May 31, 2005

French No Vote on European Constitution Rattles Continent - New York Times

Goodbye, Mr. Chirac...good riddance, I think. But the devil we know may be preferable to the one we don't.

C.I.A. Expanding Terror Battle Under Guise of Charter Flights - New York Times

I suppose the Times and these journalists see their patriotic responsibility to investigate and report on the well known fact that the CIA has clandestine air and a host of other operations set up through front companies. I'm glad they do.

Publicizing these operations serves no useful journalistic purpose. In fact, such exposure may be harmful to our national interests and the war on terror.

May 30, 2005

The New York Times > Technology > E-Commerce Report: Online Travel Industry Tries to Adjust to Maturity

The travel reservations sector of the internet marketplace is strong, but maturing, according to Bob Tedeschi.

"By most measures, travel is the Web's most developed category. According to comScore, online leisure travel bookings reached about $51 billion last year, or 44 percent of all online sales. Roughly 30 percent of all travel bookings occur online - a far greater share than, say, retailing, where less than 5 percent of all sales are recorded on the Internet."

May 29, 2005

French Voters Deliver a Crushing Defeat to European Constitution - New York Times

Ahh, those Frenchmen and women. Vive la France and all that stuff. They can't see beyond their noses as they become Europe's pariah. Deserved? Perhaps. They think of themselves more highly than they ought.

May 27, 2005

The Dwinell Political Report 05-27-05

James Dwinell hits the nail on the head. Is anyone in Vermont listening? The Legislature and towns are driving up the costs of land and housing by well meaning laws, regulations, permit decisions, etc. The law of un(INTENDED?) consequences is alive and well.


"The legislature and state and local agencies add incrementally to the building code, each new rule, regulation, code, or law increasing construction costs.

Add to that the increasing cost of the permit process and the holding costs of permit delays. You have significantly higher land cost, permit cost, and construction cost. Now add in inflation. There is no way wages can keep pace with increasing housing costs, most of them caused by the same governments which bemoan the lack of affordable housing.

The legislature decries the lack of affordable housing and of course blames greedy developers. We are lucky to have any developers willing to put themselves through the abuse incurred during the process. There will never be affordable housing."

May 25, 2005

A Compromise With Overtones for 2008 - New York Times

Maybe McCain will run as a Democrat?? Clearly ,he has lost ground with the conservatives. This story has yet to play out fully. When/if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs and Bush nominates Thomas or Scalia, the real Senate fight will erupt. What will McCain do then?

I love this quote:

"John McCain has always followed his own star," Alan K. Simpson, the former senator from Wyoming, said. "That is why he was always so attractive to the American electorate. He can tell people to go to hell - and they'll look forward to the trip."

The electorate may look forward to the trip, except conservatives. McCain has the same maverick disposition as Simpson's.

Publishers balk at Google book copy plan | CNET

The copyright debate swells. It seems to me the world is better served by having all the works of these major libraries in digital form. Working through the thicket of interests, particularly the publishers' concerns about the works not in the public domain is a necessary step along the way.

May 24, 2005

The New York Times > Technology > Take That, Google: Bill Gates Struts Microsoft's New Search Stuff

One must always remember that Bill Gates likes nothing more than a high stakes poker game. Google offers just such an opportunity for him to strut Microsoft's stuff.

May 21, 2005

Abruzzo, Italy Food

We attended a parnada during our recent vacation in Italy!!

"The local cooks are expert at cooking tender lamb that has been fed on the juicy mountain grasses, usually over a scented wood fire. They have wonderful cheeses and fantastic cured meats to see them through the winter. All the skills and traditions that these mountain people link to eating and drinking come together in the panarda, a traditional banquet, where the courses never number less than thirty. It is absolutely forbidden to stop eating if you are a guest at a panarda. It is your duty to see it through until the end."

We saw it through to the end, a 50th birthday party for a friend's brother in a little mountain restaurant high in the mountains of Abruzzo above Campo diGiove near the San Leonardo Pass in the Maiellas. The panarda lasted from 1:00 pm to midnight with a Mass at 6:00 pm!

May 20, 2005

The grand convergence in 2010 | Between the Lines |

An intriguing piece by Dan Farber on where internet, telecom and database technologies are headed in the next 10 years, based on a Gartner Group paper.

The grand convergence in 2010 by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Gartner predicts that by 2010 three major trends -- ubiquitous access, ambient intelligence and semantic connectivity -- will converge to create disruptions and opportunities as significant as the Web. It's not far fetched, but it will happen in ongoing spurts rather than as a big bang culminating at the end of the decade...

The New York Times > Technology > Internet Phone Services Told to Offer 911 Emergency Calls

The right decision for a terribly important issue that had to be addressed for VoIP to prosper. The FCC is the right place for jurisdiction on Internet issues. The states would make a hodge-podge of it.

May 15, 2005

Test of moblogging.

Test of moblogging.

A Tale of Two Trust Funds - New York Times

Tierney has it right. Congress has no fiscal discipline. For that matter, neither does the White House. At least the Republicans are trying to find a way to keep the SS Trust/Slush fund from the clutches of Congress.

We are headed for a huge financial train wreck just at the time when our economy will be eviscerated by the Chinese.

Meet the Poor Republicans - New York Times

A fascinating analysis by David Brooks of a recent study by Pew.

"These working-class folk like the G.O.P.'s social and foreign policies, but the big difference between poor Republicans and poor Democrats is that the former believe that individuals can make it on their own with hard work and good character.
According to the Pew study, 76 percent of poor Republicans believe most people can get ahead with hard work. Only 14 percent of poor Democrats believe that. Poor Republicans haven't made it yet, but they embrace what they take to be the Republican economic vision - that it is in their power to do so. Poor Democrats are more likely to believe they are in the grip of forces beyond their control.
The G.O.P. succeeds because it is seen as the party of optimistic individualism."

Old Foes Soften to New Reactors - New York Times

Finally, the nuclear discussion may have a chance at becoming rational. The article states that 20% of America's electricity is generated by nuclear plants. It's time we moved ahead to reduce our dependency on petroleum and gas for electricity by producing even more via nuclear energy. All the wind, solar and biomass proposals would produce a tiny fraction of our needs.

"Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming."

May 13, 2005

Back from Vacation

Carol and I returned on May 11 from vacation with another couple in Italy. Postings will resume as soon as I get organized with my mind and luggage unpacked. Great to be home and we had a fabulous trip.

Carol and Gayle spent a week in language school in Lucca brushing up on their Italian skills while David and I toured the town in the mornings. In the afternoons we traveled to various spots near Lucca including Carrara and Colonatta, Viareggio, Vinci, and Pisa.

We then separated for a week. Gayle and David remained in Tuscany while Carol and I traveled to Abruzzo spending time with Carol's family in Campo diGiove (including a 10-hour feast) and Sulmona. We also visited L'Aquila, Pescara, Orsogna, Pescocostanzo, Capestrano and Pettorano

Joining up again in Arezzo, we then stayed with our friends in Garlate(Lecco) touring Bellagio, Bergamo, the mountains and lakes including their mountain summer home accessible via an access road with 54 hairpin turns (Carol counted them). We visited Bergamo, then on to Stresa (Lago Maggiore) for a couple of days.

Next we visited Gayle's relatives in Cuorgne' and Locana for a few days, including an afternoon watching the annual 'battle of the cows.' Traveling south through the Maritime Alps, we finished up with a day in Nice and a visit to the 'old city.'

We had a wonderful trip, fantastic food, personal tour guides with family and friends.

Now, to process the digital pix and video!!