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.