August 31, 2004

The New York Times > AP > International > Video Claims to Show Execution of 12 Nepalese Hostages in Iraq

If true, one more grisly reminder that terror must be eliminated and terrorists must be exterminated.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Twin bus bombs rock Israeli city

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said: "The Palestinian Authority condemns any attacks that target civilians, whether Israelis or Palestinian."


Who are the Palestinians that are not civilians? Police? Others?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Courage Factor

Brooks' analysis is right on the mark. Kerry and Edwards don't have the same believability as Bush and these Republicans, McCain, Giuliani and Schwarzenegger. Will undecideds muster the voting courage to reelect Bush?

August 30, 2004

Ed Koch to Vote for Bush

Interview with Ed Koch by Bill O'Reilly 8/30/04.

KOCH: Kerry was selected by the "Deaniacs," who really wanted Howard Dean, but they concluded that he couldn't win, and I'm sure they were correct. They have no respect for Kerry's positions, even if he is independent of them on occasion. He says he would stay in Iraq; they want to go out yesterday. Almost every position he takes, they don't agree with.
He, ultimately, in order to get the nomination, he had to assure them that they could count on him. But he's tried to move to the middle. It won't work. Moderates understand that if you're radical at the convention, as he was to get their support, that he cannot tell them that now he's going to be a moderate.
So I believe that they, the Deaniacs, as the press calls them, will ultimately get him to do what they want in every case, and he's just bad news. He doesn't have the stomach. And I'm not talking... he's a hero, he's a patriot. I think that all of the attempts to slam his involvement in Vietnam are just dead wrong, as the attacks on President Bush, with respect to the National Guard, are dead wrong. But he doesn't have the stomach, and the Democratic Party doesn't have the stomach to stand up to international terrorism.
And the terrorists have gotten their way with Spain, with the Philippines... a whole host of countries have submitted.

Broadband Wireless Technology

A simple summary by Intel on the various forms of wireless connectivity now and into the near future.

Top News Article || Kerry Proposes a Deal for Iran

And, pray tell, Senators Kerry and Edwards, how would you propose enforcing this bargain with Iran??

Escapable Logic

Escapable Logic

If you are interested in the war on terrorism, please read this... a thoughtful assessment of what needs to be done to get the terrorists. While some of this may be a bit 'ivory towerish,' it resonates with me, both the politics and voting realities in this country and the 4GW approach to defeating terrorists.

Yahoo! News - Vonage VOIP Phone to Run Over Wi-Fi Networks

Services like this will keep the big cell voice providers on their toes. This blending of voice, data, cell, and WiFi is an intriguing mix of options. The devices that can do it all wil be fascinating.

Ley's see, I'm sitting in McDonalds with my laptop or PDA_phone and a headset checking email, browsing the web and talking to my grandkids all at the same time from the same device. What a world!

Who will send me the bill for all of it and how much will I pay?

The New York Times > Arts > NPR's Growing Clout Alarms Member Stations

The tension is palpable! Of course the other factor not mentioned in the piece is the competitive nature of the public behemoth with for-profit radio.

August 29, 2004

Excerpt from 9/11 Commission Report

In a nutshell, the terrorist problem we face: An excerpt from the 9/11 Commission report. Emphasis mine.
"National security used to be considered by studying foreign frontiers, weighing opposing groups of states,and measuring industrial might. To be dangerous, an enemy had to muster large armies. Threats emerged slowly, often visibly, as weapons were forged, armies conscripted, and units trained and moved into place. Because large states were more powerful, they also had more to lose. They could be deterred. Now threats can emerge quickly.

An organization like al Qaeda, headquartered in a country on the other side of the earth, in a region so poor that electricity or telephones were scarce, could nonetheless scheme to wield weapons of unprecedented destructive power in the largest cities of the United States. In this sense, 9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests “over there” should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America “over here.” In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet. But the enemy is not just “terrorism,” some generic evil.(footnote 2) This vagueness blurs the strategy.The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific.

It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism—especially the al Qaeda net-work, its affiliates, and its ideology.(footnote 3) As we mentioned in chapter 2, Usama Bin Ladin and other Islamist terrorist leaders draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition), from at least Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb. That stream is motivated by religion and does not distinguish politics from religion, thus distorting both. It is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world—against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the “head of the snake,” and it must be converted or destroyed. It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate.With it there is no common ground—not even respect for life—on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated.

The New York Times > Opinion > Abolish the Electoral College

This will stir the pot! I think we should think long and hard before deciding to abolish the Electoral College, arcane though it may be, in favor of using the popular vote to elect the President. What else should be done by popular vote? Deciding constitutional amendments? Why not put all the big issues of government to a national binding referendum where majority rules? Big time chaos would be the result.

The Times states:
"The Electoral College's supporters argue that it plays an important role in balancing relations among the states, and protecting the interests of small states. A few years ago, this page was moved by these concerns to support the Electoral College. But we were wrong."

Why not publish both editorials side-by-side so we can see their arguments and how they've changed?

Here We Go Again!
Posted by Hello

August 28, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: America's Failing Health

I mostly agree with Krugman's piece, but I believe there are many reasons for the high and rapidly rising costs, not least of which is the entitlement view of health care. This requires a major change of attitude by all of us as health care consumers, reform of mal-practice, efficiencies by insurers and providers, etc. Easier said than done.

A step would be decoupling employer health provided insurance, but the other essential move is for consumers to pay more out-of-pocket for the services we use. This could be accomplished (not easily) by giving employees more of their health care benefits directly in their paychecks and simultaneously raising the co-pays that HMOs and insurance companies now require, while still offering catastrophic protection. This could be done as a step toward increased use of health care savings accounts, which I favor.

I agree with Greenspan that we are on a terrible collision course in Medicare and Social Security with 77 million Baby Boomer retirements looming. Perhaps, if we are to find a solution for that train wreck, at the same time we can muster the political and personal will for a massive reform that will stabilize the costs for health care.

Unfortunately, the political will for real reform is not present in either party. The prevailing rhetoric that we can grow the U.S. economy fast enough to find a way to pay for all this at current benefit levels is a pipe dream, IMHO.

August 27, 2004

The New York Times > AP > Business > Greenspan Issues Warning on Retirement Benefits

Mr. Greenspan is absolutely right about the BIG issue facing 70 million Americans, Social Security and Medicare is unsustainable. What say you President Bush and Mr. Kerry? Is this a campaign issue or not? Perhaps there's a 527 group out there somewhere that would run ads that the media talking heads and robotic writers would pay some attention to.

Let's see now:
+Most companies want to ditch defined benefit plans
+Airlines want to ditch or severely reduce their pension funds
+Republicans want to privatize some part of Social Security
+Democrats want to do nothing or increase benefits
+Both parties have signed on to a Medicare prescription drug benefit
+Neither is willing to do much of anything about illegal immigration (perhaps these workers will be the SS payers for the Baby boomers if we make them legal!)

AT&T jumps into VoIP - News - ZDNet

An enlightening video interview of Dave Dorman, CEO of AT&T, by Dan Farber. Dorman is focusing on VoIP, particularly as a wholesaler to others, including cable companies and with it's direct-to-consumer service which is sold via Amazon, Best Buy and others.

Dorman is realistic about the future of VoIP, but his trick will be to compete effectively with service and brand. With so much voice moving to wireless access for the 'last mile' via cellular and increasingly via WiFi as homes and public hotspots expand rapidly, AT&T's last, best chance as a telecom company is to provide VoIP robustness, reliability and quality. In any event they have a tough row to hoe competing with the likes of Verizon, SBC and others.

It's sad to see AT&T reduced to an 'also ran' company after it's glory days. Technology, competition and regulation are tough taskmasters. News - UK - Mark Thatcher 'planned to relocate to Texas'

This bizarre story will receive international attention because of the tremendous oil reserves and increasing production in Equatorial Guinea. If this tiny country, apparently run by a brutal despot and his clan, is receiving 500 million British pounds per month from it oil sales, it is ripe for corruption, intrigue and coup attempts.

As this situation demonstrates, the world's oil supply is in the hands of many extraordinarily fragile regimes.

This is a terrorist's delight to exploit.

The New York Times > International > Europe > Traces of Explosives Found in Wreckage of Russian Jet

One more striking example why the global war on terror must be fought with all vigilance and these radical Islamist leaders eradicated. There is not other short term alternative.

August 26, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > A Digital Divide

Apple is probably better off not licensing its DRM software, at least not at this point in the market cycle. They probably made a good decision in the past not to license their OS. Although they are a niche player compared to Microsoft, Apple controls both its hardware and OS with a rabidly loyal customer base and commands a price premium as a result. Neither do they seem to be the worldwide target of costly litigation, bad publicity and hefty settlements.

John Robb's Weblog - Oil and Gas Terror

Terrorists are having a field day disrupting oil and gas flow and sending shivers through financial markets. Blowing up oil and gas facilities will remain a prime target for these people. Defending against such attacks is nearly impossible without constant surveillance on the ground and from the air.

August 25, 2004

Verizon blames federal rules for broadband holdup %7C CNET

Long term, there are two interactive broadband options for home users, fiber and wireless. Cable companies provide a combination of fiber and coax for their broadband offerings. Telcos to this point provide an underlying mix of fiber and copper. Fiber to the premises promises the best option for very high bandwidth. Truly broadband wireless options are not yet deployed. Fiber providers, whether cable or telcos, should be under common rules that do not require them to provide facilities to third parties below cost.

Wireless options on a broad scale are not yet practical, though that possibility moves closer daily.

Verizon has appealed the latest FCC decision to delay pricing access to network facilities, a correct move to keep the pressure on. As usual the FCC is deeply split along partisan lines on most of these contentious issues.

The New York Times %3E Technology %3E Dozens Charged in Crackdown on Spam and Scams

The cat and mouse game around spam continues. The effective solution will be a combination of law enforcement and a technical solution. Relief can't come any too soon.

The New York Times> Washington>Campaign 2004>Advertising>Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Advised Veterans Group

Campaign finance reform and the 527 groups are a sham in the first place. Bush has counseled against all 527 group ads. Will Senator Kerry do the same?

August 24, 2004

Verizon, Qwest file suit to challenge price freeze

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Verizon and Quest will protect their options in court. Powell wants time, but the telcos want correct prices, not contrived wholesale prices for their network elements used by competitors. Going back to court is the correct choice because it's possible that an FCC with different members would hear the case depending on the election outcome.

The New York Times >Washington> Campaign 2004>TV Watch> On Cable> a Fog of Words About Kerry%27s War Record

The maelstrom swirls and churns and the facts are awash with opinion! Ugh.

At best, cable news programs swing into action when a crisis or major news development occurs, marshaling their resources to give viewers instant, live access. At their worst, they amplify the loudest voices and blur complexities. People can blame the confusion of combat for some of the discrepancies over Mr. Kerry's war record, but cable has done little to clear the air.

The New York Times >Opinion>Op-Ed Columnist>The Vietnam Passion

In this column, David Brooks has nailed the real John Kerry. He is not the leader that America needs

August 23, 2004

Yahoo%21 News - Red Roof Inns to Get Wi-Fi Hotspots

More WiFi hotspots. Great.

FCC chairman%3A Telecom rules are broken %7C %7C CNET

I agree with Chairman Powell. The Internet has disrupted the existing reluatory regime and any new regime should be both light- and even-handed

Demand on special ed is growing %7C

"In an era when special education is one of the fastest-growing areas in school budgets nationwide, this case symbolizes new questions about the responsibilities of classroom teachers" To what extent should schools take steps to help children with social and emotional disabilities particularly when children demonstrate strong academic capacities? Which of these kids belong in special ed and which just need extra help - from counseling to greater supervision on the playground?"

This dilemma is a tough one. To what degree should we all pay via school taxes for the costs to not only educate but also manage the social development of students. A very hard question indeed.

Our RV at Cape Cod
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Lone Petunia
Posted by Hello subscribers exposed %7C CNET

On and on it goes! Anyone who thinks they have absolute privacy and security when using the Internet is fooling themselves. Since that's the reality, we have to be comfortable with some degree of risk. I am.

Yahoo%21 News - Glaciers Shrink%2C But Some Resist Global Warming

Not enough glacial evidence to prove global warming

The New York Times %3E Technology %3E The Call Is Cheap. The Wiretap Is Extra.

The monitoring of call origins, destinations and content is a crucial and legitimate law enforcement and terrorist snagging need. The costs to do so must be paid and the resultant prices for service will be higher than without this capacity.

The real dilemma comes from the P2P technologies like Skype. Criminals and terrorists aren't dumb. P2P will be their technology of choice.

August 22, 2004

New York Daily News - Home - Exposed%3A Scandal of double voters

Well this is an interesting development. People voting twice in federal elections in different states because there is no cross check system in place to prevent it. Sounds like a big hole in American democracy. Probably the way to get at it is to prosecute a few cases successfully with high profile publicity. Who should do the prosecuting?? Good question.

The New York Times - National Law Backing 2-Sex Marriage Is Upheld by Federal Judge

Headline spin! 2-sex marriage is a new term for marriage as we have always known it. Is this some new language protocol for the Times?

The New York Times %3E Opinion %3E Guest Columnist%3A Babies and Bath Water

Insightful and interesting. As the bashing and attempts to define the candidates continue from both sides in the campaign, my senses tell me that voters are not taken in by most of this. They see through it as a ploy. Often, the editorialists on both sides believe that Americans pay more attention to the various TV talking heads than they do.

In the quiet of voting decisions will be the delicate balance of emotion and rationality that hinges on what people really believe about the person they are voting for. What has he done so far? Can he be trusted? Is he sincere? Will he do the right thing? Will I be safer physically, economically, and will my kids live in as good a world as I did? I think this is particularly true of the undecideds who will elect the new President.

The New York Times %3E Sports %3E Olympics %3E Basketball%3A U.S. Has No Answer for Lithuania%27s Scorer

Something in me says that the American showboating style of play deserves to lose against disciplined, talented teams. In these Olympics we are seeing the true globalization of basketball.

The New York Times %3E International %3E Middle East %3E Cleric Keeps Grip on Najaf Shrine%2C Even While Saying He%27ll Yield It

The fog of war.

Moktada al-Sadr cannot be trusted. Intense pressure on him should continue until the shrine is handed over. This situation has become an important test of the new Iraqi government. Kerry in a Straitjacket

Seems Klein is disappointed that his (my 'reading between the lines') choice for President, Senator Kerry, is not going negative against Bush in the campaign on the Bush security and defense stance.

Perhaps Senator Kerry will stand firmly and vociferously on his Senate voting and attendance to demonstrate his record, resolve and support for the security of our nation provided by our armed forces.

If he does, the Bush campaign will tear him to shreds. That has already started in a recent ad I saw that Kerry was 'missing in action' for 3/4 of the meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee seat he holds.

AT&T's Future with VoIP

VoIP is the future of the voice network and it belongs to big carriers who can do it right at the best price and value.

A Fine Tax

"A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well." In any case, government must be supported!

August 21, 2004

Gmail - Circuits%3A 99 Cents or a Dollar%3F

I agree 100%. '99-centing' for products, particularly gasoline, is an annoying cultural habit! I wonder if other countries do it?

August 20, 2004

Blogger Added a Google Search to the Blog Templates

Dear Blogger/Google,

You've done it! Adding the NavBar to the blog template is really a wonderful improvement, right next to the image upload feature via Hello in user friendliness! You Blogger guys are great. Keep up the good work. Hope you have increased your net worth via the IPO!!!

With all the new features, I can't help but think you'll be charging soon for Blogger. That's OK with me. As a frequent blogger, I'm pleased to pay a reasonable price for a service that you continually improve.

One other feature that would be nice is the ability to download my blog and archive it on CD/DVD. With all this creative writing from thousands of users, woe to you if your servers ever lost these blogs which represent hundreds of valuable hours by bloggers. Think what our heirs and posterity would miss!

Truth Overcomes PC Chat
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Wi-Fi Networking News%3A Combined Wi-Fi%2FCellular an Interim Step

Here's a discussion of the dilemma for companies and users deciding between WiFi and cell-based data now that devices that combine the two technologies are becoming available.
My sense is that 3G cell services will be the successful 'go anywhere' truly mobile broadband data access (not video) method...only if the price is right. It's too high now, but should come down as the carriers build out their cell networks to handle the traffic and customers sign on. The ability to use broadband wireless access while in motion or essentially anywhere digital cell service exists is a compelling model.

WiFi is fine for laptop use but it's still a PITA to find WiFi locations. I'd much prefer the ability to connect without thinking about finding a hotspot. Meanwhile, hotspots will proliferate and I think the Wayport-McDonald's relationship, when all the tens of thousands of restaurants are equipped, will make a big difference. I hope their business model succeeds. I'll use their facilities.

August 18, 2004

Wi-Fi Networking News%3A Still an Access Gap


President Speaks at VFW Convention

Why doesn't the mainstream media report these accomplishments? This is important news for all veterans and their families.

Instead, we have coverage of these speeches only in the context of the politics of the November election.

"Thanks in large part to Tony's leadership, my administration has a solid record of accomplishment for our veterans. When my 2005 budget is approved by Congress, we will have increased overall funding for our nation's veterans by almost $20 billion, or 40 percent, since 2001. (Applause.) We have increased funding for our veterans more in four years than the previous administration did in eight years. (Applause.) To provide health care to veterans, we've increased VA medical care funding by 41 percent over the past four years."

The New York Times %3E International %3E Middle East %3E Rebel Cleric Accepts Truce Terms%2C Iraqi Conference Is Told

Sadr cannot be trusted. He has proved to be a liar or not in control of the 'militia' we are fighting in Najaf. as the saying goes "I would not trust him any further than I could throw him."

Study%3A Broadband leaps past dial-up %7C CNET

The relentless pursuit of broadband continues. Always on really is important, not to mention the speed factor that we have come to expect. The real killer access will be wireless broadband from your cell provider. Please, Verizon, and others, price 3G competitively for us in the home market or those of us who travel in RVs. Give us a ubiquitous hotspot. Imagine wireless broadband access at 60 mph. Wowser!

August 16, 2004

The New York Times %3E International %3E Bush Announces Plan to Realign Thousands of Troops

A good move to realign the troops. It's also political hay in the campaign.

The 9/11 Commission Report

What we apparently know about the Al Qaeda terrorist network is astounding. In reading the report travel and financing were the two bi activities that supported the organization and the terrorist plots. Financing was arranged by a web of mostly Saudi rich people who gave directly to Al Qaeda or to charities that either were front organizations or who employed people who were sympathetic to jihad and Al Qaeda and siphoned funds out of the charities to Bin Laden's group.

I'm sure we have made it much more difficult to fund Al Qaeda as it was done in the past. By pressuring Al Qaeda financially and via intense travel security, I'm sure we have made a big dent in their operation.

The interrogation of these terrorists has revealed many details. I think I prefer not to know how the interrogation is conducted. The U.S. has not revealed where key Al Qaeda operatives are interrogated ( I'm sure it's not Guantanamo) or the methods used. We need the information they have and how we get it may require extraordinary measures.

Performance Enhancing Drugs

The cat and mouse game played by top athletes and their trainers and the drug-sniffing laboratories who test to guard against such use/abuse will continue. With the rapid advances in gene therapy and drug development, I think the drug police are fighting a losing battle. Drugs will become harder, if not impossible, to detect.

Where does that leave sports and the athletes? I think the time will come when performance enhancing drugs will win this battle. Then what have we got? Freaks and superhumans? It's a short step from that scenario to human cloning, if we allow it, to produce super-athletes. Will competitive 'sports' then become just one freaky element of the entertainment business?

Not a bright prospect.

My Way News - US Olympic Basketball Team Loses to Puerto Rico

Could it be that professional superstars paid multi-$millions have forgotten team play? Winning by 19 points is a very solid victory for the Puerto Ricans. Well done!

Iverson's comment reveals that the U.S. team didn't play the game that basketball should be and Puerto Rico did with tight, disciplined teamwork.

"They play the game the way it's supposed to be played," Iverson said. "It's not about athletics. That's the game the way Karl Malone and John Stockton play it. It's good for kids to see how the game is supposed to be played."

August 14, 2004

The New York Times > International > Scores Killed in Attack on Refugee Camp in Burundi

I'm very pessimistic about the near term future of Africa. The combination of tribal strife, religious animosities, AIDS and other disease, government corruption and incompetence...and the list goes on... provides little hope for the people to make any progress. There are some countries that are exceptions, but they don't come quickly to mind.

Can the media find any good news on this continent?

August 13, 2004

This Is Reform? (

Krauthammer is right. Campaign finance reform is a charade. Money still flows to politics, perhaps more than previously. The rules are different, that's all. All the ballyhoo about campaign finance reform has only served to allow politicians to say they tried to do something useful for democracy.

It is failing and in my view is unconstitutional to boot.

John Robb on Global Guerillas

John Robb's soon to be available book will provide fascinating insights into how GGs organize and operate. The link above provides a glimpse.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Political Memo: Bush's Mocking Drowns Out Kerry on Iraq Vote

Kerry's in a 'no win' situation here with his liberal Democrats who are aggressively anti-war (The Dean crowd) and the more mainstream democrats (the Lieberman crowd) who support the Iraq war. Of course, his nuances about what he would do differently to pursue the war on terrorism sound like softness.

The Swift Boat vets also are making things difficult for him since he chose to run as a 4-month war hero trying to appeal to mainstream America. Now it appears he has been less than truthful about some parts of that 4-month experience (the Christmas Eve in Cambodia story). If he lies, we can't trust him. Does he have a moral compass? If so, which way is it pointing?

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Israel Army Chief Sees Golan Heights Pullout as Safe Move

Giving up the Golan Heights would be a bad mistake for Israel unless there were ironclad guarantees that defense could be provided in some other fashion. Nukes?

BBC NEWS | Europe | Iran champion in Olympic protest

The Israeli apparently didn't refuse to compete. Sending the Iranian home is the right thing to do.

The New York Times > National > Many Local Officials Now Make Inmates Pay Their Own Way

Politically attractive, yes. Effective? I think the jury's out on this one. Lot's of pros and cons .

August 12, 2004

BBC NEWS | Business | Oil at new high on Iraqi violence

Some excellent background information on the world's oil reserves, consumption, etc. in the sidebar to the right of the main story.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Pressure grows on Shia militants

Seems the end to this battle is near. This gang of terrorist thugs must be thoroughly defeated.

The New York Times > National > Evacuation Ordered in Florida as Hurricane Nears

Nasty and dangerous situation in Florida. This reinforces my desire not to live there.

The New York Times > National > California Supreme Court Voids Gay Marriages in San Francisco

This battle is far from over, but the California Supreme Court issued the correct decision. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Other relationships exist, of course, but they are not marriage. No 'official' has the right to violate the law in redefining marriage against the will of the people as the mayor of San Francisco had done.

The case of a Vermont lesbian couple reported in the Washington Post, one of which had a child via artificial insemination, joined in a civil union in Vermont, then separated, are now fighting about the custody and visitation rights of the child. One point in dispute is which laws govern this situation, those in Vermont where one partner lives , of those of Virginia where the other partner resides.

This dispute points to the need for a constitutional amendment that clearly defines that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Passing this amendment will not solve all problems, but it will prevent many of the current disputes and court interpretations. Moreover, it will assure the debate is brought closer to the people and not left to the courts.
Quote form the NYT article: "The justices have restored the rule of law in California," said the Alliance Defense Fund's senior counsel, Jordan Lorence, who argued the case before the court in May. "The decision shows that same-sex `marriage' is not inevitable. Same-sex `marriage' loses whenever a state puts it before voters."

NJ Governor Resigns

Because we're human, we have feet of clay. Better that this governor resign than walk in the shadow of this illicit relationship.

Custody Case Puts Civil Union on Trial (

Frustrations, agony, ill will, legal wranglings and two unhappy people. Let's pray the child's welfare is always paramount in all decisions rendered in this case.

August 11, 2004

The New York Times > Business > World Business > Global Oil Demand Expected to Exceed Forecasts, Report Says

IMHO, crude oil will never be much less expensive than we've seen in the past few months. Critical to America's economic future is a realistic, sustainable energy policy that can be implemented soon. For now, Bush is right to keep the Strategic Oil Reserve untouched and let the price move with the markets. The Reserve is for a real emergency, not a price increase.

Why haven't the Democrats hopped on to pressuring Bush to tap the Reserve like they did last time the price of gasoline shot up? Is it because the price of gas has not shot up? If gasoline prices have not increased, heating oil increases will likely be around the corner as refineries are making that now rather than the summer supply of gasoline. Methinks they're saving this issue to air closer to the November elections. Or, perhaps they have no energy policy with any substance yet?

If I were a terrorist, I would do all I could to disrupt the Western world's oil supply and tricgger economic instability and dislocations that will result from $50-100/ barrel oil. That's where the price is headed.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: An American Hiroshima

I think the odds for a nuclear blast by terrorists is greater than the 51-49 odds taken by Kristof. We must do everything possible now to keep this from happening. I hope that much more is being done than we are being told. It's better to get this kind of work done out of the public spotlight.

Can tolerant Canada tolerate sharia? |

Does this Canadian experience portend something similar in the U.S.? I certainly hope we have the good sense to realize that there is only one 'rule of law' in the United States. It clearly is Judeo-Christian in its foundations, but that's the moral code undergirding our Constituion. Systems of religious law substituting in whole or in part for constitutionally based law in a democracy or a republic are a very bad idea.

The New York Times > Washington > Immigration: U.S. to Give Border Patrol Agents the Power to Deport Illegal Aliens

Seems a very sensible option given the terrorist threat and our notoriously porous borders

August 10, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Says His Vote on Iraq Would Be the Same Today

Happy to see that Sen. Kerry has taken the only reasonable position supporting the decision to invade Iraq. I'm afraid Dr. Dean would not have done that.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Arabs on the Verge of Democracy

An interesting perspective. Instant communications will continue to cause ferment in the Islamic world. There really is no turning back the clock by hoping that if America does not sponsor democracy, the Arab world will somehow quiet down. That won't happen as long as the wild Islamists spew their venom. America's secular freedom even with it's dismal excesses of culture and lifestyle is envied, I believe, by many Arabs. It's so much more appealing than what they have now. Ultimately, the great majority of people will reject their own Islamic excesses as preached by the terrorists. We need to continue to show them a better way.

"At the same time, Arabs are increasingly exposed to the world through the electronic media, and likely to become more angry and frustrated about their degraded status in a globalizing world economy. You don't have to strain to see such forces at play in the blind rage of Islamic radicals, or to suspect that continued "stability" of the sort that has held the region's politics and economies in stagnation for the last 40 years will only make matters worse."

August 9, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Reporter Held in Contempt Over C.I.A. Leak

Tough times for journalists involved in this leak. Nevertheless, if a crime has been committed all persons who may have been involved need to come clean, journalists included.

August 8, 2004

The New York Times > AP > International > Senior al - Qaida Operative Captured

It's been a bad week for Al Qaeda with the arrests of several ranking terrorist leaders. That's good. Pakistan is a key player in all of this. Perhaps Libya with its change of heart may be helping, too.

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Public Editor: What to Do When News Grows Old Before Its Time

A friend brought this Public Editor piece to my attention. Earlier today I was reading the article I blogged at

In this rapid fire information environment the media mushes up nearly all news so that we can't easily sort the facts from the spin delivered by both the news makers and the news gatherers. That's a terrible disservice yet as information consumers we seem to countenance it.

I think Jack Rosenthal's point of following up big news stories over time for those stories that deserve such coverage is sorely needed. While selecting which to cover longitudinally may be subjective, that's poor reason not to do so.

As Rosenthal opines, there's little coherency, and much stimulation amid the competitive news marketplace. The "News as entertainment" theme pops to mind exemplified in talk radio and cable news/commentary shows. Overall, this is not good for a rational democracy (is that an oxymoron?), but it's probably less damaging than propaganda (which the Internet, among other forces, killed forever in all but the most backward societies).

The New York Times > Week in Review > What, Us Worry? The New State of Disbelief

We live in the nether world of fuzzy information moving at the speed of light. Terrorists love it this way because it always keeps the public off guard while spending enormous amounts of resources on security. Meanwhile, the radical Islamic terrorists patiently hatching their plots.

Since this is a long war, we would be well-served with the best and current information if government and the media established and maintained a consistent place in their papers, magazines, web sites and cable news networks to post the current threat assessment and official facts and news about the war on terror.

The information we get now is so wrapped in media spin, commentary, ancillary information, opinion, bias, politics, etc., that what the government is actually saying is often diluted, distorted or confused.

Comments and opinion on what the government is saying is OK, of course, but let's keep the 'official story' always available in a predictable place in each and every media. We can then judge the spin and commentary for ourselves.

Too much to ask? Maybe, but worth a try. Perhaps it's being done well now somewhere, but I haven't seen it.

The absolutely correct policy to fight this war effectively includes the US preemption doctrine and keeping intense pressure on terrorists in as many places using as many techniques as possible depriving them of rest, resources and sanctuary.

August 7, 2004

An Intelligence Blunder or Something More? |

I wonder, is this a blunder or an incredibly complex intelligence action that has a possible better outcome. Things are not always what they seem.

The New York Times > Washington > Diplomacy Fails to Slow Advance of Nuclear Arms

Please, Senator Kerry, tell us how you'd fix this problem! Two of three in the "Axis of Evil" have, or very soon will have, nukes. Bin Laden is a radical, violent Sunni. Iran is Shiite Muslim. If he were Shiite, they'd probably give him a suitcase nuke to plant in our country.

If diplomacy fails, there are few options left...unless you think they can be trusted to do the right thing. These are serious threats and I have heard nothing about how either Democrats or Republicans would fix this. Of course, we shouldn't telegraph our specific plans, but I wish I knew we had one.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Selling the Sizzle

Once more Brooks is generally on the mark. However, the statement below makes for great politics to attract those not yet committed to vote for either candidate, yet seems to reflect too much of the selfishness of the ME generation. It's certainly far removed from what John Kennedy urged Americans to do:
"This year the people who can be won over by visions and values have already decided. Most of the people who are undecided don't care about politics. They don't care about politicians. They're asking, What are you going to do to solve my problems? What are you going to do for me?"

MSNBC - American fakes own decapitation in tape

Sick. Sick. Sick.

How big Al Qaeda's footprint is in the US |

I find the coverage of terrorism and politics in the Christian Science Monitor more astute than that of better know newspapers.

The problem of the intelligence community.

"But other intelligence experts note that one of the greatest conundrums of the intelligence business is that it can't brag about successes, and it has to own every failure. US officials have closed down several major fundraising operations believed to have terrorist ties. They've also worked successfully with intelligence agencies overseas in attacking Al Qaeda at its core. 'We've had some major successes [overseas with Al Qaeda.] We've slain the dragon, but now we're dealing with room full of snakes,' says Frank Cilluffo of George Washington University and a former security adviser to President Bush. 'What you've seen now is the franchising of Al Qaeda. They're in England, Jordan, Spain, and there've been a number of arrests recently that bode well.'"

Dissent in FCC over broadband rules | | CNET

"Last mile" landline-based broadband technology will be challenged by wireless broadband very quickly in many parts of the country. As a practical matter, facilities-based service rather than the arbitrage model (leasing lines form the owner of the facilities to provide service) is the only practical long term solution. However, service from the Covad-type providers is important for those users who would not otherwise be able to get broadband at all.

August 6, 2004

State AGs warn file-sharing companies - News - ZDNet

The P2P companies must be a bit jittery as they think about the tobacco settlement and the various Microsoft multi-million $ settlements with various states.

August 5, 2004


This book, Unfit for Command, will most assuredly raise questions about Kerry's Viet Nam service and apparently his truthfulness of the incident in which he was awarded the Silver Star.

Gmail - Circuits: Judging a Phone by Its Carrier

A strong endorsement for Verizon Wireless and its cell coverage area from David Pogue at the New York Times.

The New York Times > Washington > An American Debate: How Severe the Threat?

The debate rages about the political ramifications of the war on terror. I expect our leaders of either party will NOT play politics with the terrorist threat. We must always keep in mind that leaders trying to protect against these radical Islamists are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The basic premise must always be: better safe than sorry.

While I know there is great financial cost involved and a great deal of inconvenience, we are better served by being on the alert and overly cautious than hoping for the best by not alerting people because of threats that are not precisely identified.

We must always remember that the terrorists are in no hurry to execute their attacks. Two or three years or more between successful attacks is no problem for them.

I have begun reading the 9/11 Commission Report and chapter 2 is particularly enlightening on the history of Al Queda and Bin Laden. They have great patience and resilience. The good news is we have made a big dent in their leadership structure. We must continue pressure to eliminate more of the leadership.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Rebel Cleric Calls for Uprising as Clashes Erupt in Najaf

Are we better off with this imbecile dead or alive?

"Mr. Sadr, a 31-year-old cleric whose father, Mohammed, was revered by many poor Shiites, has become the leading opponent of the United States Army and interim Iraqi government, though he is a deeply polarizing figure here. Many Iraqis view him as hotheaded, but others believe he is a courageous leader who has risked his life to defy the United States.

"Fight the blasphemous, fight the Americans," Mr. Sadr said in a statement issued in Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad."

Canoeing on a Calm Champlain
Posted by Hello

A lone Petunia in a Driveway Crack
Posted by Hello

The New York Times > AP > National > Albany Mosque Raid Reportedly Uncovers Missile Plot

Terrorists in our backyard...Albany, NY. Not good they're there. Excellent that they've apparently been uncovered. - Net Phones Evolve

VoIP is coming, but in its infancy are some growing pains.

"The crux of VoIP's attraction right now is the fact that it lets you cut your phone bill significantly. Nevertheless, as tempting as that may be, the complexity of Internet telephony makes it a poor fit for most households and small businesses today. Every dollar saved by moving to an Internet phone service could be lost to unpredictable service outages, network configuration hassles, and spotty call quality. To put it simply, when was the last time you had to reboot your phone?"

The New York Times > Technology > F.C.C. Supports Surveillance Rules on Internet Calls

VoIP and elated Internet technologies pose challenges for law enforcement and legitimate covert surveillance. These are tough questions, but must be decided in favor of law enforcement having the capability to lawfully monitor the 'bad guys' and terrorist communications.

August 3, 2004

August 2, 2004

Why oil prices may stay sky high |

We may never see cheap oil and gasoline again. The situation cries our for a credible U.S. energy policy. Can't Democrats and Republicans get this one right...together? - Mobile Computing: What's Next for Wireless? - Mobile Computing: What's Next for Wireless?

A brief summary of the near-term wireless future. Best bet in my book is Verizon's Wireless Broadband Service, but it must come a lot cheaper than $80/month for personal use.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Political Impact: Race Dogged by Terror Fight

Once again Dr. Howard Dean's hatred for President Bush clouds his judgment and forces open his mouth out of which comes the venom that gives him such a bad image. These and other statements clearly show why Dr. Dean is NOT presidential material. His followers should recognize this hatred is a poor substitute for clear thinking in a political campaign.

"'I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism,' Howard Dean, a former rival of Mr. Kerry for the Democratic nomination, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN on Sunday.
'His whole campaign is based on the notion that 'I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,' and then out comes Tom Ridge,' Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor, added, referring to the homeland security secretary. 'It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it.'
White House officials denied that suggestion, and other Democrats and Mr. Kerry's advisers would not embrace it. 'I certainly hope not,' Steve Elmendorf, Mr. Kerry's deputy campaign manager, said. 'You have to take them at their word.'"

Note that the Times chose NOT to report Senator Lieberman's reaction to Dean's charge. The Washinton Post (registration required) carried this quote today:

"Other Democrats, including Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), said they did not doubt the credibility of the warning.

"I don't think anybody who has any fairness or is in their right mind would think the president or the secretary of homeland security would raise an alert level and scare people for political reasons," said Lieberman, who also sought the Democratic nomination for president. "That's outrageous.""

August 1, 2004

My Way News - Gov't Warns of Threats Against Buildings

Please, Homeland Security people, consider this might be a diversion for some other attack they have planned.

Bush in Springfield, MO

This quote from a speech delivered by Bush last week in Springfield, MO sets him apart from Kerry on terrorism and foreign policy:

See, you can't talk to the terrorists. You can't hope for the best. You can't negotiate with them. We'll engage the enemies around the world so we do not have to face them here at home. We will continue to lead the world with confidence and moral clarity. We put together a strong coalition to help us defeat the terrorists threats. Over 40 nations involved in Afghanistan. Some 30 nations are involved in Iraq. Over the next four years, I will continue to work with our friends and build alliances, but I will never turn over America's national security decisions to leaders of other countries."

I wonder where Kerry really stands on the doctrine/policy of preemption?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: All Things to All People

And so it goes. Brooks didn't use the word flip-flop, but incoherence, inconsistency and indecisiveness seem to be Kerry's load to bear as he attempts to be never wrong no matter the realities.

I agree with Joe Biden.

"Joe Biden said we must "win the death struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism.""

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Explosions rock Iraqi churches

Now the terrorists are targeting churches making this into a religious war.

9/11 Commission Report

The report is available here. I purchased a paper copy yesterday and intend to delve into it.

Radical Islam grows among Iraq's Sunnis |

The U.S. cannot fight effectively against this threat of beliefs. Only a strong Iraqi government can neutralize these radicals. If neutralization is not possible...and it may not be, what then? Is any option other than extermination viable for configuring some semblance of a free and open society in Iraq? We're talking basic belief systems at war here, not democratic politics in the Western sense.

It seems few alternatives are available in the short term. Even in the long term, what actions will change the beliefs and goals of radical Islamists?

Think about the ramifications if Saudi Arabia's monarchy, bad as it may be, is overthrown by this bunch. If Iraq and Saudi Arabia were run by extremists, think about the dire consequences for the world's oil supply and the quick demise of the world's economy.

I never read that terrorists are targeting the world's oil supply in Arab countries as a strategic goal, but I have to believe they are, long term.

Broadband: Cable, DSL face threats | CNET

This is an excellent summary of the state of broadband in the U.S. IMHO, one important point not explicitly stated is that broadband penetration into all areas of our country, rural as well as urban/suburban, is best promoted by policies that encourage multiple technologies and market economics. Arbitrage and resale of services is merely a transition phase from ubiquitous POTS to broadband everywhere and is not sustainable as a long-term market model. Powell at the FCC has it right in promoting as many alternative technological options for broadband as possible. To foster a regulated expansion of broadband via resale and complex resale rules and pricing models will not get the job done and adds unnecessary overhead to the marketplace. Meanwhile, the FCC has a job to do in promoting options and standards that assure that public safety and effective use of thefrequency spectrum results in no interference that will hinder public or private services.


"At the same time, wireless and other alternative technologies have been quietly gaining support within the agency. In February 2003, the FCC drafted rules on broadband service over electricity lines that were interpreted as an overture to alternative companies, particularly in areas not served by cable or the Bells. And in May, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the agency is looking to free up broadcast television spectrum for broadband wireless use. The agency has taken steps to encourage these and other alternatives to today's coaxial-cable and copper-wire lines, including fiber-optic connections to the home."

Here's the vision:

"In this panoply of future technologies, broadband optimists are hoping to make high-speed Net access as common as a cell phone connection, following people into their homes, onto the sidewalks, into automobiles and even inside airplanes. Only then will their vision of a genuine broadband society be achieved."

The New York Times > Opinion > Guest Columnist: Breaking the Silence

It's refreshing to see that the discussion of black structural AND behavioral deficits is out in the open beyond the curtain of foolish political correctness. Thanks to Cosby, Obama, Gates and others for standing up for the truth.