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

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