Thursday, September 30

Why we cannot win

Al Lorentz is on the ground in Iraq. Read why he thinks we can't win.

(Though this Lew Rockwell guy looks crazy, with a link for buying gold right on his front page.)

I had lunch with a friend of mine who has voted Republican in every presidential election of his 40+ years. He said he wants to 'strangle Bush' and that this is Vietnam (quagmire-wise). May it not be so.

Baseball

If the Cubs can't win with this kind of schedule, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Arrggh!

I agree that Ichiro is really achieving something.

Trashing creation in Wired, then on MetaFilter

Against my better judgment, I took a little, baby stand. The result"

Sean Meade - thanks for offering yourself up here as the token sacrificial beast on the altar of 'we make fun of creationists day' here at metafilter.

By my count, I'm the only dissenting voice in this long thread.

I know these arguments. I've read them before. And, although I can't express the counter-arguments really well, and am not really going to try in these fora, I'm still not convinced by the arguments for evolution. Besides, not only is there little to no interest in hearing my side, there's massive denigration of anyone who's not a true believer.

Wednesday, September 29

Today's links

Matthew Baldwin does it again: Here's what zombies are looking for. (He also had a couldn't-be-truer haiku.)

What the bubble got right by Paul Graham. I agree with most everything in here (though I think he's a little hard on suits, and I don't buy the California mystique.)

Connie Rice makes the 'debates' sound basically rigged. (True confession: I kept reading Ms. Rice's name as 'Condi Rice'. It was confusing.

Godspeed, SpaceShipOne.

Monday, September 27

Military weblogs

I knew the military weblogs were out there, but never surfed them. Here's an article with a few links.

This guy's into punk.

Saturday, September 25

Friday, September 24

Too good to pass up

Matt has a post about President Bush and humility.

But the really interesting part is how it produces a Google Ad for Give God the Glory - Read about God actively at work. Share your own G3 story.

Only on the web, folks.

And, to add more weirdness, Elizabeth just came in and said 'Daddy, that music was beautiful.'

My dad auditioned for...

this movie the other day.
William Shatner, who played the cowboy commander of the starship USS Enterprise in the 1960s series "Star Trek," was in Riverside to hold auditions for four small parts in a low-budget science fiction film he wrote with Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock in the series and subsequent movies.

Shatner told local residents that the working title of the film is "Invasion Iowa."

He had a conversation with Shatner, too. So there you go.

My dad knows how to party.

Los Angeles secession

How did I miss that Los Angeles voted in 2002 on the secession of the San Fernando valley? This is the kind of thing I'm interested in!

Here's an About Measure F page (pro). My thoughts:
  • If this is right, the Valley was getting shafted in a lot of ways. All of those concerns needed to be addressed.
  • I believe in smaller and more accountable.
  • LA Department Heads (up to 300,ooo$) and City Council Members (133,000$) got paid too much per year.
However, I would be concerned about the tax base issue. Remember our discussion about Pittsburgh? There has to be a better way to balance accountability and fairness with satisfactory revenue for the core city. I continue to ask questions like 'How many people from the suburb/municipality in question work in the core city and benefit therefrom?'

Thursday, September 23

My del.icio.us

OK, I've taken the plunge with My del.icio.us for my quick links. The interface is really handy. You should check it out.

Something new

I'm fooling around with Bloglines 'My Blog'. I like the ability to 'clip' things that wouldn't normally make a full post for me, in an application I'm already in. I want a place for my short posts like Matt's del.icio.us links, Anil's daily links, and kottke's remaindered links. Probably I'll just go to a separate weblog within Blogger, meant to be read in and RSS/Atom reader, though I might look at del.icio.us.

GoogleAds, editorial policy, and censorship

Google has subjected itself to a lot of criticism, including from me, by not putting their ad policies in writing. Looks like they're going to do that now. One condensation is: 'Hate Ads Bad; Protest Ads OK'. Hmm. We'll see. Protesting homosexuality was deemed hate speech before by Google.

Google says they're trying to sell ads and services. But others want to drive traffic to their sites, and are willing to pay to do it. They say they want people to get views from the actual search results, not the paid ads. However, Google themselves have taken out position ads, like when the first site returned for 'Jewish' was anti-Semitic.
Why aren't we ranking first or even in the first page of results? That will be the question raised. And the Google response traditionally has been that if someone feels they must have representation, then they should buy an ad.

That response inevitably turns the ad space into more than a merchandising medium. It also remains a message delivery outlet. And when those messages are stifled, even though it's ad space involved and despite what may be showing in the editorial results, Google remains left open to accusations of censorship.

Old news (you know, from yesterday)

CBS takes it on the chops. Schadenfreude.Lesson to learn: be careful what you say about webloggers.

The Cat Stevens deportation is interesting. Should he be on the watch list?

Boy, the Vikings sure stunk Monday night. After I bragged about their O-line over on Collaboratory the Eagles constant blitzing gave the O-line nervous tics. Lots of penalties, therefore. We couldn't run. And Daunte wasn't as rattled as he used to get, but he was still rattled. Ugh.

I see in my SC news that there's a plan to extend I-73 from Myrtle Beach to Michigan, but I can't find a really good page for it. I'd like one map of the states it will pass through. Maybe they haven't finalized their corridors, yet.

Tuesday, September 21

My last political opinion of the day

I agree with Dick Cheney when he says (at the end of this article): 'Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers of World War II, This is, put it simply, an enemy we must destroy.'

But I disagree with the next part: 'And with President George W. Bush as our commander in chief, that's exactly what we will do.'

As you know, I disagree with Bush's/Cheney's methods and many of their decisions.

That wasn't very informative, was it?

Bush at the UN

The grist

I agree with President Bush that the UN had a responsibility to follow through with their threats against Saddam Hussein (thought that's not how he's pitching it now).

Is Kofi Annan right that our invasion of Iraq was illegal? I don't think so. It's not that simple. Is the UN the arbiter of International Law when the UN is broken? I don't think so. It's somewhat analagous to one of the 'states' rights' issue from the American Civil War.

I still think Bush should have worked harder to form a more multinational coalition, especially with the bigger players (just the realpolitikal reality).

I think we still have a real problem with instituting democracy in Iraq when many of the people want theocracy. Of course, I want democracy. I think it's best for the people. And after the price we've paid (mostly in lives, but also in dollars), I don't think we can let Iraq go Fundamentalist. But it feels like there's some irony there, at least.

I agree with Annan that we need to watch how 'the necessary fight against terrorism itself is allowed to encroach unnecessarily on civil liberties.'

Seth Godin

Interact correspondent Kurt Graves sends in this list of Lies to protect the status quo. What can I say? I buy it.

Peter King on 'Patriot Reign'

I generally agree with Peter King on football matters. What other reporter knows more about the subject?

This week he reviews a new book which says Bill Parcells was talking to other teams when he took the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

Parcells is obviously a great football mind. But I've never liked what I've seen of his cantankerous personality. If these reports are true he is, further, a self-absorbed opportunist.

The main allegation comes from Bill Belichick, backed up by hotel bill telephone records.

Further, King highly recommends the book as a great look inside football. I've added it to my Amazon wishlist. (Feel free to send it!)

Analyzing the situation in Iraq

Senators Urge Bush to Rethink Iraq Policy. These senators include Republicans and the notable John McCain. McCain said we had too few soldiers. I agree.

I find Senator Kyl's comments totally disingenuous. It's not that many of us find the struggle shocking. It's that we feel it was undertaken with too few soldiers, at least.

I disagree, too, with Senator Graham (from my state). The case that this is a civil war and insurgency is a lot stronger than the case that it's not, that it's part of the war on terror where the terrorists have gone to Iraq.

Monday, September 20

I want my Kith and Kin!

Where are Paul and Macon? I hope they're not neglecting Kith and Kin because they're Getting Things Done (tm) :-)

*cast eyes down*

Like Jason said in the comments below, the Iowa shellacking by ASU is embarrassing.

Weekend linkage

Football thoughts

Looks like I'm going to win in all 4 of my fantasy leagues this week. That's more like it. Beats that 2 and 4 from last week. So, my thoughts while watching the three network games + highlights:
  • Indianapolis looked bad for six quarters, then caught fire.
  • Dan Dierdorf is often mistaken in his facts. He's right in what he's trying to say...
  • How are the Giants and Bears winning? I'll tell you how: the Redskins and Packers self-destructed. Green Bay looked like world champions Monday night.
  • New Orleans put together a complete game after getting stomped by Seattle last week, but lost Deuce McAllister.
  • St Louis and San Francisco hung on in their games, but still lost.
  • Injuries are (literally) decimating some teams: the Indianapolis defense, Minnesota's and Philly's running back corps, Carolina's offense, etc.
  • Carolina got spanked by Green Bay last Monday night, but looked great in the second half yesterday. Some of their success this week was a function of how bad KC's defense is. Carolina's offensive line is questionable.
  • Baltimore looked more like themselves yesterday, especially Jamal Lewis and the defense. I wonder what happened last week against Cleveland (especially since Cleveland looked so bad yesterday).
  • Atlanta went off yesterday. A lot better than their previous week against SF, when they were bland.
  • Detroit keeps winning. How? Is Mariucci getting things together? Is Harrington getting better?
  • Peter King was right: the Titans defense isn't as good this year.
  • I knew Daniel Graham was going to do well against Arizona.
  • Jim Nantz and Greg Gumble switched places. Does that mean something? Is it a promotion for one of them? I like Greg better across the board.
  • Lip-reading Bill Parcells to Keyshawn Johnson: 'Shut up.'

Saturday, September 18

A9

Interesting that A9 has columns that toggle, while Google has tabs, given that Amazon was the website that popularized tabs. The toggleable columns remind me of the Gmail interface. FWIW.

Friday, September 17

RobertGalleryFilter

Rookie Gallery to Make First NFL Start as Oakland's Right Tackle. In the few minutes I watched on Sunday, Gallery did a really good job, notably, including a heads-up fumble recovery. Go Hawks!

RSS/Atom

Macon noted to me on the phone the other day that BlogRolling has been unreliable in its 'new' categorizations. Ain't that the truth. Thankfully, everyone on my BlogRoll has RSS/Atom feeds, which are totally reliable.

(Everyone, that is, except for Paul. What do you say, Paul? Could you turn that bad boy on? ;-)

Thursday, September 16

Bonds' image

Barry Bonds' manager hopes joining the 700 club will change his image. Nope. Being more personable and denouncing steroids could change his image.

Three quick links

U.S. Intelligence Offers Gloomy Outlook for Iraq

Hawkeyes Aim to Limit Walter, Sun Devils' Passing Game in Battle of Unbeatens. Isn't this the same team we beat up on last year? Yes it is. Admittedly, our offense has a lot less power this year. But if the defense is true to form, we won't have to score too many points. It's not a sure thing. We'll see.

Interview with David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue (via kottke)

More beating my head against the wall

(I only mean, politics-wise, not that Bush is leading...)

Electoral vote predictor for today (click Next Report for subsequent days). (via MeFi)

Wil playing soccer


Looks like a pro, aye? And Beckham-handsome, too. Posted by Hello

This is why I hate politics...

Well, one reason, anyway.

The whole Zell Miller thing. I know I'm late to this party.

The speech (transcript)

MeFi thread on Jimmy Carter's rejoinder

I find the whole thing distasteful: Miller's reshaping of the race into one issue, his attacks on Kerry, the Democrats' resulting attacks on Miller.

Gag.

Tuesday, September 14

Did you see...

some guy dressed as Batman intruded Buckingham Palace?

there's going to be a Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant? (via davidsmc on MeFi) Stephen R Donaldson's official website. The Prologue for Runes of the Earth, Book One of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (pdf). Looks intriguing, though self-indlugent (prose-wise). Why is it most things I read these days strike me that way: Pat Conroy, Jane Hospital, Donaldson. Am I onto something or just getting snootier? Are contemporary authors more prosaic in a bad way?

Monday, September 13

SportFilter

The Cubs are stinking. If they don't get their act together, they're going to miss the Wild Card spot.

The Vikings were amazing yesterday. And Dallas was supposed to be a good defense. We'll see if the Vikings can keep it up.

The Hawkeyes squeezed out a victory over the Cyclones. Go Hawks!

Even the lowly Gamecocks played #3 Georgia tough.

NewsFilter

Have I really not posted since Wednesday? Sorry about that. I've had some thoughts, but just havent' followed through.
Part of it is that I've finally gotten totally tired of the political posturing in the presidential campaign. It was only a matter of time. Issue wise (*gasp*):
  • I read an article recently (that I can't find today) where Nader said poor health care is a bigger danger than terrorism because more people die from it. I think there's something to that.
  • Bush has no room to talk about spending because he has spent so much money while cutting taxes. What's worse than tax and spend? Cut taxes and spend.
  • I don't get letting the ban on assault weapons lapse, either.
Blair's going to start pushing Bush on the environment. Do we owe Blair? Will that help him?

One of the most disturbing things about Israel's role in the conflict there is how much of it seems to be politically driven. I feel like Netanyahu's making a power play here, not pursuing what's best for peace.

Wednesday, September 8

Destination: Space!

Beyond the XPrize, there's the Elevator 2010 challenge. Seriously cool.

Was 1984 the best year ever?

Jason links the Sports Guy article on why it was. It convinced Jason.

I don't disagree. But how much of this is because that was such a formative time for us - twelve, finishing sixth grade and starting seventh.

My thoughts:
  • The picture of Larry Bird out in front of David Stern(?) makes him look even bigger.
  • I watched pro football, but didn't watch the rest enough to be as enamored.
  • However, we watched the Olympics big time! I was sick some that summer (unusual), so laid on the couch under a blanket and watched the Olympics. I mostly remember Gymnastics, Track, and Diving. What I remember most from Sarajevo is *blush* the commercials: IBM typewriters and Beatrice, especially.
  • I don't precisely remember the Macintosh coming out, or the commercial during the Super Bowl, but I do remember Macs from that era.
  • We watched 'The A-Team' a lot: (IIRC) 'A crack military commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit. They promptly escaped from a maximun security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. If you need help, and you can find them, maybe you can hire, The A-Team.'
  • We were Love Boat/Fantasy Island/Three's Company watchers, so it was the ending of an era.
  • Men's Sychronized Swimming is one of the all-time best Saturday Night Live sketches (though I saw it later).
  • 'Thriller' still possessed us: the album, the videos, the Moonwalk, the glove.
  • It was a great year for MTV, which we watched at my gramma's house. Faves: Dancing in the Dark (I though Courteney was very cute), Jump, The Reflex, and Magic.
  • I didn't get into alternative until 89 (Jason helped me out there).
  • I loved Duran Duran and liked The Thompson Twins and Howard Jones.
  • 'Purple Rain' was huge that fall.
  • Movies I liked: "Romancing the Stone;" "Indiana Jones 2;" "Ghostbusters;" "Footloose;" "Karate Kid" (including 'Cruel Summer')
  • Ahhhh. Intellivision.

A murder of crows

Also from AskOxford, Collective Terms for Animals

(Back in the day, say, high school, there was a tshirt I really liked with a bunch of these listed that I think was called 'Multitudes'.)

Primary, secondary, tertiary...

I have wondered what comes next for a looong time and simply forgot to Google it. But the other day I remembered when I was at the computer, so I give you the AskOxford answer:
The sequence continues with quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, denary. Words also exist for `twelfth order' (duodenary) and `twentieth order' (vigenary).
For what it's worth, I figured the next word was 'quaternary' or 'quarternary'.

Links from yesterday

A lovely post from John 13 about baby Fiona.

Ken Jennings keeps raking in on 'Jeopardy'. (via kottke)

Monday, September 6

I disagree with the candidates

Without getting into another big, long screed, I disagree:

- that the war in Iraq was [necessarily] right for America. This is a criticism of method on my part, of rhetoric. Whether the war was right or not is debatable, moot, and it remains that way. Just saying it was right doesn't make it so.

- that we should [necessarily] pull our troops out of Iraq within the next 4 years. I know it plays well in the press to people who want the troops back home. And I want the troops out of combat operations and the reserves back home. But we have had regular (non-reserve) American troops stationed overseas for a very long time, and it can be very strategic, not just for our national interests (though it is), but for world interests. Having troops stationed in Iraq long-term, not for peace-keeping and security but for presence in the Middle East could be a really good thing. Not to mention that we have paid a very high price to liberate Iraq. Of course, then it would be incumbent on us to use our power there for good for the whole region and not just in our interests. You might say we haven't yet, so we don't get the privilege, that we've forfeited the right. Maybe. But that's debatable, too. So, while we debate it, and sincerely work to represent what's good for the region, I say we keep some troops stationed there for the long-term to do good.

Thoughts from my short trip

I've been thinking about Hurricance Frances with Charlie not long gone and Ivan close behind:

How do disaster planning, insurance, and relief work? How much insurance are people required to carry who live in likely disaster zones (earthquake, hurricane, flood, tornado, forest fire, etc.)? What standards do buildings have to be built to?

Friday, September 3

And, in the not-out-of-it category...

pray for the Floridians about to be nailes by another hurricane. In these circles that means especially Paul and Carol (Paul has an interesting post about preparations).

Sorta out of it

I feel really lax for having missed Jaq's return to logging and the health-troubled birth of his son, Quinn. I'm so relieved that Quinn is doing better. Best wishes, Jaq and family.

Thursday, September 2

A couple from today

Paul Ford thinks Google has become boring. (via Anil)

Scott linked the geek Bush protest sign which reportedly came from a tshirt. Clever sign.

Steven den Beste is fed up

I haven't posted anything by or about Steven for a long time. I used to interact with him quite frequently. Lots of people dislike him, but I like him.

Checking out MeFi in the ol' newsreader yesterday, I was surprised to see that Steven is hanging it up, at least for now. The quote from Steven's post for the MeFi post caught my attention:
No matter what I write, and no matter what I say, there are always people who either think I was wrong, or think that there were things I left out and should have included. I've been putting up with that for two years, and I guess I'd gotten used to living with a low-level throbbing headache all that time... But for the last two weeks it's been gone. And I'm not so sure I want to go back to doing the activity which caused that headache... there's something wrong. I'm tired. Does this mean I'll never post again? Damned if I know. But it won't be soon.
My thought: If Steven's goal was to be regarded by his readers, both friend and foe, as all-inclusively correct, then it's no wonder he flamed out.

For my part, I wish him well.

Did you see... (The Ellipsis Post)

...that the Yankees got rocked by the Indians 0-22 and the Indians have a player named Coco Crisp?

...that there are signs of life again on both Collaboratory and twinlog?

...that John Hardy posted on audioblogging to MetaFilter? (I just happend to stop by, but more on that later...)

...that the defective yeti has a new Tricks of the Trade website?

OK, I think that's all I wanted to fit under that title...


Wednesday, September 1

Christian voting

I learn to appreciate Paul more and more. He's got a great post about voting. Some Christians have certain issues that are make or break issues for them (in this case abortion and homosexuality). But Paul and I do not. We can imagine cases where you'd vote for someone you disagreed with on those issues because you thought her/him a better candidate. I acknowledge that, for some people, those are the the most important issues, and that's OK. However, I think in a lot of cases people haven't thought critically about whether they should be make or break issues or not (meta-thought? thinking about thinking...). I think many (most?) Christians approach politics too simplistically.

The big to do over Kerry's Vietnam record

Good comments on the McCain thread below. Are the charges against Kerry's record lies or not?

I was thinking about it last night after Macon sent me his latest post (on the Kerry camp saying the publisher should pull 'Unfit for Command'). I'll start by responding thereto:
  1. Calling for a book to be pulled is probably a bad idea.
  2. Tying Kerry's fitness to command to his Vietnam service is too simplistic. However, I think the Kerry campaign set the tone for this debate when that was the main illustration of what was most certainly their top talking point.
  3. I'm sure what they meant to do is contrast it with President Bush's service record, and this is a legitimate point.
  4. I have concluded that what this is really about is Kerry's antiwar protests. Many veterans don't want a commander in chief who said and did the things Kerry did re: the Vietnam War. 'He did accuse fellow servicemen of war crimes; he was a leader in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a group headed by a fraudulent "veteran" who was a far-left ideologue; the North Vietnamese did use Kerry's public statements to demoralize American prisoners of war.' Another legitimate point.
  5. Kerry had a lot of reasons to protest the Vietnam War. There were war crimes, undoubtedly. My major objection to the conduct of the Vietnam War is the political side (no surprise). There were a lot of lies, some for good reasons in the eyes of those who lied, but lies nonetheless. Another execrable political aspect: the lack of a determination to win that led to conflicting goals in the military execution of the way. It conflicted those putting their lives on the line, and the results were and have been terrible.
  6. It's awfully hard to support the troops and criticize a war at the same time. But I think this is legitimate. I know soldiers take it personally, and it would be very hard not to.
  7. Unfortunately, this debate has become too simplified in the media. The headline is about service records and not about the issues, including criticism of Vietnam.
So, I conclude that Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. As Macon's post says, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. In addition, I think the bulk of the evidence points that way. I think veteran objections to Kerry's antiwar record have driven the re-examination of his service record.

I don't have a problem with Kerry's criticism of Vietnam. The organization he was in might have had a sketchy guy. There may be other things that detract. But I would much rather have someone who thinks critically about war and the attendant problems than someone who does not. I'd like to hear more nuance from President Bush on these kinds of issues. The fact is, when you take on a war, you get into things like the difficutly of winning 'hearts and minds' and 'the peace' during an occupation. You get war crimes, like the Abu Ghraib prison. These potential and resultant problems, not to mention the Law of Unintended Consequences, should contribute to going to war being a last resort (though way short of unacceptable compromise).

Actually, what diminishes my estimation of Kerry most is his political posturing relative to his service record and his antiwar protestations.

So, one way of thinking about the decision that faces us (on this issue) is: do you want a president who served bravely in Vietnam, later protested it, and subsequently compromised in political posturing or a president who served during Vietnam, has had little to say about the negative realities of that war or this one, and has compromised in his political posturing?

For my part, the politics makes both choices distasteful.


Update: Jason has a very interesting post referencing this one that talks about Stanley Fish's view of minimalism.