Thursday, August 31, 2006

Radio Shack lays off 400 workers via email

Radio Shack laid off 400 of its employees via email -- "You've been e-fired. Have a nice day!"

I wonder if you claim you never got the email, could you continue to come to work and collect a paycheck? After all, I hear this conversation all the time:

"Did you get my email?" says the geeky CEO.
"Nope. What did it say?" says the geek's lying indentured servant, also his best friend.
"It said you're fired."
", oh. That sucks. Does that mean no more free food in the company lounge?"
"Right. No more free food, no free beer, no Quake marathons, no more pay checks, and no more stock options. Get it?"
"Yes, I get it."

CEO to security: "Round up this lowlife and get him out of here!"
CEO to newly-unemployed and no longer on the path to riches paved with stock options: "Hey, you still want to golf on Friday? Okay, good."

Nothing to look forward to...

Does this sum up how you feel sometimes? This is how I feel today, but without the sandwich...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thousands of deserters from the US military

Apparently, there are about 40,000 deserters from the US military, half of them from the Army. I am torn over this. This is an all-voluntary military force. These people knew that there was a possibility of war, death, loss of limb, etc. How could they not know this?

On the other hand (I forgot to mention the first hand, sorry), I can see how some might come to their senses once enlisted. Talk about buyer's remorse! I can only think that most of these guys were thinking like Bill Murray in Stripes, that they were down on their luck, out of shape, had no direction in life, and turned to the military to redirect themselves.

Oh, but that silly little concept of war made them rethink their decisions. The military's main purpose is to fight wars. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard are not here to rescue people from rooftops who were not smart enough / fortunate enough to flee one of the biggest storms ever. Oh, sure, they can be used, and certainly are used, for this purpose, but it's NOT their primary purpose.

No, it's to wage war. The President and Congress decided war with Afghanistan and Iraq was necessary (shame on them all for Iraq) and they enlisted our enlisted to go fight it. It's a simple concept. Civilians decide. The military goes and gets it done. It's all about the implementation.

I feel really sorry for the men and women who thought that they had nowhere else to turn but to the military for some education, training, and discipline.

But they should have known better. If the draft were in place, and I do think it'll come to this, I could have a lot more sympathy for the folks that now believe that the war is unjust, illegal, etc. I believe that too. But, BUT!, they enlisted. They volunteered. Did they not learn anything from Vietnam? Did they not know that the government could, and does, send armies to fight "wars" that are not always with the best of intentions?

If a draft were to be brought back, I might high-tail it to Canada or Mexico myself. Heck, I'd like to take extended visits to either. I love Baja. The fishing is awesome, the living free, cheap, and easy, and the people are beautiful, inside and out. The same could be said for Canada. Even rabid hockey fans are polite, the homeless say "thank you," and the place is litter-free.

I have been seriously considering a move. I just don't like where this country is headed. The religious fanaticism that we rail against is becoming more and more prevalent here. And I don't mean Islam. I mean "organized Christianity." The right is hell-bent on destroying anybody that's not "with us," the left is mired in a policy-less platform, and there is simply no hope that a third party could ever rise to an equal footing.

Thus, people like me (and there are more than you think!) have nowhere to turn. But I have this eternal optimism that if we just keep trying, we can turn the tide. I really think that bringing both the left and the right towards the middle is possible. Heck, it wasn't long ago where we were kind of there.

Sorry I got so far off topic. The main point of this post was that there are quite a few deserters from the voluntary military and this presents a problem with not too many solutions.

Inquiry Criticizes U.S. Broadcasting Official Over Hiring - New York Times

What is it about Republicans and horses?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Doctor" Frist status may be in jeopardy

Bill Frist, Senator from Tennessee, may have lied on his medical license renewal forms when he claimed that he had completed his continuing education requirement.


Let's count this guy's failings (that we know about):

1. Evaluated Terri Schiavo via videotape. Disagreed with her attending physicians' opinion. After Mrs. Schiavo died, an autopsy proved Frist wrong.
2. Claimed he didn't know about stock held in his blind trust that was sold prior to the stock's decline. This was stock of a company owned by his brother and father and was sold for a profit right before bad news hit the stock.
3. Forgot to take continuing education classes to renew his medical license. Signed papers affirming that he took said training classes.
4. Failed in his 2008 run for president (I can guess at the outcome of this with virtual certainty. The guy has absolutely zero -- nada -- zip -- zilcho -- chance of winning his party's nomination, much less the general election.

This guy is a turd of the highest caliber. Please make him go away.

Iranian President wants to debate President Bush on world topics

I would seriously pay money to see this one. Pay-per-view smackdown of colossal proportions. Maybe after the debate, a presidential death match. What do you think?

Monday, August 28, 2006

John Mark Karr, confessed murderer of JonBenet Ramsey -- All Charges Dropped

John Mark Karr, who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey, has not been charged and will not be charged for her murder. His DNA does not match the DNA found at the crime scene that fateful day.

A friend and I were talking the other day and he conjectured that perhaps Karr was facing a harsher crime in Thailand and decided that confessing to a murder he didn't commit might be a great way to get out of the pickle he found himself in while in Thailand.

He is obviously a very screwed up individual, obsessed on becoming famous, apparently at all costs. Who knows?

Parenting gone wrong, horribly wrong

The parents of a young man who borrowed their car without permission had him charged with theft. So, he was hauled off to jail for a good lesson learned.

Unfortunately, he was murdered in the van on his way to prison by two others.

Stories like this one make you re-think your parenting methods.

Finn takes gold at mobile phone throwing contest

The Finnish have begun a wonderful new sport: Mobile phone throwing. This is probably as good as smashing a fax machine in Office Space, but maybe better because it's real.

Woman crashes while teaching her dog to drive

Apparently, a Chinese woman thought it would be wise to teach her dog to drive, since he "...was fond of crouching on the steering wheel and often watched..." her drive, so she let the dog steer while she operated the brakes and accelerator.

It didn't turn out so well.

Can Democrats win back the Senate and the House?

It's conceivable that the Democrats can win (or rather, the Republicans can lose) back the Senate and the House this November. How likely is it?

Not sure. Nobody is. I don't think we'll know until a day or two after the elections.

James Carville, Bill Clinton's strategist during his successful run against then-current President George H.W. Bush, has this to say:

"We have to go back to 1974 (during Watergate) to find such a favorable environment. If we can't win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party."

There's never been a truer statement made (at least in the 2nd sentence). Good luck.

Richard Armitage source of leak of covert CIA officer

So, there you have it. After years of speculation on whether it was Karl Rove or Scooter Libby who leaked Valerie Plame's name and position to Robert Novak, Matt Cooper, and Bob Woodward, it comes out in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, that Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's second in charge at the State Department was the source of the leak.

You can be sure that the Bush administration is jumping for joy this morning, knowing that Karl Rove is really out of the woods today. Scooter Libby may also be off the hook, though he was charged with lying and obstruction of justice. It's actually kind of sad that Libby is about to be nailed for something quite apart from the nature of the issue: Somebody outed a covert CIA officer.

But I guess a lesson to be learned here is to refrain from lying to the federal government.

Even though the federal government constantly and consistently lies to us.

Hypocrisy has always run deep and wide in Washington D.C. This administration is certainly not the first, nor will it be the last; however, it might be the best. So Bush can go down in history as having been the best president at something.

But I have gotten off the point. Armitage, a Vietnam veteran, told reporters about Plame's employment with the CIA. It's unknown (I guess I will have to read the book) whether a) he meant any harm and b) he knew she was a covert agent.

But does it matter? It does in the judicial sense, of course, but does it really matter? I think it's clear (at least to me) that people who work for the CIA probably ought not to be known as working for the agency, don't you think?

Nevertheless, I think Armitage ought to be investigated again (he was the first time by Patrick Fitzgerald (leading one to wonder how good Fitzgerald really is), and if found to have leaked out anything he shouldn't have, he should go to prison.

It's that simple.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sign this petition, please

My choice for President in 2004 was Wesley Clark. As we all know, he didn't make it through the Democratic primaries. But I thought he was the best-qualified candidate to lead this country. He's very smart, is fluent in four languages (English, Spanish, German, and Russian), is a 4-star General, has an advanced economics degree, has been knighted several times, and led one of the most successful military endeavors of recent memory (ridding ethnic cleansing in Kosovo). Read more about Clark here.

Thus, it is with great enthusiasm that I implore you to sign this petition. It's a petition addressed to John Warner, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to conduct hearings on the Bush Administration's involvement, possible culpability, and role related to prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

There aren't many things more important in fighting wars than adhering to the Geneva Conventions. After all, we were seriously pissed off at our opponents in World War II for their treatment of our POWs, as was the rest of the world. Pissed enough to enact some stringent rules for protecting prisoners of war, even if it meant losing some ability to coerce information from them.

Seattle Firm Warned BP About Pipeline

Now we find out that a Seattle firm warned the oil giant BP (who has had record profits the past few years, along with the other oil barons, who would have guessed it by the appallingly low gas prices we've been paying?) that its Alaska pipeline was in decay and in need of better monitoring and major maintenance.

From the article at the Jump below:

"In the aftermath of last March's spill, BP acknowledged that the transit lines in western Prudhoe Bay had gone without an inspection by the remote-operated device since 1998, and it has been scrambling to make those inspections."

Was BP being short-sighted when it comes to profits like a lot of other giant corporations, where quarterly profits are often (read: always) take precedence over the long-term health of the company?

No, they weren't. In the case of oligopolies, and certainly monopolies, such moves are often made for both short- and long-term profit taking. Its very easy to make money when you're one of only a few practicing the same or similar tactics.

I, for one, am almost always against government regulation. But in some cases it's absolutely necessary. Where infrastructure is concerned, it's generally acceptable, even necessary, that only one or a few public or private (i.e., non-government) entities are allowed to participate. For example, for many years, it was necessary, in order to provide universal service, to have AT&T be the sole provider of telecommunications services. In 1984, when the government officially successfully ordered the breakup of AT&T, it was pretty well established that other companies could serve the public better than the monolith AT&T.

The same might be necessary in the oil services / supplies industry. There are only a few major players. And they know. And they exploit it.

Why is it that a single region is relied upon for refining oil into gas (Gulf Coast)? Katrina, and of course all of the other storms that wreaked havoc on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities and towns, ravaged a major portion of the country's oil refineries.

Why is that? Everybody knows that in order to prevent huge outages due to regional events that one must spread out the regional services over multiple regions. The West and East Coasts are certainly capable of refining oil.

But the government has neither ordered nor encouraged the manufacture of any substantial oil refining plants.

Thus, we will for the foreseeable future be held hostage by the major oil companies. Or will we? If somebody came up with a viable energy source other than fossil fuel, we could rid ourselves of the reliance on the oil industry. Why, we've been saying this for decades, haven't we? The oil lobby is so powerful that we cannot even be allowed to know which companies participated in the Enron-Cheney energy task force meetings of a few years ago.

So I don't think we'll rid ourselves of our substance abuse problem soon. Only after several major, unthinkable calamities might we even get serious about it.

The answer lies in something similar to a 12-step program: First, we must admit we have a problem. Only then will we be in a position to take action to rid our collective souls upon a foreign (in more ways than one) substance.

But we haven't even acknowledged that there's a problem. Sure, people bitch about the fact that they had to pay $100 to fill their Hummers. But they don't bitch as much as you'd think. We all know people who drive over 100 miles a day, one way, to work. Do you think they've seriously looked at finding alternatives?

I anticipate that people won't really start reconsidering habits until they're near death's door. Financial calamities cause people to rethink their priorities. But until then we can consider the profits of the oil companies safe. Safer still with government protection, subsidies, and a willingness to continue the "War on Terror" with all those "terrorists" in the Middle East, where coincidentally most of the oil power is concentrated.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

British scientist: Utopia unachievable


A British scientist is claiming that utopia on Earth is unattainable without a decreasae in the planet's population. He brings out some interesting ideas. While I don't necessarily agree with his final conclusions, his theories do hold water.

If one believes that there is a finite number of people that can sustain on Earth without causing a net negative, and this is reasonable, one must conclude that we must do something about population growth.

There are two important questions to answer:

1. What is this number?
2. How is this number affected by technology (i.e., progress)?

In the 50s, for example, the number might have been, purely for argument's sake and not a verifiable number, 5 billion. But with progress in finding cleaner ways to harness energy, as well as discovering ways to minimize human effects upon the planet, that number might well be 7 billion now.

His point is well-taken, however. That is to say that, at some point, the only way to reduce to zero the human effect on the planet is to stop producing humans (or that the net population increase shall be zero -- 1 person dies, another is born). Every human contributes a very tiny bit to the degradation of the planet. However, the planet has unique restorative powers in that it can assimilate waste, process it, and be no worse off.

But somewhere there comes a tipping point, where that last incremental human causes more harm than the planet can process. It's at that point where population should be limited. The question then becomes, what is this figure? Is it 2-3 billion, as the subject of the article below suggests, or is it higher or lower?

Nobody knows and it's probably unanswerable. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that there is a finite number.

Global cooling to begin on Earth before warming

A Russian scientist claims that we will confront a mini ice age before we have to worry about global warming. He further asserts that "the Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times."

How's that for a convenient truth? Take that, Al Gore!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jesse James Rants on President Bush


"Hollywood star SANDRA BULLOCK's husband JESSE JAMES has launched a scathing verbal attack on US President GEORGE W BUSH, calling the leader 'a d**khead'. The motorcycle maker visited American soldiers outside Baghdad, Iraq - and is convinced the majority of the US military agree with him. James says, 'Everyone in Iraq knows Bush is a d**khead. He's the boss' kid. Everybody I know who has a successful business who has a kid - the kid is always a f**khead. Have you ever noticed that?'"

Now, I like Jesse and Sandra, but wow! If that isn't enough to get Jesse to Gitmo, I don't know what is!

Outsourcing seen boosting wages at home

Two Princeton economists conclude that outsourcing jobs has been accompanied by rising wages for those whose jobs were outsourced, due to increased productivity. Now, the skeptic that I am, I have to take time to read the study (which I haven't even seen) and come to my own, informed conclusions.

But at face value, their findings seem spurious at best. Economically speaking, when the supply of labor increases, the price of labor (wages) goes down). Now, is the opening of our labor market to outsiders an shift in the labor supply curve. Classically speaking, I would say yes.

But is something else going on here? For wages to rise in a market where the supply curve has shifted outward, the demand for labor must have shifted more than the supply. This idea runs counter to what we see in the export market. So is there something else going on?

Is the trade deficit leading us astray? Or is it the global currency markets? It looks like we're spending more for imports than we're getting for exports, but is this really true? Perhaps if the currency markets were truly fluid then we'd see a different picture in the balance of trade?

I don't know. It's been a long time since my college economics days (I majored in economics)...and a lot has changed. One thing is for sure: This study has very interesting conclusions, conclusions that run counter to the prevalent thoughts that abound today.

Armored Vehicles Are Becoming More and More Popular

With the gas and oil crunch upon us, it seems as if some people just don't give a damn. If Al Gore were dead, and not just politically, he'd be turning over in his grave on this one.

Apparently, armored vehicles are becoming fashionable amongst those who can afford them and who think they're so important as to need them.

Talk about making up for deficiencies. If a guy who drives a Porsche has a small penis, what afflicts the guy who has to have this car?

It's darn-near 20,000 pounds and withstands bullets from an AK-47, resists bombs, and looks like a freakin' armadillo.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bush Pessimistic on Iraq War

After 3 years of "We're making progress in Iraq," President Bush has now performed a mighty flip-flop: "Things in Iraq may be worse than they look."

Yikes. Two points here. First, all the "progress" talk that some of us knew was BS is now confirmed. Second, President Bush is a flip-flopper of presidential proportions.

I can only think he's done this to somehow get around the fact the he created this war and that getting around it will allow his party to remain a majority in all branches of the federal government.

I really don't doubt their political prowess. They were able to make the majority of Americans believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11 when there wasn't one iota of proof. They were able to beat down not only one but at least three decorated Vietnam War heroes (in case you don't remember: John McCain, one of their own; John Kerry, Herman Munster's twin; and Max Cleland, who suffered losses of both legs and part of one arm).

They've also been able to sell the public and Congress stories about "No Child Left Behind" (except the ones left behind) and "Clear Skies" (in which industry made the rules that allow, if not encourage, MORE pollution than before the initiative).

I want to know when somebody of some power calls the president out for this colossal flip-flop. And I don't mean Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly. Maybe Joe "Eeyore" Lieberman can chastise him for this. After all, it was Lieberman's support of Bush's support for progress in the Iraq War that lost him his primary, causing him to have to run a "bipartisan" campaign as a tri-party Independent.

AT&T sues data brokers for duping them into giving away confidential customer data

How's that?

AT&T is suing unnamed data brokers (yes, they don't know who they are) for duping the telecommunications giant into giving away confidential customer data. They claim that the data brokers profited off selling the information to third parties. They also claim that the brokers duped them by pretending to be real customers. Now they want any profits the brokers got to be "returned" to AT&T.

Is this the pot calling the kettle black or what? Isn't AT&T the defendant in a case involving the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) whereby they're accused essentially of stealing customer data and giving it to the feds? I know, they're not stealing the data. The customers gave it to them. They had to in order to get AT&T's services.

But isn't that kind of what AT&T did for the data brokers? Just gave them the customer data. The data brokers didn't take or steal the information. AT&T gave it to them.

Was there fraud involved? Of course. But isn't there an equally moralistic issue going on when your customer has every reason to believe that his data isn't getting into anybody's hands but his own provider when in fact the exact opposite is happening?

United States Built Major Nuclear Facility in Iran

Whaddya know? The U.S. built a major nuclear facility in Iran in the 60s. We gave them the technology, built the plant, gave them 10 pounds of uranium, and said, "Have a nice day. Beat the Soviets."

I love this stuff. We always seem to fall into this trap. It's a trap we know exists, but we still -- just maybe, if we deny the fact hard enough -- fall into it. As President Bush says, "Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice. We won't get fooled again." But we ALWAYS do.

Didn't we prop up Afghanistan during its fight with the Soviet Union? What arose out of that? Poppy fields and the Taliban.

Didn't we support Iraq in its war with Iran? What arose out of that? A more powerful and omnipotent-thinking Sadaam Insane.

Need I go on? Yes, I think I need to go on. Some companies in the U.S. supported (i.e., gave equipment to) Nazi Germany. Not just Ford Motor Company. But some companies associated with the current President's family.

Of course, George W. Bush had no control over his ancestors, just like I had no control over my slave-trading ancestors (I don't know that my ancestors were slave-traders -- I made that up for effect -- but one of them had to be). This is not the point.

The fact of the matter is that we (the United States) continually make allies with countries before we make them enemies. It's like a sick, pathetic, counterproductive game where we give away stuff just to assert our almighty power by taking it back.

The natural question to ask is: What are we giving away today that we'll want back tomorrow? That's the scary thing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ford In Talks with Nissan-Renault?

This story only serves to remind us of what happened in the 70s, and then 80s and 90s: American auto manufacturers are ill-equipped to deliver the consistent performance that their Japanese counterparts are able to do quarter over quarter.

The 70s was a tumultuous time for American car makers. In the early 70s, the Big Three, Ford, GM, and Chrysler, hit highs during the peak of the muscle car era, when family sedans sported Hemis, station wagons were coming into vogue, and the world was a relatively stable place.

Then came the gas crunch. My grandparents owned a Mobil gas station in the late 60s and early 70s. I remember gas being 27 cents a gallon. That was full-service: Check the oil, tire pressure, radiator, other fluids, wash the windows, dump the ash tray. Then OPEC decided that they'd test their heft in the world market by limiting production, thus putting upward pressure on gas prices, in order to try to garner more profits for themselves. It worked.

Soon, the Saudis and other OPEC members were awash in cash and we were left holding our dicks, um, gas nozzles in lines longer than we've seen since. The limited production, by definition reducing supply, coupled with the ever-increasing demand, spurred by gas-guzzling big blocks, caused rapidly rising prices and shortages. President Nixon put price caps on gasoline, which further worsened the shortages. Soon, people were literally fighting for gasoline.

Inflation went through the roof, people started buying smaller "economy" cars (read: Japanese), and we went about our business. Ford and GM floundered for years, until the mid-80s, and Chrysler nearly went bankrupt. If not for former exec Lee Iacocca, Chryler's chief executive, Chrysler would have gone belly-up.

The Japanese automakers, once known for the crap they sold as cars, were now making cars that got far better gas mileage, were of higher quality, and were longer-lasting. The Big Three finally got it together in the mid-80s, after another gas crunch, and started making better cars. Then, in the mid- to late-90s, the GM, Ford, and Chrysler bagan making SUVs, minivans, and larger family cars. Very similar to the 70s (substitute SUV for muscle car, minivan for station wagon).

For a while, the Japanese automakers fell behind, playing catch up by designing their own bigger vehicles, but all the while making hybrids and conventional gas-powered cars that were again getting better in terms of quality, efficiency, and longevity.

Today, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are well-positioned to stick it to the Big Three once again. This time perhaps forever. Ford and GM are now on the ropes, mostly due to poorly-managed (if "managed" at all) pension plans and near-sightedness comparable to Mr Magoo.

With oil at perhaps peak production, or even past it, hybrids and electric cars are bound to take over gas-powered cars. Detroit is at least 5 years behind Japan in terms of maturity of the technology.

Both Ford and GM are in talks with Nissan and Renault to try to boost their horrible businesses. They're both looking for a life-line. Will they get it? Will the federal government have to bail them out? The stakes are much higher now than they were when Chrysler faced its own demise 30 years ago.

What will come of it? I don't know, but it's not looking good. However, Detroit has bounced back before. Can they do it again? Time will tell.

If Small is the New Big, Then What is This?

Seth Godin has a new book, "Small is the New Big." But is it? Is new the new old? Is plagiarism the new "creative writing?" How about old-fashioned flattery?

This article talks more about when "small is the new big" was first said. Quite witty. Links to this article, which purportedly said it first.

Ted Koppel Comments on Terror Fight versus Civil Liberties

MSNBC has an exclusive story with Ted Koppel and his thoughts on Bush's war on terror and its juxtaposition with civil liberties. Read the whole story here.

Koppel is hosting a show on the Discovery Channel called "The Price of Security." Koppel brings up some very interesting points in this MSNBC web exclusive.

He touches on 9/11, germ warfare, existential war, wiretapping, torture, and the recent uncovering of the plot to blow up airplanes. I can't wait to watch his show. It airs September 10 on Discovery Channel.

Dilbert on HR Violations

Great Bumper Sticker about War on Terror and Shampoo

Counter-telemarketing Scheme

The link below will send you to a very neat idea: Counter-telemarketing.

You know you hate telemarketing calls just as much as I do. I bet telemarketing professionals hate the calls (to them, not from them) more than we do. While some (okay, most) consider these mid-dinner calls (how do they know?) an invasion of privacy, I consider them rude, inappropriate, ineffective wastes of my time. I will not consider or even listen to telemarketers.

However, on occasion, I have found that messing with them gives me a sense of satisfaction that I made their lives a little more hellish than they made mine. My favorite is to put them on hold and then come back in 10 minutes. But this script goes much farther. It asks for their name, their income, where they live, etc., but in the telemarketer's own style.

It's beautifully done and also comes in pdf format that you can print and hang next to your phone. It's basically a flowchart that leads the conversation away from what the telemarketer wants to talk about and down the path where you have more information about him than he does about you.

Great idea and very well done. I would suggest that you refrain from sending the output of your call to the address and/or fax number at the bottom of the sheet; doesn't sound like that's a very good idea. After all, the telemarketer himself is just doing his job. It's really the telemarketing company that you want to impact financially, and the best way to do that is to take up their valuable call time and not offer any of the information they seek. You're not only doing all the rest of us an indirect favor, you just may prevent that telemarketer from making his next me!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

AOL CTO Resigns Amid Publishing of User Searches

The proverbial sh*t has hit the fan at AOL, as fallout from the publishing of user searches continues. Today: CTO Maureen Govern.

Investment Banker Frank Quattrone -- All Charges Will Be Dropped

News today is that Frank Quattrone, legendary former investment banker at Credit Suisse during the dotcom boom, will have all charges dropped in his case in which the federal government had charged him with obstruction of justice.

Basically, the government claimed that during an investigation, Quattrone had ordered his underlings to destroy evidence (much like Arthur Anderson had destroyed Enron documents). After a couple trials, the first of which ended in a hung jury, both sides came to an agreement where all charges would be dropped if Quattrone stayed out of trouble for a year.

That shouldn't take much effort, really. The guy made $100 million one year. He brought to market. He should be able to stay out of trouble for at least one year. Don't you think?

John C Dvorak -- The Google Ploy

Dvorak has an interesting article about google's Wi-Fi network that just lit up in Mountain View, California. Could this be a revolution?

I wonder how this might all play out, what with net neutrality in Congress, AT&T, Comcast, and others adjusting their business models, VOIP, YouTube, etc.

How far down the road is FREE phone, video, and other services from google? And it could all be supported by their ad-serving capabilities. Brilliant!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lewis Black -- Dick Cheney & Quail Hunting

Lewis Black has a great bit about Dick Cheney and quail hunting (remember, the VP shot his friend in the face?). Most excellent bit.

California Woman Attacked by Mannequin Sues JC Penney

It is NOT joke Friday, but rather Freaky Friday -- A California dingbat was shopping at a JC Penney department store when she was struck on the head (surely, not the first time) by the arm of a mannequin that was wearing a garment the woman wanted. Now she's suing for "unspecified" damages.

If you can't tell me what hurts, how do I even know you're hurt? is what I can hear a jury saying.

Why Parents Drink

Today must be joke Friday, what with my posts about Joe "Eeyore" Leiberman, Democrats vs. Republicans, and this one, Why Parents Drink,

A boss wondered why one of his most valued employees had not bothered to phone in sick one day.

Having an urgent problem with one of the main computers, he dialed the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper.


"Is your daddy home?" he asked.

“Yes,” whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?"

The child whispered, "No."

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, “Is your Mommy there?"


"May I talk with her?"

Again the small voice whispered, "No."

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, "Is anybody else there?"

"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?"

"No, he's busy," whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?"

“Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the earpiece on the phone, the boss asked, "What is that noise?"

"A helicopter," answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive.

Again, whispering, the child answered, "The search team just landed the helicopter."

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, "What are they searching for?"

Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle......."ME."

Democrats vs Republicans

I ran across this today and chuckled --

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

Leiberman Re-tools Campaign Drive

Newly Independent-registered Senator hopeful, Joe Leiberman, hired two supposedly well-known pollsters today to help him rebuild his career. Both of these new hires have worked with Republican politicians in the past. So Joe said that hiring them shows that he's running a bipartisan campaign.

What the hell does "bipartisan" mean to Joe? According to The American Heritage Dictionary, bipartisan means "Of, consisting of, or supported by members of two parties, especially two major political parties." I think most people could guess what the word means just by looking at it and thinking, "Bi. Yes, that means two. As in bi-plane. Or bi-sexual."

So doesn't Eeyore mean "tripartisan?" Isn't he now an Independent? What a bafoon.

The second dumb thing about this news story is that Mr Leiberman has asked his current staff members to "reapply" to the campaign.

If I worked for his campaign, and I most assuredly never would, else I be taken out to the shipyard, tie myself to the back of a bigass boat, and hold my breath til I got to China, I would tell him this:

Go Fu@# yourself, you tripartisan whiner!

This guy is really a big loser. In fact, he could be The Biggest Loser, that reality show where all the fat ex-celebrities go on national TV, take off their clothes, and demean themselves even more by doing stupid stuff in front of the camera to lose weight. He could win without losing a pound. Heck, he wouldn't even have to show up. All the other contestants would pull out of the competition because they would know that they could never be a bigger loser than Leiberman.

Letter threatens to blow up Taj Mahal

Latest news from the terror front -- Al Qaeda supporters allegedly sent letter claiming to have plans to blow up the Taj Mahal.

Today's Molly Ivins' Column

Today's column from Molly Ivins brings up some really good points about current events:

  • Indiana is our national center of terrorism. That is, it is a more attractive state than, say, New York, as a terrorist target, according to the Department of Homeland Security. What a waste of space DHS is.
  • Joe Lieberman. Need I say more? No, I don't, but I will. He's the biggest complainer on the Hill. He needs to retire and go back home. Stay out of politics. You suck. You may not have been the reason Al Gore lost, but you didn't help. Shut up, Eeyore.
  • Osama is not in Iraq. Bush should have figured this out by now.
  • Enron. Refer to Lieberman above. He's the ranking Dem in the committee that woulda-coulda-shoulda-haven't-and-won't review the fiscal shenanigans of the world's most excessively scandalous company in the world.
  • Halliburton. Second only to Enron, but currently first, since it's still a viable company and Enron has been shredded, along with its paperwork (thanks, Arthur Andersen! Oh, yeah, it's dead, too!)
Read Molly's column for her hilarious take on these issues.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Revisited: WMD -- Weapons of Mass Deception

Rants 'n Reviews: WMD -- Weapons of Mass Deception

I was re-reading some of my posts for 2004 and found the following gem. Not a thing has changed. Sad, sad, sad.

Why are we in a war with Iraq? Well, because we can't leave now. (Reason #451)

The US Constitution Gets a Win!

Today, a federal judge ruled that President Bush's NSA probe into American citizens' phone and email conversations without a warrant is unconstitutional as well as at odds with several other laws on the books.

She has ordered the NSA to cease and desist all probes without a FISA court warrant.

Hooray for the Constitution! It finally got a win today after 6 years of losing.

JonBenet Ramsey

I write this today with a heavy heart. Having just become a parent myself, I can only imagine how this little girl's parents might have felt the past (almost) 12 years. I grieve for them today, more so than I did 12 years ago when they found their little girl dead. It's very sad. And nothing will bring her back or erase the terror, pain, or memories burned into her mind that fateful day.

It's hard to conceive how anybody could take anyone's life in such a manner as JonBenet's was taken. In the face of war, sure, I could see defending oneself as a legitimate reason for taking another life. I can see killing somebody if doing so would save a child, especially my own child. I wouldn't even think about it. I think there is a primal instinct to protect your own family and most people understand this.

I will not ever "get" how people could kill an innocent child.

JonBenet Ramsey was killed the day after Christmas 1996. Her mother and father had been suspects ever since. Her mother died just a couple of months ago, not ever having seen justice served. I hope that somehow she coped with the loss of her daughter and died with some semblance of peace in her heart and mind. But I doubt it.

You should NEVER live longer than your children.

And your children should NEVER have to experience brutality like this.

And whether or not you support capital punishment, I think you can understand how some people might just want to see JonBenet's killer put to death for her murder.

Let us all hope that we never have to face such a terrible circumstance. It hurts my heart to think about this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Virginia Senator George Allen Calls Opponent's Volunteer Staff Member, "Macaca"

George Allen is an idiot. But of course he is, he's a US Senator. There are more idiots in the Senate than not. Look at Ted Stevens of Alaska, the biggest and oldest idiot of all.

So Senator Allen is on the campaign trail and finds his opponent has sent a volunteer cameraman, S.R. Sidarth, to record Allen's speech. To which Allen responds,

"This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is," said Allen, who at times pointed directly at the camera. "He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great.

"Let's give a welcome to Macaca, here," Allen said. "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

Okay, first of all a "macaca" is a genus of monkeys. So, Allen called Sidarth a monkey.

Second, Sidarth is an American. So, Allen called Sidarth a monkey and a non-American because of the color of his skin.

Then, THEN!, Allen said that his remarks were not racist when asked about it. OF COURSE THEY WERE! HE'S A RACIST! RACISTS SAY RACIST THINGS.

It's really that simple. Calling a person of color a monkey is not only STUPID, but it's WRONG.

Of course, Allen never even apologized to the cameraman. I hope Sidarth is charged with following Allen around the entire campaign with a camera to record every stupid comment he makes. What a jerk!

Lynn Swann Dives in Governor's Race

Former Pittsburg Steeler wide receiver Lynn Swann has stepped up his efforts to unseat Pennsylvania's current governor, Ed Rendell, but to no avail. He has made ZERO progress in moving up in the polls, according to a CNN report today.

Having grown up an Oakland Raider fan during the 70s, I can say without any hesitation that I really cannot stand Lynn Swann. Oh, he was a talented receiver who seemed to have a vertical leap of around 50 inches, but, MAN, he had no heart.

I remember Jack Tatum ("They Call Me Assassin") and George Atkinson, two of the baddest DBs EVER, just beating the tar out of Swann. At times, it was said that Swann got hit so hard that he feigned being injured just so he didn't have to go back on the field again. But I think the real story was that he was hurt and scared. He had no heart.

And apparently, one cannot grow a heart. For he still has no heart. And he will not win. While I cannot call him a loser (what, does he have 4 Superbowl rings?), I can say that I do not like him, nor will I ever like him, and that's enough for him to lose.

President Bush Delivers Pardons

President Bush granted pardons to a number of people, many who broke ATF (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms -- I think explosives, too) laws and were convicted. Lots of firearms offenses were committed by the people Bush just pardoned.

I wonder why these people were pardoned? Personal friends of George?

Some were convicted of crimes related to drug possession.

The immediate question that comes to mind is Why these people? They seem like "regular" criminals, not people who would require presidential pardons. After all, their sentences, in most cases, were minimal: community service and probation.

So, why?

Seven Dwarfs vs US Supreme Court

Today's Word of the Day is Beautimous, which describes the results of a recent Zogby poll:

More people can name two of the seven dwarfs than can name two of the nine United States Supreme Court justices.

What does this say about society? I don't know, but it does tell me that too many people watch Disney cartoons.

Monday, August 14, 2006

You Are What You...Search?

Slate article about the AOL list of searches performed that created such a hubbub...some hilarious quotes in there, like ""i hurt when i think too much i love roadtrips i hate my weight i fear being alone for the rest of my life."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

John C Dvorak on YouTube

John C Dvorak has a post on Market Watch about YouTube. I think I want to try it. He says YouTube makes it very easy to upload personal videos.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bush Administration Attempted to Divert Bomb Detection Funds

Will wonders never cease? The Bush Admin wanted to take funds earmarked for explosives testing and use it elsewhere, presumably because explosives testing wasn't as important as, say, putting up a ridiculous missile-defense system that could never work.

Full story at the Jump.

Former Wal-Mart Executive "Sentenced" for Theft

I am continually amazed by the greedy SOBs who run our country and our county's businesses. This guy, Thomas Coughlin, former #2 at the company (as Vice Chairman), stole around $500k from the giant retailer the same year he received about $4 million in compensation and had around $20 million in stock options.

And he got no jail time and only probation and house arrest. The judge decided that his health was not good enough to endure prison.

Who ever said anything about "enduring" prison? Is this reverse age discrimination? If he were a young, fit man, would he go to jail for years? Is that fair? Is it just? Is there any justice left in the world?

Pioneer Talk Show Host Mike Douglas Died Today

I remember watching Mike Douglas as a kid. He had a great afternoon talk show. I didn't like his singing style, but I loved the show. My grandparents watched everyday, and so did I.

An excerpt: "In his memoir, Douglas fondly recalled when Tiger Woods, who as a toddler was already drawing attention, appeared on the same 1978 show as Bob Hope, an avid golfer. 'I don't know what kind of drugs they've got this kid on," Hope quipped, "but I want some.'"

Great guests, great host; family entertainment was never so good. Rest in peace, Mr Douglas.

Google Ads Are Hilarious!

Most of us "bloggers" (is that a derogatory term?) use Google's AdSense to try to generate some form of income, at least to partially offset the cost of doing business.

It kills me, however, how far off their purported "targeting" is -- mine currently says

Buy T*stosterone
T*stosterone by Doctor Prescription Get Leaner, Build Muscle, Lose Fat.
Buy T*stosterone Pills
Increase t*stosterone naturally. Testarol as low as $24.95/bottle
Ads by Goooooogle

(it may be gone now, but it's right UP THERE)

Now, I have posted quite a few times about Floyd Landis, 2006 Tour de France cycling champ, and his failed drug tests that indicated he had ingested synthetic male hormone, forevermore to be called "T*stosterone")

And now Google "decides" (the company may not be evil, but its computers might be) to put t*stosterone ads on my site. I love it!

How long might these ads be on my site? Not that it matters. Maybe the folks who read my blog need to buy testosterone (oops, there I did it again!)? Are they gunning for next year's Tour, or better yet, a future World's Strongest Man (or Woman) contest? Maybe take out Super Mario?

Bush's Vacation and Mine Coincide and THIS Is What Happens?

Sheesh, I take one day away from work, which coincidentally coincided with President Bush's and Tony Blair's vacations, and all hell breaks loose. (I had no idea I was so powerful, part of an axis of lazy.) I wasn't even aware that anything had happened until yesterday evening, when I was talking to my Mom on the phone.

I still don't know the full story (but these guys do). Apparently, the British arrested a lot of people in connection with a plot (plots?) to bring aboard commercial airplanes explosives to presumably blow up the planes.

Now, the knee-jerk reaction is to disallow any toothpaste and other "liquidy" bathroom items, like cologne, perfume, and mouthwash to be carried on planes. Of course, you can still stow them away in your checked baggage, none of which makes sense to me. But what does make sense anymore?

Those dirty terrorists -- they want us to smell as if we've been living in caves -- just like them!

While being smelly is bad, what is the true impact of all this? I have no idea. I just know I won't be getting on a plane anytime in the near-future. The security checks will be ridiculous.

Lots of questions are left to answer, though.

Is it a coincidence that it's a U.S. election year?
How long will the ridiculous measures that will be implemented be in effect?
How many terrorists didn't get caught?
When will profiling become politically correct?
When will the mostly Muslim terrorists begin recruiting grandmas, white people, and children?

It's only a matter of time before the world erupts in violence that cannot be turned back. I am no Rapture Index (last updated prior to yesterday's arrests) proponent, but I cannot see any end to this. The world is doomed to entropy, both by Mother Nature and by humans.

How to turn back the tide?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Alaska in Oil Dire Straits Over BP Shutting Down Pipeline

Alaska is losing over $6 million per day due to BP's shutting down of the trans-Alaskan pipeline. Not only are we (consumers) getting pounded by the shutdown (Alaska produces about 8% of our oil), but Alaskans are taking it in the shorts. Can you imagine expecting, say, $180 million this month, and getting $0?

Tour de France Fraud Floyd Landis Still Making Excuses

Boy, I really wanted to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but he keeps offering up excuses about why both his drug tests after Stage 17 failed: Was it something I ate?

No, Floyd, it wasn't what you ate -- it may have been what you ingested. "Was it something I ate" is something you say after you get a stomach ache and puke all over yourself. It's not something you say after you have defrauded millions of people.

You poor bastard.

I will say that I will be eager to apologize when he disproves the test results. I still want him to have won fair and square.

85-year-old Woman Is Left in Bank Vault

Wow, an older lady went into a Swiss bank vault to review some of her personal belongings (I assume a safe deposit box type of thing) and got locked in the vault for 4 hours. The Swiss bank didn't notice / remember that she had gone in there and she was keeping so still that she didn't set off any of the detection devices within the bank.

The bank gave her some flowers and is evaluating whether they will give her any other "nonfinancial compensation."

Blogging All the Way to Jail

Josh Wolf is the first blogger to be targeted by federal authorities for not cooperating with a grand jury. Are the courts trying to send a message to new media?

Digg's $60 million man - NOT!

It ain't so, says Kevin Rose. The founder of says he's broke and "can't afford a couch in my new apartment." Short bit of text on Marketwatch (3rd story down).

Microsoft backs GetHuman Customer Service Plan

"Microsoft will work with consumer-support advocate on the creation of new standards for better customer service industrywide."

I certainly hope that this "get human" push gets all companies that I deal with on the bandwagon. I truly hate customer service, on the phone, in person, and via the web. They all pretty much suck. There aren't many that do it well. A few that do:

McKinney loses runoff for Georgia seat - Incumbents Are Falling All Around Us

Incumbents, entrenched as they are, are abnormally failing to remain in their offices. What gives?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Condoms with a Funny Name -- "Good Penetration"

Okay, a place named Bangkok has ruled that a condom named after a popular homeland singer, Tom Dundee, might lead to more youngsters having sex before they're ready.

You see, "Dundee" in Thai translates to "good penetration." Quite the savvy marketers, this condom company is. Full story at the link below.

Lieberman campaign says Web site hacked - Yahoo! News

Very interesting shaping of things to come in Connecticut -- Joe Lieberman may lose his primary campaign. This would be a real loss.

From the story, "If defeated, Lieberman would be only the fourth incumbent senator since 1980 to lose a primary election." Click the link below for the whole story.

More DeLay News

Tom DeLay loses battle to get name removed from ballot. Huh? Here's the brief scoop. Tom DeLay got all tangled up with Jack Abramoff, lobbyist for and against American Indians. He resigns. He retires. But his name is still on the ballot. So he and his party (the Republicans, in case you didn't know) go to court to try to have his name removed so that another Republican's name can be put in DeLay's place. Only no court will allow it. Even the Supreme Court of the USA said no.

So, the Republicans are left with DeLay's name on the ballot (who isn't running) and the Democratic hopeful.

What happens if nobody writes in the replacement's name? Or, worse yet, what happens if DeLay wins? Brings to mind all those dead people voting in Chicago. Only this time it's the candidate who's (figuratively and politically) dead. It's happened before. It could happen again. After all, the same idiots live in DeLay's district that have elected and re-elected him time and time again. The guy's always been a scumbag. Just look at the photo.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Rep. Bob Ney Ties to Convicted Felon and Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Cause Ney to Retire

Bob Ney, Congressman from Ohio with tangled ties to disgraced lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, has announced his retirement and will not seek reelection.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tour de France "Winner" Floyd Landis' "B" Test Proves Final Blow

Floyd Landis, hoping his "B" test would disprove his previously failed "A" test, was seriously disappointed with the latest results. Not only was his testosterone level far above the limits, the test also showed synthetic testosterone was in his system after the stage in which he made up 8 minutes to vault himself back to the frontrunners in the race.

Phonak, Landis' team, immediately fired its captain (Landis, of course), stating, "This will be his personal affair, and the Phonak team will no longer be involved."

As I have posted previously, Landis has been shown to have synthetic testosterone coursing through his veins. While he has offered up various excuses for the elevated levels (almost 3 times the limit), he hasn't offered up any plausible explanations for synthetic testosterone within his system.

Now, speculation is a fun, yet oftentimes very disappointing, activity. Jumping to conclusions by assuming that Landis did indeed take something, many questions arise:

What did he take? How did he take it? How long was he on a program? Did he take it periodically throughout the race and prior training or did he take it only after his miserable stage 16? These questions, and more, may never be answered.

Unfortunately, Landis' image has been irreparably harmed, I believe. Thus far, he has been proven to be a cheater. The tests prove it. Until he can devise a scenario, proven by the same testing, that one or a combination of all the excuses he has given thus far could lead to a "natural" occurrence not only of such elevated levels but also the appearance of synthetic testosterone, he will be considered a cheater.

Reminds me of Bill Clinton and his "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Floyd, better to come out now and tell the world what you did than have the court of public opinion, not to mention the court of appeals, determine your fate. Come clean, so to speak. Once your suspension is over (it is assumed he will get a two-year ban in addition to losing his Tour title), come back and dominate the sport. Test clean.

Prove your doubters wrong.

Now, a lot of people are disparaging cycling and its top cyclists. I do still believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. So in the case of Ullrich and Basso, kicked out on allegations, I believe them to be innocent. Not a single test or admission of guilt has come out of their being sacked before the race started. However, in Landis' case, hasn't he been proven guilty by virtue of not one but two failed drug tests?

His guilt should not necessarily be associated with all of cycling. Clearly, most recreational riders are not druggies. I'd venture that even most competitive riders are not cheats. Those at the very top? Well, I would have to ask how they got there? What separates them from the rest? I used to think it was the talent, hard training, and diet. Maybe it still is: A diet of syringes, "supplements," and topical ointments.

It is sad, but it's life. People resort to desperate measures when they want to win.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Woman Gets Stuck on Toilet, Suffers Burns from Removal

A lady in Iowa got stuck on a toilet by some sadist's prank of leaving some sort of cement compound on the seat. The woman had to be removed from the toilet with fingernail polish remover that ultimately burned her, um, behind.

Breast Feeding Cover on babytalk Magazine Draws Outrage

Americans are such wussies. Come on, it's part of a boob, and everybody knows it's not a boob shot unless some part of nipple can be seen. Ask any 12-year old.

My New Hero -- Ramit Sethi

I found this guy, Ramit Sethi, through Life Hacker article about segmenting your savings into different accounts as a way to organize your finances, similar to a series of shelves on your desk that separates paper.

Anyway, Ramit turns out to be not only smart (Stanford grad, entrepeneur, consultant), but he's incredibly funny. He has several web sites, one of which is entitled, "Things I Hate." There are some serious gems in there. And there are a lot of things he hates, some of which are people doing something for a long time confusing that with doing something well, as well as cold fries (Fries are not fries if they're cold).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tour de France Winner Landis' Drug Test Outlook Not So Positive

Poor Floyd. He's got a bad hip. Had a falling-out with the era's, if not the all-time, best cyclist (Lance Armstrong). Almost blew his chance this year with no real front-runner (all were forced out of the race amidst drug allegations, go figure). Then, got a positive on his "A" drug test after Stage 17, the Stage where he blew away his competition.

The possible explanation, according to Landis, is that he consumed alcohol the night before the stage. He must really be a He-Man if he can drink the night before the ride of his life. Another excuse he and his lawyer offered up: Cortisone shots for his "ailing" hip.

Now, dehydration. Landis has already stated that taking the breakaway on Stage 17 was a great advantage because he didn't have to ride with anyone and he was very close to his team caravan, which, of course, supplied him with water whenever he needed it.

So, dehydration is out as an excuse. I was on Landis' side until I read about the fact that synthetic testosterone had been found in the test. I am no doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I have no idea how synthetic male hormone gets into a man's body without ingesting it, injecting it, rubbing it on, or some other such method. Simply, man does not create synthetic hormone within himself.

I really hope that the test proves wrong. There is a "B" test coming, results of which should be out Saturday. Hopefully, the "rumor" about the synthetic testosterone is just that -- a rumor. But I am highly suspicious of that. Though deep down I really want to believe Floyd that he took nothing to enhance his performance.

I just don't know how he can explain how synthetic male hormone got into his system. And even if he could, wouldn't that still be unfair and against the tenets of the sport? For example, TODAY, a baseball player can say he didn't know he was taking steroids, but his ignorance is no excuse for the hightened achievement he was able to attain by their use (if any). He may be stupid, and he may have unknowingly cheated, but cheated he did.

Same for Floyd. Let's hope the test was wrong and that there was no synthetic testosterone in his body at the time of the test. That would be wonderful.

Bill Moyers for President?

Molly Ivins has a fantastic idea -- run Bill Moyers for President. Nobody thinks he can win, but he will elevate the discourse to a level that many of us have never seen or might have forgotten: When debates were about issues, who won was about who was right.

If Moyers were to run, I agree with Molly that the other candidates will have no choice but to get markedly better.

As for Bush, this is what Ms Ivins has to say, and it sums him up pretty well, at least where stem cells and life are concerned:

"The poor man who is currently our president has reached such a point of befuddlement that he thinks stem cell research is the same as taking human lives, but that 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians are progress toward democracy."

Did Rumsfeld Flip or Flop?

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did a 180 today and did in fact testify publicly before Congress. Yesterday, he said he was too busy. Interesting. I wonder what changed his mind?

The Art of War and Iraq -- Protracted War

As you may know, I picked up Sun-tzu's "The Art of War." I just started paging through it and found this gem on long wars (i.e., Vietnam and Iraq):

"When employing them (soldiers) in battle, a victory that is long in coming will blunt thier weapons and dampen their ardor. If you attck cities, their strength will be exhausted. If you expose the army to a prolonged campaign, the state's resources will be inadequate.
"When the weapons have grown dull and spirits depressed, when our strength has been expended and resources consumed, then the feudal lords will take advantage of our exhaustion to arise. Even though you have wise generals, they will not be able to achieve a good result.
"Thus in military campaigns I have heard of awkward speed but have never seen any skill in lengthy campaigns. No country has ever profited from protracted warfare. Those who do not thoroghghly comprehend the dangers inherent in employing the army are incapable of truly knowing the potential advantages of military actions."

Wow, sounds like he's talking directly about our war with Iraq. Troop morale is down, and it's not for lack of support from the home country's people. I don't know anybody who wishes any harm to our soldiers. Some of us simply think they're deployed in a despicable way, for a war that shouldn't have been undertaken.

Some of us believe that we should have gone after the person responsible for 9/11, bin Laden, with all of our fury. The world was on our side. We would have had many countries' support in finding, capturing, and bringing to justice the world's most hated man.

But all that goodwill was pissed away by a cowboy president who wanted to invade Iraq pretty much from day 1. Paul O'Neil, his first Secretary of the Treasury, said so in his book, "The Price of Loyalty." Almost from the get-go, Bush and team wanted to finish the job his Dad had started, but didn't finish in the last decade. This pre-conceived notion drew all their energy and allowed them, and us, to forget about why we were in a war in the first place.

Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. Oh, I believe if Saddam could have played a part, he might have. But he didn't.

Anyway, back to the points of Sun-tzu. A long war cannot be won. Troops become fatigued. "Fuedal lords" in Sun-tzu's work can be replaced by "warlord" or "terror kingpin." It's all the same. And it's happening right now in Iraq.

Next up in this series (though perhaps not my next post), talk about redeployment of troops and how doing so only undermines our efforts.

Bush Takes Another Vacation

President Bush is at it again, the thing he does best -- VACATION. I wonder what calamity might occur this year? In all honesty, he's likely to do less damage away from work than at it. But one thing I have to admit -- he is really good at taking time off. Well done, Mr. President. Your Momma should be proud.

(Apologies to those who read my last post, where I said my next post would relate to the Iraq war and Sun-tzu's "The Art of War." Next up, I promise.)

The Art of War and Iraq

I have recently just finished reading two books (a major accomplishment!) about George W. Bush. One is Maureen Dowd's "Bushworld" and the other is Molly Ivins' "Shrub." As a lifelong, self-identified Republican / Conservative, I feel partially to blame for our ridiculous excuse for a president and administration.

I voted for Bush the 1st time around. I didn't think he had the stuff to be an effective president, but I chose him based on 3 things:

1. He wasn't Al Gore
2. He had Dick Cheney
3. He is a Republican and self-proclaimed "conservative" (in fact, a "compassionate conservative")

Today, and for much of the past 4-5 years, points 2 and 3 are no longer valid. Dick Cheney is quite possibly the evilest vice president EVER. He scares the living daylights out of me with all his secret meetings, his burrowing in his underground lair, his crooked smile. And more. That's another topic altogether.

Bush may be a Republican (you are how you register), but he's no conservative. There has been more pork in his term and a half than Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton, combined. He definitely does not believe in a smaller, less intrusive government. The government under his watch has grossly expanded, from DHS to TSA to massive deficits, etc.

Conservatives believe in security. This president talks a lot about it, but what has he done about it? Remember his declaring "bin Laden, dead or alive?" We haven't gotten that sick scoundrel yet. Why? Because we invaded Iraq. We took our eye off the ball and got smitten with a Louisville Slugger, 38 ounces. THWAPPP!

Anyway, the above-mentioned books got me started on re-rethinking how I feel about the war with Iraq. And since I had finished the two books I had started, I decided to pick up Sun-tzu's "The Art of War." Next post will address the first of many, I am sure, observations about / correlations with today's war in Iraq.

The Circular Logic of Dilbert's World

I like Scott Adams' work -- A LOT (in case you couldn't tell). I read a headline the other day that he got married. Congratulations, Scott! (Not that he'll ever read this.)

Needless to say, I get the latest Dilbert delivered to my inbox every day. Before I worked at SBC (I am no longer there, thank heavens), one of my best friends, who also worked for SBC (now AT&T), said of his experience there, "Dilbert is my horoscope. If I read about it in Dilbert, it will happen to me here (SBC) today."

Some of you may not know this, but Scott Adams worked at PacBell (Pacific Bell, the West Coast's "Baby Bell" that ran mostly all of California's local and much of its long distance service). PacBell was purchased by SBC a few years ago.

Anyway, Dilbert arose out of Scott's experience at PacBell. Here's today's strip, which exemplifies a daily happening not only at SBC but every other corporation I have ever worked at -- COMING SOON (SERVER ISSUES)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Declines Testifying Publicly Tomorrow

Is it any wonder that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will not testify before Congress tomorrow on Iraq? The orchestrator of the entire debacle won't show because, well, it's painful to his ego.

Top 25 Tech Products Over Past 25 Years

eWeek put out a list of the top 25 tech products over the last 25 years. Some products fit, some are questionable, a couple I am not too familiar with. What do you think about these picks?

AOL Emai is FREE

AOL email is now free. 2Gigs of storage, too. I hadn't used AOL for at least 5 years, and all my stuff is still there (my email addresses and my screen name). Bizaare.

Anyway, if you need a little more storage, and you don't hate AOL too much, take it, it's free.

Do Women Really Like Tech More than Shoes or Diamonds?

A new study sponsored by the Oxygen Network has concluded that women like tech toys more than shoes and diamonds. I have only one thing to say:


War Crimes Act -- Will This Be the President's Last Stand?

Salon article below about the War Crimes Act of 1996, where the Geneva Conventions could be applied in a criminal case against the president and his top legal dog, Alberto Gonzales, among others (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Perle, et al.)

Is this the Bush administration's Iran-Contra? Its Watergate? On the one hand, this is much worse than either of those two national (and international) black eyes, but on the other hand, who really thinks this will ever go to trial, much less imprison those responsible for committing the crimes? Not me.

Unless it's 2009 and there's a) a Democrat in the office of the president and b) Congress is overwhelmingly taken over by the Dems with a huge majority. And then pigs fly and Hell freezes over. And Cher retires.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Toyota Sells More Cars In US than Ford -- For the First Time EVER

Toyota sold more cars than Ford did in the United States for the first month EVER (July). It's a sad, troubling day in Detroit. Henry Ford must be rolling in his grave.

Crooked Signs Symbolic of Crooked Culture?

I work in a place that prides itself on being fair and honest. We have posters up throughout the building that say so. However, these posters are all crooked.

Shall I take this to be a metaphor for crookedness? Is the company trying to subliminally tell me something?

I have for a very long time held the belief that people who are crooked on the outside foreshadow their crookedness in the inside. Witness Dick Cheney. The guy's smirk is so crooked as to be confused with a vertical slit below his nose. And we know how crooked he is on the inside: secret energy task force deals, secret meetings with CIA analysts who were pressured to cook up WMD "facts" in Iraq, secret no-bid deals between our federal government and Haliburton. The list could go on and on and on and on.

But my point: Do crooked signs mean anything other than the fact that the hangers of said signs are lazy or don't have access to a laser level?

I realize I may be stretching things a bit here, but you get my point, don't you?

Fidel Castro Undergoes Intestinal Surgery

Cuba's Fidel Castro underwent intestine surgery and has left his brother, Raul, in charge of the last known Communist country. Just about 80, and having "served" as Cuba's dictator for nearly 50 years, Castro apparently had an intestinal crisis, accompanied by severe bleeding, that necessitated surgery.

Raul, 75, has temporarily taken over as Cuba's leader. Time will tell whether Fidel will return to power, much less return to good health.

Does this mark a new beginning for Cuba, or simply a pause in the status quo?

The Passion of Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson not only has fallen off the wagon, but he has fallen off his rocker. Mr Gibson, upon being pulled over on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), not only spouted off about Jews starting all wars, but he also questioned whether the arresting officer was Jewish.

What a freakin' jerk. Read the story here.