December 31, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Are We Stingy? Yes

These editorialists are out to lunch! They seem to live in a nether world of intellectualism that fails to understand how the world works. I have lost my interest in their editorial views with tripe like this. Next, they'll be claiming it was their poignant editorial that caused our government to increase the aid amount tenfold.

Why hasn't the Times mounted and organized an appeal for money for the relief work?

New York Post Online Edition: commentary

This columnist is correct. It drives me nuts when the media and the talking heads believe they must put everything, even this terrible tsunami tragedy, in a political context. Are ratings so important?

As for the U.N., they operate at about 3 on the 10 point efficiency scale. Those officials would do well to clam up and get on about their business. Clare Short , former U.N. International Development Secretary, apparently has seawater for brains.

Indonesia Needs Help, Death Toll Expected To Exceed 400,000 :: Bernama.com

Can a death toll of more than 400,000 in Indonesia alone be possible? Oh my God!

How Scientists and Victims Watched Helplessly

This NY Times piece is well worth reading!



Courtesy NY Times. Dramatic Tsunami Photo Posted by Hello


Here's an instructive link to the BBC:

How a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered sea surges and the deaths of thousands of people.< http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4136289.stm >

The New York Times > Technology > Oracle Fires Top PeopleSoft Executives

I would expect nothing better of Larry Ellison. Takeover targets, beware!

December 30, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Social Security Underestimates Future Life Spans, Critics Say

Here's a key element in the SS debate!

"Life expectancy at birth increased by 30 years in the last century, and many independent demographers, citing the promise of biomedical research and the experience of some other industrialized countries, predict significant increases in this century. The Social Security Administration foresees a much slower rise.

"Life expectancy will make a very big difference in the fiscal viability of Social Security, but the agency's projections of longevity appear too conservative," said Prof. Samuel H. Preston of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world's leading demographers."


BBC NEWS | Middle East | Missile kills militants in Gaza

Good shot, Israel. Terrorists must be eradicated at every opportunity. This drone-fired missile is a new weapon in Israel's kit.

The New York Times > Business > U.S. Acts to Take Over Faltering Pilots' Pension Plan at United

One more sad chapter in a tragic downward spiral for United and its employees. We must keep in mind that some, but not all, of the woes that have come to the big airlines are caused by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These large airlines have been inefficient since before the days of deregulation and the external influences, including effective competition, have slowly eroded their financial viability in the current environment.

The expenses of big airlines, especially employee expenses, are far too high for the environment in which they operate.

The New York Times > Technology > Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing

Use of PCs and the Internet is still not easy enough. We should not have to spend this amount of time dealing with spam, viruses and fixing things. I spend at least this amount of time on maintenance. It should be easier. It's improving but not quickly enough

"The study, titled "What Do Americans Do on the Internet?" also found that junk e-mail and computer maintenance take up a significant amount of the time spent online each day.

Respondents reported spending 14 minutes daily dealing with computer problems. That would suggest that Internet users spend a total of 10 workdays each year dealing with such problems."

December 29, 2004

Fresh push to coordinate tsunami aid | csmonitor.com

If India wants to go it alone, why did they join a coalition today with the U.S., Japan and Australia?

BBC NEWS | Africa | UN suspends food aid for Darfur

Here's an example where the U.N. is helpless to act and it's humanitarian relief attempts are of negligible worth. I don't have a magic answer except that first and second world nations should stop selling arms to primitive tribal and ethnic groups. If they want to fight, let them do it with spears and stones. It's not possible to prevent people with deep seated rivalries from killing each other. Sad to say, but true, I think.

The U.N. does not even know what is happening and who is responsible. Talk about failed states and ineffective leadership!

" Truck theft

Security on the ground continues to deteriorate and the African Union troops sent to Darfur to protect the ceasefire monitors are having little impact on the fighting.
'We're talking about a major humanitarian delivery that was stopped,' the UN's Radhia Achouri in the capital Khartoum told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

The problems of Darfur cannot be solved through military means

The UN's Jan Pronk


Darfur observer frustration
'We have decided to not proceed until further notice, until the security situation is reassessed,' she said.
Both Darfur rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement - have denied responsibility for the attacks in Ghubaysh, she said.
The situation was confusing, she added, as reports suggest a new rebel movement is claiming responsibility for the attack on the main road to the towns of Nyala in south Darfur and El-Fashir in the north.
In another development, the UN is also concerned about the theft by rebels of 13 trucks carrying food aid over the past two weeks.
Ms Achouri said there were worrying reports that rebels were using the WFP lorries to launch their attacks"

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Year the Earth Fought Back

Are tectonic plate events thousands of miles apart related? Is there a cause and effect relationship among distant tectonic plate movements or volcanic activity?

A possibility too ominous to ignore, but how to prove it?

The New York Times > AP > National > Bush Announces 4-Nation Team to Coordinate Relief Efforts

Where's the EU? Where's Russia? Where's China? Where are the Muslim/Arab countries? Saudi Arabia? Indonesia is primarily Muslim? Where are the Muslims?? Seems very strange, other than the nations initially involved have resources, sympathy and the wherewithal to deliver the help.

I forever reject the idea that America is "The Great Satan." If America and its allies will spend billions on this disaster, let it never be said America is an enemy in the world.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Wave toll 'could exceed 100,000'

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Wave toll 'could exceed 100,000'

This is the most realistic estimate I've seen, but it may be low also. There's the chance this will be the worst disaster of all time...apart from Noah's flood.

NPR : Relief Agencies Concerned about Wasted Tsunami Aid

As I commented yesterday, this is the BIG issue, using aid effectively and getting it to the people who need it. Lacking transportation, communication, organization and widespread chaos in the area needing relief means that efficiency will be low. Nevertheless, the relief agencies must do the best they can and I'm sure they will.

I often think about where these experienced aid workers for the major relief groups come from. Will they be pulled from other areas of the world where they are already working? They obviously are not sitting around in some headquarters waiting for the next disaster.

The New York Times > Technology > Court Bars Regulation of Web Phone Service

The federal appeals court has made the right call. VoIP telecom whether provided by upstart companies like Vonage or by Verizon should be free of traditional state regulation. The monopoly days are far behind us.

Where do Vermont regulators stand on this issue?
+++++++++++++++
"The case is part of a larger debate about how telecommunications should be regulated in the digital age. As more communication takes place on the Internet, advocates of deregulating telecommunications are arguing that the new era demands a new set of rules.
But those in favor of continued regulation, including the state of New York and many other states, have argued that Internet calls are effectively the same as traditional telephone calls and deserve the same level of government oversight."

December 28, 2004

My Way News - Tsunami Update

And it only worsens. We live in a deangerous world whose mantle creaks,groans andmoves at it's pleasure and at our peril.

"In a further threat to the region, disease could kill as many people as those killed by the wall of water, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said."

Navy SEALs Sue AP Over Alleged Abuse Photos

I'm pleased the Seals filed suit. The MSM apparently lifted the photos without permission and so doing compromised the identity of the Seals. The reporter and his/her superiors should be punished.

I'm on an MSM rant today, I guess, but here;s one more instance of apparent wrongdoing. I have little patience for this. This is not 'freedom of the press.'

It Seemed Like a Scene From the Bible (washingtonpost.com)

One account of a survivor of the tsunami in Sri Lanka...lucky to be alive and safe. I wonder how he posted this story?

Toll From Tsunami Rises to More Than 51,000 (washingtonpost.com)

I think the final toll may be closer to 100,000. The early reports at 6,000 were obviously wrong given the power of the earthquake and the tsunami. Why the MSM accepted and reported them signals they really don't have a handle on this one. I wonder if anyone does at this early stage? Doubtful.

The New York Times > Washington > Powell Bristles at Suggestions U.S. Is Stingy With Wave Aid

The MSM and the UN making asses of themselves...again. Powell is right to be indignant. Aid without disciplined, organized relief workers on site is only half useful. The important thing in a disaster is to get aid where it can be used quickly. This seems a horribly daunting task given the remoteness and lack of transportation/communications in many devastated areas.

The New York Times > Technology > The Internet: Blogs Provide Raw Details From Scene of the Disaster

A decent article about the usefulness of blogging when the urgency or timeliness of information is important. Also some sage words from Xeni Jardin, one of the four co-editors of the site BoingBoing.net about the reality of blogging and the roles of bloggers and the MSM (Mainstream Media).

December 27, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Sunday News Quiz

It's true that we need to set national priorities and they don't all require new money. We need to redirect priorities within the existing budget. For starters, how about reducing the billions in pork projects favored by Congressional gluttons to persuade voters to keep electing them?

The New York Times > Technology > Just How Old Can He Go?

If Ray, a genius by all accounts, is serious and correct, that means he will support population limits so only some of us will live forever. Wonder what the criteria are for the chosen few?

"'I am serious about it,' said Mr. Kurzweil, a wiry man with few lines on his face for a 56-year-old. 'I think death is a tragedy. I think aging is a tragedy. And going beyond our limitations is what our species is all about.'
The study of human biology, he said, is increasingly intersecting with his main field of expertise - computing. Mr. Kurzweil points to the advances in medicine and genetics as leading toward a view of biology as a kind of computation."

December 26, 2004

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > Most Powerful Quake in 40 Years Triggers Death and Destruction

The reports listing the number dead are pure guesses. The Times does well to keep the number of dead vague. How can anyone know the extent of death at this early stage in the disaster? At the rate which new numbers have been reported today, the toll could be in the tens of thousands. A terrible tragedy.

"Over a million people have been affected by the destruction, officials said, with people fleeing their homes for higher ground, fearing aftershocks that could send more waves to strike the islands and beaches. The death toll could rise considerably as information comes in from remote islands and beach resorts, and the fate of those missing, including the hundreds of fishermen at sea, becomes apparent."

Ny Times Quote - The Medicaid Dilemma

Pandering with poemics.

"I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget, but people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy."GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, of Arkansas, on a bipartisan lobbying effort by governors to stave off federal cuts in Medicaid allotments.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: At I.B.M., That Google Thing Is So Yesterday

With such rapid advances in technology, I find it difficult to continue stating, "The Internet changes everything," but "we are still very much in the infancy of the Internet and what it means for humanity."

I feel so privileged to live in such an exciting time. My 94-year old mother has lived from a time when in grade school the teacher would let out class to watch an airplane fly overhead. The events and achievements in one lifetime are beyond amazing!

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Economic View: Building a Nation of Savers

I'm disturbed by what appears to an 'American truth' in this article. It seems that most people take the path of less complexity, beneficial of not, even when it comes to their own financial well-being. That is, by default they'll accept whatever is placed before them when it comes to savings and some of the 'free' money that comes with employer-matched 401(k) plans.

Americans live in the moment, financially, no matter the longer term consequences. There are so many things that compete for our time that we choose the path of least resistance, from the perspective of time and complexity, even when when such a course is not in our best rational interest.

Recently, our Vermont Socialist Congressman blamed the banks for the average Vermonter's $17,000 credit card debt. It's the banks' fault, according to Bernie Sanders, that people charge excessively to their credit cards. This ridiculous opinion spawned letters to the editor of the Burlington Free Press bemoaning the lack of personal responsibility. Sanders always panders to victimization. This opinion below is of the same thinking.

"You know you'd be happier tomorrow not to put the extra purchase on the credit card, but you don't have a way to prevent yourself from charging it," said James M. Poterba, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "These findings suggest that there's a lot of psychology here that economists might not fully understand."

None of this bodes well for our future. Have we become so economically healthy that our financial discipline has evaporated?

December 25, 2004

The New York Times > National > Voting Problems in Ohio Spur Call for Overhaul

A self-inflicted error by a college professor with expectations that somehow the system should correct his personal error and find a way to elect John Kerry! Really. Oh woe is me?

Give me a break!!!

"'It seems like such a confused system,' said Mr. Shambora, a John Kerry supporter who blames himself for the mistake. 'Maybe if enough people's votes had counted, the election might have turned out differently.'"

December 23, 2004

Hampton Union Local News: Boy in a Santa suit asked to quit dance

The absurdities that school officials either find themselves in OR that they choose to instigate because of their personal beliefs. This is nuts and should be confronted wherever it rears its ugly head. Political correctness is a syndrome that has moved beyond any rational bounds.

I'm waiting for the first time that someone springs it on me.

d-

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Worth a Thousand Words

A grim assessment of Iraq by Friedman while he takes a swipe at Rumsfeld. Frustration does not lead to a solution and sad to say Friedman's remedies are from an ivory tower perspective, it seems to me.

December 21, 2004

The New York Times > AP > Technology > Broadband Use Surpasses Dial - Up in U.S.

The Internet particularly with fast, always on, access changes everything, but we're not quite sure how.


"Surveys from the Pew Internet and American Life Project find that 69 percent of broadband users go online on a typical day, compared with 51 percent for dial-up. Broadband users who went online averaged 107 minutes surfing the Web, checking e-mail and otherwise engaged, 21 minutes longer than dial-up users."

"The United States trailed 12 of the 15 top economies, including Canada, in broadband penetration, according to a September report from U.N. International Telecommunication Union analyzing 2003 data.

South Korea topped the list at more than double the U.S. rate."

The Pain of War

This brings back memories of a similar incident I was involved with in Can Tho, Viet-Nam in 1967 when a Viet Cong rocket attack blasted into the barracks while I was paying my soldiers.

(Photo from The New York Times.)


So Much Pain! Posted by Hello


The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: The Electronic Library

A sensible rendering of opinion by the Times about Google's book digitization project announced last week. The Internet changes everything.

Conservative students sue over academic freedom - Courttv.com - Top News

The debate rages in academia and it's about time that a liberal education does NOT mean an indoctrination into liberalism's values and politics.

"Many teachers insist personal politics don't affect teaching. But in a recent survey of students at 50 top schools by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group that has argued there is too little intellectual diversity on campuses, 49 percent reported at least some professors frequently commented on politics in class even if it was outside the subject matter.

Thirty-one percent said they felt there were some courses in which they needed to agree with a professor's political or social views to get a good grade."


This is not good news. The most telling fact is that Harvard and the California college system faculty and employees gave more $ to Kerry's campaign than any other employer in the country. A politically balanced higher education community would have shown different results.


France Joke Making the Rounds

Elevated Terror Alert In France:

AP and UPI reported that the French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "run" to "hide." The only two higher levels in France are "surrender" and "collaborate." The rise in the terror alert level was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed one of France's white flag factories, thus totally disabling their military

Top News Article | Reuters.com

Since the Iran nuclear issue seems to be in the hands of the Brits, Germans and French to resolve, they'd better find a way to prevent weapons and missile development. If they don't, the time will come when Israel will take action to destroy Iran's capacity.

The Iranian leadership cannot be trusted. They say one thing and do the opposite.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Make No Mistake

An insightful piece by David Brooks. Once again, it appears that most recent liberal thinking about what it would take to move towards peace in Israel was flawed. (In any event, France's view of the world is usually flawed.)

We aren't there yet. The road has been long and bloody and more bloodshed will undoubtedly occur, but the facts as Brooks lays them out in this fine article cannot be denied. The Bush and Sharon policies have been correct. You can NEVER negotiate with terrorists.

Now that terrorist Arafat is dead and many of the Hamas terrorists are dead, there is a chance for a decent peace.

Having visited Israel in the mid-eighties, I realized how fragile the country was. Traveling in the Golan Heights, it was so obvious that Israel must retain that land for its defense from Syria and the terrorists in the Bekaa Valley to the east. I'll believe that Israel believes peace is at hand when they give up part or all of The Golan.

December 20, 2004

Just Leave Christmas Alone (washingtonpost.com)

Krauthammer has it right. Well said!

"To insist that the overwhelming majority of this country stifle its religious impulses in public so that minorities can feel 'comfortable' not only understandably enrages the majority but commits two sins. The first is profound ungenerosity toward a majority of fellow citizens who have shown such generosity of spirit toward minority religions.
The second is the sin of incomprehension -- a failure to appreciate the uniqueness of the communal American religious experience. Unlike, for example, the famously tolerant Ottoman Empire or the generally tolerant Europe of today, the United States does not merely allow minority religions to exist at its sufferance. It celebrates and welcomes and honors them."

The New York Times > Technology > On the Open Internet, a Web of Dark Alleys

The Internet changes everything and particularly makes a wonderfully secure medium for terrorist to communicate, secure because in a world of packets and diverse paths, monitoring or intercepts becomes a daunting intelligence task. I hope the NSA has all the resources it needs to work on this BIG problem.

"Even if the government is able to shore up its networks against attack - one of many goals set forth by the intelligence reform bill passed last week - the ability of terrorists and other dark elements to engage in covert communications online remains a daunting security problem, and one that may prove impossible to solve."

TIME Person of the Year: Blogs Have Their Day

The Internet changes everything. The timing is all that's in question. Goodbye Mr. Rather. How the mainstream media responds to the effect of blogs remains to seen. Will MSM attempt to co-opt the best bloggers as Time speculates? Doubtful this will succeed. There are too many bloggers and thousands added daily for that scenario.

"Where will they go from here? It's hard to imagine that bloggers will be content to remain media gadflies, sniping at the giants from below. In fact, it's entirely possible that they will ultimately be assimilated into the mainstream media they now openly despise. They'll start accepting advertising (Power Line already does), they'll go on Leno, they'll lose their outsider cred and their aura of driven-snow purity. The best bloggers will be hired away by the hated MSM, bought off with Op-Ed columns and cable talk shows. And if bloggers do become Big Business, they will lose their free pass and become subject to the same scrutiny that 60 Minutes is under. After all, it's not as if Power Line never makes a mistake. It's just that right now, because Scott Johnson isn't as famous as Dan Rather, the expectations and the stakes aren't very high. That will change."

December 19, 2004

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | CIA adds to gloom over Iraq

This is really the crux of the situation in Iraq, it seems to me:

"Anthony Cordesman sums up: 'The odds of lasting US success in Iraq are now at best even, and may well be worse.
'US success is heavily dependent on two variables which the US can influence but not control. The first is the emergence of a government that Iraqis see as legitimate and which can effectively govern. The second is the ability to create Iraqi military and security forces that can largely replace US and other coalition forces no later than 2006'."

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraqi bombers target Shia cities

Can religious/civil war be avoided? I'm reminded of the iron fisted control over Yugoslavia and the carnage when Tito's reign ended.

This will be a sorry situation that may require intervention and mediation by other Muslims...but who?

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Who's Afraid of China?

Dell, a college dropout, has the acumen to hire good people and set the bar for efficiency very high. They do what they do very well, relying on others in the industry to do the R&D necessary to keep their products current. I would like to know the average factory worker's wage and how they compensate their 'master builders' and whether or not they have a union. My guess is they don't

December 18, 2004

The New York Times > Books > Questions and Praise for Google Web Library

Google and the others who are digitizing all or parts of various major library collections at no cost to the libraries are performing an enormous public service, whether there are ads associated with the online search or not. Now the librarians of the world need to think through their best value added for consumers and researchers of information.

libraries shouldn't and won't disappear, but now its time for the major world libraries to give their particular expertise to the online reality.

From the article:

"Many university leaders realize that for most people, information does not exist unless it is online, said Paul Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan.

He said many universities wanted to digitize their holdings and wondered about collaborating on buying books to avoid redundancy in an increasingly digital world. Google's plan answered their needs, he said."

It's the publishers of print material that have most to lose here. But they will sort through this, too, either continuing to make a profit with different products/services or go out of business.

There's little question that Google and other software companies are having an enormous impact on libraries.

I'm surprised that James Billington of the Librarian of Congress was not tapped for a comment.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Great Powers of Europe, Redefined

An enlightening and thoughtful perspective on the European Union and how it is perceived, at least by the author. However, one must remember that it's America's generosity after WW II and it's military and technological prowess that has provided the ability for the EU to grow and prosper. Some EU countries have chosen to diminish that reality.

The world's fight against terrorism, primarily radical Islam in origin, must be a high priority for the US and the EU. The EU and the US have many strong connections and it will be well for both to expand on those. We certainly want the EU countries as friends. In all of this what will become of NATO? Will the EU join in policing the world?

And what of the EU's relationship with China. Their economy will be affected severely should China's economic growth collapse. This article is worth considering, particularly this quote:

"Even trickier could be the Chinese relationship with the European Union, another big market for exports. Powerful European labor unions could force limits on Chinese exports, much as they forced tighter restrictions on Japanese automobile exports in the 1980's and 1990's.
"I'm quite gloomy about Europe - the big industrial countries like Germany, Italy and France," said Frank-J├╝rgen Richter, the president of Horasis, a consulting company in Geneva. "How do you keep growth in these countries if everything is moving to China?"

The New York Times > National > A.C.L.U.'s Search for Data on Donors Stirs Privacy Fears

That the ACLU would do this is astounding! Heads will roll and donors/members of the ACLU may be upset enough that the organization may enter a downward spiral, if not to oblivion, then to a position of disrespect.

The right wing will have a field day with this one! I'm pleased to see that the NY Times has published the story rather than sit on it.

December 17, 2004

Nobel laureate rings energy alarm bell | Tech News on ZDNet

The world energy supply/demand is one of the greatest threats to humankind that I can think of, absent nuclear war. Logic would say that nuclear for energy rather than war should be our answer to future energy shortages. Alas, at least in this country, that seems a remote possibility, absent some energy crisis. Other countries may be more open to it, e.g., France and Japan. China may have to embrace nuclear if they continue to grow at the present rate.

Solar makes sense, but we are so far from that reality.

PCWorld.com - Microsoft Fixes 'Critical' XP Firewall Issue

How many times before Microsoft gets the fix right the first time? While the net is a complex animal with many interactions, the world's biggest PC software provider should be able to do better.

NPR : Many States Outspending Education on Medicaid

This is the crisis that won't go away and the only way to prevent this train wreck is to contain costs and/or benefit eligibility. If states are free to expand Medicaid coverage by supplementing Federal funds with state tax revenues and choose to do so, as Vermont has done, then the state must be accountable for fixing the escalating costs.

December 15, 2004

The New York Times > International > Letter From Europe: A Continent Watching Anxiously Over the Melting Pot

Assimilation is not possible when the religion is fundamentally different. In the U.S., by and large, the immigration was from Europe or at least from Christian/Catholics countries, which made assimilation easier. This is not so in Europe and the author fails to make that point strongly. The Muslims will not likely to assimilate because with their high birth rate there are so many of them they don't have to.

Serious problems are ahead for Europe, given the extraordinary Muslim immigration.

Yahoo! News - Plant to Make Clean Power from Turkey Droppings

Wonderful that turkey dung will be used to produce electricity. Now, if they would only tell us the cost of this power compared to other sources... Why is it that the economics of alternative energy is often omitted?

December 14, 2004

Yahoo! News - Report: Verizon Gets Backing on Sprint Bid

Technologically, the deal makes sense because both Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology. Does it make business sense? Depends on many factors, not the least of which is the amount of overlap and where that overlap exists. OTH, the additional frequencies may be the sweet spot of the deal. Wonder if it would be a friendly or hostile deal?

The New York Times > Technology > Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database

The printed treasures of history available free on the Internet. We have only just begun this electronic journey. What a wonderful way for the big successful software companies to contribute to access to the world's printed knowledge! Thanks!

December 13, 2004

Fool.com: Investments to Avoid [Commentary] December 13, 2004

I don't agree with the premise that the big Bells are on their way 'down.' While the pressure from VoIP newcomers is real and will continue, keep in mind that landline POTS business is only part of their revenue portfolio. Wireless and broadband access are growing businesses for them (Remember that VoIP is only viable over broadband and the cable companies and the Bells are providing that.)

While it's possible the Bell dividends may suffer, they are deep-pocket players in ALL aspects of the telecom revolution and I expect their stock to hold up.

? The horizontal economy | blogs.zdnet.com | Service-Oriented IT | ZDNet.com

An interesting outlook on the future of business integration where tight electronic links enabled by web services will create a true 'horizontal economy'

OTH, in their current form web services may overwhelm today's internet infrastructure because of the sheer volume of near real-time transactions required for full integration. Seems we'll need a more robust internet. Of course researchers are already devising the next generation.

We are so much in the internet's infancy, it's hard to see what it'll become. As they say, "You ain't seen nuttin' yet!"

Clever Maxim for "The Good Life"

This is not for the health conscious or the medical community, but cleverly wordsmithed nevertheless!

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

December 12, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Important Rules for Phone Market Face F.C.C. Vote

This is nonsense. The future of phone competition is in the VoIP domain and the rules that the commissioners are arguing about don't amount to a hill of beans 5 years hence. When will the FCC Democrats get over it?

"Officials said on Friday afternoon that the Democratic members of the commission, Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps, have expressed grave reservations about Mr. Powell's proposal. They said the Democratic commissioners have complained to Mr. Powell that the proposed changes would be devastating for phone competition, would lead to significant price increases and would harm small businesses that rely on the services of the rivals to the Bell companies."

This is as it ought to be:

"In the last year, the Bell companies have slowly made significant strides in winning their case - aided by a sympathetic federal appeals court here and by regulators who have long been critical of the requirements that the Bells, in effect, have to subsidize their rivals. The prevailing expectation is that the requirements are ultimately doomed. The only fight is over the time of transition."

To the extent that the Bells have been subsidizing their competitors under rules promulgated by the FCC, the courts have found that is wrong and illegal. Seems to me everyone except the competitors and the large shareowners would agree.

"Both the Bells and their supporters on the issue, most notably Mr. Powell, have maintained that local phone markets are growing increasingly competitive and that there is no longer a need for the incumbent carriers to subsidize their rivals."

The Canada Drug Import Reality

Many politicians are hopping on the bandwagon to nowhere. There' no way Canada can supply the drugs America demands. There will soon come a time of reckoning.

"It is difficult for me to conceive of how a small country like Canada could meet the prescription drug needs of approximately 280 million Americans without putting our own supply at serious risk. Canada cannot be the drugstore of the United States."UJJAL DOSANJH, Canada's health minister.

December 10, 2004

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Muslim Scholars Increasingly Debate Unholy War

This is a healthy trend if 'rational Islam' is willing to mount an effort to reinterpret the Koran and other texts to counter 'radical Islam's' hijacking their scriptures.

Christians and Jews should do all they can to encourage it.

December 9, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Suicide Supply Chain

Friedman is right about the need to get intelligence right on the ground. The moving around of the higher echelon boxes won't get that done unless the effects are felt quickly in the field. Perhaps there's a classified part of the law that was just passed that will do this? I hope so

The New York Times > AP > National > Bush Rules Out Payroll Tax Hike for Social Security

Oops...I don't think the Times really means what it says in the 'graph below!!

"Social Security today collects more in taxes than it pays out in benefits. The extra money is used to buy Treasury bonds from the government. The government then spends the money as part of its general revenue. The system will start paying out more in taxes than it collects in benefits in 2018."

December 8, 2004

My Way News - America Giving $ to PLO

"The Palestinian Authority is facing a severe financial crisis due to falling tax revenues during four years of violence which has paralyzed the Palestinian economy. Administration officials said the crisis was diverting attention away from needed reforms.
'The upcoming Palestinian elections have made a functioning Palestinian Authority more important than ever,' the
senior Bush administration official said. 'The United States has a national security interest in helping to end the ongoing violence and terror in the Middle East and to make progress toward the president's June 24, 2002, vision of peace.'"

Not big $, but the fact that the Palestinians are financially bankrupt speaks volumes about their bankruptcy in many aspects. Peace is what they need, but not what they want. at least the $ have some restrictions on them. What a terrible mess Arafat has made of a movement that could be successful if they abandoned terrorism.

My Way News - Fans and Pacers Charged in Brawl

Throw the book at 'em! What a sad state of affairs. Given the sad state of affairs of professional sports and the big bucks involved, this behavior cannot be condoned. Of course, the players union is appealing. What a wonderful statement they could make if they refused to appeal...but a union couldn't bring itself to that, let alone a union representing multi-millionaires!

Times Online - World Yushchenko Poisoned?

The world is a dangerous place. Whenever I read about the fragile reality leaders of countries endure, when I recall that American Presidents and other leaders have been killed in office, I thank God that people are willing to be leaders and what a difficult job the security services have in protecting them.

December 7, 2004

AARP's Position on Social Security Reform

My comments to AARP garnered this response for their opposition to Social Security personalization.

My comments are interspersed in bold ( I am not an AARP member, and don't intend to be if they continue to oppose S. S. reform.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Thank you for contacting your AARP headquarters about proposals to divert Social Security payroll taxes to private accounts. It is always a pleasure to respond to a member (I'm not a member). These proposals are sometimes called Social Security "privatization," (This is a language manipulation effort to instill fear into people. What's wrong with converting payroll taxes to private investments. The money that the employee pays is his/hers before it becomes a FICA tax.) which means that parts of the current public program are moved to private management. (That's a good thing.) Like you, AARP is concerned that Americans reach retirement with adequate income.

Ideally, our retirement security should be supported by four pillars: Social Security, pensions and savings, earnings, and health insurance. (I agree, but more in savings via investments will, over the long term, produce a larger nest egg for income generation or spending down in retirement.) But for too many individuals, some of those pillars are weak and unsteady. The largest portion of retirement income for all but the highest income bracket is, and will continue to be, Social Security. (I disagree. This may be true now, but not necessarily so in the future, unless reform is thwarted.). The portion supplied by Social Security increases as people age. (This should also be true if part of the FICA tax is invested in personal accounts. That way the person would own the money, not the government.) That is why AARP is committed to maintaining the Social Security base as a lifetime, guaranteed, inflation-protected retirement income. In addition, we are committed to preserving Social Security's disability and survivors' insurance essential protections relied upon by so many families. (This is a good benefit that can be incorporated into a reform.)

Contrary to some popular notions, Social Security is not "broke." In 2003, the Social Security Trust Fund ran a surplus of about $153 billion in fiscal year 2003. That surplus was added to Social Security's accumulated reserves which currently total about $1.53trillion (Good information. I didn't know the amount. But is it sacrosanct?). Without any change to current law, Social Security has sufficient assets to pay full benefits until the year 2042 and to continue paying at about 70% of scheduled benefits after that, long into the future. (However, not a reason to delay action to change the system now to make it realistically produce what young wage earners should expect in these times. We are not coming out of a depression as was the case when S.S. began.)

There are long-term challenges to meet. AARP believes that Social Security's long-term financing should be strengthened sooner rather than later. (Good!) Changes will be smaller, and people affected by the changes will have more time to plan if steps are taken sooner rather later. However, it is crucial that we enact the right kind of reform. Future generations must be able to count on the same rock-solid guarantee of benefits that present retirees enjoy. Today, the monthly checks cannot be jeopardized by financial misfortune, eroded by inflation, nor depleted by a long life. (People are better served when they are empowered to manage their own lives and futures, to the extent they are capable, thus becoming less reliant on Government and less likely to look to it for their well-being.)

After careful study, AARP strongly opposes proposals to change Social Security by diverting any part of payroll tax revenues into private accounts. (An indefensible position compared to alternatives available.) Diverting a portion of Social Security funds would move Social Security away from a social insurance program to one composed, at least partially, of individual investment accounts that are funded with a percentage of current payroll taxes. (This is exactly as it should be.) Such "carve-out" accounts could expose many individuals to unnecessary risk, particularly low-wage workers who are much less likely to have other sources of retirement income. Carve-out accounts would also make Social Security's long-term problems much worse, sooner. Social Security is not an investment program. (Part of it should be. That's what the reform philosophy is all about.) It is designed to provide a guaranteed base of income under a 'progressive' benefit formula. (A progressive system is one in which lower-income workers benefit relatively more per dollar than the highest-income earners.) (It's a form of income transfer with the feds as mediators) While generally thought of as a retirement income program, Social Security payments also support the families of retired, deceased, and disabled workers. In fact, about 5 million children are supported, at least in part, by Social Security benefits. (No reason this should change drastically.)

AARP continues to stress the immediate value of Social Security to both younger and retired workers. Although younger workers may not be aware of the fundamental benefits Social Security provides, their payroll taxes give them and their families the protection of life insurance and guaranteed disability benefits, as well as retirement.

There is also a fairness issue. Because most current payroll tax dollars are paid out immediately to retirees, the transition to a private accounts system would be very expensive. Today 's younger workers would carry the transition burden. They would, in effect, have to pay twice - once toward their own future benefits and again for those currently receiving benefits. Most private account plans would require the government to borrow $1-2 trillion over the next 10 years, burdening all citizens with high interest costs and squeezing other vital public programs. In addition, the administrative price tag for millions of small private accounts would be much greater than the efficient 1% of revenue that administration of Social Security costs today. (Yes, there is a cost of transition, but that's better than doing nothing and waiting until benefits must be reduced or the retirement age increased. With private accounts, the money accumulated is not under government management.)

I hope this outline of AARP's position is helpful. Again, thank you for getting in touch with us. If there are any matters National Office staff can assist you with in the future, please don't hesitate to ask.

(I am not persuaded by any of AARP's arguments.)

June,
Member Service

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Inventing a Crisis

While Krugman makes some good points in the article, he's basically wrong in his fundamental outlook. Personal accounts make a lot of sense for the long term of Social Security. The basic benefits of personal accounts are twofold: better growth in the invested capital; true ownership of a personal account...witness the success of IRAs, Roths and 401(k)s.

I think Krugman and Dowd have a paranoia...note Krugman's comment (emphasis added).

For Social Security is a government program that works, a demonstration that a modest amount of taxing and spending can make people's lives better and more secure. And that's why the right wants to destroy it.

December 6, 2004

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: NAACP Head Mfume Didn't Retire, He Was Booted Out by Armstrong Williams

If this account is true, it's Bond who should leave the NAACP and Mfume should stay.

Boston.com / News / World / Returning Fallujans will face clampdown

Ammar Ahmed, wise up and realize that the insurgency will not succeed. These are terrorists under another name.

The New York Times > Washington > McCain Calls for Tougher Testing Policy

Keeping drugs out of professional sports and the Olympics is a losing battle. The drugs keeping getting harder to detect and the business/competitive nature of the individuals involved when millions are paid in salaries or promotional opportunities. Intensive testing and harsh penalties may help, but will not eliminate the problem. There's too much money in play.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Jingle Bell Schlock

Maureen Dowd needs help. She's teetering on the edge. She's stewing in her own vitriol.

The New York Times > Business > Business Special > Telecom: 8-Year-Old Basic Law May Be Outdated Already

Not surprising that the hodge-podge of law and subsequent regulatory rules and legal challenges brings us to the point that some think new law is required. The reality is that technology, companies to exploit it with new services will always be out ahead of any detailed legal and regulatory framework.

I favor Congress doing as little as necessary to protect the public good while letting the marketplace run with the technology. The real issues remain how to minimize or eliminate the cross subsidies in the industry while assuring that any that remain are fair to incumbents and newcomers alike. This is not an easy task given the monopoly legacy of the telecom business.

The mantra should be: "Keep your subsidies and taxes off my wireless and internet, please!"

December 5, 2004

According to James Dwinell

Vermont unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. Just gotta work just to pay the taxes. According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Vermont is third in property taxes as compared to income, fifth in workman’s compensation, and eighth overall in taxes.

http://www.masstaxpayers.org/research_publications.html

December 4, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Lift a Pint for Coalitions

The question is: Were any Democrats with Graham in the Irish pub? The S.S. reform effort will be all uphill, I'm afraid, yet it must be tackled.

The New York Times > Business > Supreme Court to Hear Case on Cable as Internet Carrier

The resolution of the confusion is a good move by the Supreme Court. However, the article fails to mention that the FCC recently ruled that telcos do not have to share new local fiber optics installations with competitors/other providers. That's a key factor in this debate.

The really BIG issue is whether the paradigm of 'information services' vs. 'telecommunications services' really serves the public interest in an Internet age. I think it is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

Fox Calls For Court Review of Standards (washingtonpost.com)

The quote below from the Washington Post's article is the crux of the dilemma. Given the technological changes and the fact that, in aggregate, more people watch cable TV than on-air broadcasting. The present FCC authority can be viewed as unfair. The reality is that free (to consumers) on-air TV broadcasting is dying a certain death because of the rise of alternative technologies. In the long term, the TV broadcast frequencies may be far more valuable for interactive communications given the explosion of wireless, always-on services and devices.

The indecency conundrum will be a very difficult one to resolve and will require Congressional, not only judicial action, because indecency is a 'moral values' political issue and the people will want to be heard. Stay tuned.

"The FCC's rules cover over-the-air television and radio broadcasts but not programming that is transmitted via cable or satellite networks, based on the notion that the broadcasts depend on the public airwaves while customers chose to subscribe to cable or satellite services. The same is true of radio: Pay satellite radio networks XM and Sirius are exempt from federal decency standards that their free, over-the-air AM and FM rivals must obey."

December 3, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Retiring in Chile

Chile provides an example with 20 years of positive experience converting to personal accounts from a system similar to the U.S. Social Security system. The transition will not be easy, but this is the direction we must head because we cannot afford the dilemma ahead of us.

If I were in my 20's or 30's, I'd do everything I could to be out of S.S. as it's now structured. A pay-as-you-go defined benefit plan can be the victim of demographics as is now projected, even with a strong economy. Pesonal accounts provide a healthy ownership mentality rather than a 'you owe me because I've paid my S.S. taxes' mindset. Our 401(k) experience has been positive and can serve as a model for personal accounts replacing S.S. Getting over the transition hump is the tough part.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Retiring in Chile

Chile provides an example with 20 years of positive experience converting to personal accounts from a system similar to the U.S. Social Security system. The transition will not be easy, but this is the direction we must head because we cannot afford the dilemma ahead of us.

If I were in my 20's or 30's, I'd do everything I could to be out of S.S. as it's now structured. A pay-as-you-go defined benefit plan can be the victim of demographics as is now projected, even with a strong economy. Pesonal accounts provide a healthy ownership mentality rather than a 'you owe me because I've paid my S.S. taxes' mindset. Our 401(k) experience has been positive and can serve as a model for personal accounts replacing S.S. Getting over the transition hump is the tough part.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Don't Expect the Government to Be a V-Chip

Well stated.

December 2, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The 9/11 Bubble

I agree we need a hell of a lot more fiscal discipline in Congress and the White House which includes less reliance on tax dollars for future Social Security, health care, and reckless spending, whether on defense or domestic programs. This also means that the pork barrel must shrink and that senior Congressmen must restrain the impulse to spend unnecessarily back home with federal dollars to help insure their longevity. For sanity's sake, the federal budget and deficits must be linked to the near term Gross Domestic Product.

Yahoo! News - Heatwave Study May Fuel Global Warming Lawsuits

Aha, here come the lawyers smelling $ to the 'global warming' legal party. This is insane. Spending enormous amounts of energy and resources to pursue and defend lawsuits based on a possibility, global warming, which may or not be caused by man and cannot be proven is nuts.

Army to deploy robots that shoot | Tech News on ZDNet

Does this mean the volunteer army of tomorrow will only be computer geeks? Will today's Xbox and PlayStation gang be tomorrow's real warriors? Whither the 'grunt?'

Some of this is happening now!

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

Required reading is Peggy Noonan's incisive commentary on Dan Rather's career (she worked for him for a time) and the demise of the broadcast media monopoly. She allows that Rather was good at what he did, but the institutionalized media bias at CBS infected Rather because it is so pervasive leading to the forged documents episode that did in Rather. Her final and fair paragraph is:

"People are complicated, careers are complicated, motives are complicated. Dan Rather did some great work on stories that demanded physical courage. He loved the news, and often made it look like the most noble of enterprises. He had guts and fortitude. Those stories he covered that touched on politics were unfortunately and consistently marred by liberal political bias, and in this he was like too many in his profession. But this is changing. The old hegemony has given way. The old dominance is over. Good thing. Great thing. Onward."

Noonan is a good balance to the onery and vitriolic Dowd over at the NY Times.

November 30, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Who Is John Stott?

David Brooks once again is right on target with this commentary. Sharpton and Falwell do not speak for Christ. They speak for their supporters, from their egos and for their institutions.

I don't know Stott, but I will find more about him. If he is as Brooks describes him, speaking always about the person of Jesus Christ, then he's my man.

Thanks David! The following quote is among the best:

"Politicians, especially Democrats, are now trying harder to appeal to people of faith. But people of faith are not just another interest group, like gun owners. You have to begin by understanding the faith. And you can't understand this rising global movement if you don't meet its authentic representatives.

Not Falwell, but Stott."

The New York Times > Washington > Demonstrators Greet Bush in Canada

Bias in headline writing. The Times, which owns the Tribune, will do anything to smear Bush.

The New York Times > Washington > Demonstrators Greet Bush in Canada

Bias in headline writing. The Times, which owns the Tribune, will do anything to smear Bush.

November 29, 2004

Supersizing the UN | csmonitor.com

Where else is this story being reported in the MSM (Main Stream Media)? The UN is in dire need of overhaul, because form the perspective of security of people, it is failing miserable, while arguably doing a bit better in the area of humanitarian relief.

UN reorg should go nowhere until the facts of the Oil-for-Food scandal are made public and penalities paid by those who are guilty of fraud, bribery, or falsification of records. The ill gotten gains should be recovered and used for humanitarian purposes, preferably in Iraq.

The New York Times > Business > The Number Wall St. Crunches the Most

Capitalism continues to thrive. Big bucks in year-end bonuses for the top financial producers.

PressThink - Big Media Loses in the Election

The mainstream media did lose and they've dug themselves a big hole in the liberal swamp (should I say wetland...it's more PC).Watching how they climb out of this hole will be interesting, particularly as bloggers and alternative media become more skilled, more prevalent and more believable.

The monopoly is finished and the liberal bias that exists has been exposed. What will the Times do? CBS? ABC? the LA Times, Washington Post, Newsweek? Will they hire differently? Manage differently? Admit their bias, not only editorially but in the newsroom, too?

For good journalism, try the Christian Science Monitor.

Salento Information Excerpt

A grim reminder of the ancient ...and now present Islamic terrorism. What a vilent world we live in now and it has been worse in earlier centuries.

Carol and friends are considering an Italian school in Otranto for a couple of weeks in the Spring.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
'Nirentine Riviera' on the Ionian Coast towards Nard and Gallipoli Otranto is the city of the eight-hundred martyrs, slaughtered by the Turks under Mohammed II in 1480 during the famous sack of this city. It had been living 'peacefully forgotten' (as is written on the epigraph on Minerva's Hill) when the Ottoman host descended upon it. The city resisted to the last, but after seventeen days of siege, when the walls had been breached and the lives of twelve thousand of its defenders had been lost, the remaining 800 survivors were horribly massacred."

The New York Times > International > Americas > Port-au-Prince Journal: Haiti's Wounds Overwhelm a Suffering Public Hospital

Is any hope on the horizon for Haiti? This is the rotting example of a failed state in our hemisphere, nearly in America's backyard. There are successful Christian mission programs, but the country lacks a political system, education infrastructure, a moral base or any economy that could sustain these. Haiti is a ward of the world. I wish I had an answer. There don't seem to be any.

The New York Times > Technology > The Disco Ball of Failed Hopes and Other Tales From Inside Intel

Technology's relentless march causes giants to stumble when good, smart competitors focus on their strengths and their competitors' weaknesses. Intel will rebound, and the customer will win with better products that will do amazing things.

Wireless wins!

The New York Times > International > Europe > Premier's Camp Signals a Threat to Ukraine Unity

Ethnic and religious allegiances are far stronger than political ties, as we learned in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Darfur, and many other places on earth. jurisdictional and political boundaries and institutions mean little against the forces that tie people to their passions, language, family and beliefs.

The United States is truly a unique experiment in the democratic rule of law, one that will be tested now and in the future as immigrants continue to arrive and shape this country, seeking a better economic future and relief from the class and ethnic warfare in their homelands.

November 28, 2004

The Globe and Mail: Protesters won't rule out possible acts of violence

Oh, yes. Peace activists possibly planning to use "direct action" (violence?) in their protests for President Bush's visit to Ottawa.

The AIDS Tragedy in Sub-Saharan Africa - Courtesy NY Times Posted by Hello

Click here for a good summary of the issues faced by sub-Saharan Africa.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Last Mile

Thomas, help with the media piece. Does the NY Times have an Arabic language daily/weekly? If not, why not invest in one or a TV station that will counter Al Jazeerah? The issue of information and news that Arab society believes or hears or reads does not solely belong to Bush. Why doesn't American media step up to the plate? Because, in general 'Big Media' doesn't support the war, that's why.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Blood Is Thicker Than Gravy

Thanks for giving your brother space in your column to speak what most Americans believe. Now, take it to heart and get with the mainstream. But I'll bet you won't. You make too much money in the ultra left domain and have your bosses to satisfy.

The New York Times > International > Africa > A Hollowed Generation | Plunge in Life Expectancy: Hut by Hut, AIDS Steals Life in a Southern Africa Tow

A tale that will have a tragic ending, I'm afraid. There are so many factors underlying this epidemic, not the least of which are ignorance, superstition, rampant warfare (including rape) and apparent unrestrained or unprotected sex.

So sad. But is it preventable in this culture? Doubtful.

Click here for a good summary of the issues faced by sub-Saharan Africa.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"He does not know, he acknowledged, how much worse that epidemic will become.
Virtually all the Swazis dying today were infected in the 1990's, when the infection rate was far lower than it is today. Those who are just now infected will not fall gravely ill until about 2012 - a tidal wave of illness and death that is still eight years away.
How Lavumisa and other similar towns will cope with that is anyone's guess. 'Nobody has ever walked that road,' Dr. von Wissell said. 'Nobody.' "

November 27, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Good News About Poverty

David Brooks is at it again, sharing good news. The good news is that globalization works. Anti-globalization rioters and lunatics take note...you may be out of a job. (We know you're out of work because you have all this time to engage in globe-trotting riots.) Other less radical but ultra-liberal folks, pay attention. Are downsides associated with globalization? Yes. There are dislocations in the developed countries as some jobs move to others, but looked at on a global basis, more people have a higher standard of living.

I love Brooks' concluding message:

"Just once, I'd like to see someone like Bono or Bruce Springsteen stand up at a concert and speak the truth to his fan base: that the world is complicated and there are no free lunches. But if you really want to reduce world poverty, you should be cheering on those guys in pinstripe suits at the free-trade negotiations and those investors jetting around the world. Thanks, in part, to them, we are making progress against poverty. Thanks, in part, to them, more people around the world have something to be thankful for."

The New York Times > Washington > Vast Borrowing Seen in Altering Social Security

This article is a very worthwhile read. It explains in relatively simple terms the cost of the fix to Social Security. I favor personal accounts for the primary reason that they will very likely return more to the beneficiaries on the invested amounts over the long term. In addition, significant equity capital would be available to the private sector which should help the economy. Many do not favor private accounts, but I don't understand their opposition in the face of what nearly everyone agrees is a very large financial dilemma. What are the arguments against private accounts?

I applaud the Republicans for taking the initiative to fix SS before the crisis is fully upon us. This is absolutely the right time to address the problem.

November 25, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: In My Next Life

Thanks, Thomas. You do have it right way down inside where it counts. The people who willingly fight and die in the service of this country must be honored whether one agrees with the policies underlying their sacrifice or not. By and large they do what they do because they believe in this country and its underlying values

The excesses of vanity, selfishness and power that you describe in the rest of the article are wrong and need fixing. Sports and political excesses, our inherent selfisness and all the dark side of what America is do not serve us well. But, it's not a Republican or Democrat thing. Power breeds expected privilege and our Congress, as one example, is now and always has been replete with power brokers who do the country a disservice when their motives are less than altruistic. The underlying problem is the corruptible 'us,' as Pogo knew so well.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"If I can't be any of these, then I want to be just a simple blue-state red-state American. I want to take time on this Thanksgiving to thank God I live in a country where, despite so much rampant selfishness, the public schools still manage to produce young men and women ready to voluntarily risk their lives in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to spread the opportunity of freedom and to protect my own. And I want to thank them for doing this, even though on so many days in so many ways we really don't deserve them."

November 24, 2004

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Marines in Falluja Find Rebel Leader's Arsenal

Good to find his arsenal, better to find and eradicate him.

Reuters News Article- Declaration of Independence Banned at CA School

A piece describing a situation where political correctness distorts and destroys the truth. This is a prime example of the wrongfulness of political correctness. How can anyone tolerate this foolishness? Courts should uphold a teacher's right to describe, teach and reveal that God and morality was a fundamental underpinning of the founding of this country.

Whether someone believes in God is irrelevant to the truth of history and the founding principles of this nation.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Steamroller Out of Steam

I agree with Safire (gosh, we'll miss him at the Times!) that the Senate Intelligence Committee has not done its oversight job. As I recall John Kerry is one of the committee's senior members who didn't bother showing up for meetings.

Release the report of the Cole attack.

November 23, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Dan Rather to Step Down at CBS in March

This is as it should be. At 73 Rather should step down from the anchor position and away from '60 Minutes' and all of CBS News as well . He has done his work over the years. Now the time has come to hang up the spurs. And the producer, Mapes, should resign also because it appears she had a big part in the forged documents fiasco, including her call to the Kerry campaign.

November 20, 2004


Aka Webster Lake! Posted by Hello

Yahoo! News - Pacers Brawl With Fans During Pistons Game

Americans are rivaling the violence of world soccer fans. One problem in America is that many hooligans are playing the game in addition to those buying tickets. Sad.

The New York Times > National > What's the Name of That Lake? It's Hard to Say

When I lived nearby, we used to call it Webster Lake, but I've always remembered the Indian name and could always pronounces it reasonably accurately, but spell it? No way!

November 19, 2004

The New York Times > AP > Technology > Congress Blocks Net Connection Taxation

Good work by our Congress. Keep the Internet and access to it tax free. Taxing the Internet DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Additional legislation may be needed to privent taxation of VoIP.


"``Congress, consumers and the private sector should be able to revisit the issue and adjust to emerging technologies and market realities,'' he (National Governors Association Executive Director Raymond C. Scheppach) said. ``It just makes sense.''

The bill has no effect on an emerging Internet technology that some states want to tax as a traditional telecommunications service -- Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP. The service lets consumers use Internet technology like telephones."

The New York Times > AP > Business > Greenspan Says U.S. Deficits Pose a Risk

This could be a very BIG problem. "So far, foreigners are willing to lend the United States money to finance the current account imbalances, Greenspan pointed out. The worry, however, is that at some point foreigners might suddenly lose interest in holding dollar-denominated investments. That could cause foreigners to unload investments in U.S. stocks and bonds, sending their prices plunging and interest rates soaring."

The New York Times > Education > Republicans Outnumbered in Academia, Studies Find

A very skewed academic environment on major college campuses. This article describes the situation well. Not a healthy mix of worldviews when liberals outnumber conservatives nine to one or more.

November 18, 2004

Yahoo! News - News Groups Will Delay Future Exit Polls

Eliminate exit polls. If news organizations won't do it, the interviewees should lie. Exit polls should not substitute for vote counts.

The New York Times > Washington > House G.O.P. Acts to Protect Chief

The Republicans shouldn't have done this.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Plague of Toadies

Is Dowd the 'loyal opposition' or only a shrew? Her diatribes always seem calculated to rouse the anti-Bush rabble. She has good points to make, but is always over the top in her language and ranting literary style. To be expected from a disappointed leftie, I suppose, with a forum. Hate-filled. Too bad.

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan

Quiet wisdom from Peggy Noonan for Republicans and Democrats alike. Maureen Dowd...are you listening/reading?

Privacy-Anonymity-Paranoia

A friend forwarded this link to me. My take on the privacy issue is this:

Having made the decision to enter the electronic world, life is too short for me to expend excessive energy and angst on who knows what about me or worrying the FBI or some other spook will come aknocking at my door. I really don't care that my email is stored forever or that people may mine it. I don't have any expectation that what I put in email is private. Any recipient of my email can choose to forward it to anyone they wish. So we really shouldn't have any privacy expectation using email whether GMail or any other email service.
Having said that, I take reasonable precautions not to expose my electronic information to the world. Just as we may not use a cell phone (not so much an issue with digital cell service as it was in ye old analog world) for certain discussions, email should be treated the same way. Some things are best handled face-to-face, on the telephone (but that may be an issue as we move to IP telephony, or telephony via the Internet) or in snail mail (assuming we trust the postal services of the world).

I want my government to have the means to snoop on the bad guys with adequate protections to prevent abuse. If I were a 'bad guy' I'd worry about snoopers and Google and Hotmail and any other email service that retains my email. The government can get my phone records (no content, unless they wiretap) for just cause. I think that's OK.

I believe the most vexing risk is identity theft and I try to take precautions to avoid that.

In the words of my friend: "...so I pays my dues and takes my chances as they say."

The New York Times > Technology > SBC in Deal With Microsoft to Provide TV on High-Speed Lines

The race is finally on now that the telcos have a green light form the FCC to deploy fiber on a non-common carrier basis. This whole show has been one of timing as the FCC 'waited' for the cable companies to deploy their digital network so that facilities-based competition would exist rather than rely on the use of telco facilities by other providers of services.

The only competitive business model that makes sense is facilities-based competition. Now the question is: what becomes of the broadcast TV channels and companies. Long term that frequency spectrum is best used for wireless device connectivity and yet another competitive facilities-based alternative for broadband services, of which traditional TV/video is only one.

The deal with Microsoft is interesting. Since Verizon already has a deal with Microsoft as ISP associated with its DSL service, it makes sense for then to use MS for IP-TV too.

"Consumers will potentially have hundreds of channels to choose from, although the delivery of that programming will be different from cable's. All IP-TV programs will be delivered as video-on-demand - consumers request a program from a central server and it is delivered immediately. In contrast, cable companies typically send hundreds of channels to customers' homes all at once - although newer, digital cable systems can also send programs one by one as in video-on-demand.
Initially, SBC hopes that the Microsoft technology will allow it to simultaneously send two high-definition channels and two standard-definition channels for consumers with two televisions on at once, as well as a high-speed Internet connection to consumers. Subscribers will need to add only a new set-top box to receive the programming. SBC will also have to achieve vast increases in data speeds on its network."

November 17, 2004

November 16, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Unused PC Power to Run Grid for Unraveling Disease

A powerful harnessing of unused CPUs. Since Google also sponsors a project of this nature, will many good works be competing for computing power? Interesting dilemma.

Projects within the IBM initiative will also compete for priority.

November 15, 2004

The New York Times > Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

Given her venomous nature, at least as portrayed in her columns, I'd say Dowd is in the crosshairs of many outspoken conservatives and moderates. Her column should be printed in red ink.

ABC News: Democrats Vie for Party Chair

Go for it Howard and continue the Democrats' train wreck. I think you will not get the post.

A symbol of moderation exits | csmonitor.com

Very sorry to see Powell leave, though he has said for some time he wouldn't stay on after the election.

FOXNews.com - FNS w/ Chris Wallace - Transcript: Sen. Joe Lieberman on 'FOX News Sunday'

Lieberman is a good guy. I like him and I hope that Bush will offer him a cabinet post. If not, then his leadership in the Senate will be invaluable. The country would be well served with Joe Lieberman in a policy leadership role.

"Muggs" Newest Usher Airedale from Denis Curtiss, Sculptor Posted by Hello

Dear IE, I'm leaving you for good

A great piece of writing, Vamosi!

The New York Times > Business > Teamsters Find Pensions at Risk

Here's an example of an excellent story by the Times. Stories like this, though, will be used in arguments about the Bush administration's attempts to revamp Social Security. Let the debate begin!!

Mini clash of civilizations - The Washington Times: Commentary - November 15, 2004

Radical Islam is on the march in Europe. The stunning statistic in this piece about the Muslim population in Holland is this:

"Today, Muslims are a majority among children under 14 in the Netherlands' four largest cities."

The New York Times > Health > Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs

I can already hear the screams of the privacy advocates, those who see this as a another increase in the cost of health care, advocates who say this is nothing more than a ploy to protect the big drug companies, etc., etc..

When all is said and done, publicity for RFID on wholesale drug containers may be as effective as the implementation to cut down on the counterfeit drug trade.

As for theft, people will bring their own containers when stealing drugs from the local pharmacy for personal use or resale.

This is not a panacea.

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas speaks the truth about Arafat and we should be vigilant concerning the motives of any other Palestinian leader(s) who may emerge. Recent events after Arafat's burial indicate the people are in a frenzy.

I believe that the Arab world could solve this problem if they wanted to. More likely they won't because the radical Islamists in all countries want Israel pushed into the sea.

I am fearful that a day will come when we find a nuke has been exploded in Israel. I wonder if America and Europe have a contingency plan for that short of Armageddon?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: U.N. Obstructs Justice

Safire has written one of the hardest-hitting commentaries yet on U.N. corruption in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food program.

Where is the investigative reporting from the media? Where is the outrage from the left and those who truly believe the U.N. is the forum for global peace, humanitarian relief and harmony?

When will what is shaping up as an outrageous scandal be fully exposed? No surprise that France and French interests seem to be major players and beneficiaries in this mess. My guess is that some Americans are caught up in it, too.

Stay with this, Safire! I hope the Times sees fit to devote many more resources to this story.

November 14, 2004

Arafat's Thievery

A report from Drudge quoting Time Magazine and other sources says that not only was Arafat a terrorist, but also a thief, stealing from the Palestinian people for years. Many think him a hero. History will show him to be a worthless terrorist and thief. What a terrible travesty he and his henchmen have wrought on the Palestinian people.
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"MAG: Arafat Skimmed $2 Million a Month From the Gas TradeSun Nov 14 2004 09:53:40 ETNew York --

Last year auditors discovered Arafat was guilty of skimming $2 million a month from the gasoline trade in the territories, TIME reports.In August 2002 international donors forced Arafat to sign over his investments to the Palestine Investment Fund, which was audited by U.S. accountants and managed by Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, a former International Monetary Fund official. After scouring corporations throughout the Arab world and bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, the auditors identified $800 million, which has been made a part of the Palestinian Authority’s official budget. “It’s the most successful financial reform in the Arab world,” Jim Prince, president of the Los Angeles–based Democracy Council and head of the audit team, tells TIME.

People close to Fayyad’s investigation told TIME of Arafat’s skimming from the gas trade. Breaking the gasoline smuggling and corruption boosted the Palestinian Authority’s official treasury by $10 million a month and cut gas prices for ordinary Palestinians. “Arafat’s death means his followers may never know just how much more they may be owed,” writes TIME’s Matt Rees in “Where’s Arafat’s Money?”

In the mid-1990s, Arafat controlled a financial empire worth at least $3 billion. By the time of his death, he was down to his last $1 billion, according to Israeli-intelligence estimates.Arafat wife Suha’s outburst that his successors were “trying to bury [him] alive” came after she learned that Arafat had signed over at least $800 million to the government of the Palestinian Authority two years ago, TIME reports.

Top Palestinian officials say Suha wants the new chief of the P.L.O., Mahmoud Abbas, and Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei to give her money out of the P.L.O.’s party coffers. But a senior P.L.O. official tells TIME, “they’ll pay her a pension, and that’s it.

”People familiar with Arafat’s finances say the Palestinian leader sent Suha $200,000 a month out of the Palestinian Authority’s budget for the Office of the President. French authorities are investigating transfers of $15 million from Swiss banks to Paris accounts in Suha’s name at the Arab Bank and at BNP Paribas Bank, a French bank, TIME reports. Senior Palestinian security officials tell TIME that Arafat also shipped money to the gunmen of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades."
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Pray for enlightened leadership from the Palestinians, Israel, the Arab world and the U.S.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Arafat Voids

Power is everything, Tom. Doing the right thing is only second best...at best. However, that said, since Sharon is in the last days of his life and Bush is in his last term, perhaps they will choose the right thing since they have the power now, but will soon lose it.

The more difficult question is: Do the Palestinians want peace? I have seen little that suggests they do. The only way for peace to break out is if Arab leaders, not only Western leaders, stand up and say we want peace and then take actions to curb the terrorists.

This ball is not only in Bush's court. I don't think the Arabs and Palestinians have shown they want peace. Until they do, Israel should not give an inch. The Gaza withdrawal is a good sign but should not be done n a vacuum.

NYTImes Reporting on Nantucket Sound Wind Farm


Cape Cod Wind Farm Mock-up Posted by Hello

Aesthetics and clean energy. Will the twain ever meet.? I think the answer is yes, but not without much pain and great expense. Vermont is wrestling the same issue with the debate now centered on the mountain ridgelines,. However, Lake Champlain has an ample supply of wind and the Islands area, particularly South Hero, has plenty of shallow water and prevailing southerlies and southwesterlies. This is the same area that VELCO was forced to place power lines underwater when ice damaged the overhead towers.

Wouldn't it be ironic if someday this same area sprouted wind turbines?

The much larger question is the economics of wind vs. fossil vs. nuclear. Nuclear is probably the best source for future electrical energy generation, much more effective than wind, but the irrational fear of nuclear will thwart its growth.

In all these discussions and controversies, we should always be mindful of the often hidden anti-growth agenda of many 'environmentalists.' The essential debate, it seems to me, is the long term sustainability of the economic and social well-being of our society and its continuing demand for energy to support the 'good life.' Few want to risk being labeled "Anti-growth", though Vermont has more than its share of people who really see this as the crucial issue in air and water quality controversies as well as for renewable energy. Cheap nuclear power would abrogate the sustainability arguments.

Jeff Wennberg, Vermont's Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, recently exposed anti-growth as the real agenda behind the Conservation Law Foundation's litigation efforts at stormwater remediation and the water quality of Lake Champlain.

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Public Editor: It's Good to Be Objective. It's Even Better to Be Right.

I saw Okrent on C-SPAN recently at a Harvard seminar. I find him to be smart, but a bit scatter-brained. Here's his attempt to handle objectivity in reporting. He seems so ingrained in journalism's nuances that he is not straightforward enough in his own writing.

He almost implies that reporting and commentary are inseparable. A key point he does make, though, is the power of the editing and story selection process, a place where bias and objectivity can have a field day.

He certainly has a tough job! I wouldn't want it.

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Public Editor: It's Good to Be Objective. It's Even Better to Be Right.

I saw Okrent on C-SPAN recently at a Harvard seminar. I find him to be smart, but a bit scatter-brained. Here's his attempt to handle objectivity in reporting. He seems so ingrained in journalism's nuances that he is not straightforward enough in his own writing.

He almost implies that reporting and commentary are inseparable. A key point he does make, though, is the power of the editing and story selection and placement process in the newspaper, an arena where bias and objectivity can have a field day.

He certainly has a tough job! I wouldn't want it.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The C.I.A. Versus Bush

This piece by Brooks is a call to action for Bush to clean house at the CIA. If what Brooks says is true, then stern action is required. While we can tolerate political differences at the CIA, we cannot tolerate insubordination and active hostility against the elected President, whoever he is and whichever party is in power. Seems a come-uppance of some sort is needed quickly.

November 12, 2004

ARIANNA ONLINE - November 11, 2004 - The Architects Of Defeat

An insightful analysis of the bad advice that Kerry received from the Democratic 'pros.' They will probably be sent out to pasture by the next Democratic candidate in 2008.

My Way News - Scott Peterson Guilty

Finally this fiasco is over. Now the cable and network news channels can go back to regular programming. Real news and commentary is what we need, not these soap opera diversions.

FundWatch: U.S. stock funds lure more cash as investors buck up - Financial - Financial Services - Mutual Funds

The market likes the Republican sweep!

The New York Times > Washington > AARP Opposes Bush Plan to Replace Social Security With Private Accounts

Personal accounts within the Social Security framework make sense. AARP and the Democrats would be wise to help with a solution rather than oppose the President. The votes of young people are at stake in future elections. Haven't the Democrats learned anything? Perhaps they have an alternative plan for Social Security. If so, out with it!

The New York Times > National > Caution in Court for Gay Rights Groups

These comments show the degree that gay rights advocates see America's courts out of step with public opinion and beliefs. This thinking argues for different courts and judges. Never has it been so clear that the Constitution and the underlying moral beliefs that led to it's creation are under attack.

Gay marriage is NOT a civil right.

"Matthew Coles, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's lesbian and gay rights project, said that groups like his would adopt a measured pace in filing lawsuits.

"The consequences - the risks - of losing are great," Mr. Coles said. "And we're unprepared for the consequences of winning." In his eyes, he said, winning in court too soon could mean losing in the court of public opinion, in Congress and under the United States Constitution.

The challenge now, gay rights leaders said, is to change public attitudes.

"There is no putting lipstick on this pig," said Matt Foreman, who is the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and who will give the keynote address on Friday morning at the group's conference in St. Louis. "Our legal strategy is at least 10 years ahead of our political and legislative strategy."

FOXNews.com - Politics - Privacy Experts Shun Black Boxes

The buyer of a car should be able to choose whether or not a black box is installed, or if that isn't feasible, the owner of the car should be able to turn off the black box at will. Black boxes can be very helpful, but should not be mandatory

Black boxes in public transportation is not the same as in private transportation

November 11, 2004

France's Chirac hails Arafat as man of courage

Arafat was 'a man of courage and conviction,' but a terrorist through and through.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: 'Groundhog Day' in Iraq

Good questions from Friedman, particularly #3. That's the one that has me worried. We shouldn't kid ourselves that Muslims think about government like we do...far from it.

I think to 'mend fences' with Iran is the wrong metaphor. Try 'let freedom ring'

November 10, 2004

FCC further deregulates Net calls | Tech News on ZDNet

Another positive step by the FCC to enable VoIP. The states' role in telephony regulation must be rethought. Further actions by the FCC will be needed. Seems NARUC and the FCC really must sit together and decide the many issues involved in the transition to VoIP rather than pursue a 'let the courts decide' approach.

The New York Times > Technology > Even Digital Memories Can Fade

Mindful of this, I do upload most of my keeper photos to Shutterfly. Hopefully they feel compelled to retain them for a very long time. However, I can't download from Shutterfly. Perhaps they have an alternate business plan as a digital storage utility.

Seems there's a need for such a service for personal use. xdrive.com offers something akin to that now. Keeping digital stuff stored on the net with reputable companies makes sense, if the price and security is right. Broadband penetration will certainly facilitate the up/download. A filing system must be searchable and easy to use. Seems to me that Google is the right company to offer a service like this given the massive server farms they already have in place for their search services, the Usenet archives, Picasa, and Blogger. Certainly is in line with their mission. (Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.)

November 9, 2004

My Way News - Arafat Barely Alive

Follow the money!

"Suha Arafat, the mother of Arafat's daughter, seems to have aligned herself with hard-liners who apparently seek to lead in a post-Arafat era, though some Palestinian officials said her motives are more financial.
According to a senior official in Arafat's office, she has received monthly payments of $100,000 from Palestinian coffers and is widely believed to control vast funds collected by the PLO.This year, French prosecutors launched a money-laundering investigation into transfers of $11.4 million into her accounts. She has refused to talk to reporters about Palestinian finances. "

What The Mullahs Learned From Their Neighbor

The first order of business, not clearly stated herein is to get our 'allies' clean and honest in their mid-east dealings. The French, Germans and Chinese (I don't have any information about Japan) were up to their eyeballs in the Oil for Food scam, their holding of a large amount of Iraqi debt and major suppliers to the illicit Iraqi dealings in WMD. If they are at it again in Iran, that has to stop before any of the author's suggestions will work.

At some point the facts will be on the table and our 'allies' will have to answer for their selfish, charade. If the Europeans are serious, they'll put troops in the Middle East along with Britain and France. The 'old' Europeans need to clean up their act.

How Bush deals with all this, probably with a new Secretary of State, will be fascinating. The 'old' European leaders may not like Bush, but they have to deal with him and the realities in the Muslim world. Their tendency is appeasement and that just won't work.

Marines enter trip-wired Fallujah | csmonitor.com

God bless the Marines!

Wanted: Dead or Alive Posted by Hello

Top News Article | Reuters.com| Is Arafat Dead or Alive?

Even in death, or lack thereof, Arafat and the Palestinians continue to show no signs of hope. They and the French cannot even agree whether he's dead or not. What a ridiculous state of affairs. The Israelis are smart to stay quiet on the sidelines at the moment but be prepared for riotous violence to follow. Meanwhile, the world can watch this farce play out.

The United States should send no one to his funeral, unless Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton want to go.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Take a Ride to Exurbia

And, of course, pick up a copy of David Brooks' book, 'On Paradise Drive.' Brooks gets it and the old line Democrat strategists didn't in this election. The Democrats' traditional rust belt, union, welfare, black and ethnic thinking did them in. The people who care about the future, have hope and optimism, and want to see terrorists not only defeated but eradicated (Bush uses the euphemism 'brought to justice') voted for Bush. The hatred-driven vote and the hate-filled appeal from assholes like Michael Moore and Barbara Streisand failed and will always fail, with or without the help of The Rolling Stones.

I will carefully watch how/if the New York Times and CBS can set their ships on a more realistic course. The real key to that is diversity of thought in the newsroom.

Kate O'Beirne What Republicans Knew in 2004

Can't find a link to this opinion piece that appears in today's Burlington Free Press. But she is incisive in her comments on Bush's reelection. If I find a link, I will include it.

Here's an excerpt of her piece and I think a key to why W won:

"Bush enjoys the appeal of authenticity. He is a conviction politician, utterly comfortable with who he is and what he believes. Kerry, meanwhile, tried to shed his party and his past by donning a yellow barn coat and attempting to pass himself off as a fiscal conservative, a defense hawk, a gun aficionado, a faithful Catholic and a proud veteran."

November 8, 2004

The New York Times: Daniel Okrent's Columns & Web Journal (Forum/Message Board)

A pithy and well stated comment (#400) to the Times' Public Editor, Daniel Okrent.

Using All of a Mandate . . . (washingtonpost.com)

Well said, Mr. Krauthammer!

CBS 2 - New York News: Local Wire

Not a chance that the Dems would choose Howard Dean. The Clintons wouldn't stand for it.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Iran Jails More Journalists and Blocks Web Sites

Iran's mullahs are fighting a losing battle. Information and opinion on the Internet will prevail over the restrictions on "disturbing the public mind ," as the charges are labeled. How long will it take, and will the revolution be peaceful or violent? If violent and if the U.S. has a significant military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, what will we do? Big question. I think the mullahs should be worried.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Voting Without the Facts

And on goes the debate. Herbert now asserts that many who voted for Bush are ignorant, thus inferior to those in the know, as he suggests left-leaning liberals are.

The flow will continue as all the excuses are poured out. Ignorance is not a virtue, nor a value. Bias is the real issue, isn't it? Whether liberal OR conservative. Bias is not intrinsically bad, except when it masquerades as truth or is disguised as objectivity, as is often the case in the media.

NPR : Arafat's Wife Criticizes Palestinian Leadership

Follow the money!! If it turns out that Arafat has stashed millions in Swiss banks as some allege, the money should be quickly confiscated, put under some trusted authority (not necessarily the U.N. because they have been shown to be corrupt in the Iraq Oil for Food fiasco) and distributed to the Palestinian people in some equitable way that would be tied to a reinvigorated Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

News - Blas Damages Muslim School In Netherlands

Unfortunate, but this is the type of 'warning' signal that Muslims open themselves up to when one terrorist kills in the violent, grisly manner in which Van Gogh was killed. Let's pray there is no further bloodshed. I hope Dutch Muslims are strongly condemning Van Gogh's slaying.

November 7, 2004

My Way News - Social Reform Security Plan

Well, as expected, Democratic leadership in Congress will oppose fixing Social Security. Pelosi is not getting off on the right foot (no pun intended!). Here's a Washington Times commentary that provides some estimates based on the 2001 SS Commission's recommended 'Model 2.' The Commission was chaired by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

The real value of reform to include a system of SS personal accounts investing all young Americans in capitalism, the crucial underpinning of American democracy. The continue-as-is option inevitably creates a more socialistic welfare state because of the enormous infusion of tax dollars and/or substantially higher payroll taxes, rather than 'personal investment $, that would be required to pay for the present system. However, in this transition one must not underestimate the value and comfort level that has been created by 401(k)s and other retirement vehicles. Because of their proliferation, Americans might accept more easily the SS reforms to include private accounts invested in bonds and equities. Long term, any private accounts plan has the advantage of keeping more of the public debt (when government bonds are chosen as investments) in the hands of ordinary Americans rather than today's escalating reliance on foreigners owning our debt.

November 6, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Footprints in the Sand

Thomas is right about Arafat. He is not a hero in any sense of the word. He is a terrorist, pure and simple. The sooner he's gone from the world scene the better. But if he has stashed millions in Swiss banks, they should be retrieved and spent to improve the lot of the Palestinians. Israel is not going to disappear and any hope that they will is foolish, unless someone nukes them. God forbid!

Let's hope for enlightened leadership.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Rove's Revenge

Dowd is so hate-filled, she's going over the edge. Too bad.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Time to Get Religion

Yet another excellent piece, this time by Kristof, far more liberal than Brooks, but a realist, it appears.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Values-Vote Myth

Thank you David Brooks for setting the record straight. You have properly described the reality of this election. The liberals just don't get it because they live inside a bubble they call rational thinking. They are more often than not idealists who think that rational policies will make people, with rational government help, better off.

Unfortunately, within this bubble they breathe a polluted atmosphere of political correctness, believing that learning, education and listening to National Public Radio will turn everyone into liberals with their values. The American reality is very much more diverse than this, thank goodness.

MSNBC - Clinton to Dems: Don't whine, work on image

Message to Bill: I agree whining is not useful. But it's not image the Dems need, it's beliefs, values and a clear policy on the future of America. As an example, I will be interested to see how the Dems respond to the initiative to fix Social Security. Will they cooperate or obstruct?

So very interesting that Clinton uses these words, quoting from the AP article:

"Former President Clinton has a message for Democrats inconsolable after President Bush?s re-election: "Buck up. It?s not that bad. You need to improve your image" (Emphasis added as Bill doesn't use the words we and our. He disassociates himself from the Democrats who failed to elect Kerry. True Clinton style. He has not changed his spots.)

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Battle Plans: All Sides Prepare for American Attack on Falluja

Here's in a nutshell how the fight for Falluja shapes up. Martyrdom is at hand for the terrorist 'insurgents'

"We are going to rid the city of insurgents," said Lt. Col. Gary Brandl, a battalion commander in charge of about 800 marines at a base outside the city. "If they do fight, we will kill them."


"The man, who identified himself as Abu Muhammad, said the fighters were more numerous and better prepared than the last time they battled the Americans, in April. "We trust in God," he said, explaining why he thought that the insurgents were so strong. "We have two choices - victory or martyrdom."

November 5, 2004

Why Americans Hate Democrats?A Dialogue - The unteachable ignorance of the red states. By Jane?Smiley

Why Americans Hate Democrats?A Dialogue - The unteachable ignorance of the red states. By Jane Smiley

I can't believe that a rational American could write this. If not deranged, Jane Smiley would make a wonderful sidekick to Howard Dean, Dan Rather and Maureen Dowd.

Victor Davis Hanson on Election 2004 on National Review Online

Victor Davis Hanson has it right. Finally some sane, rational analysis of the situation we faced that resulted in Bush's win. The Democrats cannot fool the people with their hate disguised as manufactured facts and lofty arguments.

I am so disappointed, but not surprised, that most and usually best of the media failed America by aligning with the Kerry camp and willingly fabricated biased and sometimes false reporting to help Kerry win this election. Sad, but I distrust the media for what they have done. How they will make amends is hard to fathom. They have so little sympathy or respect from so many people.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Why We Lost

Finally, an assessment that makes sense from a hard-working Democrat who has spoken that the Democrats are lost as a party and need to find their way.

Howard Dean's answer is the wrong one because it's built on hate.

From Mathew Manweller

What more to say?
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This was written in the Daily Record (Ellensburg's [WA]paper) on Wed. Oct. 6, 2004. It was written by Mathew (only one t) Manweller who is a Central Washington University political science professor. The title of the article was "Election determines fate of nation."

"In that this will be my last column before the presidential election there will be no sarcasm, no attempts at witty repartee. The topic is too serious, and the stakes are too high. This November we will vote in the only election during our lifetime that will truly matter. Because America is at a once-in-a-generation crossroads, more than an election hangs in the balance. Down one path lies retreat, abdication and a reign of ambivalence. Down the other lies a nation that is aware of its past and accepts the daunting obligation its future demands. If we choose poorly, the consequences will echo through the next 50 years of history. If we, in a spasm of frustration, turn out the current occupant of the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be twofold. First, we will reject the notion that America can do big things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us. But more significantly, we will signal to future presidents that as voters, we are unwilling to tackle difficult challenges, preferring caution to boldness, embracing the mediocrity that has characterized other civilizations.

The defeat of President Bush will send a chilling message to future presidents who may need to make difficult, yet unpopular decisions. America has always been a nation that rises to the demands of history regardless of the costs or appeal. If we turn away from that legacy, we turn away from who we are. Second, we inform every terrorist organization on the globe that the lesson of Somalia was well learned. In Somalia we showed terrorists that you don't need to defeat America on the battlefield when you can defeat them in the newsroom. They learned that a wounded America can become a defeated America. Twenty-four-hour news stations and daily tracing polls will do the heavy lifting, turning a cut into a fatal blow. Except that Iraq is Somalia times 10. The election of John Kerry will serve notice to every terrorist in every cave that the soft underbelly of American power is the timidity of American voters. Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grizzly photos for CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our own self-doubt will take it from there. Bin Laden will recognize that he can topple any American administration without setting foot on the homeland.

It is said that America's W.W.II generation is its 'greatest generation.' But my greatest fear is that it will become known as America's 'last generation.' Born in the bleakness of the Great Depression and hardened in the fire of WW II, they may be the last American generation that understands the meaning of duty, honor and sacrifice. It is difficult to admit, but I know these terms are spoken with only hollow detachment by many (but not all) in my generation. Too many citizens today mistake 'living in America' as 'being an American.' But America has always been more of an idea than a place.

When you sign on, you do more than buy real estate. You accept a set of values and responsibilities. This November, my generation, which has been absent too long, must grasp the obligation that comes with being an American, or fade into the oblivion they may deserve. I believe that 100 years from now historians will look back at the election of 2004 and see it as the decisive election of our century. Depending on the outcome, they will describe it as the moment America joined the ranks of ordinary nations; or they will describe it as the moment the prodigal sons and daughters of the greatest generation accepted their burden as caretakers of the City on the Hill."