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Just back from 8 days and 7 nights on the main Salmon River, floating through the top of the Idaho batholith. It was a fantastic trip through the wilderness and through history, travelling with some Sierra Club volunteers and Forest Service employees, pulling spotted knapweed, cleaning beaches, and collecting old tires, pieces of jet boat and the like, floating them on out of there. We saw bighorn sheep, deer, otter, mink, osprey, kingfishers, a black bear and a lot of beautiful side creeks and canyons. After a couple of days of clear water, we had an afternoon squall and thunderstorm which remodeled some of the canyon above us and turned the river to a frappacino frothy brown for a couple days, settling to a bit on the gray side after 4 days of clear weather. We slept on sand most of the time, and the last 4 nights, much of the group was out under the stars, leaving the tents for less pleasant weather.
I didn't take my camera, knowing that I couldn't get 8 days without a battery charge and not wanting to use disposables, so I'll have to hope that those who brought theirs will share some pictures. This is my "after" picture back home, before the shower and shave. I think I probably enjoyed the place more without messing around with a camera or any other electronic device for a week.
Gone boatin'. Back later.
Google's cache does a lot of useful things, including circumventing site registrations in some cases. NY Times Digital and others are eager to close the loophole, which sounds rather like the music publishers trying to stop the traffic in pirated music. Yes, it could work, but is there a better way to make a business out of this? I wrote to the NY Times a while ago telling them that their pay-for-article 7-day archive was consistently above the threshold of what would open my wallet. I might pay something like $5/month to have access to their whole archive of articles, but I suppose that seems way too low to them (even as it seems maybe too high to me).
The interesting ZDNet article includes this provocative tidbit: "The average lifespan of a Web site is 100 days, according to estimates by the Internet Archive." That makes mine well above average, closing in on 3 years at this domain, with almost all of what's been published still there for your reading enjoyment, and at the original URLs.
Thanks to Envisional's interesting weblog of brands, trademarks, piracy, and online trends for that, and lots more.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) came as something of a surprise on top of the CIA, FBI, and so on. Now we read about the Office of Special Plans (OSP). In The Guardian. Spooks on top of spooks.
Yesterday was hot, hot, hot, and I played three tennis matches in it. That's going too far. If I'd won the first one, singles at 8am, I would have been in for a fourth. Chet Schwerd and I made a game try at the #1 seed in 3.0 doubles, but they solved the puzzle after we came back from 3-0 in the 2nd set, and rolled over us in the 3rd: 4-6, 7-5, 1-6 from our perspective. The third match was "consolation," but I don't suppose it consoled our opponents; they managed to eke out only three games against us, 6-1, 6-2. The doubles draw had 3 teams that should probably be playing 3.5, and 3 that are accurately rated; the final today will be more interesting than our consolation final.
Scott Hatter (shown here) took the final this morning, so I can imagine I'm 2nd. That's two tournaments in a row that I got beat by the winner; at least this time I had another match first.
Here's a surprise: Ford's SUV fuel economy is getting worse, not better. "We're making so damn much money selling huge vehicles, and we realized that our customers really don't care about fuel economy -- why bother?" a Ford spokesman might have said.
Our chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Myers provides the quote of the week, at least: "Intelligence doesn't necessarily mean something is true." The NY Times' team report on "the hunt for evidence" lays out the nuance chain, with lots of cover for the nation's defenders. The truth-by-repeated-assertion justification of the moment is that even if the "evidence" was sketchy and/or djinned up, we did the right thing, after all. That's arguable, at best, but I'm reasonably certain it can be sold to the American public. One good terrorist attack between now and the election, and the nascent investigation goes into the dustbin and dissent becomes treason once again.
Michael Kinsley's writing opinion, not news, so he's not constrained from reducing the Bush argument to its embarrassingly naked essence: "The Bushies say (1) it wasn't really a lie, (2) someone else told the lie and (3) the lie doesn't matter."
James Carroll knows something about speaking truth to power and why it doesn't always get heard. Henry Waxman is working on asking questions of those in power. It all boils down to this: what did you know, and when did you know it, and why have you been lying to us?
Played some insanely hot tennis yesterday afternoon. No, I didn't take my game to a new level, but rather the weather was insanely hot. The numbers from the airport weather station showed 101°F while we were out at Timberline. I played a kid half my age, and we split 24 games right down the middle, sort of. I won the better 12 of them: 6-3, 0-6, 6-3. Three matches today, if I win the first. (Otherwise, just 2.)
You wouldn't notice that there's an elephant in the living room from reading conservative pundits, but some of middle America is starting to get a notion that something is rotten.
The liberal pundits are having a full-blown safari, of course. Try Arianna Huffington on the Mis-State-Ment of the Union: "They just don't seem to grasp the concept that when you're sending American soldiers to die for something, the reasons you give -- all of the reasons -- should be true. Instead of a sword for Mr. Tenet, somebody should get this bunch a copy of All the President's Men."
Remember when "shredding" meant really, really getting rid of the evidence? That's not good enough anymore. Start thinking about "pulping, pulverizing and chemically decomposing sensitive data," if your single-shredded documents are more valuable than $2,000 per cubic foot, or your cross-shredded documents are worth more than $10,000/cu.ft.
Here's a new concept: digital shoplifting. Is a photo of a magazine page (especially when taken with a crappy cellphone cam) the same as the real thing? Doesn't seem like it. Please don't call me with another magazine, I get enough of those at home already.
And here's an old one (in a new wrapper), a Java slide rule. Running the thing made my computer run a bit hot, with the fan kicking up to high speed. I don't remember ever overheating my manual slide rule.
Thanks to Greg Aharonian's Patent News Service for both links.
Speaking of lies, the Bush administration is doing a lot of dancing under fire about the bogus intelligence that sucked us into war in Iraq. I think it would be a wonderful thing to have such moral certainty, but it's a shame it doesn't come with moral righteousness. Whatever excuse we used, it's all OK because we did the right thing, and once upon a time, Hussein posed some sort of threat to somebody. As I listened to today's sound bites, it occurred to me that sanctions and inspections worked. Iraq had WMD and was a threat after the first Gulf War, but we contained the threat and coerced them into destroying the worst of their weapons. Too bad we weren't smart enough to recognize that we'd won, and continued with Phase 2, constructive engagement that would have empowered the Iraqi people by getting the economy on track. And we would have their oil flowing the way we want.
I don't know, do you think that's all nuts? It makes more sense to me than the current Washington circus, at any rate.
William Rivers Pitt reminds us that the African uranium and false claims about the nuclear weapons development was not just a last minute public relations push; it may have also provided the final push for the Congress' action to give Bush war powers. Joseph Wilson reported back in February of last year that the Niger connection was bogus, and we're supposed to believe the protestations that speechwriters, fact checkers and the President himself somehow missed all that a year later? How stupid do they think we are? More importantly, how stupid are we?!
"There is no 'The President wasn't told' justification available here, no Iran/Contra loophole. He knew. He lied. His people knew. They lied." Forget about the blue dress, these are high crimes against the Constitution.
It's not just the WMD and the war that this administration is lying about, they're doing their best to hide bad economic news too. That debacle is getting harder and harder to keep under the couch, though, in spite of today's pseudo-good news that the recession ended in November 2001. (Tell that to the millions who lost their jobs since.)
Krugman's back from vacation, and he's got something to say about the economy, too: "Here's another sentence in George Bush's State of the Union address that wasn't true: 'We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and other generations.'"
ACHD is creating its annual nightmare on Elm (and many other) street(s). It's time for the dreaded chip seal, the spreading of tar and gravel over residential streets, turning them from decent outdoor space into a dangerous, unpleasant and messy blight. When I ride my bike to work, my route used to be slightly over 4 miles with less than a mile on arterials and the rest cutting through subdivisions. I was elated to see them remove the old pavement on one street and replace it with "black powder," smooth asphalt. Pembrook connects Milwaukee and Maple Grove with a lovely 45° diagonal (with a small retrograde section to decoy cut-throughs), and less than two months after the pavement replacement, they've covered it with -- you guessed it -- a fresh layer of gravel. So I road most of the way to work today on arterials, riding through the gravel litter that's leaked out from the side streets.
Make that forecast for the soaring deficit 50% larger as the Republicans carry out their plan to crush big government through economics. Almost half a trillion dollars next year. As a percent of the total economy, we're approaching WW2 and Ronald Reagan's deficit levels. Bush's spokesman assures us this poses "no threat to the economy."
Tom Friedman reminds us that regardless of the WMD issue, the future of Iraq is a more important issue. He has suggestions, and a celebration of the gathering of a "multireligious, multiethnic Governing Council of Iraqi men and women" last Sunday.
Suggestions for Bush's next tour (ha!) of Nigeria in this letter from Africa, offering a more genuine experience of how things are there. "In the decidedly grittier world most Nigerians inhabit, the president would eat delicacies from the street, things like goat head and pounded yam, and he would quench his thirst with water that did not come from a bottle, or even a tap. If there was time, he might fetch that water himself, balancing a plastic jug on his head, to get an idea of how so many African women start their days."
Outgoing press secretary Ari Fleischer used a briefing on his last day to castigate the press for a "media feeding frenzy that misinterprets why America went to war," the NY Times reports. So what would be the real reason, Ari? All the stuff we were told seems to be going up in smoke. Forgive us if we seem a bit confused.
Hurricane Claudette has knocked Texas for an unexpected loop. I have a sister-in-law named Claudette, and I can't help but think of her and the hurricane connected in some way. Probably just a coincidence.
The day of Van Gogh's Moonrise, plus 114 years. It'll be rising again at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in a couple hours.
I haven't turned on the wireless feature of my router yet, since neither of the computers that are in (or visit) the house have wireless cards, but when I do articles like this one about "Walk-by Hacking have encouraged me to do what I can to keep from blabbing everything all over the neighborhood.
Wise guy and Nobel prize winner Myron Scholes has had his fabulous tax dodge deconstructed by lead Justice Department lawyer Charles Hurley. It's not a trap Myron, it's the truth of the matter: the purpose of the elaborate set of deals was to avoid taxes that were due, and that ain't legal.
Digging through old photos, Jeanette found a fun one of me and a Moscow pal, in our salad days. I tracked him down on the web and sent him a copy, he returned the favor with something from his archive, also seen here, with a bunch of his family and friends. The last picture on that page is of me, too, waking up at his apartment after a most memorable Mardi Gras celebration in north Idaho. Long ago and far away. (The one he sent was of me answering the yellow phone at JP's Bikeshop.)
Getting into that hot summer weather thing, the thermometer clearing 100 in mid-afternoon. Fortunately the humidity dropped out of the teens at the same time, but still, that's hot. So far, the nights are staying cool so our diurnal "air conditioner" is working. Morning wind is working, too, and a bunch of us had a good time splashing around in the lake early this morning.
Ok, it's just the usual corporate boilerplate, but this is too funny. Eunice, from the MSNBC support team, responded to my feedback about a Newsweek Opinion piece whose "printer friendly" format trimmed the author's name along with all the usual cruft. "That's not right," I wrote, and got this reply:
"We understand that you are experiencing issues when printing on the specified page. We have forwarded your mail to the appropriate department. The issue will be checked on. Meanwhile, we appreciate your patience and regret any inconvenience. Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist you with."
The frightening part is that someone thinks this sort of "communication" might actually have a salutory effect.
It's too bad old Ronny couldn't be there for the commissioning of an aircraft carrier in his name. I like the touch in the USA Today story that a bottle of "sparkling wine" was used. None of that frenchy Champagne stuff for us.
Richard Virenque saved Le Tour from being totally anticlimactic, with a breakaway into the mountains, grabbing a two and a half minute lead and the yellow jersey after today's stage. (The half-minute was thanks to a train passing between the peloton and the breakaway, if you can believe that.) Next up, the big hills: the Col du Galibier and L'Alpe d'Huez.
Today's date reminds me of a little puzzle I solved once upon a time, and whose answer I've since forgotten (so I could do it again if I wanted to). I don't recall seeing the 2nd of those two questions, though; that could be new work. JQT and I shared the joy of discovery, many years ago.
Cringely wonders how, once we have this database "of an unprecedented scale, (which) will most likely be distributed, must be capable of being continuously updated, and must support both autonomous and semi-automated analysis," we're going to protect the privacy of everyone in it. Big Brother is already here, and he's a little bit overweight and sloppy.
They're getting some great mileage out of the sausage mascots in Milwaukee... can you say "slow news period"? The league's sense of humor is not that flexible, and Simon's out two large (plus the $432 disorderly conduct fine) for his batting gaffe. Rick Schlesigner, the Brewers' exec VP didn't see it as funny (or just a stupid mistake) either, but apparently wound himself up into a high dudgeon, judging by the quote in the NY Times. "I can't put into words the anger I feel and the sense of outrage I have." Get a grip, dude.
You can't learn from your mistakes if you're convinced you never make any. Eleanor Clift on hubris and the Bush administration. "If Bush really was misled, wouldn’t he want to know who embarrassed him? Who made him a liar? In a White House as obsessed with loyalty as this one, the fact that no heads rolled strongly indicates this could go all the way to Cheney, if not to Bush himself. Who knows how much Cheney tells the boss. Bush is not a detail guy. He may not have wanted to know."
How nice for them that George Tenet volunteered to fall on his sword for the "failure of intelligence." The NY Times story notes that "CIA and administration officials said that despite the mea culpa, they did not expect Tenet to resign." Oh yeah, someone this pliable, we want him to stay there.
Hmm, now we find that the "pillar of the so-called Texas miracle in education," the Houston school district got to be the best by -- making the numbers up. That doesn't look so good. Our federal Secretary of Education is the former superintendent in Houston. "The state audit, issued last month, recommended that the whole Houston school system be ranked 'unacceptable.'"
Then there's this response: "'The Texas miracle was not about high school performance, it was about elementary school performance,' said Donald R. McAdams, an 11-year member of the Houston school board and author of the 2000 book Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools... and Winning! Lessons from Houston."
It was 7 years ago today that HP announced that it was closing its Disk Memory Division, putting me and 1,500 or so others into the job market. Coincidentally, I'm in the market again. Still on the payroll, but needing to find a new position in short order. Scott Adams provides some help in working through the seven stages of grief.
The word "suspend" doesn't have quite the connotation of "stake driven through the heart" as we would like, but it is good news that the SFO runway expansion plan is no longer active. "It has become evident that neither the political will nor the economics exist to pursue the Airfield Development Program ... at this time," writes airport director John Martin. The blindingly obvious can't stay hidden forever.
US PIRG provides a fact sheet on debit cards. They look like credit cards, but the rules and regs are very different and could bite you.
Will the arms race between copy protection and free information lead to anonymity doomsday? Dvorak in PCWorld handicaps the risk.
"When Clinton came, he shook hands, people danced," said former Mayor Urbain Alexandre Diagne. When Bush came, they locked everybody up for the day. Did they make sure the video cameras didn't pan the (missing) crowd, too?
Canadians are jiggling with glee at becoming interesting by pulling themselves of the cultural gravity well to the south. Naomi Klein suggests that the economic and political orbit has not been disturbed, however.
That whacky celestial metaphor must be from having heard an NPR bit on one of our stellar neighbors, Antares. It's a red giant, and we do mean giant: placed where our Sol is, it would subsume the orbits of Mercury, Venus and, yes, Earth. That is one big star.
James Carroll figures that Bush meant exactly what he said on September 14, 2001. Missions from God can be frightening things.
You might think pension relief had something to do with helping out people who live on pensions, but you'd be wrong. The plan in the works from the Bush administration is relief for big corporations with big pension liabilities, enlarged by the current low interest rates. (Corporations' pension assets won't grow as fast to cover future obligations.) This is way beyond sound-bite complexity, and in the dog days of summer, constituents eyes will be rolling and necks lolling at the thought of it all, which means the gummint will likely have its way. My bet would be that pensioners and pensioners-to-be are getting set up, with a short-term interest rate rijiggering, followed by a later clean-up that would make the system more rigorous. Believe that when you see it, and no sooner.
The Brits got part of the intelligence from the CIA, before it was vetted by our fact-checker, and then passed it back to us, whereupon the President used it as a centerpiece of his State of the Union speech. Now we all know that it was "incomplete and perhaps inaccurate" (er, perhaps?!), but really we want to know what did he know and when did he know it? I agree with Ambassador Wilson: We have to find out.
This sounds too much like the energy traders selling electricity back and forth and raising the price each time.
Famous quote department:
"If possible, fabricate big human interest story, like flying saucers, birth sextuplets in remote area to take play away." From the NY Times' Word for Word feature last Sunday, regarding the 1950s CIA adventures in Guatemala.
Add that story to the list of references to our neighborhood as "the ends of the earth" references; not just Idaho this time, but the Pacific Northwest being a place where one can lose oneself. (Hey, it's working for Sasquatch!)
Each moment of life, and each moment of life's ending is precious. It's good -- if painful -- to be able to share in the depth of another's pain from time to time, so that we might better appreciate our moments of joy.
Here's a patriotic idea for the 4th of July: the Government Information Awareness program. Keep tabs on wayward pols.
James Traub, on the Temperament Wars: "It is just a fact that the Republicans are now the party of passionate convictions, while the Democrats are the party of grave reservations. The Democrats are essentially devoted to tempering the harm caused by the Bush administration, which is not much of an agenda at all, though it certainly makes a virtue of moderation."
Richard Falk sees it in slightly stronger terms.
Q. Can you tell us your definition of traditional fascism?
"Yes: the convergence of military and economic power on behalf of an ultranationalist ideology that views its enemies - internally and externally - as evil and subject to extermination or extreme punishment."
Whaddayasay we launch a satellite into a comet and watch the explosion? "Deep Impact" sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Good animations of what they expect for the 4th of July in 2 years, from JPL.
Rick Santorum, the perfect incarnation of the closed mind.
In the Kingdom of Forgetting: judicial obstructionism, balanced budgets, deterrence, all forgotten. I thought it was particularly interesting to read that 124 of Bush's 126 nominees for judgeships have been approved.
Quite a show last night, eh? It had been an unusually quiet week leading up to the 4th, with private investors in fireworks apparently saving all their ordnance for the Big Night. We slipped down to the cool and quiet basement before the bombardment was over, shut the windows and doors to keep out the smell of gunpowder.
The court victory of Idaho (and other) environmentalists over the Energy Department made the New York Times yesterday. Leaving waste buried in shallow pits just isn't good enough, but not everyone has quite caught on yet: Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Energy Department, said, "If this decision stands, it could lead to a tremendous burden on the taxpayers with respect to cost of cleanup, and jeopardize our ability to clean up our sites sooner." In other words, if we actually have to clean this stuff up, cleanup of 88 million (or so) gallons of liquid waste from nuclear bomb production will cost a lot more.
Sounds of the holiday: it's too early for fireworks, so we have the music of the saws: chain, table. Oh wait, it isn't too early for fireworks after all. Still too early for the sounds of fire engine sirens, but probably not by much.
Sister Joan Chittister wonders if there's anything left that matters: "The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a huge -- and unforgivable -- mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule."
Arianna Huffington considers the new-found notion that we went there for humanitarian reasons, and finds it wanting, judged by our inaction for Africa.
An earlier story about where old computers go to die (thanks to Mark Odell for the link) is a bit more unsettling than the question of whether or not to use domestic prison labor in the recycling process. (This just in on that question: Dell decided that the net net is "bad PR.")
This technology business is a curious jungle of paradoxes: improvements in computers have far outstripped our most of our needs (if not our wants) for computing power, and suffer from deflationary pricing. We do more with less, but the "less" is an increasingly complex amalgam of materials requiring engineering-intensive assembly with difficult economics for recycling and scrap recovery. Large flows of money, energy, materials, etc., create larger flows of less-useful materials (i.e. trash) thanks to that darned 2nd law of thermodynamics.
Reduce, reuse, recycle is definitely the motto for the new millennium, but figuring out the right way to do the latter and finding enough economic incentive to protect the people involved is not easy.
Mark also forwarded a pointer to a better version of the Happy Birthday story than Snopes has. "More than cake, more than candles, more than presents, a birthday in this country needs a rousing, off-key rendition of Happy Birthday to You to be complete" they say, but my own preference is for a sizeable chorus of trained voices, improvising harmony.
Perhaps the reward money will be just the needed incentive, but I can't help but wonder if we were willing to invest in infrastructure, trade, education, etc., we wouldn't make more rapid progress than by offering $25 million each for the heads of Saddam and Osama, $15 million for Uday's and Qusay's. "Bring 'em on" says Fearless Leader, as this morality play descends even further into blackness. Of course, we are trying to jumpstart Iraq's infrastructure at this point, it's just that we tore it all up, first, in our pre-emptive decision to change its leadership.
The people right next to the sharp end of Mr. Bush's big stick want our boys home, rather than trying to be police in a country rather hostile to the idea. The "going well to going badly" ratio in the polls has dropped from almost 6 to 1 (86:13) to a narrowing majority (56:42). Something tells me that gets worse before it gets better.
Insert disclaimer about how evil the old regime was here, and how that apparently suffices to wash away the lies that took us into the war. I don't profess to know what the right way out is, but it sure seems to me that we're the wrong way in.
Woo-hoo, the Boise Weekly has content on-line again. Now if they could just exorcise those Microsoft demons making mush out of many of the characters, they'll be all set.
You can now own your own piece of the Rock while helping the Park Service clean up their construction debris. It's a win-win deal.
Signs of the times: Forbes.com featuring a slide show of the best federal prisons. "So where does a man who has everything go to do hard time? While convicts don't get to choose their poison, er, prison, they can make requests. With that in mind, we reviewed the federal penitentiary system and picked the five very best places to go to prison."
My webhosting provider -- Westhost -- has upped the storage limit in my package from 100 to 250MB, at the same old price. Not all aspects of deflation are negative, to be sure! I'm going on 3 years with them, and am still a satisfied customer.
A recent Idaho Statesman story about sharing the road with bicyclists included a sidebar about the rules and regulations that apply to bicyclists. It was nice to see in print the sensible permission to roll through stop signs when the way is obviously clear. They didn't include something that seems too obvious to mention: ride on the right side of the street! I'm always astounded when I see adults riding down the wrong side. Tempting natural selection, or what?
Is this a Persian aphorism that got translated to English, or was it made up on the spot for describing the futility of trying to prevent youngsters in Iran from getting to the full riches of the internet? "It's like removing a ladder leaning against a building so a bird won't fly off the roof."
Political criticism, pornography, weblogs: it's all happening, in Farsi.
A.R. Cox has an outstanding spoof on an Internet Exploder error page, currently topping Google for "weapons of mass destruction." There may be more hidden on the site, but it looks like 2 good spoofs and a bunch of Amazon Associates links for related books. This seems like an interesting effort at a money-making scheme (unlike my low key Associates link which reliably produce pocket change but not a lot more), with a pretty minimal investment.
Any time something rolls through both houses of Congress too easily, I get suspicious. The House and Senate Medicare bills need to be reconciled before they go anywhere, which may mean that what was passed was window dressing with plausible deniability for all. Jacob Hacker's opinion is that the plan is really to cripple Medicare under the cover of the Holy Grail that everyone has been talking about, a prescription drug benefit. That seems fairly likely with the Republican House, Senate and Administration lining up behind it.
The 2010 Olympics are going to be in our neighborhood. That's 2 in a less than a decade!
Here's what the telemarketers think of you if you don't sign up for the nationwide do not call list: "James F. Lyons, president of Optima Direct, a direct-marketing consultancy owned by Omnicom Group Inc.'s Rapp Collins Worldwide, says telemarketing won't disappear. Consumers who don't sign the national registry, he reasons, may be more responsive to phone pitches. 'We'll be giving the dog what the dog wants to eat,' he adds." (WSJ)
Signups are over 10 million and climbing, in less than a week.
Not only does the US not want to be part of the International Criminal Court, we're prepared to blackmail any country that has the temerity to try to bring charges against our citizens there.
Andreeson's whine about the lack of browser innovation sounds like sour grapes. If only we had him still leading us? Puhlease. I don't know where he's been, but Opera v6.05 (not even the latest version) is way better than what I was using 5 years ago (that 'N' browser).
The start of a new month, with summer in full swing. Sunday was hot, with a SE breeze that didn't quit into the night, but it eased up a bit and now it's lovely - low 90s, sunny and of course dry, dry, dry. Hopefully the 4th of July fireworks won't start too many fires.
Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post about how Republicans Rule. In spite of the country being split almost exactly 50-50 (remember the 2000 election? the Senate?), the Republicans are solidifying their hold on power by ensuring that lobbyists are vetted for Republican loyalty first and foremost. And "high-powered lobbyists routinely shape, if not write, much legislation these days, and block despised proposals from ever seeing the light of day." Remember those "energy task force" meetings with the Veep that were so confidential we couldn't find out which firms were writing national energy policy to suit themselves and the Administration?
Kurtz cites a Krugman column, and they both cite Nicholas Confessore, in The Washington Monthly. (The WP gives hyperlinks, the NYT does not; c'mon guys, get with the program.)
Signed off Earthlink for the last time, after the 2 months of "courtesy" coverage to try to dissuade me from leaving. They made a soft pitch for People PC's $9/mo. cheap-o dialup service "in case you need a backup." I haven't yet, and I damn well better not if I'm paying $50/mo. for this cable connection.
Business methods patents (and applications) galore in the insurance industry: these just don't seem like something that should be getting 20 year patent protection.
Tom von Alten tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org