Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Top 50 Artists 

Rolling Stone magazine's newest issue ranks "The Immortals", the "Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time".

The Top 5 are no surprise: 1) The Beatles, 2) Bob Dylan, 3) Elvis, 4) The Rolling Stones, and 5) Chuck Berry. Its hard to argue with that.

But nowhere in the top 50 will you find Eric Clapton. No Eric Clapton? He has to be one of the great guitar players of all time and his work spans the last 30 years. They did however have room for Patti Smith, Chuck D, and Madonna. Give me a break.


April Fools 

April Fool's day is upon us again. This annual hoax apparently always gets some people going:

The infinite power supply does not exist. But for the past two years, that fact hasn't stopped people from trying to buy one.
In fact, ever since ThinkGeek, an online retailer of offbeat gadgets, put up the item on its website as an April Fools' Day prank in 2002, requests to purchase the item have continued to arrive at a slow but steady rate.
"We've had people e-mailing us from all over the world telling us they were very interested in it," said Scott Smith, a buyer for ThinkGeek, adding that no one who places an order actually gets charged for the $200 Desktop Zero-Point Infinite Power Generator. He said the site also receives queries on a regular basis, albeit in lower volumes, for other fake postings, including a USB George Foreman Grill and caffeinated meatloaf.

Hey...I've got a virtual bridge with a great view I'd consider parting with.

More April Fool's gags can be found here and a brief history of this illustrious day is here for those history minded among us.


You've Got Google 

Google is planning to offer free email with a much higher storage limit than Yahoo or Hotmail.

At least it would be a longer period of time before you got those irritating notes reminding you that you've reached your storage limit and prodding you to subscribe to their "pay service"


The Letter K 

Kates letter of the day is appropriately...K!

K could also be for....Kissing!


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

There is much to criticize the Bush administration on when it comes to its pre 9-11 anti terrorism policies. It can certainly be fairly argued that the new administration did not have a great enough appreciation for the Al Quaeda threat and focused too much attention on other issues. Although I suspect Richard Clarke's motives and his attacks appear to be unusually personal, there are probably some grains of truth in what he says. The Bush administration came into office focusing on missile defense and rogue states, and al Queda snuck up and bit us on the ass. Fair enough.

But Charles Krauthammer points out that the Clinton administration had many opportunities and many reasons to go after Bin Laden and his Islamic crazies for eight years. While Clinton was trying to define what "is" is(or was!), his administration never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity to take out Bin Laden and his terrorist infrastructure.

The 1990s were al Qaeda's springtime: Blissfully unmolested in Afghanistan, it trained, indoctrinated, armed and, most fatally, planned. For the United States, this was a catastrophic lapse, and in a March 2002 interview on PBS's "Frontline," Clarke admitted as much: "I believe that, had we destroyed the terrorist camps in Afghanistan earlier, that the conveyor belt that was producing terrorists, sending them out around the world would have been destroyed." Instead, "now we have to hunt [them] down country by country."
What should we have done during those lost years? Clarke answered: "Blow up the camps and take out their sanctuary. Eliminate their safe haven, eliminate their infrastructure. . . . That's . . . the one thing in retrospect I wish had happened."
It did not. And who was president? Bill Clinton. Who was the Clinton administration's top counterterrorism official? Clarke. He now says that no one followed his advice. Why did he not speak out then? And if the issue was as critical to the nation as he now tells us, why didn't he resign in protest?

Indeed. Why was it a mistake for Bush to not have taken out those camps in his first eight months in office but Clinton gets a pass for not doing it in eight YEARS?

The "Frontline" interviewer asked Clarke whether failing to blow up the camps and take out the Afghan sanctuary was a "pretty basic mistake."
Clarke's answer is unbelievable: "Well, I'm not prepared to call it a mistake. It was a judgment made by people who had to take into account a lot of other issues. . . . There was the Middle East peace process going on. There was the war in Yugoslavia going on. People above my rank had to judge what could be done in the counterterrorism world at a time when they were also pursuing other national goals

September 11th was a wakeup call. Very few (if any) politicians in Washington took the threat seriously enough. Lets admit that and move on and destroy these lunatics. But lets also not re-write history in a partisan manner.

Al Queda should've been hunted down and destroyed after the embassy bombings in Africa and certainly after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. This was not a sleeping dog and we shouldn't have let it lie. What matters to me now is that we have a president with the cojones to finish the job. Bush has shown me that he has them. Kerry hasn't.

Awwwwww! Isn't this cute? I have to get one of those jackets for my nine year old daughter. John Kerry is starting to make the French look American!

The enchanting Venomous Kate is playing letter games again. Somehow I find it addicting to click on her "letter links". Today's letter is "J" and I especially enjoyed this one.

I'd also like to add that "J" is also for:

Jambalaya Yum!

Glenn Reynolds is right. This home made ad is better than any of the three official Bush campaign ads I've seen.

The Bush campaign folks need to put some of that gazillion dollars they've raised to work. Had I just arrived from being stranded on a desert island for three years, how would you explain to me what this administration has accomplished? If Bush wants to win re-election he needs to tout some of his accomplishments.

Bush's best "negative" ad is "Troops-Fog". I love the shot of Kerry saying, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it".

Of course I'm no ad expert and Bush's ads appear to be making an impact. (via Andrew Sullivan)

I also meandered over and took a look at John Kerry's ads. None of them are anything special either. The most effective ones I thought used his former military companions as testimonials about his character. But a lot of his ads were harsh, negative, and (in my mind) ineffective. The best campaign ads use a stiletto and not a sledgehammer.

It will be interesting to see how the two campaigns play out.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Dawn Olsen makes a very good point about those in the pro choice movement who oppose giving the fetus legal protection and enhancing the penalties against those who murder pregnant women. The proposed law would make this crime a "double murder" and would specifically exempt legal abortions.

There is a distinction, and for abortion rights fanatics to try to use this particular legal measure to protect the fragile life of innocents as a soapbox for their cause, is as bad as anti-abortion psychotics trying to brainwash America into thinking that women who have normal abortions within a reasonable time period are baby killers.
Moderation people - what's so hard to understand about that concept?

I'm not as "pro choice" as Dawn is. Call me a "conflicted pro-lifer". The commonality of abortion in this country...the sheer numbers...bother me. I do believe that fetal life deserves protection at some point during pregnancy. It seems like science is making a moving goal with lower and lower ages of fetal viability.

But my libertarian instincts don't like the government interfering in private, personal decisions. Thats where the conflict comes in. I could probably live with legal abortion with modest restrictions before fetal viability and with severe restrictions thereafter.

But this bill doesn't even address these issues. I see know problem at all with charging someone who would kill a pregnant woman with two crimes.

When Dawn asks about moderation the answer is that on this issue there is precious little of it. Its one of those issues you can't even have a dialogue about. When you talk to people about it you're either preaching to the choir or it all gets lost in name calling and hyperbole.

Thats a damned shame.


Sunday, March 28, 2004

This story is very touching.

And when Clinton needed music in the middle of the 1996 blizzard, when many roads weren't plowed and Corrado's unassuming cul-de-sac in Potomac was a mess of snow, the National Guard sent a Humvee. Corrado's wife took pictures, and perplexed neighbors wandered outside to watch the trim man with the short black hair climb aboard with his uniform -- still the same size as it was in July 1958, when he joined the military.
"The president wants music," Martha Corrado remembers saying to the onlookers, who never had known exactly what the humble man near the end of the street did for a living.
His wife tells the stories now because Charlie Corrado, 64, no longer can. The words freeze in his mouth, then gurgle clumsily when he tries to enunciate. Slightly awkwardly, he leans in the front room of their Potomac home, supporting his half-paralyzed body against his black baby-grand piano.

Gunnery Sgt. Corrado served 45 years in the Marine Corps ( a record for an enlisted man) and played for every president from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.

Thank you Sergeant for your service to our country and may God guide you in the years to come.

This is simply idiotic. Bipartisanly idiotic.

Congress appears to be preparing assaults against peer-to-peer technology on multiple fronts.
A draft bill recently circulated among members of the House judiciary committee would make it much easier for the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecutions against file sharers by lowering the burden of proof. The bill, obtained Thursday by Wired News, also would seek penalties of fines and prison time of up to ten years for file sharing.

TEN YEARS in jail for sharing an electronic file of Eminem's latest efforts?? You've gotta be kidding me. This may be an issue for the entertainment industry. But is it an issue for a country fighting a war on terrorism, trying to keep a declining manufacturing base, with drug abuse problems, and desperately needed reforms of entitlement programs? To see our elected representatives carrying water for the bloated entertainment industry just makes me ill. Do they think this has the support of the people? Just wait till F.B.I. agents start busting down the doors of middle class homes, college dormitories, and internet cafes. The entertainment industry has resisted every effort to make content available online for a reasonable price. Their feeble efforts of the past year still leave a lot to be desired.

The duty of Congress is to protect the interests of the American people. It is not to cuddle up to the Gucci clad, limousine driving Hollywood crowd. Let the entertainment industry solve its own problems. Let them launch silly lawsuits against 13 year old kids. But leave the federal government OUT of it.

This is too funny! (from Winds of Change)

The French Government, taking a page from our own Department of Homeland Security has established internal threat levels. Unlike the USA, the French only have four such levels. They are, from low to high: RUN, HIDE, SURRENDER, and COLLABORATE.


Thomas Friedman is dreaming:

I so hunger to wake up and be surprised with some really good news — by someone who totally steps out of himself or herself, imagines something different and thrusts out a hand.
I want to wake up and read that President Bush has decided to offer a real alternative to the stalled Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming. I want to wake up and read that 10,000 Palestinian mothers marched on Hamas headquarters to demand that their sons and daughters never again be recruited for suicide bombings. I want to wake up and read that Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia invited Ariel Sharon to his home in Riyadh to personally hand him the Abdullah peace plan and Mr. Sharon responded by freezing Israeli settlements as a good-will gesture.
I want to wake up and read that General Motors has decided it will no longer make gas-guzzling Hummers and President Bush has decided to replace his limousine with an armor-plated Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that gets over 40 miles to the gallon.

Sounds good Tom. Thats why dreams are dreams. I have a few of my own to add to it.

I want to wake up and hear that John Kerrey and Ted Kennedy can muster as much outrage about Saddam Hussein's atrocities and the murderous Hamas as they can about the president of the United States.

I want to wake up and read that the new Prime Minister of France has decided that fighting terrorism is more important than cozying up to maniacal dictators.

I want to wake up and read that Oklahoma State has won the N.C.A.A. basketball championship.

I want to wake up and read that Congress and state legislatures around the country have increased funding for education and tied it to school improvement and accountability.

I want to rise in the morning and read abortion rates have dropped 95% due to increased awareness, birth control, and a realization that life is important.

I want to wake up and find that Iraq has elected a new president and parliament committed to democratic institutions and the rule of law.

I want to rub my sleepy eyes and find that a compact of the nations C.E.O.'s has agreed to tie their salaries directly to those of their workforce and the company's performance.

I want to yawn, stretch, and be stunned by the news of a new Palestinian leader truly committed to peace with Israel meeting to talk and settle this long standing dispute.

I want to tune in my radio on the way to work and hear that the music recording industry has agreed to allow unlimited downloads of copyrighted music for a fixed monthly price on multiple services.

I'd like to awaken and find that John Lennon and George Harrison have risen from the dead and the Beatles are planning a reunion tour...hey, this is a dream right?

I want to sip a cup of coffee and read that Democrats and Republicans have agreed to set aside their petty political differences and define Social Security and Medicare for the next generation.

I want to hear that Saudi Arabia's 12th century monarchy has been overthrown by democratic reformers committed to pluralism and free speech.

I want to read that Congress has simplified the tax code so that anyone can do their taxes on a single sheet form.

Ok....I'm awake now. As the Beach Boys croon...."wouldn't it be nice"? :)

Go Cowboys! My alma mater is in the Final Four! Eddie Sutton is a great coach and a class act. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

John Lucas hit the winning shot with six seconds left. I must be getting old because I remember his dad playing in college at Maryland and being the first player drafted when he came out of college. Now his son is a star of one of this year's best teams.

Basketball has a long a proud tradition at O.S.U. Coach Sutton played for the legendary Henry Iba there and now is continuing the tradition.


Saturday, March 20, 2004

The web site "Perverted Justice" uses plain old fashioned shame to harass the pedophilic perverts that troll the internet. Its volunteers pose as underage kids, talk with adults who try to hit on them, gather personal information, and then publish the name, address, phone #, etc. of the offender.

Just the threat that that little gal who says she is 13 could be a 50 year old man who is going to make your life a living hell should work as a deterrent out there. The internet brings people closer together...sometimes its just not the right people.


Monday, March 01, 2004

This article about high school sports in Alaska was fascinating! :

It took 90 minutes at sea in a small boat, five hours driving in two vans and 75 minutes on a commuter jet before the boys and girls basketball teams from Seldovia reached Bethel, a remote town in western Alaska.
When the players stepped off the jet onto the Bethel tarmac, as flat as the tundra enveloping it, the late-afternoon temperature was 38 degrees below zero.
Seldovia's players would stay for four nights, sleeping on classroom floors at the local high school, to play three basketball games in a round-robin tournament.
Joining them were teams from Unalakleet, a village of about 800 people on the Bering Sea, and Homer, a port town like Seldovia in the state's south-central maritime wilderness.

This gets to the essence of what school sports is all about - participation, dedication, and fun!


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