital base, we'll need a space elevator first. There are also many things we can do on the moon besides make ships such as set up solar panels. However Bush might not like anythig sustainable and renewable. All this stuff would go on for decades past 2020.
  • General Goals Beyond: Human missions to Mars and beyond. Robotic missions first.
    • Fine.

Here are his actual actions:

  • He directed NASA Administrator, Sean O'Keefe to review current NASA work and direct them towards the goals.
    • Fine. I'll trust O'Keefe to keep NASA on track with its overall goals.
  • He will form a commission of private and public experts, headed by Secretary of the Air Force, Pete Aldridge, to advise on implementing his goals and to report back in 4 months (2004-05).
    • Fine. I hope that the private experts won't abuse this to make a buck the way the pharmaceuticals are screwing the public in Bush's recent Medicare deal.
  • He will reallocate $11 billion within NASA's current $86 billion 5 year budget.
    • Watch out here! We don't want to lose good programs for bad.
  • He will ask Congress to increase NASA's budget by $1 billion per year for the next 5 years.
    • Good. But boy Bush isn't into small government is he?

On a lighter note, here are David Letterman's Top Ten Reasons George W. Bush Wants To Put A Man On Mars:

  • 10. Dick Cheney needs a new undisclosed location
  • 9. It's part of his "No Planet Left Behind" initiative
  • 8. Great deal on the off-season airfare right now at Expedia.com
  • 7. Maybe we'll find some weapons of mass destruction there
  • 6. We've run out of places on Earth to drill for oil
  • 5. Hoping to get Mork's autograph
  • 4. We cannot back down until the people of Mars hold free elections
  • 3. Dude, free Mars bars
  • 2. Why not? It's not like we have an enormous debt or failing economy
  • 1. Pete Rose bet him we wouldn't do it

2004-01-15t23:53:00Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Chicago. Business. Election 2004. Faith. Fun. Music. Politics.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • Kennedy Hits Bush On War
      • 'President Bush marketed the war on Iraq as a "political product" to influence the 2002 elections and is doing so again this year, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) charged yesterday in a scathing speech accusing Bush of putting politics ahead of national security.'
      • "No president of the United States should employ misguided ideology and distortion of the truth to take the nation to war. In doing so, the president broke the basic bond of trust between the government and the people. If Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America would never have gone to war." -Edward Kennedy
      • Cool he references former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill's allegations that Bush planned to invade Iraq before 9/11 too.
  • Chicago
    • J.P. Morgan to buy Chicago's Bank One.
      • 10,000 jobs will get lost. Ouch. Another case of the CEO and stockholders making big money while the workers suffer. Who can fight economies of scale?
      • Bank One won't even appear in the name of the new company: J.P. Morgan Chase. HQ won't be in Chicago either. This news combined with the recent losses of candy companies hits my Chicago pride.
      • At $1.08 trillion in assets it will be the 2nd largest US bank next to Citigroup ($1.25). With Bank of America ($0.93) third, the top three banks are far larger then the others. EG: Wells Fargo is 4th with $0.39.
  • Election 2004
  • Faith
    • Church in no position to be casting stones. ' "If I'm called a sinner by publicly discussing how this diocese handles sex abuse allegations, I'll wear that badge proudly," he said, "because no Catholic should feel intimidated." '
  • Fun
  • Music
  • Politics
    • U.S. Pilot Fined for Gesture in Brazil.
      • Hahaha!
      • 'Brazil imposed the new rules that Americans be fingerprinted and photographed at entry points in response the similar rules in the United States for citizens of Brazil and other countries whose citizens need visas to enter.'
      • Where will reciprocity take us I wonder? Perhaps other countries will demand to have armed officers on flights as well.

2004-01-18t03:54:48Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Chicago. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Fun. Israel. Movies. Politics. Pschology. Sex. Tech. Terrorism. Writing. zMisc.

  • Bush Administration/War
  • Chicago
    • CEO's paper profit tops $44 million. Let me throw in my evil over lord laugh: Bwah-ha-ha-ha!! While Jamie Dimon, the Bank One CEO, makes a sweet $44 million dollar profit, 10,000 of his people will lose their jobs. It's so Dilbert-esque. I was considering moving my account out of Chicago pride but now there the matter of corporate thoughtlessness.
  • Elections 2004
    • Michael Moore: 'We're going to have the best chance with Clark'
    • CBS Rejects Anti-Bush Super Bowl Commercial: Cites Network Policy Barring Issue Ads
      • 'Viacom's CBS today rejected a request from liberal group MoveOn to air a 30-second anti-President Bush ad during the Super Bowl, saying the spot violated the network's policy against running issue advocacy advertising. '
      • Ah yes our so-called "Liberal Media" at work.
      • And yet if you look at CBS's Who's Buying What At The Super Bowl: A Chart Of Current Advertisers, they are clearly running other issue ads: 2 anti-smoking and 1 anti-drugs. I guess anti-Bush money isn't good enough for CBS?
    • Bush In 41.2 Seconds. "Don't be an asshole, vote Democratic"!! Lots of profanity and funny.
    • "Who Gets It?" by Paul Krugman
      • I'll quote this a lot because the NY Times articles are effectively off line in a few days.
      • 'Earlier this week, Wesley Clark had some strong words about the state of the nation. "I think we're at risk with our democracy," he said. "I think we're dealing with the most closed, imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame." '
      • 'The real division in the race for the Democratic nomination is between those who are willing to question not just the policies but also the honesty and the motives of the people running our country, and those who aren't.'
      • 'But even Bill Clinton couldn't run a successful Clinton-style campaign this year, for several reasons. One is that the Democratic candidate, no matter how business-friendly, will not be able to get lots of corporate contributions, as Clinton did. In the Clinton era, a Democrat could still raise a lot of money from business, partly because there really are liberal businessmen, partly because donors wanted to hedge their bets. But these days the Republicans control all three branches of government and exercise that control ruthlessly. Even corporate types who have grave misgivings about the Bush administration — a much larger group than you might think — are afraid to give money to Democrats. '
      • 'Finally, any Democrat has to expect not just severely slanted coverage from the fair and balanced Republican media, but asymmetric treatment even from the mainstream media. For example, some have said that the intense scrutiny of Mr. Dean's Vermont record is what every governor who runs for president faces. No, it isn't. I've looked at press coverage of questions surrounding Mr. Bush's tenure in Austin, like the investment of state university funds with Republican donors; he got a free pass during the 2000 campaign.'
      • 'So what's the answer? A Democratic candidate will have a chance of winning only if he has an energized base, willing to contribute money in many small donations, willing to contribute their own time, willing to stand up for the candidate in the face of smear tactics and unfair coverage. That doesn't mean that the Democratic candidate has to be a radical — which is a good thing for the party, since all of the candidates are actually quite moderate. In fact, what the party needs is a candidate who inspires the base enough to get out the message that he isn't a radical — and that Mr. Bush is.
  • Engineering/Science
    • Top 10 impossible inventions that work.
      1. The Space Energy Converter. Zero-point stuff.
      2. Cold Fusion
      3. System To Split Water For Fuel By Using Resonance
      4. System For Sending Power Wirelessly
      5. Anti-Gravity Device
      6. A Method For Transmutation Of Elements
      7. Orgone Accumulator
      8. The Cloudbuster
      9. The Rife Microscope & Frequency Generator
      10. Electronic Telepathy Device
    • Robot scientist proves its worth.
  • Fun
  • Israel
  • Movies
  • Politics
  • Pscychology
    • Seven Deadly Sentiments. 7 guilts from the article. I can use them to compliment my usual list of guilts (buried in my zMisc section).
      1. Crippling Anxiety "I don't know what to say to her."
      2. Emotional Rubbernecking: "Funerals Can Be Fun."
      3. Schadenfreude "She had it coming to her."
      4. Playing Favorites "Why can't you be more like your sister?"
      5. Money Matters "If I earn more, I'm worth more."
      6. Grief relief "Thank God it's finally over."
      7. Adulterous fantasy "It's not cheating if it happens in my head."
  • Sex
  • Tech
    • Bigger Disk: Unprecedented 1 terabyte capacity. LaCie is now selling a 1 TB external drive for $1,119. It's accessible via Firewire 400, USB 2, and Firewire 800.
    • FavIcon Generator. Feed it an image and it makes an icon that you can use for "Favorites" and such.
    • Visualizing Social Networks.
    • DropLoad.com. "a place for you to drop your files off and have them picked up by someone else at a later time. Recipients you specify are sent an email with instructions on how to download the file. Files are removed from the system after 48 hours, regardless if they have been picked up or not. Recipients can be anyone with an email address" Size is limited to 50 MB.
  • Terrorism
  • Writing
  • zMisc

2004-01-19t22:27:19Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Engineering/Science. Lifestyle. Politics. Tech.

  • Bush Administration/War
    • Industry Hopes Soar With Space Plan: Energy and Aerospace Firms Have Long Lobbied NASA
      • Astounding. The recent forays into commercializing space (esp. by China) have finally stirred up Bush's pro-corporation blood. Obviously the US government and the US corporations don't want to miss out on the action: money, prestige, technology, planting flags, etc. I'm such a whore for space that I don't mind spending tax dollars on space at all. I don't care if Bush gets credit in the history books for getting the US back into space.
      • 'The problem is funding. Although the extra $1 billion the president has proposed for NASA for the exploration project is a start, officials said, the agency will need more money to carry out the new goals. One industry executive said spending is likely to increase once the programs get underway. That would fit a familiar pattern, said Phil Finnegan, an industry expert with the Teal Group aerospace consulting firm. Military programs traditionally start with small price tags and grow once Congress has bought in; NASA's international space station has done the same, he said.'
      • Eventually people will realize that there is big money in green as well as space technologies. I just hope other people, esp. the corporations, realize this before we've depleted the planet.
    • Bowing to the Mighty Ayatollah
      • 'There really should be no contest. On one side is history's most important superpower, victorious in war, ruling Iraq with 150,000 troops and funding its reconstruction to the tune of $20 billion this year. On the other side is an aging cleric with no formal authority, no troops, little money, who is unwilling to even speak in public. Yet last June, when Ayatollah Sistani made it known that he didn't like the American plan to transfer power to Iraqis, the plan collapsed. And last week, when Sistani announced that he is still unhappy with the new American proposal, Paul Bremer rushed to Washington for consultations. What does this man have that the United States doesn't? Legitimacy.'
      • ' The United States fears that he will brand them as colonialists and the new transition government as a puppet regime. American officials know these few words could well derail their plans. The occupation can survive an insurgency, but it cannot survive 10 countrywide protest marches with thousands chanting "Colonialists go home!" '
      • 'The tragedy is that while Sistani's fears are understandable, Washington's phased transition makes great sense. It allows for time to build institutions, form political parties and reform the agencies of government. An immediate transfer will ensure that the political contest will overwhelm all this institutional reform. But Washington lacks the basic tool it needs to negotiate with the locals: legitimacy. Belatedly it now recognizes that the United Nations can arbitrate political problems without being accused of being a colonizer. '
      • 'American policymakers made two grave mistakes after the war. The first was to occupy the country with too few troops, creating a security vacuum. This image of weakness was reinforced when Washington caved in to Sistani's objections last June, junked its original transition plan and sped things up to coincide with the American elections. The second mistake was to dismiss from the start the need for allies and international institutions. As a result, Washington is now governing Iraq with neither power nor legitimacy.'
    • When Does Politics Become Treason? and The Neocon Case for Imprisoning and Executing Congressional War Opponents
    • Poll: Bush's Approval Sinking.
      • 'His approval rating of 50% matches his lowest approval ratings ever, and the largest number ever -- 45% - disapprove.'
      • I'm sure he'll be able to "fix this up" with some other photo-op situation.
    • Arms Issue Seen as Hurting U.S. Credibility Abroad
      • ' "The foreign policy blow-back is pretty serious," said Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board and a supporter of the war. He said the gaps between the administration's rhetoric and the postwar findings threaten Bush's doctrine of "preemption," which envisions attacking a nation because it is an imminent threat. '
      • 'Already, in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, China has rejected U.S. intelligence that North Korea has a secret program to enrich uranium for use in weapons. China is a key player in resolving the North Korean standoff, but its refusal to embrace the U.S. intelligence has disappointed U.S. officials and could complicate negotiations to eliminate North Korea's weapons programs. '
    • The emperor's new clothes
      • ' JID subscribers are unlikely to be in any doubt about our assessment of the Iraq campaign. It has long been our view that the available intelligence did not provide a justification for military intervention by the USA and its allies, no matter how appalling Saddam Hussein may have been as a leader. Our main concern, however, was that the invasion of Iraq was a dangerous distraction from the very real threat posed by international terrorists, particularly Al-Qaeda and its network. '
      • You have to love Janes.com.
  • Engineering/Science
    • Company Hopes to Make Windows for Future
      • 'The windows are fitted with a microfiber LCD screen, which can make them opaque or display light from a television projector. The computer monitor is fully integrated into the window, allowing it to receive and display information without projection. It can even handle touch-screen commands.'
      • Actually I've always wanted this for the windshields cars. I want to be able to see what the car velocity is without having to lower my eyes.
  • Lifestyle
    • Going Wild in Urban America: To be an individual hunter-gatherer in America is to lead a lonely life
      • Astounding story. This student does a project where for 10 weeks he just foraged for food: eating figs, fruits, and seafood.
      • ' During My Project, I was taking an anthropology class at school called "Ancient Food Production and Consumption." Hunter-gatherers, I learned, live freer lives, with more leisure time, than agriculturalists. Twelve to eighteen hours per person per week is all time needed by the famous !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert, for example, to collect all the food they need. This leaves more time for reflection and relaxation than most people in our affluent society ever have -- the !Kung don't need to work to pay rent. I also had a lot of free time -- school and work were for me only a small time obligation -- but even when full and satiated and liberated from the physical desire for food, I couldn't relax, I was held captive by thoughts of food. I sometimes dreamed of figs and climbing around in trees. '
      • The funny thing is that I just saw a show on public television about people who were living like the American pioneers. They had a lot of hardships like mosquitoes, rain, and how some things which regular people could do in minutes, they had to take an entire day.
      • Related links: NPR
  • Politics
    • America as a One-Party State
      • 'America has had periods of single-party dominance before. It happened under FDR's New Deal, in the Republican 1920s and in the early 19th-century "Era of Good Feeling." But if President Bush is re-elected, we will be close to a tipping point of fundamental change in the political system itself. The United States could become a nation in which the dominant party rules for a prolonged period, marginalizes a token opposition and is extremely difficult to dislodge because democracy itself is rigged. This would be unprecedented in U.S. history.'
  • Tech

2004-01-20t17:13:55Z | RE: Elections 2004.
Kerry Wins Iowa Caucuses

Kerry 38%, Edwards 32%, Dean 18%, Gephardt 11%, Kucinich 1%. Skipped Iowa: Clark, Lieberman, Sharpton.


  • Kerry in a strong first. Hurray for "Comeback Kerry"! It seemed that he had lost some steam in recent months. He was actually the first Democratic candidate to catch my eye. He hit my radar when in June of last year (##) when I read an article that Rand Beers quit his job as one of Bush's top counterterrorism advisers on the National Security Council and joined Kerry's campaign. I've liked Kerry's content so far.
  • Dean came in a far third. I thought it would be closer than this. However he still has a lot of campaign money so anything can happen still.
  • Edwards came in a solid second. Out of the blue for me. If this is an indication that we're moving the emphasis from Bush-hating to optimism and hope, then that is a very good thing. The only reason that that "Bush hating" has been emphasized so much is that the Anyone-But-Bush crowd wants to make sure that everyone could not ignore who bad Bush has been.

Not surprisingly Gephardt came in a far fourth. I never got a feel that he felt like he could go all the way. After last night Gephardt announced that he was retiring from politics. Thank you Gephardt for your many years of service to our country.

That leaves 7 official Democratic candidates. However Kucinich and Sharpton realistically have no chance, so effectively we have 5 Democratic candidates. Furthermore my gut says that Lieberman may be out as well so it's a 4 man race: Clark, Kerry, Dean, Edwards.

My hope is that the Democratic candidate will be decided well before the Democratic Convention on 07-26.

It might be interesting to see what Bush comes up with in his State of the Union address tonight. I also look forward to 01-27 where all the Democratic candidates will hash it out in New Hampshire, esp. since Clark wasn't in Iowa.

2004-01-21t16:15:01Z | RE: Bush Administration/War.
State Of The Union 2004

State of the Union Address [official transcript]

  • Opening
    • First of all, yes, I did watch this live last night. It has to be seen (not merely read or heard) so you can see how Congress reacts to his different points. There were some points where everyone clapped but there were many points where only a few or only the Republicans clapped. I think Kennedy did the best fidgeting.
    • There is no doubt that US soldiers are brave, that US workers are hard-working, and that we should all move forward in faith and confidence. However that Bush has nothing to do with Bush's past performance as a President or what we should do in the future.
  • Part 1: Foreign Policy
    • Intro. Obviously we have to finish what we started in Iraq because we're involved now. And yes fighting terrorism is a long-term project. Does that mean we should send our armies to every corner of the world and fight every evil? Absurd. We don't live there: we live here. We have relationships with other countries and they handle their problems. The multi-country problems need to be handled multilaterally, democratically, under international law.
    • The Patriot Act is up for renewal. What about the abuses of the Patriot Act so far?
    • Al Queda. It's true that we've been hunting Al Queda, but haven't we been spending more of our resources in Iraq?
    • Saddam Hussein. Yes Saddam Hussein was evil, the world is better off without him, and it's good that Iraq is a budding democracy, but does that mean that we had to go into Iraq?
    • Libya. 'Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America.'
      • Was it just 9 months and our show of force in Iraq? Or did years of economic pressure plus the sheer difficulty of making nukes also make a significant contribution to our success with Libya?
      • I don't think anyone doubted the words of America before. What is clear now is that we will use force outside of the UN in broad day light.
    • North Korea and nukes. Fine, it's a work in progress. We should be thankful it hasn't been catastrophic yet.
    • PR. 'I've had the honor of meeting our servicemen and women at many posts, from the deck of a carrier in the Pacific to a mess hall in Baghdad.'
      • Hehe. Brazen unashamed references to his "Mission Accomplished" and "The Turkey Has Landed" photo-ops.
    • War
      • 'I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. They view terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement and indictments. After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were indicted and tried and convicted, and sent to prison. But the matter was not settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations, and drawing up more ambitious plans. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.'
        • Yes it it should have been a police action.
        • We were sending bombs and doing raids before you came along Mr. Bush, not just serving up legal papers.
        • The terrorists did attack us but perhaps the terrorists were also asking for people to look into their issues. Plus it was Al Queda, not Iraq, that was the terrorist threat. Of course now Iraq is indeed a fountain of terrorist threats.
      • 'Some in this chamber, and in our country, did not support the liberation of Iraq. Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. We're seeking all the facts. Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations. Had we failed to act, the dictatator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day. Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance by dictators around the world. Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims, terrified and innocent. The killing fields of Iraq -- where hundreds of thousands of men and women and children vanished into the sands -- would still be known only to the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is a better and safer place.'
        • WTF is "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities"?
        • Would those programs have continued? Didn't we have inspectors in their faces? The Security Councils resolutions have been carried out peacefully (or we would have invaded multilaterally) if the inspection process had been allowed to continue.
        • As far as the Iraq killing fields, yes they were bad. Are we stopping all the killing fields all over the world?
      • 'Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands -- (applause) -- Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. (Applause.) As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners, or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country. (Applause.)'
        • Amazing how he can say something that is true but is a lie in essence. There are multiple countries involved in Iraq but to say that their multilateral involvement is anywhere near the contributions of WWI, WWII, Korean War, Persian Gulf War, and Kosovo is ridiculous and an open-faced lie. Bush does this all the time.
        • No, under international law we don't need a permission slip to defend our selves. But pre-emptive war is not a policy we'd like other countries to emulate. We can defend ourselves and work with international law.
    • Mid East. Then he has all this stuff about democracy, liberty, self-government, etc. in the Mid East. That is all good but we could have done it multilaterally and that was not the stated reason of why we went in. No explicit mention of Israel and Palestine because that is one thorny decades long problem.
    • Summary. 'We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace -- a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman. America acts in this cause with friends and allies at our side, yet we understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of freedom.'
      • What are we doing now if not dominating? We are not charging in everywhere on the planet where freedom is in trouble.
  • Part 2: Domestic Policy
    • Intro. 'The pace of economic growth in the third quarter of 2003 was the fastest in nearly 20 years; new home construction, the highest in almost 20 years; home ownership rates, the highest ever. Manufacturing activity is increasing. Inflation is low. Interest rates are low. Exports are growing. Productivity is high, and jobs are on the rise.'
      • Again, in letter it's true, but in spirit it's a lie. A "jobless recovery" is not a recovery regardless of how many other stats you throw out there. Bush is the first President since the Great Depression to preside over a net loss of jobs for his term in office. It's fine to be optimistic but he won't admit any problems... and that makes him a liar.
    • Economy. 'America's growing economy is also a changing economy. As technology transforms the way almost every job is done, America becomes more productive, and workers need new skills. Much of our job growth will be found in high-skilled fields like health care and biotechnology. So we must respond by helping more Americans gain the skills to find good jobs in our new economy.'
      • I don't blame Bush being in office during a recession but can critique is responses.
      • True, our economy is changing but he doesn't acknowledge that when you transition from a low-skill economy to a high-skill economy, that there will be many who won't find a place. Are all these union guys going to work in hospitals or work with DNA? He doesn't address important issues like that or like how America will handle the oil peak in the next few decades. But using what tax money?
    • Youth and young adult education. Fine. Work in progress. I hear complaints that the No Child Left Behind is more about bureaucrats trying to tell the teachers how to teach. But using what tax money?
    • Taxes. So called "tax relief". Everyone likes to have their cake and eat it too. The Bush economic math is false. Cutting taxes while increasing government spending brings in short term benefits but long term problems. It's not like he's setting up stuff like FDR's New Deal programs.
    • Energy. 'Consumers and businesses need reliable supplies of energy to make our economy run -- so I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
      • No explicit statement on sustainable and renewable energy which would certainly help with conservation and acquiring independence from foreign energy. But using what tax money?
    • Social Security. I dunno.
    • Deficit. 'In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland, and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than 4 percent. (Applause.) This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending, and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.'
      • Hard to believe since his math sucks but let's see what he comes up with.
    • Immigration. 'I propose a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform will be good for our economy because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system. A temporary worker program will help protect our homeland, allowing Border Patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to our national security.'
      • I actually like his immigration stuff! Businesses in general don't because immigration labor is currently all under the table and thus cheap. Making immigration labor more above the table will raise costs but it will protect the immigrants and improve US security. As it stands our borders are essentially porous. This nations was and is built by immigrants.
    • Health Care.
      • Yes, America has modern medicine. It seems like he mentions it to validate and explain the high cost of it when really it's not the doctors, technology, and hospitals but the insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. He does nothing to fix that. If anything he's worsened it with his Medicare "improvements". What sort of crook denies Medicare the right to negotiate prices with the pharmaceuticals?
      • Computerizing health records. Excellent idea and the industry is in that process but he doesn't mention anything he'll do about it.
      • Frivolous lawsuits. He mentioned cutting down on lawsuit before when it came down to business. A good idea but I don't trust him to watchdog abuses of this. There have been good lawsuits that have resulted in many of our safety codes and laws.
      • 100% deductions for catastrophic health insurance. Neat idea.
      • 'A government-run health care system is the wrong prescription.' I totally disagree. The current health care system is dangerously broken. We need universal single-payer health care. Medicare and medicaid is much more cost efficient than private insurance companies. Health care, whether private or public provided, would be excellent but only private insurers are concerned about making profits. Sure the tax for health care would go up but it would be cheaper than what we're paying to private insurance companies. Publicly run does not mean low quality. Aren't our roads, postal delivery system, police, armies, etc. excellent? Is the public health care of Britain, Germany, and France terrible? Plus if you have public health, that doesn't mean you can't supplement it with private health care just like like USPS is supplemented with UPS and FedEx.
    • War on Drugs.
      • 'So tonight I proposed an additional $23 million for schools that want to use drug testing as a tool to save children's lives'
        • Fine. Work in progress. I personally think the war on drugs should be reduced by legalizing more drugs. Marijuana in particular is less dangerous than alcohol. But using what tax money?
      • 'The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character.'
        • Hehe. Like this is a major federal issue. I think this is a subliminal ploy. He's implying that his character is great regardless of his performance against Al Queda, lying about invading Iraq, screwing up the deficits, etc.
    • STDs. 'We will double federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases.' Religiously idealistic but pragmatically unrealistic if it works against programs that educate about condom use. But using what tax money?
    • Gay marriage. 'Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.' He's definitely anti-gay. People need to grow up about this issue.
      • You may be hetero and find the idea of gay sex distasteful but these are people too and they shouldn't they have equal rights?
      • You may find gay wrong for religious reasons but surely you have compassion for them as human beings?
      • In either case how does their gay sex or gay marriage weaken your hetero sex or traditional marriage? Isn't this issue essentially trying to make gayness in general illegal?
    • Church and State. 'By executive order, I have opened billions of dollars in grant money to competition that includes faith-based charities.'
      • OK, this one is fair. This issue is not so much separation of church and state, but that the state is indifferent and equal between religions. Giving grant money to only to secular organizations is reverse discrimination. Just make sure that the money is given only to, say, Christian charities.
    • Prisoner Rehab. 'So tonight, I propose a four-year, $300 million prisoner re-entry initiative to expand job training and placement services, to provide transitional housing, and to help newly released prisoners get mentoring, including from faith-based groups.'
      • A fine idea but it's probably a ploy like the $15 billion he promised for AIDS in last years address. Africa hasn't gotten crap. But using what tax money?
  • Closing
    • 'My fellow citizens, we now move forward, with confidence and faith. Our nation is strong and steadfast. The cause we serve is right, because it is the cause of all mankind. The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable -- and it is not carried forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power who guides the unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that His purposes are just and true.'
      • The usual feel good stuff.

The Democratic Response to the State of the Union by Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle [official transcript]

  • Hard to compete with the pomp and circumstance that comes with a Presidential State of the Union Address.
  • Pelosi makes some nice suggestions for fighting Terrorism. The fight should be non-partisan and necessary. Invading Iraq was not.
  • I liked Daschle's theme of an "opportunity society" based on jobs, education, health care, and retirement. It fits in with this building Democratic meme of 2 Americas. Bush has polarized the country to near Civil War heights when we were and should now be as united as the America of WWII. The polarization is not just between politicians but is bordering on class warfare.

George W Bush and the real state of the Union. Some anti-Bush stats. I liked these:

  • 92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago
  • 60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable water today
  • $127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001
  • $374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003
  • 10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33
    • Ha! I've watched Bush give live solo press conferences and he does come across like a slow, stuttering, chump who's just repeating certain phrases.
  • 58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging and drilling
  • 200: Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has attempted to downgrade or weaken

2004-01-26t00:29:28Z | RE: Bush Administration/War. Bush: Iraq. Bush: Iraq Elections and the UN. Bush: State of the Union. Chicago. Economics. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Food. Sex. Tech. Writing.

Bush Administration/War

  • Iraq
    • Implications of a 4-Star Command in Iraq
      • 'With a four-star in command, Iraq would become in essence its own regional command, effectively ranking with Pacific Command or Southern Command. The Iraq commander would bypass Central Command and report directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.'
      • 'In other words, the Defense Department is putting forward the idea of another regional command because it anticipates the possibility of intensifying combat operations throughout the region. The war in Iraq might be coming under control, but from the standpoint of the Defense Department, the end of the Iraq campaign is the preface to follow-on campaigns. If the four-star is appointed in the spring, he will be able to pull his staff together by summer. That will allow him the fall for planning, which would mean that operations under his command could begin by late 2004. Put another way, a bit more crassly, Baghdad Command will be good to go right after the November elections.'
      • As I've said before, Iraq is the Philippines of the Mid-East but much more strategically important. The US is giving the Iraqis some semblance of freedom but make no mistake: they are on a leash. Iraq is a US safe house, a country-sized US base in the Mid East for whatever might develop in Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Kurds, Africa, Pakistan, China, etc. It has yet to be determined if Iraq will ever be safe or if the Iraq, like Israel, is a perpetual guerilla war zone. There is also the issue of "self-fulfilling" prophecies: in our poorly planned efforts for peace, we are actually creating, fostering more violence.
    • US chief Iraq arms expert quits: The head of the team searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, David Kay, has resigned
      • "I don't think they existed." -David Kay
      • "what everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s." -David Kay
      • Powell- Iraq May Not Have Possessed WMD. Hmmm. I wonder if Bush will ever admit it?
      • David Kay's replacement is Charles Duelfer. Let's see what he comes up with.
      • Text of interview with David Kay
    • CIA warns of Iraq civil war
      • 'CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war, current and former U.S. officials said Wednesday, starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address.'
  • Iraq Elections and the UN
    • Hat in Hand, Bush Seeks U.N. Help
      • ' "This is not the first American return to the United Nations," the editors of Le Monde noted on Monday. "But it is the most spectacular." This is the same U.N. whose "relevance" President Bush said was in doubt if it declined to support the U.S. attack on Saddam Hussein's regime last March. '
      • The link has international links on the topic.
    • Why the US is running scared of elections in Iraq
      • ' Above all, Washington's plans for handing power to an unelected group of Iraqis is being strongly challenged by Iraq's majority Shia community. The occupiers who invaded Iraq in the name (partly) of bringing democracy are being accused of flouting democracy themselves. Oh yes, and then there's the small matter of the weapons of mass destruction on which Saddam increasingly appears to be the man who had truth on his side. When he said he had destroyed them years ago, he, rather than Bush and Blair, was the man not lying. '
    • U.N. to Consider Request to Study Earlier Elections in Iraq
  • State of the Union
    • If only President Bush would speak the truth
      • 'My fellow Americans, the state of the union's finances is enough to make an Enron accountant gag.'
      • 'Now, in another move typical of the administration, they plan to bypass Congress altogether and issue the new regulations as an "administrative rules change," to go into effect in March. The administration claims the new regulations will extend overtime pay to an additional 1.3 million low-income workers. That would certainly be a good thing, except for the fact that it would exempt another 8 million workers from getting overtime by reclassifying them as management or professionals. Do you really have any doubts about whom this administration is being run for? '
    • The State of the Union Depends on Your Status
      • 'The economy was growing and the emerging budget deficit was becoming sufficiently worrisome that a tax cut was unnecessary and unwise, O'Neill had argued. But substantive discussion wasn't on the agenda now. "We won the mid-terms," Cheney is quoted as saying. "This is our due." '
      • 'holiday season sales at Tiffany & Co., the luxury jewelry retailer, climbed 16 percent over 2002. Wal-Mart showed holiday gains of 3.9 percent. Stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 25 percent last year. Wages grew by 1.7 percent.'
    • Al Franken Responds to Bush's State of the Union
      • Damn funny but serious shit! I can't wait for his upcoming radio talk show. The 17 minutes of audio is also there.
      • 'One of the other interesting things to me was the list of nations that are supporting us in Iraq. And he said "Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This popular criticism... particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in..." and then he named all these countries? Remember the Republicans going nuts during that list? Well, they included Denmark, which has a medical team; Bulgaria, which, we get to use their air space; Romania, whose.. also we get to use their air space. Uh, he listed El Salvador. Which- whose air space we don't need... Uh, and they, those other countries include Micronesia, Palau, which is an island, in the Pacific... It doesn't have a military. Many of the countries that have quote "committed troops" to Iraq have no troops. And include Iceland.'
      • 'Already the Kay report identifies," now listen to this, "dozens of weapons of mass destruction related program activities." Now some of these activities I understand are coloring books. I mean, this is really sad. They weren't even weapons of mass destruction-related programs. They were dozens (laughs) of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities. These would include, like, a magazine drive that some kids did to raise money for a weapons of mass destruction-related program. And a candy drive.'
      • 'If you put the two Bushs together in their over seven years of their two presidencies, not one new job has been created. Numbers do not lie. If you extrapolated from that, if the Bushs had run this country from its very beginning to the current time, not one American would have ever worked. We'd be hunter-gatherers.'
      • 'And Americans are angry at this guy, and we're divided because of 9-11. 'Cause after 9-11, everybody every American was behi-, was united. And this president had a united country and a united world. And he had a chance to lead us in a spirit of mutual purpose and mutual sacrifice, and he blew it.'
        • I've mentioned that before as probably the thing that makes me most angry at Bush.
      • 'And then he talked about privatizing social security and paying for that transition. You know that money you pay for Social Security.. in Social Security, it's a generational contract. And you're paying your money goes out to retirees. It doesn't go into some account, except for.. the extent that there's some surplus, that buys government bonds. Remember we were going to do that? Heh. But now we aren't? So in order for people to have private accounts, that money's going to come out of money that was otherwise going to go into the Social Security fund, and which was going to pay for the retirement of seniors. So the shortfall of that is a couple trillion dollars. And that's going to be additional debt.'
  • zMisc
    • U.S. sets off furor in anti-obesity fight: Bush officials hit WHO's focus on sugar, junk foods
      • 'The U.S. is challenging a draft plan by the World Health Organization to combat the growing worldwide epidemic of obesity, provoking strong international criticism and charges that the food industry is influencing the policy.'
      • ' "Any mother with any common sense knows that you don't feed your kids cookies and ice cream every day unless you want to see them gain weight," he said. "This appears on its surface like what happened with tobacco: an attempt to raise scientific questions to draw attention away from actions that could stem an escalating public health problem." '
      • Can you say "special interests"?
    • Are newspapers one-sided in war coverage?
      • 'All this is part of what President Bush, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, called the "hard" but "right" work of "building a new Iraq." Right or not, it obviously is necessary since, to quote the caution issued before the war by New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, "You broke it, you bought it." '
        • Hey there's a nice catch phrase.
      • 'The Tribune--and most of the rest of the American news media, I suspect--continue to focus on safety and security issues because the lives and safety of our fellow citizens in uniform are most Americans' first concern.'
        • Yeah dudes. It's not so-called "Liberal-biased Media", it's just human compassion.
    • Remarks by the President to a Press Pool
      • 'THE PRESIDENT: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs.'
      • This link is not political or trying to slam Bush. It's just Bush doing a SNL skit in real life.
      • Related link: CNN


  • 2nd intersection to get a camera. The new one is at Western & Peterson. The first was at Western & 55th where in a 2 month period they detected 3,500 red light violators. At $90 that's like A GAZILLION DOLLARS! Man, if I were the good Mayor Daley, I'd have cameras everywhere.


  • Are We Still a Middle-Class Nation?
    • 'In the pre-modern societies of Europe the terms "burgher" (German) and "bourgeoisie" (French) referred to the minority of largely urban merchants and professionals who were above the peasant majority and below the minority of landholding aristocrats. But when Americans talk about the middle class, they are not talking about burghers or the bourgeoisie. What makes the United States and similar societies middle-class is the economic predominance of the middling sort, no matter what their major source of employment happens to be.'
    • 'To most of us, the transition from farmer to industrial worker to service worker --sometimes within three generations of one family-- appears in retrospect to have been inevitable, like some geological process. Indeed, many conservatives and libertarians seem to believe that a mass middle class is an inevitable by-product of capitalism. The truth is that each of America's successive middle classes has been artificially created by government-sponsored social engineering --a fact that is profoundly important for us to admit as we think about the future of middle-class America.'
    • 'Today nostalgic conservatives attribute the prosperity of the 1920s to free enterprise. In reality the market was rigged.'
    • 'Even if the United States had used protectionism to shield workers in every sector from foreign competition, an ever growing number of manufacturing and service jobs would still have been eliminated by technological innovations --a trend that will probably prove even more important than globalization over time.'
    • 'The disparity between rapid productivity growth in mechanized sectors and slow productivity growth in human-service jobs produces Baumol's disease --named after the economist William J. Baumol. According to Baumol, in a technological economy falling prices for manufactured goods and automated services eventually increase the relative cost of labor-intensive services such as nursing and teaching. Baumol has predicted that the share of gross domestic product spent on health care will rise from 11.6 percent in 1990 to 35 percent in 2040, while the share spent on education will rise from 6.7 percent to 29 percent.'
    • 'Since the 1970s inequality of both income and wealth in the United States has increased dramatically. As Paul Krugman has observed in The New York Times, a Congressional Budget Office report shows that from 1979 to 1997 the after-tax income of the top one percent of families climbed 157 percent, while middle-income Americans gained only 10 percent, and many of the poor actually lost ground. The share of after-tax income that goes to the top one percent of Americans has doubled in the past three decades; at 14 percent, it roughly equals the share of after-tax income that goes to the bottom 40 percent. The concentration of wealth at the upper levels of the population has been even more extreme. '
    • 'If we reject both a new feudalism (under which most Americans provide personal services for the rich few) and a regime of protectionism and immigration restriction (which would benefit some workers at the expense of others), then some system of redistribution will be necessary to ensure that the middle-class majority benefits from long-term productivity growth. This can take two forms: redistributing income and encouraging the widespread ownership of income-producing assets. '
    • 'The challenge, though, is not to repair the current American middle class but to create a new one.'
      • This is very important stuff for America. More important than terrorism. I'm more afraid of the danger within than without.
  • WEForum.org. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is almost ended (it ran 01-21 to 01-25). Some good stuff. I saw Clinton give a speech there on C-SPAN. Clinton has content that is so much smarter and more genuine than Bush. Lots of good world-class speakers. Contrast the WEF with the World Social Forum at WSFIndia.org.

Elections 2004

  • Newsweek Poll: And They're Off.
    • 'Forty-nine percent of registered voters chose Kerry, compared to 46 percent who re-elected Bush'.
    • The first time anybody has polled ahead of Bush! GOOD NEWS.
    • Tremble o' ye Republicans: Contenders
  • All rival candidates are treated to variety of dirty tricks: Tactics include prank calls to voters, planted questions, vandalism
    • This smells of Karl Rove. Doing evil in the name of a good cause is still evil. It's almost as bad as doing evil in the name of a bad cause.
  • Infiltration of files seen as extensive: Senate panel's GOP staff pried on Democrats
    • 'Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.'
      • There's that Karl Rove odor again.
    • 'The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November.'
      • The GOP is still using Richard Nixon's handbook.
    • 'Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs.'
      • Robert Novak is turning out to be quite an ass hat eh?
  • Wonkette.com. New site with cute fun stuff in recent politics. Here's an nice pair of pictures they just posted:


  • Moon's Helium-3 Could Power Earth
    • 'Scientists estimate there are about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tons could supply the entire United States' energy needs for a year, according to Apollo17 astronaut and FTI researcher Harrison Schmitt.'
    • 'Indeed for now, the economics of extracting and transporting helium 3 from the moon are also problematic. Even if scientists solved the physics of helium 3 fusion, "it would be economically unfeasible," asserted Jim Benson, chairman of SpaceDev in Poway, California, which strives to be one of the first commercial space-exploration companies. "Unless I'm mistaken, you'd have to strip-mine large surfaces of the moon." '
  • Abrupt Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a New Little Ice Age? I've always felt that "Global Warming" or the "Greenhouse Effect" were too constrictive because the acute human effect on climate can go either way. We need a new catch phrase.
  • Mars Express Confirms Water Ice on Red Planet
    • "You look at the picture, look at the fingerprint and say this is water ice. This is the first time it's been detected on the ground. This is the first direct confirmation." -Allen Moorehouse of European Space Agency
    • Awesome! It's not just NASA but other countries poking around up there.
  • Welcome to the Ping-Pong Ball Avalanche Home Page. Now dropping 1000s of ping pong balls is a fine experiment.
  • Europe's eye on Mars: first spectacular results from Mars Express. Hot shit! The photos of Mars so far have been too far (as if we were on another planet) or too close (all I see are rocks). This is the first photo that makes me feel like I'm actually in orbit.


  • Fish and Veggie: Healthy Dietary Life In Japanese Style From Nothern Osaka Of Japan
  • Arch Enemy
    • 'Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, "Super Size Me," details his 30-day McDonald's diet and subsequent health woes.'
    • 'Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated. "It was really crazy - my body basically fell apart over the course of 30 days," Spurlock told The Post. His liver became toxic, his cholesterol shot up from a low 165 to 230, his libido flagged and he suffered headaches and depression.'
    • Hmm. As a parent I get to eat at McDonalds everyday. My wife used to work in McDonald's corporate offices. The movie isn't strict science but perhaps it will be convincing nonetheless. I wonder if McDonalds will totally ignore this or try to counter it.
  • The Cow Says "Oink": Which Houston restaurants are swapping pork for veal?
    • 'Two out of ten veal samples tested positive for pork.'




2004-01-27t17:15:49Z | RE: American Power. Mars. Golden Globes. Microsoft.

American Power

  • "Power Rangers" by Joshua Micah Marshall. One of those articles that's so good that I was over-quoting it. I've taken those quotations and reduced them further.
    • 'The Bush doctrine, with its tenets of preëmptive war, regime change, and permanent American military primacy, promised a new global order. The best way to think of that order is by analogy with the internal organization of a nation-state. What makes a state a state is its monopoly over the legitimate use of force, which means that citizens don't have to worry about arming to defend themselves against each other. Instead, they can focus on productive pursuits like raising families, making money, and enjoying their leisure time. In the world of the Bush doctrine, states take the place of citizens. As the President told graduating cadets at West Point in 2002, America intends to keep its "military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace." In other words, if America has an effective monopoly on the exercise of military force, other countries should be able to set aside the distractions of arming and plotting against each other and put their energies into producing consumer electronics, textiles, tea. What the Bush doctrine calls for--paradoxically, given its proponents--is a form of world government.'
    • 'The new order envisaged by the Bush doctrine hasn't quite worked out as it was meant to. That's because, from the beginning, the White House has acted on the assumption that bold action would make our allies rally behind us and our enemies cower. Building a consensus with our friends before we acted only encouraged quarrelsomeness. The point wasn't that dictation was superior to consensus; the point was that it created consensus.'
    • ' "Bill Clinton was actually a much more effective imperialist than George W. Bush," Chalmers Johnson writes darkly. "During the Clinton administration, the United States employed an indirect approach in imposing its will on other nations." That "indirect approach" might more properly be termed a policy of leading by consensus rather than by dictation. But Johnson is right about its superior efficacy. American power is magnified when it is embedded in international institutions, as leftists have lamented. It is also somewhat constrained, as conservatives have lamented. This is precisely the covenant on which American supremacy has been based. The trouble is that hard-line critics of multilateralism focused on how that power was constrained and missed how it was magnified.'
    • 'Conservative ideologues, in calling for an international order in which America would have a statelike monopoly on coercive force, somehow forgot what makes for a successful state. Stable governments rule not by direct coercion but by establishing a shared sense of allegiance. In an old formula, "domination" gives way to "hegemony"--brute force gives way to the deeper power of consent. This is why the classic definition of the state speaks of legitimate force. In a constitutional order, government accepts certain checks on its authority, but the result is to deepen that authority, rather than to diminish it. Legitimacy is the ultimate "force multiplier," in military argot. And if your aim is to maintain a global order, as opposed to rousting this or that pariah regime, you need all the force multipliers you can get.'
    • 'The current Administration has, of course, taken a different tack. As Fareed Zakaria observed last year, after speaking to government officials in dozens of countries around the world, almost every country that has had dealings with the Bush Administration has felt humiliated by it. America isn't powerful because people like us: our power is a product of dollars and guns. But when people think that America's unique role in the world is basically legitimate, that power becomes less costly to exert and to sustain. People around the world have respected and admired American power because of the way America has acted. If it acts differently, the perceptions of American benevolence can start to ebb--and, to judge from any public-opinion poll from abroad over the last year, that's essentially what has happened. When it comes to political capital, too, this is an Administration with a weakness for deficit spending.'
    • 'The truth is that, once Britain got to the point of holding on to its colonists by force, it had already all but lost them.'
    • Related links:


Golden Globes

  • Lord of the Globes: Trilogy's final film wins four awards, including best picture, director
    • I saw some of the Golden Globes live last night. It's fun seeing the stars and the enthusiasm.

    • Whoo-hoo! The Lord of the Rings won Best Drama Picture, Best Director (Peter Jackson), and Best Original Score (Howard Shore). Filming 3 movies simultaneously over 7 years has something to do with it but the quality of the movies and the story is more important.

    • Charlize Theron gave the kind of award acceptance speech that I like the most: genuine and overflowingly enthusiastic. She is an astonishing beauty and her win of Best Drama Actress for Monster is definitely proof that she is an incredible actor too.
      Charlize Theron

    • Lost in Translation is quite the sleeper since its sort of like a foreign film. It won Best Musical or Comedy Picture and Best Musical or Comedy Actor (Bill Murray).


2004-01-31t01:59:35Z | RE: Bush: War. Blogging. Elections 2004. Engineering/Science. Food. Fun. Parenting. Show Biz. Tech.

Bush: War


  • The little table of contents to my blog posts now includes the categories. The categories have been formatted to appear secondary to the link to the post.
  • Up till now, the categories I've attached to each post have been general. I'm going to try have a general category concatenated with a more descriptive and specific category. I'm very wary of this issue because I want to eventually parse my archives into separate blogs about different topics.
  • I've been using a heck of a lot of bullets. I'm not sure what I can do about it. It's possible that programming has influenced my writing style so much that everything I write is very structured. Most content (articles, speeches, etc.) can be broken down into outlines, but the delivery usually impersonates natural conversation. When content is rendered in a natural, flowing manner, then you have good delivery regardless of the quality of your content. My bullet abuse tends to focus on the content and it's structure while sacrificing a natural style. In contrast, my pre-blog journaling was rendered almost entirely in paragraphs (The exceptions, of course, were drawings, poems, etc.).

Elections 2004


  • Flower-Power Could Help Clear Land mines. Way cool!
    • 'A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically modified flower that could help detect land mines and it hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few years.'
    • 'The genetically modified weed has been coded to change color when its roots come in contact with nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) evaporating from explosives buried in soil.'
  • To scientists, it's a matter of potential: Achievement may offer insights into superconductivity
    • 'By exposing a gas of 500,000 potassium atoms to temperatures a fraction of a degree above absolute zero (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) and subjecting them to varying magnetic fields, the scientists were able to get atoms to pair up in a fashion that provides the basis for the mechanism of superconductivity. The research team was able to duplicate the findings hundreds of times, Jin said. Because the experiment was conducted with loosely spaced atoms in a gas, it is fundamentally equivalent to conducting a similar experiment with a solid jam-packed with atoms at room temperature, Jin explained. The gas provides a way to see what is happening to atoms that would not be observable in a solid. '
    • NIST/University of Colorado Scientists Create New Form of Matter: A Fermionic Condensate. The previous 5 forms of matter were gases, solids, liquids, plasma and Bose-Einstein condensate.
      • 'Bose-Einstein condensates are collections of thousands of ultracold particles occupying a single quantum state, that is, all the atoms are behaving identically like a single, huge superatom. Bose-Einstein condensates are made with bosons, a class of particles that are inherently gregarious; they'd rather adopt their neighbor's motion than go it alone. Unlike bosons, fermions -- the other half of the particle family tree and the basic building blocks of matter -- are inherently loners. By definition, no fermion can be in exactly the same state as another fermion. Consequently, to a physicist even the term -- fermionic condensate -- is almost an oxymoron.
  • Columbia's Final Minutes: The second-by-second account of the shuttle's last minutes
  • Climate Collapse: The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare. Almost as fun as the government war game about small pox outbreaks.
  • Where it's at. Status report on Galileo, Europe's upcoming version of US's GPS. Both will synched via atomic clocks but the US has 2 channels and 24 satellites, while Galileo will have 5 channels and 30 satellites.




  • Parents are perpetually aware that they are raising a child. What they often forget is that they are raising a child so the child can become an adult. So while I do things to keep them safe, I let them be responsible for their own fate. If they are unhappy or have a problem, I ask them questions that help them problems-solve it for themselves. I want to encourage a "can do" spirit that focuses on self-help, asking questions, and getting help from the community (our family for now) for larger projects. I want them to push and find their limitations, but then pull themselves back if they've gone too far so they don't get too frustrated.

Show Biz


  • New Explorer hole could be devastating
    • 'We also have reason to believe there is no fix. It may be that today's flaw is identical to one found nearly three years ago by Georgi Guninski in which double-clicking a link in Explorer led you to believe you were downloading a text file but were in fact downloading a .hta file. In both cases, the con is created by embedding a CLSID into a file name. CLSID is a long numerical string that relates to a particular COM (Component Object Model) object. COM objects are what Microsoft uses to build applications on the Internet. By doing so, any type of file can be made to look like a "trusted" file type i.e. text or pdf.'
    • Wow. Combined with spoofed sites, this is one of the more dangerous holes yet.
    • Steps that you can take to help identify and to help protect yourself from deceptive (spoofed) Web sites and malicious hyperlinks. Esp.: Do not click any hyperlinks that you do not trust. Type them in the Address bar yourself.
  • The Panopticon Singularity
    • 'Note that I am not using the term "panopticon singularity" in the same sense as Vinge's Singularity (which describes the emergence of strongly superhuman intelligence through either artificial intelligence breakthroughs or progress in augmenting human intelligence), but in a new sense: the emergence of a situation in which human behaviour is deterministically governed by processes outside human control.'
    • Lightly explores technologies of a technological police state, including: Smart cameras, Peer to peer surveillance networks, Gait analysis, Terahertz radar, Celldar, Ubiquitous RFID 'dust', Trusted computing and Digital Rights Management, Cognitive radio, Lab-on-a-chip chemical analysers, and Data mining.
    • 'A Panopticon Singularity is the logical outcome if the burgeoning technologies of the singularity are funneled into automating law enforcement. Previous police states were limited by manpower, but the panopticon singularity substitutes technology, and ultimately replaces human conscience with a brilliant but merciless prosthesis.'
  • Dossier program alarms Utahns
    • 'It sounds like a sci-fi thriller: a super computer program that gathers dossiers on every single man, woman and child -- everything from birth and marriage and divorce history to hunting licenses and car license plates. Even every address you have lived at down to the color of your hair. It sounds surreal, but former Gov. Mike Leavitt signed Utah's 2.4 million residents up for a pilot program -- ironically called MATRIX [Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange] -- that does just that. And he never bothered to reveal details of the program to Utah citizens or to state lawmakers who, upon learning of the program on Capitol Hill this week, are now worried the state could be involved in a program that jeopardizes basic civil liberties.'
  • "How I PC'd an Apple G5". Sacrilege!
  • A Visit from the FBI
    • 'Dave had some surprises up his sleeve as well. You'll remember that I said he was using a ThinkPad (running Windows!). I asked him about that, and he told us that many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they're secure out of the box. In the field, however, they don't have as much money to spend, so they have to stretch their dollars by buying WinTel-based hardware. Are you listening, Apple? The FBI wants to buy your stuff. Talk to them! '
    • 'Dave also had a great quotation for us: "If you're a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac." '
  • Meet the inventor of 'CtrlAltDelete'
    • 'David Bradley spent five minutes writing the computer code that has bailed out the world's PC users for decades.'
      • Talk about power programming!
    • 'Bradley, 55, is getting a new start of his own. He's retiring Friday after 28.5 years with IBM.'
  • Getting Started with Your Own Software Company. The usual business startup info but from a software perspective.
Exploring odd subjects including myself. GeorgeHernandez.com
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