Sunday, December 05, 2004


What's your bet on Iraq having elections? Bet it's going to turn serious nasty, as if it weren't already. Saw Joe Biden on George Stephanolopus's show today - he said he had just returned from a 4th visit to Iraq - said it was basically a mess. Said we needed more troops in there and that they will have to stay past the elections - that we continously make the mistake of winning a few battles then back off when in reality that is the time to push forward. I agree, but then I like Biden. He isn't worried about getting elected - he shoots straight just like Chuck Hagel. He's one person who I know is not going to be afraid to say what he thinks.

Lot of talk on steroids and sports lately. 20/20 special was quite interesting. Wouldn't want to be Marion Jones or Barry Bonds at the moment. As a sports writer for USA Today said, "even a 5 year old would know Barry is on steroids". Got that right. And for Bonds to say - well, geez, I just thought it was flaxseed oil and some arthritis creme. Geez Barry, when you looked in the mirror and saw that balloon face and huge muscles, you must have thought that was some damn incredible flaxseed oil. You're a joke. I say take all these people down and strip them of all their records. Otherwise these sports will have no credibility, not that they have much now. Kinda hard to root for someone in the Olympics, when you can be pretty sure they're all pumped up, or care about some 25 million dollar a year ballplayer who can only win if he is hopped up.

I can see the next Olympics - "and in lane #1 is Joe Mighty Man. Joe has a good chance today cause he is using Creme#4356 and is taking Steroid#2356, whereas in Lane #2 is Big Bubba Smith, who will probably be at a disadvantage today, seeing that he is using an outdated Creme #4535. These runners are going to have to keep more up to date, if they're going to have a chance to compete." Actually, I think the situation today is probably pretty close to that. We'll see if anybody has the guts to really change the system. I see John McCain is threatening federal intervention if Baseball doesn't do something.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The GPS made me do it!

An elderly motorist driving along a 130km/h expressway in eastern France caused a crash when he followed the advice of his onboard GPS computer - and made a U-turn.

Police said the hapless 78-year-old driver, who was not named, and the occupants of the vehicle he ran into escaped unharmed from the collision on Sunday, but it could have been much worse.

The man told officers his car GPS had told him to "make a U-turn immediately" as he drove along lost near the town of Nancy in search of a hotel.

He did so, not realising the limitations of his satellite navigation device, which guides using verbal directions.

"It's not the first time we've had a GPS incident," one of the officers said, recalling the time a police vehicle found itself face-to-face with a motorist going the wrong way in accordance with his computer's instructions.

A nice extension comes from Mike Chambers at this site for those of you using Firefox's browser. It adds a Search Engine which will search the Edgadget Blog , a blog which has been nominated for Best Tech Blog of 2004.

I see they're again considering an amendment to let folks like Arnold run for President. I say, why not? These folks probably worked harder at becoming a citizen, then many of us natural born citizens. Heck, anybody who wants to take on that monumental task, should have the opportunity if they want it. What's your opinion?

The Apprentice - Did you catch last night's show? What did you think of Ivana dropping her skirt to sell chocolate bars at $20 a pop? I thought it amusing that Donald's older sidekick thought she showed gumption (he probably just liked the show!). Donald's other sidekick, the cold bitch from hell, of course disapproved of it. Ivana screwed up by doing it cause I think Donald would have fired Kevin for undercutting the price to a $1 just to sell the bars. She's a better apprentice than Kevin, but she showed off her "loose canon" side on this episode and that will cook you every time. Personally, I think Andy would have been Donald's best bet, but he was simply too young. None of the remaining players impress me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this bird bring some sunshine on Thanksgiving Day! Not looking like that is going to be the case here in the mountains of Virginia, but know you'll be praying for us. :) Republicans will be anyway, I'm sure - not sure about you heathen Dems.

You might want to take a good look at Blinkx . I had been using Google's Desktop Search, but this seems to go it one better and then some. It works with IE, Firefox,Mozilla, Outlook Express, and Outlook. It will index all the files on your computer and deliver them up lighnting fast whenever you need to find something. It will index .doc,.txt,.html,.jpg,.mp3,.pdf files as well as others. It will scan the web pages you're viewing and figure out other sights that might be of interest and are related - you don't have to do a thing. It will do P2P searches so that you can download music from many sources. Really is quite the bundle. It's pretty slick to type in, for example, a medical term and see instantly every email you've sent someone on the topic, all the web pages you might have saved about it, any pdf files, diagrams or pictures. Try to find those on your own! You'd be hunting around forever. It will at this time index up to 100,000 items. It indexed my system and hit about 35,000 items, but then I save practically all my emails and have 2 or 3 years worth. Need to whittle that down of course, but if you're trying to look something up, what a boon this is! I should add that it does let you install it wherever, so if you don't want it on your C: drive, you can put in on another Partition. Google's Desktop Search doesn't let you do that, nor does it let you use Firefox. Give it a try - it's FREE.

Other worthwhile free computer programs to try
AVG Free Anti-Virus Updates automatically for you - no yearly fees!
Roboform You'll wonder how you ever did without this. Free 30 day trial, after which you can still save up to 10 passwords, pay a small fee for unlimited password savings. Best password saver out there.
Clipomatic Wish you could remember that item you copied a few minutes ago, but overwrote with your last copy and paste? No problem anymore. This program is sweet.
MW Snap Want to snap a picture of what is on your computer screen? Very handy device to show someone else what you're looking at when you're trying to solve a computer problem. I use this all the time - marvelous and free.
JavaCool Spyware Blaster Protect your computer from Spyware! Don't let it on in the first place! Has blocked over 3000 items on my computer. Allows you to do a system snapshot, so if your computer malfunctions due to spyware, you can restore it to its state before the corruption. Free (if you manually update) or small fee if you want auto-updating.
Search and Destroy! Want to make absolutely sure you have no spyware on your system? This is the tool for you then. Easy to run test and fix problems.
Zone Alarm Everyone should have this on their computer. Did you realize your computer is constantly being scanned while you are on the Net? Yep, sometimes nasty folks are out there looking for a security breach on your system, so they can rob you of all your identity info. Keep yourself protected and download this free version of Zone Alarm - easy to use - simple tutorial. Click on the top link on the page - it's the FREE version.

If you've got some "must have" programs, please offer them up in the comments section!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Going to Europe soon? Ouch

Better take a look at the Euro. You'll get .76 Euros for your dollar. Not a way to have a cheap vacation. To read more about some recent Greenspan and John Snow comments, check out this NY Times article . Taken together, the two speeches have sent an unmistakable message that the Bush administration, on the heels of its re-election, is prepared to tolerate a weaker dollar for the foreseeable future. That could aggravate tensions between the United States and Europe, which is increasingly worried that the rise of the euro is choking off its tenuous recovery. In France and Germany, economic growth in the third quarter dropped to 0.1 percent, as the countries' exports dried up.

Did you see the 1 hour ABC special with Bill Clinton and Peter Jennings at Clinton's new library? Now that was an interesting hour. You can tell Bill is still mighty pissed off at the treatment he got from Ken Starr and his rabid gang. He stuck it right back in Peter's face, accusing the media and ABC and Peter himself of further hyping every bit of news that came out of Starr's office. You can't blame the guy for being honked off - they never found him guilty of any wrongdoing, except for Monica. And the Europeans and other more "enlightened" countries, just laugh at us for making such a big deal out of that. Pundits seem to think that Clinton will be remembered for his economic successes. No doubt he had those, but I have to say that I think Americans will remember Clinton for his incredible intellect, magnetic personality, and his ability to marshall seemingly endless facts into extraordinarily thoughtful arguments. We won't see many like him in politics in our lifetime.

Worldwide Blogging
If you're into blogging, you may find this list of worldwide blog sites very interesting. Broaden your horizons! Fight Unilateralism! :)
  • Fistful of Euros

  • Blog Africa

  • OxBlog

  • Marginal Revolution

  • Iraq the Model

  • Living in China

  • Joi Ito's Blog

  • Baghdad Burning

  • Cronaca

  • Passion of the Present

  • Informed Comment

  • The above list courtesy of Foreign Policy Magazine

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    Christmas Shopping

    Before you do your Christmas shopping, remember to check Ebates to see if your online store is listed. I've gotten over $200 back from Ebates over the years. There's no catch. It's free. Check it out. (Don't sign up for the Moe reminder thing). While on the subject, also check out Froogle , that's Google's online shopping network. Many of you may use a shopping bot, such as Pricegrabber but it pays to check out Froogle as well, which has every imaginable source.

    Get your Religion on Cheese Toast
    Yep, it appears the Virgin Mary is being sold on a slab of 10 year old Cheese toast on Ebay. We have truly evolved as a society! Check out the article from the Australian

    Thursday, November 11, 2004


    Glossy laptop screens
    Has anybody bought one of those new Tru-Brite screen laptops? I'd be curious to see what you think of the glare in a home setting. I was at BestBuys the other day, checking out the new Toshiba Qosmio and I must say the screen was fabulous but lots of reflecting lights in it from the store lights. A number of laptop makers are now including these type screens, so I'd be interested in your comments, if you have one.

    Gigs for your Camera
    Feeling brave? Check out this page. You can buy a Rio Carbon 5 Gig music player and strip it to harvest the microdrive lurking inside and then use that in your high end digital camera. The Rio goes for $199 so quite the deal, if you're up to the challenge.

    1 Gig SD Drive for your Camera/Palm Pilot/Pocket PC
    These things just keep getting cheaper. Check out Amazon's site for a 1 Gig Sandisk SD card for $59 after rebate. With this baby, and your palm pilot, Ipod, or Pocket PC, you can store a whole lotta books from You could go on a 3 month vacation and never run out of books! :)

    1 Gig Jump Drive
    Need one of those handy little keychain USB drives to carry around, so that you always have the files you need? Dell has a Lexar 1 Gig JumpDrive for $41 after rebates, with free shipping. That's a steal for sure. That's like carrying around over 700 floppies on your keychain! :)

    DVD Player bargain
    Here's a DVD player that is dirt cheap and in hot demand because it will play anything! $62 shipped free! Check out the user comments. If you're still playing around with VHS tapes, now's the time to climb on board!

    Firefox has now been upgraded from 1.0PR (pre-release) to the official 1.0 version . Get the best browser on the Net.

    Zone Alarm (Free version) is now up to Version . Get the best firewall there is. If you're operating without a firewall, you're an Idiot. :)

    Losing Common Sense
    ABC affiliates pulling 'Private Ryan' This is hard to believe. I called my brother out in Arizona to tell him it was on, figuring that he probably hadn't seen it- well, he isn't going to see it tonight either - preempted. The reasons are ludicrous. Fortunately, Virginia doesn't appear to be that ass backwards. This is the best war film you will see and certainly brings home the horror and sacrifice of war, something that the Public needs to be more aware of, in these times of Mr. Trigger Happy.


    Indexes YTD

    Dow               -.65%
    Nasdaq         +1.56%
    S&P 500        +6.04%

    Web Site of the Day Looking for a special used book that may be out of print? Well, you've come to the right place. I was looking up old copies of the Baseball Joe series written around 1912 and voila - they're here! Also was looking for a kids book written in 1940 called Sunstar and Pepper,Scouting with Jeb Stuart - yep, found about 7 copies of it.

    Sunday, November 07, 2004

    Bush eyes Gay Marriage Ban

    Well, it didn't take long for Bush to get this one in his sights . After seeing Dr. James Dobson on ABC's "This Week" this morning, I'm hardly surprised. Gotta keep your base happy. Man, it's depressing to see the country moving so far to the Right. Don't people realize there are more important issues than depriving 2 people of their chance for a happy life? Over a piece of paper? Come on folks - get your heads out of your ... and stop imposing your values on the rest of us.

    Two Views - which do you like?
    Maureen Dowd writes in the Times :
    " Even as a child, I could feel the rush of J.F.K.'s presidency racing forward, opening up a thrilling world of possibilities and modernity. We were going to the moon. We were confronting racial intolerance. We were paying any price and bearing any burden for freedom. We were respecting faith but keeping it out of politics. Our president was inspiring much of the world. Our first lady was setting the pace in style and culture.

    W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches."

    Was the Vote Hacked? A friend sent me this . Does make one wonder. I've generally found exit polls to be pretty accurate so wondered myself how they could be so wrong. This article will send a bit of chill up the ol' spine. Unfortunately, unless they can get an actual person to come forward and admit they have hacked these machines, Bush and gang will merrily go on their way.

    Saw an interesting excerpt on the news the other night about teaching investing to young kids in the schools. I couldn't agree more. By the time a kid leaves high school, he should know the market inside out. Too many people sit on the sideline and fail to make enough money to live on in retirement, because they are scared of something they know nothing about. I wish I had learned much more about it when I was in school and had been encouraged at the age of 21 to start putting money into retirement funds. I would be long retired by now. If you're in your 20's and don't want to work till you're 80, start learning now and start investing. But DIVERSIFY. I can only imagine what will happen if Bush privatizes SS and people who know nothing about investing, are asked to make investment decisions. Hopefully, if something like that comes to pass, there are some sort of safeguards in place or some sort of mandatory diversification plans put into place. Otherwise someone could be a tad bit unhappy when , after investing for 40 years in some high flying tech fund, suddenly the market dives in technology and they are wiped out. We should have all learned a lesson back in March of 2000, but memories are short. If you want to take some free courses in the markets, investing, etc., I stumbled across a great site at Morningstar. Check it out here . Simple straightforward lessons that everybody should avail themselves of.

    Have you noticed lately how much the dollar is declining? Used to be you got more than 1 Euro for the buck. Now you only get .77 Euros for the buck - not so sweet if you're traveling to Europe. Coming this way ? Well that should put a smile on Europeans faces - 1 Euro buys you $1.29 in US money.

    B12 Panties?
    Figured that catchy title would wake you up. :)

    "Too lazy to take your multivitamin in the morning? No worries, just put on a V-Up shirt. Fuji Spinning Co. have introduced wearable vitamin clothing that allow the wearer’s skin to absorb vitamins through skin over time. The clothing lasts an estimated 30 washes, so don’t sweat your lemon citrus shirt getting too stinky on you. Current available shirts are a Vitamin C and E model, and they plan vitamin-enriched underwear soon. Mmmm…B12 panties."

    Thursday, November 04, 2004


    Turning out to Vote

    Some may think the Republicans won a mandate, but I would beg to differ. What really happened was that they had a better Get out the Vote Machine with a solid backbone of fervent evangelical Christians. Democratic turnout in important Florida counties was less than when Al Gore ran, particularly in Dade and Broward. On the other hand, The Youth Vote did after all materialize "Now that some of the smoke has cleared and the data has been crunched, it's clear that 2004 was, in fact, an amazing year for young voter participation. Whereas only 42 percent of 18-29 year-olds had voted in 2000, a whopping 51 percent showed up at the polls this year, making for a 9-point increase. The catch? Everyone else came out in record numbers too." .... "According to CIRCLE, youth turnout was especially high – often as high as 64 percent – in some battleground states. In addition, young voters favored Kerry by a 10 percent margin over George Bush nationally, while in many key states it was even higher. In Pennsylvania, for instance, 32 percent more youth voted for John Kerry than did for Bush."

    But Dems should not give up - one mustn't forget that it is particulary difficult to upset a sitting president during wartime. It's never been done. How you overcome peoples beliefs on abortion, guns and other conservative issues, without giving up what you believe in, remains a difficult question for the Democratic party.

    Tom Friedman in the Times today remarked "We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.

    Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?

    At one level this election was about nothing. None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed. But at another level, without warning, it actually became about everything. Partly that happened because so many Supreme Court seats are at stake, and partly because Mr. Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president. I felt as if I registered to vote, but when I showed up the Constitutional Convention broke out.

    Maureen Dowd writes : " W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

    Mr. Bush, whose administration drummed up fake evidence to trick us into war with Iraq, sticking our troops in an immoral position with no exit strategy, won on "moral issues."

    The president says he's "humbled" and wants to reach out to the whole country. What humbug. The Bushes are always gracious until they don't get their way. If W. didn't reach out after the last election, which he barely grabbed, why would he reach out now that he has what Dick Cheney calls a "broad, nationwide victory"?

    Here are some of our bright and shining new faces in the Congress:

    Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma, has advocated the death penalty for doctors who perform abortions and warned that "the gay agenda" would undermine the country. He also characterized his race as a choice between "good and evil" and said he had heard there was "rampant lesbianism" in Oklahoma schools.

    Jim DeMint, the new senator from South Carolina, said during his campaign that he supported a state G.O.P. platform plank banning gays from teaching in public schools. He explained, "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend should be hired to teach my third-grade children."

    John Thune, who toppled Tom Daschle, is an anti-abortion Christian conservative - or "servant leader," as he was hailed in a campaign ad - who supports constitutional amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage.

    A German friend of mine wrote me to today offering me space in her small apartment should I wish to move. Now where are those Lederhosen?

    Meanwhile the markets are enjoying triple digit gains for the 2nd day in a row. We'll see how long they like George's policies. If he can produce and create jobs and cut down on outsourcing and trim the deficit, I'll take my hat off to him, but I'm not counting on that. So enjoy your profits now.

    It will be nice to get these days behind us and I can go back to talking about computers, photography, health issues,etc. :) 2 years of political debate has pooped this boy out.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Final Score:

    Evangelicals - 1
    Science (Rational Thought) - 0

    What can I say? Once again we have elected the non-reading President - absolutely astonishing that in such critical times, we would elect someone who has to have his news delivered to him.

    Bin Laden must be dancing in the streets. His recruitment rolls have probably just jumped a good 50%. 51% of Americans have equated the bluff of "standing up to them" with strength - they're blind to the fact that it increases hatred for us. Think this country can go it alone in the world? Think again. Do you like tossing billions and billions into Iraq yearly with no help from others? Well - get used to it.

    To my friends in Europe - my sincere apologies - 51% of us are idiots. The other 49% are headed your way.

    From David Corn's blog - "There was a clear difference between the two candidates. They disagreed on many basic issues. But--perhaps more importantly--they represented vastly different ways of engaging the world. One has adopted an ask-no-questions, nevermind-the- nuances, don't-look-back, tough-guy style of leadership. The other promised to consider and reach out before leaping. One said--practically boasted--that he read no newspapers. The other came across as a man who absorbed much information before rendering a decision. The voters chose the wrong man.

    Are the Democrats not in tune with America? Why can't they make the poor of this country realize that they have just voted for more billionaires' tax cuts? Do we need to pander to the Religious Right just to get their vote? The heartland of the country has once again shot themselves in the foot, thinking that "morals" (note the quotes, as GW has no morals) is the only issue. Yet I ask these folks - how moral is it to kill 100,000 Iraqis in an unjustified war? How moral is it to deny people the right to marry whom they want? How moral is it to turn down the Brady Bill? How moral is it to drill for oil in some of the few remaining unspoiled areas when the results will help us only a few years? How moral is it to give fat cats huge tax cuts while the hard working lower and middle classes get paltry little sums. The fat cat gets a $100,000 tax break and the little guy gets $1000 . Yeh, that seems fair. We run up massive deficits only because you want to make your rich friends richer? That's morality? Those are not my moral values.

    I should make a note here that I don't oppose people being spiritual beings, as I am a believer in a spiritual being as well. I don't believe the Church is where I find this being, but I respect your belief if that is where you find him/her/it. I'm just disturbed that these evangelical beliefs are so dominating in many people's lives and are beginning to intrude in the political,business,and everyday spheres of this country where I for one don't want to see them. Apparently many do. However when people start asking me if I've been saved, that's going way too far. (especially when their actions make them out to be hypocrites). You are then in my space and I don't want you there.

    I have often wondered what happens to people who are not Christians - do they just descend to some flaming hell because they believe in a different entity? Obviously Christians in this country think so, because they have to send missionaries out to convert these "savages" at every chance. I'm sure it never occurs to them that perhaps the way these people believe is just as good as the way they (the Christians) choose to believe. It's like trying to foist our brand of democracy on everyone else in the world. Sure, we have a free country (well, it was free about 4 years ago), but that doesn't mean our form of democracy is the only form that can exist. Iraq, for one, may need something entirely different. You ever watch the Apprentice on TV? What is the reaction of most of the other players, when one particular person dominates the discussion and pushes his plan through without input from the others or respect for their ideas? They all backstab the leader and hate his or her guts. Not much different from pushing yourself around in the world either, is it? And folks, in case you haven't noticed it, we seem to be on the short end of the stick when it comes to respect lately.

    I find it interesting that the gay marriage amendment was smacked down overwhelmingly in 11 states. The message to Gays - "we'll let you on the bus, but move your ass to the back". Thank God , we Americans are not frightened by those who are different than "us". It probably explains why we have such an excellent understanding of the peoples of other countries. That piece of paper telling two people who are in love with each other that they can be married is certainly a horrendous danger to our "free" society. Red Alert! Red Alert! Marriages as we know them, will dissolve immediately! All families will turn into raging homosexuals! Yes, these are the positive messages the Republican Party is bringing us - such compassion. (not that Republicans are the only ones who are scared of this terrible menace).

    And who said bodybuilders had no brains? Seems like Arnold's gang did the only smart thing - they voted for stem cell funding. Good for you Arnold - someone who votes on their convictions rather than pandering always to the party line.

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    Still Undecided? HELLO!

    I've been watching the pundit shows this Sunday morning and I still find it rather amazing that there is such a thing as an "undecided" voter out there. I could understand that if both candidates were pulling towards more centrist themes, but that isn't the case, in particular on Bush's side of the fence. These two are like night and day - there isn't any "grey" here to ponder over. It strikes me that if you 're not sure yet, you've been living with your head in the sand. And being black and white should appeal to most voters in America, as most don't care for nuance - for most, it is a vote on social/culture values and most likely even more simply that that - do I like the cut of that one's jib or not? The average American is not a well-read, informed person, I hate to say. That's what happens when you've been fat and happy for too long.

    Faith in the Workplace
    The lead article in the NY Times Magazine this weekend is well worth a read. I was stunned reading this - I knew evangelical thinking was getting a serious foothold in this country, but to this extent, was even beyond my imagination. Personally, this makes me seriously wonder if another country might be the place to retire to. During and after the reading of this article, I kept having thoughts of the "Stepford wives". If you're an evangelical person, you will no doubt be delighted and apparently that means 43% of the population. If you're not and don't like "on the sleeve" religion, then this should creep you out. When I read this sort of thing, I keep wondering - what are people missing in their lives that they need to turn to something else to this extreme to provide them sustenance? What happened to working through issues yourself? To taking responsibility for one's own actions? Why dump it on God all the time? You're gonna wear the ol' boy out before I even get there! Are people really that miserable that this has to become their only all-encompassing joy in life? So much so, in fact, that they have to spend half their day proselytizing? If this is what turns you on, more power to you, but I gotta make sure I'm a long ways away, and if that means out of the country, so be it. I can only hope this is a fad, that over time will dwindle, or as the author of the article says in his final paragraphs, perhaps in their attempt to convert everyone, they will find that the very things they're trying to change, may become appealing to them and soften their attitudes and return them to reality, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that happening anytime soon. Have a look - if you don't you're missing the most important cultural issue of our times.

    The Supreme Court Issue
    George Will made the comment this morning that one huge issue in our country's future that is not being discussed enough in this country is the future election of Supreme Court Justices. John Kerry remarks on that in the Rolling Stone Interview - "I mean, the next president may appoint three or four justices to the Supreme Court. The rights of Americans may be affected for the rest of our lives by what happens on November 2nd: whether or not we're going to have equal opportunity; whether we fight against discrimination; whether we're going to have equal pay for women; whether we protect women's right to choose; whether we're going to have a country in which people can grow up and live out the full measure of citizenship." So, lest you've forgotten, we're not just voting on the War in Iraq - the Court Issue will have far reaching implications, most likely much more so than the war in Iraq.

    A Kerry Win might be in the Stars

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Surveys in the United States may be showing the race for president as too close to call but top Indian astrologers say the planets have clearly made up their mind: John Kerry will win. Planets governing President George W. Bush are eclipsed and in an uncomfortable position, making his tenure controversial and his re-election bid unsuccessful, the soothsayers said on Friday, four days before the vote.

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    Osama's Back

    Don't look now but Osama just resurfaced after a 2 year absence. Seen on video tape, he looks to be in decent enough health. Interesting timing of the release of this videotape. I would suggest the idea would be to scare the pants off US Citizens, so that they would vote for Kerry. Hope that works. Amazing that this tall man has still been able to hide himself out after all this time. "He said the attacks on the US would have been less severe if President Bush had been more alert.
    But he added that the security of the American people depended neither on Mr Bush nor on his challenger, John Kerry, but on US policy.
    "The reasons to repeat what happened remain," he said."

    Now that we did such a bang up job taking care of those 370+ tons of explosives in Iraq, maybe we should be looking over our shoulder?

    Warming Trends in Alaska linked to Emissions
    The latest report on what we're doing to the world we live in.

    The Mess in Iraq
    "This has been a war run by amateurs and incompetents. Whatever anyone has felt about the merits of the war, there is no excuse for preparing so poorly and for failing to see, at a minimum, that the troops were properly trained and equipped.

    The United States has the most powerful military in history, yet it is bogged down in a humiliating quagmire in a country that was barely functional to begin with. We've dealt ourselves the cruelest of hands in Iraq. We can't win this war and, tragically, we don't know how to end it. "

    For the entire article, read Bob Herbert , reporting in the Times .

    Geez GW, do you have any more success stories for us?

    Eminem – the man who George Bush once called "the most dangerous threat to American children since polio" – could be the true October surprise. "In the video, Eminem leads a mob fired up and politicized by four years of outrage and anger at the Bush administration. Clad in black hoodies, fists raised, the angry young men and women descend on a state building ... to vote" Think this video will reach a few young ones? Suspect so. And it needs to - "Indeed, in a nation where undecided-voter frenzy has reached a fever pitch, the hip hop generation has been a favorite target. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 26.7 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 24, and only 8.6 million of them – about 32 percent – voted in the 2000 presidential elections, meaning two of every three did not vote."

    Eminem goes on to say in his unique style - "According to the article, Eminem won't endorse a candidate: "'Whatever my decision is, I would like to see Bush out of office,' Eminem says. 'I don't wanna see my little brother get drafted – he just turned eighteen. People think their votes don't count, but people need to get out and vote. Every motherfuckin' vote counts.'" Geez, think he's got that right. What do you think Mr. Gore?

    Quote of the Day
    "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."
    George Santayana

    Stock Indexes YTD

    DOW - 4.30%
    Nasdaq - 1.38%
    S&P 500 +2.68%
    Leading Index of the Year - Mid Cap Value + 12.65%
    Hot Stocks - ADBL, GOOG

    Thursday, October 28, 2004

    A Hole in the Heart

    From Thomas Friedman of the Times today: I have been struck by how many foreign dignitaries have begged me lately for news that Bush will lose. This Bush team has made itself so radioactive it glows in the dark. When the world liked Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, America had more power in the world. When much of the world detests George Bush, America has less power. People do not want to be seen standing next to us. It doesn't mean we should run our foreign policy as a popularity contest, but it does mean that leading is not just about making decisions - it's also the ability to communicate, follow through and persuade.

    If the Bush team wins re-election, unless it undergoes a policy lobotomy and changes course and tone, the breach between America and the rest of the world will only get larger. But all Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney have told us during this campaign is that they have made no mistakes and see no reason to change.

    Pollworkers - the average age of a pollworker is 72. Hmmm.... wonder how that works with electronic voting? Whereas, I realize there are a number of older people totally adept at computers, I suspect if one looked at the percentages, older people in general are not up to snuff on them all that much. Are there qualifications to be a poll worker?

    Red Map
    It sure is awful red , isn't it? Lord help us (hey, if it works for GW, maybe it'll work for us heathen Democrats?)

    Roboform has been updated to version 6.1.1 Get the best Password Form Filler there is. Free if you keep your password list under 30 entries. (I wish!). Think mine exceeds 200 by now.

    Dreamworks ( DWA ) went on the market today. Was priced at $28 and opened at $39. Will be interesting to see how this IPO turns out. Another Google? One could only wish .

    Web Site of the Day
    Listen Before you - lot of free listens there.

    Speaking of Reading - How would you like to get hardback books for $9.95 each and free shipping? Check out ZOOBA . Build up a list of books you want and each month they ship you the next one off of your list - always with free shipping. (Sales tax if you are in IN,PA, or NY - sorry!). If you like to read, sounds like a good deal to me. Note - this appears to be a division of Book of the Month Club, so some books may be altered in size to save you money but always contain the full text of the book. ** Note - You can read opinons about Zooba at the Epinions web site, an excellent source for reviews of items you may be considering purchasing.

    Word of the Day
    chimping n :
    the act of constantly using the display on the back of a digital camera to review the photos one is taking. Named for the sounds made by its practitioners, for example, “Oh oh oh ooh ooh ooh look at this one!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    American Indian Museum

    Recently took a trip to DC for the Grand Opening of the American Indian Museum. Great stuff! Had the opportunity to watch tribes from all over the country, as well as our neighbors to the South march in a Grand Procession down the length of the Mall. The museum was great (albeit very crowded during opening week), but the procession really made it special. You can see some pictures I've posted here I was particularly impressed with the special exhibition of Allan Houser's work in the museum. If you take the time to view the full sized pics at the link above, then you'll find some links to more information about Allan Houser (as well as other artists,etc) in the captions below the pictures.

    Here's an interesting interview with a neurosurgeon serving at Landestuhl in Germany. In case you think war is fun (GW?), then this will sober you up rather quickly.

    Duck Hunting with Kerry
    An amusing look at the most recent photo "bite", by Maureen Dowd. "The vice president is right that Mr. Kerry can't compete in the arena of power hunting. When Mr. Kerry goes, only the birds are in danger. When Mr. Cheney and his pal Antonin Scalia go duck hunting together, the Constitution is in danger."

    If you're looking for free wi-fi hotspots while you're out traveling, you might want to check out Panera Bread Stores - they have some 415+ stores around the country where you can log on for free. They also have good coffee,bread, desserts, sandwiches,soup,etc. Very nice coffeeshops. For a list of their locations, check out this link

    Google Tip
    Want the definition of a word? Just type define:word (substitute whatever word you are looking up for "word", in this example). If you want web searches as well for the word, then leave the colon out, as in - define word.

    Quote of the Day
    "You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it."
    Albert Schweitzer

    Saturday, October 23, 2004

    Mama T Speaks out on the Gay Issue

    Theresa Heinz speaks thoughtfully on the topics of Gays and this year's elections. Nice to see a future first lady of such substance. Women should support this woman 100%.

    Something our Soldiers could learn - A friend passed along this article from the BBC. Written from the British perspective, of course, but nonetheless, no doubt true, sadly enough.

    Will Bush Spark a seismic Youthquake? There's hope yet! I can only hope the polls are missing these people and that they will come out in droves, unlike in past elections. If there was ever the time, this is it.

    Quotes of the Day
    Resentment is the most precious flower of poverty
    spoken by Jake Blount in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

    "I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves."
    August Strindberg

    Oddly Enough
    AP - A man missed a mouse he was trying to shoot with a small-caliber handgun and wounded his girlfriend instead, state police said. Read the whole story .

    Web Site of the Day
    Transcripts of Bill Maher's Show

    Stock Indexes YTD
    Dow - 6.66%
    Nasdaq - 4.40%
    S&P 500 + 2.64%

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    Firefox much faster than IE

    Get Firefox! For those of you using IE as a browser, you might want to try out the new Firefox 1.0PR . It loads pages much, much faster than IE (very noticeable if you have a dialup connection). It also, via the aid of "extensions" (small plug-ins that you download and which are easily installed), gives you all the added bells and whistles of browsers like MYIE2 which are "skinned" versions of IE with extra features. Firefox (and Mozilla) also offer more security, in part, due to the fact that there is a much smaller user base for them, than IE. Some of the extensions I have found to be useful are:

    • URL2NewTab 0.2

    • easy Gestures 2.11

    • Tabbrowser Preferences 0.6.13

    • Super DragandGo 0.2.3

    • Foxy Tunes 0.61

    • Dictionary Search 0.6.3

    • Reload Every 0.3.2

    • Google Preview 0.7

    There are more than 162 extensions. You can see them here
    Computer Deal of the Day
    San Disk 1 Gig USB 2.0 Thumb drive - only $50! (after rebate)

    Sunday, October 17, 2004

    I'm Rich!

    David Broder writes in the Post regarding the admin's tax policies - " Tax cuts they can do. With bipartisan majorities, they passed a $143 billion bonanza for corporations of every sort, shortly after extending what the lawmakers were pleased to call a "middle-class" tax cut of $146 billion. You might be surprised to learn, as I was, where that "middle class" tax relief actually goes.

    According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, households in the middle 20 percent of the income scale -- the "middle class" -- receive only 9 percent of the benefits. Their average saving will be $162. Those in households with incomes from $200,000 to $500,00 will be $2,390 better off. "

    Geez George, my problems are completely solved now that I have $162! That will pay 20% of my health insurance premium for 1 month!

    Broder goes to to quote: "The Concord Coalition, whose leadership includes prominent Republicans, says that with realistic assumptions but no change in policy, the federal debt will swell by a staggering $5 trillion in the next 10 years. The liberal Economic Policy Institute says that a "budget train wreck" lies ahead. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warns that it looks as if "substantial reductions in the projected growth of spending or a sizable increase in taxes -- or both -- will probably be necessary" to avoid fiscal disaster."

    You can read the entire article here

    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Faith Based "Certainty" in Uncertain Times

    You may find this lead article in Sunday's NY Times Magazine section to be interesting, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. I suspect this will get the pundits murmuring away come Sunday and in the days to come. It should cause some reflection on your part before you cast your vote, although for the "faithful" there will be no need for reflection. You can see the author of this article (Ron Suskind) on This Week with George Stephanopolus (ABC - 9 a.m Eastern - Sunday morning).

    Vote and Be Damned - from Maureen Dowd's article today - " America is awash in selective piety, situational moralists and cherry-picking absolutists."

    Kerry for President The Editorial Page of the NY Times throws its support to Kerry. "Voting for president is a leap of faith. A candidate can explain his positions in minute detail and wind up governing with a hostile Congress that refuses to let him deliver. A disaster can upend the best-laid plans. All citizens can do is mix guesswork and hope, examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character. It's on those three grounds that we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president"

    Friday, October 15, 2004


    Some interesting polling from CBC here - They surveyed 9 countries on opinions of the US and John Kerry vs. George Bush -

    People in all 10 countries were asked who they hope to see win the White House on Nov. 2 and the result will make Kerry wish they had a vote.

    The Democrat was favoured by healthy to enormous majorities in eight of the countries - 72 per cent supported him compared with 16 per cent for Bush in France.

    In South Korea, it was 68 per cent for Kerry and 18 per cent for Bush; in Canada, 60 per cent to 20 per cent; in Spain, 58 per cent to 13 per cent; 54 per cent to 28 per cent in Australia and 50 per cent to 22 per cent in Britain.

    Bush came out on top in Israel by a margin of 50 per cent to 24 per cent and in Russia, 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

    On average, 57 per cent of those questioned said their opinions of the United States had worsened over the last two to three years, compared with 20 per cent who said their view had improved. That question was asked in nine of the countries but not in Russia.

    For more, go to the actual article (see link above).

    Google has come out with a new tool that has great promise. Go to Desktop Google and check out their new search/indexing tool. It will index every file on your hard drive (no info gets sent to Google) and will read inside those files, so that if you happen to think about something you knew you had written about at some time, just type in the word and it will show you any email containing that word, any AOL IM chat where you might have mentioned it, any web page you might have viewed at one time, etc. Works with Outlook Express, Outlook, .doc, .xls,.txt,.html files and more. I will say one thing - it smokes! Once it has finished indexing your hard drive, it will find anything and very, very fast. Check it out - if you don't like it, you can uninstall it. At this time, it only installs to C: drive, so if you have multiple partitions and store your programs on other drives, you will have to accept the fact that at this point, it only installs to C: It takes up about 500MB, so you will need some space free on C: to install. Hopefully in the future, they will allow installing to other drives. It also does not yet index web pages you've viewed with Mozilla/Firefox browsers, but that will surely come as many are migrating towards those browsers, especially Firefox. Google indicates they are aware of this desired function. The program is in beta form, so it will be constantly improved as time goes along. It installs easily - anybody can do it. This is a very, very handy tool for most people. I would think it would be extremely helpful to students and anyone in business.

    Firefox - Liking Firefox more and more now that I have discovered Extensions. These are tiny little programs that give added functionality to the browser. One of the ones I really liked from MyIE2 (my other IE type browser) was the ability to click on a link and just drag it somewhere on the page and drop it and it would open a new tab in the background. This is, in practice, very fast to do. You can even highlight text and drag and drop it on an open place in your browser window and it will open a new tab and do a google search on what you just highlighted. Firefox has this extension. Other good ones are the ability to click on a link in your email program and have it open in a new tab in your current browser window and not open a brand new window. That is very nice. Mouse gestures is also an extension - that was another nice feature of MYIE2 and I'm glad to see it done in Firefox, in fact, it is done even better. Drag your mouse in different directions while you hold down the middle mouse button (scroll wheel) and you can close tabs, jump to the next one, go back a page, forward, etc. All of these little tools speed up web browsing significantly. And they have stock tickers, weather tickers and many other extensions. Most are very small in size.

    Google is up to $144/sh after debuting at $95/share just a month or so ago. Should have jumped on that one, I guess. Audible stock (one I did buy into) is red hot lately, especially following the very strong sales numbers for Apple's IPOD, announced in the past few days. As most of you know, Audible software comes bundled with IPODs. I'm up almost 70% in 2 months - stock symbol - ADBL . Google's symbol is GOOG .

    Quote of the Day
    "I looked always outside of myself to see what I could make the world give me instead of looking within myself to see what was there."
    Belle Livingstone

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    The Debates

    Some interesting comments from Josh Marshall's Talking Points Blog on Kerry's comment about Dick Cheney's daughter being a lesbian.

    So what did you think about the Debates? Obviously, I thought Kerry won, but I did think GW did better than he had done in the first 2, which isn't saying much. It's funny that Bush runs as a "compassionate, conservative", when I think Kerry's compassion comes through with much more conviction than Bush could ever muster. Despite all the blah,blah in the media over this election and all the candidates promises, I'm afraid we'll continue to see more stalemating in the Congress in years to come and it will be interesting to see how Kerry deals with this frustation, if he is elected. It does amuse me to see Bush promising all these things he is going to do - my question is - what the hell have you been doing for the past 4 years? You promised a bunch of stuff before you were elected and none of that came to fruition, so why would anyone believe you were going to do anything for the next 4 years? Except perhaps to concentrate solely on terrorism to the point that eventually the whole world will just carpet bomb us, cause you have gotten them so pissed off.

    An Appeal to our Lizard Brains? - From Arianna Huffington comes this good article and these good comments - "Over the remaining three weeks of the campaign, as the anxiety level reaches a fevered pitch – and you can be certain the Bush campaign will do everything in its power to make sure that happens – the test facing voters is no longer "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?" It's "Which candidate would you rather give you your blankie and a bottle and keep the boogeyman away?"

    I know it sounds ludicrous that the most important election of our lifetime is coming down to who can best pacify the electorate's inner baby, but I can think of no better explanation as to why Bush is not currently hovering at around five percent in the polls – a voting bloc made up of those hardcore fanatics who are as utterly blind to reality as he is.

    As long as we're operating from our lizard brains – and reason takes a back seat to more primal needs – George Bush will continue to survive the logic-based attacks on his ever-escalating failures.

    The only question that remains is: can Bush, Cheney and Rove keep us shrouded in the fog of fear long enough to brain John Kerry and win in November?

    Quote of the Day
    "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." (gee, wonder who this reminds us of?)
    Winston Churchill

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    A bit of Coaching?

    Lot of talk on the Net recently about the last debate and whether GW was getting a bit of coaching via a transmitter hidden in his suit. As you can see, he had a similar item in his shirt while out driving on the ranch. I'd guess he was - as some of you may recall at the D-Day celebration in France, viewers on TV were startled to hear someone speaking lines to Bush and then he repeated them verbatim. Obviously, some wires got crossed and TV picked up on the transmission. Bush folks had no answer for that, of course. They also suggested that during the debate, his suit was just rumpled, but nobody had an explanation of how it could be such a perfect rectangular shape.

    If he really is getting coached - and I wouldn't be at all surprised - that's about as pathetic as it gets. I don't care if he gets advice from other smarter people - he still has to make the decision and if he can't think well enough to speak even, then how is he going to make a decision based on others advice? Probably Rove and Cheney make the decisions for him and he just delivers them (via his radio transmitter). Yep, America - this is the kind of President we need.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    The Choice

    You might want to tune in to Frontline on PBS tonight to see the Choice, which is a 2 hour show devoted to examining Bush and Kerry and their differences. Frontline has some good stuff, so might be worth watching. Supposed to come on around 9 p.m ET. Check your listings.

    Sinclair TV - Now this is outrageous. This is worth writing to your congressmen about. It's one thing to be willing to pay to see Michael Moore's film, but to have this shoved down your throat with no choice, is beyond the pale. Republicans - this sort of thing doesn't scare you? We feel sorry for other countries where the people only get to hear one side of the news - well, now we have Sinclair doing it to us right here.


    Firefox 1.0PR is out and is now my browser of choice. Much better effort than the previous releases. Lightning fast at displaying web pages as compared to IE and with its add on extensions gives one all the capibility of the skinned versions of IE, such as MYIE2. It seems to be the browser most recommended by the computer "gurus" these days, if you don't trust me. Didn't think I'd quit MYIE2, but the definite speed increase in loading pages, plus the fewer security concerns with a non-MS browser, made me switch.

    Subscriptions - You know how you're constantly asked to sign up at various news sites in order to read their online papers. Well, give Bug Me Not a try - very simple to use - you just enter the URL of the site you want to access and it will provide you with a Username and Password that will work and you won't have to go through all that registration nonsense. Let me know how it works for you.

    Quote of the Day
    "Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed."
    Michael Pritchard

    Market Indexes YTD

    Dow Jones -3.56
    Nasdaq -3.72
    S&P500 + 2.40
    Mid Value Funds +11.24
    Small Value Funds +9.45

    Tuesday, October 05, 2004

    Bill Maher and George Carlin

    Got a chuckle out of Bill Maher's show again, as usual. If you don't have satellite or cable, Maher is reason alone to get it - he's a hoot (assuming you have liberal leanings). I think it was Carlin who commented last night that we don't want "Joe Average" to be our President, as Bush is often made out to be - we want our President to be "Exceptional". I couldn't agree more. For those folks who seem to find Bush likeable because he is an your everday "average joe", well that only speaks to the intelligence of those average dimwits in this country who like their messages very plain and simple with a good thump on the Bible for effect. (I want even go into Carlin's thoughts on organized religion in this country - that might get me death threats from the religious right!)

    I stil find the thought of flip-flopping amusing. The problem with GW is that he only flops and never has learned to flip. I was reminded of how many times Thomas Edison "flopped" before he invented the light bulb. The difference with Thomas was that when he "flopped", he flipped till he got it right and finally "flipped" on the light bulb. Anyone who can't gather new insights from their mistakes, is not someone I want as our President. GW has amply demonstrated that once he heads down a path, he can't be diverted. That's a dangerous person.

    Computers and GPS and City Guides
    Just wanted to comment that Microsoft's Streets and Trips 2005 with their GPS unit worked like a champ on our vacation. It updates your location every second on the map, so it is virtually "real-time". Made it a cinch to navigate in big cities that you are unfamiliar with and takes away the tension of trying to read maps in the darkness of your car. Of course, it helps if you have a navigator in the passenger seat who can follow the process on the laptop (thank you Janet!). It has a neat feature that will reorient the map to always point like you are looking out the front window of the car. This makes it exceedingly easy to know whether to turn right or left (for those who are challenged when driving southbound and having to think about which way to turn). The GPS unit is about an inch square and has a little suction cup on the cord, so that you can attach it to your windshield and then the cord plugs into your laptop via USB. It will even tell you your speed ( a good way to check the accuracy of your car's speedometer), as well as current altitude (helpful I guess, if you suddenly make a wrong turn and find yourself driving up the side of Mt.Everest). You can plot out your route, even electing to avoid toll roads, if you so choose and it will then draw the route out on your map and as you start driving, you can see the little car traveling along your route. If you go off the route, you will see it in a flash - and it's easy (assuming you didn't just drive into the ocean), to get yourself back on to the route. Additonal nice features are all the restaurants and services that it will locate for you on the map - makes it nice when traveling down the interstate and wishing to find something other than the normal Dairy Queen, McDonald's, etc.

    Also enjoyed using Vindigo on my Palm Pilot. Extremely helpful little device. Includes most major cities in the US. When you're on foot and looking for a place to eat, you just type in your current location, click on restaurants within a 1/2 mile, 1 mile, or 2 miles (or any distance), and it will show you al the restaurants in that area, many of which have reviews. Once you select one, you click on GO and it will figure out how to get you from where you currently are to the restaurant. Dead-on accurate and we used it constantly. Wish that all the restaurants had reviews, but you can't have it all. :) It does rate them by cost, by cuisine,etc. I also downloaded a copy of Zagat for the Palm. Zagat is a famous restaurant review tool and when Vindigo didn't have a review of a restaurant we thought about visiting, then I would look for it on Zagat and they had almost every restaurant reviewed. So between the two, you have it covered. Only suggestion I would have - include the business hours of the locations and what days of the week they are open. Avoids you hoofing a 1/2 mile to find the place closed. It does list phone numbers, so you could aways call before you started your trek.

    Thursday, September 23, 2004

    DC and the Big AppleOn vacation at the moment in DC and the Big Apple. Will try to post a pic or two if I get some time, but don't count on it. Was glad we made it to the opening day of the American Indian Museum, as the procession of nations was well worth it. Good entertainment, beautiful weather, and a wonderful new museum. Good stuff

    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place

    Did you catch the Tom Brokaw special on Dateline last night with Aron Ralston? Great story - truly unbelievable. Odd that it appeared on TV, just when I happened to be looking at Aron's book in Sam's Club. It was a good thing for Aron that he was as experienced as he was. And to watch all that he's done since then - I'm telling you, this boy must have done the Big Boy upstairs some pretty nice favors! Check out his book here .

    Looks like the heat is being turned up a bit on Bush's AWOL period. Obviously a non-guilty person would have come out and been fighting mad that people were slandering him. Odd isn't it, that Bush hasn't made a single statement about it, isn't it? Heck, even when they offer awards for people who served with him to come forward to confirm his stance, they can't find anyone. Don't think Dan Rather would stick his neck out like he has done on this one, without proof. Stay tuned!

    I still remain bewildered as to why so many Americans get the impression we're safer with Bush - the situation is exactly the opposite, folks! If you piss someone off enough, they're gonna pop you one right in the ol' kisser. I'm afraid the American public is a hopeless case - they deserve what they get, if they get Bush. How can you possibly believe that he has accomplished something over the past 4 years? Kerry may come from a "rich man's" world, but just about anybody in politics today does come from that world, so let's at least elect somebody with half a brain, for crying out loud. As far as his designation of being a "flip-flopper" - thank God! Give me a flip-flopper anyday - it shows someone who is constantly evaluating the facts and forming new opinions based on those facts, not someone who is rigid and stuck in a cave for the last 20 years. That's the problem with too many people today - they become rigid in their thinking and refuse to consider new approaches. (Take a look at the Neocons who wanted to go to war in Iraq for the past 10 years - or more)

    Bill Moyers on our Govt and how "people" failed us
    Then on page 265 the final report of the Commission concludes that the terrorists "exploited deep institutional failings within our government."

    That is not the whole truth. What are institutions if not the lengthened influence of individuals? "The system failed" is the catchphrase now in vogue in Washington. Critics and fans alike of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush still rely on this hollow analysis. But "the system" is no mindless mechanism operating independently of the men and women individuals with names, power, and obligations – who are charged with making it work. Before "the system" can fail, they must fail.

    The Commissioners avoided blaming any government officials, past or present, for the failure to prevent the attacks. They maintain that their job was not to assign individual blame, but provide the most complete and frank account of the decisive events surrounding the attack. To that end, they succeeded.

    But to stop there is to stop short. Read the final report of the Commission carefully – connect the dots – and a fuller pattern emerges: Key government officials failed the system, and they failed the American people.
    Read more here

    Gun Bill Expires
    Thanks a million GW ! You and the Congress need your brains examined. " As regressive milestones go, few are as frightful in this new era of homeland security as the decision by Congress and the Bush administration to allow the expiration of the 10-year-old law protecting the public from assault rifles and other rapid-fire battlefield weapons. The law - a far from perfect but demonstrably effective restraint on high-tech gunslingers - expires on Monday with not a whimper from the White House. ".... "Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford pleaded with President Bush to do more than give passive lip support to the ban, just as most major law enforcement agencies told him the law was a vital check on gun mayhem across the nation. But rather than protecting the law, the administration invested its single-party control of government on behalf of the National Rifle Association, not the public. Instead of trying to control assault weapons, Republican Congressional leaders tried to outlaw legitimate damage suits by gun victims against irresponsible manufacturers and dealers. "

    For a good read, check out New York Time's columnist Maureen Dowd's book "Bushworld - Enter at your Own Risk" . And get ready for "The Family" by Kitty Kelley. It will have the Bushies choking.

    Quote of the Day
    "The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments."
    William H. Borah

    Unusual Event of the Day
    Having sex with corpses is now officially illegal in California after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill barring necrophilia, a spokeswoman says - The trials and tribulations of the Terminator. Bet he hadn't considered that one before entering office!

    Markets YTD
    DOW -1.35
    Nasdaq -5.44
    S&P500 +2.21
    Morningstar Mid Value +9.96
    Morningstar Small Value +8.85

    Friday, September 03, 2004

    Heads in the Sand

    Hope you all had the chance to view the ludicrous display of false hope on display at the Republican Convention. Too bad they didn't have some of the honesty of John McCain, who "When asked this week on CNN how long the U.S. military is likely to remain in Iraq, Senator John McCain replied "probably" 10 or 20 years. "That's not so bad," he said, adding, "We've been in Korea for 50 years. We've been in West Germany for 50 years." As Frank Hebert in the Times reports, "Despite all the macho posturing and self-congratulating at the Republican convention, the wave of terror that's been unleashed on the world is only growing. The American-led war in Iraq is feeding that wave, causing it to swell rather than ebb."

    Paul Krugman remarks on the attacks on George Soros in his column today - "The suggestion that Mr. Soros, who has spent billions promoting democracy around the world, is in the pay of drug cartels came from Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, whom the Constitution puts two heartbeats from the presidency. After standing by his remarks for several days, Mr. Hastert finally claimed that he was talking about how Mr. Soros spends his money, not where he gets it.

    The claim that Mr. Soros's political spending is driven by his desire to legalize heroin came from Newt Gingrich. And the bit about the Holocaust came from Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, which has become the administration's de facto house organ."

    Now I understand why Bill Clinton always thought the Republicans were out to get him.

    I still find it unfathomable how Americans can thing George Bush offers a "safer" America. Have Americans had mass lobotomies lately? How does attacking a country that was not a current danger to us and enciting half the terroists in the world, produce a "safer" America? Hell, half the world hates our guts now - that's making us safer? Sorry, but if you vote for George Bush, you deserve to be the first person on board for the next deployment to God knows where and you can count on there being another deployment. Remember - God is calling on George to bring "American" freedom to all the heathens of the world, which in George's world, is everybody other than the USA.

    And as for Zell Miller - they should do to him what they did during the French Revolution - put his head on a spike. Crazy ol' geezer.

    I also liked how George Bush slammed Hollywood last night. All in the spirit of "inclusion"! Glad to know he is the leader of "all of us" - ha!

    Breaking News
    NY Times reporting that Bill Clinton has had a heart attack and is in NY Hospital undergoing tests. Probably listening to the Republican Convention did it.

    Update - An angiogram given to Clinton revealed "significant blockage," said a Democratic official, who had discussed the condition with the former president's staff. It did not appear that Clinton suffered a heart attack, he said. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Thursday, August 26, 2004

    A condom for your CD?

    How's that for a catchy title? Thought that might grab your attention. Actually, this is a very cool idea developed by a company called - d-skin. These are protective "skins" that slip on to your CD/DVD collection that keep them from ever getting scratched and any CD/DVD player, whether it be home, car or PC can read them while the skin is on. So if you want to maintain a pristine disc collection, you might want to slip a few of these on. They can be bought at Walmart, BestBuy (also online), Gamestop, and Media Play. BestBuy has a sale on them online at the moment, although I didn't check shipping costs. Might be cheaper to just walk into a BestBuy store. To learn more about these, visit the d-skin home page .


    Vioxx Concerns Yikes! (The following from Dr. Mercola's blog) - A large study funded by the FDA did what some people--me included--believed almost impossible: Showed the risk of taking drug giant Merck's popular COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx increased one's chances of a heart attack by 50 percent!

    Even more distressing: Patients taking the highest recommended daily dosage of Vioxx had three times the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death as those not taking standard painkillers. Sudden cardiac death, a sudden electrical disturbance of the heart that is not considered a heart attack, is the nation's biggest cause of death.

    Researchers came up with the potentially damaging findings on Vioxx, a $2.5-billion-a-year blockbuster medicine, after analyzing the medical records of 1.4 million people.

    In fact, patients taking the typical starting dose of Vioxx had a 50 percent greater chance of heart attack and sudden cardiac death than patients taking any dose of Celebrex.

    If you've forgotten, the market for pain relievers is about $10 BILLION per year. Anytime you deal with numbers that large there will inevitably be corruption, greed and negative influences.

    Besides, you can create your own anti-inflammatory just by changing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in your diet.


    Use Instant Messaging a lot? Then you should check out this review of Trillian Pro 2.013 . It enables you to talk to your friends and buddies on all the services (MSN,AOL,Yahoo, ICQ) and will show them all to you in 1 window. How cool is that? You don't even need to download those other services, although you do need to have signed up with them so that you have a username, so that others can see you're online. I've used it for years - works like a champ. Authors keep it updated and are quick to fix any attempts by AOL or Yahoo to block messages (this doesn't happen very often any more, as those services seem to have accepted Trillian). There's a free version but the $25 pro version has some nice perks and is worth the price, imho. The actual web site for Trillian is at

    Word of the Day
    excoriate 1.To tear or wear off the skin of; abrade. 2. To censure strongly; denounce. Usage - "an editorial that excoriated the administration for its inaction", " there has been mostly silence from those leaders, even from those who privately excoriate the cleric as a rabble-rousing upstart"

    Quote of the Day
    "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed."
    Hermann Melville

    Web Site of the Day - AlterNet's journalistic achievements include being named one of NPR's five "winners on the Internet," winning a Webby in the Print and Zines category and a nomination in the "activism" category, and winning Utne's Independent Press Award for Online Political Coverage.

    YTD Indexes
    Dow -2.60
    Nasdaq -7.12
    S&P 500 +.31

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    Back Again

    I've returned once again from hibernation. Health issues (too boring to relate) and the Olympics, which have sucked me in and kept me there permanently, I believe. It's been worth it though. Nice to have satellite TV, where you can watch it all day on MSNBC,Bravo, USA,CNBC, and NBC. By midnight though, I am definitely seeing double. Some highlights so far - Paul Hamm's incredible comeback in the Men's all-around Gymnastics final. The Men's Swimming Relay team that finally beat Australia in a great finish. Deena Kastor's ( a lady with "class") incredible come from behind surge to snare a bronze in the Women's marathon(she was profiled earlier in this blog), the first medal for America since 1984 in the marathon, and a great marathon it was, with some incredible hill climbs, something none of these women had ever had to battle in a marathon. It was the same route Pheidippides ran 2,500 years ago to deliver the news that the Athenians had overcome the Persians (of course he dropped dead at the end of that run, something the favorite in this race - Paula Radcliffe of England probably felt like doing when she suddenly quit around the 22 mile mark while in 3rd place). The USA finishing 1-2-3 in the 400 meters in Track and Field. The women's softball team going undefeated and having only 1 run scored against it during the entire Games. And let's not forget Iraq's soccer team, who is down 2-0 to Paraquay in a semi-final at this very moment, with the winner playing for the Gold Medal (even if they lose, they can still play Italy for the bronze). That would be really something if Iraq could come from behind, play Argentina for the Gold and beat them.

    The media is wasting a lot of our time with the continued emphasis on the Swift Boat issue. Give us all a break - go find something worthwhile to write about - like the economy, the environment, Iraq, etc. To try and pin lies on someone who volunteered for VietNam and who came back and fought for Veterans Against the War is ridiculous. I understand we're talking about someone's credibility here, but there are too many people who back up Kerry, so the whole thing does indeed look like a "smear" campaign. But politics thrive on this crap - no wonder the American people are disinterested when it comes to voting - let's get back to the important thing folks - like how come my health insurance premiums escalate 15-20% per year? And when I can't pay it, who's gonna pay for my indigent visits to the ER?

    The Canon 20D has arrived and looks to be quite a camera for a decent price. I may finally make the plunge into the Digital SLR world. Should be on sale sometime in mid-September. As soon as I buy it, a competitor will of course come out with something better, but this camera pretty much addresses most any concerns I might have had with previous models.

    Firefox browser is now updated to version .93
    RoboForm is now at Version 6.04

    Have you downloaded and installed SP2 yet? If so, leave a comment below and let me know how it went.

    YTD Indexes
    Dow (-3.64)
    Nasdaq (-8.22)
    S&P 500 (-.53)

    Word of the Day
    inexorable [adj] not capable of being swayed or diverted from a course; unsusceptible to persuasion. ""Cynthia was inexorable; she would have none of him" 2. [adj] not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty; ""Russia's final hour, it seemed, approached with inexorable certainty"" 3. relentless, unrelenting - "The hill climb is inexorable" (heard during the women's Marathon at the Olympics); "oil continues its inexorable upward spiral."

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    911 Commission Report - Free!

    If you have an Ebook Reader - either on your desktop or on a Palm Pilot, PocketPC,etc, then you can download a free copy of the full 911 Commission Report at Fictionwise . Looks to be fairly easy reading. Check it out. You can also download an audio version from for $4.95.

    Is this what you want America?
    According to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be published Friday, households with incomes in the top 1 percent were receiving an average tax cut of $78,460 this year, while households in the middle 20 percent of earnings - averaging about $57,000 a year - were getting an average cut of only $1,090. Fully one-third of President Bush's tax cuts in the last three years have gone to people with the top 1 percent of income, who have earned an average of $1.2 million annually...... Mr. Kerry would seek to roll back the tax cuts for households with incomes above $200,000 a year, a move his campaign estimates would save $860 billion over 10 years, and use that money in large part to pay for a vast new national health care plan ( Middle and Lower Income America - Time to go Vote! (Source - NY Times )

    Just a reminder - NBC tonight from 8-11 p.m. (Eastern) - Opening Ceremonies !

    A red footed Falcon makes its way to the Western Hemisphere for the first time! Sighted on Martha's Vineyard, one of the observers was David Sibley, creator of an encyclopedic series of books on birds, who also heard about the bird on Tuesday. "I found out what the earliest ferry was and came right over," said Mr. Sibley, who lives in Concord, Mass. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

    Mr. Sibley said the bird was male, just over a year old. "It still has the feathers that have the pattern of juvenile feathers," he said.

    Red-footed falcons winter in southern and western Africa and breed in Eastern Europe, principally in Russia, Mr. Laux said. No one can say how the bird got here, but this species is adapted for long-distance flying. It may have come from Africa on trade winds or storm winds, and made its way north from South America. Or it could have come across the North Atlantic from England, Ireland or Iceland, where red-footed falcons have been spotted sporadically in recent years. To hear it's voice, go to this page . A high-pitched Ki-ki-ki, not unlike the kestrel, but more drawn-out and mournful.

    Word of the Day
    putative - Thought, assumed, or alleged to be such or to exist (the child's putative father) (ignorantly entered into a putative marriage before the divorce from a previous spouse was final)

    Quote of the Day
    Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.
    Robertson Davies

    Market Indexes Year to Date
    DOW -4.93
    NASDAQ -11.03
    S&P 500 -2.04
    (Vote Kerry/Edwards!)

    Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Markets Shaky

    Stock Market continues to stagger - will be an interesting week coming up, especially to hear what the Fed has to say on Tues. DJIA is down 6% for the year and the Nasdaq down 11% - not a pretty picture. New job creation in July was absymal - only 32,000 new jobs created - a bit short of the some 215,000 predicted by the Govt - hey - thought those tax cuts were supposed to fix up the economy? Too bad the fat cats get the cuts and they just bank it rather than spend it. If you want the economy to move - give the little guy some money - he'll spend it.

    From News for Real : A free market economy operates just like a natural world eco-chain - trouble anywhere along the chain quickly cascades throughout the entire system. Consumers under stress stop spending, orders for goods slow causing wholesalers to cut future orders from manufacturers, who lay off workers. Those workers then come under stress and stop spending, which then triggers the next downward cycle

    Book Worth Reading
    Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy by Robert F Kennedy, Jr. From an article by Kennedy - But George W. Bush's policy advisers somehow don't see the benefits we've received from our investments in America's environmental infrastructure. All they see is the cost of compliance to their campaign contributors – a group that is led by the nation's most egregious polluters. This myopic vision has led the White House to abandon its responsibility to protect the public trust......James Watt, President Ronald Reagan's first Interior secretary, once promised, "We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber." In April 2001, a retired James Watt told the Denver Post, "Everything Cheney's saying, everything the president's saying, they're saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely. Twenty years later, it sounds like they've just dusted off the old work."

    Tune in to NBC from 7-11 p.m. Eastern this coming Friday (August 13th) for the Opening Ceremonies. Prior to that, you can watch the Women's Soccer team take on Greece (live) on MSNBC from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11th. Another interesting match before the Opening ceremonies begin is Irag against Portugual on MSNBC on Thursday, Aug 12th from 12-3:30 p.m. Action starts in earnest on Saturday, the 14th with coverage from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and from 7-11p.m. on NBC. If you want to catch the Women's softball team and maybe catch fireballer Jennie Finch in action, tune in to CNBC from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday.

    It will be interesting to see how Greece is able to pull off the Olympics - cross your fingers that the terroists stay home. The other day I had the chance to watch an interesting flyover of all the Greek Isles - think that was probably on PBS - beautiful and interesting - never really gave that much thought to how many islands were actually there - would be fun to jump from one to one - think I'll wait till after the Olympics are over, however . :)

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    All the Pretty Words

    The facts facing the United States are too grim for the voters to hear. I'm afraid Hebert is correct, sadly enough.

    Meanwhile, Ralph Nader is determined to stay the course. Mr. Nader's determination to stay in the contest was evident on Friday night in Los Angeles, when Michael Moore, the filmmaker, who backed Mr. Nader in 2000, appeared with him on the HBO program "Real Time with Bill Maher." Mr. Moore and Mr. Maher dropped to their knees to beg Mr. Nader to drop out, with the audience cheering them on. Furthermore, In the interview, Mr. Nader was asked why he persisted at such risk to his legacy.

    "Who cares about the legacy?" he responded. "Are they going to tear out seat belts from cars? We're looking to the future."

    He said that Democrats "should be happy that someone is going all over the country taking apart their opponent, but instead, they are employing dirty tricks to keep us off the ballot."

    Journalists Pick Kerry
    When asked who would be a better president, the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1. But who would they rather cover - the Dems or the Republicans? The overall result was 77 for Bush, 67 for Mr. Kerry.

    Why stick with the Bush administration? "You can't ask for a richer cast of characters to cover," one Washington correspondent said. "Kerry will be a bore after these guys."
    and how about likeability? Who would they rather be stranded on an island with? Mr. Kerry was the choice of both groups: 31 to 17 among the Washington journalists, and 51 to 39 among the others.

    "Bush's religious streak,'' one Florida correspondent said, "would drive me nuts on a desert island."

    If you read the NY Times a lot, but want to read it in an easier fashion, then check out the RSS feeds available. I've often touted the use of an RSS reader here and if you're not using one, you're way behind the times. A much more efficient way to browse and read the news then using a regular browser. I use Feed Demon , but there are scores of other readers available as well, a number of which are free. Feed Demon just happens to be the best. You can get the Washington Post Feeds as well.

    Jobs pulls another rabbit out of the hat
    Steve Jobs of Apple Computers survived a spooky scare with cancer or so it seems. He underwent emergency cancer surgery on Saturday to remove an unusual pancreatic tumor. "I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year," he wrote in the message, which Apple made public on Sunday evening, "and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was)."