January 31, 2006

The Hamas electoral victory: Democracy's bitter fruit - article by Daniel Pipes

The Hamas electoral victory: Democracy's bitter fruit - article by Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes is a voice to be heeded. He has been covering and studying radical Islam for most of his life.

In brief, elections are bringing to power the most deadly enemies of the West. What went wrong? Why has a democratic prescription that's proven successful in Germany, Japan and other formerly bellicose nations not worked in the Middle East?

It's not Islam or some cultural factor that accounts for this difference; rather, it is the fact that ideological enemies in the Middle East have not yet been defeated. Democratization took place in Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union after their populations had endured the
totalitarian crucible. By 1945 and 1991, they recognized what disasters fascism and communism had brought them, and were primed to try a different path.

That's not the case in the Middle East, where a totalitarian temptation remains powerfully in place. Muslims across the region – with the singular and important exception of Iran – are drawn to the Islamist program with its slogan that "Islam is the solution." That was the case from Iran in 1979 to Algeria in 1992 to Turkey in 2002 to the Palestinian Authority this week.

This pattern has several implications for Western governments:

Slow down:
Take heed that an impatience to move the Middle East to democracy is consistently backfiring by bringing our most deadly enemies to power.

Settle in for the long run: However worthy the democratic goal, it will take decades to accomplish.

Defeat radical Islam:
Only when Muslims see that this is a route doomed to failure will they be open to alternatives.

Appreciate stability: Stability must not be an end in itself, but its absence likely leads to anarchy and radicalization.

Returning to the dilemma posed by the Hamas victory, Western capitals need to show Palestinians that – like Germans electing Hitler in 1933 – they have made a decision gravely unacceptable to civilized opinion. The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority must be isolated and rejected at every turn, thereby encouraging Palestinians to see the error of their ways.

TechCrunch » SpongeCell, an Ajax Calendar

TechCrunch » SpongeCell, an Ajax Calendar

Need to pay attention to these caledaring apps. I have to believe that Google is working hard on one to complement Gmail.

Both Fatah and Hamas Leaders Urge West to Continue Aid to Palestinians - New York Times

Both Fatah and Hamas Leaders Urge West to Continue Aid to Palestinians - New York Times

Pleading poor mouth and requesting continuation of Western financial aid on humanitarian grounds is admitting that the Palestinians are unable to care for themselves. This has been the case for years because it seems so much corruption prevails that the people have received little of the aid.

The German Chancellor is quoted as saying:

"I made it clear that Germany expects all political forces that carry responsibility to accept the preconditions for political activity." "That means for me, firstly, that Israel's right to existence is recognized, and secondly, there is no use of violence."

Some will say the Palestinian people will suffer if financial aid is cut off. Journalists have already reported that ways should be found to continue supporting the Palestinians by funneling money though Non-government Organizations. Yet the West would be fools to continue funding a group of people led by a terrorist regime voted into power by those people.

To the extent that the Palestinians choose violence and remain committed to a policy that would push Israel into the sea, friends of Israel should not support them.

We would be fools to do otherwise. That may mean that other Islamic nations would fill the gap left by withdrawing Western funds. So be it. All the more reason for the West to try and wean itself off Arabic oil which provides Western putridly.

One day people will realize this Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spiritually based with roots extending back millennia. There will be no true peace in this part of the world even if a true Palestinian state were to be created.

The Palestinian claim to lands occupied by Israel rings hollow when Israel twice in the last centurysuccessfully defended itself from Islamic invasion, a fact too seldom reported by the media.

Build the fences and walls! Not a permanent solution but one that will save lives.

January 30, 2006

A First Blog of the First Draft of History - New York Times

A First Blog of the First Draft of History - New York Times

A realistic and sensible way for reporters to use blogs for reporting and interaction with their onion audience covering the banlieues of France during and after the rioting.

January 29, 2006

Hamas Wants an Army

As the chips begin to fall in the Hamas election victory, they are suggesting they want to create an army. Since they are not yet a 'state' in the traditional sense, how is an army possible? Who would pay for it? Recognize it? People paying for it would, in fact, be supporting terrorists.

Here is the clearest statement I've seen from Israel about what they expect from Hamas.

"If Hamas wants to be considered a partner in peace, it's very clear what it has to do. It has to renounce terrorism, disarm, accept Israel's right to exist and support political solutions to issues rather than pursuing violent jihad," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

This makes sense to me. Why would Israel negotiate with terrorists? I expect we will not.

Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study - New York Times

Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study - New York Times

The devil is in the adjustments and normalizations for 'demographic' and 'population' differences between school types. What does this really mean? I'm sure we'll see studies that adjust the data to prove both sides of the debate. Yet, here we have one study that says public schools are better. What can we trust?

While we argue back and forth about the benefits of different types of schools, the real issue is that American schools/students in science and math do so less well than our global competitors.

Unions Pay Dearly for Success - New York Times

Unions Pay Dearly for Success - New York Times

The world has changed. Many unions have not. The only realistic hope for unions' continuation is in a tightly regulated or near monopoly 'business' such as government, education or the services businesses which cannot easily outsource, barring, of course, a taxpayer or shareowner revolt.

It's fascinating to watch today's assault on WalMart by unions and their supporters.

When You Fly in First Class, It's Easy to Forget the Dots - New York Times

When You Fly in First Class, It's Easy to Forget the Dots - New York Times

Ben Stein makes a valid point. Executives who bring a company back to health through bankruptcy deserve some financial reward, but shareowners and employees usually wind up taking all the pain. Hardly seems right.

January 28, 2006

An Exotic Tool for Espionage: Moral Compass - New York Times

An Exotic Tool for Espionage: Moral Compass - New York Times

Here's an utter waste of time. Send John Kerry.

The American Thinker

The American Thinker - Hamas, the Mussolini Test and Iran

Probably the most realistic assessment of the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections. The future is glum. Israel will finish its wall and men its fences. Meanwhile, we can probably expect to see petrodollars from other Islamic countries flow to the Palestinians.

The media would do a service to dig out the sources of these dollars to determine if and to what extent the Europeans or American governments continue to support them.

I expect our State Department is working overtime sorting out how to deal with this.

January 27, 2006

The New York Times > Washington > Image > Public Sentiment on Eavesdropping

The New York Times > Washington > Image > Public Sentiment on Eavesdropping

The poll suggests a mix of views, but people generally support Bush's NSA terrorist surveillance program. The perceived loss of civil liberties is 'noise' in the system, mostly a rallying point for libertarians, liberals and most of the media.

"In a sign that public opinion about the trade-offs between national security and individual rights is nuanced and remains highly unresolved, responses to questions about the administration's eavesdropping program varied significantly depending on how the questions were worded, underlining the importance of the effort by the White House this week to define the issue on its terms.

The poll, conducted as President Bush defended his surveillance program in the face of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans that it is illegal, found that Americans were willing to give the administration some latitude for its surveillance program if they believed it was intended to protect them. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said they supported eavesdropping without warrants "in order to reduce the threat of terrorism."

The results suggest that Americans' view of the program depends in large part on whether they perceive it as a bulwark in the fight against terrorism, as Mr. Bush has sought to cast it, or as an unnecessary and unwarranted infringement on civil liberties, as critics have said."

In the Mideast, a Giant Step Back - New York Times

In the Mideast, a Giant Step Back - New York Times

On this issue, the NY Times agrees with President Bush. He is right, of course, but what will the U.S. do in dealing with this terrorist group of fanatics? This is a major setback for the world in the war on terror. The Palestinian people must be so devoid of hope that theywill grasp at any promise to improve their lot.

We have a very tough road ahead in Israel and the surrounding territory. The fundamental reality we should all keep in mind is that radical Islam wants to annihilate Israel. At its core, this is a spiritual battle with Biblical roots. The history is that Judaism and Christianity are seen by radical Islam as always taking from Islamic lands and prominence. The 'takings' may be land, oil, power or prestige, but takings, nevertheless. If they consider themselves as unjustly oppressed and find support in the Koran for their beliefs, they will act in a way that satisfies their passions. Since negotiation with people like this is futile, they must be constrained or eliminated.

While some will see them as barriers on the road to peace, Israel will be proven right in building its walls and fences for protection as long as Hamas or other Islamic radicals rule the Palestinians. After so much bloodshed by homicide/suicide bombers inside Israel, the Israelis must insure a measure of security any way they can. We and they must never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.

January 26, 2006

Why Democrats are united against Alito | csmonitor.com

Why Democrats are united against Alito | csmonitor.com:

A keen analysis of the Democrat strategy as it relates to the Alito nomination and Senate vote.

Hamas and Israel

The Middle East is now a tinderbox. Why? Because Hamas, a terrorist organization, has been chosen in an apparently free election to lead the Palestinians. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel. We don't negotiate with terrorists. Israel will not allow a government on it's border committed to its destruction. Sharon is out of commission.

Put all these facts together and what is the likely result?

The U.S. should not provide funds to Hamas. The peace process is dead. Palestinians will look to the other Islamic regimes for their support. When all is said and done, I think we have the makings of serious war. Sad.

Here's what the Christian Science Monitor has to say. No optimism here.

The man on the street says: "It's so sad, we don't know what the future of our country will be," says taxi driver Kamal Abu Foz. "The international community and Israel won't deal with Hamas, and Hamas can't deliver us a state."

In Case About Google's Secrets, Yours Are Safe - New York Times

In Case About Google's Secrets, Yours Are Safe - New York Times

So the real issue in this case is not privacy but Google alleging its trade secrets would be revealed if it complied with the Government's subpoena.

That's not juicy enough for the popular press, so they reshape the news story into one about privacy of personal information to attract audience attention. This is deceptive reporting.

Happy to see the Times writes a story with more complete facts and an appropriate headline, but they still wade back into the privacy waters at the story's end.

Government study: VoIP, video can be taxed | CNET News.com

Government study: VoIP, video can be taxed | CNET News.com:

Ahhhh, the government loves nothing more than a taxable service or product in a growing market.

If any doubt exists that Congress intended to ban such taxes, they ought to quickly make it clear that we want no taxes on Internet services, period.

"'The plain language of the statute, as well as the relevant legislative history, reflect a clear legislative intent to ban Internet access taxes at both the retail and wholesale level,' said Allen, who, along with Wyden and seven others, has proposed a bill that would make the Internet access tax moratorium permanent. For now, it is set to expire on Nov. 1, 2007."

Anticipating Hamas Victory, Palestinian Cabinet Resigns - New York Times

Anticipating Hamas Victory, Palestinian Cabinet Resigns - New York Times:

Update quote form NY Times article 1/26 pm:

"Palestinians likened the preliminary results, announced tonight by the Central Election Committee, to an earthquake or a tsunami, ending more than 40 years of political domination by Fatah, the main political faction built by Yasir Arafat, who died 14 months ago.

The results of Wednesday's election put an armed faction — considered to be a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union — in charge of the Palestinian political future. They also put a screeching halt to efforts to restart peace talks, and made a mockery of the voter surveys released Wednesday night that indicated that Fatah would have the most seats and could retain control of the legislature and the cabinet."

This is bad news for the world and especially for Israel. Terrorists intent on Israel's destruction are 'in control,' whatever that means, of the Palestinian people. With Hamas running things, there can be little hope of peace.

I wonder when we'll see al-Qa’ida show up in Palestine?

Hamas is one among many Palestinian terror organizations in a list of terrorist organizations designated by the State Department. How is Hamas in charge in Palestine so different from al-Qa’ida taking over Afghanistan in league with the Taliban? Is the difference that Hamas has not targeted Americans? Does that imply Hamas is less a threat to civilzed society than other terrorist groups because it has won an election monitored by the nations of the world including our own Jimmy Carter?

Current List of Designated (by the U. S. State Department) Foreign Terrorist Organizations

  1. Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
  2. Abu Sayyaf Group
  3. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
  4. Ansar al-Islam
  5. Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
  6. Asbat al-Ansar
  7. Aum Shinrikyo
  8. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
  9. Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)
  10. Continuity Irish Republican Army
  11. Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
  12. HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
  13. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
  14. Hizballah (Party of God)
  15. Islamic Jihad Group
  16. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
  17. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed)
  18. Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI)
  19. al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
  20. Kahane Chai (Kach)
  21. Kongra-Gel (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, KADEK)
  22. Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous)
  23. Lashkar i Jhangvi
  24. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
  25. Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
  26. Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)
  27. Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
  28. National Liberation Army (ELN)
  29. Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
  30. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  31. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLF)
  32. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)
  33. al-Qa’ida
  34. Real IRA
  35. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
  36. Revolutionary Nuclei (formerly ELA)
  37. Revolutionary Organization 17 November
  38. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
  39. Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)
  40. Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
  41. Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR) (al-Qaida in Iraq) (formerly Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'al-Jihad, JTJ, al-Zarqawi Network)
  42. United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)

"'After one year, what has Abu Mazen achieved? What has he been offered by the Israelis? Nothing,' Mr. Haniya said in a press conference at his home in the Beach Refugee Camp in Gaza City. 'The problem was not Hamas or the Palestinian resistance. The problem was with the occupation.' Hamas, which was formed nearly two decades ago, calls for Israel's destruction and has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in recent years. Hamas has largely abided by a truce announced early last year, though the group says it is not prepared to lay down its weapons. Asked if Hamas was willing to consider negotiations with Israel, Mr. Haniya said, 'The occupation must first recognize our rights and the international community must exert pressure on them.'"

January 25, 2006

As Gadgets Get It Together, Media Makers Fall Behind - New York Times

As Gadgets Get It Together, Media Makers Fall Behind - New York Times

Not to be missed. Repurposing content is the name of the game. But the game's effect on people and the culture is tough to predict. Connectedness everywhere may induce unbearable stress when attention is segmented into tiny fractured chunks of time.

What a technological spread spectrum we have from uber-connected teens to fogeys who shun technology outside TV and radio. And, of course, my mother who remembers the time when the teacher dismissed the class so they could be outside watching an airplane fly overhead.

January 24, 2006

Canadian Voters Oust Incumbent for Conservative - New York Times

Canadian Voters Oust Incumbent for Conservative - New York Times

Governing may be difficult for the Conservatives in Canada, but their election is a sign that Canadians are no longer satisfied with liberal policies and leadership despite the strong Canadian economy. The election win is good news for the U.S.

January 23, 2006

Soothe the Blog and Reap the Whirlwind - New York Times

Soothe the Blog and Reap the Whirlwind - New York Times:

"Feedback, as any rock guitarist can tell you, is not always a pleasant-sounding thing. The trouble with a community built of one-way e-mail messages posing as two-way communication is that when people can say anything, they frequently do - a fact of digital life that goes back to The Well, the pioneering online community that presaged the potential and the potential pitfalls of digital social discourse beginning in 1985.

If the first e-mail message did not flame the recipient, the response probably did. There is a kind of permission that hangs over the keyboard along with anonymity that often leads to more over-the-top argument than reasoned exposition"

More on the Washington Post blog shutdown, from the NY Times.

This quote in particular struck me (emphasis added):

"The blowback is hardly without precedent, but it is worth noting that much of it came from the left. Flaming and invective know no ideology, but there is a tendency toward seeing a growing conspiracy behind every ill-chosen word - something once thought to be the province mainly of conservatives."

January 21, 2006

What 'Munich' Left Out - The Archive - The New York Times

What 'Munich' Left Out - The Archive - The New York Times

I missed this analysis when 'Munich' first appeared. I think Brooks is right about Spielberg, but both miss the underlying spiritual battle that froths up into perpetual violence. Instead, they tend to believe that rational negotiations will lead to success in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not in our lifetimes. Correctly, Brooks sees the need to eradicate the terrorists and fully recognizes today's Islamic radicalism as a catalyst in the conflict.

11 Indicted in Cases of Environmental Sabotage - New York Times

I hope the hard work in finding these suspects and indicting them will lead to quick trials convictions if they are proven guilty of these heinous acts.

Fanatics who commit these crimes cannot be free to perpetrate more acts of destruction. The are terrorists by their acts.

January 20, 2006

FAQ: What does the Google subpoena mean? | CNET News.com

FAQ: What does the Google subpoena mean? | CNET News.com

A fairly extensive summary of the issues and the positions of the parties in this controversy.

Once more, though, I'm dismayed that the MainStream Media has chosen to sensationalize this situation by being unclear (purposely?) about the fact that personally identifiable information is NOT being requested, (no IP addresses are requested) by the Justice Department.

As expected, paranoia by privacy zealots has spiked and the MSM loves it. Rather than susurration, we have the shrill screams of those who feel they are somehow 'at risk.'

U.S. Rejects Truce Offer From bin Laden - New York Times

U.S. Rejects Truce Offer From bin Laden - New York Times: "Vice President Dick Cheney, asked by Fox News about the tape, said it now seemed likely that Mr. bin Laden, whom some had believed dead, was alive. But, the vice president said, Mr. bin Laden has clearly had trouble getting his message out and added, 'We don't negotiate with terrorists.' 'I think you have to destroy them,' he said. 'It's the only way to deal with them.'"

Cheney is right. Negotiation with fanatic terrorists accomplishes nothing

Paper Closes Reader Comments on Blog, Citing Vitriol - New York Times

Paper Closes Reader Comments on Blog, Citing Vitriol - New York Times

Blogging's growing pains. It's unfortunate that the dark side stops what should be a reasoned dialogue. This sort of thing is one of the pitfalls of web users' anonymity. People should be personally accountable for what they write on the Internet.

Abilene Reporter-News

Abilene Reporter-News: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than half of students at four-year colleges - and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges - lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found."

One more example of America's slide to mediocrity. I have long maintained that teens in high school should be offered a course in basic economics to understand how our economy functions, at least at the consumer level. Such a course would include basic finiancial and 'getting on with life' skills that today are usually acquired by osmosis, if at all.

January 19, 2006

Advocates of Wi-Fi in Cities Learn Art of Politics - New York Times

Advocates of Wi-Fi in Cities Learn Art of Politics - New York Times

A dream, a hope, an advocacy for free WiFi will have some success in some places. Because someone has to pay for networks, most access will require money from the user. Unlimited free lunches are rare, indeed.

Of more importance is the notion of 'network neutrality' espoused by grassroots advocates and many others. This is a very legitimate policy debate now underway in the context of revisions to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In fact, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on this topic in February.

My initial thoughts are that those who have invested in the plumbing of the Internet deserve to be fairly compensated for that investment. Content and the attachment of legal, non-harmful devices should not be restricted, but customer expectations for the high quality delivery of that content should be met when they pay for that quality of service.

January 18, 2006

Water: The Petroleum of the Next Century

Here's what Mario Gabelli has to say about investing in water rescource companies.

"Like oil, water is a finite resource that over time will increase in value as the gap between supply and demand narrows. Today, the annual investment in water (water treatment and transmission infrastructure, products, and services) is $87 billion in the U.S. and $365 billion globally. In a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water utilities estimated that over the next 20 years $277 billion would have to be spent to rebuild the infrastructure required to maintain current clean water standards. A nearly equal amount of capital will need to be invested in wastewater treatment facilities built with EPA grants in the 1970's, which are now nearing the end of their useful lives. So, in the U.S. alone we should see significant increases in investment spending across the water space during the next two decades.

We expect even more rapid growth in water investments in developing nations. In the U.S., 11% of water consumption is residential, 59% industrial, and 30 % agricultural. In developing nations the mix is 8% residential, 10% industrial and 82% agricultural."

If you're a long term investor, water and other basic resource commodities are the place to be invested. Slow, steady growth is almost assured.

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

The VYCC is a Vermont treasure. I don't characterize organizations this way very often, but these guys are good! They deserve any support you can provide.

Ted Kennedy Drops Club

If this report is true, then it should be clear that Kennedy is not only a bumbling fool, but a hypocrite as well. Where is the NY Times on this story?

"After ripping Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for what Senator Ted Kennedy called "troubling" ties to a social club at Princeton University, Kennedy is distancing himself from his own curious ties to a club at Harvard University.
As previously reported by NewsMax, Kennedy is a member of The Owl Club, a social club for Harvard alumni that bans women from membership. Ironically, the Owl Club, long reviled at Harvard as "sexist," was evicted from the campus in 1984 for violating federal anti-discrimination laws authored by Kennedy.
According to the Boston Herald, Kennedy was questioned on his status as an Owl Club member by Boston TV station WHDH. Kennedy said, "I'm not a member; I continue to pay about $100."
However, according to the membership directory of the Owl Club, Kennedy updated his personal information as recently as September 7..."

Spying on Ordinary Americans - New York Times

Spying on Ordinary Americans - New York Times:

I'm sorry, she can't speak rationally with you now, the 'gray lady' is out to lunch feasting on foolish pie.

"...Anyone who read the original reports on the spying operation and thought, 'Well, so what, I have nothing to hide,' should think about the uncounted innocent Americans who had F.B.I. officers knocking on their doors because of
secret and possibly illegal surveillance.

The National Security Agency was originally barred from domestic surveillance without court supervision to avoid just this sort of abuse. The first lawsuits challenging the legality of the domestic spying operation were filed this week, and Congress plans hearings.

We hope that lawmakers are more diligent about reining in Mr. Bush now than they have been about his other abuses of power in the name of fighting terrorism."

Disarray Among the Palestinians - New York Times

Disarray Among the Palestinians - New York Times

No realistic solution seems available to move this mess to a solution. How can there be when large numbers of Palestinians continue to cry for Israel's destruction?

January 17, 2006

Firefox vs. Internet Explorer

I have been using both IE and Firefox for many months and I have found that Firefox is less stable than IE. Two or three times weekly, Firefox locks up and I am forced to close it, usually with several tabs opened. I seldom turn off my PC, but do use standby and hibernate modes frequently.

I recently began using Writely (www.writely.com) and the frequency of lockups seems to have increased. I don't know if it's my imagination or real, but the bottom line for me is that IE is more stable than Firefox.

Vital Signs: Added health benefit of pricey organic food in question - Health-Care - Personal Finance

Vital Signs: Added health benefit of pricey organic food in question - Health-Care - Personal Finance:

This quote below echos my belief. Organic is really a marketing term that lately has acquired some meaning in terms of adopted standards. Rationally, I don't think it makes any difference as long as people eat the right combinations of foods, regardless of whether they carry a 'natural' or 'organic' label.

"The assumption is that organic food is somehow superior to conventionally grown food when it comes to long-term health, and there are those who contend there is no solid evidence of that.

'The science to date does not indicate a clear and substantial benefit from selecting organic as opposed to conventionally grown products,' said Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California at Davis, who said she doesn't receive funding from the food industry.

It's true that organic foods have low levels of pesticide residues -- but so do conventionally grown foods, she said. 'There is no indication that people in the United States are becoming ill from pesticide residues in conventional food.'"

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Assisted Suicide Law - New York Times

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Assisted Suicide Law - New York Times

The Supreme Court chose to interpret the law rather than take a stand on moral grounds. I don't like the result, but that's what courts are for. It's the legislative branch of government that must deal with this issue which, if not dealt with, takes us down a slippery moral slope.

Justice Scalia, however, tackled the real issue head on and declared that death is not a legitimate outcome for doctors prescribing drugs. Alas, his common sense did not prevail

"Justice Antonin Scalia, in a sharp dissent, asserted that the attorney general did indeed have the authority to issue his 2001 ruling, regardless of the majority's reading of events. "If the term 'legitimate medical purpose' has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death," Justice Scalia wrote.

Justice Scalia, citing papers filed on behalf of the federal government, wrote that "virtually every medical authority from Hippocrates to the current American Medical Association confirms that assisting suicide has seldom or never been viewed as a form of 'prevention, cure, or alleviation of disease.' " The entire legitimacy of physician-assisted suicide "ultimately rests, not on 'science' or 'medicine,' but on a naked value judgment," he wrote."

SEC Seeks More Disclosure on Execs' Pay - New York Times

SEC Seeks More Disclosure on Execs' Pay - New York Times

A good move. Major expenses of public companies should be disclosed, particularly salaries and other compensation for the top leadership team. The shady players need to have the light of public scrutiny on their pay. It is not a private matter when one reaches the officer level and the overwhelming number who are honest should have no problem with this.

Cuts of Lamb

Cuts of Lamb

A cool site from Hormel describing the various cuts of lamb. Captured here in the blog for easy reference

Not in the Kennedys' Backyard - New York Times

Not in the Kennedys' Backyard - New York Times

Four cheers for Tierney for exposing the truth behind the Kennedys' hypocritical positions supporting wind energy and wind farms generally and their opposition to the Cape Wind project, specifically. The crux of this debate, it seems to me, is this: Are we willing to trade one externality for another? Wind generated electricity is far more expensive than electricity generated by other means at today's prices, therefore it is a poor economic choice. If we believe that the paltry effect of wind energy on global warming (an externality) is worth trading for scenic degradation (an externality), then choose wind.

I'm not prepared to make that choice. When considering subsidies and investment dollars in the energy realm the best choice may lie in conservation. I wonder if anyone has provided an economic study for Vermont on electricity price effects of conservation vs. the total economic costs of wind energy?

In any event, we must have an increased supply of reliable electricity for baseline demands in the future. That cannot be supplied by wind. Only a mix of nuclear, hydro, natural gas and coal can provide our needs.

Vermont take note of this (emphasis added):

"To be fair, there are good arguments against the wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Robert Kennedy rightly complained that it wouldn't be feasible without hefty state and federal subsidies. But neither would the other renewable-energy projects promoted by him and his uncle.

Environmentalists have been promising for more than three decades that wind energy would be competitive if there was a "level playing field," but it survives only because the field has been tilted in its favor.

When you add up the tax breaks and other federal aid to wind farms, the subsidy per unit of energy produced is more than double the subsidy given to nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants, according to Thomas Tanton, a fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.

"Wind power is at least twice as expensive as power from conventional sources," Tanton says, "and it's less than half as valuable because it's not always available when you need it." Even when Tanton makes allowances for what economists call externalities - like the benefits of slowing global warming by emitting less carbon dioxide - he finds that wind power is still nowhere close to competitive.

Besides the federal dollars, wind farms get extra help from states, particularly states like New York and California, which have ordered utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy. This amounts to a hidden surcharge on consumers - the kind of subsidy that economists loathe. If state officials want to direct money to the owners of wind farms, they should at least dole it out openly."

January 15, 2006

The American Thinker

The American Thinker

Under Clinton, NY Times called surveillance "a necessity."

Here's some factual reporting that exposes the liberal NY Times for what they are, pawns of the left. Without bloggers who do their homework, how would we ever know this? The newspaper is rapidly losing its prestige and respect. At the same time they encounter financial difficulties. Could the two be related?

Before this fiasco is over, Times editors and reporters will probably find themselves in jail.

Why Iraq's Resistance Differs From Insurgency - New York Times

Why Iraq's Resistance Differs From Insurgency - New York Times

A rational analysis of the situation in Iraq. This multi-layered opposition by the Sunnis should not be a surprise. An effective strategy to overcome it is not easy, that's certain. The good news is that attention is focused on it by the Administration.

Vermont's Judicial Pain

Vermont has had more than it's share of the media spotlight over the lenient sentencing, 60 days in prison including hefty conditions upon release including sex offender treatment, of a sex offender's guilty plea to charges of repeatedly molesting a young girl (Where were the parents/guardians? It has since come to light that yet another man, an acquaintance of the perpetrator, had also repeatedly molested the same child!)

The 'culprit' here is not so much the judge, Cashman, as the Department of Corrections and the prosecutors. Under their long-standing criteria, the perpetrator was low risk for reoffending so they initially decided not to treat him when incarcerated, regardless of his sentence. Judge Cashman, motivated to do the right thing by assuring the perp got treatment on the outside upon release, unwittingly compounded that error by attempting to force the treatment outside of prison with the short sentence. You can see 'the system' at work here. I believe everyone was trying to do the 'right' thing, but failed to see the community's expectation for just punishment.

But here's another twist. It's worth the time to understand Cashman's thinking. In the final analysis, this was his best shot at sentencing in response to a plea agreement. Of course, he could have rejected that agreement. It seems the prosecution also misread the public's mood in bargaining this plea/sentence.

The public, though, always wants punishment fit to the crime. Rehabilitation is the desired goal only after the expected penalty is paid. Cashman's error was to sentence in a manner that did not satisfy the public's expectation of punishment, particularly for a sexual crime against a child, where there is little/no tolerance.

The national TV talking heads have sensationalized this mess for their own purposes. The real story they should be covering here is not the sentence but the tremendous success of the Vermont sexual offender treatment program and probe why the perp was denied this treatment (I suspect cost). The Department of Corrections has agreed to provide treatment if Judge Cashman imposes a much longer sentence.

I think Cashman and the DoC acting independently had no idea this situation would erupt as it has. Here is Cashman's statement. People should really pay attention to his explanation of why he did what he did. His comments here are terribly under reported. This has become a one sided story, unfortunately, inflamed by the media. Fox News and its talking heads are way off base in their coverage of this affair.

On Friday, 1/13 a motion was filed that suggests the sentence, void of appropriate punishment was illegal. Cashman has the chance to modify the sentence when he acts on the motion. I'll bet he does just that now that DoC conditionally has agreed to treatment.

Glum Democrats Can't See Halting Bush on Courts - New York Times

Glum Democrats Can't See Halting Bush on Courts - New York Times:

If this view is representative of the thinking of Democrats when dealing with Supreme Court nominees, that it's all political drama made for media, rather than a concerted effort to seriously question candidates proposed by a President, they deserve to be glum losers.

"Several Democrats expressed frustration over what they saw as the Republicans outmaneuvering them by drawing attention to an episode Wednesday when Judge Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, began crying as her husband was being questioned. That evening, senior convened at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Democratic senate aides stunned at the realization that the pictures of a weeping Mrs. Alito were being broadcast across the nation - as opposed to, for example, images of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, pressing Judge Alito about his membership in an alumni club that resisted affirmative action efforts.

'Had she not cried, we would have won that day,' said one Senate strategist involved in the hearings, who did not want to be quoted by name discussing the Democrats' problems. 'It got front-page attention. It was on every local news show.'"

Here's more drivel from TIME Magazine. I can't believe Democrats think that because Alito's wife cried and left the hearing room is why they lost the confirmation battle. Let them continue to think that way and they will only prove that those who do are consigned to history's dust bin.

"Any points the Dems scored were erased by Alito's wife Martha-Ann, who broke down in tears as the questioning of her husband grew increasingly personal. Her emotional reaction sealed her husband's victory--but the Dems had other reasons to fight on."

In Praise of Joe Biden - New York Times

In Praise of Joe Biden - New York Times

Brooks is at his editorial best here as he characterizes Biden. He may know him personally and thus is able to write accurately about his true self. However, what I see of him on TV is pure politics from a showman of the first order, not to be trusted.

Perhaps I'm wrong in my judgment, but if my perception is widely shared, he would never make it as a candidate for President. Well, maybe he's given up on that.

Hey, Baby Bells: Information Still Wants to Be Free - New York Times

Hey, Baby Bells: Information Still Wants to Be Free - New York Times

An interesting perspective on the issue of network neutrality for the Internet combined with a 'more bandwidth' rant (be advised....there is never enough bandwidth everywhere, at least not in my lifetime. Those that provide the physical infrastructure for last mile bandwidth, i.e., the telephone companies, the cable companies, and now some municipalities with wireless access, have the responsibility to make enormous capital investments to provide this bandwidth. The private sector companies should have the right to profitably recover that investment over a reasonable number of years. In a competitive environment, that is not an assured outcome.

Unfortunately, this rant does not address the reality of corporate profitability or staying power in the marketplace. If we are to have the bandwidth Nirvana and network neutrality, then how will companies sustain that desire unless they can price appropriately and continue to attract investment capital?

I agree with the concept of network neutrality, but for it to survive users must be willing to pay the price for bandwidth.

Also, the criticism seems to be aimed at the BellCos. What about the Cablecos?

January 14, 2006

Disarray at Center for Dr. King Casts Pall on Family and Legacy - New York Times

Disarray at Center for Dr. King Casts Pall on Family and Legacy - New York Times:

Here's a man for which we have a national holiday proclaimed and his family is at odds about what to do with the Martin Luther King Jr. center in Atlanta. Seems to me that it's headed to bankruptcy unless someone steps up to exert some discipline and vision for King's legacy. If the sons and possibly others are reaping 'six figure salaries,' I wonder what they do to earn these riches("Public attention focused on the aging King Center almost a year ago, when The Atlanta Journal Constitution began a series of investigative articles about its finances. The articles revealed that the King Center needed repairs and ended most years with a deficit, yet paid Dexter King almost $180,000 and Martin King $150,000 in salaries and had given millions to a for-profit company run by Dexter King.")? And some in the family don't even know who's on the board that's supposed to oversee this center?

This is a very sad state of affairs but it reflects the disharmony that seems to reign in the black community lately. It's a real shame that this mess is allowed to go on. Where is the leadership in the black American community?

"Acknowledging that the board, which until recently had been made up almost entirely of family members, had been 'remiss' in its oversight and programming, Mr. King said the solution was to strengthen and diversify the board. Bernice King said government ownership would result in a loss of ideological independence.

None of the four King children responded to requests for interviews. And the center did not answer repeated requests for information. In a brief phone conversation, a center spokesman said he could not provide a list of the board members because he did not know who they were."

January 13, 2006

Few Glimmers of How Conservative Judge Alito Is - New York Times

Few Glimmers of How Conservative Judge Alito Is - New York Times

The headline and the early paragraphs of this article belong on the editorial page, not the news page! Having read the article, I come away from it believing Alito is in the mainstream, not an ultra conservative.

The Times liberal editors have seemingly had their way with an otherwise reasonably balanced piece.

January 12, 2006

Alito Resists Making Comparisons to O'Connor - New York Times

Alito Resists Making Comparisons to O'Connor - New York Times

Amid all the troubled liberals, I believe Judge Alito is qualified and worthy to sit on the Supreme Court. I hope the Republicans hang together and confirm him. I wonder if the liberals will filibuster? This article makes no mention of it.

345 Are Killed in Stampede at Pilgrimage in Mecca - New York Times

345 Are Killed in Stampede at Pilgrimage in Mecca - New York Times

Fanatical religious insanity.

Losing the Alitos - New York Times

Losing the Alitos - New York Times

Once again, Brooks nails it. Anyone of civility paying attention to the Alito hearings should be repelled by the demeanor of the ultra-liberals like Kennedy, Feingold, Schumer and Biden. They are sorry examples of statesmen. Americans generally reject the haughty attitude of superiority and righteousness they, particularly Kennedy, exhibit.

The Democrats have lost it if they consider these senators as their leaders.

January 10, 2006

Giving Drivers More Access to Fast Lanes - New York Times

Giving Drivers More Access to Fast Lanes - New York Times

Seems from this piece that the toll payment technology has not yet settled down to a single solution. I use EZ-Pass when traveling in the northeast. It's convenient.

If the technology takes off, toll road operators will have to equip several lanes to prevent backups in what are now the fast lanes.

January 9, 2006

TIME.com -- Joe Klein: How to Stay Out of Power

TIME.com -- Joe Klein: How to Stay Out of Power:

Joe Klein gets it right. The liberal donkeys, in their zeal to regain power and their hatred of Bush, are once more out of step with common sense Americans. God forbid they were ever to get power.

So sad that so many journalists follow this liberal tripe and try to make the case that our rights are hurt. Most of them are '60s flower children is my guess.

"But these concerns pale before the importance of the program. It would have been a scandal if the NSA had not been using these tools to track down the bad guys. There is evidence that the information harvested helped foil several plots and disrupt al-Qaida operations.
There is also evidence, according to U.S. intelligence officials, that since the New York Times broke the story, the terrorists have modified their behavior, hampering our efforts to keep track of them?but also, on the plus side, hampering their ability to communicate with one another.
Pelosi made clear to me that she considered Hayden, now Deputy Director of National Intelligence, an honorable man who would not overstep his bounds. 'I trust him,' she said. 'I haven't accused him of anything. I was, and remain, concerned that he has the proper authority to do what he is doing.' A legitimate concern, but the Democrats are on thin ice here. Some of the wilder donkeys talked about a possible Bush impeachment after the NSA program was revealed.
The latest version of the absolutely necessary Patriot Act, which updates the laws regulating the war on terrorism and contains civil-liberties improvements over the first edition, was nearly killed by a stampede of Senate Democrats. Most polls indicate that a strong majority of Americans favor the act, and I suspect that a strong majority would favor the NSA program as well, if its details were declassified and made known.
In fact, liberal Democrats are about as far from the American mainstream on these issues as Republicans were when they invaded the privacy of Terri Schiavo's family in the right-to-die case last year.
But there is a difference. National security is a far more important issue, and until the Democrats make clear that they will err"

Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis - New York Times

Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis - New York Times: "'How bad is the diabetes epidemic?' asked Frank Vinicor, associate director for public health practice at the Centers for Disease Control. 'There are several ways of telling. One might be how many different occurrences in a 24-hour period of time, between when you wake up in the morning and when you go to sleep. So, 4,100 people diagnosed with diabetes, 230 amputations in people with diabetes, 120 people who enter end-stage kidney disease programs and 55 people who go blind.

'That's going to happen every day, on the weekends and on the Fourth of July,' he said. 'That's diabetes.'"

A revealing portrait of the damage diabetes causes daily in the U.S.

I am reading Dr. Weil's book Healthy Aging in which he describes the powerful effect of diet on health and particularly the scourge of diabetes and other systemic diseases.

Upon reading this NY Times piece...an excellent piece of journalism...I am struck with the intensity not only of the disease, but of the cry of medical professionals for a solution.

On a philosophical note, the more knowledge we gain about the diseases that wrack this mortal body, the greater the perceived need to do something. Yet, if we could flash into existence miraculous cures for these diseases that cause death, think of the host of other problems a greatly extended life would create.

Weil's position is a sensible one. In his analysis and recommendations of diet and lifestyle, he does not seek to extend life, rather to 'compress morbidity,' i.e., live as healthy as possible, but die relatively quickly after a full and healthy life, avoiding spending our last years in painful, debilitating and costly treatment for all manner of preventable ailments.

January 7, 2006

The New Red, White and Blue - New York Times

The New Red, White and Blue - New York Times

Of course, we should move toward energy independence because it will make us less dependent, but once again Friedman ignores the fact that China and India and other developing countries will gobble up the Islamic, African and South American oil continuing the evils he portrays in those despotic or corrupt countries.

He is only telling half the story while bashing the Administration with that half. If the U.S. is less dependent on their oil, he could argue that we have less at risk because we are less reliant on them. I don't agree with that premise because the terrorist world is a dangerous place when they are out to destroy our way of life, regardless of where we get our oil.

By the way, Thomas, what's the Democrat's energy independence plan and what will it cost?

January 6, 2006

Douglas VT State of State Speech - Writely

Douglas VT State of State Speech - Writely:

Governor Douglas' State of the State speech is worth reading in total, but I'm focusing on just one aspect of his comprehensive set of proposals, the property tax driven by the costs of edcation.

I have often stated that Vermont cannot afford its appetites. By this I mean we cannot not afford the taxes that that result when well-meaning state legislators and local elected officials approve programs and budgets for what they consider to be desirable purposes.

Vermonters simply cannot and will not continue to pay taxes at ever increasing rates. Those who can will leave and those who can't will become increasing consumers of costly state services.

I wholeheartedly support Gov. Douglas' proposal to cap property taxes driven by the rapid escalation of property taxes. In the face of declining enrollments, this present course is simply not sustainable.

With budget caps, people will be required to make difficult, but necessary decisions about education budgets and programs. Priorities will come into sharper focus when the available dollars are constrained to the rate of inflation.

Vermont's experience under Act 60 simply has not provided a sustainable model for the cost and performance of the state's education system.

It's time for more drastic action and I call on our legislators to muster the courage to oppose the education lobby and enact this proposal.

Providing farmers with some tax relief is also a worthy goal if we can reign in the costs of education, but such relief should not happen independently of cost controls.

"But too often, the sage advice of our native son has not been observed, and today Coolidge's Vermont has the nation's third highest tax burden as a percent of personal income. This is one area where Vermont should not be proud to be a national leader.

If we are to make Vermont a more affordable state, the problem of over-taxation cannot be ignored and must not be exacerbated. Not too many years ago, we heard the impassioned promises that Act 60 would reduce property taxes. The forecasts portrayed a future of responsible and moderate growth, of sustainable spending spread equitably across all Vermont towns.

Tomorrow is now today and the reality is that education spending has grown at almost twice the rate of inflation, outstripped increases in the gross state product and far outpaced growth in the family checkbook. The average increase has been over 6 percent per year - nearly 60 percent overall growth since 1999.

Property tax burdens have multiplied to keep up with spending. Since 1999, property taxes have risen, on average, at a rate of almost 8 percent per year. Put another way, taxpayers will pay $407 million more in property taxes in 2007 than they paid in 1999 - a spike of nearly 82 percent in eight years. Even with the help of Act 68, if left unabated, the average tax bill will jump over 10 percent from just this year to next.

However, over the same period, enrollment in our schools has dropped 8 percent. We'll have over 8,000 fewer students in September 2006 than we had in September 1999.
When enrollment is dropping, but spending is rising and taxes are soaring, we have a problem that requires immediate action.

If we expect to keep Vermont affordable for Vermonters, we must act now to drToday I am offering a comprehensive property tax relief plan for Vermont families to return sustainability to school spending, and give real power back to the local voters and school boards.

I am a firm believer in local control - but since Act 60 undermined that control, property taxes have spun out of control.

Some have offered a proposal to increase the state income tax to pay for education. Vermonters already pay some of the highest income taxes in the nation. Piling an education income tax on top of an already high income tax simply will not do for Vermont taxpayers. Moreover, raising the income tax does nothing to address the issue of higher spending.

As a matter of principle, taxes should not grow faster than your paycheck. So, I propose capping education property tax growth at no more than the rate of inflation each year. At roughly 3.5 percent, this target is sustainable and allows room for school budgets to grow responsibly to meet the needs of a community. If a town would like to spend more than the rate of inflation, my proposal will require a supermajority of 60 percent of the voters to pass the increase.

In addition, I propose a package of changes to restructure the income sensitivity program, including a measure to close loopholes in the prebate/rebate system - loopholes that allow owners of million-dollar homes to get five-figure prebate checks.

Combined with the return of the property tax surplus in the education fund, we will cut the statewide property tax rate by $.04 for all taxpayers. Further, with my relief plan, we can cut statewide rates by at least another $.10 in 2008 - that is almost $65 million in taxpayer savings in two years.

Act 60 eliminated the machinery and equipment property tax - giving businesses a property tax reduction on their fixed assets. However, because the key fixed asset of farmers is their land, our farmers could not enjoy this tax reduction. It is time to correct this double standard and repeal the education property tax on working farms by 2008. "

Rising Competition in Cellphone Music - New York Times

Rising Competition in Cellphone Music - New York Times

This is a big deal for Verizon and cell service providers. First music, then podcasts, then video on your cell phone. This will likely help the cell providers cement their position in the content distribution business. The buzzword here is 'compelling content.'

January 4, 2006

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli PM suffers serious stroke

BBC NEWS Middle East Israeli PM suffers serious stroke:
The Israelis know how to rally around the common good.

"Mr Sharon's spokesman said ministers from the Likud party, who had been due to resign from the cabinet, had reversed their decision so they could help the government through this period. "

BBC NEWS | Americas | JFK assassination 'was Cuba plot'

BBC NEWS Americas JFK assassination 'was Cuba plot'

The logic of this allegation fits better than any other conspiracy theory I've heard since Kennedy was killed. Cuba could very well have been behind the assassination.

Solid State Memory to Replace Hard Drives

This price-capacity curve will mean that flash memory will replace hard drives in many devices including laptops and video cameras. The advantages of lower power consumption and fast access by the CPU are profoundly beneficial to users.

ThinkPads to support Cingular 3G technology | CNET News.com

ThinkPads to support Cingular 3G technology CNET News.com

This is an important announcement. Along with a previous agreement to embed Verizon's BroadbandAccess technology into its laptops, Lenovo will enable broadband access for millions of future users. Just as WiFi is embedded, with EVDO and HSDPA likely followed by WiMax in a year or two, laptops will be well equipped indeed.

I have a plug in card for Verizon's service, but have not yet used it in a Broadband Access area. Internet access nearly everywhere is very nice!

On the Subject of Leaks - New York Times

On the Subject of Leaks - New York Times

In this editorial the NY Times conveniently ignores the fact that we are in a war against terrorists who would destroy our way of life and devastate our cities killing tens of thousands of Americans. The Times enjoys sitting in their Manhattan ivory tower pretending they are the righteous ones and that the government, at least this government, is evil.

The Times thinks it's on the side of the angels, when they are more likely doing harm to this country by exposing legitimate intelligence secrets. Yet they have failed to report any harm coming to Americans from the N.S.A. surveillance.

Of course rights should be protected, but do terrorists have the same rights as other Americans? I say the prevention of terrorist attacks takes a significantly higher priority than the remote possibility that any of my calls or emails might be included in surveillance by the N.S.A.

The Times will one day wish they had not revealed this information or taken such a high and mighty attitude pretending to know what's best for the the nation.

They have made a serious error in judgement as have those in the government who have leaked classified intelligence information.

January 3, 2006

Iran Says It Will Resume Nuclear Fuel Research - New York Times

Iran Says It Will Resume Nuclear Fuel Research - New York Times:

Remember the wooden paddles with a rubber ball attached to the center of the paddle with a long rubber band? The world is the paddle and Iran is the ball, bouncing back and forth continually as Iran plays the game of nuclear development.

What will the world's strategy be when Iran announces it has a nuclear weapon?

Or will Israel take matters into their own hands to prevent that outcome as they did three decades ago in Iraq when they destroyed a nuclear reactor?
Iran cannnot be trusted with nuclear weapons.

"Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement that he would bee seeking more details about the research. He also reminded Iran that the suspension had been an important step toward restoring its reputation.
Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear program in 2003 after admitting that it had deceived nuclear inspectors for years. "

G.O.P. Lobbyist to Plead Guilty in Deal With Prosecutors - New York Times

G.O.P. Lobbyist to Plead Guilty in Deal With Prosecutors - New York Times

I'll bet the Democrats smell...even taste...blood.

Corruption cannot be tolerated. If crooks are in Congress they should be booted or voted out.

Picture of WIse Guy Book Cover

Click here for a larger image of the cover of Mark's book, Wise Guy.

URL below:


January 2, 2006

Nearer, My God, to the G.O.P. - New York Times

Nearer, My God, to the G.O.P. - New York Times

Essential reading for anyone claiming religion mixed with politics is in the national interest. A very eloquent piece, indeed, one that I agree with.

WSJ Review of Wise Guy

A very nice review in the Wall Street Journal of Wise Guy, my son's recently published children's book about Socrates and the Socratic method. Mark will be at Borders in Burlington (on Church Street) on January 21 at 2:00 pm to sign copies.

Gmail's History

This link is to a post on the Official Google Blog describing the history of Gmail. Email is now ~35 years old and Gmail will be 2 in April. Wow!

Answering Back to the New Media Using the Internet

This analysis of the interplay between journalism and blogging is a fair analysis of today's world of print, audio and video that we now live in. Although the article seems written mostly for the people who are in media/publishing or intense bloggers, the lessons presented by examples are clear:

  • blogging has pried open the sardine can of traditional journalism and exposed the biases with which the sardines are packed and canned.
  • blogging has on the whole been good for journalism because the 'audience' forces traditional journalists to an awareness of their biases. If they pretend they don't have them, they can be made to seem incredulous.
  • any pretense of objectivity so often held by reporters, journalists, editors and bloggers has vanished in transparency.
  • facts awash in points of view are now de rigeur.
  • journalists and bloggers can both be navel-gazers. Though many bloggers are active, journalists and others deadly serious about it spend far more time than do most mortals.
  • credibility is always questioned when different viewpoints are brought to a set of facts.
  • on balance, blogging is a positive outflow of communications brought n by technology.

January 1, 2006

The Year of Domesticity - New York Times

Once again David Brooks hits the nail squarely on the head. Worth reading his whole piece by clicking below.

The Year of Domesticity - New York Times: "When you look back over the essays of 2005, you find many that dealt with the big foreign policy issues of the year, but also an amazing number that dealt with domesticity. That's because the deeper you get into economic or social problems - national competitiveness, poverty, school performance, incarceration - the more you realize the answers lie with good parenting and good homes.
Hirshman has it exactly backward. Power is in the kitchen. The big problem is not the women who stay there but the men who leave. "

Officials at U.N. Seek Fast Action on Rights Panel - New York Times

Officials at U.N. Seek Fast Action on Rights Panel - New York Times

The Humans Rights Commission is at the U.N. is an international embarrassment, a sign of the worst abuse and powerlessness of the U.N. Sad, but nations don't really want the scrutiny of their peers, particularly when they are led by despots, dictators, fools or worse.

Totally Wired - New York Times

Totally Wired - New York Times

The debate between Verizon and The Cablecos rages in New Jersey with all the players saying the predictable things. The regulators as usual want all the benefits of competition and none of the risks. If Verizon should ever decide to bring FIOS to Vermont, which I doubt, they would not have to contend with the local franchise requirements since the state is the franchise granting authority