Saturday, February 14, 2004

GW- Looks like we Abandoned Someone!

Op-Ed Columnist: Afghan Women, Still in Chains

More than two years later, many Afghan women are still captives in their homes. Life is better in Kabul than under the Taliban, but in many areas our triumphalism is proving hollow. Consider these snapshots of the new Afghanistan:

- A 16-year-old girl fled her 85-year-old husband, who married her when she was 9. She was caught and recently sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment.

- The Afghan Supreme Court has recently banned female singers from appearing on Afghan television, barred married women from attending high school classes and ordered restrictions on the hours when women can travel without a male relative.

- When a man was accused of murder recently, his relatives were obliged to settle the blood debt by handing over two girls, ages 8 and 15, to marry men in the victim's family.

This might not have happened if we had stuck to Afghanistan and not gone "warring" in Iraq. Now it is just so much more difficult - how many times do we have to make this mistake?

Want to know who to vote for based on your viewpoints? Take this very interesting quiz and it will pick the candidate that most supports your viewpoints. Click Me!


Thursday, February 12, 2004

Like the sound of This!

F.C.C. Begins Rewriting Rules on Delivery of the InternetIn one set of proceedings, the commission began writing regulations to enable computer users to gain access to the Internet through electric power lines. Consumers will be able to plug their modems directly into the wall sockets just as they do with any garden variety appliance. Officials said the new rules, which are to be completed in the coming months, would enable utilities to offer an alternative to the cable and phone companies and provide an enormous possible benefit to rural communities that are served by the power grid but not by broadband providers.

For a good look at the new Nikon D70 and comparisons between it and the Canon Digital Rebel, take a look at this review .

Photo of the Day Link
Click Me!  

Markets Continue to Sizzle

The Market was hot last year and I figured it would cool off some this year, but it continues to sizzle like a red hot tomato. Most funds I own are up 6-7% and it's only February. At some point I suspect there has to be correction but I'm enjoying the run at the moment. Suspect a lot of folks are still sitting on the sidelines from the big crash a few years ago - can't blame them, but they missed out on a 36% increase in the Dow and a 61% increase in the Nasdaq over the last 12 months and already the small caps and the small growth stocks are up 6-8% for 2004. Top fund for the year so far? - ProFunds Ultra Wireless Investments (WCPIX) - up 26.59%.

Ironic that there is such a disconnect between the market and jobs in this country. If you only looked at the market, you would think it was a fabulous recovery, but the jobs situation tells a different story. A little unsettling to hear the comment the other day that 70% of voters are invested in the market (of course that 70% is 70% of the 50% or so that actually vote). That just shows you that folks without money and investments feel like the system only belongs to the wealthy and thus there is no reason to vote. They couldn't be more wrong (about voting), but I can understand why they feel the way they do - after all, it's not like their plight has improved any in the last 20 years. Wonder come election time, if those 70% who are invested will view things as hunky dory based on their 401k's and retirement plans or if they'll look at the jobs situation. Most likely depends on whether they have a job or not! If the market continues to sizzle (unusual in an election year), that does not bode well for the Democrats.

For a look at how Bill Nygren (one of a few long time highly successful fund managers) and his group at Oakmark Funds view the process of selecting good companies to include in their funds, click here .


New links are continually being added to the list on the right, so check it out from time to time. You might stumble across something interesting! If you mouseover the links, occasionally you will get a description (or some worthless remark, as the case may be!).  

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Homophobes Unite

Massachusetts Weighs a Deal on Marriages Between GaysGee, just when I thought a state was taking a tolerant view, along comes the homophobes. I am still puzzled over how this affects the "sanctity of marriage". I'm married - how is it going to affect me if two men marry or two women marry? Is that supposed to somehow invalidate my marriage because they got married? Why are so many people so scared?

Update* - Tune in to Nightline w/ Ted Koppel tonite for a discussion of this issue. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A mere 7,700 miles of walking

Two Seas, Two Feet: Skurka's Calendar Sea-to-Sea Route Hike Check out this site to follow along with Andy Skurka of Seekonk, MA as the attempts to become the first person to hike the entire 7,700 mile Sea-to-Sea Route. He plans to hike 27 miles per day for 9 months, finishing in November of this year.

You can read his online journal at the site as well as look at his pictures which are going to be teamed up with a special Microsoft project . You can even sign up for an email update of his progress. Should be an extraordinary experience!

I originally read about Andy's journal on the Extreme Tech site, which is worth a look as well. It explains the digital photography project.  

Daughter from Danang

Had the opportunity last night (thanks to Netflix) to watch an outstanding documentary called "Daughter from Danang". This is a 2 kleenex box, 5 star effort. Starts off like a typical documentary and quickly develops into a truly gut-wrenching story. A must-see movie. No easy answers here. For more about the movie, you can look here . However, in some ways I think it is even more impacting if you just rent it and watch it without any prior knowledge.

Winner of the 2002 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

Quote of the Day: (as befits the above mentioned movie)
The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people - no mere father and mother - as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.
Pearl S. Buck 

Monday, February 09, 2004

Cold Mountain on Audible

Just thought I'd mention that Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is now available at . Charles Frazier reads it himself and has the perfect voice to match this novel. Wish I had listened to it originally vs reading it. A good narrator brings a whole new element to reading. You can do a search on the site for it and listen to a 15 min selection.

Naked in Baghdad is also a book that gets very good reviews, read by NPR's Sr. Foreign Correspondent, Anne Garrels. An Audible listener has this to say: - "This is not just the best book I have read all year (and last year for that matter) it's a book you really should hear rather than read, if you can. The narrators are the people who lived this adventure: Anne Garrels, NPR correspondent tells the story of what it was like to be one of only a dozen journalists who remained in Bagdad during the war while her husband Vint Lawrence reads his own wonderfully written email updates about Anne that he sent to friends and family. Part of the book is about Anne Garrels' individual journey through tangles of corrupt bureaucracy and bombs and the people of Baghdad who often risked their safety to help her. It's a window onto the city and the people of Baghdad, very intimate and personal, well apart from network news coverage" You can also listen to a 15 min selection at Audible I haven't read this myself yet, but it is next up on my list after finishing Edmund Morris's Theodore Roosevelt. I've now got 63 books on my Wish List at Audible - looks like I'm gonna be busy. :)

Quote of the Day:
"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity."
Christopher Morley  

Sunday, February 08, 2004

What is going on in the World?

CBS 2: Books Plot Rise Of Righteous Army I saw this scary show on 60 minutes tonight. Boy, first listening to GW and now having to listen to evangelical Christians tell me I am doomed to hell on earth - think it's time to move to that Carribean Island and disappear forever from this madness! It just seem so incredible that someone could be so arrogant as to believe that their way is the only way. Tough luck to all you Jews, Muslims, heathens, Aborigines,etc - unless some Missionary has come to save your sorry soul, you are DOOMED. It's a good thing I just laugh at these folks, but it is truly frightening that 70 MILLION Americans feel this way. It's hardly a wonder that Bush gets their votes since he is one of them.

"That's what the Bible teaches. There are gonna be many Southern Baptists, for example, or many Presbyterians, or many Catholics, or people who are a part of Christendom,? says Ice. ?But if they haven't personally trusted Jesus Christ as their savior, even if they ? a lifelong member of a church, you know, then they will be damned.?

?And so, with the White House, and Tom DeLay, and in the House of Representatives, the attorney general ? talk radio, the conservative Fox News, all that sort of thing, these are parts of the righteous army that has finally come into its own.?

Late Breaking News - Pilot reportedly promoted Christianity on flight

VOTE DEMOCRATIC - STOP THE MADNESS! (if it were only so easy - think the move to the island is a better plan)  

Bush talks to Russert

MSNBC - Transcript for Feb. 8th Well, this isn't as good as the real thing, but it will have to do. If you watched this on TV and you're not scratching your head in total amazement over what a putz Bush is, then I'm scratching my head over what is going on in your brain.

Sorry, but hard to see it any other way. This is the best our country can produce for leadership in the free world? Someone who can't even craft an intelligent sentence? If this doesn't spur Democrats and Independents (and hopefully a few semi-intelligent Republicans) out to vote, I don't know what will. This was painful to watch - I kept thinking - bring out the hook! Or - give the guy a coloring book! Holy smokes.  

The endangered Endangered Species Act

Smoky Mountain News | Outdoors Endangered species are indicators of the health of our environment. Their decline alerts us to the fact that the quality of some of the basic elements, elements that we depend on - air, land and water - are being compromised. When we protect endangered species and conserve our natural habitats, we protect ourselves and conserve our own communities.

George H.W. Bush apparently trusted and supported these and other scientists by listing, as endangered, an average of 58 species per year during his term in office. The Clinton administration likewise heeded the call of conservationists and listed an average of 68 species per year. Then George W. Bush took the reins. Since 2001 this administration has listed 25 species, all under court order.

I wish G.W. was more like dad.