The Best Buy Experience
So as T previously mentioned, we purchased a washer & dryer from Best Buy. Suffice it to say I was underwhelmed by the service I received. While not quite as horrific as Lowe's, from which I will never order anything, I will warn that if you purchase something from Best Buy, make double dog sure they completely code every correct product into their system prior to making the purchase. Make sure they enter every component, color, and accessory perfect to the letter. It is your last chance for sanity.
My delivery the following week consisted of two different color appliances, the item of the correct color being dented. Obviously I requested that the kind delivery man not leave anything at the house at that time. 6 or so hours on the phone later (and I hate the telephone), of time I will never get back, my problem was rectified and my equipment arrived the next day. Many thanks to the kind lady in distribution for being on the ball, but I don't think she is actually employed by Best Buy. See, the departmental monkey washes his hands clean of you the moment he hands you a receipt, and while you see a giant "Customer Service" area in the store, there is actually nobody there who understands how to use a phone. The one individual in the store who understands the concept of picking up a telephone is only capable of transferring you to the wrong department, or just putting it back down on the receiver, thereby cutting you off.
The 888 (national) number has no humans actually working it. This veritable button pushing symphony culminates in a grand coda which instructs you to contact the local store from which you purchased your merchandise...and well, you know the rest. Moral of the story: prepare to be anal, or prepare to fight. The equipment is wonderful, but barely worth the effort.
ISO & Quality
Let me just point out the ugly truth that gets hidden behind the smoke and mirrors: ISO is not about building a quality product. ISO is about documenting your process sufficiently to meet accreditation standards.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that there are aspects to the ISO standards that will nudge you towards the direction of quality if you're so inclined. If you're not so inclined, it's a paper drill. You can make the biggest malfunctioning pile of crap known to man and be ISO certified. All you have to do is document the process used to make the junk, and use that process consistently.
Of course, my part of the audit is even funnier from a practical standpoint. The engineering group has to follow the processes laid out in the manual. But wait! Ask yourself the obvious question! Who writes the manual? Well, the engineering portion is written by... the engineering group. So we're being tested on our ability to write down what we do. What's even funnier is that if a truly unbiased observer came in, we would probably fail. We have revised the process considerably without changing the manual. Oops. Good thing the auditors are only spending an hour and a half with us.
We got a new washer and dryer delivered, too. I will let J describe the horror that is modern day customer service, if she so chooses. All's well that ends well, I s'pose, and the correct equipment was eventually delivered. Before they arrived, I was simply deemed incompetent to do laundry. J had decided long ago that my laundry skills did not meet her standards. So rather than invest the time in training me, which is always a difficult task, she had simply banned me from doing the laundry. Things have progressed. Now, I am incapable of doing the laundry. I do not understand how to work the new washer and dryer. Once they were delivered, J spent the rest of the afternoon reading the instructions. She now understands what to do with all this new-fangled technology. I remain blessedly ignorant. I don't think I can start either one of them. On the plus side, we have three colors of LED on the panel: blue, green, and orange. It's like a little light show when the wash is going.
We also got the Christmas tree put up and decorated with lights and all the ornaments. When I say we, that means J. She has strong views about the tree and how it should be trimmed. I, on the other hand, do not. So it's generally better if she handles it. I did the heavy lifting to get the tree set up and went out to the garage to work on the new tables for the computer room. I'm still not done, but I'm a lot closer. Now that the old desks have been removed, we're ready to put the furniture in the room. Once I get finished trimming the laminate, that is. Then I have to finish rewiring the outlets so they're grounded. Then we can actually put the computers back in the room. Maybe then I can get the shelf put up in the computer room. Home improvements are fun!
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be--That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions--to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We have a lot this year for which to be thankful.
Wartergate? WTF? Do you perhaps mean Watergate, with only one 'r'?
Proofreading is dead.
As long as we're on the subject, at least this is better than a report I saw at my last job. The company paid an absurd amount of money to a consulting firm for a market analysis of the industry for the next 5 years. On every single page of the report was the proud notice "Copywrite 2000". Maybe it's just me, but if you can't even spell copyright, why should I take anything you say seriously?
Ah, screw it. Here's an old joke I still find hilarious.
Memo to Internationalists
I think this is one the better messages to Europe (and really the American left) I've read lately. Unfortunately, I think we're too late. Much of the world and the roughly 48% of the imbecilic American trash who voted for Donks hate what America stands for, so they're left still whining about the election results.
Here's what all of you, America haters domestic and foreign, don't seem to understand. We could give two shits what any of you think of those of us who support our President. In the same style that Chirac, Schroeder, and Zapatero won re-election based on their rampant anti-Americanism, we, the majority of Americans, will continue to elect leaders who represent our views...without much regard to your useless opinions.
As you attempt to serve the interests of your country of origin abroad or your personal agenda here at home, we know that you aren't looking out for America's best interests, and we know it is our job to do just that. We understand that you want us to become as weak, vacuous, and lazy as you have become, and we won't. Feel free to whine and scream and project your perception of our hate and stupidity. Flap on about our lack of diversity and intolerance. Oh, and don't forget to pay an extra visit your sham-artist psychotherapist, or artificially medicate yourself a better perspective. We will continue to ignore you and go about our lives.
Our ideas...conservative ideas...every time they're honestly articulated...will carry the day with the average American. These are the principles by which we live our lives. These principles work every time they're implemented, and will continue to do so, despite your grand, failed idea of utopia. So to all of you...the frivolous fashion followers, celebrity worshippers, and self proclaimed intellectuals on the West Coast and in Northeast can say whatever the hell you want for as long as you want. We know you're out there, but we're not really listening to you. We're busy. We're out working for a living and taking care of our families. And you know what? There are more of us than there are of you...here in America...where it counts.
No Evident Bias
I still believe that we should hold our condemnation of this Marine and let the military justice system sort this out based on all of the mitigating factors in play.Maybe we shouldn't be thinking about 'condemnation' until the military justice system gets done? We should all probably reserve judgement until all the facts are in and a verdict has been rendered. That's not the same as holding condemnation, is it? It's still entirely possible he did nothing worthy of being condemned, isn't it?
News From Fallujah
Indiana at Detroit: Friday Night at the Fights
I can actually hear the sound of my own eyes rolling. Good fucking grief.
I know a little bit about how professional sports teams work. Prior to my illustrious career in the biotechnology/pharma industry, I spent a portion of my life working for professional sports franchises (both in business operations and player operations), including working for one of the NBA's teams. This particular league has been in decline in sometime, they had just been hiding it well. I was working for the franchise in the mid-90's that saw its 3rd largest sell out streak in NBA history go down the tubes. I personally witnessed the enabling of poor behavior at all levels of the game, from the boardroom to the locker room, and on and off the court. A rabid sports fan prior to entering the wide world of sports, I left it feeling bitter, resentful, and put off by the whole experience.
On this latest charade, David Stern and the NBA had it coming. May they all crash and burn. Stern and team owners have sat idly by and allowed convicted felons to comprise 40% of its work force. The NBA is little more than a very expensive prison playground. If sports franchises want to save their leagues in the short term, they'll start enforcing the moral turpitude clauses in their standard agreements and enact a player ban on all convicted felons, regardless of offense. Talented athletes are a dime a dozen, and if a particular athlete can't behave, then remove him (or her) from the league. There are no less than 6 equally talented players who will be willing to follow the rules, keep their noses clean, and just play ball.
Contrary to what liberal/socialist/commie/one worlders believe, nobody on this planet has the inalienable right to a job. Especially, nobody has the right to make millions of dollars playing basketball for a living. Part of a player's job is to be a public figure who represents a team's brand on a global level. If he can't do that in a positive way, then terminate his contract. The unions and lawyers can help the displaced find a career field that will allow an employee to behave as poorly as he chooses...until he ends up where he belongs...in jail. And yes, I understand the collective bargaining agreements better than you do. Saving sports as a viable entertainment industry will require these agreements to be burned or at least seriously modified. The players want to strike? Re-read the last sentence of my previous paragraph.
There is one more issue: where in the hell is law enforcement? If crimes on the court were prosecuted off the court, we may see less of them. I heard that in this latest episode, a fan threw a drink. Well, then the fan should be prosecuted as well as the players involved. Assault and/or battery is no less in a basketball arena than it is on the street; so charge and punish the offenders. All your evidence is on tape. You have thousands of witnesses.
Banning felons is only a short term fix however; there are many problems with professional sports in general that will not likely be remedied. I have always been of the opinion that the quickest way to clean up all professional sports is by requiring a college degree prior to entering a draft, or signing any player contract. You would weed out probably 95% of your riff raff. The leagues will never agree to this, so in the alternative, the time has come for us all to recognize the truth: sports at the college level are nothing more than farm teams for professional leagues. Rather than wasting classroom space and university resources on some illiterate who is only meeting his minimum requirements to remain on the team for that elusive shot at the pros, he should just be paid for the service he provides. Then, if he wants to spend his money on his education...welcome to college. Let him attend college between his sports job, in the off season, and like the rest of us.
Let's examine what is currently happening; the NBA in particular is recruiting its players at a younger and younger age. How many of you knew serious high school athletes? I don't mean some half-baked yotz who hasn't played basketball since junior high who tells everybody that he's talking to NBA scouts on the phone. I mean real high school sports stars. Those guys who devote all their time to practicing, often to the exclusion of academics. College scouts are in the stands, and coaches are fixing grades while offering to pay a couple of smart kids to tutor the star so he can maybe pass English, or make a high enough SAT score to get him admitted to the college who is offering that scholarship.
I knew plenty of these guys. They were all over my high school, some where my friends. Many got those college scholarships and even a few made the pros. These guys know they're good. They know they're special. They know they're above the rules and that somebody will pull strings for them to get ahead. They do stupid shit because they know they can get away with it...I mean no hometown policeman wants to be the guy who arrested the star center two days before that next crucial game. And these are the kids who the NBA is handing millions of dollars to and saying have fun. What in the hell does anybody expect?
Of course, I could have avoided this entire post by asking the first obvious question. Who in the hell should fuckin' care about a bunch of young hoodrats who make millions of dollars playing kids' games? If these are the people you hold up to your kids as role models and heroes, than you have a lot bigger problems.
The list just proves two things about Rolling Stone. One, the critics there are indelibly wedded to the 60s as the apotheosis of great rock-n-roll. Two, they don't have a clue about anything that happened past about 1980. It must be hard to maintain your hip street cred when you're a decrepit fossil. Yet, somehow, they persevere.
Really, though, isn't Rolling Stone a relic of the distribution systems of the past? At some point, Rolling Stone served as a guide to keep you from being drowned in the fetid swamp of crappy albums that are released each year. Nobody has the time to listen to each one of the albums released each year. Somebody has to pre-screen for you, and Rolling Stone was as good (or bad) as anyone for that function. If you lived in some obscure out of the way place where you might not hear new music until two years after it was released, RS might have helped you out.
Now? Rolling Stone is painfully obsolete. Amazon and LAUNCHCast and similar services are doing a better job than RS ever could. Community ratings systems that provide feedback are doing an excellent job of disintermediating RS. I don't need to know what some pretentious writer in New York thinks of a new band. I want to know if people who share my tastes think it's worth buying. RS can't provide that to me. So once again, the internet is making a previous business model less than desirable. As far as being a source of new music, RS is just pushing the same tired crap I hear on every ClearChannel station.
Rationally speaking, why does anyone care what some person writing for RS thinks about anything? Reliance on criticism is an appeal to authority that has no real basis. I pay more attention to 4 words from J ('You would like this') than I would to 5000 words from RS. Some random schmoe has no credibility until he's established a reasonable track record, and RS hasn't had one in years.
More ClearChannel Abuse
LaunchCast is how I get to hear anything new these days. If you're not familiar with LaunchCast, it's a streaming service that is ratings based. Rate something highly and you're more likely to hear it. It also goes out and compares your ratings with other folks' in an attempt to play things you might like. As anyone who uses Amazon can tell you, the ratings comparison suggestor technology is not a foolproof science yet. So occasionally it throws out some bizarre things at me. Today's was Celtic Frost doing a cover of Wall of Voodoo's Mexican Radio. Umm, what?
Admittedly, it fulfills my golden rule for cover songs. I feel there's no point to covering a song if you're trying to make a perfect sounding copy of the original. So do something to make the song distinctively different. Own the performance, in other words. You will never mistake this version for Stan Ridgway, that's for sure.
Still, it's a little bit disconcerting, kind of like when you meet someone who you only see in one social setting and they pop up in another.
One Other Law Of Land Warfare
What can be seen can be hit.By extension, it would seem this reduces to 'What can be seen can be killed.' I suppose this makes How Not To Be Seen even more important. The Army was trying to make a point about cover and concealment, whereas I have no point whatsoever. Just an odd little tidbit I remembered.
What can be hit can be killed.
More On Land Warfare
However, both of the learned commentators are missing a fundamental point. Nothing in the Conventions abrogates the right to self-defense. This is the crucial point that might otherwise be missed in the legal analysis of what status under the Conventions applied to the corpse in question. As neither Mr. Carter, Prof. Volokh, or I were present and in a situation to subjectively evaluate whether or not the terrorist in question was a threat or could reasonably be perceived as a threat, making the determination that the shooting was a crime is a bit premature. Mr. Carter appears to have taken this view in his article. I do not find that view supportable by the evidence I have so far seen.
In a situation like this, the idea that cameras can indeed lie should be kept foremost in the mind. The camera does not possess the capability to place the video in a larger context, which is what is needed right now. A 30 second video is incapable of providing all of the relevant information. All of the news reports I have read so far do not cover a great deal of the facts I would need to make even a preliminary decision on guilt or innocence. In some cases, the reports are contradictory and unclear on even the most basic level.
I'll reiterate my earlier point. If this marine can make the case that he was acting to protect the lives of marines, his own included, he has committed no crime under the UCMJ.
I Don't Think So
Anyhow, every year there's a joint happy hour for charity before we beat A&M at football. This year the event coordinator is being all plaintive and crap. Please show up! Last year 650 Aggies showed up and only 50 of us! Well, I'm sure that's partially due to the fact that Aggies have to drink more to endure the pain of having a crappy football team.
However, speaking personally, I can think of very little I want less than to be in a bar with 650 Aggies. My appreciation for diversity doesn't extend quite that far.
Well, duh. Please keep in mind J and I run local elections. Actually, she runs them, I tote boxes. J gets a couple more hours of training before the election than I do. Every time, we go to a class on the voting machines with J's mom, who works with us as a clerk. The class is supposed to take 2 hours. All the class covers is how to actually use the machines. No content is devoted to the actual procedures of the election. J goes to that class by herself. So we're talking a grand total of maybe 4 hours of training for the precinct judge. The alternate judge would get the same amount of training if he would show up for it. So let's sum up how much training goes on: a grand total of 12 hours. 4 for J, 4 for the donk alternate, 2 for me, 2 for J's mom.
We have 9 people working our precinct. 12 hours of training total for 9 people. Yeah, that sounds pretty damn inadequate to me.
Another issue is amply demonstrated by our alternate judge. He's been working elections since I was about 5 years old. If he doesn't see the point in a procedure or it's too inconvenient, he simply won't do it. I can't speculate as to how many people like him work elections in this state, but I'll guess a lot. 7 bucks an hour doesn't buy you a lot of effort or caring in my experience. If you have to rely on volunteers, you can't design elaborate complex procedures. They either get screwed up or ignored.
Reading between the lines, I notice his solution is to make the process more complex. First he complains about long lines and poor training, then wants to slow the process down and make it more confusing. Everything should be done in pairs! No-one should touch a ballot without a witness! No pencils! Three teams to carry ballots to counting locations! Good luck with that. I really hope it works out for you somewhere in that far-off place where everything goes perfectly. In the meantime, the rest of us will have to muddle through as best we can.
I'll reiterate my comments about elections in Texas. Don't be surprised it doesn't work as well as you think it should. Be grateful it works at all.
Truthfully, this strikes me as more desperate fumbling by Sears executives. The company has no idea what to do, and hasn't had a clue for a long time. This won't help.
Laws of Land Warfare
First off, remember one important fact. David Drake first wrote this down in the afterword to a Hammer's Slammers compilation. The sentiment probably predates him, though. The guys on the ground out there in Jihadistan or wherever are going to do whatever they think they need to do to come home alive. There are limits to this depending on the individual, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb.
Keep in mind some incidents that have happened in Fallujah. Using a white flag to draw troops into an ambush. Boobytrapping corpses. Taking hostages. Torturing civilians. All of these are acts prohibited under the various Geneva and Hague Conventions. Given all of these acts, the idea that the terrorists are protected under the Conventions is pure lunacy. One is protected under the Conventions and accorded status under it only if you abide by its restrictions. To be precise:
Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.That last one there, d? That's kind of a problem for these people. Well, actually, a through d are all honored in the breach by the Islamofascists. Guess that lets the terrorists out right there, doesn't it? The Convention clearly do not apply to these individuals. As a matter of regulation and policy, the US military tries to abide by the Convention even when engaged with forces who are not signatory to the Conventions. The marine can be prosecuted for violating orders and the UCMJ. But prosecuted for violations of the Conventions? No chance in hell. By their own demonstrated conduct, the terrorists operating in Fallujah have placed themselves out of the bounds of the Conventions.
There is also an automatic out to any charges that the marine will use if the military is dumb enough to prosecute him. If you are acting in self-defense, you are justified in killing every and any thing that moves. If that marine seriously felt he was in danger and his fellow marines were in danger when he capped the guy, he will walk away from any charges brought. Think I'm imagining this? It's the iron-clad defense. A fairly famous case (within the Army, anyway) concerns a soldier who shot three unarmed civilians dead in Panama. He believed one of them had a grenade, and, well, automatic weapons aren't very precise sometimes. He was court-martialed. He was found not guilty because he had acted to save his life and the lives of his fellow soldiers.
The Corps will, and should, investigate this incident. The Corps has larger issues to worry about, so it has to take these precautions. But will they prosecute this marine? I doubt it, although they may bow to currently fashionable stupidity. If they do prosecute him, he'll walk.
Personally, I could care if he was wounded. Make the streets run red with their blood and build a pyramid of skulls in the city square. What matters is killing the terrorists before they kill more of our troops.
On the White House Staff Resignations & Turnover
For all of you seeking reassurance here it is: cabinet turnover is a natural part of political life. Working in government is hard, for the President of the United States is harder, and this has been some of the most tumultuous 4 years in recent history. Government service is harder still for Republicans. It is not the natural habitat for a conservative. Unlike liberals who honestly believe that government is supposed to shape and change peoples' lives, conservatives believe we make a difference (and more money) in the private sector. We prefer to work for a living. We serve our government as one might serve a charitable cause, and move on with our normal lives.
The latest on what I have is that out are Colin Powell, John Ashcroft of course, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Venneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige, and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. I don't think Powell is completely out; however, based upon his comments today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was tapped as a special envoy to the middle east for the "historic negotiations for the Israeli/'Palestinian' peace process". Yes, that sound you heard was that of my eyes rolling. Word is that Dr. Rice will replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State. I would jump for joy. I think she is a star.
Anyway, as for turnover being normal, for example, by May of 1999, then President Bill Clinton had plowed through 5 White House Counsels, 5 Spokespeople, 4 Chiefs of Staff, 3 Secretaries of Defense, and 3 Treasury Secretaries. Here's a full rundown of the Clinton Cabinet scorecard.
Secretary of State: Warren M. Christopher, 1993 and Madeleine Albright, 1996
Secretary of the Treasury: Lloyd Bentsen, 1993; Robert E. Rubin, 1995–1999; and Lawrence H. Summers, 1999
Secretary of Defense: Les Aspin, 1993; William J. Perry, 1994; and William S. Cohen, 1997
Attorney General: Janet Reno, 1993
Secretary of the Interior: Bruce Babbitt, 1993
Secretary of Agriculture: Mike Espy, 1993 and Dan Glickman, 1995
Secretary of Commerce: Ronald H. Brown, 1993; Mickey Kantor, 1996; William M. Daley, 1997; and Norman Y. Mineta, 2000
Secretary of Labor: Robert B. Reich, 1993 and Alexis Herman, 1997
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Donna E. Shalala, 1993
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Henry G. Cisneros, 1993 and Andrew M. Cuomo, 1997
Secretary of Transportation: Federico F. Pena, 1993 and Rodney Slater, 1997
Secretary of Energy : Hazel R. O'Leary, 1993; Frederico F. Pena, 1997; and Bill Richardson, 1998
Secretary of Education: Richard W. Riley, 1993
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs: Jesse Brown, 1993 and Togo D. West, Jr., 1998
And no, I'm not just picking on Clinton, although it is so very very easy. I have also, provided a list President Reagan's staff . I used Reagan because he was the most recent Republican 2 termer.
Secretary of State: Alexander M. Haig, Jr., 1981 and George P. Shultz, 1982
Secretary of the Treasury: Donald T. Regan, 1981; James A. Baker 3rd, 1985; and Nicholas F. Brady, 1988
Secretary of Defense: Caspar W. Weinberger, 1981 and Frank C. Carlucci, 1987
Attorney General: William French Smith, 1981; Edwin Meese 3rd, 1985; and Richard L. Thornburgh, 1988
Secretary of the Interior: James G. Watt, 1981; William P. Clark, 1983; and Donald P. Hodel, 1985
Secretary of Agriculture: John R. Block, 1981 and Richard E. Lyng, 1986
Secretary of Commerce: Malcolm Baldrige, 1981 and C. William Verity, Jr., 1987
Secretary of Labor: Raymond J. Donovan, 1981; William E. Brock, 1985; and Ann Dore McLaughlin, 1987
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Richard S. Schweiker, 1981; Margaret M. Heckler, 1983; and Otis R. Bowen, 1985
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., 1981
Secretary of Transportation: Andrew L. Lewis, Jr., 1981; Elizabeth H. Dole, 1983; and James H. Burnley 4th, 1987
Secretary of Energy: James B. Edwards, 1981; Donald P. Hodel, 1983; and John S. Herrington, 1985
Secretary of Education: T. H. Bell, 1981; William J. Bennett, 1985; and Lauro F. Cavazos, 1988
So see? No freaking...this is all no big deal.
More on the Myth of the Harmless Open Border
One last hurrah...
When John Kerry called President Bush to concede the election, he did ask that as a provision of the concession that he be allowed to receive a Purple Heart medal for injuries received in the ass whipping.
Mr. Skellington Comes To Court
One of the worst effects of that blindness was a willingness of the government ignore the worst excesses of any right-wing dictatorship in the name of 'anti-communism'. One could make the argument that the focus on the spectre of communism led to some of the problems we face now. Consider the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran. Installing and propping up the Shah for all those years led directly to the Islamic theocracy that controls Iran now.
Similarly, the stubborn reliance on right-wing dictatorships to keep South America communist free led to some appalling acts being committed with our winking approval. Christopher Hitchens has an excellent article in Vanity Fair about some of the things that may be attributed to the actions and inactions of the US government. Here's a nice couple of lines:
A suit has also been filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., by the family of General René Schneider, charging Kissinger with orchestrating his killing. Every single paper in the prosecution dossier is a United States government declassified document.
Well. Kissinger again. I forget about him sometimes. I forget that he helped abandon US soldiers in Southeast Asia to the tender mercies of their captors by dropping the issue of POWs during the Paris talks. I forget that the articles of impeachment for Nixon specifically included the bombing of Laos, which was one of Kissinger's brilliant ideas. So I don't see why I'm all that surprised Kissinger turns up neck deep in this mess. Generally speaking, if the US participated in something morally suspect overseas during the 70s, Kissinger was probably involved.
Doesn't look like he'll be able to realpolitik his way out of this one. He's got to show up in a US court. The rest of the world won't take him anymore. It would be a little disingenuous of a federal court to claim that declassified documents aren't legitimate. We'll have to see how this plays out.
Me, I'm at work reading patents. I hate reading patents. Patents are engineering documents written by lawyers. Let me tell you, that's a bad combination. They're even more fun when you have to read them with an eye as to how to do the same thing without infringing. Or to see if you can change something slightly and claim it's a brilliant new idea. I have a great deal of respect for the patent attorney who is working on a case for us. He has an MS in engineering and a law degree. More importantly, he has to read patents for a living. I'd slit my wrists. It's bad enough when I have to do it, but if that's all I did? I'd go crazy. Well, crazier.
Veterans' Day Should Be Everyday
VA Secretary Principi asks us all, "Have you thanked a veteran today?" Most of the brave men and women who serve and have served don't talk much about their service. They did their jobs, came home, and got on with their lives. T is one of those brave men. Sure, he tells the occasional "funny time in the Army" story, but he really doesn't talk much about his service. I only got a coherent story of the day he was shot a couple of years ago. He was in the first Gulf War, and as a reminder, a Purple Heart in its open box sits on our bookshelf. He makes little of it, but I look at it everyday. I am proud of it, and of this fine man I call my husband.
This morning, from the throne where he takes his "morning constitutional", he said the words, "yay me, I guess." Hell yeah, yay you. Yay to all of you. Thank you to all veterans.
And, if you're not as lucky as I, that you may honor, or care for a veteran every day of your life, honor one today. Just say thank you.
It is the soldier, not the reporter,who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
by Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC
The Selfish Left
So far, it's worked amazingly well. Here's some things I've noticed. I have it set up to search 6 (maybe more) databases (Amazon, B&N, Borders, Books-a-million, and two LOC). I have it set up to merge information, so the first database that returns a field wins. This may cause problems later, because it populates a 'Category' field that may not match between entries. It also doesn't return fields equally for all books. I had to manually fill in some blanks for things, especially on older books. Inside the Third Reich was the worst, and unsurprisingly, the oldest. In general, the older a book is, the more blanks it will have. A nice feature is that it checks ISBNs for the checksum digit, so if you mistype the ISBN, it lets you know.
We may have to move to a modified LCCN system for organization. Some of the books do not return a LCCN number. I am not sure how to handle this at this point. I'm thinking some sort of a determination will have to be made to put it in a top level LCCN category and call it good. Anybody with experience in library science is free to offer helpful suggestions. It also lets you add user fields. I have put in one for location, and may add another for a reference number.
So far I'm very impressed. At this point it's definitely worth the money. I'd like to try the CD version because that should be almost trouble free, especially with a bar code scanner.
Update: Oops. I left out the fact that it will read from ISBNs as well as (and better than) LCCNs. LCCNs get a little strange. One of my old Asimov paperbacks came up as a Swedish technical dictionary using the LCCN. Strangely, old paperbacks are better about including ISBNs than old hardbacks. Go figure.
Farewell to John Ashcroft
Anyhow, I have found a program called Readerware. It is a specialized database program that runs a nice GUI up front and an SQL database in back. The primary purpose is to catalog books, but versions exist for CDs and DVDs. I'm sure some of you are thinking "Big deal". Well, the part that I find really cool is that all you need to give the program is the ISBN or the UPC. It will then go out on the web and check for that number and populate the remaining database fields. It pulls from a number of different databases, so in theory most items should come up. This is pretty cool. It is also compatible with bar code scanners so that you can scan a barcode directly and go from there.
My current plan is to try it on the books first using the 30 day trial functionality. If that works well, I'll chump off and buy the package and continue. At some point I'll get a barcode scanner to use on the CDs and DVDs. J and I started cataloging the books a while back, in preparation for the boxing and eventual relocation of YPS Manor. We didn't get very far, because it's a tedious damn process. Pull down a book. Read aloud the relevant information while J types. Place in box. Repeat. Something to automate the process would be a great help, because we have a lot of books.
It will also be nice because we can then export selected fields to a spreadsheet suitable for carrying around on our PDAs. We constantly run into the problem of trying to remember what DVDs and CDs we have while shopping. It's less of an issue with books for some reason.
Right now, I have some minor qualms. I foresee issues with SciFi Book Club compilations. I don't think they put ISBNs in those. We also have some older stuff that I was unable to find manually when I tried, but perhaps I was looking in the wrong place. However, even given these issues, if we can get 75% of the collection in the database this way, I figure it's worth it. Since J does the typing, I have no doubt she'd agree.
The DNC really should fire Terry McAuliffe. He is not getting candidates elected, which is the whole point of the organization. After two failed presidential elections, the 2002 midterms, and the results of this year's down ticket races, it should be obvious to someone in Donkland that he is not getting the job done. Every minute he lingers on is a minute you're not rebuilding your organization.
I realize the exit polls are the only source of data available right now for the voting trends of this election. However, using the exit polls to parse the finer points of why Bush won/Kerry lost has one large problem: they are provably inaccurate. So whatever analysis you come up with based on flawed data is likely to be flawed. The exit polls may work for a rough cut, but in the end, they don't say anything useful because they're wrong.
I will jump on the bandwagon and condemn the left for being condescending and elitist. Calling a majority of voters stupid is not the way to win the next election. Instead of screaming about how we're all fools for voting for Bush, offer up real policy alternatives instead of a secret plan to be revealed later. Of course, seeing as how most donk plans involve expanding the power and revenue of the state, I'm not thinking that'll help much.
Anyhow, I think I'm done with election blogging for this year. Time to worry about other things, like judicial appointments, successfully prosecuting the War on Terror, and fiscal responsibility.
GKC = HPL?
Fire It Up
Time to nuke Canada
What do you call 10,000 American liberals flocking to Canada?
A good fuckin' start.
In the coming days, Republicans will meet in the Senate to determine the committee chairs for the upcoming session. The chair for the Senate Judiciary Committee will be of vital importance. Arlen Specter has proven he is not competent to hold this leadership position. He is already on record as stating that he will attempt to use a litmus test to prevent otherwise well-qualified judges from being appointed to the federal bench. Given the difficulties that faced extraordinary judicial candidates Miguel Estrada, Bill Pryor, and Priscilla Owen, a Judiciary Committee chair that will support the President's choices is essential. Sen. Specter is unwilling to offer that kind of support, and should not be given this position. I urge you to do all in your power to make sure he is not chosen.
If you, like us here at YPS, feel that judicial appointments are critical contact your Senators. Arlen Specter does not need to be in charge of the Judiciary committee. He won't do a damn thing to get more judges on the bench that understand the concept of federalism and have actually read the Constitution. I won't belabor the point, I'll just ask you to do your part and voice your opinion.
OK, OK quickly. Yeah, if Hillary can beat Giuliani for her New York Senate seat in '06, which I'm not convinced she can, she'll be coronated the Donk nominee. Dick Morris, the rehabilitated toe suckee, speculates that if Giuliani runs for New York Senate, she won't run, because she knows if (when) she loses, she becomes the Ann Richards of New York and it is all over. Furthermore, nothing inspires the majority of the electorate to turn out in the negative like a Clinton, so even if she is the nominee, Clintons are extinct in 08. God bless extinction, and four more years of a Republican President.
On our side of the aisle, I'm hearing all this mess about Giuliani. For-fuckin'-get it. It ain't gonna be Rudy. Yes, I like him. He was a great leader of New York City during 9/11. However...the grassroots of the Republican party, the campaign workers, primary voters, and the South and Midwest are still not going to stand behind some liberal Northeastern Republican who publicly humiliated his wife in favor of his shack-job. I won't. It is just not going to happen. Mr. Giuliani will make a great New York Senator or Governor and he should evaluate his future successes there.
I'm also hearing crap about Schwarzenegger. Also, not gonna happen. He belongs in California. Maybe he could take out Barbara Boxer. Article II, Section 1 will not be amended, not in this war time. Especially with the smelly Eurotrash whining about the fact that because America affects the world, the world should get to vote for our President. Americans are way too smart to realize that the Euroweenies, Islamofascists, and the Chi-Coms would be in an arms race to create the perfect American-seeming, foreign-born, Presidential candidate. I have a lot of research saved up about the basis of this Constitutional provision, but that's for another day.
Now really people. Stop it, I mean it. We have a fresh victory to celebrate.
Reflections on Future Appointments, RINOs, and Zell
Speaking of holding up the process, I heard on one of the shows that Arlen Spector is saying some nonsense about blocking any pro-life judicial nominees. Arlen is weak; he narrowly shit out both his primary win and this general election. He doesn't have many friends left. It is time to back bench this RINO asshole and strip him of any potential chairmanships. Conservativism won these elections, we have the mandate, and it is time to back bench all those RINO assholes, especially, Chaffee, Snowe, Spector, Collins, and McCain. Good God, especially McCain, the whore.
One unrelated appointment I'd like to see is Zell Miller for UN Ambassador. Senator Miller worked his ass off for President Bush and I'm not ready to see him out of the public eye just yet. Even my 80 year old Grandmother asked me if there wasn't something for which we could vote him. I think the UN is the perfect forum for him. Yeah, OK, actually, I just want to see him challenge Kofi Annan to a duel. He would kick Kofi's pompous ass.
Trolling for the Daily Dish
Here's a good reason to use some of your political capital President Bush, to close the borders.
And this is a fantabulous example of CNN's unbiased staff. They now say that Netscape created the whole thing...bet not.
I will refrain from offering any advice along those lines. If you, the mythical donk reader, are not smart enough and self-aware enough to walk away from this experience and learn from it, I got no time and no help for you. Well, I take that back. I do have one piece of advice for the donks of America.
Fire Terry McAuliffe. Immediately.
However, if that doesn't happen, become resigned to losing more elections.
Ram It Down
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! SUCK IT DOWN, CHUMPS! KERRY LOST!
I'm sorry, was that unseemly gloating? It was? You mean I'm not supposed to mock the loser and his addled supporters? I can't make fun of the idiots that spent the last four years howling "Selected, Not Elected"? Oh, wait. J already set the tone for us here at YPS, so I most certainly can.
I'd also like to take this moment to thank Tom Daschle for losing his job. I would thank him for his many years of dedicated public service, but for one little detail. He spent his entire career sucking up to special interests and engaging in cut-throat partisan politics at the expense of the public. The word service seems incompatible with his career. So fuck him. Maybe his wife can get him a cushy lobbyist position at her firm.
So in summation, I'd just like to say to all the people who supported John Kerry for all the wrong reasons: choke on your own bile, you deluded fools. George Bush is still the President and there's nothing you can do about it. Try voluntary euthanasia if it hurts that much.
Good advice to the Left
This is a pretty good statement. While I don't necessarily agree with her idea of where the Republican party should go, I like the idea that she has her views and I respect them, and that's OK, we can still cheer on the same guy. That is what we have that Democrats lack, respectful debate, for the good of the country. On this piece, two paragraphs really stood out for me.
What does the (presumed) election of George Bush mean to you, as a member of the left? It means you and your party have four years to get yourselves together and figure out exactly what you stand for. It means you have a couple of years, max, to come up with a viable candidate who represents the majority of you and doesn't pander to every knock off group of your party. It means you have time to get your act together and decide once and for all what you stand for and produce a leader who will stand up for your ideals. It means you better find a candidate who is someone you can vote for with conscience, and not just vote for out of hatred for his opponent.
What did you all believe in this year? Hate? Anger? You ran your own campaign, one filled to the brim with bile and acidic spittle and you wonder why you feel so black today? You were pinning your hopes on the the wish that the rest of America harbored the same intense hatred as you and would vote with their clenched fists. Now that you are left without the hoped for victory party as an outlet for your rage, you have to direct it somewhere else. If not at the candidate, then at his voters, right? What I am seeing today makes me pity you, and it's a pity tinged with disgust and should not be mistaken for empathy.
BUSH WINS!! WE WIN!!
I am listening to Kerry concede right now. It is a shitty little snippy speech, with a very depressed tone, peppered with a whole lot of "oh poor me". Shut up Kerry, you ass, you're going home to a billion dollars and your cushy Senate gig. I want to hear my President. I am also looking forward to spending some of my day cruising lefty websites, witnessing the collective meltdown take place. Sound harsh? HELL YEAH! If we had been on the losing side, they would bury us in it.
Screw that winning graciously shit, let them lose graciously first...and after the good long gloat prepare with me to watch on the left for the Hillary. She is sharpening her claws...
The E-Slate is not a F&*ckin' Touch Screen!
Turnout is exceptional, amazing. The election is running smoothly with no complaints. These are good things. I am forkin' tired and getting grumpy. That is a bad thing.
Glad to be doing our part for the President...now the rest of you swing states just need to GIT-R-DONE!!
Get Out And Vote, Dammit
Unless you already have, in which case you can ignore this message. If you have no idea what's going on, stay home, Towelie. If you're not in one those two categories, (already voted or terminally clueless), you need to go and vote. NOW! Remember, democracy depends on you!
Yeah, that's it, Howie. It was Fox and Jon Stewart and those dastardly neoconservative intellectuals destroying the public's trust in journalism. It didn't have anything to do with the abandonment of standards for political correctness or letting your ideology influence your news reporting. Nossiree! All of your failings are the fault of someone else, aren't they?
In its most triumphant period, the American press invented the postwar model of journalism that sought to be both fair and analytical and that was admired globally throughout the last half of the 20th century. Fox - and its enablers on the comedy news shows and among neoconservative intellectuals - have destroyed public trust in that traditional model.
Can he possibly believe this crap? I guess getting fired did nothing to sharpen his critical faculties.
Vote or Do Something Else
Halloween Costume Notes
- If you are going to an event where food or drink will be served, consider how you're going to eat while in costume. Full-face masks and vampire teeth aren't much good in this respect.
- Make sure that you can go to the bathroom in your costume.
- If your costume involves lots of makeup or colored hairspray, keep in mind you really need to wash it off before you go to bed. Plan accordingly.
- The better it looks, the more of a pain in the ass it's going to be.
- Keep in mind you have to fit the costume and you in a vehicle to get where you're going.
- Check your range of motion before you go out. This may avoid trouble later.
I'll close out with a pet peeve: don't half ass it. If you're going to go in costume, go in costume. Don't slap a dollar mask from the drug store on with your jeans and t-shirt and call it a costume. You just look like a schmuck.