July 31, 2004

Scientists: Nanotech risks need study - News - ZDNet

Bill Joy (Sun Microsystems software genius) has been describing his nanotech concerns for years. We don't know what we don't know. We should proceed to develop this technology, but with great caution.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - Service to Country

Seems the mainstream media doesn't see fit to cover this aspect of Senator Kerry's record, at least I haven't seen coverage. If it's true, and the media can easily verify if it is, there's a story here.

If Bush is accused of dodging Vietnam via the National Guard, Kerry's Vietnam record and his actions following his short tour of duty deserve the same scrutiny.

July 30, 2004

PCWorld.com - Microsoft Shows Off Search Tools

This is big news. Not only internet searches, but deep search capability for your hard drive(s). Google can search email deeply, given my experience with Gmail. It's a small step for them to offer the same capability for your hard drive.

The race is on and my guess is this will affect Google's IPO price.

Capitalism and free enterprise. Don't you love it??

The New York Times > New York Region > Cellphone Antennas to Sprout Atop Light Poles and Signs

The New York Times > New York Region > Cellphone Antennas to Sprout Atop Light Poles and Signs:

The lunatic fringe is active in NYC. To the writer's/editor's credit, they have included a statement of fact to counter Evie's wild and uninformed wailing.

"Evie Hantzopoulos of the Astoria Neighborhood Coalition, which opposes the unchecked spread of antennas in the city, sees it otherwise.
'There has been a complete lack of public input on this and the city has given the telecommunications industry carte blanche access,' Ms. Hantzopoulos said. 'It's not just dangerous, it's irresponsible.'
While there has been widespread concern about radiation from cellphone towers posing a risk of cancer and infertility, most scientific studies have not found a link."

PayPal Class Action Settlement

Below is an excerpt from the email received sent by PayPal to those who may benefit from settlement of a class action suit. The lawyers stand to gain more than 1/3 of this settlement. My reading of this and the results of dozens of other class actions is the attorneys are the primary beneficiaries of such litigation. Taking more than 1/3 of a negotiated amount for something the defendant says it did not do seems so wrong to me.

I think I hear Senator Edwards cheering in the background.
"10. HOW WILL THE LAWYERS FOR THE CLASS BE PAID?From the inception of the litigation in early 2002 to the present, Class Counsel have not received any payment for their services in prosecuting the case, nor have they been reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses. If the Court approves the proposed settlement, Class Counsel will make a motion to the Court for an award of attorneys' fees of up to $3,332,500 and reimbursement of expenses of up to $135,000, to be paid from the $9.25 million settlement fund. Class Counsel will also seek reimbursement from the settlement fund on behalf of certain of the named plaintiffs in the litigation for reimbursement of their expenses related to their service as class representatives in the litigation, in an aggregate amount not to exceed $15,000. The motion will be heard at the settlement hearing described below in Section 11."

July 29, 2004

The New York Times > Sports > Pro Football > Giants and Manning Agree to a $45 Million Contract

How crazy are these salaries? Yet fans go on paying the sky high ticket prices and the advertisers continue to pay for the air time. Nuts.

July 28, 2004

ABCNEWS.com : Is Dems' Biggest Money Man Mob-Connected?

This is not good news.

Robert Byrd Palaver

During this convention week, Senator Byrd has been getting more than a normal share of TV time and continues to rant and rave that Kerry can solve the problems created by Byrd's description of the Bush administration.  Waving a small red book, he argues that the Constitution is abused by the Republicans in their exercise of power and that John Kerry will fix it if elected.  Balderdash. Homespun political rhetoric.

The Kerry style of leadership | csmonitor.com

This analysis is less than persuasive that Kerry is a leader.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Lost Record '02 Florida Vote Raises '04 Concern

Can Florida ever get voting right? This is not good news for electronic voting.

Poll shows tough road for broadband | CNET News.com

Poll shows tough road for broadband | CNET News.com:

The political and regulatory implications of this recent poll are enormous. Smart...or, better yet, no...regulation will be required to keep the broadband train on the track and moving at a fast pace.

"The federal government has historically helped ensure that telephone access is available to all Americans, including rural and low-income areas, where service might not otherwise be available. Most respondents to the News.com-Harris Interactive Poll agreed that it was important or extremely important for all Americans to have Internet access, whether by broadband or dial-up connection.

At the same time, by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent, they opposed any government plan to directly subsidize the extension of broadband access to rural areas or for low-income citizens. Similarly, nearly 70 percent was against paying higher access fees to fund the expansion of broadband to those areas."

PCWorld.com - Skype Reaches Beyond the PC

PCWorld.com - Skype Reaches Beyond the PC
No wonder the big telcos are moving as fast as they can to capture as much of the VoIP market as they can. They will cannibalize their traditional POTS service and the financial impacts can be ameliorated by continued rapid growth in the wireless business. The telecom paradigm is changing at warp speed.

July 26, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Glue of In-ism

Safire, you're in top form!

Broadband: A life-saving technology | CNET News.com

The case for broadband as a critical component of the nation's infrastructure.

Taxes on tap for Internet chat? | Perspectives | CNET News.com

The Internet services tax battle rages. This will continue to be a big political hot potato The operating principle should be: no technology specific taxes, either state or federal.

HP to Dick Tracy: Bet your phone can't do this | CNET News.com

I have to wonder if the 3G cellular networks coming soon will eclipse the Voice over Wi-Fi push. T-Mobile will bill these calls, presumably even though the access via W--Fi may be free. Could be useful in place of a traditional wireless phone at home or n the workplace.

Ultimately, this race will come down to price and flexibility. The key is to wirelessly move broadband data along with voice applications at a price that provides a profit where the user properly values the capabilities and is willing to may the price.

The New York Times > Business > Wireless Sensor Networks Spread to New Territory

Seems like a fertile area to watch and when the timing is right, invest.

"No one has yet come close to making components small enough for smart-dust systems. But a concept known as mesh networking has reduced the power requirements, at least theoretically, to the point where researchers expect to produce, within the next few years, networks of sensor nodes the size of postage stamps powered by coin-size lithium batteries.
In such networks, sensors would need only enough power to communicate with their neighbors. Messages would be passed along to a more powerful control station or central computer.
All this has whetted the interest of investors looking for the next big thing in technology. A market research firm in San Diego, ON World, estimated that wireless sensor networks generated less than $150 million in sales last year but will top $7 billion by 2010."

"Futuristic though it may seem, the movement has captured the interest of venture capitalists, whose investments are supporting start-up sensor networking companies like Millennial Net, Crossbow Technology and Ember."

July 25, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Spending: Web Phone Service May Have It All, Except Many Users

A solid summary of what to look for when shopping for VoIP service. Now that Verizon is in the game, its penetration will increase rapidly. Here's the essential balance for consumers: do I need broadband Internet service, cell phone service and a POTS landline or can I get by with broadband and only cell service? If not, then VoIP over broadband may substitute for POTS if no backup power if electricity fails and E911 concerns is an acceptable tradeoff for a lower price.

"Still, the gaps among various Internet providers are narrowing, to the point that fewer and fewer consumers can detect the difference between traditional and Internet phone service."

July 24, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: War of Ideology

This is the most cogent piece I've seen since the 9/11 Commission report surfaced. Brooks is dead on. Thomas Friedman has been writing in this vein for years. The Commission emphasized in its press briefing that the US suffers from a failure of imagination. Brooks, in different words, is saying the same.

"The 9/11 commission report argues that we have to fight this war on two fronts. We have to use intelligence, military, financial and diplomatic capacities to fight Al Qaeda. That's where most of the media attention is focused. But the bigger fight is with a hostile belief system that can't be reasoned with but can only be 'destroyed or utterly isolated.'"

The New York Times > National > Jerry Springer Mulling Political Path in Ohio

This man is all that is both good and bad about America. On one hand, the land of opportunity has been good to him financially. On the other, he is an exploiter of America and its people. Though he may have held political office before, he is a disgrace to the higher values of our culture and should be rejected for any political office. On balance, Springer is a portrayal of the worst in America.

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Sees Hope of Gaining Edge on Terror Issue

Hate is a corrosive and divisive emotion, Senator. You seem to recognize that. Nevertheless, hate seems to be driving the Democrats in this election. At least, it seems to have been the driving force behind Dr. Dean's run at the nomination. Hate fails in the long haul.

"In the interview, Mr. Kerry seemed determined to tame, at least through the four days of the convention, the intense anti-Bush fervor in his party that has been a driving dynamic of this campaign. Mr. Kerry said that he did not want the convention to turn into a parade of attacks on the president, and that his campaign was seeking to minimize the anti-Bush oratory voiced by convention speakers."

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Sees Hope of Gaining Edge on Terror Issue

Not with this voter, Senator Kerry.

U.S. Warns Sports Officials of Al Queda Threat

Has anyone calculated the financial costs across the board to fight terrorism threats? Will a security surcharge be added to sports tickets? Opera? Billy Graham 'crusades' (now that's a nasty word for radical Islam)

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

From an article by Dale Fincher 'A Word from the Wise,' from Just Thinking, Summer 2004, a triannual communique of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

The nature of evil and how to deal with it...from Lord of the Rings

"You see, evil comes to us in two forms: ideas and behaviors. First, there are the false beliefs we hold, and second, those beliefs turned to action. The latter is frequently acknowledged in our present world, though many forms of it are debated. The former is less acknowledged and penetrates many unaware minds. We must watchdog both kinds of evils in ourselves and in our neighbors.
Furthermore, two tragedies could result if Gandalf's wisdom is not employed. One, if justice stands without pity, Gollum would have no hope to be rescued from evil. Two, if pity stands without justice, then Gollum's condition could be ignored as being slight or indifferent. Pity is not pity unless the true nature of the problem is acknowledged. Neither alternative would benefit Gollum or Frodo."

Literacy, Culture and the NEA

Stumbled on this piece  and Reasononline.  I don't know much about them, but their mission seems 'reasonable.'  This short discussion probes the history of reading by the common man with a focus on fiction, and what some elitists thought about it in the evolving capitalist societies of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Upshot: people read traditional literature less frequently than they used to because they get information from many other sources in today's Western technological society. The question remains, does it matter and how will the culture be affected?

The New York Times > National > Judge Limiting Sex-Life Shield at Bryant Trial

The New York Times > National > Judge Limiting Sex-Life Shield at Bryant Trial.

Is this  trip necessary?

Sports fans, men and women, voyeurs, wannabes and others are engrossed by the titillation provided by this sordid mess. It seems pretty simple: A high-profile basketball star, many of whom are reported to indulge in sex at will, perhaps as one of the expected perks of superstar status, meets a sexually active, probably attractive, female wanting to "be with" a superstar. They have sex, whether violent or not, consensual or not, TBD.  She sees opportunity to make big bucks from an alleged injury. If it's true she had sex numerous times before and after Bryant, that's relevant in a case such as this.

The whole situation should never have reached this level of frenzy. These situations are the fodder that feed our cultural enemies and display that America is often less than the Christian nation we say we are.

Antipiracy bill gains new ally | CNET News.com

The never ending battle of copyright. I have not read the "Induce" legislation, but if it will help combat piracy without engendering unnecessary burdens or pain for other legitimate business activities, I'm for it. Copyrighted material isn't free and we should not be training a generation of pirates who think it is.

SCO flops in DaimlerChrysler Unix lawsuit | CNET News.com

Seems right to me that a company without a competitive product or position in the marketplace should fail in its attempt to develop a business based on suing others who are successful. The lawyers must be running SCO. I hope the company fails in its other suits against legitimate companies.

Open source software may threatening to established software companies, but they will adapt and/or incorporate it. IBM, also sued by SCO with the hope of extracting a $$ settlement, is the best example and seems to be successful in working with and investing open source software, particularly Linux.

July 23, 2004

The New York Times > Technology > Government Wants to Bring Health Records Into Computer Age

But what are the costs of such a conversion? While it's tragic that so many people seem to die from medical mistakes, what portion would be saved if an optimum electronic records system were in place and used effectively?

"The savings from making the transition to electronic health records, according to administration officials and health care experts, could be sizable in terms of both dollars and lives. The report estimates that if most patient records were in electronic form, the savings would be about $140 billion a year, or nearly 10 percent of the nation's annual health care bill.
Besides the cost savings from reduced paper handling, the automation of an electronic system could sharply reduce medical errors, which are estimated to be responsible for 45,000 to 98,000 deaths a year - more than breast cancer, AIDS or motor vehicle accidents, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Foolscap and Favored Sons

Digitize everything!

Foolscap is romantic and pleasing to the senses, but paper as a medium of the historical record is slowly dying of deterioration and handling. All information will be digital and the paper history of civilization will be collectors' items while the content will be available online. I'm sure there's something very satisfying in researching and handling the musty records of days gone by, but the era will end in the next few decades.

Digitizing everything makes the notion and technology of search so profoundly important to the Googles, Yahoos and Microsofts of this era, and, of course, to all of us who are online.

What a tempting terrorist target! Yet the Internet architecture was designed first and foremost for survivability against nuclear attack in the Cold War. Let's hope the diffuse and distributed architecture will remain reliable against the attempts to cripple it by the hackers and terrorists of tomorrow.

Note to myself: read the 9/11 Commission's report on the digital infrastructure.

The New York Times > National > Los Alamos Chief Suspends 19 Workers With Warning

You have to admire this guy! Zero tolerance and he makes no bones about it with the scientists and others who live in an ivory tower or have a 'holier than thou attitude.' I hope he withstands the inevitable pressure to lighten up.

VoiceWing Home

More about VoiceWing, Verizon's VoIP offering. Let the regulatory dance begin!

Senate panel embraces state VoIP taxes - News - ZDNet

Now the Senate tinkers with the rules around VoIP. Never let it be said that a good thing can evolve on its own merits without unnecessary government regulation and taxes (Seems the halcyon days of the Internet are coming to an end!). There are some fees on VoIP and other telecom services that may make sense, such as E911. For public safety reasons, emergency services should continue to be supported by customers of companies providing voice telecommunications services.

I don't support Lifeline service surcharges on VoIP services. Although Lifeline is a worthy goal, as a welfare subsidy it should be paid from state general funds competing for funding with all the other welfare mechanisms, not from support of any one class (landline POTS) of telephone customers.

The argument has to be: If landline customers pay a Lifeline tax/fee/surcharge, then cell phone customers, VoIP customers, Wi-Fi customers, and customers of any other technology used for voice services should also pay it. That leads to an unworkable situation from a regulatory, billing and collections perspective because of the highly competitive environment. Better to exempt all telecom services from such a charge. Now's the time to have this debate before the politicos listen to the regulators and enact bad law. The logic used (POTS monopolies' customers should pay it) when Lifeline was imposed no longer holds.

In Vermont, the lawmakers should muster the courage to repeal the tax on business telecom services. This is a 'penalty' tax that does not encourage telecom growth, a necessary underpinning for a healthy economy.

The New York Times > International > Europe > Paris Journal: A Campaign to Drink Another Glass of Wine for France

With so many good wines from America, Australia, Chile, Hungary, Italy and other places, why buy French wine? Calling it food is a bit of a stretch, I think, though red wine is good for you in moderation, of course.

July 22, 2004

Judge: Feds, not states, should govern VoIP - News - ZDNet

The judge is right. Hands off VoIP is the proper role for states, unless they wish to help consumers without regulating or taxing the companies providing the services.

The New York Times > Business > AT&T to Stop Marketing Traditional Service

Another big move from a big company. The residential phone market is cellular and VoIP based. There's a mega-change, technological and market, underway and AT&T is feeling a world of hurt because of it.

The New York Times > Technology > Verizon Seen Introducing Phone Service via Internet

Big move by a big company that will shake up the industry. State regulators should have no part of this new service because it's not within their jurisdiction.

July 21, 2004

July 20, 2004

BBC NEWS | Middle East | UN demands Israel scrap barrier

Stand fast on this, Israel. You have reduced the number of your citizens who are killed by Palestinian suicide crazies. The wall/fence/barrier is part of the reason. The Palestinians cannot be trusted. Keep them out of your country..and whatever land you control in the West Bank as a result of the wars the Arabs launched against you in the 60's.

Stand fast!

The New York Times > Washington > Kerry Adviser Steps Aside Amid Outcry Over Documents

This is an unbelievable situation. Berger is obviously dishonest and Kerry is smart to distance himself from this thief.
Here's Kerry's quote:
"Kerry issued a statement in which he said: "Sandy Berger is my friend, and he has tirelessly served this nation with honor and distinction. I respect his decision to step aside as an adviser to the campaign until this matter is resolved objectively and fairly.""
Translation: Berger's a nice guy, but I don't want this asshole anywhere near my campaign.

Google tool plucks from rivals | CNET News.com

Slowly but surely Google is enhancing it's Gmail. Good move. I love Gmail especially the search feature which is wonderful for finding stuff. I wish Blogger would incorporate the Google search. It only seems logical to do so. I also like what I see of Picasa, the photo management software company, now free since Google bought them.

Yahoo! News - Frequent Travelers are Verizon Fans

Good news for Verizon Wireless. Staying on top is important in this fast moving business. Waiting for all-you-can-eat wireless broadband via EV-DO.

How To Counter This Terror Threat?

This is serious business. The ability of terrorists to manipulate oil supplies and profit from price swings is a threat to be taken seriously. Coupled with the Russian Yukos oil debacle, nations better be serious about confronting the threat and minimizing the economic disruption that may occur.

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Advertising: Photography Companies Try a New Approach

I take hundreds of digital pictures, but print very few, relatively speaking, and then on my inkjet. It's so much easier to share them digitally using Shutterfly or other services to allow people who really want them to make their own prints. The in-store kiosks aren't attractive for me.

July 19, 2004

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan Responses

Thoughtful response to Peggy Noonan's "What Bush Should Do" commentary
Passing On Liberty
Steve Madison - Duncanville, Texas

"I couldn't sleep last night and was watching Charlie Rose's conversation with a young man who has written a book on the profound political dissonance we have in our country. While being careful to say that he disagreed with their decision, he pretended to be sympathetic to the plight of the poor witless people who he says have been seduced and betrayed by conservative Republicans. He thinks we need to be saved from ourselves by the Democrats.

In a surprising turn, Mr. Rose asked his guest if the trouble wasn't the founding of this country on the capitalist model--and shouldn't we move to some form of communist system. The guest said "yes," that that would be the preferred model but that the mass of people in America needed to be educated to see things differently--if that change were ever to succeed. And then I had my great epiphany: To the enduring and often deadly struggle between the communists and the capitalists has been added the sadistic free radical of terrorist Islam and suddenly we're fighting two wars on many fronts--both for the very survival of America's liberty.

If I am happy with the war and President Bush these days, it is not because of the death and destruction that the conflict brings, but because this sacrifice is tangible evidence that America hasn't been "educated" enough (yet) to value life more than liberty. I believe that President Bush sees this as well and that together, we can hold on to liberty long enough to pass it to the next generation of Americans--sorta like those seductive capitalist warmongers Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and especially that arrogant and stupid George Washington with his blood thirsty band of babykiller Continentals."

OpinionJournal - Taste

Fox must be successful...and it is...for these attack documentaries to be produced in the first place. Is it a coincidence that these attack films are released in an election year and that tey're anti-Bush and anti-conservative? Say yes and I'll sell you a bridge.

I wonder what the conservatives have up their sleeve? An attack documentary against CBS adn CNN? Or just relish Fox continually winning the ratings game, something that must drive the liberals nuts.

Yahoo! News - AP: Clinton Adviser Probed in Terror Memos

This is unbelievable. Taking highly classified documents and 'forgetting' about it? Berger is lying through his teeth. How could this happen?

The Trials and Tribulations of RV Park Wi-Fi

This article is about a year old. wi-Fi seems to be penetrating slowly into the 16,00 RV parks in the US. As time passes, wireless broadband will become a necessity. The question is will it be Wi_Fi or will it be the cellular companies' 3G networks. I think the latter in the long run because of the cellular ubiquity. The price will have to be right, though. At this point, I'd say $30-50 monthly. A daily and hourly rate would also be an attractive option.

Verizon's early rollout in San Diego and Washington, DC at ~$80.00 monthly is priced too high for most RVers.

Verizon's fiber race is on | CNET News.com

This is the ultimate game, but it will be a decade or more before fiber is deployed ubiquitously to homes throughout Verizon's territory.

"The Federal Communications Commission plans to allow the Bells to invest in fiber without requiring them to share their infrastructure with third parties, as is the case with copper wire networks. For many years, the Bells have protested that the line-sharing rules on copper wire networks are unfair, because cable companies are not required to share their lines."

The New York Times > Technology > Microsoft's Online Unit Shows Signs of Life

MS continues to pour billions in to its business, online and otherwise. Combining all aspects, they'll succeed. Too much success, though, will bring the Justice Department and competitors to a courtroom. MS needs to carefully win in the marketplace.

July 18, 2004

Top News Article | Reuters.com

Arafat once again demonstrates he is a corrupt fool and a terrorist. If there's a resistance movement among the Palestinians, to be effective it must be coherent. The world should see plainly by now that Arafat is not a leader the Palestinians need. Israel is right not to deal with him. Their proposed withdrawal from Gaza shows how fractious and disorganized the Palestinians really are.

FOXNews.com - Politics - U.S., Allies Will Not Negotiate With Terrorists

Thanks, Korea. You understand the costs of terrorism and have chosen to stand firm. Wake up, Spain!

FOXNews.com - Politics - Hundreds of Teachers Caught Cheating

As expected, the guilty blamed the system. How about personal ethics? Morals? What does the teachers union have to say?

Google and Picasa

Google's recent purchase of Picasa, a very powerful digital image sharing program, will yield very powerful synergies with Blogger and Google's future plans for image management. Given that 30-40% of households own a digital camera, this will be a powerful capacity for us in the future. The ability to easily post photos to blogs is right now very interesting  as well as fun!

Closeup Lens Photo
Posted by Hello
Just tried a new macro/closeup lens on my Canon G2. It's useful, but requires proper lighting to be able to use the depth of field required to get decent closeups.

Israel Announces Program to Attract Jews From North America

A phenomenon that will enrich Israel given these statistics:
"This year's batch of North American immigrants comes from 33 states across the United States and from four Canadian provinces, and 98 percent of the families have at least one member with an undergraduate or post-graduate degree."

Powell calls for legislative rethink | CNET News.com

Powell is right in his assessments about the regulatory framework being out of synch with today's and tomorrow's technologies.
There's a huge amount of work to be done and old policies and rules rethought. A poignant Powell comment: "New policies will have to look more at underlying technology than applications, Powell said, because applications will continue to evolve and multiply."
Regulation requires a bold overhaul,  particularly at the state level.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | French Jews 'must move to Israel'

One more strike against France, a nation of apparent hate, fear, retrospective thinking and stumbling to regain a prominent place in world affairs. Where is the good news about or from France?

The New York Times > Week in Review > Israel's Wall: Building for Calm by Giving Up on Peace

The contrasts of life in this article will grab you. The contrasts in the lives, economies and culture are stark. One can sympathize with both sides in this conflict. One cannot deny that there is little equity. These are the results of one Palestinian ideology and culture of attempting to 'drive Israel from the land.'

The World Court's decision on the lawfulness of the wall should be ignored. The Israelis have a right to do what's feasible to get on with life.

"Belief in the barrier is by no means confined to the army. Most Israelis are tired of the conflict, exhausted by it. They want to forget what goes on over there, in the West Bank. A wall helps them do that. They feel peace was within reach in the 1990's, but now the best that can be hoped for is damage limitation. A fence makes the task of Palestinians who want to kill them harder.

"There is a feeling that you cannot resolve this situation for the coming decades, you can only manage it," says Tom Segev, a historian. "The wall is ugly and terrible, but it is also a way of managing.""

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

Dowd is bright, witty, but weird. She has the finely honed talent for pissing off people. Wonder what she's like in real life?

BBC NEWS | Technology | Wired broadband gets supercharged

More bandwidth coming from ADSL. PANS (Pretty Amazing New Stuff) from POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)

The New York Times > Magazine > Essay: Never Again, No Longer?

An illuminating piece on the mass killing and displacement of people in the Darfur region of Sudan. I tend to believe that the problems in Africa are on such a scale and frequency (AIDS, starvation, genocide, etc,) as to be unsolvable by other nations' intervention.

I don't like being a pessimist about the UN's (the world's nations) ability to solve 'humanitarian crises' but they are , in fact, ineffective as are the member nations:

"In the case of Kosovo, intervention to roll back ethnic terror ultimately worked: NATO's 78-day bombing campaign forced Milosevic's paramilitaries to withdraw. And yet neither the United Nations Security Council nor any other body has contemplated such an act in Sudan. Last month, the council failed to pass a resolution criticizing Sudan. The Bush administration wanted one, but neither China, nor Pakistan and Algeria, the two Muslim countries now serving on the Security Council, did. Note: China's opposition is curious)

It seems the world cannot move beyond the Arab-Christian confrontation. We see it so often.

The recent action of the UN suggests they continue to be terribly ineffective and worthy of little respect concerning large scale African problems. Meanwhile, the UN continues under the cloud of corruption, including Annan himself, in the Iraq Oil for Food program. Sad.

The New York Times > Magazine > Questions for Al Sharpton: How to Work It

Ho hum. Sharpton in the limelight again, doing what he does best...being in the limelight. This comment is encouraging for a man that has few redeeming qualities:

"I wonder how you feel about Bill Cosby's recent comment that too many African-Americans speak ungrammatical English and fail to rear their children properly. Does that strike you as racist?

No. I agree with him. We didn't go through the civil rights movement only to end up as thugs and hoodlums.

How would you define a thug?

Wanting to be a gangster rather than wanting to be productive. Wanting to talk in profane ways rather than having profound thoughts."

July 17, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Jesus and Jihad

Faith is a complicated dilemma for society. Kristof wants to equate America with Christianity and you can't do that. A country founded on Christian principles does not mean that Americans are Christians.

I have little tolerance for these end times novels. This is titillating fiction that serves only to enrich the authors and publishers but has little to do with the reality of Jesus and His return. It is merely guesswork, because no one knows the time, place and circumstances of Jesus return.

Bush lauded by Medal of Honor winners - (United Press International)

Why don't we see this prominently reported in the New York Times?

The New York Times > Business > Hourly Pay in U.S. Not Keeping Pace With Price Rises

As I read more deeply in this piece, the more obvious it becomes a Kerry campaign backdrop article, typical for the Times. It fails to discuss the underlying global factors that cause the quoted results. This is an example of liberal-leaning journalism enabling the Kerry campaign to use it for their benefit.
Political jounalism masquerading as objective analysis from the "newspaper of record."  I expect better from the Times.

The New York Times > Business > Hourly Pay in U.S. Not Keeping Pace With Price Rises

Always something wrong with the economy so that the politics of the presidential year permit the contenders to argue that they are doing or will do it better. Let's remember the reality. Presidents seldom have major influence on the economy, particularly a global economy where prices of consumer and other goods are essentially set by China's rapid expansion of manufacturing just about anything.

Traditional economic theory may no longer apply. Certainly we don't want to see American wages decline, but how can they not move downwardd or stay level when China's wages are so low and their production of consumer goods so great?

If American wages rise, one additional factor will drive up inflation unless productivity also rises at least the same as wages or more.

The dilemma we face is not within our power to control.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Values, Values Everywhere

Incisive view of the Kerry campaign rhetoric about 'values' by David Brooks.

Quote below so true:

"When Kerry uses the word "values," it's meant to send a message: I am not who I am. I am not the blue-blooded prep-school kid who married two millionaires, dated a movie star and has a prenup and umpteen homes in tony locales; who has spent the past two decades as a moderately liberal senator from Massachusetts; and who likes to snowboard at Sun Valley and windsurf off Nantucket. I'm just your back-fence neighbor in Mayberry, out there in overalls, sidlin' over to the fence to chat: "Howdy neighbor! Would you like to come visit for a spell and hear about my values of faith, hope and opportunity?"

This campaign's version of middle-class values is like the Cracker Barrel restaurant version of a small town: a manufactured replica of a wholesome, down-home America that never existed. A realistic portrait of middle-class values would include tattoos, carb-counting and the purchase of voluminous amounts of lottery tickets by people who dream of escaping from the middle class."

July 16, 2004

The New York Times > National > McCain Praises Cheney As Rumors Swirl

Cheney has proved his worth. Either McCain or Cheney would serve the ticket well.

The New York Times > Business > She Asserts a 'Small' Matter Was 'Blown Out of Proportion'

How would you like to be Martha's probation officer?

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Palestinian police chief abducted

Another indication of the chaos and tumult within/among Palestinian factions. Where will it end?

The New York Times > International > Middle East > The Way Out: In Iraq, the Most Coveted Item Now Is a Passport

Security and an end to lawlessness badly needed in Iraq. I wonder what it is the terrorists want after American forces were to leave? A Taliban-like state? A return to the dictatorship? A lawless state where powerful people control the oil for their personal or terrorist benefit? What IS the goal of the insurgent terrorists?

Multiplier Effect of Terror Attacks

Terrorists know the financial power over their enemies (us!) that results from successful attacks on important infrastructure or even the threat of such attacks. This is why prevention and preemptive strikes must be our defense/offense against them. We have invested billions in Homeland Security with more to come.  Requiring the Western world to invest for prevention and security against a real or perceived threat is a powerful strategy of terror. That is one reason why we must find and eradicate the leadership, pursuing them for as long as it takes, regardless of where they may hide. We must allow them no sanctuary.

Between the Lines - ZDNet.com

See Dave Rosenberg's post in this ZDnet blog.

Increases in telecom wireless data rates closely follow Moore's law. The implications for society are even more dramatic for wireless than the impact of accelerating CPU speeds and capacity we've seen from the chip industry to date.  Imagine the implications in five years of having widespread (hopefully) availability of 1 megabit/sec speeds... and more... for  handheld devices in automobiles, planes, trains and buses!

The New York Times > National > Los Alamos Halts All of Its Classified Research After Data Vanishes

Bad news at Los Alamos. When all the facts are known, stringent and swift remedial actions will be necessary. My association with very smart people in an earlier life suggests they don't pay close attention to the security of their work, or worse, wish it were in the possession of others besides the US government to 'level the paying field.'
Good decision to put the management of the lab up for bid. Surprising that University of California seems incapable of managing professionally.

July 14, 2004

Congressional panel to vote on bill to ban VoIP taxes - News - ZDNet

Congress: Vote to prevent taxes on Internet capabilities. We have the opportunity now to not hinder the continued rapid penetration of technologies that will keep America in the forefront of Internet expansion and value. Resist the temptation to allow states to create a cash cow from Internet taxes. The old Ma Bell monopoly is gone. Wake up and acknowledge today's and tomorrow's reality.

Study: States doing plenty of offshoring | CNET News.com

The pols are ripped that companies are reducing costs by off-shoring state government outsourced work. The political knee-jerk reactions are predictable. Vermont pols raised the flag and vowed not to participate in such contracts. In the long term, this is much ado about nothing, particularly in my state (Vermont)where the unemployment rate is below 4%. If concerned about jobs, why outsource at all? Give the jobs to state workers. The rantings and ravings are disingenuous.

Google to Buy Picasa - (From NY TImes Article)

This acquisition makes sense for Google given the explosion in digital photography. Google's Blogger relationship with Picasa provided an opportunity to test the technology and the fit. Now I expect it will be be more fully incorporated into not only Blogger, but other Google offerings. Here's a photo of one of Carol's Woolie-'dales uploaded using Picasa's 'Hello' service.

A Woolie-'dale! Posted by Hello

July 13, 2004

Political ripples of the marriage debate | csmonitor.com

"Democrats aren't conceding the battle. In recent days, presidential candidate John Kerry has been stressing that the issue of "values" runs deeper than just a few social issues, and that the proposed amendment writes discrimination into the Constitution. Mr. John Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards, say they would vote against the amendment. Kerry says he supports gay civil unions, but not same-sex marriage."
Here's one excellent reason not to vote for Kerry. His definition of discrimination does not match that of a vast majority of Americans, certainly not mine. This is NOT a states rights issue. Marriage is a fundamental principle of civilization and it involves one man and one woman, nothing different.

Global Guerrillas: JOURNAL: HERFs in the marketplace

One more weapon out there to be concerned about in the hands of terrorists.

The New York Times > New York Region > Man Accused of Infiltrating Computer at Verizon

Prosecute to the full extent possible. The risk to public safety is too great for this crime to be treated lightly.

July 12, 2004

The New York Times > Health > Health Officials Urge Sharply Lower Cholesterol Levels

These recommendations will sell a ton more statin drugs. The pharmaceutical companies will love it. The statins are very expensive.

Yahoo! News - Don't get stuck with a full digital camera memory card on your trip

Great tips for digital photo storage when traveling. The Seagate solution (at the end of the article) due in September, 5 gigabytes of storage on a CF drive for $200 seems a dream come true. The Wal-Mart solution is also a very reasonable option. Extra CF cards, however, is still a very cost-effective and convenient option. No question that digital photography is mainstream and growing rapidly.

Can fuel cells for digital cameras be far behind?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Kofigate Gets Going

If Safire's allegations and insinuations are true, this scandal has the potential to blow apart any remaining UN credibility as a trusted institution. If leadership at the UN were skimming or allowing billions to be skimmed from the Iraq Oil for Food program, they do not deserve any confidence to manage world affairs. If the allegations are true, many important world figures and institutions likely will be implicated.

Why isn't the media digging out the dirt on this one? Could it be that the media think this too disruptive to liberal interests? Or is it possible many prominent US folks aided, abetted or benefited from this debacle?

July 11, 2004

Too Late to Comment? (washingtonpost.com)

The outrage continues! Fox appears to have been side-swiped by NY Times reporters on comments about the documentary targeting Fox News. It's obvious to me that there's a liberal strategy underway attempting to discredit as many prominent Republicans and conservative institutions as possible prior to the fall elections.

Guess it's time for the Republicans to play hardball. I wonder what they have up their sleeves?

July 10, 2004

baltimoresun.com - Terror forces Israel to act in self-defense

This opinion more eloquently sums up my views on the question of the Israeli fence expressed in the previous post.

Yahoo! News - Palestinians Seek Backing Against Barrier

Yahoo! News - Palestinians Seek Backing Against Barrier:

"It remains our view that this referral to the court was inappropriate and that, in fact, it could impede efforts to achieve progress toward a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Washington, he said, also rejects the idea there should be "further action" by the United Nations in light of the court ruling.


This is the right position for the U.S. The wall/barrier is reducing and/or has reduced the suicide bombings by the Palestinian terrorists on the Israeli side of the wall.

I think the Israeli tactics of head-hunting the Hamas leadership and making Arafat irrelevant is a reasonable short term approach. We hear almost nothing about and from Arafat - good! The suicide bombings have been drastically curtailed - also good.

Unfortunately, a wall/fence is not a good thing long term, but it's working in the short term.

The Palestinian-pleasing 'world court' should be ignored.

Let us not forget that these 'occupied territories' result from a war against the Israelis by Arab nations which the Arabs lost. Israel has every right to protect itself from the Palestinian fanatics. The Palestinian leadership does not want peace. They want nothing less than the annihilation of Israel.

Good fences may not make good neighbors, but if it keeps Palestinian terror at a much lower level, arguments against it are weak.

July 9, 2004

Yahoo! News - Dean Appeals to Nader to End Bid

Dr. Dean, Gore lost because he didn't get enough votes. Blaming Nader for that is accusing the voters for voting wrongly. Gore lost. Bush won. Get over it.

News: Special Reports - VoIP Squabbling

A series of articles about the VoIP controversy, not soon to be resolved. Too many oxen to be gored here!

Newspapers (attributed to Mitch Friedman)

Very witty!

Newspapers (by Mitch Friedman)


1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country, but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

July 8, 2004

www.AndrewSullivan.com - Greatest Hits - Faith

An interesting essay by Sullivan on the reasons for the demise of the Catholic Church in America. The demise is undeniable and celibacy is a key issue among many.

Limited State Regulation of Internet Telephony

Leaders in Congress are taking the correct approach to VoIP. The states role, particularly in economic regulation and Taxation should be clearly limited. No taxation of VoIP service should be permitted. By limiting constraints, the technology will prosper in the marketplace and it has been obvious for some time that this will be the future technology of choice.

July 7, 2004

IRS eyes Net phone taxes | CNET News.com

The Feds never saw a tax they didn't like. All possible avenues should be taken to prevent taxes on any Internet services including VoIP. For once we have an opportunity to see an old tax die a natural death as VoIP technology takes hold.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Body Politic Will Reject 'Charisma Transplant'

Insightful analysis by William Safire about Kerry's choice of Edwards for VP running mate. I always believed Kerry would choose Edwards, but the choice of this inexperienced newcomer may not be the best for the nation. And Kerry runs the risk of Edwards overshadowing him in the campaign.

July 6, 2004

Yahoo! News - Analysts See Banner Year Ahead for Economy

This is really good news, but has little to do with who is in the White House except they get the credit or blame. The economy is not controlled by politicians, contrary to their rhetoric. Nevertheless, the Bush tax cuts must have had a positive effect on economic indicators, while a negative effect on the deficit and the national debt.

A good economy is bad news for the Democrats with a Republican in the White House and congress under Republican control. This will breed strong political messages. The wild card will be Iraq and the failure of intelligence leading up to the war.

God forbid we have another terrorist attack. But if you were a terrorist planning an attack on one of the party conventions, which would you choose, Republican or Democrat? How would your choice influence that party's chances for the Presidency?

SEC Probes 401(k)s at Mutual Fund Firms (washingtonpost.com)

Good news that the SEC is looking at the mutual funds and their participation in 401(k)s. I certainly want the lowest cost and full confidence and trust in the companies providing the funds that I rely on for my retirement.

What Edwards brings to the Democratic ticket | csmonitor.com

If this is the test that voters will use to elect a president/vice president ticket, we are in sad shape. The argument that Edwards brings 'populist appeal' means nothing. What is 'populist appeal?' What are his qualifications? What has he done except get rich as a trial lawyer? I think the business community will not favor Edwards.

"'Just having a Southern accent is a good thing in the 'purple' states,' says Ted Arrington, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 'People assume that a Southerner with an accent is more moderate than a liberal from Massachusetts.'"

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Formal Announcement Is Scheduled for This Morning

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Formal Announcement Is Scheduled for This Morning

What a ticket! A flip-flopper and a trial lawyer. Let the jokes begin!

ZDNet AnchorDesk: How do I know who you really are?

Trusted identity management is one of the most important issues to be solved in the next few years. Can any system or institution be trusted? The basics of any system must include: for theft prevention, no human in the institution can access all identities; some kind of double authentication scheme is needed whenever changes are made by the person owning the identity; should credit bureaus, rather than banks be the trusted entities? Insurance companies?

This is a tough nut to crack. One thing for sure, no government should be the trusted entity.

The New York Times > Technology > You've Got Mail (and Court Says Others Can Read It)

This court ruling seems to affirm what Congress intended. Unless changes are made to the law this would seem to be good news for Google Mail. I find the new Gmail fabulous. It's easy to use and I have no problem with the ads served up according to the computer-scanned content of the incoming email.

It's a clever idea and I'm looking forward to more Gmail enhancements.

July 5, 2004

Yahoo! News - U.S. Airstrike on Fallujah House Kills 10

If the intelligence was good, obliteration is the right action to eradicate terrorists. Insurgent, the favored word of the media, is better replaced by terrorist.

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > China's Boom Brings Fear of an Electricity Breakdown

The runaway economy may be throttled back a bit by this energy shortage. It will also keep the world price of oil high as China competes with the world for a diminishing oil output.

"With China projecting a 20-million-kilowatt shortfall in electricity supplies this year, actions like these are anything but isolated. With severe power shortages predicted for the country's southern and eastern regions, Guangzhou, China's third largest city, an industrial powerhouse, has had rationing since January, six months earlier than the emergency measures put into effect last year."

The New York Times > Washington > Fears of Attack at Conventions Drive New Plans

Half the budget for security!! Look at the tremendous costs terrorists are exacting from us. All this energy and money to protect ourselves form nebulous, ill-defined, but certain threats. This is why we must pursue and eradicate the terrorists, particularly their leaders wherever they are. We must give them no rest or sanctuary.
"The fears about an incident during the conventions or later in the year have also led state and local officials to impose extraordinary security precautions. Persistent if indistinct intelligence reports, based on electronic intercepts and live sources, indicate that Al Qaeda is determined to strike in the United States some time this year, the officials said in interviews last week.
Almost half the budgets in each convention city will be spent on security, local officials said. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Boston at the Fleet Center from July 26 to 29. The Republican National Convention will be held in New York at Madison Square Garden from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2."

The New York Times > Technology > Knowing Their Politics by the Software They Use

Interesting analysis of the political leanings of software types. My experience suggests there is a connection, but it is frequently the Libertarian bent that chooses open source. Of course, many programmers take the view that BIG is bad and that Microsoft is too big, too controlling because of their OS dominance. Apple is not mentioned in this article. Why not? The 'Appleians' in my experience tend to be more independent, too.

July 4, 2004

NY Times Sunday Magazine - China's Economic Boom

This is a "must-read' article for anyone concerned about the realities of China as an economic powerhouse and what it means for America in this century.

Meanwhile, we are bogged down in the 'must win' war on terror which China does not have to endure.

There are forces at work here beyond the ability of politicians to control, despite their rantings and ravings about the loss of American jobs. To keep them honest Bush, Kerry and all our members of Congress should be challenged about the China reality.

One excerpt below from the article by Ted Fishman in the Times Magazine July 4, 2004"

"In the political debate over trade and jobs, China is the place where the world's companies choose to exploit low-cost manufacturing. The framing of this debate implies that American consumers and businesses have strong choices in the market; in fact, China, supplying ever more goods as it does, in ever more varieties and at ever better prices, is straitjacketing the choices of American businesses. China's size does not merely enable low-cost manufacturing; it forces it. Increasingly, it is what Chinese businesses and consumers choose for themselves that determines how the American economy operates. The American political debate on China's economic threat overlooks this dynamic entirely."

July 3, 2004

The New York Times > National > Text: The Declaration of Independence

Always needful to re-read the Declaration of Independence from time to time. The guys who wrote and signed it pledged their lives and fortunes to the revolution that is America. Would we?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Bush's Winning Strategy

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Bush's Winning Strategy

David Brooks is optimistic about Iraq's future since the transfer of sovereignty. The truth is Iraq will only have a free country if their people want freedom more than they fear the terrorists and bombers.

July 2, 2004

The New York Times > Sports > Other Sports > Delays in Athens Raise Concern on Olympic Security Readiness

The Greeks have created a monument to inefficiency, poor planning and general incompetence. Call it the Olympic Summer Games. Too bad, in the country of Olympic origins.

Chuck Colson on Same Sex Marriage and Terrorism

Colson's view is worth considering. Obviously a touchy subject. There is no acceptable rationale for terrorists to kill Americans. Yet, the decadence they see certainly does not discourage them from hating us.

Decadence and vulnerability: Same-sex "marriage" and terrorism
Published July 1, 2004

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the term same-sex "marriage"? Do you think about the damage inflicted on children reared by homosexual "parents"? Do you worry about the destruction of traditional marriage?

These are legitimate concerns and good reasons to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. But there is one huge problem same-sex "marriage" will cause that you may not have considered. If we legitimize same-sex unions, we will make ourselves even more of a target for terrorists. Now before you write me off as a crank, read carefully.

We have to remember the reasons that Islamic extremists are waging their terror war on the West. As Charles Krauthammer writes in Townhall, when it comes to the reasons Islam is fighting "the great jihad" against America, we "agree on the obvious answers: religion, ideology, political power, and territory. But there is one fundamental issue at stake that dares not speak its name," Krauthammer writes. "This is also about--deeply about--sex." In making their case against freedom, the jihadists claim that wherever freedom travels "--especially in America and Europe--it brings sexual license and corruption, decadence and depravity."

Mark Galli made the same point in Christianity Today. He noted that Islamic militants are angry at the West for exporting "hedonism and materialism into their very homes through television, enticing Muslims to become religiously lazy and morally corrupt." Galli quoted a 1985 communique from the terrorist group Hezbollah which said, in part: "Our way is one of radical combat against depravity, and America is the original root of depravity." Members of these groups see themselves, not as terrorists, but as holy warriors fighting a holy war against Western decadence.

Now, we want to be careful not to blame the victim--that is, to blame innocent Americans for murderous attacks against them. At the same time, let's understand how America's increasing decadence is, in a sense, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. When we tolerate increasing amounts of trash on television, when we permit pornography and gambling to invade our homes via the Internet, when we allow babies to be killed at the point of birth, we are fueling the flames of radical Islam. And when we talk about legitimizing homosexuality by granting same-sex relationships the status of marriage, we're giving powerful ammunition to those who use America's decadence to recruit more snipers and hijackers and suicide bombers. We're also making it much more difficult for Christian pastors and missionaries to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world--one more very good reason we need to clean up our act.

Over the next few columns I'm going to be talking about the arguments Christians must make to their neighbors about how marriage must be preserved as the union of one man and one woman and why changing that definition spells disaster for us all. I hope you'll keep reading.

You see, it's not just about protecting marriage--or even about protecting children--important as those goals are. It's also about protecting our country from those who would use our decadence and depravity to destroy us.

July 1, 2004

Bush, Kerry Lay Out Tech Initiatives

Here's the answer on Internet taxation. Neither Bush nor Kerry support it. Good news.

Vonage beats back New York ruling | CNET News.com

This judge's decision is just one more nail in the coffin of State regulation of future telephone service via VoIP. While state regulators, whether utility or consumer protection, will have a role in consumer protection, perhaps service quality (but that's questionable), the days are numbered for the style of regulation practiced concerning the 'Baby Bells.' Price regulation at the state level will and should disappear. VoIP is clearly an interstatee service and regulation of price/cost/terms and conditions should diminish as VoIP technology dominates voice telephony.

To the extent that taxes on traditional telephony are substantive and important to state or local budgets, lawmakers should sooner rather than later wean themselves form this source. The internet should remain tax-free and any services provided via Internet protocols should not be taxed.

Congress seems on the correct path in this matter. Don't know where Kerry stands on this, but Bush supports no Internet taxes. Hope Kerry has the same stance.