May 27, 2004

Interest!ALERT: Two polls give Schwarzenegger high marks

The left coast likes Arnold!

Yahoo! News - Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison

"The inmate population in 10 states increased at least 5 percent. Some of the smallest state prison systems saw the largest increase: Vermont's grew by 12.2 percent, Minnesota was up 9.4 percent and Maine 9.1 percent."

This unsustainable rate of increase must be due to sentencing and we cannot afford it. One more instance of Vermont's 'capacity problem.'

Verizon to offer 'naked' DSL | CNET

Seems a realistic option to retain customers since number portability allows customers more choices between wireless and wireline.

May 25, 2004

Blair wants to give Iraq veto over US forces

Powell has it right when explaining the US position on the UN resolution.
"If it comes down to the United States armed forces protecting themselves or in some way accomplishing their mission in a way that might not be in total consonance with what the Iraqi interim government might want to do at a particular moment in time, US forces remain under US command and will do what is necessary to protect themselves," Mr Powell said.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Campaign Ads Are Under Fire for Inaccuracy

We live in the era of the 30-second sound bite through which we are bombarded with images and sounds designed to persuade us that what we are hearing/seeing is truthful. We live in a time of exaggeration where truth plays second fiddle to impact.

"There's only so much you can do in a 30-second ad," said an aide to Mr. Kerry, making a point that was echoed by a senior strategist for the Bush campaign.

"Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, does not accept that. "When they could make the 30-second ad accurate and they don't, you've got to believe that they're intentionally misleading you," she said."

The New York Times > Washington > Bush Lays Out Goals for Iraq: Self-Rule and Stability

There remains a tough row to hoe to get this done. Many terrorists/insurgents remain to fight and die. This will continue to be, as Rumsfeld said a while ago, 'a slog.'

May 24, 2004

The New York Times > National > Endangered Species: Quaint Towns. Green Hills. Vermont!

More on Vermont as an endangered place from the NY Times.

Vermont Named as One of America's 11 Most Endangered Places

Eleven years ago Vermont was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Endangered List. Now we're back on it, 11 years later. We apparently are threatened by WalMart's plans for superstores and those of other big box behemoths.

Truly the world is changing. How many WalMarts exist in the US today? Vermont's dilemma is how to change the inexorable absorption in to the economy surronding us. No easy answers here, but some fundamental policy questions are raised about the ethics of mercantilism. How free is a free country? What, if anything, should be done about this?

The thinkers and planners who want to preserve culture, a way of life, and land seem at odds with the consumers who want best prices for merchandise.

Capitalism vs. preservation. Tough questions!

Comments welcomed.

May 23, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Incoming: Letters to the Editor - Gmail

Liz Figueroa, U.S. Representative from California, is out to lunch on Gmail. What possible problem or harm is created for the sender when inbound mail to a Gmail account (disclaimer: I have one) is scanned for words/context/semantics, etc. in order to deliver presumably relevant ads to the recipient?

I don't understand the concerns here. Of course, the fact that email can be monitored/scanned by law enforcement and intelligence officials in order to prevent or solve crimes or terrorist acts should only be of grave concern to terrorists or criminals.

This alleged 'infringement of rights' by Gmail is a tempest in a teapot. - Information Authority for the Newspaper Industry

No surprise that this Pew survey identifies that liberals and moderates predominate today's media outlets. Does this mean they are out of step with the country? Fox News and the NY Times appear at opposite ends of the spectrum. No surprise there. It's good there is balance. However, A 'paper of record' should not be so identifiably tilted to the left.

Google's Blogger Boss Focuses on the User

Great upgrade to Blogger and remaining free is nice, too. What will be really cool is when Google's search is embedded in the Blogger tool as it is in Gmail, which is very powerful indeed.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Search for P.M.D.'s

The time will come sooner rather than later when one of these suicide crazies blows themselves up in the USA. This is their best hope for terror against us at home rather than some grand scale bombing.

May 22, 2004

The New York Times > International > Qaddafi, Scorning Agenda, Walks Out of Arab Summit

What's this all about? Is the Libyan leader a wild man?

The New York Times > Science > Environment > Science Special Report

Very interesting snippets of glaciologists work on the Greenland ice cap. There's a hint of bias in the article toward global warming and disaster ahead for mankind. I wish it were easy to be certain, but the riddle persists. Are we in a cyclic warming period? Will it turn colder again soon?

May 21, 2004

States, feds headed for VoIP clash | CNET

The states have the potential to make a mess of this and very little upside potential to do things right. VoIP is an interstate service and the FCC must set the basic rules of the game. The PSTN will be absorbed into the Internet. It's only a matter of depreciation schedules, technology and the regulatory rules of the road.

Raid on Chalabi Puts 'NYT' Even More on the Spot

Interesting how The Times has selective memory in its rabidness to get Bush's scalp. I'm pleased that someone who is paying attention has called them to task.

Terrorism & Security |

Though little comfort for Americans paying $2.00+ for gasoline, this Christian Science Monitor article provides a rational summary of the reasons and the realities. If the politicians want to 'do something,' they could eliminate temporarily the Federal and state taxes on gasoline.

The political rhetoric demonstrates shallow thinking or the unwillingness to tell the truth for partisan gain.

May 19, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Google Moves Toward a Direct Confrontation With Microsoft

An exciting battle taking shape between Google and Microsoft. Google has no security issues to battle as MS does and has the momentum of an IPO and all the attendant publicity. Google is 'trapping' MS in its own operating system pain. If things don't go Google's way, they can choose to sponsor and support Linux as a desktop operating system. The open source movement is part of the Google culture and most certainly not part of Microsoft's.

May 18, 2004

Yahoo! News - Kerry Faults Bush for High Gas Prices

Instead of this rhetoric about 'big oil' and clamoring for depletion of the SPR assets, why don't the Dems or the Reps eliminate the taxes on gasoline for a month or two?

Meanwhile, they should make it possible to drill for oil in the US. At current prices it'd be profitable where it might not have been at lower prices, unless environmental opponents prevent drilling and exploration. I suspect there is plenty of oil to be had in the US at $40+/bbl.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: In Iraq, America's Shakeout Moment

An optimist speaks some realism into a situation fraught with risk and political opportunism.

The New York Times > Business > U.N. Unit Sees Great Promise in Biotech Research on Crops

GM foods and biotechnology are areas of science that suffer from the biases of those naysayers with agendas that put motives ahead of research, facts and truth. It's refreshing to see the UN come down on the side of genetically modified foods and research that would provide products to feed hungry people.

The New York Times > Technology > I.B.M. and Cisco Planning Joint Internet Phone Venture

This alliance between IBM and Cisco will push VoIP technology rapidly into large enterprises and those companies seeking an early adopter advantage.

May 17, 2004

Who defines the word 'marriage'? |

Down the slippery slope we go.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Article Saying Rumsfeld Backed Harsh Tactics Stirs Controversy

Let's keep all this in perspective. We are in a war on terrorism. It will last a long time. We are at risk of other potentially catastrophic consequences from terrorists determined to kill us. We are a nation of laws. Terrible things happen in wars. America will defend itself.

Into this mix add a presidential election, both parties spending millions of dollars to gain/retain power and you have intense motivations to win...the war, the election, political advantage, and the hearts and minds of the American people.

We are in tough straits and we'd best not tear ourselves apart in the process. / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / The end of the gay marriage debate?

Jeff Jacoby's opinion bears careful reading. The Massachusetts mess may be only the beginning of the fight over gay marriage and the future of marriage as the bedrock underlying society as we know it. Children deserve, but don't often, get two good parents, one male and one female. Homosexual marriage promoters seem focused mostly on satisfying personal needs and obtaining benefits from the state and not what children deserve from male and female parental influences for their best chance at life.

Marriage between men and women is a far from perfect institution, but it has succored the race for thousands of years and should not be taken lightly.

Ominous Report About Oil/Gasoline Costs

The excerpt below by an investment analyst is ominous.
May 17, 2004
Good Morning - The dollar is trading lower this morning, as crude oil rose to record all time high levels overnight on the NY Mercantile Exchange, after the head of Iraq's governing council was killed in a car bomb explosion, raising concern over the U.S. turnover of power on June 30th and the potential of supply disruptions from the Middle East's third largest oil producer. Meanwhile, gasoline futures rose to record levels on Friday, as the four week average of gasoline demand rose by 3.2% to 9.13 million barrels per day, while inventories remain 6.9% below last year's levels. Crude oil futures are trading 26 cents higher this morning at $ 41.64 following the Iraqi attack, while the euro advanced to 120.16 U.S. cents compared with 118.88 late Friday and the yen rose to 113.75 per dollar from 114.25.

The New York Times > Business > Ventures Aim to Cut Cost of Overseas Cell Calls to Pennies

One more nail in the PSTN coffin.
"To use the Skype technology, both the caller and the recipient need the software. But the company plans to make it possible for callers to reach people outside the Skype network. Niklas Zennstrom, Skype's chief executive, said Internet technology eliminates any price difference between calls traveling one mile or thousands of miles. "The concept of national borders," Mr. Zennstrom said, "is disappearing because on the Internet there are no borders."

May 16, 2004

The Last Samurai

Watched this video last night and felt it was true to its purpose and relatively well done, albeit a bit gratuitous in its violence and mayhem. I am concerned, though, about the spate of media and entertainment lately that play on the faults of America and contrasts
them to the perceived 'spiritually better' lifestyles of other

I sense Americans are going through a 'guilt phase' concerning our
history and our present condition and the political/cultural sins we have committed. It's true we are not a perfect society and have made serious errors, particularly with the callous treatment of Native Americans and Africans in slavery. Nevertheless, our experiment in democracy is only as good as the intrinsic values individuals carry in their heart because these values form the collective experience of the nation.

Character does matter and because we are human and sinful by nature, the flaws show up all too frequently in the events of history and our times.

However, if we believe in ourselves as a free people and an open society, all the warts will show and our adversaries and those who are jealous of who and what we are will exploit our weaknesses. We must remain on guard for that and demonstrate by our purposes and actions that our way of life, on balance, is the best that the world offers in these times. Otherwise, we may enter an irreversible spiral of decline.

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Techno Files: The Twilight of the Information Middlemen

Information wants to be free!

"At the democratic extreme, blogs are a nightmare vision of a publishing house's "slush pile'' come to life. At the elite end, the dozen or so best-known sites, they are an intensified version of insider journalism. If you don't get quite enough sass, attitude or instant conclusions from the rest of the news media, you can always find more at the leading blogs. But in between are thousands of sites that offer real-time eyewitness testimony from people doing almost anything that some other person might find interesting: training as a surgeon, looking for oil in Siberia, fighting in Iraq. Blogs have only recently become a snap to set up and produce. There are many tools for doing so, including Google's newly simplified version of Blogger.

Blogs have also become easier to navigate, through the system known to techies as R.S.S. I've sat through debates about what those letters originally stood for; what they mean is that you can have new entries from chosen blogs automatically delivered by e-mail soon after they appear. Some people would rather skip R.S.S. and just cruise through favorite blogs periodically. Others like the convenience of a regular R.S.S. feed: it's like home delivery of mail instead of a post office box, but on a much faster cycle."

May 15, 2004

A Dumb Thing

My left ring finger is now well bandaged after a trip to the emergency room on Saturday afternoon. How did this happen? Well, despite many warnings that I have read over the years, the lesson learned the hard way is: don't try to break up a dog fight with your bare hands.

My Airedale, Jesse, and our son's dog, Emma, who's staying with us for a while got into a scrap that resulted from my mistake in letting them get together in the living room. Jesse and Emma are both alpha females who don't like each other. The house is gated into secure areas just to prevent them getting together. With my hands full of groceries, I opened a gate and Jesse snuck by to get at Emma and the fur began to fly...literally. I tried to grab them both by the collars and my hand found its way into a mouth, Jesse's I think.

Now Jesse will be quarantined for 10 days at home and the animal control officer will pay a visit this week.

What a way to spoil an otherwise wonderful Saturday afternoon! Great care at the ER by good folks. Thanks.

Test Post via Email

Testing the blogger posting via email.

May 14, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > The Wrong Direction

This is a wrongheaded editorial and if these recommendations were followed, the Times might just as well recommend the US stop the war on terror. This editorial writer is so far out in left field, s/he needs a guide dog to return to rationality. This bashing of Bush and the military is so characteristic of the Times, a company that leans further to the left with each publication. These prisoners, with some exceptions, are terrorists or their active supporters!

This editorial rises to the level of hogwash. Perhaps I should stop reading NYT editorials because I get so angry.

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Vanity Fair Editor Got $100,000 for Suggesting a Movie

And more shenanigans by the media... It's no wonder their reputation continues to decline. "Money corrupts, but power corrupts absolutely." - Information Authority for the Newspaper Industry

Another instance of the media's infatuation with scandal and the errors made as they attempt to exploit the Iraqi prison abuse situation. It's sad to see a reputable newspaper engage in these errors of judgment or shenanigans. Could it be that certain news media people have such hate for Bush and his team that they will stoop to this in order to turn readers from support of our war on terror and our military? News - Latest News - How Mirror Pictures Controversy Unfolded

The unfolding of a media scandal in Britain about faked Iraq 'torture photos'. This is a real stain on reputable journalism. Question: Is the Daily Mirror a reputable newspaper or a scandal-mongering rag. I don't know.

May 13, 2004

A Chuckle

I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn't poor, I was
needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as
needy. I was deprived. Then they told me that underprivileged was
overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don't have a dime ...
but I have a great vocabulary."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Why the Polls Don't Add Up

Any excuse to explain Mr. Kerry's failings.

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: Google Mail: Virtue Lies in the In-Box

Three cheers for Gmail/ David Pogue hits it right on the head. Gmail is a wonderful service and those who have privacy and ad popping concerns can choose not to participate and spend there lonely hours commiserating with those who feel the same way. Meanwhile, I plan to enjoy it and eventually make it my primary mail service. You can reach me at

Galen's Perspective on the Abu Ghraib Mess

A balanced perspective is needed in addition to the handwringing. Here's one.

Rich Galen
Monday May 10, 2004


I am now officially sick-and-tired of the self-serving and largely uninformed hand-wringing about the goings on at Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad. As someone who has actually been on the grounds of Abu Ghraib prison, let me explain a few things.

First of all, there is no excuse for what a few soldiers did; but there is also no reason to make this into the moral equivalent of the Black Plague.

It should be pointed out that the prisoners at Abu Ghraib are not Boy Scouts rounded up for jaywalking. These are bad guys who either blew up or shot a coalition member; or were caught assembling an explosive device; or were caught in a place where the makings of explosive devices were found; or were caught with a cache of weapons. See the pattern here?

In short they were trying to kill me and others like me. And if they succeeded in doing that, they were going to come over here and try to kill you.

Ugly thought? You bet. But that is the kind of prisoner being held in the terrorist section at Abu Ghraib.

The Roar du Jour from those who want to get into this story by beating their chests over how terrible it all is, keep telling us that this has damaged American credibility in the Middle East.

Let's look at that.

First, lots of Arabs don't like us in the first place. Those Arabs will not like us any less for this incident.

That dislike has nothing to do with our cultural insensitivities. It has to do with America's refusal to allow those same Arabs, many of whom have been bankrolling the Palestinian terrorists for decades, to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the Earth they way they have wiped it off the face of their maps.

Second, those who claim that the Abu Ghraib situation will poison the well of American goodwill for decades, are really the ones who are under rating Arabs. They have to believe that all Arabs will assign the actions of perhaps a couple of dozen soldiers to the 280 million Americans who have pledged to help the Iraqis attain security, independence, and prosperity.

Those making that claim must, therefore, believe that all Arabs have the intellectual capacity of a frog (a real frog, not a French person) and the emotional development of a three-year-old (a real three-year-old, not a French person).

Finally, our friends on the Left are so very, very concerned about how foreigners (read, Europeans) will see us.

I don't care what the French, the Germans, or the Spaniards think about us. The French and the Germans are up to their elbows in the fraud and theft of billions of dollars in what is called the Oil-for-Food Program but which was really the Oil-for-Palaces Program.

It will be interesting to see if the intellectual elites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan are as upset with their vacation buddies in the Paris 16th as they are with Secretary Rumsfeld when it becomes clear that their pals were fully engaged in the systematic depravation of the people of Iraq.

Very often doing the right thing is also the hard thing. The easy thing is to close your eyes to evil; or to make a bargain with the devil.

You cannot stop doing the right thing because it is hard, or because of what those who would make a deal with the enemy in an attempt to rent their own safety, might think about what you.

The actions of a few soldiers in Abu Ghraib were wrong. But we cannot allow the spotlight currently shining on them to cast a shadow over the other 135,000 soldiers who are in Iraq doing their jobs professionally, properly, and with honor.

Copyright ©2004 Richard A. Galen

May 11, 2004

9/11 panel sets sights on talking to Al Qaeda members |

Do these people think by interviewing the terrorist fanatics that they'll hear the truth? Rants and raves, maybe, but what value would Al Qaeda add? I don't get it.

My Way News - Terrorists Behead American

Violence begets violence. Evil lurks in the hearts of men. How can any reasoning take place with these fanatics? Let's see now, if these killers were to be captured, should they be tried where the death penalty is not in force?

The New York Times > National > How to Catch Fish in Vermont: No Bait, No Tackle, Just Bullets

Ah, the Vermont that survives in spite of the flatlander invasion. Every couple of years in springtime the Times or some other national publication decides to take a shot at this venerable Vermont tradition.

Yahoo! News - Bush Widens Lead Over Kerry In Spite Of Difficulties In Iraq

Very interesting polling data in these very troubled times. I think Americans believe that they can trust Bush as a man of character and don't believe the same about Kerry.

DEBKAfile - Palestinians Parade Israeli Soldiers? Remains

Terrorists and their cohorts again at work. Eradication is the only short term solution.

May 10, 2004

New Blogger

Well I'll be dinged! Last time I tried to change the template and add comments, I got an error message that reported the upload had failed. Now the new look and comments are in place. Weird but nice!

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google revamps blogging service

Tried to change to a new template and add comments feature but was unsuccessful in several attempts yesterday and today with this blog. My other two blogs uploaded with a new template just fine. It may be there are errors of some sort in the nearly 700 postings.

I like the new look and the templates are very nice. Now if I can only get the changes in place. Next step apparently will include the Google search capability. Nice.

The spell checker needs significant improvement. Why not incorporate the SC available in Gmail or one similar to that in AT&T WorldNet mail?

May 9, 2004

May 5, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Economic Scene: How Much Does Information Technology Matter?

Makes sense to me that good tools (IT) in the hands of smart, innovative people is the key to a competitive advantage. It's not the tools themselves but how they're used that counts.

GQ Exclusive: Colin Powell Wants Out

Powell's not happy. The idea of Utopian thinking is intriguing. Utopia doesn't and won't exist, but what is the right fight against terrorism? They must be eradicated since they can't be reasoned with. / News / Local / Mass. / Romney asks other states' input on marriage law

This is the right thing to do, Governor Romney. Good work. It will wake up those states who may be asleep on this issue.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A War for Us, Fought by Them

Thoughtful comments by William Broyles Jr. His comment below reflects the true nature of serving in tough situations. I agree with him in my own experience in the military generally and in Vietnam. Character is discovered, developed and displayed. A 'Band of Brothers' truly does exist in many shapes, forms and situations when lives are on the line. Is the military perfect, Of course not. All the human frailties are present, too. Nevertheless, courage and character are in great supply.
"In three years I learned more about standards, commitment and yes, life, than I did in six years of university. I also learned that I had had no idea of my own limits: when I was exhausted after humping up and down jungle mountains in 100-degree heat with a 75-pound pack, terrified out of my mind, wanting only to quit, convinced I couldn't take another step, I found that in fact I could keep going for miles. And my life was put in the hands of young men I would otherwise never have met, by and large high-school dropouts, who turned out to be among the finest people I have ever known."

May 4, 2004

Vietnam Vets Slam Kerry

Kerry slammed by those he served with. Not a good omen, John.

Top News Article |

BIG heads will roll now that murder is involved.

BW Online | May 10, 2004 | E-Biz Strikes Again!

The Internet is the freest of the free markets. Trading is greased by information. With information, prices move to levels that are sustainable only by the fittest companies. Buyers with information are the most powerful force on earth.

Muslim societies can't abide the free market because they are led by control freaks who despise their followers knowing too much, except of the sort dished out in the Madrassas.

Is capitalism as an economic system fundamentally at odds with medieval Muslim culture and societies? If so, freedom taking root will be painfully difficult.

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Looking Past Cable's Profits to the Rivals on Its Heels

The competitive playing field continues to beckon companies into their rivals' space. In many ways this level of competition is somewhat different than that contemplated by the Telecom Act of 1996. It's alliance based competition rather than one company trying to deliver all the services independently.

At bottom, however are the technology platforms that have become so robust with enormous capital investment during the telecom boom years. Now the trick is to convince consumers that the new services are worthy of their cost. My digital cable and cable modem access is now too high, >$100/mo. I find the real value in the high speed internet connection, not in the cable entertainment.

The New York Times > Technology > Technology Special > Swiss Army Knife, Phone Attached

On and on goes the technology parade. 3G wireless data services will bring us ever closer to the Star Trek communicator and all those gee whiz devices we saw in sci-fi movies. Will have to consider upgrading my cell service within a year or two.

May 3, 2004

The New York Times > Science > This Time It's Real: An Antimissile System Takes Shape

A fascinating project. Having worked on the original Safeguard ABM system in the ''60s, I'm sure the technology has come light years forward. This system is primarily to counter threats posed by idiot states like North Korea or terrorists who may buy or shoot their way into missile sites to launch one at us.

The billions required is a huge price to pay, but what is the alternative? Nuclear blackmail from the likes of the lunatics in North Korea?

The New York Times > Technology > Hoping to Attract Callers to the Internet

The cable guys will win some converts. The trick is how long will it take for the circuit-switched telcos to get to VoIP? Most of the huge investment in switching systems must be nearing its depreciated life. Do VOIP 'switches' have robust packet handling capacity?

Kerry 'Unfit to be Commander-in-Chief,' Say Former Military Colleagues -- 05/03/2004

Not the man he claims to be according to his former military comrades in arms. This will be very bad for Kerry. Seems those who served with him overwhelmingly reject him as a future CIC. This rejection is apparently based not only on his service record, but from his opposition to the war after he returned to the US.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Let Us Pray

China will overshadow the US as an economic power in 20 years. What will that mean for our republic. Chine must be actively on our side in the war on terrorism. I wonder what the Arab terrorists think of China and its relationship to the religion of Mohammed?

Google Form S-1

I value Google's expression of intent as they launch this Dutch auction IPO. Quirky though it may be to traditional Wall Streeters, I think they have the success record, thus opportunity, to pull it off. The question is whether to buy in now. Wonder what price the IPO will fetch?

May 2, 2004

The New York Times > Magazine > Lesser Evils

While I don't fully agree with all his premises and conclusions, this piece by Michael Ignatieff at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard is exactly the dialogue that is essential for America. The notion of 'lesser evils' is not easily compliant to the rule of law, but given what we've learned about terrorists, their goals and methods, we must continue to live under and promote the basic underpinnings of our republic. Nevertheless, preemptive actions, abrogation of certain rights for those who would destroy us are essential lesser evils. I have read no other realistic alternative.

Given all this, can anyone deny evil as the driving force in this world? How can anyone conclude that doing good begets good. Evil does not permit this fantasy. The only saving grace is that of spiritual renewal and salvation provided by the Blood of the Lamb.