Well, I am finally getting over being sick. I went to work for a few hours today, the first time in over a week. I was hoping to stay late and get a lot done. Unfortunately, I'm still not feeling up to a whole day. Oh well, we do what we can.
I'm quite surprised that I've found nothing worth posting on today. Again, we do what we can.
I wish I had something terribly profound to say about Memorial Day, but I don't. I will say that I am eternally grateful for the incredible sacrifice our military, veterans, and honored dead have made for this country. It's really remarkable that so many people have been willing to give large portions of their life, not to mention those that have in fact laid down their lives to protect us and our freedom.
My dad's father served in WWII. As memory serves, my Gramma was told he was a cook, but he actually worked in reconnaissance behind enemy lines. On more than one occasion she received a notice that he was MIA. The war had an affect on his personality as I understand it, but he at least wasn't killed. I never met him as he died before I was born. As far as I know, that's the closest my own family has come to losing someone in war.
We've gotten off lucky. Other families have given much more. May God be with them all.
So on Friday I went back to the doctor's office since I was still feeling sick and strep throat isn't normally supposed to last that long. My doc was out of town so I saw another doctor in his office. He confirmed that I definitely have strep throat. However, even though they didn't find it when they tested, the doctor also believes I have mono as well.
Anyway, he started me on some new meds. I'm feeling better, but I don't know for sure if that's because I'm actually on the mend, or if it's just the Vicodin he prescribed. Regardless, I'm feeling better.
Now I've got to deal with the fact that I've missed a week of work and that next week I'll be in DC for meetings for 3 days and the week after that I'm supposed to go get hitched. I think I'll be working LONG hours this week. Oh joy. At least I'm feeling better.
John Cole is suspicious of the motives of law enforcement officers who are trying to get more authority to fight intellectual property piracy under the guise of fighting terrorism.
I've got to go along with him on this. I agree that intellectual property piracy is a serious crime. I know that I constantly bump into sites, while looking for legitimate downloads online, that contain what appear to be pirated content. For that matter, I've seen sites carrying what is clearly pirated material proudly proclaiming that what they do is legal. Generally, the factual statements they make are true, but are clearly made in such a way as to be misleading.
And that's just the stuff I've found on the internet without looking for it. I can't imagine what you'd find on the net and off if you were genuinely looking to pirate stuff.
So, I've got no problem believing that there is a serious problem out there. However, as John points out, based solely on the fact that people who've been caught engaged in piracy have shown an affinity for certain terorrist organizations, some people are expecting us to just hand them a bunch more power to go after intellectual property crimes. This is just absurd.
While we're not planning on buying another dog real soon, my fiancee and I know we'll want to get another one eventually. We're really looking for a big dog who's good indoors, good with kids, and good at protecting the family. From the research we've done, we think the Dogo Argentino sounds almost perfect for our needs. Does anyone out there have experience with the breed?
At half past one a.m. tomorrow morning they will be showing it
again. And that I will video, and then watch it properly later, and
then again in the months and years to come. That is how to enjoy sport,
if you are a not-proper sports fan like me. Watch and rewatch the games
your guys win in style, and forget the rest. Do not waste your one life
obsessing over games that got away, or which were won by your team but
unmemorably, without any amazing magic moments to savour. Take all that
spiritual energy, and apply it to doing real life better, I say. My
method wastes far less time on all this nonsense.
But when games go right, enjoy.
When I was younger, I was a practically rabid sports fan, even when watching games betweens teams I didn't care about playing sports I didn't particularly care for. As I've grown older I have a harder and harder time getting worked up about sports. Even my favorite team (Dallas Cowboys) playing my favorite sport (Real football!) don't generally get me very worked up. I now find that the only way I can watch baseball on TV is the way I'm doing it now; I have the TV on while doing something else and if the announcers sound excited I'll look up to see the replay. I hadn't thought of Brian's approach which basically takes what I'm doing and makes an art form out of it.
I tend not to read Peggy Noonan very much. It's not that I dislike her or think her points are off-base or anything. No, it's just that almost every column I read of hers is about 35% longer than it really needs to be to make succesfully argue the point she's making. However, when I read this, I knew I'd read the whole thing:
You've heard the mindless
braying and fruitless arguments, but I'm here to tell you the facts, no
matter what brickbats and catcalls may come my way. Lindsey Graham
defied the biases of his constituency to do what was right, not what
was easy. Robert Byrd put aside personal gain to save our Republic.
David Pryor ignored the counsels of hate to stand firm for our hopes
and dreams. Mike DeWine protected our way of life. These men are
uniters, not dividers.
How do I know?
Because they told me. Again and
again, and at great length, as they announced The Deal. And I believed
them, because I am an idiot. Or as they might put it, your basic "folk"
from "back home."
Listening to them I thought of
some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic. "The rooster
who thought he brought the dawn." "The only man who can strut sitting
OK, so a few weeks ago I switched from Cox Cable high-speed internet to SBC Yahoo's premium DSL service. The difference is staggering.
When I first got Cox cable it worked pretty well. For a few months that remained the case. Over time though, things started getting progressively worse. My speed started to slow down and I started having complete service outages. A few months ago I was home sick for a couple of days. Both of those days plus the two days during the previous weekend brought complete lack of service for a couple of hours each afternoon.
Meanwhile, speed continued to slow down. For a while I was really big into playing Dark Age of Camelot which is a massively multi-player online role-playing game. I enjoyed playing but I had horrible lag problems. It got so bad that on many occassions other players accused me of using dial-up. A few simply refuesed to play with me any more.
By the time I finally got a chance to switch over (I live on the outskirts of town and it took a while for SBC and the other local phone company to give me a definitive answer as to whether or not they could actually service me. SBC finally said yes and the other company said it would be six months before they could service my area.) tests of my upload and download capacities showed speeds barely above dial-up most of the time. The day before my DSL was activated my fiancee and I were having lots of trouble getting pages to load at all.
Once I got my DSL up and running with my wireless router the difference was immediately evident. File downloads increased by several order of magnitudes and web pages once again loaded almost instaneously.
It should be noted that I had called Cox a few times asking for help. They would tweak things there or have me tweak things here and it would work. Well, it would work for an hour or so. It was finally more than I could take.
I'm not the only one who's had trouble with Cox. I had a friend who moved from Fort Worth to Amarillo last year. She'd been using cable internet with another company before and was on Cox once she got to Amarillo. The complaints about her new service began almost immediately.
So what's the moral of this story? I guess that would be Cox Cable Internet: Bad. SBC DSL: Good.
When Oliver Stone's idiotic movie about the Kennedy Assasination came out, someone, I believe it was Johnny Carson as "the Great Karnak" but I could be wrong, joked that John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were the only people Oliver Stone didn't think were involved in the Kennedy Assasination. I wonder who will discover was really to blame for this?
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone was
arrested for investigation of drug possession and driving while
intoxicated, police said Saturday.
Stone, 58, was arrested Friday night at a police checkpoint on
Sunset Boulevard after showing signs of alcohol intoxication, police
Sgt. John Edmundson said.
A search of his Mercedes turned up drugs, Edmundson said. He did not specify what kind.
It's an unfortunate truth that dogs don't live forever. My dogs are still in good health, but they are getting up there. That combined with the fact that I'm about to have a six year-old in the house has made me think about what the perfect dog would be. The dog would be:
At least 60 pounds, (see number 12)
Calm in the car,
Willing to sit some place besides my lap while I'm driving,
Comfortable in and out of the house,
Not prone to bladder control problems,
In need of little grooming,
Not prone to excessive shedding,
Easy to train,
Attentive and alert,
Patient with other pets,
Patient, playful, and gentle with children, and last but certainly not least,
If anyone tried to hurt or kidnap said children, would rip said attacker's throat out without a second thought.
Last night it became obvious that I wasn't going to get any sleep. That was probably a combination of the strep and my new medication which the pharmacist warned me would probably keep me up some. (In other news, the doc also prescribed me some Vicodin yesterday and I'm feeling much better, if somewhat out there. Yay!)
Anyway, since Dish Network gave me several free pay-per-view movies when my dad signed up, I decided to watch Elektra. (My fiancee and I had planned on seeing it in the theaters, but it cleared out of the theater in Amarillo much sooner than we expected.) It's a pretty good movie and certainly has all the action you'd expect. I've got to say though that this is probably the most surreal movie I think I've ever seen. The whole movie I was seeing things that made me go, "Hmmmmmm!"
The House Majority Leader plans a letter of protest later this afternoon, congressional sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
Wednesday night's episode centered on the murder of a judge.
"Maybe we should put out and APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-Shirt," declares a character during the drama.
I was watching the show which, frankly, got very confusing in points, even for a show that tends to be a tad strange anyway. The line in question didn't appear to have anything whatsoever to do with the flow conversation. There was nothing whatsoever that tied the motives of the killers to any particular political movement. It was very strange indeed.
That being said, I fail to see how what a letter of protest would accomplish other than to let people know the Congressman was ticked off. I think we already knew that.
Missouri’s Medicaid program paid for
sexual performance drugs to treat impotence in 26 convicted sex
offenders during the last year, state officials said Wednesday.
Medicaid officials said the prescriptions would not be refilled and
future orders for Viagra, Cialis and other drugs that treat erectile
dysfunction will be screened to make sure the recipient is not on the
sex offender registry.
The prescriptions cost the Medicaid program $1,977 in state money and $5,083 in federal and other matching funds.
“The ability for Missouri sex offenders to get impotence treatment
funded through Medicaid has now been eliminated,” Social Services
director Gary Sherman said in a written statement.
Right after the train bombings in Spain the Spanish people had a huge protest demonstrating their resolve to not give in to terrorists. Then a couple of weeks later they elected a bunch of leftist peaceniks. The new plan is to negotiate with terrorists.
Suspected Basque rebels detonated a powerful car bomb during
rush-hour in Madrid Wednesday, injuring 52 people in the sixth attack
since Spain's prime minister offered the group negotiations if it
renounces violence, authorities said.
An anonymous warning on behalf of the separatist group ETA to a
pro-independence Basque newspaper preceded the morning blast in an area
of office buildings and shops in a working-class neighborhood in
Spain's capital, officials said. Police had time to cordon off the area
before the blast.
The explosion the first blamed on ETA in Madrid since February
shattered windows and damaged building facades and cars, but none of
the 52 people injured were critically wounded and only five of them
were hospitalized, the city's emergency medical services said.
France and the Netherlands should re-run their
referendums to obtain the "right answer" if their voters reject
Europe's constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots,
Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on
Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should
continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of
the French and Dutch votes.
His comments reflect a mood of deepening pessimism among Europe's leaders about the outcome of the referendums.
countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question
again. And if we don't manage to find the right answer, the treaty will
not enter into force," he said in an interview with the Belgian Le Soir
newspaper. (Emphasis added.)
Why stop at one re-vote? Why not just keep on voting once a month until you get the answer you want?
WASHINGTON, May 24 - Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican,
unveiled the much-anticipated proposal for a Clean Sports Act on
Tuesday, the culmination of a series of hearings full of discontent
with steroid testing in professional sports. The legislation aims to
require standardized testing procedures and stiffer punishments for
athletes who test positive for banned substances.
McCain, joined by fellow Republican Congressmen Mark Souder of
Indiana and Thomas Davis of Virginia and Democrats Henry A. Waxman of
California and Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, called at a news
conference for the four major professional leagues to institute a
system at least as tough as the one for the Olympics.
Earlier Tuesday, Olympics officials enjoyed being on the nonhostile
side of this debate in a hearing conducted by McCain to review the
annual federal government financing of the United States Anti-Doping
Agency, which administers Olympic drug testing. Although McCain lauded
the efforts of the agency, he stopped short of announcing that it
should conduct the testing for the pro sports leagues.
"It's obvious that a vital component of this whole business is who
does the testing," McCain said after the morning hearing. "U.S.A.D.A.
seems to me to be a likely candidate for that, but I'm not dictating
that nor do I think Congress should."
On national defense, McCain is generally right on. However, his pursuit of federal control of pretty much everything is almost maniacal.
Update: You know, sometimes I think the Bill of Rights is about 457 words too long.
In the latest twist in the broadening battle overdecency standards,
the glam-metal band Mötley Crüe filed suit against NBC yesterday. The
suit states that the network violated the group's free-speech rights
and weakened its sales by banning it after Vince Neil, the lead singer,
used an expletive on the air in a Dec. 31 appearance on "The Tonight
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, accuses the
network of censoring the band to mollify a Federal Communications
Commission that has been increasingly quick to levy steep fines for
broadcasting indecent material on television and radio. The lawsuit
says the network, which banned the group after Mr. Neil inserted an
expletive into his New Year's greeting to Mötley Crüe's drummer, Tommy
Lee, added insult to injury by promoting a summer reality series
featuring Mr. Lee.
The band, known for 1980's hits like "Shout at the Devil" and
"Girls, Girls, Girls," is requesting a ruling that NBC's ban is
unconstitutional, a court order forcing the network to lift it, and
unspecified financial damages tied to the band's reduced media exposure.
Now here this: NO ONE has a constitutional right to be on someone else's TV shows. If a court order were to be issued forcing NBC to allow the band to appear, it would be a violation of rights, not the enforcement of them.
By refusing to allow Mötley Crüe to perform on NBC, the network has in no way violated anyone's rights. Mötley Crüe has been in no way prevented from saying whatever they want, whenever they want. They're just not being allowed to say it on NBC. I wasn't aware that there was a constitutional right to appear on NBC. If there is, then I guess my rights are being violated to.
On the other hand, the right to free speech also means the right not to speak and the right to not pay for someone else's speech if you don't want to. That sounds exactly like what Mötley Crüe's trying to do here.
Now let me get this straight; Mexico is mad because Congress made it significantly easier for law enforcement to enforce our immigration law?
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico formally complained to the
United States on monday in an escalating dispute over
immigration that led President Vicente Fox to make remarks last
week that were widely condemned as racist.
Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez told reporters that
Mexico sent Washington a diplomatic note, a form of official
protest between two countries.
Mexico is complaining about tough new U.S. rules on
foreigners that make it more difficult for millions of illegal
immigrants from Mexico to get driver's licenses.
The controls, passed by Congress as part of a larger
legislative package, also allow the extension of a fence on the
border between California and Mexico aimed at stopping illegal
Let's see here; how much do I care that he's upset? Not at all. I'm not going to get all huffy and claim that he has no right to criticize us. However, I'm also not likely to be swayed by his whining.
And on a related subject, this sure sounds racist to me:
Differences over immigration came to a head when Fox,
frustrated that a proposal by President Bush to ease
immigration restrictions had bogged down in Congress, told
business people in Texas on Friday that Mexican immigrants "are
doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United
The 2001 tax bill made major changes to the estate tax and repealed it as of 2010. However, as the law now stands it all gets wiped away in 2011. That has left a big fight out there on the subject of repealing the tax for good. There seems to be some dissension in Republican rates on whether this is politically viable:
Massing in the Capitol for the latest in a series of rallies, some of
the estate tax repeal’s fiercest advocates began publicly revealing for
the first time a schism in their own ranks. While many continue to
claim they are on the path of fully eliminating the tax within the next
year or two, there is growing support among others for accepting a
compromise measure now, while the ideological battle is won and before
the opportunity is lost.
Conservative Pollster Frank Luntz, largely credited with the
conservative movement’s semantic transition from the term “estate tax”
to “death tax,” talked to both sides of the issue. According to Luntz,
the ideological struggle is over.
“It does not matter what you call this anymore,” Luntz said. “The
public perceives deeply, morally, that this tax is wrong and
But Luntz is one of the first to temper his praise with warnings,
calling on his fellow repeal advocates to avoid becoming victims of
their own success. Luntz said an alarming number of Republicans would
not be upset to find this issue drag into the next election. It is a
tremendous political winner for the GOP, particularly in Midwestern and
farming states, Luntz said, and Republicans used it to bounce former
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., from office in 2004. But
Luntz warned that estate tax repeal advocates who are planning to
reject a compromise to instead wait for full repeal could be making a
Unlike many conservatives, I don't find the very idea of an estate tax to be repugnant, but I do find our current tax so. I don't think estate taxes should force heirs to decide between selling their parents' property or facing financial ruin.
On the other hand, some heirs tend to be so laid back in the administration of property that they make decisions that can help keep local economies stagnant. A scaled down estate tax might force these heirs to do something in order to continue on as they would like. That's not a bad thing.
Personally, I'd like to see a $5 million exemption and a maximum rate of 15%. That may actually be less likely than full repeal though.
CBS says that the memo fiasco was not a factor in the decision to cancel 60 Minutes II.
Dan Rather, the newsmagazine's lead correspondent, will contribute
stories to the Sunday edition of "60 Minutes," said CBS Chairman Leslie
"This was a ratings call, not a content call," Moonves said Wednesday.
The newsmagazine spinoff was where Rather reported last September
that Bush skirted some duty while in the Texas Air National Guard and a
commander felt pressure to sugarcoat an evaluation of him. An
independent panel later concluded that documents used in the story
could not be verified.
Moonves said that story didn't figure in the decision to cancel it, "not even slightly."
The story may not have had a direct effect on the decision, but I have trouble believing that it didn't enter into the equation at all. Moonves
does say that the decision was based on ratings. I haven't researched
it, but I assume that when a show that purports to be an apolitical
dispenser of truth gets caught pushing fraudulent documents in a
shamefully obvious attempt to influence a Presidential election that
its ratings would suffer. Further, knowledge that it has happened once would have to make execs wonder if it would happen again, thus pushing ratings even lower
Ariz. (AP) - FBI agents posing as cocaine traffickers in Arizona caught
16 current and former U.S. soldiers and law enforcement personnel who
took about $220,000 in bribes to help move the drugs through
checkpoints, Justice Department officials said Thursday.
charged include a former Immigration and Naturalization Service
inspector, a former Army sergeant, a former federal prison guard,
current and former members of the Arizona Army National Guard and the
state corrections department, and a Nogales police officer, officials
individuals charged were sworn personnel having the task of protecting
society and securing America's borders. The importance of these tasks
cannot be overstated and we cannot tolerate, nor can the American
people afford, this type of corruption," FBI agent Jana D. Monroe, who
directs the bureau's operations in Arizona, said during a news
conference in Tucson.
have agreed to plead guilty to being part of a bribery and extortion
conspiracy, the result of the nearly 3 1/2-year FBI sting, acting
assistant attorney general John C. Richter and Monroe said. Officials
said more arrests are anticipated.
Can we please get serious about border security some time soon?
Glenn Reynolds quotes Clayton Cramer who thinks it's getting harder and harder to reject claims that Pat Buchanan is an anti-semite. I disagree. Anti-semitism is, as near as I can tell, what you accuse someone of when they hate Jews but seem to be alright with other ethnic groups. I've long since concluded that Buchanan's bigotry goes well beyond the descendant's of Jacob.
The U.S. breast-feeding rate could see some improvement thanks to tax incentives
in a new bill introduced on May 5 by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and
Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Nursing mothers packed the crowd at the press
conference introducing the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (H.R. 2122), many
actively breast-feeding in support. (For the bill text, see Doc
The bill would give employers up to a 50 percent tax credit
for expenses incurred to establish workplace “lactation stations,” purchase or
rent lactation-related equipment, and hire lactation consultants. It would also
make expenses incurred for breastfeeding equipment deductible for individuals as
medical care expenses.
Could someone please explain to me what business the government has interfering with a mother's decision about whether or not to breast-feed? And to give tax incentives for it? Personally, I'm all in favor of breast-feeding but this is just absurd.
I just lost the first half (and everything I'd written so far) of a lengthy post launching off of this story. I don't feel like trying to recreate it so here's the short version.
Periodically you will see foreign leaders, not to mention terrorists, lambaste the US political system by pointing to how undemocratic the Electoral College and the Senate are. This wouldn't bother people if they understood that something being undemocratic doesn't make it bad. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the best thing about Senate filibusters and the Electoral College system is precisely the fact that they are undemocratic.
The thing to understand is that the important thing is not democracy; the important thing is freedom. While it's true that there is a strong correlation between democracy and freedom among the nations of the world, however it's possible to have a free nation that is not the democracy. While it's certainly rare throughout history, even a despotism could be a free nation if the despot in question was wise and committed to protecting his subjects rights. Likewise, it's not hard at all to imagine a democracy with few safeguards in place that trampled the personal freedom of its citizens regularly, or even intentionally.
The danger of the "tyrrany of the majority" is a very real danger in any democracy. It is so easy for people to take the position that if the majority wants something they must, therefore, be correct and must also have the right to do so.
That very danger is the reason why we have the bill of rights. It's also why the Senate, and to a lesser degree, the Electoral College lack proportional representation. The non-proportional arrangement was specifically designed to protect the rights of those in smaller states from being trampled by those in larger states.
Not only that, but Senators were originally appointed rather than being voted into office. The appointment process along with the much longer terms were part of a plan to intentionally create a body that would be less responsive to the whims and passions of the populace than the House of Representatives.
The failure to understand the basic point that it is freedom, not democracy, that makes our nation great is, I believe, one of the major reasons many Americans are incapable of correctly communicating the greatness of our way of life. After all, if we don't ourselves understand what's so great about America how can we possibly expect to explain it to outsiders.
So, the next time you hear someone complaining about how "undemocratic" this or that process is in America take time to conisider if the institution in question serves to protect the cause of freedom feel free to say, "That's the whole point!"
This building would have close to the same number of floors as the Twin Towers at the World trade center.
During a catastrophe a large number of people were unable to evacuate those buildings prior to it's collapse.
I'm guessing that, by far, the major occupants of condos in Miami are retired.
Retired people tend to be older and, therefore, slower.
All this makes this thing seem like a death trap waiting to happen. While it's true that construction techniques have improved since the Twin Towers went up, the sheer height of the thing would still be extremely dangerous.
May 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Defense Department analyst
Lawrence A. Franklin surrendered today to face charges he gave
classified military information on Iraq to two individuals, the
Justice Department said. The men who received the information were
described by people familiar with the case as employees of a pro-
A strange point in all of this is this paragraph:
Franklin is accused of handing over classified information
related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq. Franklin
told the two individuals that the information was ``highly
classified'' and asked them not to ``use'' it, the Justice
Department's criminal complaint said.
This seems like a lame attempt at acheiving plausible deniability. "Yes, your honor, I passed classified information to people without clearance, but I told them it was a big secret and that they shouldn't use it." ??????? Only a moron would pass secret information to people with a vested information in the outcome of the actions involved and seriously expect them not to move it. Are we really supposed to believe that he's that stupid?
Well, I've been sadly behind on the whole blogging thing. Between tax season, wedding plans, hours on the phone with my fiancee every night, and still learning to cope with the marvel that is my Dish Network DVR I haven't had much time to do the blogging things. However, when a friend writes to tell me that her fiancee got baptized, well I can't very well let that pass without comment!