March 31, 2005

Campo di Giove (AQ)

Carol's father's ancestral village in L'Aquila, Abbruzzo, Italy where we will visit in April.

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > In the Competition for DVD Rentals by Mail, Two Empires Strike Back

All this thanks to the U.S. Postal Service! David Pogue didn't give them their well-deserved credit.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Party Inverted

Bradley has hit the nail on the head. 'Deep politics,' as I would describe what the Republicans/Conservatives have built over the years creates solid substance with convictions, positions, strategies and tactics all working together.

March 30, 2005

Why tolerance is fading for zero tolerance in schools |

Absurd outcomes from a well-intentioned law!! This is ridiculous. When will we learn that common sense should prevail over foolish interpretations of law?

Secondhand blues for eBay consignment sellers - page 2 | CNET

It's absurd for states to demand the same rules for people accepting consignments for online auctions as for traditional live auctions. Somewhere there's a middle ground.

"Tod Cohen, eBay's deputy general counsel and vice president of government relations, criticized the idea of trying to squeeze consignment sellers into decades-old regulatory categories. Existing laws against fraud provide ample legal recourse against dishonest sellers, he said.
'States are taking offline regulations and without thought applying them to online marketplaces,' Cohen said. 'They're not equivalents. Trading assistants, which on the face sounds similar to consignment sellers or traditional auctioneers...should not be subject to the same levels of regulation.' "

March 29, 2005

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

Cochran may be famous, but IMHO he helped thwart justice when Simpson went free. Does that make him a good lawyer?

"With his colorful suits and ties, his gift for courtroom oratory and a knack for coining memorable phrases, Cochran was a vivid addition to the pantheon of great American barristers.

The "if it doesn't fit" phrase would be quoted and parodied for years afterward. It derived from a dramatic moment during which Simpson tried on a pair of bloodstained "murder gloves" to show jurors they did not fit. Some legal experts called it the turning point in the trial." - PC Drive Reaches 500GB

A half a terabyte and more to come. Good grief, who would have thunk it? I fondly recall my first PC hard drive. It was 5 MEGAbytes with a 5.25" form factor in an IBM PC and its price was $1,000. Fortunately my employer picked up the tab!

"Desktop drive capacity will top out at around 1 terabyte by late 2006, before running into technological problems in maintaining data stability."

March 28, 2005

Gang will target Minuteman vigil on Mexico border - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - March 28, 2005

It's time we closed the border with Mexico.

The New York Times > Washington > An Army Program to Build a High-Tech Force Hits Cost Snags

My hero! Walker wants us to be able to pay for the big 3 entitlemant programs, too.

"David M. Walker, the comptroller general of the United States, said in an interview that the Pentagon's future arsenal was unaffordable and Congress needed "to make some choices now."

"There is a substantial gap between what the Pentagon is seeking in weapons systems and what we will be able to afford and sustain," said Mr. Walker, who oversees the Government Accountability Office, the budget watchdog of Congress. "We are not going to be able to afford all of this."

He added, "Every dollar we spend on a want today is a dollar we won't be able to spend on a need tomorrow." - USA- U.S. still can't solve Azteca in qualifying loss

Expel the illegal immigrants that are in the U.S from Mexico. Soccer fans are notoriously rowdy, but these bastards deserve no respect.

"The crowd booed the U.S. national anthem and a spattering of fans chanted 'Osama! Osama!' before play started, and shortly after Lewis' goal."

A Quandry for Some People

Can a person hold simultaneously these four positions?

1./ Belief in God or a "Supreme Being."


2./ Oppose the death penalty for a person convicted of any and all crimes no matter how hideous or brutal?


3./ Support in all cases a person's choice to die by suicide, "death with dignity," "physician assisted suicide," or any other descriptor, no matter the circumstances, with or without an expressly stated/written directive to that effect.


4./ Abortion on-demand of the pregnant woman.

I think not. If not, then which of the four positions can be consistently held by a person?

A Few Points Along the Line Between News and Opinion

The public editor at the NYTimes hits the nail on the head:

"Hold your hoots. There may be perfectly sensible reasons why some readers believe that the news pages take direction from the editorial page, some of which I've discussed before, particularly the apparently normative, basically liberal worldview of much of the news staff on various social issues and the generally oppositional position toward those in power that typifies modern journalists. There's also the sheer forcefulness of the editorial page's voice, which in recent years has been so assertively left, and which some people unfamiliar with The Times's operations want to believe is the source of the news staff's daily marching orders."

Geo-Greening By Example

Your theory appears so easy, Thomas. Here's the missing element: Congress would take the revenue from your new higher gasoline tax and spend it, if not for shoring up the big 3 entitlement programs, then for other items on their wish list to enable their re-election.

We truly do need an energy policy that reduces our use of petroleum and more nuclear plants for our electricity demands. Unless Congress and Americans can be fed a diet of fiscal discipline and savings rather than spending into debt, it won't happen except in a crisis mode.

March 26, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality

The issue is even more basic than Brooks' piece portrays.

Life is God-given. If you don't believe in God or a Creator, then all morality becomes human based which puts those who believe that on a slippery slope of relativism that leads to abortion (for any good reason) and 'assisted' suicide or murder (for any good reason). If one arrives there, why must suicide be physician-assisted? Why not let it be assisted by any competent person 'of authority?' This moral relativism seems to provide outs for people struggling with the hard decisions required of morality based on belief in a Supreme Being.

Medical and genetic technology are taking us to places where, absent belief in God and the transcendental/spiritual dimension of life, mankind will have no moral compass, thus no line between good and such thing as sin. Absent a basic morality, it can rationalized that no choice is evil. Under that scheme, can a general breakdown of our system of Judeo-Christian based laws and anarchy be far behind?

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc.: Where Newspapers Can Start the Conversation

More good ideas from Dan Gillmor on how print newspapers can leverage the technology of weblogs and take other roles to engage the community on issues. The question is whether daily newspapers see this as helping profitability in the long and short term.

Unless newspapers better adapt to the changing time constraints of people, their readership and revenue likely will decline at the same pace as the 'non-PC generation' expires.

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc.: Who's Investing for the Future? Plenty of Us

I haven't read the report Dan cites in this post, but hope to be able to get to it soon. Pending that, Dan's excerpts are vitally important as one ponders journalism's future, particularly the investments required to gather the basic news upon which so much opinion and blogging depends. We DO need basic news gatherers for a free society maintained by an enlightened populace.

FCC unplugs states' rules on 'naked' DSL | CNET

Yet another complication created by the advancing technologies.

Let's not forget the fundamental issue underlying all this. The Bells made the investments in the landline facilities and the DSl capacity. Reselling underlying services/capabilities to competitors must be at a price that recovers the costs of operating and maintaining that investment. For the long term, fiber to the home/premises is the direction that landline investments will take, but a long transition form copper to fiber in the local loop remains.

I expect we'll see more of these preemptions by the FCC to avoid the patchwork of state regulation.

"The FCC voted 3-2 to suspend public utility commission regulations in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana that had forced BellSouth to sell DSL service to other telephone operators, separate from its local phone service. In the past, the two services had been inextricably linked.

That decision sends a strong message to other state utility commissions that might be considering similar rules, which were intended to encourage the widespread availability of naked DSL. The Bells--BellSouth and the nation's three other top phone and DSL providers--have warned that slightly different naked DSL rules in each state could slow broadband growth in the United States and undermine BellSouth's incentive to invest in the service and the underlying network."

Cell phone makers to adopt Internet calling | CNET

An upheaval underway in wireless voice services. The big question that I have not seen an answer to: Will enough spectrum be available to support the traffic?

"Major cell operators--many of which already make extensive internal use of VoIP to cut down on the cost of their own operations--are now making plans to extend VoIP calls from the network core to the handsets. This push coincides with wireless broadband networks the operators are now building, which can transmit the data bits fast enough, and with more accuracy, to make VoIP calling on cell phones a reality.

'VoIP is one of the key drivers right now,' said Texas Instruments Advanced Wireless Architectures Manager Bill Krenik.
Qualcomm, Nortel shift over VoIP.

There's no better sign of the big influence that VoIP is having on cell phones than a decision by wireless powerhouse Qualcomm to tentatively halt plans for a new generation of its latest cell phone technology, known as EV-DV. Designed to deliver voice calls and high-speed data, EV-DV was considered the next step for operators like Verizon Wireless and Sprint, which currently use another Qualcomm technology called EV-DO, which delivers just broadband to handsets.
But with VoIP, the latest generation of EV-DO, known as EV-DO Revision A, can also support voice calls, making EV-DV irrelevant. In a press conference here, Qualcomm Chief Executive and founder Irwin Jacobs said the chipmaker and CDMA inventor has, for now, shelved its EV-DV plans.

'We have developed EV-DV chips for infrastructure and for developing phones, but we've backed off--voice over Internet Protocol is the future,' Jacobs said."

The New York Times > Business > Follow the Vanishing Check

Check writing is shrinking fast, Still, plenty of them are written every year. I seldom use checks except when the recipient doesn't accept plastic.

"Not so fast, the check industry says. Although the Fed's figures do show checks declining by about 4.3 percent a year, 37 billion checks a year is still a huge number. And a lot of the decline is linked not to people writing fewer checks but to banks turning checks into electronic transactions, a practice that largely began in 2002."

March 23, 2005

The New York Times > Washington > Judicial Appointments: Casting Angry Eye on Courts, Conservatives Prime for Bench-Clearing Brawl in Congress

The battle is on... and Bob Stevenson is also talking foolishness.

"Ken Connor, a social conservative and Florida lawyer who has been central in pressing the case both in Congress and in his home state to keep Ms. Schiavo alive, said, "If the courts allow Terri to die during this interval, I think the courts will suffer badly in the eyes of the public.""

"Bob Stevenson, a spokesman for Dr. Frist, said it would be a mistake to connect the Schiavo case to the pending Senate fight, saying, "There is no link between the two.""

The retiree math war |

While the numbers may be big and people may differ over the term 'crisis,' a $43 trillion shortfall is a large and rapidly increasing portion of the Gross Domestic Product...but I suppose people don't know what that is either.

"Based on such assumptions by the trustees - which stir criticism from administration critics - this year's forecast turned downward. Over a 75-year period ahead, trustees say the program needs a revenue infusion of $4 trillion to pay all scheduled benefits. This unfunded obligation is $300 billion higher than the amount estimated last year.
When Medicare, the nation's other huge entitlement program, is added in, the problem multiplies: There's a $43 trillion gap between government's promised liabilities (mainly Social Security and Medicare), and the money it's expected to take in over the next 75 years, according to the Government Accountability Office.
The nation's fiscal path is 'unsustainable,' says David Walker, who was appointed by President Clinton to a 15-year term as head of the GAO.
To cover a shortfall that size, Washington would have to double payroll taxes, increase federal income taxes by up to 78 percent, or cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in half, according to economists Kent Smetters and Jagadeesh Gokhale, who studied the issue for the Treasury Department."

The New York Times > Washington > Trustees Foresee an Earlier Insolvency for Social Security

Pull your head out of the sand, Senator!

"'The so-called Social Security crisis exists in only one place: the minds of Republicans,' said the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, noting that the Congressional Budget Office had estimated that even without changes, the system could pay full benefits until 2052, or 11 years longer than today's estimate by the trustees, and then be able to pay 78 percent of benefits."

Yahoo's game of photo tag | CNET

Can the collective tagging of photos or events or web pages by a large number of people pursuing their own self interest lead to a more effective and efficient system of providing useful metadata?Some search algorithms use people-selected links as a a means to rate the popularity, thus the ranking in a list of found search results. I remember reading Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly a few years ago. Flickr uses some of this 'hive' theory on its site. I know I find Flickr a very powerful tool for photo management and sharing, just as Picasa 2 is very useful in managing photos on the desktop.

March 22, 2005

You Don't Honestly Believe That?

"The big issue behind the increasing numbers of questions about meaning and interpretation is the question of whether words and texts can have any inherent meaning at all. Does it all just come down to a matter of opinion? Is every interpretation equally valid? Can this text actually speak to me or do I make it mean what I want?"

The Silence of Christmas and the Scream of the Tsunami: Soul-Speak in a Suicidal Culture [Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)]

Ravi Zacharias is a Christian apologist of the first order. I have heard him speak in Rome and in Connecticut. All his words in this essay should be heeded. In particular...

"Those who seek to change our vocabulary are gradually eradicating the relationship between truth and culture, between the past and the present. They want to remove all markers that brought us this far. They should be sure that if they continue in this way the very worldview they have put into place will one day eradicate them as well. Do you remember the words of Martin Niemoller who tried to warn those who remained silent to the Nazi atrocities? He said (d.u. comment: after the War),

'First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.'

Those who wipe out the memory of the Christian faith will find out that the logic of their position may one day lead someone to wipe them out as well, and there will be no belief left to come to their aid, for there will be no one left with reason to speak of loving those who despise you."

IT in Health Care

Astute observation!

"But open source isn't a magic pill. As Carol Diamond said during the panel, "It's not about open source or closed source--it's about interoperability and standards. As long as the data is moving, we shouldn't force ourselves to choose." She added that as long as it is faster and more profitable not to use information systems for end users, they won't be adopted, and we don't yet have systems that offer the value to drive adoption."

Yahoo! News - U.N.: Nuclear Energy May Be Back in Vogue

During the next decade we will see stronger support for nuclear power as prices rise for all energy and the clamor surrounding climate change reaches a loud roar. Wind will not do it. Only nuclear can meet the world's demand for electricity.

"All indicators show that an increased level of emphasis on subjects such as fast growing energy demands, security of energy supply, and the risk of climate change are driving a reconsideration, in some quarters, of the need for greater investment in nuclear power," ElBaradei said.

"The IAEA's low projection, based on the most conservative assumptions, predicts 427 gigawatts of global nuclear energy capacity in 2020, the equivalent of 127 more 1,000 megawatt nuclear plants than previous projections," he said.

The New York Times > International > Annan Offers Plans for Changes in U.N. Structure

The U.N. is badly in need of an overhaul. I think Bush's appointment of Bolton as U.N. ambassador and Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank are good moves. Both organizations need the disciplines that these two can bring, regardless of how you may view their politics.

Now that Kofi Annan has proposed some major structural reforms at the U.N., Bolton is the new blood needed to work through them for effectiveness and the protection of U.S. interests.

The New York Times > Business > Qwest and Verizon in a Duel of Letters, Trying to Buy MCI

This mating dance continues. Verizon will probably get MCI, but I can't help but believe there are other issues yet to make their appearance on this dance floor.

March 21, 2005

Thoughts on Flickr and Yahoo (by Jeremy Zawodny)

More on Yahoo's purchase of Flickr, the photo sharing/community site. This Yahoo! employee is pleased as punch with the decision.

The New York Times > Washington > House Members Hold Sunday Night Session on Schiavo Bill

A sad and tragic turn of events. While I support the right to life, I vehemently disagree with any politician making hay at the last minute with this life or death situation. Schiavo should be allowed to live. Congress should act on the right-to-life issue in a reasoned fashion, not in the heat of the moment presented by this case. This is what's wrong with politics!!!! They had plenty of time to deal with this earlier. Where's the leadership?

"Congressional leaders had reached a compromise Saturday on legislation to force the case of Ms. Schiavo into federal court, an extraordinary intervention intended to prolong the life of the 41-year-old woman."

Sensible and correct response from Terry's mom!!

"As lawmakers met today, the mother of the brain-damaged woman pleaded for congressional leaders to avoid using the issue to advance their own platforms.

"There are some congressmen that are trying to stop this bill," Ms. Schiavo's mother, Mary Schindler, told reporters outside her daughter's hospice. "Please don't use my daughter's suffering for your own personal agenda.""

I agree!

""It is not the place of Congress, at the 11th hour, in the most effusive fashion, to undermine the Florida court system, particularly given the fact that it has been seven years and 19 judges who have participated," said Robert Wexler."

What follows is political bullshit! The situation should never have reached this point. Marshall McLuhan was right: "politics offers yesterday's solutions to today's problems." Why can't Congress get out in front of issues, rather than always being reactive?

"In a phone call to reporters on Saturday night, Mr. McClellan dismissed any suggestions that there were political considerations in the president's hurried and dramatic return to Washington. Mr. DeLay and others in the largely deserted Capitol said they were trying to move quickly to limit any health damage to Ms. Schiavo."

FlickrBlog - Yahoo! Buys Flickr

The news from Caterina Fake is positive. Yahoo! buys Flickr and (at least initially ) will run it as is with the same people. It really is a great service and I hope the creative people behind it make a few bucks in the sale. You can see the few pics I've uploaded here.

More info here from ZDNet.

The New York Times: NCAA UVM-Mich State

The UVM Catamounts tried, but were no match for Michigan State who shut down Taylor Coppenrath and the Cats.

"Coppenrath was just 5-of-23 from the floor, and Vermont as a team shot just 31 percent."

Why Filibusters Should Be Allowed (

I agree with George Will's reasoned analysis.

March 20, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Ugly American Bank

The more I read from Krugman, the more convinced I am that he is a mean-spirited American.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Nobel for Sistani

Friedman is high on Sistani. A modicum of freedom in the Middle East will depend upon leaders who create a vision that people can both believe and join. As Friedman points out, Arafat was against Israel, and violently so, not 'for the Palestinian people. I maintain that Arafat was a terrorist through and through and the region is markedly better off without him. To think he received the Nobel Peace Prize speaks volumes about how the people who make these choices think. They made a grievous error in awarding it to Arafat.

"The politics of negation has a deep and rich history in the Middle East, because so many leaders there are illegitimate and need to negate someone to justify their rule. What Mr. Sistani, the late Lebanese Sunni leader Rafik Hariri and the new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas all have in common is that they rose to power by focusing on a positive agenda for their own people, not negating another."

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > Economic View: Social Security as Dramamine

Here may be the crux of the resistance to personal Social Security accounts. Gross argues that income volatility is increasing. Below are some factors that create income volatility. However, equally important is the decreasing personal discipline in spending as evidenced by the $9,000-$12,000 average credit card debt and the notoriously low savings rate.

"The factors that functioned as internal shock absorbers for families have weakened. And so, too, have external buffers. Over the last three decades, the percentage of workers covered by defined-benefit pension plans and employer-provided health insurance - guarantees that provide ballast for fluctuating incomes - has declined. Add this to the trend of rising volatility - especially for people in the lower and middle income levels - and it's easy to understand the reluctance to transform a government program that guarantees seniors an income.
'Social Security provides a vital kind of insurance,' Professor Hacker said. 'The real issue lurking behind this debate is whether we should have a program that provides the bedrock protection against economic risk.'"

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: Enron: Patron Saint of Bush's Fake News

We are living in the nasty backwash of corporate crooks who, in their imperial reign, pulled the wool over so many eyes with such tragic results for their financial victims. The press/media are angry, as well they should be, because they were duped, It seems they aren't willing to let that happen again. That's
good news.

The reaction against government propaganda is also healthy, but I
think these issue pieces put out by government were used by many media outlets without attribution. If they used these video productions as 'news,' shame on them.

Scum like Lay and Ebbers and their ilk should be roundly denounced by the media, plus the possible links to the Bushies are just too juicy for Rich and many media folks to ignore.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program

My grandson, Isaiah, has been accepted into this program.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Do-Nothing Conspiracy

I began to copy excerpts from this magnificently insightful piece by David Brooks. The two crashing forces can not be sustained by the present political polarization which is ineffective in solving the massive problems. I would add to the forces at work the rise of powers like China which will quickly threaten our place in the world.

I hope the election of 2008 would address these mega-issues, but I'm afraid it won't.


One excerpt:

"The first wave is the exploding cost of the entitlement programs. The second wave is the ever-increasing polarization of the political class. The polarization will make it impossible to reach an agreement on how to fix the entitlements problem. Meanwhile the vicious choices forced on us by entitlement costs will make the polarization even worse."

"The realities of the first wave - the looming fiscal crisis - are pretty well known. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume 14 percent of national output in 2030 and 21 percent in 2075 - up from about 8 percent today. Partly as a result, the federal government will have to come up with an extra $50 trillion just to pay for the promises it's made as of today."

Today's politics are bankrupt. How can they possibly deal with this looming fiscal crisis without a major upheaval?

The New York Times > Washington > States and Communities Battling Another Round of Base Closings

Please don't gore my ox!

Vermont is fortunate, I guess. There are no military bases in the state.

"State officials are rushing to preserve their installations, which provide thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to local and state economies. Florida, under Gov. Jeb Bush, has a $50,000-a-month contract with a consulting team that includes Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and William S. Cohen, the former defense secretary."

The New York Times > Technology > Growth of Wireless Internet Opens New Path for Thieves

Kudos to the Times for publishing this piece! The good guys need all the help they can get form consumers with WiFi. This article points out the value in using encryption, though not foolproof, to dissuade some bad guys from using their networks.

"Of those suspects, half regularly used the open Wi-Fi connections of unsuspecting neighbors. Four suspects, in Canada, California and Florida, were logged in to neighbors' Wi-Fi networks at the moment law enforcement agents, having tracked them by other means, entered their homes and arrested them, Secret Service agents involved in the case said.

More than 10 million homes in the United States now have a Wi-Fi base station providing a wireless Internet connection, according to ABI, a technology research firm in Oyster Bay, N.Y. There were essentially none as recently as 2000, the firm said. Those base stations, or routers, allow several computers to share a high-speed Internet connection and let users maintain that connection as they move about with laptops or other mobile devices. The routers are also used to connect computers with printers and other devices."

The New York Times > Technology > Dangling Broadband From the Phone Stick

The telecom marketplace is so dynamic, it really doesn't need any 'help' from the regulators or the Justice Department. "Hands off" is a better policy at this stage. It's pretty clear at this stage that the end game is broadband in every home and that voice will be only one of many services traveling over that pipe.

The real issue that public policy should address is encouraging private sector broadband penetration to as much geography as possible, whether that broadband is on copper, cable, fiber optics or wireless.

"Despite the market bottlenecks, broadband is increasingly in demand for its ability to let users zip e-mail back and forth with big photo or music files attached; or to play online games; or to quickly open Web pages loaded with video and audio extras. Of the nation's 74.5 million Internet households, an estimated 39 percent now have broadband - up from 36 percent of Internet households at the end of 2003.

So popular is the service, and so few the alternatives for most consumers, that the three biggest regional Bell companies - SBC, Verizon and BellSouth - have been able to expand their share of the Internet broadband market even while declining to sell the service separately."

The New York Times > National > News Analysis: The Medical Becomes Political for Congress

I think Feinstein is right on this one. It's improper for Congress to get involved at the last minute in a single, specific case. They have the responsibility to deal with issues of 'life' given the founding principles of our nation, but I don't want them involved on a case-by-case basis.

The New Yorker: Fact...The Unbranding

This piece is a fair analysis of where the Democrats find themselves today. Kerry and Kennedy are too far to the left. Biden is a loudmouth showboat. Dean is an an egotistical amateur. I really like Liebermann because he seem like an honest, God-fearing man trying to do what's right, more statesmanlike than the others. I think he'd make a better Republican than Democrat. On Bayh, I have no opinion because I haven't been following him.

Now, Hillary is a savvy politician, but an untrustworthy leftie, trying to lean towards the center in preparation for 2008. I don't know which Democrat is likely to surface as the candidate, but I'd bet on Hillary. The real question is who will the Republicans run against her?

As for the theme of Goldberg's piece, I think the Democrats will make a serious blunder if they think their party can be reinvigorated by 'unbranding,' a slick marketing campaign or relabeling. Their real problem is that many of their core beliefs and values in the social realm would put, in fact are putting, this country on the road to fiscal ruin. Unless they are willing to join in fixing the big 3 'entitlement' programs SS, Medicaid and Medicare, we have a dismal future. The Republicans share the blame for some of this country's irresponsible spending, not including the war on terror and homeland security.

I am absolutely convinced that we need to get ourselves more into the "Ownership Society" that Bush is now talking about. That Greenspan is supporting that notion gives me some confidence, too. The value in this is keeping the dollars out of the political hands of Congress and in the personal hands of Americans. That's why tax cuts are good, why personal SS accounts are good, why health savings accounts are good. What's not good for the long term health of the country is to allow the drift into socialism that we have seen since WW II. It will bankrupt the country if left unchecked. If I had my way, federal spending in any year would be limited to a fixed % of the last 5 years' GDP.

March 17, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Cleric defends Da Vinci Code book

I agree with Cardinal Bertone. DaVinci Code intends to undermine the divinity of Christ. In so doing it becomes an assault on the underpinnings of the Western tradition of morality. The book is not correct and panders to those who are weak in faith.

How to prepare a planet for global warming |

Adaptation to climate change, whether caused by human activity or natural cycles beyond human control, is the only rational approach. This course of study is a welcome relief to the scaremongering that many scientists proffer. / International Economy / Wolfowitz - Wolfowitz pledges to ?do a lot of listening?

A rocky road ahead for Wolfie.

Yahoo! News - Viacom May Split Into Two Companies

This all translates to me as a spinned way to say:"Large media conglomerates don't work in a fast-paced technology environment."

The New York Times > Washington > News Analysis: Wolfowitz Nod Follows Spread of Conservative Philosophy

Seems to me that's the only 'right' policy. The people and the economies need the help, not the despots, tyrants, corrupt leaders, et al.

"Mr. Sestanovich said that Mr. Wolfowitz would come to his new job "with a particular argument about what makes development work, and that is that democratization is part of modernization."

He added: "What has bothered people about the bank for the many decades it has existed is the concern that it has just fed the preoccupations and prejudices and bank accounts of corrupt elites in backward countries. And the Bush administration comes at that problem with a particular focus on governance, and even more narrowly on democracy, that is going to stir the place up.""

The New York Times > Technology > As File Sharing Nears High Court, Net Specialists Worry

This decision, when it comes, will be a BIGGIE. P2P file sharing has tremendous legitimate potential as well as the rampant piracy it has fostered. It's a tall order for technology to reliably differentiate between legal and illegal sharing. I wonder can it really be done?

"The court case could hinge in part on the entertainment industry's argument that advanced computing technology now makes it possible for consumer electronics designers to create technology that can distinguish between legal and illegal file copying."

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Meet You at the Photo Kiosk

The Kiosk model for printing must have a 'community element' to it that attracts people. I print most of my photos at home, but if I have occasional large jobs, I'll upload to Shutterfly or use Ritz, which allows me to upload then pick up at the local Ritz outlet in hours, or the next day at the latest. Of course, this is only practical with a broadband connection. I calculate my price for printing at home at about $0.50-$0.55 per 4x6 print, but the convenience is worth the price.

For one of the best online photo experiences, try Flickr. Very powerful and user-friendly. Flickr doesn't offer printing services, but as a great online community photo sharing experience...more fun than standing in line at Costco waiting to use the kiosk.

"A few years ago, nearly all digital printing was done at home. Now, even with the proliferation of home printers designed specifically for photos, many camera owners are content to go out. Last year, Kodak said, 1.9 billion digital images were printed by all methods, with 57 percent done at home, 33 percent at retail locations and 10 percent through online services. The company predicts that by 2007 the number of printed images will rise to 10.7 billion a year and that the share printed at kiosks will grow to 37 percent."

Vermont Life Online | Green Mountain Post Boy | West Monitor Barn restored, Richmond

Great photo and snippet about The VYCC's and Richmond Land Trust's amazing Monitor Barn Project.

March 16, 2005

Yahoo! News - Oil Prices Jump to New High Above $56 Mark

We'll never see $30.00/barrel oil again! Thank your lucky stars that the tax on gasoline and oil products is in cents/gallon rather than a % of pump price!

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Requiem for Reform

David Brooks is very pessimistic. I hope he's wrong about SS reform. We must have it, but I think the Democrats are hoping their position on this issue will help them in the 2006 elections. I hope they're wrong, too.

No matter who is in power, reform is essential to the health of the nation. I wish we had more leaders who would see it this way...and more people who understood the crisis ahead of us is real, not imaginary.

"If Social Security reform fails - and obviously I hope this obit becomes obsolete - it will be many years before any sort of big entitlement reform will come up again. The parties will keep playing chicken, and we will soon find ourselves catastrophically buried under our own debt.
Oh, yes, there's one more group to be criticized: the American voters. For the past 30 years, Americans have wanted high entitlement spending and low taxes. From the looks of things today, they - or more precisely their children - are going to live with the consequences."

WorldCom's Ebbers convicted of fraud | CNET

If I've got this right, Ebbers, the crooked CEO of MCI/Worldcom, is going to jail and the SEC is charging the former officers of Qwest with fraud and the same crimes that Ebbers is guilty of. Qwest wants to buy MCI. If I were a big shareowner of these companies or Verizon, also vying to buy MCI, I'd want to be damn sure all the crooks in both Qwest and MCI have been found and tossed out.

The New York Times > New York Region > No Need to Stew: A Few Tips to Cope With Life's Annoyances

A well-written piece on coping with those PITA actions inflicted on us in a stressful society.

Greenspan Renews Call for Social Security Reform (

Greenspan is obviously concerned about the huge deficits ahead in the big 3 entitlement programs and sees Social Security as the place to start the reform. Because the personal savings rate in the U.S. is abysmally low.

March 15, 2005

The New York Times > Washington > U.S. Charges 18 in Arms-Smuggling Plot

Good work by our law enforcement folks! We don't need weapons of this sort in the U.S., particularly in the hands of crazies.

The New York Times > Science News

It's not a matter of 'if,' only a matter of 'when' the U.S. will once again build nuclear power plants because our demand for electricity cannot be met by conservation, wind and solar. I favor carefully planned, sited and designed nuclear power plants. In the scheme of things, our experience has been good. Chernobyl is the example of shoddy design, construction and operation.

March 14, 2005

A Hill of credit-card debt

Yipes, no wonder we're in deep fiscal doo-doo at the federal level as well as at the personal level. We're a nation of debtors. The annual interest payments at 14% APR are about $1,700. Add to that home mortgage and a car loan...

"About 51 million households carry credit-card debt at an average balance of nearly $12,000, according to"

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism, Etc.: Madrid: Terrorism, the Internet and Democracy

Some interesting work that Dan Gillmor has been involved with recently in Spain. Plenty of food for thought here about the principles that should underlie the future of the Internet.

It strikes me that many of these same principles could have been crafted when the telephone was in its infancy. But that was the Industrial Age, not the Information Age.

Opposing Views on Social Security Reform

Two opposing views from The New Republic.




The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

This bad news story for print journalism, particularly the costs of news gathering, which portends a future that favors the electronic news gathering sources. I expect the NY Times will gradually decline as a primary 'all things to all people' news source unless they can create more alliances with the electronic media, such as they have with the Discovery Channel.

"Newspaper Web sites have been so popular that at some newspapers, including The New York Times, the number of people who read the paper online now surpasses the number who buy the print edition"

How many print customers use the NY Times online news, too? A substantial %, I'd think.

"In January, The times Web site had 1.4 million unique daily visitors. Its daily print circulation averaged 1,124,000 in 2004, down from its peak daily circulation of 1,176,000 in 1993."

However, people will pay for entertainment. News as entertainment, particularly on cable is worrisome.

"A report last week from the Online Publishers Association underscored the challenges facing newspapers in selling news. Internet users spent $88 million for general news in 2004, or just 0.4 percent more than they paid in 2003, the report said; by comparison, they spent $414 million on entertainment, up 90 percent.

Rob Runett, director of electronic media communications at the Newspaper Association of America, eyed the report ruefully. News, he said, may become an acronym for "Not Ever Willing to Spend.""

"Perhaps the biggest obstacle for newspapers is that online readers have been conditioned to expect free news. "Most newspapers believe that if they charged for the Web, the number of users would decline to such an extent that their advertising revenues would decline more than they get from charging users," said Gary B. Pruitt, chairman and chief executive of the McClatchy Company"

"Print is going the way it's going, which is down, which is unfortunate because it's the revenue engine that keeps this whole thing going," he said. "The online business model won't ever be able to support the whole news infrastructure.""

Social Security Reform/U.S. Fiscal Sanity

Social Security is only part of our financial dilemma. If you care about U.S. fiscal policy, the direction it's headed, and the future of our country, read this document and carefully review the chart. Under the set of assumptions used by the GAO, by 2040 the interest on the national debt would consume 100% of federal tax revenues from all sources.

Early action is essential. The longer we wait , the worse the problem becomes. Ironically, most of the people talking about this problem will be dead by then.

Here is the complete version of David Walker's prepared testimony for the House Ways and Means Committee.

"...Social Security’s problems are a subset of the grave fiscal challenge facing our nation. Absent changes in budget policy, the nation will ultimately have to choose among escalating federal deficits and debt, huge tax increases and/or dramatic budget cuts. As GAO’s long-term budget simulations show, substantive reform of Social Security and our major federal health programs (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) is critical to saving our nation’s fiscal future."

March 13, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: New Signs on the Arab Street

Thomas talks sense. Capitalism, entrepreneurship and free markets generate the capacity to change the culture. The radical Islamists know this and will do all they can to stop this development.

March 12, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: 'I Have a Nightmare'

A bold truth by Kristof. He's right. Extremists have little to add to any rational discussion that has very serious consequences. He's right to call them on their past excesses and the wrong conclusions reached by the most vocal alarmists.

Why reform is tough |

SS reform will be very hard for the reasons cited in this piece.

Earlier this week on CSPAN I watched a session of the House Ways and Means Committee discussing the urgent need for not only reform of SS, but the propensity for Congress to deficit spend. We are headed for a real crisis, driven by the big three entitlement programs, SS, Medicare and Medicaid. The inexorable demographics make the costs of these programs unsustainable after 2008 or thereabouts without a major overhaul of government spending, program eligibility, benefits and taxes.

Clearly, we're on an unsustainable path nationally, similar to the fiscal crisis we face in Vermont with escalating personnel costs in education while K-12 enrollment declines, the state's share of Medicaid and the costs of health care. This coupled with already high taxes, the worsening condition of highways and bridges, and the human services costs for welfare and corrections means we have a looming crisis here at home.

While our economy is reasonably healthy now, that will change quickly if interest rates rise rapidly and the costs of energy dampen growth. I see very tough financial times ahead, while we wage the costly war on terror.

Dan Rather sponsors "courage." I think we need fiscal and personal discipline instead.

March 11, 2005

The New York Times > New York Region > Detectives Used Badges to Kill for the Mob, Indictments Say

A terrible situation, but should we be surprised that big barrels frequently contain rotten apples?

"The former detectives were charged with a racketeering conspiracy, which includes their roles in the killings, two attempted murders, obstruction of justice, money laundering and other crimes. The indictment accuses them of working as secret associates of the Luchese crime family. They are charged with disclosing the identity of six cooperating witnesses - three of whom were killed - and compromising several federal and state investigations."

Commentary: Net calls? Not so fast | CNET

An excellent summary of the state of the nascent VoIP business. While takeoff may be slower than expected, there's little doubt that IP telephony will eventually dominate once some of the technical issues are settled, e.g., E911.

Political Statement - No Solution

This Democratic statement is great political fodder, but worthless for solving our energy problems. Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because prices are high is an unwarranted interference in market dynamics. The Reserve is for emergencies. High prices are not an emergency.

The Senate should get busy working on the energy plan that Bush has proposed. These letters are useless beyond creating media attention and spin.

March 10, 2005

Wired 13.03: VIEW

Lessig takes gross liberties with words. The market has not 'failed' when a technology barely 3 years old is not ubiquitous. His assertion is absurd.

"The action came after Philadelphia, where more than 50 percent of neighborhoods don't have access to broadband, embarked on a $10 million wireless Internet project. City leaders had stepped in where the free market had failed"

March 8, 2005

The New York Times > Washington > Bush Nominates Weapons Expert as Envoy to U.N.

Bolton may be just the type needed at the U.N. to help it 'straighten up and fly right.' God knows they are less than effective now, ridden with scandal and suffering lack of respect in the world. They need people who will speak the truth and help the U.N. to face its shortcomings.

"John Bolton is personally committed to the future success of the United Nations," Ms. Rice said, "and he will be a strong voice for reform at a time when the United Nations has begun to reform itself to help meet the challenging agenda before the international community."

The New York Times > Washington > Bush Nominates Weapons Expert as Envoy to U.N.

Bolton may be just the type needed at the U.N. to help it 'straighten up and fly right.' God knows they are less than effective now, ridden with scandal and suffering lack of respect in the world. They need people who will speak the truth and help the U.N. to face its shortcomings.

"'John Bolton is personally committed to the future success of the United Nations,' Ms. Rice said, 'and he will be a strong voice for reform at a time when the United Nations has begun to reform itself to help meet the challenging agenda before the international community.'"

March 7, 2005

The New York Times > Science > Hans Bethe, Father of Nuclear Astrophysics, Dies at 98

I am fortunate to have been in the presence of both Bethe and Teller in my lifetime. I attended Cornell in the late '50s - early '60s and attended a lecture given by Bethe. While at a summer course at Stanford in 1978, I heard Teller speak.

America is so very fortunate to have had men of the caliber of both Teller and Bethe on the team that enabled the U.S. to beat the Nazis to the atomic and hydrogen bombs. The world would be a far different place if we had not won the nuclear race. Their political and social views also provided essential viewpoints to help us through the policy maze of the times.

This superb article by William Broad captures the tension of the times and the persona of Hans Bethe, a towering genius of my lifetime.

"Politically, Dr. Bethe was the liberal counterpoint (and proud of it) to Edward Teller, the physicist and conservative who played a dominant role in developing the hydrogen bomb. That weapon brought to earth a more furious kind of solar fusion, and Dr. Bethe opposed its development as immoral."

My Way News

The tragedy here is the death of the Italian intelligence officer who was connected with her release. The U.S. is right to make a strong statement against the absurd accusation that U.S. troops would purposely target her. She thinks too highly of herself. She should consider herself fortunate to be alive.

Reluctant Rather Is Set to Sign Off

Goodbye, Dan. I'm happy to see you go, although for the past few years you have been irrelevant to my intake of news. Your legacy, at best, will be severely tarnished by the mess that you and your news team made of the Bush story. Your plea that you are 'only interested in the news' rings hollow. You are and have been a journalist who saw the news through a liberal lens. You and CBS News have descended into the depths of bias which has created flawed journalism. You may be a victim of the demise of on-air broadcast journalism, but I think downfall has more to do with your ego, which is much larger than your ethical underpinnings.

Your quote below is self-serving.

"'I've learned to trust the audience,' he said. 'The harshest critic could not be nearly as hard on me as I am on myself.'"

Bells ringing in Net phone 911 | CNET

A well-written piece describing the dilemma of E911 emergency calls from VoIP phones and providers. It seems the problem will be resolved, but there's the question of who pays for the solution. E911 services are normally funded by state and local agencies that surcharge basic telephone services to customers served by the local telcos.

Location-specific E911 for wireless services presents a different set of technical issues, but is being addressed at the national level via FCC rulemaking.

Bells ringing in Net phone 911 | CNET

A well-written piece describing the dilemma of E911 emergency calls from VoIP phones and providers. It seems the problem will be resolved, but there's the question of who pays for the solution. E911 services are normally funded by state and local agencies that surcharge basic telephone services to customers served by the local telcos.

Location-specific E911 for wireless services presents a different set of technical issues, but is being addressed at the national level via FCC rulemaking.

The New York Times > Technology > News Analysis: At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?

This 'who is a reporter' debate will continue to heat up. The core issue is confidential sources and who has the right to protect them. I maintain that a serious, investigative, mainstream blog is every bit as worthy of the privileges accorded to the 'MSM.' In any event, NO ONE, blogger or traditional journalist, should have the legal protection of not revealing a confidential source if the source and the 'reporter' have broken a valid and necessary law in revealing information.

I believe the First Amendment guarantees the right to anyone to speak or publish corporate or governmental information legally obtained. OTH, no person deserves legal cover or confidentiality of sources when breaking a law.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"Attempting to draw a distinction based on the medium used by the blogger or reporter is misguided, said Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School (also a blogger). "In 15 years, there may be no clear distinction between reporters on the one hand and bloggers on the other," he said. "It won't just be an either-or, where you have a reporter for The Chicago Tribune on the one hand, and a guy sitting in his pajamas drinking beer on the other."

"As the mainstream media has become more and more corporate and more and more like the governmental and corporate bodies that mainstream journalists used to report on," he said, "a lot of this stuff has fallen now to the bloggers - to do what mainstream folks used to do. It's still serving the exact same purpose: keeping the bad guys honest."

March 6, 2005

The New York Times > Washington > Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects Abroad to Jails

Rendition is a good policy. Terrorists bent on destroying or harming the United States must be found, eradicated and their operations disrupted to the maximum degree possible.

"In an interview, the senior official defended renditions as one among several important tools in counterterrorism efforts. 'The intelligence obtained by those rendered, detained and interrogated have disrupted terrorist operations,' the official said. 'It has saved lives in the United States and abroad, and it has resulted in the capture of other terrorists.'"

The New Yorker: Fact - Annals of Crime

After reading this, you will be hard pressed to maintain that the death penalty should never be invoked.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Hostage fears troops targeted her

This statement is outrageous. The left wing media people (she is a reporter for the communist daily Il Manifesto) certainly don't like American policy in Iraq, but to suggest that our troops on the ground are purposely trying to kill journalists sickens me. Let's hope that her statement is spawned by her terrible ordeal, but under extraordinary stress, people generally say what they believe.

March 5, 2005

Numbers Crunch (

Having today completed my income taxes, Crenshaw's admonition is right on target. Simplification is an absolute necessity! In March and April most people would favor a flat tax!!!!

My Way News - Iran Flexes Its Muscles

Petroleum is at the heart of this dispute along with nuclear energy weapons. Unless moderate elements are able to overthrow the regime in Iraq, I fear the West must de-nuclearize Iran, violently if necessary.

This Pakistani nuclear merchant, Khan, and his helpers were the source for these rogue nations to acquire the technology to build weapons. One of these days, one of these weapons will be detonated. We should prepare for that day. If one goes off, the world must be prepared for a violent reaction against all rogue states who have them.

The New York Times > Magazine > The Way We Live Now: What Dean Means

Matt Bai talks mush in this ridiculous piece. He thinks Dr./Governor Dean is somehow perfectly right for a party that is torn asunder over its failure to enunciate a clear, positive direction for the nation. Knowing Howard Dean when he was governor of Vermont, he IS a fiscal conservative and a social liberal, pure and simple. Those beliefs may be necessary but not sufficient ingredients for a Democratic resurgence.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: 40 Years of Character it truth... from the contributors to The Public Interest.

"It was about this time people started calling The Public Interest a neoconservative magazine. I'm not sure that word still has meaning, but if there was one core insight, it was this: Human beings, or governments, are not black boxes engaged in a competition of interests. What matters most is the character of the individual, the character of the community and the character of government. When designing policies, it's most important to get them to complement, not undermine, people's permanent moral aspirations - the longing for freedom, faith and family happiness."

Medicaid: the 'monster in the road' |

The three headed monster facing the country is Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The costs of these programs are driving the country's federal and state budgets to financial paralysis if something isn't done. What is the plan from the Democrats to manage this looming crisis? The Republican plan for Social Security is no panacea, but something must be done by statesmen, not politicians, to constrain the governmental costs of these programs.

The good news is the debate is loudening. The bad news is that most of it is political rhetoric from ideologues.

"While private funding covered some 75 percent of health costs in 1965, public funding is expected to count for half of national health spending by 2014, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Some experts say that threshold has already been reached.

In addition to its own spending, government also pays the nation's health bill by the subsidies it offers for health-related expenses in the tax code, now approaching $200 billion. When you add in the subsidies, "you're way in excess of the government controlling more than one half of the market," said Eugene Steuerle, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at a recent briefing.

Medicaid enrollment has jumped 40 percent in the last five years, at a time when state revenues were dropping. For the first time, Medicaid now tops education as the leading draw on state budgets.

The governors say there are three forces driving the surge in health costs in state budgets: federal budget cuts, a sharp increase in the number of US businesses that are dropping health coverage for employees, and the trend of middle-class seniors to draw down or hide their wealth to qualify for long-term care under Medicaid. "Medicaid's spending growth will continue at rates far exceeding state revenue growth," according to a report prepared for the governors by Health Management Associates."

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > Roundtable: Left Behind

Fascinating insights into liberal thinking. Worth a read for the elements they think are important to build a resurgent Democratic party. These folks are ivory tower thinkers in a rough and tumble world. Their ideas have merit if your world view is based on man's inherent goodness. However, that is not the nature of man in an evil world.

March 4, 2005

The Iraq effect? Bush may have had it right |

Well, Mr. Schorr surprises me by suggesting that President Bush's policy in the Middle East may be correct. That's not like him.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Deficits and Deceit

Krugman, in his vituperative manner, attacks the conservative agenda, argues that income redistribution is a good thing and makes at least one valid point. Foreign lenders are critical to our ell-being in a global economy. But he does so in his fear-mongering way, apparently blinded by his hatred that Republicans control the White House and the Congress. What a hate-filled man he is.

"The best bet now is that Mr. Bush will manage to make the poor suffer, but fail to make a dent in the great middle-class entitlement programs.
And the consequence of the failure of the starve-the-beast theory is a looming fiscal crisis - Mr. Greenspan isn't wrong about that. The middle class won't give up programs that are essential to its financial security; the right won't give up tax cuts that it sold on false pretenses. The only question now is when foreign investors, who have financed our deficits so far, will decide to pull the plug."

Greenspan's lesson - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - March 04, 2005

Congress had best heed Mr. Greenspan's advice and warning. Their spending is on a collision course with great fiscal pain. Real assets are needed for SS, not the IOUs of the 'Trust Fund.' That's why personal accounts make sense. They deliver real assets owned by people instead of the "full faith and credit of the U.S." which is jeopardized by profligate spending.

March 3, 2005

Greenspan: Simpler Tax Code Could Boost Growth (

I'm pleased that Greenspan is the Federal Reserve Chair. He speaks wisely:
"However, he criticized the proliferation of the many special provisions that reduce taxes in various ways. One problem, he said, is that they distort economic behavior by prodding businesses and consumers to make decisions based on tax advantages rather than pure economics."

The tax code requires dramatic simplification.

The coming crackdown on blogging | Newsmakers | CNET

I have always maintained that the McCain Feingold Campaign law is bad law and bad public policy. Here's one more case that proves the point. As explained here, MF would require regulation of blogs that have certain campaign implications, e.g., links, quotes forwarded to private address lists, etc.. This is pure nonsense. Any private citizen should have the right to express herself to as many people as desired in any medium free of any government encumbrance under the First Amendment.

The explanation provided here by a FEC staffer clearly makes this aspect of MF unconstitutional. MF is BAD and should be repealed in total.

Here's a piece in Sunday's NY Times (3/6/05) on the same topic. The FEC (should we say 'FECless?') has an impossible task in an area that may very well impact my First Amendment rights. McCain-Feingold should be repealed.

March 2, 2005

Greenspan Urges Fast Action on Social Security, Medicare (

Voluntary personal accounts where people own the funds accumulated from diverting part of the SS tax means less money available in the trust fund for Congress to spend on other things. Keeping that money out of Administration and Congressional hands establishes private rather than public ownership of those $. That's a good thing.

Greenspan also discusses the looming Medicare crisis. That one is much bigger and harder to solve.

"Diverting the payroll taxes into the Social Security trust fund, he said, had merely allowed the government to run larger budget deficits. Greenspan said that switching to the private accounts would be a way to bolster the nation's low savings rate. "

March 1, 2005

The New York Times > Science > The Next Einstein? Applicants Welcome

"Einstein to his dying day rejected quantum mechanics as ultimate truth, saying in a letter to Max Born in 1924, 'The theory yields much but it hardly brings us closer to the Old One's secrets. I, in any case, am convinced that he does not play dice.'"

The New York Times > Business > Qwest Cites Savings in an MCI Merger

Eliminating 12-15,000 jobs may stimulate financial analusts (spelling 'error' purposeful) to think this merger with MCI is good for Qwest. Those who would decide on Qwest's offer may think otherwise!

Meanwhile, Bernie Ebbers "don't know nothin'." What a joke! Ebbers is a charlatan and deserves to go to jail.