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Thursday, September 30, 2004
I have to say...

One of Senator Kerry's key points in tonight's debate was coalition-building, and that, in a vacuum, is a very good thing. But put in the context of the world we live in, it starts to weaken.

What countries are the leaders in the world? Obviously, the United States is the single most powerful country in the world. Britain, especially given their relative size, is a major force in the world today. Those of us in the "northwest quadrasphere" sometimes forget about the influence of Australia in the Pacific. And these governments stand strongly beside us, not out of fear or truculence, but because they share our values and beliefs.

Then we get to the global leaders who don't quite agree with us. France has been adamantly opposed to virtually all of our actions in regards to Iraq. Why? Could it possibly have anything to do with all the money they've made through violating the sanctions agreements that they voted for in the United Nations? Similarly, both Russia and Germany, major figures in the world today, refused to back our efforts in Iraq, while they were making money off of sales of military matériel in violation of the diplomatic agreements they made with the world.

In regards to the only remaining significant world power, China, I have to admit ignorance to where they stand, both in terms of agreements and actions. Sorry.

So here we are: of the major players in the world today, we have the three nations who had no financial stake in Iraq willing to prosecute Saddam Hussein's bad behavior. Then we have three countries who were sneaking around behind the agreements they had made in order to make a buck, who want to give this slime just "one more chance" to make things right.

So these are the folks we need to add to our coalition?

Sorry, Senator, I have to respectfully disagree.

Update: Dean makes a similar observation in a broader post on the debate by including a cartoon from Cox & Forkum.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Keep your connections tight

My employer lost connectivity to the Internet this afternoon, due to a major DS3 outage in Maryland. Once they got it corrected, we got the final report on the cause of the outage: a loose BNC connector.


We made it into Pravda!

The remnants of Hurricane Jeanne passed over Loudoun County, VA, today, and it was so noteworthy that a report on the flooding made it onto a Pravda web site, News From Russia.

It seems odd that News From Russia would be interested in the fact that Route 50 was closed between Aldie and Middleburg, and in the town of Purcellville, part of Main Street was closed by the flooding. You don't think they grabbed the story from somewhere else and failed to credit their source, do you?

Nah, they'd never do that.

I've found the answer

I was reading the November issue of Bicycling, and I saw that they had found the definitive method for determining the victor in the November presidential race. Unfortunately, I can't find an online version of it, so I'll have to excerpt it.

Who's a Better Biker?

We have an important decision to make this November: Republican or Democrat? Cowboy or Yankee? Trek Fuel 98 or Serotta Ottrott ST? It's safe to say that the next president is going to be a cyclist, hanging chads be damned. So while other fine publications debate whether mountain biker George W. Bush or Roadie John Kerry would best represent the U.S. on the international stage, we want to know how they handle themselves on the bike.

They had Max Testa, former coach of a variety of professional biking teams and a physician at UC Davis's Sports Performance Lab, look at the two nominees' form while riding the bike. After covering several positives and negatives for each, they come to their conclusion:

Too close to call. What a cop out.

Addendum: They did have one recommendation for Senator Kerry: he should wear spandex instead of the baggie shorts he had on in the picture they included in the article. Yuck.

Bill does it again

One of the things I like best about INDC Journal is when Bill puts loafers on the pavement in DC, bringing us information and perspective that we can't get anywhere else. Today, Bill shares with us his visit to CBS News Studios on Sunday.

Now that's what I call journalism. Not the straight-up reporting of news, but the thoughtful, balanced analysis, placed in the declared context of his pre-existing opinions.

Dallas wins!

13-1 in the past fourteen games. W00t!

While there's no doubt I celebrate this win (W00t! Did I already say that?), I do feel bad for Joe Gibbs. He's a great coach, and a great man.

And the Redskins don't have to put up with the low moral standards of players like Dexter Manley or the viscerally hateful (for a Dallas fan) George Allen. (Hey, I'm a died-in-the-wool Cowboys fan — since 1960, the year Dallas first entered the NFL. I'm allowed to hate George Allen, even though his son is now one of my Senators, and I even voted for him — after considerable deliberation.)

Anyway, congratulations, Cowboys. Despite a few questionable calls by the referees, well done!

Monday, September 27, 2004

I forgot to get snacks for the game! Woe is me!

Lessee: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop Tarts — yuck! Honey Maid Chocolate Sticks — double yuck! Assorted breakfast bars — words escape me. Baked Lays — I think I'm gonna be sick.

Why is there no decent junk food in this house?!

Good excuse

Tonight I have a good excuse for limited blogging: Cowboys at the Redskins. Best rivalry in all of U.S. sports.

Go, 'Pokes!

Sunday, September 26, 2004
The Marine Corps Marathon

For those of you who were sitting around thinking, "I wonder where Boyd will be on Sunday, October 31, 2004?" (you were wondering that, weren't you?), I've got the answer: I'll be at the 29th running of the Marine Corps Marthon, also known as "The People's Marathon." And no, I won't be running in it (biking is more my style), but I'll be providing communications support, along with a hundred or so other Amateur Radio operators.

And speaking of biking, that's what I'll be doing for the race. I'll be operating out of one of the aid stations to respond to reports of folks needing help, and patrolling for same. I've outfitted my bike to support a dual-band 2 meter/70 centimeter antenna about three feet tall, and a small "walkie talkie" style (we Hams call them HTs, or Handie-Talkies) attached to the handlebar and an earpiece/microphone with remote transmit switch on the handlebar under my right thumb.

The Marines are trying something new this year. While they've used the Champion Chip in past years to provide timing information on the runners, this year they'll be putting that information up on their web site. The site will show actual splits and the final time for each runner, and will also project each runner's position on the course based on the most recent split time and pace calculations.

So as you're preparing for your Halloween festivities, whatever form they may take, you can be comforted knowing that Boyd is out there on the mean streets of DC, helping to make the Marine Corps Marathon a success!

Saturday, September 25, 2004
Effective public speaking

Joe Gandelman, posting over at Dean Esmay's Dean's World, talks about unscientific indicators of how the upcoming presidential election will end up. While I can't argue with past performance, without some sort of logical, traceable procedure or method, I can't evaluate for myself their likely accuracy for the future.

On the other hand, Joe points to an op-ed in The New York Times written by Stanley Fish, dean emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I'm not going to try to re-do the excellent job Joe did in his post, but the point is the effectiveness of the two nominees in articulating their respective positions on the issues. What some will find surprising is the conclusion that Bush is the more effective speaker — devastatingly so.

Unless this changes drastically, I can reiterate my earlier prediction: President Bush will decisively win reelection.

Sorry David, but it's true.

Friday, September 24, 2004
What happened to the journalism of my youth?

When I was a kid in the '60s and started reading the newspaper, there was a certain thread that was present in each news report. You might have heard of this little ditty: Who. What. When. Where. How. And nary a "Why" to be found outside of the editorial pages or the "features" section.

But these days, "journalists" want us to ooh and ahh over their skill with the English language, how they can shape a story, drawing the reader into an unfamiliar world that they would never have seen without reading this "news article."

Nevermind the fact that the only place that world exists is in the mind of the "reporter."

Oh, and then there's my favorite, frequently spied on Page A1 of The Washington Post, all too often under the byline of so-called "journalist" Dana Milbank: the "Analysis."

The reality is that the "analysis" is merely the "journalist's" vehicle for telling the reader what to think. 'Cause Lord knows, those of us in the unwashed masses can't think for ourselves.

And in only a minor digression, during my two recent trips back to Texas, I noticed a noteworthy difference between Texas newspapers and those in many other locales. When The Brownwood Bulletin refers to people as "Mr. Jones" or "Mrs. Smith" or even an occasional "Ms. Thompson" (instead of the proper term, "Miss Thompson"), it's not too surprising. Brownwood is a small town of about 20,000 souls in the geographical heart of Texas, so that kind of arcane throwback to the middle of the 20th century is to be expected.

But when I see the same convention in The Dallas Morning News, we know that it's not just limited to the small towns, but is applicable to a broader geographical area. It just seems respectful, and easy to do. It's seems to me that it's a shame that such a simple, respectful practice can't be followed outside of God's Country.

But back to the original point of this post, it just seems to me that the bulk of "journalists" these days are operating under a paradigm that's vastly different from the journalism of my youth.

And I think that's a damn shame.

It's different now

As my regular readers will recall, I lost my father to bone cancer last month, three days before his 79th birthday. The effects that this loss will have on me haven't been fully recognized.

In case you didn't know, I'm from Texas. I'm a proud Texan (yes, I know that's redundant). Circumstances dictate that I live in Virginia for now, but my heart is in Texas.

My father wasn't the only member of my family who lives in Texas; both of my brothers live there, too (my mother passed away 35 years ago). Especially over recent years, I've visted with both of them when I've gone to Texas. They're my closest relatives from my youth, and I love them dearly. In our direct lineage, we have no living relatives now from an earlier generation. We're the old guys.

But that notwithstanding, Dad's passing has had a profound attitudinal effect on me. It dawned on me this evening that, despite the fact that both of my siblings live in Texas, my anchor there is gone. This isn't intended to take anything away from Dick or Dan, but I definitely feel the difference when I think about my ties to Texas.

I'll still return to the land of my birth, my heritage, because I love it there. Hopefully, I'll move back there some day. Until then, I'll go back to visit my brothers, because I love them dearly (did I say that already?).

But it feels different now. With Dad gone, I've lost my anchor. I expect that, with time, I'll regain it to some degree. But it's different now. And nothing can change that.

Thanks for putting up with my little bout of self-indulgence.

Thursday, September 23, 2004
It's a winner!

I almost never participate in caption contests. There are so many great entries, especially at Wizbang! and Outside the Beltway™, that it seems I can never think of anything which would compare to the entries I usually see.

But ten days ago, it was a different story. About eight minutes after James posted a new contest at OTB, I stumbled across it. I saw that picture, and there underneath it was a clean slate. No one had submitted any captions yet. A caption leapt into my mind. I quickly stabbed the mouse button, clicking on the Add a comment link.

And this morning, I awaken to find that Dr. Joyner has honored me with — First Place! W00t!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Hitting closer to home

It appears that Jack Hensley is the latest victim of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's series of cowardly, heinous beheadings. Today would have been Jack's 49th birthday.

Sooner or later, these things hit closer and closer to home. It turns out that Jack Hensley was the uncle of a colleague of mine. Friends and family have set up a trust to help pay for his daughter Sara's education. If you're moved and feel you can contribute, please do so.

Sara Hensley Trust
C/O First Citizens Bank
2880 Hwy 160 West
Fort Mill, SC 29708

Damon, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this trying time.

Update: Others discussing this horrible murder:

Kevin Aylward
Rusty Shackleford
David Anderson
James Joyner
Chad Evans
Michael King (who also points out the memorial web site and the establishment of the trust)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Cat Stevens: Stay out!

A United Airlines flight from London to Washington was diverted to Maine when Homeland Security discovered that Cat Stevens Yusef Islam was aboard the plane.

I'm a little unclear on the threat that Cat Stevens presents to the U.S. It's suspected that he contributed money to Hamas. Okay. That was a buncha years ago. His presence in the U.S. hurts us — how?

Scott is a hypocrite

It's good to know that Scott Nolte is the definition of hypocrisy.


Monday, September 20, 2004
Well, John, it's apparently not the economy

My fellow Texan, Digital Brownshirt, and all-around nice guy Rick picks out some statistics he got from Blogs for Bush:

-Percent of Americans without health insurance: Bush (15.6%), Clinton (15.6%)
-Debt as percentage of economy: Bush (37.5%), Clinton (48.5%)
-Number of workers not in the labor force but who want a job now: Bush (5.1 million), Clinton( 5.7 million)
-Average GDP over most recent 4 quarters: Bush (4.7%), Clinton (4.0%)
-Home ownership rate in latest quarter: Bush (69.2%), Clinton (65.1%)
-Inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings growth during first term: Bush (2.5%), Clinton (0.4%)
-Inflation-adjusted income growth for average American: Bush ($1,444), Clinton ($1,256)
-Average monthly inflation during first term: Bush (2.3%), Clinton (2.8%)
-Unemployment rate for Hispanics during first term: Bush (7.2%), Clinton (9.7%)
-Unemployment rate for Blacks during first term: Bush (9.9%), Clinton (11.3%)
-Percent of high school graduates who enroll in college: Bush (64%), Clinton (62%)

I realize that Blogs for Bush has a partisan axe to grind, but despite the fact that I also want President Bush to be reelected, I'm leery of information from partisan sources. On the other hand, the sources for this information can be found here. Follow the links and look up the information and tell me where it's wrong.

Okay, so Senator Kerry has espoused every possible position on Iraq, thereby undermining any high ground he may think he can claim there, and the economy is performing at least as well as it was in 1996 when President Clinton was reelected, at least partially on the strong performance of the economy, so what's left?

Senator Kerry, that odd visage you see when you look in the mirror is known as "toast."

The upshot of the CBS forged memo controversy

CBS News has finally come to their senses and admitted what sane and rational people have known for over a week: they shouldn't have aired Dan Rather's 60 Minutes II report on President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service over thirty years ago.

Again, I have to congratulate my buddy Bill (the hardest working blogger in the greater DC area, in my humble opinion — and yes, Bill, that's certainly worth acknowledging in a post of your own, linking back to this post. Just in case you were wondering.), The Three Stooges John, Scott and Paul (just kidding, guys — it leapt into my mind and I just had to use it) at Power Line, Little Green Charles, Allah and others for the insightful and diligent work they've put into covering this story.

While CBS has admitted many shortcomings in creating and prolonging this controversy, there's something else I wish they'd admit: they, primarily Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes, began with a conclusion and built their story to support their preconceived notion. Rather (no pun intended) than deciding on a story, then pursuing the leads, gathering the information and doing all that other Journalist Stuff ™ and letting the research guide the conclusion, they decided they wanted to slam President Bush, and focused on information that supported their predetermined conclusion and ignored anything that refuted it.

Okay, that's never going to happen. But I hope that they at least do a little introspection, and admit, if only to themselves, that maybe they're letting their own opinions and biases seep into their journalism.

Yeah, it's a wild dream, but it's mine.

Update: The Commissar continues the investigation. He will not be deterred.

Update 2: Scott Nolte just wants Rather to apologize to the President, but feels like that's peanuts compared to my "dream." Honestly, I think my scenario is several orders of magnitude more likely than Scott's.

Saturday, September 18, 2004
I'm so excited!

Dean has always been out front on this issue, so I don't know why he hasn't posted a reminder. It won't have nearly the same impact coming from me, but don't forget that tomorrow, Sunday September 19, 2004, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Bad credit = higher utility bills?

Hal's post over at Hellblazer caught my eye. WARNING: Hal is freer with profanity on his blog than I am here, so if you don't want to see any "dirty words" — let's just say that Hal's blog is not for you.

At any rate, Hal links to this CNN Money report on TXU Energy wanting to charge higher utility rates to people with lower credit scores. Not surprisingly, Hal thinks this is a magnificently bad idea. Me, I'm not so good on the instant analysis, so I wanted to think about it for a bit, and while Hal and I discussed it briefly in the comments to this post, I hadn't had time to sit down and read the CNN story and think through it.

I guess it's the old high school debate team in me, but I try to think through both sides of signficant questions, just to make sure I'm not missing something. And as I thought through this, I compared it to, say, poor drivers and insurance. These folks, as a group, are actuarially proven to cost the insurance company more in claims, so they pay higher premiums. Older people are more likely to die sooner, so they pay higher life insurance premiums. People who have poor credit scores are more likely to default on loans, get behind in utility payments, skip our of town or whatever. So why shouldn't they pay more, to account for the higher costs they impose on the system?

Okay, all you flaming pinko commie liberals out there, calm down. Don't cause yourself a heart attack. I just haven't gotten to the other side of the discussion yet. Chill.

It's not quite as simple as the end of that paragraph, though. There are many situations where we spread the "risk" out among everyone. Those on the positive end of the scale subsidize those on the negative end of the scale, although society has tended to move away from that approach. Such as, in telephone service, when I was a kid and into my early adulthood, business phone users subsidized residential users. But the breakup of AT&T (Was that twenty years ago? Oh, my!) and deregulation have turned phone service into a mostly pay-as-you-go system.

Taxes are another area where, not only do we not charge based on consumption, but we move to the other end of the scale with our progressive indices so that those who have more, pay more. Personally, I think we've gone a bit too far in that direction, but I agree with the basic principle behind our tax structure. I mostly wish it were much simpler, but not as simple as a flat tax.

So what do I think about TXU's proposal? In the end, I have to combine the rational and emotional and say, "Hands off, TXU." Poor credit scores may mean it's more likely that a customer may fall behind in their payments, but let's make those that actually cause the problem pay the commensurate fees. Late payment fees, maybe interest on unpaid amounts, whatever is appropriate for recouping lost revenue for those that responsible for it. But charge them more right out of the box, just because the possibility that they might fail to pay a bill on time?

I just gotta say, "Nope." Bad idea. And if the Texas Public Utility Commission approves, or fails to stop this TXU proposal, they're failing in their duty.

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Gmail invitations

Folks seem to want 'em, so I've got some. Let me know if you'd like one (I need name and email address) either in the comments or use the Email me link over to the right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Weather suspicions

Mark realized that the next named tropical storm/hurricane after Jeanne will be named Karl.

Now all we need is about a month-long respite from tropical weather, and see how many liberals "question the timing."

Disclaimer: I shamelessly stole the idea for the second paragraph above from a comment Mark left at Outside the Beltway.

Monday, September 13, 2004
An example of the "assault weapons" lie

I had a conversation this evening with my wife (who is British) regarding the expiration of the "assault weapons" ban. I asked her what she thought was the problem that the ban was supposed to prevent. She essentially told me that the ban had prevented the sale of automatic weapons.

When I explained to her that automatic weapons had been banned in the United States since 1934, she asked me, "What makes them assault weapons, then?" I told her the criteria: removable magazine, and two or more of the following: bayonet lugs (give me a break); a pistol grip (try firing a rifle one-handed); a flash suppressor; a folding or telescopic stock (but the weapon must still be at least 26" long, even when the stock is folded/compressed; or a grenade launcher (give me a break).

She was shocked. She always thought that the "assault weapons ban" kept automtatic rifles off the streets. She never knew what the actual definition was.

And that's the way it works. The "assault weapons" ban proponents, synonymous with gun control proponents, lie to people to get them on their side, because the truth doesn't support their position. As sympathetic figures as Jim and Sarah Brady may be, they're lying to you.

The "assault weapons" ban was bad business. It's good that it expired.

Trademark infringement

The Commissar will apparently take advantage of our Capitalist trademark laws and sue King of Fools and Allah for theft of intellectual property.

I always knew his commitment to Communist principles was pretty shallow.

Sunday, September 12, 2004
Case closed

I've refrained from posting on the controversy over the documents CBS's 60 Minutes II and The Boston Globe used to report that then-1LT Bush was derelict in his Air National Guard duty, and that political favors kept him out of the trouble he had brought upon himself through that dereliction. I haven't posted because my voice would have been superfluous. Bill (along with several others, but Bill's a cyber-buddy) had the document issue covered six ways from Sunday.

But now we learn that an expert in the field of typsetting and computer printing has put his reputation on the line, publicly (unlike other experts on the other side of the controversy who either remain nameless, or accede to CBS's request not to talk to anybody about it), that he is certain these recently revealed documents are forgeries.

It's a shame that some people get so carried away with their irrational, 100%-non-fact-based hatred of the President that they forge documents trying to create a truth that doesn't exist. And it's a shame when the formerly highly regarded network of Edward R Murrow becomes so blinded by their bias that they abandon journalistic principles and their own integrity to tell a story that, in the end, is a lie.

Expiration of the "assault" weapons ban

I'm no great firearms aficionado. When I go deer or turkey hunting, I borrow a rifle or a shotgun, respectively. I did earn the designation as an Expert Marksman with both the M-16 and a .38 revolver during my Naval career, but that merely reflected my innate skill, not due to any hard work, experience or any particular familiarity with firearms.

But as I've heard more and read more about the expiring "assault" weapons ban, I've come to the conclusion that the ban doesn't make much sense. I can't see where the banned weapons are any more dangerous than other non-banned ones.

What many people don't realize is that automatic weapons, what most of us think of as "machine guns," are already severely restricted by federal law (they're effectively banned other than a few dealers and specially-licensed folks). Although the M-16, as an example, can be built so that it can fire as long as you hold down the trigger and ammunition remains in the magazine, that design is limited to military and law enforcement use.

The weapons that fall under the ban are semiautomatic, which means you must pull the trigger for each bullet you intend to send down-range. This isn't to say that every semiautomatic rifle is banned; far from it. The features which can turn a legal rifle into a banned one include: a "pistol-grip" stock; lugs for mounting a bayonet; flash suppressor; and a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. None of these features have any impact on the lethality of the weapon (with the possible exception of a rifle-mounted bayonet, but c'mon, when was the last time you heard of anyone getting even a scratch from one?).

None of these weapons will kill you any faster or any deader than other non-banned semiautomatic weapons. This law makes no sense, and should be allowed to expire.

Update: Spoons celebrates. Of course, he's a self-professed gun nut. :)

Update 2: And on the other side of the coin, my liberal pal David Anderson thinks that so-called "assault weapons" are unnecessary. I've left him comments to find out what he thinks is the problem with so-called "assault weapons."

Search for missing woman

My friend, David Anderson, received a request from a fraternity brother to publicize the search for a South Carolina woman who has been reported missing.

This request caught David in the midst of doing some "plumbing work" on his blog, so he has forwarded the request to some other bloggers, asking that we get the ball rolling in getting the word out in the Blogosphere.

Glad to help, David.

Tamika Huston Missing since the end of May 2004

You can reach the website set up by Tamika's family and friends here.

Saturday, September 11, 2004
We remember

It was three years ago today that I saw United Airlines Flight 175 impact the south tower of the World Trade Center. As the day wore on, I learned of the fates of American Airlines flight 77 (which ultimately flew into the Pentagon), United Airlines flight 93 (which ended up crashing into a field near Somerset, PA), and of course, American Airlines flight 11 which had earlier crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

While much of the focus over the past three years has been on the World Trade Center, we can't forget that two other planes were hijacked by Islamist terrorists, taking many people to their deaths, both on board the airplanes and in the Pentagon.

The Navy announced two years ago that they would name a new warship the USS New York in honor of that state's victims. Further, steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center will be worked into its bow.

Flag at the Pentagon

Yesterday, the Navy announced that two amphibious assault vessels will be named the USS Arlington and the USS Somerset. These ships will hold a landing force of 800 Marines, their helicopters and other equipment.

As a Navy retiree and the father of a Marine, I'm extremely proud. Though many may forget during their day-to-day life, the world is different since September 11, 2001. It's good to recognize that fact.

Update: Others remember, too.

David of In Search of Utopia
Kevin of Wizbang! - and adds a more personal memory
Dean Esmay
Scott of Right Moment
Robert Prather emerges briefly from his retirement from blogging
My fellow Texan, Jeff of The Shape of Days
The Spoons Experience
Eric at Classical Values

Thursday, September 09, 2004
My reaction to the Gap ad

I don't remember when I first saw Sarah Jessica Parker. Maybe it was in Flight of the Navigator, maybe it was something else. But I do remember that I thought she was very attractive.

Just now, I again saw the Gap commercial she did with Lenny Kravitz, and I realize she's no longer very attractive.


There's a photo for you, David. I know you'd moan if I hadn't posted one, even though you know as well as I do what she looks like.

Sarah Jessica Parker from The Gap promo

This is a photo from the current Gap promo. I'm sorry, but she just doesn't seem to be a pretty woman to me any more. And don't give me any grief about women suffering more than men as they age, when it comes to the perception of attractiveness. I'm 48, so a 39-year-old woman is certainly still in her prime, as far as I'm concerned. No, Sarah has fallen from my graces because of the conscious decisions she has made on how she wants to look. My response? You can do better, Sarah.

Not that you asked, or anything.

Bill's back...

...and he's running full tilt on his first post following his brief hiatus. He's putting a lot of work into determining the legitimacy of the documents that recently emerged that purportedly address 1LT Bush's Air National Guard performance in the early 70s. Enough people are discussing this right now that anything I might say would be superfluous, so just go read Bill's post — and the comments.

I will note that a caller to Sean Hannity's radio show this afternoon mentioned INDCJournal and recommended that Hannity's listeners check it out. Très cool.

Oh, and Bill? It's great to have you back.

Update: I've seen posts that attract a lot of comments. Charles at LGF frequently gets more comments on a single post than I get for views of my web site in an entire day. But as of this writing, Bill has accumulated over 100 trackbacks for his post on the Bush documents.

The blogosphere continues to grow in value to an information-hungry world.

Another Update: Rusty Shackleford agrees that the deep rumbling sound you heard throughout the day was a paradigm shift in the news media.

It's almost time!

Dean reminds us once more that we're a mere ten days away from International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arrr, mateys, are ye ready for Talk Like A Pirate Day 2004?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I'm witholding judgment

Via David Anderson, Rusty Shackleford apologizes for casting aspersions against Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun when he was reportedly abducted by terrorists in Iraq, and subsequently released and made his way to the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

While I don't want to "convict" Corporal Hassoun without giving him the opportunity to explain the situation, I've seen nothing so far which would exonerate him in a very strange and suspicious chain of events.

I'll ask my son, who is also a Marine at Camp Lejeune, what the scuttlebutt says about Cpl Hassoun. While not definitive, my experience during twenty years of naval service suggests that the troops have the best insight into the truth of the matter.

[Tech] Windows XP SP2

My Microsoft Intellimouse for Bluetooth decided it didn't want to talk to my computer any more (or maybe it was the other way around — who knows?), so I checked to see if there was updated software for it on the Microsoft web site. Yup, there it is: Intellipoint 5.2.

Download the software, run it, answer a few questions, identify which mouse I want to use — and it tells me have to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 first. Grrr.

I've actually had SP2 for quite a while. I had downloaded the CD image from Microsoft, but I'd never gotten around to cutting a CD, much less installing it. After hearing that some folks were having problems after they'd installed the service pack, plus the fact that I use a lot of other stuff to protect my computer from the bad guys, I wasn't too concerned about rushing to install it.

Obviously, Intellipoint 5.2 was going to change all that. So I have to copy the CD image to the computer with the CD writer, cut the CD, backup my laptop (at 4 gigs, and over a wireless connection (yeah, I know, but I was too lazy to run down the cable), that took about an hour), and I'm finally ready to install SP2.

The actual installation took about half an hour. I suppose it wasn't longer because I was completely up-to-date with the Windows Critical Updates. Spybot Search & Destroy, which monitors registry changes in addition to blocking and cleaning spyware, popped a bunch of times when the service pack was updating the registry, but that's to be expected. In the end, no hiccups.

Mandatory reboot, and startup takes a bit longer than usual so Windows can do a little housekeeping. I log in, and ZoneAlarm Pro, my software firewall, asks me a slew of times if I want various applications and services to access the Internet, and I say yes, yes, YES, YES! Just get Windows started and let me see what damage has been done! Oh, and Norton AntiVirus was seeking acceptance and approval, so I gave it a few strokes. It did complain to me about not being able to find a particular file, but it looked like it was an information HTML page, so I didn't worry about it.

I finally get Windows up and running, so I install the updated Intellipoint software, which is what got me started on this odyssey in the first place. Nothing special there, except for the required reboot at the end.

After the reboot, I run the utility to find my Bluetooth mouse, and despite the indication that it already saw my mouse, I told it to look for another device. After a diligent search through the Bluetooth RF spectrum, it told me, "Look, stupid, I told you I already see your mouse. Quit buggin' me, 'kay?"

So in the end, it was an uneventful process. I noticed that the Links folder in my Favorites in Internet Explorer are all alphabetized (another Grrr), but no truly ill effects noticed so far. Disregarding cutting the CD and backing up the hard drive (you do backup your hard drive regularly, right?), it took me less than an hour to go from pre-SP2 and Intellipoint 4.9 to SP2 and Intellipoint 5.2. And pretty painless — at least for a software geek.

Update: My friend and co-worker, Andy, emailed me to tell me how I could have skipped the "cut a CD" step. He uses and recommends Daemon Tools to mount a virtual CD/DVD drive holding the desired disk image, accessing it just like a physical CD drive. He says he's been using it for years without any problems.

Andy also says Daemon Tools are great for the kids' game CDs. He rips the CD into an ISO image, then puts an icon on the desktop that points to the virtual drive holding the image. Keeps their grubby paws off of the CDs.

I'll be checking out Daemon Tools, and if Andy recommends it, you should, too.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Makin' chili

He's posted it before, but Dean has reposted his recipe for Cowboy Chili. I'll have to give some thought about where I'm going to get the required animal fat, but I have a feeling I'll manage it somehow.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to make my chili, and most folks seem to like it. But Dean has a point: my recipe, which includes tomato paste, and usually beans, isn't authentic Cowboy Chili.

I also noticed, in a trackback to Dean's entry, Punctilious's recipe for Gila River Fry Bread, which looks like it'll make a great accompaniment to Dean's chili.

I've been hankerin' for some chili lately, so I may have to give these recipes a try. Soon.

Update: I've added my own recipe for chili on my Recipes site. Some may think it ain't authentic, but I like it.

Sunday, September 05, 2004
Insulting statistics

Is it just me, or is my web host providing a very insulting statistics report?

Can Kerry move to the right of Bush?

While it may not have been true prior to the Republican National Convention, it seems to me that the only way Senator Kerry might have a chance to defeat President Bush in the upcoming election would be if he somehow managed to position himself to the right of the President in matters military, anti-terrorism and Iraq.

And I'm here to tell ya, that ain't gonna happen.

Friday, September 03, 2004
If everybody agrees, does that make it true?

I'm very leery of "groupthink:" a bunch of people who tend to agree, and end up just reinforcing their existing opinions without getting any countering input. So from a political standpoint, I try to read a few blogs and publications by folks who, to say the least, don't exactly share my political viewpoint. Even if they sometimes drive me absolutely crazy.

I spend much more time, naturally, reading folks who have a perspective similar to mine. And I hope I'm not (we're not) falling prey to groupthink, but I certainly get the sense that the Republican National Convention was a huge win for the GOP, especially when compared to the Democratic Convention. From McCain, Giuliani and Schwarzeneggar, through the First Lady, Miller and the Vice President, capped by the President's masterful performance last night, I have a strong sense of a building momentum for the Bush ticket. Even the latest Time Magazine poll shows a significant lead for the President over Senator Kerry.

Of course, my good friend David, the pinko liberal, wisely states that the only poll that matters is still 60 days away. I guess I'll go back to my anti-groupthink ways. For now, at least.

Thursday, September 02, 2004
A "must quote" for TexasNative

From President Bush's acceptance speech this evening:

Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Where do our freedoms come from?

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us the freedom of the press."

And more of a like nature from Senator Zell Miller. You go, Zell.

Update: Here are the key lines from that portion of Senator Miller's speech. is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

It brings tears to my eyes just reading it.


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In loving memory
Dr Edward N Garrett
1925 - 2004

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