December 31, 2003

Presidential Message: New Year's Day

Well said, President Bush. Continue publicly to recognize and thank God for his providence.

Israel Decides to Expand Settlements at Golan Heights

The Golan heights has two values to Israel. It's military 'high ground value is unquestioned. Having been there in the mid-80s, the military significance is unquestioned for those who hold this ground. The second value is political. Israel might consider trading it but without significant concessions from Syria.

Keep in mind this land came from Israel winning a war begun by it's Arab enemies. Israel would be foolish not to exploit this valuable real estate.

God Help Us!

Here's a sample of the Progressive agenda in Vermont. Astounding! Who would pay for all these dreams?

At the Progressive Party's Nov. 8th, 2003 convention, Rep. Steve Hingtgen's gave the keynote speech. The following quotes are of interest:

"...some things have definitely changed and we need to understand them to survive and to grow.

First and perhaps obviously: The Democrats have adapted their strategy to our growing power. Calling us radical is a tough sell when our statewide candidate is getting 25% of the vote.

Second and this is hard to hear: The Democrats have moved to the left ever so least their rhetoric has. It is no longer the Vermont Democratic Party of Peter Shumlin, Gordon Paquett and Howard Dean. Heck even Howard Dean isn't acting like Howard Dean. He has stolen many of his lines verbatim from Anthony Pollina and Congressman Sanders. As the Vermont Democrats move ever so slightly left in their rhetoric, they are blurring the distinctions between our Party and theirs. Of course it isn't that hard when you're fighting George Bush.

Third and finally, and this is the hardest to hear: We have moved least our rhetoric has. In our zeal to shed the old stereotypes of extreme and unrealistic, we have stared talking like them on the issues!

-Universal Healthcare? So what? Our Republican Governor says he supports it.

-Progressive Taxation? Us and half the Democrats!

-Pro-union? The Democrats say they are the party of Labor, despite little evidence of it.

-Standing with farmers? The Republicans have made a career of it.

-Civil Unions? That was the least progressive solution allowed under the Baker decision.

We simply no longer clearly distinguish ourselves from the Democrats on issues when we speak...."

"...I caution us to avoid some of the empty statements we may have adopted in the past:

-The Democrats are not just like the Republicans.

-We are not more ethical than politicians in other parties.

-We are not more in touch with our communities.

-It's not that we stand for something and they stand for absolutely nothing.

-And it is not even that we are better at opposing Bush, Douglas and the Republican administrations.

Sure, it might be that parts of those statements are true, but they are refutable and not as persuasive as courageously stating what we believe, what we stand for.

So what do we believe? To spark discussion, let me state some of what I believe. By saying these things out loud I risk being called unrealistic and radical, but I do not risk being called a Democrat.

I believe we need to:

1) Pass an outright ban on GMOs. [ Genetically Modified Organisms ]

2) Aggressively work to remove housing from the speculative market.

3) Create access to the status of civil marriage for gays and

4) Create a single, state-managed healthcare system that is
universal and has one tier for every Vermonter.

5) Decriminalize some drug possession, like in the case of

6) Abolish the residential property tax for education and create a highly progressive tax structure for schools and state services. Yes, that means raising income taxes...but lowering other taxes.

7) As part of that tax reform, eliminate Vermont’s corporate
welfare programs.

8) Implement of instant runoff voting in all elections with more than two candidates.

9) Provide 100% public financing for all candidates in all
statewide and local elections.

10) Guarantee a right to paid family leave.

11) Dramatically overhaul our labor laws to increase the power of unions in the workplace and expedite worker organizing efforts

12) Pass an absolute moratorium on new highway construction and divert those funds into public and alternative transportation. Oh, and

13) Grant free tuition at all Vermont State Colleges and UVM for Vermont high school graduates...."

December 29, 2003

This Car Can Talk. What It Says May Cause Concern.

I appreciate the privacy mavens paying attention to all these technological wonders, but I can't be bothered. Life is too short and if the government is electronically looking over my shoulder, that's OK.

What I worry about is the chance my identity may be stolen by a nefarious hacker

December 28, 2003

We Hate Spam, Congress Says (Except Ours)

Once again, isn't politics fun? Thanks to the Times reporters for digging this out and publicly exposing the politicos' shenanigans.

Yahoo! News - Meat From Infected Cow Went to 8 States

I wish these news stories would report on the type of beef parts eaten by the British people who died, if that information is known. Were these people in the habit of eating sweetbreads or other beef products known to carry the disease organisms? If muscle meat, i.e., the normal muscle/flesh cuts of beef has been definitively shown to be safe, even from diseased cattle, that would go a long way toward assuring people they won't die from eating a steak.

This quote is helpful, but not definitive enough. Using words like 'fairly' waters down the science, if the science is certain.

"Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief veterinarian for USDA, said Sunday that science has shown certain meat cuts are fairly safe from infection. Among those are whole cuts without bones, such as beef steaks, roast, liver, and ground beef from labeled cuts like chuck or round.

DeHaven said this suggests the trade restrictions 'are not well-founded in science.'"

As Pre-Primary Season Closes, Questions Cling to Dean's Gains (

It's really clear that 'establishment Democrats don't want Dean, but are too circumspect to come right out and say so. So much for straight talk. Mumbo-jumbo talk by the political leadership and all this media focus on what's wrong with Dean in this early stage of the campaign is not a good sign for the doctor.

My Way News - Dean VT Energy Group Met in Private

The digging will continue and the publication of Dean's actions as governor will be portrayed by the media to suit the bias of the reporters doing the digging.

I'm surprised Gilbert wasn't portrayed as an influential lobbyist for...pick the clients that DRM represented during those years. I'll guess that many of Vermont's power brokers will find their names in the national media before this is over.

Isn't politics fun?

December 27, 2003

International Rescue Teams Join Relief Effort in Devastated City

International Rescue Teams Join Relief Effort in Devastated City:
A terrible tragedy, yet the spiritual/political sore festers with the Islamist government...

"Government spokesmen said that foreign aid workers would not need entry visas and that aid would be welcome from everywhere but Israel. In a televised address, President Mohammad Khatami urged on rescue efforts, thanked the nations that were sending aid and said he was preparing to leave for Bam."

And another throwback to the blindness and medieval thinking of Islamists...

"The use of dogs, which are considered unclean by most Muslims, was a sticking point in rescue efforts in 1990, after the most deadly earthquake ever to strike Iran. It killed about 50,000 people."

December 24, 2003 - It's Official: The Net Is Part of Life

An excellent summary based on Pew funded research that shows that 2/3 of us have included the Internet as an integral part of our lives. Still further to go, though to get the other 1/3 involved. I think wireless options may help here. - Broadband Adoption Slows

Broadband adoption still growing. The rate slows as one would expect as the number in service increases. Still, 23.5 million in service and growing is not too shabby.

UK's Largest Wind Farm Approved

Seems visual pollution is not an issue in this part of the UK. I wonder what the 2004 Vermont Legislative debate on the policy issues will reveal?

U.S.-Russia Team Seizes Uranium At Bulgaria Plant (

Thanks, guys for getting this stuff secured.

McDonald's Mad Cow Statement

Well worded, but it doesn't quite say " You can't get MCD by eating our hamburgers."

Judge: Schools Cannot Discriminate Against Christian View on Homosexuality

It's painful to think that a public school would act in the manner portrayed by the ruling in this case. No biased lifestyle agenda can be allowed to be promoted in public schools as the facts in this case suggest.

Three cheers for Judge Rosen!

Judge Rosen's 70-page opinion began with blistering criticism of the school:

"This case presents the ironic, and unfortunate, paradox of a public high school celebrating 'diversity' by refusing to permit the presentation to students of an 'unwelcomed' viewpoint on the topic of homosexuality and religion, while actively promoting the competing view. This practice of 'one-way diversity,' unsettling in itself, was rendered still more troubling-both constitutionally and ethically-by the fact that the approved viewpoint was, in one manifestation, presented to students as religious doctrine by six clerics (some in full garb) quoting from religious scripture. In its other manifestation, it resulted in the censorship by school administrators of a student's speech about 'what diversity means to me,' removing that portion of the speech in which the student described the unapproved viewpoint."

Op-Ed Columnist: Don’t Stop Dean

Ya gotta love these pundits continually musing and speculating. Keep the pot stirred, throw in some raw meat occasionally...that's the recipe for the insiders who love this stuff.

Please consider that more than half the country don't know who Dean is and more than a third of Democrats never heard of him!

Diseased Cow’s Origin Is Traced as Nations Ban U.S. Beef

Uh oh! This is not good news. Wouldn't this be a terrific way for terrorists to spread fear and disruption? I hope it's an isolated case that can be fully traced, explained and eliminated, not a terrorist MO.

December 23, 2003

MSNBC - NBC: Terror threat to extend through January

MSNBC - NBC: Terror threat to extend through January: "Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, on Monday called for the Bush administration to step up screening of cargo that is transported on commercial jets, calling it “the most obvious remaining hole in our aviation security system.”

If this is true, it is a serious shortcoming.

“As a routine matter, commercial cargo is not physically screened by anyone, even when it is carried on passenger planes,” he said." marked improvements in security, some in Congress still see holes that could be exploited.

December 22, 2003

The Sunday Mail QLD: The blonde who snared Saddam [21dec03]

Interesting speculation about Saddam being a captive, not in hiding at the time he was discovered.

Robert Novak: The Dean dilemma

Mr. Novak is correct in his assessment that Dean is an unwanted candidate of traditional Democratic king makers

New Economy: Offshore Jobs in Technology: Opportunity or a Threat?

This analysis suggests that professional services outsourcing to other countries is not a huge deal. It al depends on the pace of these dislocations for the US professionals affected.

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged," they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding that from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football... someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
Nintendo and Gameboy would rot your brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
(But you've got to be careful with that word today.)

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere... even you.
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth:

"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth!"


December 21, 2003

Editorial in Burlington Free Press

Young people are not engaged in the process and reality of American democracy. These examples from a recent survey portend a dismal future unless the Internet can be a tool to get young Americans connected. The Dean campaign is an example of what can be done.

"Much of the problem, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' study, is that many American schools do not stress civic education as part of the curriculum. That has contributed to a general disinterest in the political process.

The legislative organization's survey showed that:

-- Half of the young Americans regularly or sometimes follow news of government, compared with three-fourths of Americans older than 26.

-- Only 66 percent of the younger generation believe it's necessary to vote to be a good citizen, compared with 83 percent of older Americans.

-- Eighty percent of the young people knew that Ruben Studdard won the American Idol contest, but only 40 percent knew that the Republicans controlled Congress."

NDOL: Idea of the Week: Damage Control

The centrist Dems are clearly anti-Dean. This battle is for the control of the Democratic Party and the DLC is very unhappy. Seems the party is fragmenting out of control.

Op-Ed Columnist: Where Birds Don’t Fly

Sad as it may seem, the need for security at some level is always a requirement in any rational society. That security to enter the US on a visa is much tighter is a necessary part of security form the mad Islamists and others who would destroy us and our way of life.

By taking precautions we do lose something that is valuable to us, the exchange of ideas and ease of travel, but Friedman's alternative idealistic alternative of changing Islamic thinking and encouraging them to be more like us provides no short term security from the lunatic Islamic fringe. Sad but true, the world is a dangerous and hostile place.

December 20, 2003

The Sun Newspaper Online - UK's biggest selling newspaper

If the BBC continues on the course of riling the government and the people of Britain with this great swing leftward, they may find themselves in a for-profit status if the funding evaporates.

Strong Support Is Found for Ban on Gay Marriage

The last sentence in this piece, if meant to summarize the writer's 'bottom line' belief exemplifies the shortsighted thinking that proponents of gay marriage espouse. Stripping away the religious and spiritual arguments, which on their face argue against gay marriage, the culture will head into an even stepper decline if homosexual marriage is sanctioned.

Why is this not seen by so many people. We are victims of the "if it feels good, do it" attitudes so prevalent in American and Western culture.

December 19, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News - Michael Jackson

We live in a society polluted by pop icons who add no value and detract from a decent culture. The Jackson saga is a travesty.

Killing Him Softly (

A common sense view of Saddam's demise with particular emphasis on the pain he visited on the Iraqi people and Arab progress in that part of the world.

A Voice in the Calling Wilderness

Good summary of the pros and cons of VOIP telephony

December 18, 2003

Tough Time For Democrats (

Great column, well written, capturing the mood of the times in the personalities that play on the media stage and are imbibed through 20 second sound bites and photo-ops. What are we becoming?

CBS News | Poll: Dean Pulls Away In Dem Race | December 17, 2003 21:47:49

Can anyone explain how Al Sharpton is ahead of Kerry in the polls? This must be a 'margin of error' thing. Or does rabble-rouser Sharpton have Jesse Ventura's genes?

Malvo Convicted

Seems the proper verdict. Punishment should be death, not life imprisonment.

Albright's joke joins growing list of Bush theories - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics

The Political Crazy Season (PCS) has begun in earnest, much earlier this year than usual.

Op-Ed Columnist Friedman: Moment of Truth

Another excellent analysis by Thomas of the French reaction (What will he German's do?) to Saddam's capture and it's eagerness to forgive some debt. Yet more insight into what the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites must do to move the country to unity. Well worth the read.

December 17, 2003

The Face of Scare Politics

These ads from shadow groups is what you get from McCain-Feingold which wrongly restricts free speech when labeled political donations.

December 16, 2003

Small, Cluttered Refuge Was a Far Cry From Luxury (

Fascinating description of Hussein's last hideout, but no mention of the briefcase of documents and $750,000.

U.S. Troops Kill 11 Insurgents in Firefight

This won't be easy. It's never easy dealing with irrational fanatics.

"In Tikrit, about 700 people rallied in the center of town Monday chanting ``Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood.'' U.S. soldiers and Iraqi policemen yelled back: ``Saddam is in our jail.''

In Fallujah, another hotspot of anti-American resistance west of Baghdad, crowds roamed the streets shouting pro-Saddam slogans such as ``We defend Saddam with our souls,'' after the Iraqi police withdrew from the streets, the crowd overran the mayor's office, a military statement said."

December 15, 2003

Op-Ed Columnist: From the ’Spider Hole’

Safire's description of the origin of the Vietnam era term 'spider hole' and the Cu Chi tunnels brings back memories, having been in Cu Chi a time or two in 1967.

Dean Comments on Capture of Saddam

What a sad state of affairs the Dems are in. Reading this criticism provides no answers, nothing more than anti-Bush rhetoric with no answers, no solutions.

Op-Ed Columnist: Hearts and Minds

A tough piece by Thomas Friedman, but he's probably more right than wrong.

Bush: 'Good Riddance' to Hussein (

Bush: 'Good Riddance' to Hussein (

An excellent press conference and this is the statement that is most meaningful:

"But more importantly, Saturday was a great day for the people who have suffered under this tyrant. I believe, firmly believe -- and you've heard me say this a lot, and I say it a lot, because I truly believe it -- that freedom is the almighty God's gift to every person -- every man and woman who lives this in this world. That's what I believe."

Freedom is a gift from God, the whole doctrine of free will is embodied in that gift to humankind. Salvation and eternal life is the more precious gift of God through Jesus Christ to those who believe He is who he said He is, the Son of God.

December 13, 2003

Nasty Language on Live TV Renews Old Debate (

The debate rages on indecent language on FCC regulated stations. This is not so much a commentary on the FCC and their rules and enforcement as on the degrading culture in America. The standards of discourse are receding in the face of the rush for $ in the entertainment field.

From a cultural perspective, what are the arguments that rap music, as an example, is good for America?

December 12, 2003

Cutting James Baker’s Ties

The Times is wrong. Baker is the man for the job given his credentials. The fact there are connections to companies the Times finds distasteful does not constitute a conflict of interest or an ethical breach. Doe the Times think Baker and the Bush team are stupid to create an ethics problem?

The Times is blowing smoke.

Campaign Finance Reform

The Burlington Free Press editorializes...

"If the Supreme Court decision leads more Americans to feel that the system is fairer and encourages them to back up their political beliefs with a check, it will be a major victory for democracy."

While this is true , the right to spend money on political 'speech,' in any form without limit is a fundamental expression of free speech under the Constitution. I believe the justices erred and have eroded a basic right, as Congress did when this law was enacted.

Another reason for the pitched battle over judicial appointments in the Senate. Fundamental rights and philosophies are at stake.

Wired News: VoIP: Here, There, Everywhere

A well written piece explaining the present and near future likelihood for VOIP. The E911 issue is not easily solved unless all our phone devices have GPS built in. Another caution is the catastrophic failure of power that would kill a good part of the VOIP network.

I want to know when 800 toll-free services will migrate to VOIP. No one talks about this, yet it should be possible. Consider the huge amount of 800 calling to thousands of large and small call centers that use 800 services.

I wonder when... 5 years, maybe?

My Way - EU Squabbles Over Unification

This squabble will take years to resolve. The issues of sovereignty are not easily resolved in a culture hundreds of years and several nasty wars old.

French, Germans, Russians Need Not Apply (

Let's see...could this all be a bargaining strategy to cajole these same countries excluded from bidding into forgiving the debts incurred with them by the Saddam regime?

December 10, 2003

News Analysis: Dean’s Role Is Redefined by Gore’s Endorsement

News Analysis: DeanÂ’s Role Is Redefined by GoreÂ’s Endorsement

Very interesting to read and watch the pundits decide what to make of Dr. Dean. Having met him a few times and knowing some of what he believes, the national pundits are still wandering in the trees trying to discover him.

Dr. Dean is a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, very liberal. At least he was in Vermont. He supports gun ownership rights because to oppose them in Vermont would be political suicide. I don't think he believes in his heart of hearts in open ownership of firearms. He has little patience with views that contradict his own, and he always wears a tie on the campaign trail and in 'official settings.' Yes, he does have a short temper.

New York Daily News - Home - Hil puts chill on Al's party plans

New York Daily News - Home - Hil puts chill on Al's party plans
Another analysis of the fault line in the leadership of the Democratic Party. Why hasn't the media elicited a statement from Bill as well as Hillary?

December 9, 2003

U.S. Bars Iraq Contracts for Nations That Opposed War

U.S. Bars Iraq Contracts for Nations That Opposed War

Seems fair to me given the lack of cooperation at the time of need. Remember these countries also have huge debts owed them by Iraq. Wonder if those will ever be repaid? If so, by whom? My guess is they'll be lucky to get a dime on the dollar and may not share in the future oil revenues, except for some debt repayment.

How Dean Could Win . . . (

How Dean Could Win . . . (
Keen analysis by Bill Kristol, the conservative's conservative, that Dean could beat Bush. Sounds like a rallying cry for Republicans to get their act together. - Views - Why Gore's Backing Dean - Views - Why Gore's Backing Dean

Fascinating analysis by Dick Morris. He's an insider who probably knows where all the Democratic rivalries and loyalties, if any exist, lie.

Time Warner to Use Cable Lines to Add Phone to Internet Service

Time Warner to Use Cable Lines to Add Phone to Internet Service

A high level summary of the VOIP challenge posed by the cable companies. The telcos like Verizon and Bell South have their work cut out for them in reconfiguring the traditional landline business. The huge investments in circuit switching technology will be around a long time and the copper distribution facilities are far from fully depreciated.

Any massive move to VOIP at the customer premises cannot be accomplished quickly. The market for VOIP at this point for both cable and telcos is the broadband customer base, now about a third of households. The business market is another story.

If 800 services migrate to VOIP, that will signal a massive change in investment required at the business premises to get the benefits of VOIP.

December 8, 2003

Op-Ed Columnist: Hillary, Congenital Hawk

Op-Ed Columnist: Hillary, Congenital Hawk

Mr. Safire, you are so sly! Political speculation demonstrated as an art form.

Op-Ed Columnist: Stalking the Giant Chicken Coop

Op-Ed Columnist: Stalking the Giant Chicken Coop

This opinion piece is more like Chicken Little announcing the sky is falling. Let me translate this piece into the real opinion of the author:

The drug companies are America. Because drugs exist and the research that leads to these drugs has been paid for by the drug companies with the revenues from the drugs they sell, Americans are entitled to the drugs regardless of the costs.

Everyone knows the drug companies are bandits.

Republicans don't give a crap about senior citizens' health care.

The Bush administration is lining the pockets of BIG business.

Give me a break, Mr Herbert! Do you think we're all idiots and the Republicans are all evildoers? Wake up!

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Bacterium may change DNA testing

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Bacterium may change DNA testing

Seems this is a big step forward for forensic science and for DNA analysis generally.

Online edition of Daily News - News

Online edition of Daily News - News

Worth watching, but I don't expect much of substance, unless of course, the UN proposes to take over and run the Internet!

MobileMag : MCI and Time Warner Jump on VoIP after FCC Announces Possible Regulations - Industry News -

MobileMag : MCI and Time Warner Jump on VoIP after FCC Announces Possible Regulations - Industry News -

The beginning of a concerted effort to ramp up VOIP as the voice call technology of choice. We can expect more of these deals, whether the FCC regulates or not. In any event, it's unlikely that state regulation can be effective for VOIP. As previously stated here, the days are numbered for state price regulation of telecom services, beyond, QoS and certification to operate in a state.

InfoWorld: Windows ATMs raise security concerns: December 02, 2003: By : Security

InfoWorld: Windows ATMs raise security concerns: December 02, 2003: By : Security

Oh this sounds like fun! Windows XP on my ATM seems a recipe for terrorists and hackers. Worse, migrating from a private line network to the Internet's TCP/IP seems the open door for those hackers. I hope the baker's IT gurus really know what they're doing. I had no idea the ATMs were running on OS/2!!

December 7, 2003

The Dean Connection

The Dean Connection

The young people seeking something, anything, relevant oozes from this story. Shapiro captures the young and restless attitude of the swarm of campaigners. Is this energy sufficient to move Dean to the Presidency? I doubt it. More like a McGovern replay.

December 4, 2003 - Problem Solvers - 'Trampled' Wal-Mart Shopper Has History Of Injury Claims

If these reports are true, what we have here is a professional bilker. These people who leech off the system or workers compensation and false injury reports ought not be defended by any reputable lawyer. These swindles and the shysters who pursue them get my blood boiling.

December 3, 2003

Yahoo! News - Group Urges Dean to Open Some Vt. Records

The pressure builds on Dr. Dean to open his sealed Vermont records. Where was the outcry from the VT media when he had them sealed?

December 2, 2003 > News > State -- Driver license bill is doomed by Assembly

Seems more than logical to me that people who are in this country illegally have no right or privilege to obtain a driver's license. I know there are counterarguments, but are they substantive or anecdotal?

Op-Ed Columnist: Boots on the Ground, Hearts on Their Sleeves

Thanks, David Brooks for the personal side of the war in Iraq. Our soldiers are heroes.

December 1, 2003

Dr. Dean in High Gear

This photo will be the one Dr. Dean's opponents will use to exemplify his short temper.

E-Commerce Report: Music at Your Fingertips, and a Battle Among Sellers

Bob Tedeschi's article suggests that the online music business will continue to expand, perhaps not accompanied by huge profits but with novel options. His article does not once mention personal piracy, though this will continue to be the dominant form of download with no thought of profits.

Patents: Idea for Online Networking Brings Two Entrepreneurs Together

Another example of what's wrong with our patent system. Patenting software code and algorithms as well as genetically manipulated organisms does not seem appropriate for the purposes of the patent system. There are many arguments on the other side, but to me a patent should represent a novel physical device or a process that produces a tangible product, not merely an idea represented in software or genetic code.

Op-Ed Columnist: On Same-Sex Marriage

Safire's 'libcon' (libertarian conservative) thinking on homosexual marriage. While he dances with the arguments, he does not reveal his stance. His most important recommendation is:

"The pace of profound cultural change is too important to be left to activist judges. As moral-political issues go, this big one deserves examination in communities with minds that can deal with internal contradictions — which is the libcon way."

November 30, 2003

Lifespans and the End of Life

Here's an interesting chart showing the proportion lifespan of people through the ages, and how technological advancement, particularly in medical science and health improvement, increases the average age of humans.

November 29, 2003

Op-Ed Columnist: The Chant Not Heard

A poignant piece from Tom Friedman. He favors the motivation for our war in Iraq but he differs from the Bushies on the means to accomplish the peace.

The Muslim world is in a dark hole and, as Friedman says, they must recognize that fact, root out terrorists and change their outlook and tolerance for radical Islamists. Where are the Muslim leaders willing and able to do this?

U.S. Says Iraqi Police May Have Coordinated Attacks on G.I.s

Sanchez may be correct, but we should avoid a strategy that is 'dictated' by the enemy. The enemy's tactics must be countered by intelligent troops with the right tool kit. We should consistently surprise the enemy, if we can. It's not enough for our soldiers to be on the defensive. We need a smart offense!
``There's no way we're going to put this mission at risk in terms of combat power,'' Sanchez said, explaining the need for the marines, whose normal tasks tend toward invasions, not occupation duties.

``What we're in search of is a very mobile, very flexible, lethal force that can accomplish its mission. Those terms are dictated by the enemy.'' - Is That Microsoft Calling?

Interesting speculation on Microsoft's role in the future of IP telephony.

Fascinating Tidbits

Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches, while pennies and nickels do not?
A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.
Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. And that's where women's buttons have remained since.
Q: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.
Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called "passing the buck"?
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility, he would "pass the buck" to the next player.
Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then touch or clink the host's glass with his own.
Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be "in the limelight"?
A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theater, performers on stage "in the limelight" were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.
Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use "mayday"as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m'aidez -meaning "help me" -- and is pronounced "mayday,"
Q: Why is someone who is feeling great "on cloud nine"?
A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.
Q: Why are Zero scores in tennis called "love"?
A: In France, where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on scoreboard looked like an egg and was called "l'oeuf," which is French for "egg. "When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans pronounced it "love,"
Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense, orange clay called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as "pygg banks." When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.
When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot game "golf." So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' & the Scots changed it into "caddie.

November 28, 2003

Media: Amid Tight Secrecy, a Tip: Bush Is Going to Baghdad

Sour grapes from the 'media elite.' Bush's trip to Baghdad had to remain a closely held secret and 'deception' is part of keeping a secret involving the President of the United States traveling to Baghdad. It was a well-planned and executed mission.

On Secret Iraq Trip, Bush Pays Holiday Visit to G.I.’s

Well done, President Bush. You are the military's true Commander-in-Chief, that's for sure, and they know it. Certainly this was calculated to produce political advantage, as are all things a President initiates, nevertheless the surprise trip was an extraordinary act and successfully executed. Clever people in the White House, Secret Service and the military.

Even the British Airways pilot who spotted Air Force One, understood and zipped his/her lip!

November 27, 2003

Broad Bills Stuffed With Lawmakers’ Pet Items

It has always been thus and nothing is likely to change soon. The only way to cut back on pork is to keep the money out of the hands of legislators. But with huge deficit spending, that seems impossible.

I don't think the pork barrel, though the term probably originated in colonial times (After all, when's the last time anyone actually used or has seen a real pork barrel??) was an intent of the Founding Fathers. Could be wrong, though. Palms for greasing have always been extended. I guess this is the American form of kickbacks so common in many other countries and seemingly acceptable.

Decoding the New Cues in Online Society

Reality and make-believe merge into online relationships that seem a colossal waste of energy.

Interesting that people who have grown up online flock to these sites for reality(?) or recreation(?)

Op-Ed Columnist: Letter From Tikrit

The pain and frustration is well captured by Friedman's letter from Hussein to Bush.

November 26, 2003

U.S. News: Michael Barone on divided Democrats(12/1/03)

An interesting take by Michael Barone on the idea of American 'exceptionalism' and why the Dems do not have a presidential candidate who espouses that view. Americans seem to like to believe that we are 'a city on a hill' with a special place and purpose in history

Ten things it's easy to be grateful for |

Here's a reasoned 'top ten' things to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Holiday.

The 10 most overpaid jobs in the U.S.

Fascinating commentary on who earns what and why.

November 25, 2003

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | UN's clarion call for great apes

It would be shameful if mankind let these creatures disappear. This is much different than obscure insects or birds becoming extinct. We must make judgments and choices about species extinction. The great apes should be preserved.

20 Airport Workers Arrested in Drug-Smuggling Case

Send these people to jail and scour the airport for their confederates.

Yahoo! News - IRS Audits Nation's Top Teachers' Union

The results of this IRS tax audit should be interesting. How can the NEA possibly contend that it doesn't spend money on political activity?

World Hunger Increasing, New U.N. Report Finds

Tragic though it is, here's a problem that cannot be solved in my lifetime. Thanks, God, you saw fit for me to be born in the USA.

U.S. Q3 GDP revised to 8.2% growth, highest in 20 years

Good news for Americans, generally and good political news for Mr. Bush. If the economy continues to strengthen, it will vindicate tax cuts as the stimulant. However, we must not ignore the huge deficits and continued buildup in the national debt. If the economy continues a strong recovery and if the equity markets surge, there'll be another round of capital gains taxes to fill the tax coffers.

The profits news is encouraging.

"The report also contained the government's first estimates of third-quarter profits.

Profits from current production, adjusted for inventory valuation and capital consumption, increased by 11.8 percent sequentially and by 30 percent from the year-ago third quarter. Before-tax profits increased 16.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, and after-tax profits rose by 13.6 percent."

Older Americans ramp up Internet use

Older Americans jumping on the Internet is a good sign. They have time and any have $ to spend if the Web sites are easy to navigate... a problem for many seniors. Seems they aren't buying much online yet.
"For instance, the 65-and-older group's success rate for completing assigned tasks, such as fact-finding, buying a product and finding information, was about 53 percent, compared with a 78 percent success rate for younger users. Also, older users made almost five errors per task, compared with less than one for the younger group, according to the study."

"Among Americans 65 and over, e-mail remains the main activity: 93 percent of wired seniors use e-mail, while 58 percent go online for hobby information, 55 percent read news online, 53 percent search for health and medical information, 53 percent browse for fun, and 53 percent check the weather, according to the Pew Internet Project study."

"It's really about e-mail -- and pictures," said the AARP's Carpenter. "Their children have digital cameras and they're posting pictures of their kids. The grandparents are saying we need to get online to be a part of this. They want to get into the family loop. They know that everybody else is communicating with e-mail and instant messaging. They want to be part of it. They don't want to be left out."

November 24, 2003

Opening Pandora's Flip Phone: New U.S. Rules on Cell Numbers Create Uncertainty

Let the wireless wars begin! This will be a rough and tumble fight with huge price pressures in an industry that requires enormous capital investment and deep pockets.

Now let me see, why would a company want to expend resources in Vermont, rather than elsewhere, fighting all the environmental constraints for cell tower rights to provide coverage to a sparsely populated, low density market?

After a Long Road of Planning, a Few Companies Await Payoff

Companies such as TSI and NeuStar become critical players in the US telecom infrastructure. I hope they have fail-safe and terror-proof systems and databases. They would be a tempting target.

The Bells Struggle to Survive a Changing Telephone Game

A keen analysis of the problems facing the Baby Bells and the evolution of the competitive telecom wars. Verizon recently lost 25% of its Vermont managers to a retirement and buyout offer with similar take rates throughout the company. This is a significant drain on resources and will require a period of readjustment to rebuild business momentum.

Expense control is the name of the game as Verizon and others lose significant landline business as reported in this article.

The 'hockey stick' growth curve for landlines is present, but the stick is upside down! (see graph in article).


Where President Bush and the Democratic candidates stand on homosexual marriage. All oppose gay marriage except Rev. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich who support it.

November 23, 2003 - TAKE ME TO SOUTH AMERICA

Can this be true??? If so, it confirms my opinion of Jackson as a strident, wild egomaniac totally out of control requiring constant 'handling'

Health Savings Accounts Drew Yeas From the Wary

These heath savings accounts seem like a good deal on the surface. The devil's in the details, of course.

November 22, 2003

Who'd Win for President Today?

Bush wins and, interestingly, Dr. Dean falls behind Wesley Clark.

"TIMECNN POLL: Most Registered Voters Would Choose Bush
Fri Nov 21 2003 19:44:24 ET

New York – If the 2004 Presidential election was held today, registered voters surveyed for TIME/CNN would choose President George W. Bush over any of the declared Democratic candidates.

In a direct run against Bush, Gen. Wesley Clark fares the best among registered voters (Clark 42%, Bush 49%), closely followed by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (Kerry 41%, Bush 49%).

Bush would beat any of three other Democrats, 52 percent to 39 percent, in a direct match: Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, or Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Against Bush, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards would lose, 38 percent to 52 percent.

When registered Democrats are asked which Democratic presidential nominee they would vote for, Dean edges out Clark 14 percent to 12 percent, followed Lieberman (11%), Kerry (9%), Gephardt (6%), then Edwards and the Rev. Al Sharpton (5%).

The TIME/CNN Poll, conducted November 18-19, 2003 by HarrisInteractive, surveyed 1,330 registered voters by telephone. The margin of error is +/-2.7% points for registered voters, and +/-4.7% for Democratic voters surveyed for TIME/CNN." - Iraq police hit by deadly bombings - Nov. 22, 2003 - Iraq police hit by deadly bombings - Nov. 22, 2003

I'm afraid the only answer here is to squeeze even harder to rout the terrorists, find them, kill them and continue doing so until they are eliminated. A nasty business, but necessary since we're there and have said we're not leaving.

Excerpts From a Dissenting Mass. Supreme Court Justice Opinion


What is at stake in this case is not the unequal treatment of individuals or whether individual rights have been impermissibly burdened, but the power of the Legislature to effectuate social change without interference from the courts.

. . . The power to regulate marriage lies with the Legislature, not with the judiciary. . . . Today, the court has transformed its role as protector of individual rights into the role of creator of rights. . . .

All individuals, with certain exceptions not relevant here, are free to
marry. Whether an individual chooses not to marry because of sexual orientation or any other reason should be of no concern to the court. . . . There is no restriction on the right of any plaintiff to enter into marriage. Each is free to marry a willing person of the opposite sex.

In this Commonwealth and in this country, the roots of the institution of marriage are deeply set in history as a civil union between a single man and a single woman. There is no basis for the court to recognize same-sex marriage as a constitutionally protected right.

Courts have authority to recognize rights that are supported by the
Constitution and history, but the power to create novel rights is reserved for the people through the democratic and legislative processes.

The Massachusetts Legislature has erected no barrier to marriage that intentionally discriminates against anyone. Within the institution of marriage, anyone is free to marry, with certain exceptions which are not challenged.

Today the court does not fashion a remedy that affords greater protection of a right. Instead, using the rubric of due process" / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Down the slippery slope / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Down the slippery slope

A reasoned and seasoned analysis of the likely outcomes of the Mass. Supreme Court's Gay Marriage decision.

Op-Ed Columnist: The Power of Marriage

Another twist on gay marriage. Brooks said it should be encouraged and frequent random sexual encounters should be stigmatized as a lifestyle of contingency rather than commitment.

Congress Poised for Vote on Anti-Spam Bill

Maybe a law will help, but it will do little to constrain offshore spammers, a point this piece misses.

November 21, 2003

Vermont Physician Assisted Suicide

The doctors of the Vermont Medical Society have voted by secret mail-in ballot to preserve the status quo relating to their position on the issue. In essence, it seems they voted to oppose any legislation that would specifically enable or prohibit physician assisted suicide (PAS). Within the vote they also endorsed better palliative and hospice care in Vermont

This is a good outcome for now, but pressure will continue to build for enabling PAS. Many factors will influence this issue including the aging of America, the lack of a moral compass in many people, the costs for end-of-life care, etc.

Suicide is not a morally acceptable choice for humans. To be assisted in a bad choice by medical professionals is even worse.

Courts and Same-Sex Marriages |

Excellent piece, though once again, like so many other editorial opinions, it fails to account for the issue of marriage as the underpinning of our society and culture, thus should be preserved in it's current and traditional form.

November 20, 2003

Mass. Catholic Conference on Supreme Court Decision

Concise and Correct.

"In a separate statement, the Massachusetts Catholic Conference said the decision 'defies reason' and was a rejection of 'an understanding of marriage tested over thousands of years and accepted nearly everywhere as the key to a stable society."

Where the Candidates' $ Come From

Here's a fascinating site.

SBC offers cheaper VoIP service | CNET

The revolution continues. VOIP will be BIG, how fast will it get big is the question.

Minnesota legislators push state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage

If marriage definition is to be an issue for the states to decide, then a constitutional amendment is the route to take. Four states have passed amendments defining marriage as a union between two people of the opposite sex. How will the genomics/surgical issue (born one sex, 'converted' to another) be addressed? / News / Local / A simple reality

Should 'gay marriage' commentators and journalists be required, in the spirit of full disclosure, to state there sexual orientation?

November 19, 2003

Text: Bush’s Speech in London on Iraq and Mideast

Gotta love these lines..."The last president to stay at Buckingham Palace was an idealist, without question. At a dinner hosted by King George V in 1918, Woodrow Wilson made a pledge. With typical American understatement, he vowed that right and justice would become the predominant and controlling force in the world. President Wilson had come to Europe with his Fourteen Points for Peace. Many complimented him on this vision, yet some were dubious. Take, for example, the prime minister of France. He complained that God himself had only 10 commandments. Sounds familiar."

And now President Bush is serious..."At Wilson's high point of idealism, however, Europe was one short generation from Munich and Auschwitz and the Blitz. Looking back, we see the reasons why. The League of Nations, lacking both credibility and will, collapsed at the first challenge of the dictators. Free nations failed to recognize, much less confront, the aggressive evil in plain sight. And so dictators went about their business, feeding resentments and anti-Semitism, bringing death to innocent people in this city and across the world, and filling the last century with violence and genocide.

Through world war and cold war, we learned that idealism, if it is to do any good in this world, requires common purpose and national strength, moral courage, and patience in difficult tasks. And now our generation has need of these qualities."

And now he's deadly serious..."These terrorists target the innocent, and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished. The greatest threat of our age is nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in the hands of terrorists and the dictators who aid them.

The evil is in plain sight. The danger only increases with denial. Great responsibilities fall once again to the great democracies. We will face these threats with open eyes, and we will defeat them."

The world is a brutal, not idealistic place (because evil lives in the hearts of men)..."The second pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to retain (sic/restrain) aggression and evil by force. There are principled objections to the use of force in every generation, and I credit the good motives behind these views. Those in authority, however, are not judged only by good motivations. The people have given us the duty to defend them, and that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men. In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force."

This is an excellent speech by Bush. Who could deny the rightness of it?

Dean Calls For New Controls on Business (

Very interesting policy position taken by Mr. Dean. Another flip-flop? This call for re-regulation will resonate with some people, but overall is not good for the economy.

It now becomes clear that he is not a friend of business. In fact, as it relates to telecommunications, it's not possible to put the genie back in the bottle. on this score, Dr. Dean is whistling Dixie.

He continues to draw the battle lines. How can his call fro re-regulation lead to anything but more government. I think he's made a serious mistake to go down this road, despite what may be some popular appeal. : Jackson Ordered to Surrender on Molestation Charges

If true and he's convicted, he should spend serious jail time. Outrageous behavior that should receive the stongest penalties possible. Throw the book at Jackson.

News Analysis: Decision on Gay Marriage Creates a Thorny Issue for 2004 Race

An accurate political analysis. Alas, the issue of correct moral choices doesn't arise. As usual, the discussion is about political expediency and advantage. The issue will not go away because positions are deeply held by persons on both sides.

The candidates will eventually be forced to declare themselves. Finessing the issue won't work.

November 18, 2003

The Democrats' dilemma |

Dr. Dean does not set well with all Democrats. Give him time and he will emerge victorious among the Dems if he doen't shoot himself in the foot

Full text of Mass. gay marriage ruling

Full text of Mass. gay marriage ruling:

This excerpt exemplifies judicial abandonment of the fundamental moral principles and expectations that underlie the law. Society and culture are built upon these foundational principles (as opposed to religious doctrine). For these 4 Massachusetts justices (3 opposed the decision) to suggest that 'the law' and the Constitution should be interpreted thus is a very bad omen for our future. They have made a grievous error. While they may be 'right' according to the words in the constitution, they are very wrong in the underlying reality of those words.

There will be a mammoth debate about this issue and I predict we will see a viable attempt to amend the Massachusetts constitution and the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the state sanctioned union of one man and one woman.

Now that may not be sufficient in a genomic age. How shall we define a man and a woman? In any event, this is the beginning of a great national debate that will be a significant issue in the presidential campaign.

There is little weasel room here. Candidates must declare themselves as pro or con the definition of a marriage as above.

This issue, along with abortion and physician assisted suicide will be the defining moral issues of this campaign and perhaps the next.

The future course of our culture and society is at stake.
" Barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."

Mass. gay marriage ban overturned

Another serious judicial blunder. Perhaps the Massachusetts General Court will have the sense to override this Supreme Court decision with a constitutional amendment, if that's what it takes. - Next: News, Sports, and Weather on Your Wristwatch

I wonder if this concept wil actually sell. Success will depend on the applications and info provided in addition to the 'fad' appeal that such wrist and pocket SPOT devices will have. Announced in January but haven't heard much about it since.

The Perfect Liberal Storm (

Tough stuff here in Krauthammer's pithy analysis of the Dem dustup over Dr. Dean's remarks about guys in pickups with the confederate flag on the back window.

November 17, 2003

News - Mayor of London

It seems Mr. Livingstone dances to his own drummer and seems to be a gaper as well.

Op-Ed Columnist: Wanted: Fanatical Moderates

It's pieces like this that make me appreciate Thomas Friedman.

Sifry's Alerts: Technorati Growing Pains

Blogs have taken hold!

"Allow me to give you some growth statistics: One year ago, when I started Technorati on a single server in my basement, we were adding between 2,000-3,000 new weblogs each day, not counting the people who were updating sites we were already tracking. In March of this year, when we switched over to a 5 server cluster, we were keeping up with about 4,000-5,000 new weblogs each day. Right now, we're adding 8,000-9,000 new weblogs every day, not counting the 1.2 Million weblogs we already are tracking. That means that on average, a brand new weblog is created every 11 seconds. We're also seeing about 100,000 weblogs update every day as well, which means that on average, a weblog is updated every 0.86 seconds." - Politics - Schwarzenegger Sworn In as Calif. Governor

While the recall may have been 'fun,' the work begins and Arnold will be well advised to get quickly to the fiscal mess. If California's Democratic legislature tries to thwart him, it will not go well with those legislators, I'd think, if the people really want change and the finances brought under control.

ZDNet AnchorDesk

An interesting opinion about Bill Gates' view of the computing future.

United Press International: Analysis: Why Istanbul? What next?

Some good points in this UPI article, but the terms policy, strategy, tactics, agenda are melded such that the reader may be left confused. The fundamental policy in question is one of preemption as stated by President Bush in September 2002. The administration's tactics, tools and actions should connect with that policy in a coherent way.

People can and should debate policy because it shapes the bureaucracies to develop positions, plans and actions, some of which will be good and others failures. Tactics and actions will be judged on their effectiveness, usually soon after the event. Snarling the meanings of all these terms with the events of the day creates confusion.

November 15, 2003

Case Closed

If this is true, then the case is solid for cooperation between Hussein and Bin Laden. If true, the war on terror is rightly taken to Hussein's regime. Now the task is to find both of them.

Car Bombs at Turkey Synagogues Kill at Least 20

And on it goes, the killing of innocents by terrorists fueled by hatred. The only short term answer to this barbarism is to find and eradicate the perpetrators. The long term solution can only come by eliminating that strain of radical Islam wherever it is found, in education, politics, or mosques.

This is a sad day once again for the Jews. Just as it was early in the 20th century for the Christian Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks.

Who can argue against the evidence that evil lives in the hearts of men? / News / Nation / Bishops may punish politicians

This hypocrisy from 'Catholic' politicians has existed for years and the bishops have done nothing about it. I have no confidence that they will now. They seem intent on studying it forever. It's a tough decision for them. As soon as they take action or threaten it, they become embroiled in a political agenda and they risk the wrath of many Catholics who believe as the politicians do.

If they take no action under the guise of maintaining 'unity,' they are moral wimps. I believe they will take no action against the hypocrites, at least not in a Presidential election. - Internet Access Tax Ban in Limbo

Is it not a good idea to get telecom service out from under taxation?In a few years when VOIP takes hold, voice becomes just another IP application handled on the Internet. The politicos ought to have the courage to go down the path that eventually eliminates telcom taxation to unburden one of the key engines of commerce.

November 14, 2003

Jury awards Alabama $11.8B in a suit against Exxon Mobil - Nov. 14, 2003

These insane damage awards by juries lead nowhere but to more expensive litigation, full employment for attorneys involved and are a waste of talent and resources. This is not what's meant by 'the rule of law.'

New Scientist - Ventner Creates Virus in Two Weeks

Craig Ventner's team is moving rapidly toward the synthesis of simple living organisms. This rush to become a creator of life will stretch man's capacity to deal with the consequences of this genomic revolution.

Would anyone like to venture a pgognostication of where we'll be in this area in 50 years, the lifetime of my grandchildren?

My Way - News About Democrats Blocking Judicial Confirmations

A rational exposition on the partisan judicial confirmation dilemma in the Senate.

November 13, 2003

Their Master’s Voice

Dowd is the penultimate critic/basher without offering anything that stands up to the definition of a good idea.

Governor Bob Riley's Reaction to Moore Decision

Moore has chosen to be the lightning rod for the concerted effort by much of the Federal judiciary and egged on by faithless advocates to remove God and morals from our American 'rule of law'. However the law cannot be a standard absent a cultural and societal morality, most of which is based on spiritual values. Our system of law is clearly rooted in the Judeo-Christian legacy and culture. As such, God cannot be removed from that foundation and the Ten Commandments are a symbol of that morality.

There is no such thing as a valueless system of law based on amoral rationality. Call it something else, but it's not law, at least not a system I'm willing to respect.

November 12, 2003

KnoxNews: State Gore's Comments on Media/TV

On this issue, I agree with Al. TV, for the most part, remains a 'vast wasteland" as described 40+ years ago by Newton Minnow

We are, after all, spiritual beings









Editorial Observer: Trying to Measure the Amount of Information That Humans Create

A techno-philosopher at work. What is 'information,' after all?

(2) Is War Our Biological Destiny?

An interesting analysis of our human proclivity to make war. However, as usual, the author fails to take into account the inherent evil within the heart of man. A rational analysis from the world's perspective always misses the spiritual dimension of good and evil. In fact, these terms don't even appear in Angier's piece. The analysis is interesting but wrong, though tourists from other countries are always fun to complain about (read the piece)

Never Love a Stranger

Safire's scenarios seem more plausible than fanciful, not unlike my earlier speculations. With so many Democratic candidates jockeying for position based on the health of the economy and the success at war are all aimed at setting up Hillary. Bet on it.

Guns and butter is the adage. Not either/or but how each is fairing.

November 11, 2003

U.S. Commander in Iraq Outlines Tougher Strategy

Go to it General Ricardo! Get the bastards. - Politics - Two More Officials Quit Kerry Campaign

My guess is that Kerry is on a slippery slope to extinction as a Democratic presidential contender. The DNC is not happy with Dean's success. It's obvious that Kennedy is doing all he can to shore up Kerry, but Clark lurks in the wings ...and then, of course there's Hillary. Place your bets! - Activists upset by Girl Scouts in Alaska who trap, skin beavers

Good for the Girl Scouts. The PETA crazies just love to rile me up, probably several million others, too. The PETA beliefs are here.

Do you truly believe that animals have 'rights' in the sense that humans do? : Bush Warns Extremists Seek to Rule Iraq

If this is the true Iraqi situation we will need enormously improved intelligence to infltrate and kill the leaders of these terrorist allies. A 'get tough' policy has to mean more than dropping big bombs in Iraqi neighborhoods.

Internet Week > VOIP > FCC To Consider New Regulations On VOIP Services > November 7, 2003

Internet Week > VOIP > FCC To Consider New Regulations On VOIP Services > November 7, 2003

VOIP is a disruptive technology for the telecom industry. How FCC and state regulators deal with it will be critically important to the industry and to consumers. There's no question in my mind that VOIP will ultimately be the infrastructure on which nearly all landline and probably wireless voice services will be delivered.

Critically important is the pace, security and public benefit engendered by this upheaval. This changeover is more disruptive by several orders of magnitude as telephony was on telegraphy . The regulators may not be positioned to manage it because the monopoly world in which they exert greatest policy and pricing influence has fragmented. / World UN Wants to Control the Internet

The battle is on. The UN wants to run the Internet. I hope the 'information wants to be free' crowd decide to get involved to prevent this fiasco.

Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush (

A fascinating counterbalance to the Bush fund-raising juggernaut. Ah the power of free speech. Soros has the bucks to spread around and he's obviously upset with Mr. Bush and his team. Given this willingness to fund all sorts of political and policy activity, this seems like one more nail in the coffin of Campaign Finance Reform.

I wonder if Mr. Soros feels threatened?

November 10, 2003

FCC OKs Home-To-Cell Phone Number Rule (

Wireless and wireline providers will soon be competing intensely for the same customers as number portability sweeps the telecom industry

Yahoo! News - Nader Blasts Democrats As 'Whiners'

Run for President again, Ralph. The country needs you, I guess. Anyway, if you do run you can take a few Dem votes from Dr. Dean, General Clark or Sen Clinton, whoever runs.

Yahoo! News - Twenty-Six House Democrats Push to Fire Rumsfeld

Charles Rangel is about as smart and astute as a brick. His call for Rumsfeld to resign is foolish and Bush should summarily denounce it as such.

Salute to Veterans

"Veteran's Day is a time to honor all veterans of the armed services. IT is also a day to be proud that we are citizens of a nation made great by the sacrifices and dedication of all our military personnel."

-from USAA, United Services Automobile Association, my insurance company

Thanks to all who have served. - Saudi troops head to Mecca - Nov. 10, 2003

An attack on people pilgrimaging to Mecca would be a clear signal that the terrorists are NOT true Islamic adherents, rather an aberrant terrorist group.

Moderate Islam would never condone such an attack, but I can't believe they'd condone the two previous attacks in Saudi Arabia.

NBC 4 - News - Women Sue After Finding Condom In Chowder

Every now and again a chuckle is in order. After all...

When she spit it out, Sultan, 48, said she discovered it was an unwrapped, rolled-up condom.

"She said she spent the next 15 minutes in a restroom vomiting and has since seen a psychiatrist and taken medication for depression and anxiety.

Sultan, Wild, Cindy Hammond and Annamarie Sigala, who were all having the clam chowder that day, filed suit, claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Their case is scheduled for trial Jan. 12."

and... "On this occasion, she said, she and her companions ordered drinks, appetizers and soup, but sent the soup back because it was lukewarm. When she got it back she found the condom." Fat Food Fight On Two Fronts

This obesity problem is a BIG thing. As big as smoking from a public health perspective. I hope we as individuals and a nation are savvy enough to turn the tide voluntary. If we think health care costs are going through the roof now, they're headed for the stratosphere if this obesity problem is not brought under control. To their credit, both Bush presidents and Clinton have set a positive personal example.

What we don't need is the legal profession reaping billions of dollars from this problem like they did from cigarette suits. I hope we are smart enough to find a non-legal way out of this, though I'm not optimistic on this score.

Oldest Living Start-Up Tells All

This article about a low power, programmable RF chip startup may portend the next generation of handhelds, whether phones or PDAs. Encouraging to note that IBM Burlington is a player in developing the prototype.
"RFco is supposed to get a prototype silicon wafer back from the I.B.M. microelectronics factory in Burlington, VT., next month. Like other radio frequency chip start-ups, RFco is a so-called fabless semiconductor company, meaning that it farms out the chip fabrication to a contract manufacturer. Then, it will begin testing whether its design innovation really works."

News Analysis: A Campaign to Rattle a Long-Ruling Dynasty

Destabilzation of Saudi Arabia presents a real problem for the West, so heavily dependent on their oil. If troops are needed to fend off the terrorists and assist the Saudi regime, who will send them?

November 9, 2003

Talk of a draft grows despite denials by White House (08 Nov 03) :: Radio Free USA :: Unflinching and Unembedded Independent News.

The draft was in place when I was in the Army and in Vietnam. The draft creates emotional behavior in those who try to avoid it and military service generally. Thousands fled to Canada to avoid it, many other received student deferments. I am persuaded that the draft would be difficult to reinstate absent a national emergency. Most people, particularly in the north and east, abhor military service (After all, you might be killed or wounded!).

On the other hand, I consider the draft to be a great equalizer. People from all walks of life and all social and economic backgrounds are joined together in a common purpose. My experience in the military was enormously educational and I think I became a better person from it. I learned to not only to tolerate, but truly join with men that I would otherwise never encounter given my background raised in a small New England town.

I hope we don't have a conflict that requires the draft, but if we do, I hope men and women will embrace rather than avoid it.

Test Successful!

Cool. I can now link in a post to any photos I have stored at Photobucket.

Here's photo of the boat, the 10&2 for the trip.

Cape Horn Test

I'm preparing for my January trip around Cape Horn from Ushuaia, Argentina to The Falkland Islands. I'm testing this link to see if the photo of Cape Horn can be linked to from my weblog and displayed.

My Way News Saudi Bomb Attack

With the continued targeting of Saudi citizens, I can't help but think the Saudis have finally 'seen the light' and realize they must drastically overhaul their society and change their tolerance for the radical Wahhabi brand of Islam.

November 8, 2003

Op-Ed Columnist: The Humiliation Factor

As usual, Thomas Friedman makes a lot of sense with his insight into humiliation and dignity in the Middle East. - Copyright Laws Could Get Tougher

As this debate rages, I am struck by the absence of discussion about the right and wrong of stealing copyrighted properties. Instead, the discussion is framed around the rights of consumers vs. rights of property owners and the intricacies and nuances of the laws. This reluctance to dicuss the issue in moral terms is disheartening.

I see this over and over again as debates are framed in legalistic or emotional terms rather than in moral terms. The inability to have the discussion in moral terms, the underpinning of our laws, suggest the protagonists have list their moral compass.

November 7, 2003

Exit strategy now on table |

Probably a realistic assessment of the options and situation in Iraq from Dan Schorr. - News - Gun-Wielding Cops Conduct Drug Sweep At School

"'I was just upset knowing they had guns put to their head and a canine was barking at them and about to bite somebody,' said Latonia Simmons, the parent of one student. 'It was awful.'"

Grow up Latonia. Kids do drugs. Drugs are unlawful. Police enforce the law. The school approves. If you're upset, take a pill (a legal one).

November 6, 2003

Howard Dean campaigns in Tallahassee

If this is the message Dr. Dean delivered, I don't think it will sell well in the South

Senate Debate Due on Hotly Contested Internet Tax Bill

This bill banning permanently taxes on Internet access will eventually pass. The bigger question is whether the states will be successful in persuading Congress to take action to overturn the Supreme Court's Quill decision and to enact a tax simplification measure that would require online, catalog and mail order merchants to collect and remit state taxes on all sales in all jurisdictions. This may eventually happen, but tax simplification is a tall order for the states. Significant progress has been made, but it will require actions by many state legislators and require a long time.

November 5, 2003

Dean Tries to Quell Dispute Over Confederate Flag Comment

Dr. Dean's enduring capacity to shoot from the hip and speak what's on his mind rather than sticking to the script creates both the attraction and rejection of him in the minds of voters. On one hand, his candor is refreshing. On the other, he is seen as impulsive and less thoughtful than expected in a leader. His true character emerges frequently to the dismay of his handlers, I'm sure. Dr. Dean has a tough time sticking to the script

The Times photo says it all!

Mona Charen: The price of being wrong

A conservative's view of the Democrat's position. What is the Democrat's solution to the threats faced by the US in the world? I can't hear them. Please turn up the volume, not for the rhetoric, but for the solutions, I mean their practical answers to global threats.

Barbra Streisand

Despite Barbara's protestations, CBS did the correct thing by choosing not to air a blatantly biased 'Reagans' on CBS. This is the same Streisand that opposed the Gray Davis recall (scroll down in her weblog).

CBS' action is not censorship, as she contends. Only goverments exert censorship.

The Polling Company TM + News - Ignorant Americans


If this poll is trulyrepresentativee, The eternal optimist in me that says Democracy 'works' and an informed electorate is the grease for the gears, just died.

November 4, 2003

Microsoft to License I.B.M. Chips

This deal is not about chips for computer game machines, this is all about the game box becoming the center of the home's digital/server infrastructure. That's where Mr. Gates wants to be and IBM is pleased to help him. This deal could become a BIG deal in a few years and Intel ought to be concerned. The PC operating system wars are long past and better blood exists between IBM and Microsoft.

Former HealthSouth CEO indicted; $278 million sought

What a travesty! These crooks deserve no mercy and the government is right to prosecute them as fully as the law allows.

Daily Nation on the Web - Anglican Split

The African view of the ordination of NH's gay Episcopal bishop. This 'consecration' will split their church. Those who oppose the ordination/'consecration' will not agree to be reconciled, nor should they. This move by the American Episcopal Church is wrong and should not be sanctioned.

Lawyers’ Ads Seeking Clients in Ferry Crash

Stories like this inflame my estimation of the legal profession. These lawyers should be sanctioned and boycotted (maybe drawn and quartered?). Here's a description of one ad:

" like the 30-second television commercial by a Staten Island law firm that showed a ghostly image of a ferry washed over by a tidal wave of green dollar signs. "If you were injured, you may be entitled to money damages," a man's voice said."

Of course there are those upstanding citizens who seek victimhood and its potential rewards:

"But some passengers are seeking large awards even though they suffered little or no physical injury: One woman wants the city to pay her $200 million for losing sleep. Others are seeking up to $10 million solely for emotional trauma."

All so sad.

CBS Pull's Reagan Series - DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2003?

CBS has been placed in the unenviable position of defending its liberal bias, if this miniseries script that was surfaced by the New York Times contains the lines alleged.

Too bad to see mainstream media in this position, but they should know better. This fiasco may be a turning point in the fortunes of 'big media.' Alternatives to 'big media' abound and seem to be capable of successfully challenging the titans of yesteryear.

Conservatives are having a field day with this and there's very little reasoned rebuttal from the liberals.

The Long Now Foundation: library

A fascinating piece by Stewart Brand about the long term consequences of today's digital data storage formats, media and systems. What have we wrought for future societies and civilizations?

The American sense of freedom is shifting from rights to choices |

So much wisdom from a mother of 12. One of our most precious assets, time, is routinely stolen from us.

November 3, 2003

SEC: Evidence of illegal fund trades widespread

This is bad news for investment vehicles Mr. and Mrs. America trust and rely upon for their savings and retirement nest egg. Many fund companies seem so far unscathed. I sincerely hope that some of these mutual fund companies are honest and uphold a strict code of ethics. Let's hope that's true and the media identifies the winners as well as the losers.

Wired 11.11: VIEW

Lessig is a fan of Joe Trippi's campaign blog culture and other decentralized approaches that have had early success in Howard's campaign. While the campaign's success to date has great appeal to the 'information wants to be free' crowd, American voters are not all bloggers and still respond to media messages. Though dying, traditional media is far from dead and traditional politics is very much alive.

Creative Commons

A new an intriguing approach to copyright, worth considering, built on the notion "information wants to be free." Obviously this is a reaction to the Digilal Millenium Copyright Act.

Study Finds That Nitrites in the Body Greatly Aid Blood Flow

This research into the positive effects of nitrites on circulation and blood flow may change the outlook of folks who don't eat foods with nitrites as a preservative because they are 'unnatural.'

November 2, 2003

Yahoo! News - Episcopalians Install First Gay Bishop

The deed is done and a split of the Anglican church appears likely. A sad day for Christendom.

This gobbledygook from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Anglicanism's spiritual leader, said Saturday that he believes divisions within the worldwide Anglican Communion over Robinson's selection will eventually heal.

"And one day we shall be led, in both thankfulness and repentance, to share with one another what we have learned apart, to bring to one another a history not without its shadows and stresses, but still one in which something quite distinctive has been learned," Williams said in London.

d2r: an introduction to weblogs

Good, simple introduction to weblogs.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Fiennes completes marathon feat

This guy is amazing. He's the same adventurer who walked/skied to the south pole alone without support. I read his book on that feat a few years ago.

U.S. Copter Is Downed in Iraq, Killing 15 and Wounding 21

The urgency to find and kill Saddam increase with each American and Iraqi death from these terrorists and their leaders. They would very much like to ignite jihad in this region of the world to set up a West vs Muslim scenario. We must avoid this at all costs while sparing no effort to get Hussein.

Wired News: It Came From Beneath the Sea

Eerie, if true. Ships sinking from a methane bubble!

d2r: an introduction to weblogs, part two: syndication

A straightforward discussion of syndication or aggregation, choose your term. This is an important element of weblogging and will become increasingly important in the future, Bill Gate' new Longhorn OS (2006-2007)will include the ability to subscribe to syndicated content

Op-Ed Columnist: The End of the West?

Three cheers for Thomas. His insightful analysis with quotes from Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister and somewhat of a self promoter with his own website, offers a keen glimpse into the differing world views of America, Germany and France.

The War Over the Gipper

This controversy is a riveting flash point in the media bias wars. What's at stake is freedom, truth, art, drama and history. What a juicy brawl! Seems CBS is doing some heavy backpedaling.

CNN reports that the RNC is pushing hard to rebut the content of the series series based on a pirated script and news accounts. (No one has seen the final product because it's not final) and making strong statements chastising CBS for distortion of facts. Juicy stuff!

Decoding a Steroid: Hunches, Sweat, Vindication

"On Oct. 16, Terry Madden, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, announced the existence of THG, saying that positive drug tests signaled a 'conspiracy involving chemists, coaches and certain athletes using what they developed to be undetectable designer steroids to defraud their fellow competitors and the American and world public.'"
Performance enhancing drugs seem to be a staple of many top-of-the-line athletes. This NY Times story suggests that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of athletes take steroidal drugs, obviously sanctioned or provided by coaches and trainers. What to do about it?

There are only two choices: test, screen and take drastic action to eliminate offenders and their coaches/trainers from competition for an extended period of time. This probably won't work because the US has little control over the practices of other countries.

The other choice is to allow a free-for-all. This approach signals "may the best drug designer win." Is that the message we want to send to youngsters when at the same time our US message is that recreational drug use is wrong and against the law for certain drugs?

The present game, cheat and hope you don't get caught, exposes the moral swamp in which so many people live.

What a terrible dilemma for sports.

October 31, 2003

Broadband numbers show heightened demand | CNET

Good to see the broadband penetration increasing and prices coming down. Now, can we keep excellent content flowing through these pipes?

Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals?

This dance of the titans is fascinating. Google will have either a very successful IPO or Mr. Gates will have 'em. I particularly like the notion of Google's auctioning stock so small investors can get in on the action.

October 30, 2003

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

The thwarting of suicide bombers is good news for the Israeli people and a continuing indictment of the terrorist Palestinian organizations. How can a 'Road Map' we valuable when there are terrorist potholes and dangers at every turn?

There is no effective Palestinian leadership to prevent suicide terrorism. How is it possible to negotiate with terrorists of this ilk?

Basics: A Shutterbug’s Guide to Meting Out the Megapixels

This is one of the most lucid, well-written pieces I've see on the issue of digital camera resolution. Highly recommended.

GOP unity is strained by attacks=The

Not a pleasant scenario for Mr. Bush. The military is in a very tough bind in Iraq. It faces the delicate task of an active 'find and destroy mission' against the bad guys while strengthening support via security among the good guys. This is a very frustrating situation, but we must stay the course.

October 29, 2003

Sharpton Calls Dean's Agenda 'Anti-Black' (

Oh! This is so good. Dean's positions based on his basic beliefs or to appeal to mainstream America upset Mr. Sharpton, the charlatan. Gotta love these Democrats lambasting each other.

Only in America!

Burlington Free Press - Local Stories

This firing seems wholly justified based on the publicity and reports of the offense. If the facts are true, Nadeau deserves to be doing something else instead of teaching kids. The NEA is doing its 'duty,' but not commenting on the case suggests their effort is half-hearted.