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Opinari - Latin term for Opinion. Opinari.net is just what it seems: a cornucopia of rants, raves and poignant soliloquy.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

RTB Roundup:

Say Uncle:

Bush: Kerry is inconsistent.
Kerry: Bush guarded oil wells and I have a plan (one I can’t talk about, apparently).

I would say that sums it up.


Number of answers in which Kerry made a gratuitous reference to Vietnam: 1 2 3 4 5


Up For Anything:

I think JFK has taken a dangerous position in regards to NK. He says he'd start bilateral talks. Does that mean he'll "go it alone." What about the "alliances?" It also would appear we'd give in to NK's demands. I think it's a bad position for JFK.

I wondered about that myself.

The Blogfather

Both did a pretty good job of sticking to issues and there weren't too many cheap rhetorical tricks. I don't think it'll change a lot of minds. But I have a very consistent track record of getting this stuff wrong (I thought Carter beat Reagan. . . .) so take my opinions with a large grain of salt.

Lean Left

Bush failed to provide any kind of defense. He essentially just repeated the same talking points over and over again, regardless of the situation. His argument boiled down to "Lets keep doing the same stuff, even if its not working."

And Kerry says "Let's do something different, even though I don't know what that will be exactly." Which is exactly what I expected from both candidates.


.: posted by Dave 9:44 PM

Liveblogging the Debate:

Kerry "has a better plan"for preventing 9/11. So far, I hear lots of platitudes, lots of "I can do betters", but I don't hear what anything that resembles a proposal. Bush is telling us what is GOOD about his administration's foreign policy. I happen to agree. I also think that 2 minutes is not much time for either candidate to give an answer.

Would a Kerry administration lead to another 9/11? No, because he's not going to win. Heh. So saith President Bush. Arrogance? Perhaps... but liberals always complain about Dubya's swagger, so he might as well show it on stage. Bush tells us what we should already know... that this is a tough task to defeat terrorists. Kerry assaults that policy (Iraq was the wrong choice, no WMDs, blah blah blah). Same Kerry as always. Kerry claims that OBL got away in Tora Bora.

Kerry is asked what did Bush do wrong? Kerry: "Where do you want me to begin?" Whoop! There was the first mention of Vietnam, albeit implicitly (at 9:12 pm). Bottom line, says Kerry, the money in Iraq should have gone to government domestic programs. Yep, that will attack the war on terror. Bush: Kerry declared that Saddam was a grave threat, which he did. A collosal waffle? Those on the right would say yes. Bush basically reiterates the fact that there were 16 UN resolutions outstanding against Saddam Hussein.

Bush ties Saddam Hussein to the war on terror, and emphasizes the scope of the war is not just in Iraq. al-Zarqawi in Iraq? You bet. Bush wants everyone to understand this. Kerry: "Iraq was not even close to being the center of the war on terror." Did JFK forget that he voted to authorize the use of force? "We don't send the kids into battle without proper funding." Then why the hell did he vote AGAINST the funding of the war? Sheesh. If anything shows how inept a leader Kerry will be, this is it.

Homeland Security: Kerry assails the tax cuts. I was waiting for that. "Invest". Read: raise taxes, fund programs. Russian nuclear material? Best way to secure the homeland is to stay on the offensive. I couldn't agree more. Kerry has to question things, as it only benefits him for things to be wrong. The issue will be, on foreign policy, if things are as bad as the Democrats say.

Bring home the troops: Bush - best way is if the Iraqi people are equipped to defend themselves. Bush will bring home troops once we have achieved our objectives (which presumably has nothing to do with an oil pipeline spanning Asia, Michael Moore!) Kerry - "help is on the way". This is odd, since he wouldn't fund the help!

Kerry accepted Iraqi intelligence, but he would have done it differently. Naturally. So Bush hasn't held enough summits. Halliburton meme has surfaced! (9:32 pm).

Line of the night: President Bush - That's totally absurd. Of course the UN was invited in. What's he say to Tony Blair? You can't expect to build an alliance when you denigrate the contributions of those who are serving side-by-side with us in Iraq. What's the message? Join us for a grand diversion? Join us for the wrong war at the wrong time? They're not gonna follow somebody whose core convictions keep changing because of politics in America.

If you denigrate the contributons of our allies, how can you think they will go along in the future? You can't. Bush has a very good point. Can Kerry bring people together by calling them the "coalition of the coerced and the bribed"? No.

(Kerry probably should have kept his mouth shut on this one. He really looked bad questioning the motives of our allies.)

NOTE: Just because Kerry tries to make a meme fly doesn't make it true.

Bush makes the point that this whole endeavor is a work in progress. I can only hope the voters agree.

How will Kerry get rid of nukes in North Korea? How the hell does he know? But he will change that... he will just do it. Who cares how?

Nuclear materials didn't exist... I believe this was BRITISH intelligence, and I believe that the Brits are still standing by their findings. Is Kerry accusing Bush of lying? He is, without actually saying so. Kerry has to know better than this. He also knows the only way he wins is to make Bush look as if he deliberately misled America. Most people, I think, know better.

Bush chose the wrong way to disarm Iraq... if so, then what was the right way? Specifically? Don't tell me that you will form better coalitions, and kowtow to the UN. HOW? Mr. Kerry... HOW would you have achieved this differently?

Was it worth 10,052... er, 1052 lives to go into Iraq? Bush acknowledges that one life is as precious as many, but that it was a worthy endeavor, because the stakes are just too high.

Someone tell Kerry that WE ALL KNOW HE WAS IN VIETNAM! Ugh.

I must say that I would like Bush to stop mentioning the "wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time" line. If we could remove that line, and all allusions to Vietnam, the world would be a happier place.

Timeline for ending US involvement in Iraq: Kerry - if we do the things I want to do, we can bring the troops back home in 6 months. Well, then. By all means, elect the man. How will this be achieved? Change the dynamic. Close the borders. (Without funding them being there? How is this going to work?)

Bush: "You can change the dynamic on the ground if you question the brave leader of Iraq." Very true.

On preemption: Bush - "I never dreamt I would have to do anything like this, but 9/11 made it necessary. A president always has to be willing to use troops."

Bush - "Maybe the 18th resolution would have affected Iraq." Heh.

Bush - "Look at Libya... The world is better for it." True.


Bush - "Saddam Hussein had the capabilities and the will to make weapons of mass destruction."

It is disingenuous of Kerry to insinuate that he would have been able to prevent Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, unless he is saying that he would have attacked THEM preemptively, which I highly doubt.

Kerry on preemption - "I don't know." Well, that's no surprise. Kyoto alert! (10:00 pm).

Bush - "I would not join the International Criminal Court." No doubt Kerry is on record saying that he would, AND he wouldn't.

Bush - "Trying to be popular in the global sense doesn't make sense if it isn't in the best interest of America." Only John Kerry could disagree with that.

Bush on North Korea - "multilateral negotiations" Kerry wants bilateral talks. At least we know how Kerry feels on this subject (today).

Kerry on Darfur - "we're overextended." "We cannot have another Rwanda." I agree with him on this.

Bush on Darfur - "I agree with my opponent that we should work with the African Union on this." Good. Let's kiss and make up, boys.

Bush on character issues - " I admire Senator Kerry's service to our country." Guess that closes the door on the SBVT issue. "I admire his service in the Senate, but not his record." "There must be certainty from a US President."

Kerry on character issues - "Respect, admiration, yada yada." Wow, what is this, a lovefest? "You can be certain, and be wrong." Global warming alert! (10:14 pm)

Kerry - "My policy has been consistent." LMAO Saying so doesn't make it so.

Singlemost threat to the US - Kerry "Nuclear proliferation." "I'm going to shut (the bunker buster) program down." Well then. Let's weaken our defenses.

Singlemost threat to the US - Bush "WMDs in the hands of terrorists". There should be a distinction here. Bush calls out terrorists, while Kerry wants to eliminate them altogether. The concept of "peace through strength" has eluded the senator.

From this exchange, I gather that Kerry thinks that Bush hasn't done enough to get rid of nukes. If this is true, why does Gadhafi say unequivocally that the invasion of Iraq is what led him to disband his country's nuclear arms programs? I wish the President had asked this.

Last question (thank God!)

Bush on Vladimir Putin - "What he is doing is not OK. There need to be checks and balances in a democratic government." Bush calls him a strong ally in the war on terror. Bush emphasizes his relationship with Putin... (Good ol' Vlad!)

Kerry on Vladimir Putin - "I would rather talk about North Korea." I'm guessing Kerry doesn't hold ol' Vlad in high regard.

Kerry - "(Iraq) was a threat. That isn't the issue." But you've been saying that it wasn't an issue, Senator? Make up your mind!!!

Here comes the closing thoughts... yawn!

Kerry - "I have a plan. I just don't want to tell you about them. Let's have summits, where I, being a better politician than my opponent, will convince them to lick my boots. Did I mention I served in Vietnam."

Bush - " I have a plan, and you know where I stand, unlike my opponent who shifts with the wind. We'll fight those bastards on the other side of the world so they don't try to blow themselves up here."

Summary: I don't think this debate changed anyone's mind.

Afterword: "This president doesn't need Botox to win a debate." Much laughter in the Opinari household ensued.

UPDATE: An undecided voter was interviewed on WTIC, asked how she felt about the candidates after the debate. Not surprising, she was disappointed that there were few specifics offered. She is leaning now though toward one candidate - President Bush. That's saying something for the People's Republic of Connecticut.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Quinnipiac poll today says that Bush trails in Connecticut by only SIX points. That's within the margin of error. If anything tonight has surprised me, this news does. When even Connecticut is in play for Bush, Kerry's campaign has some problems.


.: posted by Dave 8:05 PM

Friday, September 24, 2004

The RTB has another infant to add to its roster... Katie Elizabeth Jones. Congratulations Les and Melissa!


.: posted by Dave 2:19 PM

Baseball Thoughts:

The Washington D.C. Expos? It appears likely.

Ten games to go. Watch the A.L. West. The stRangers have come back from the dead. Three teams. Two games of separation. And they all play each other. Just sit back and enjoy.

Can Ichiro break the single season hits record? He needs ten. Last week, he went 5-5 in one game. My money says he breaks it... unless someone decides to intentionally walk him, a la Barry Bonds. Nah, that happens only in Bizarro World.

And finally... here's my list of awards for the '04 season.

MVP - AL - I give the nod to two teammates, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Watch them play, and trust me, you'll see how valuable they are.

MVP - NL - Bonds. No question. Like him or not, this man is the most feared hitter of my lifetime, and his presence in the Giant lineup affects the game, no matter what he does.

CY - AL - Johan Santana (Twins) - Unhittable in the second half. Check these Gibsonesque numbers out: 10 wins 0 losses 1.38 ERA 17 BB 92 K. Yikes!

CY - NL - Carl Pavano has held the Fish' pitching staff together (not to mention contributing nicely to my fantasy team).


.: posted by Dave 10:53 AM

Found at SKB's blog:

"Bush's ideas for "tax reform", however, would eliminate deductions on mortgage interest. This one single provision of the tax code is probably responsible for more people becoming homeowners than just about anything else. Take it away and you take away one of the incentives that makes part of the Great American Dream possible for many families."

This assertion, of course, has been made by John Edwards on the campaign trail. Edwards' statements about eliminating the mortgage deduction are misleading in the sense that the Bush administration has been discussing proposals to simplify (and totally restructure) the tax code. This is a reference to the often discussed "flat tax". Edwards makes it sound as if the president wants to eliminate the deduction with all other things being equal, which just isn't the case. Personally, I don't believe that a flat tax will be implemented in my lifetime, but it's not such a bad idea (eliminate the IRS, tax consumption instead of earnings... I think these are admirable goals).

By way of comparison, Senator Kerry is on record as wanting to eliminate many of the same deductions, but not in the context of a flat tax:

Claremont, NH, Friday January 23rd: “We need to scour the tax code and I’m going to take out of it, any benefit, any reward any incentive."

Now does Senator Kerry mean to say that he wants to eliminate the deduction for mortgage interest? Not explicitly. However, it can be implied. Read that statement again: ANY benefit. ANY incentive.

In summary, I think Edwards' statements are another attempt by the Kerry campaign to attribute a policy change to the president that is simply not true.


.: posted by Dave 10:44 AM

Monday, September 20, 2004

Ever wanted to own your own racetrack? Well, here's your chance, and it's on eBay, no less.


.: posted by Dave 3:08 PM

Apparently, the rumors about Palm's new devices, the Tungsten T5, and the Treo 650, are true.


.: posted by Dave 2:57 PM

No Skype Client for the Palm OS:

Despite what a report said earlier this month, Skype Technologies does not plan to release in October a Palm OS version of its VoIP application.

ABC News ran an article on September 12 that mentioned the just-released Pocket PC version of Skye. This article also said, "a Palm OS version is promised for next month."

Last week, several Skype developers posted comments in their company's forums saying that the ABC News report was in error.

At this point, Skype Technologies doesn't seem to be developing a Palm OS version of their application at all.

No word on when, or if, any development is in the works.


.: posted by Dave 2:02 PM

Intermittent Thoughts on the CBS Mea Culpa:

Why didn't Heyward, Mapes, Rather, etc. try to find corroboration for the memos instead of assuming the single source (a.k.a. Burkett) was adequate?

Why isn't CBS taking more responsibility for their shoddy journalism instead of placing the blame entirely on the messenger?

What about media reports of Burkett's contact with elements of the Kerry campaign?

I would venture to speculate that CBS didn't want the first question answered, as it would refute their story's original premise. The second question insinuates that CBS might have to fire someone. To blame the authenticity of the memos is to blame Burkett entirely, and absolve themselves of any wrongdoing other than poor judgement. The final question is one that the Democrats definitely want to avoid. My money is on CBS burying this question as much as they possibly can.


.: posted by Dave 1:07 PM

Donald Sensing is taking a sabbatical from blogging. Hurry back, Reverend.


.: posted by Dave 1:05 PM

Kitty Kelley apparently can dish it out, but she cannot take any criticism:

After she appeared Friday on CNBC's "Capital Report" to push her book on the Bush dynasty, "The Family," author Ron Kessler challenged some of her claims in a follow-up segment. Kessler, whose book "A Matter of Character" looks at the Bush White House, said his sources say it is absurd to suggest that George W. Bush used drugs at Camp David when his father was president, and that Kelley's publishing standard seemed to be "as long as they don't successfully sue, then it's okay."

When he returned to the greenroom, Kessler says, Kelley yelled at him: "You may not slander me! You may not slander my book! Do you understand me? I'm putting you on notice."

Ooooh. She put him on notice. Does that mean that Ron Kessler's name is going to be slimed next?


.: posted by Dave 12:22 PM

This e-mail sent to my wife by my mother-in-law encapsulates the rhetoric of Presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign:

I am John Kerry.

I was against the first Iraq war, I am against the second Iraq war, butI voted for it. Now I'm against it but I was for it. I support the UN. I'm against terrorism and against the Iraq war. But I voted for the Iraq war. So, I voted against the first war and supported the second war, wait...

I'm against gay marriage but for gay unions. I support gays but think the San Francisco mayor is wrong. I support gay marriages. No, wait, gay unions.

I'm Catholic. Wait, I'm Jewish. My dad was Jewish. But I was raised Catholic. What am I? I don't want to confuse people.

I am for abortions, but wait, I'm Catholic, and Catholics are pro-life. But I might consider putting pro-life judges in office, but I'm not sure. I do know I voted for a pro-life judge, but I stated at the time that it was a mistake.

I went to Vietnam. But I was against Vietnam. I testified against fellow US troops in Vietnam, threw my medals away and led others to do the same. But I am a war hero. Against the war.

I stated I threw my medals away then I threw my ribbons away. I then revealed that I threw my ribbons away but not my medals,then I stated that I threw someone else's medals away and never threw anything of mine away. I believe ribbons and medals aren't the same thing. Medals come with ribbons, so now I believe that ribbons and medals are the same thing besides the fact that ribbons are cloth and medals are metal.

I wrote a book that pictured the US flag upside-down on its cover. But now I fly and campaign in a plane with a large flag right-side up on it.But sometimes, we fly upside-down for fun.

Yasser Arafat is a hero and a statesman. The Israelis shouldn't kill Palestinian terrorists, but they should stop terrorism. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist supporter. I support Mideast peace.

I am for the common man, unlike Bush. I am against the rich. But my family is worth 600 million dollars, own 5 homes, have a jet and many SUVs. I am the common man.

I am against sending jobs overseas. My wife is a Heinz heir, but Heinz has nearly all their factories offshore. I am against rewarding companies for exporting jobs as long as it is not Heinz.

I own $1 million in Wal Mart stock. I believe Wal Mart is evil by driving small business owners out of town. I am a capitalist and I own part of Wal Mart but I am a good guy for small corporate America.

I own SUVs when I talk to my followers in Detroit, MI. When I talk to tree hugging followers, Teresa owns SUVs, I don't. I have a campaign jet that gets 1/3 mpg, which is great fuel efficiency.

I am against making military service an issue in presidential elections. I defended draft dodger Clinton and stated that all serve in their own capacity whether they draft dodge or not. Did I mention, I served in Vietnam and I am a hero? Are you questioning my patriotism? I served in Vietnam. My opponent didn't. I have three purple hearts! And a Silver Star with a Combat "V". I am qualified to run this county since I am a hero and I served in Vietnam.

I am John Kerry.


.: posted by Dave 10:17 AM

Am I the only Vol fan pissed off by the fact that I have to now pay for the Vol-related content that appears in the print version of the paper? I don't mind paying for additional content, but not the same stuff that appears in print.

For now on, I guess I will get my Vol fix from the Tennessean, Times Free Press, and the national sports media.


.: posted by Dave 9:37 AM

If you watched the Tennessee vs. Florida football game on Saturday night, you saw a dandy. However, in the aftermath, a lot of the attention has been focused on the personal foul call and subsequent play clock stoppage that gave the Vols some extra time, and 15 yards of field position.

The Southeastern Conference’s supervisor of officials said Sunday the crew working the Tennessee-Florida game erred in handling the clock, allowing the Volunteers more time on their final drive, which ended with a game-winning field goal.

The mistake occurred when Florida receiver Dallas Baker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after DeShawn Wynn was stopped on a third-down run with 55 seconds left in the game, with the Gators leading 28-27 Saturday night.

After the penalty, the officials placed the ball on the ground and began running the clock on the snap for Florida’s fourth-down punt.

Bobby Gaston, the SEC supervisor of officials, said because it was a running play, the clock should have started on the “ready” — when the referee winds his arm — and not the snap.
“We left it to start on the snap when we should have started it on the wind,” Gaston told The Associated Press on Sunday night. “If there’s a penalty, you always go back to the result of the previous play, which was a run.”

Suffice it to say that the Gators have a case about the call. However, let me make several points:

  • Had the Florida kicker not missed a chip shot field goal earlier in the game, the Vols would have had to score a TD.
  • Had Dallas Baker been more focused on the game instead of "defending his manhood", he would have pointed to the scoreboard and walked away.
  • Had the Gators' defensive backs figured out how to defend a crossing pattern, the Vols wouldn't have moved down the field into field goal range in the first place.

  • In other words, there are lots of variables here, and blaming an official for a questionable call changes nothing. To be honest, neither team deserved a loss, as it was a terrific game between two quality football teams. But, someone did lose, and it wasn't because of a yellow flag.

    An aside: Some call this game poetic justice (see TN/FL, 2000). Perhaps.


    .: posted by Dave 9:25 AM

    A CBS Mea Culpa?

    CBS News plans to say it was misled on the purported National Guard memos that were the source of its report that President Bush received favored treatment 30 years ago, The Washington Post reported Monday.

    The Post cited CBS sources whom it said could not be named because the network has not yet made public its plans. The paper said the statement could come as soon as today.

    This P.R. disaster for the network could have been avoided had they done this weeks ago. Will any heads roll over this fiasco? It's doubtful. Either way, CBS' reputation, for the time being, is more like the National Enquirer than a national news organization.


    .: posted by Dave 9:22 AM

    Thursday, September 16, 2004

    SKB is in a bad mood lately because of all the distractions in the presidential campaign that are leading the public discussion away from the important issues of the day. For more, go read here.

    Debating the issues about which Bubba speaks is an exercise for another day. I would like though to address the question about why the public discourse seems to be about things other than real policy. The Dan Rather memo fiasco surfaced precisely because an overzealous news agency decided that an unsubstantiated story destructive to the President was more important than verification of the facts. Media credibility in any age, but especially during an election year, is an important story. Don't blame the blogosphere or the right wing for this one. Blame the poor excuse for a news bureau over at CBS.

    Before that, we had the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Why did take such prominence in the news? Well, it certainly wasn't because the big media outlets deemed it newsworthy. It rose to the top of the public awareness precisely because of this: John Kerry made Vietnam his singlemost important qualification for the presidency. As such, matters of policy haven't been Mr. Kerry's message, at least until he figured out that his Vietnam mantra wasn't getting him enough mileage. Had Mr. Kerry told the public why his policies were better than President Bush's instead of arguing that his heroism in Vietnam made him a more qualified commander in chief, we would likely be focusing more on the issues that Bubba cites.


    .: posted by Dave 8:27 PM

    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    Good news for geeks:

    Luxembourg-based Skype displayed its software for Pocket PC-based handheld computers that lets anyone in a Wi-Fi cloud make a free Internet voice call to other Skype users. Company founder Niklas Zennstrom called from Europe and the audio quality was at least as clear as any landline phone service. A Palm OS version is promised for next month, and the handheld software also supports the paid SkypeOut service (2 cents per minute for U.S. calls) for connecting with traditional phones worldwide.

    Excellent. I have been hoping for a Skype Palm client, and I look forward to using this one.


    .: posted by Dave 7:33 PM

    Maybe CBS should have used this guy as their expert for verification of the authenticity of the TANG memos. Or, wait, that might have rendered their story useless, huh?


    .: posted by Dave 9:53 AM

    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    I don't plan to post much today, as I am spending time with my family visiting from Knoxville. They are leaving today to go back; for sure, they will miss their grandson, who really must feel loved after having so many grandparents visit him in the last few weeks.

    Today, of course, is also the 3rd anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Read the musings of Lileks, or the pictures posted by the Blogfather. There are other worthy tributes in the blogosphere, such as SKB's posting of all the names of the dead, Jeff Jarvis' recollection of his horror watching those people who fell from the World Trade Center, Dean Esmay's epistle on how 9/11 changed his life, and Michelle Malkin's pleading for the news media to "stop sanitizing the killers."

    I, too, have been changed fundamentally as a result of the attacks three years ago. Unlike some of my colleagues and friends, I see the need to have a resolve to remove this cancer from our midst. No matter who leads us after November, I pray that our policies toward terrorists and regimes who harbor them do not change. I hope the world learns to differentiate between good and evil, and learns to call militant Islam what it is - evil.

    So this morning, afternoon, and evening, I will embrace my son, hold my wife, and thank the good Lord that we are all here together, instead of dead, or something worse; and I will pray that the world I leave behind when I am gone is a safer one for my son than the one that preceded him.


    .: posted by Dave 9:18 AM

    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    UT - Florida Joke of the Week:

    as submitted by my pal, Joe...

    On a tour of the US, the Pope took a couple of days off his itinerary to visit the Florida coast on an impromptu sightseeing trip. His 4X4 Pope mobile was driving along the beautiful shoreline when there was an enormous commotion heard just off the headland.They rushed to see what it was and upon approaching the scene, the Pope noticed in the water a hopeless man wearing a Florida football jersey, struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark.

    At that moment a speedboat containing three men wearing Tennessee football jerseys roared into view from around the point. Immediately, one of the men took aim and fired a harpoon into the shark's ribs, immobilizing it instantly. The other two reached out and pulled the Gator fan from the water and then, using long clubs, beat the shark to death.They bundled the bleeding, semi-conscious man into the boat along with the dead shark and then prepared for a hasty retreat when they heard frantic shouting fromthe shore. It was the Pope summoning them to the beach. After they reached shore, the Pope praised them for the rescue and said, "I give you my blessing for your brave actions. I had heard that there was some bitter hatred between the people of your universities, but now I have seen with my own eyes this is not true. I can see that your society is a truly enlightened example of true harmony and could serve as a model on which other universities could follow". He blessed them all and drove off in a cloud of dust.As he departed, the harpooner asked the others, "Who was that?"

    "That," one answered, "was his Holiness the Pope. He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God's wisdom."

    "Well," the harpooner replied, "he don't know nothin' about shark fishin'. Is the bait holdin' up okay or do we need to get another one?"


    .: posted by Dave 1:09 PM

    Just when I was getting excited about the 49c downloads on Real, they jack the price up to 99c. So much for the myriad albums I was planning to buy. Since most of what I buy is older music, I know I can find them cheaper on eBay or at used record stores.

    Quite simply, the downloadable music model, given its restrictions using DRM, will not succeed when the companies charge almost the same price for the download as they do the entire album. The only thing that I can find appealing about this model with its present pricing structure is that I can buy a single song instead of an entire album. But for older artists, compilations, etc., they need to keep the costs low. Otherwise, they will lose at least one paying customer.


    .: posted by Dave 12:58 PM

    There is a young lady in my office who simply seems to dislike everything about her job, to the point that it makes her miserable every day. While I can understand frustration when dealing with management, I can't help but to ask rhetorically:

    If you don't like your job, why do you work here? Why complain incessantly about it, and make the rest of us miserable in the process? At least put in for a transfer to another business unit, for God's sake. Do us all a favor, and quit complaining, and move on. OK? Much obliged.

    Thoughts from a polite Southerner in this mecca of Yankee discontent.


    .: posted by Dave 12:39 PM

    Angst for a Vol fan expatriate:

    I would be glad to pay for extensive coverage of the Volunteer football program. I already do, as I pay for satellite programming, and high speed data transmission to allow me to listen to VolCalls every Monday. The News-Sentinel has the most extensive written coverage available of the Volunteer football program. For that, I am more than willing to pay. But $39.95 annually? $4.95 monthly? I cannot capitulate to paying such a high stipend for information. After all is said and done, I hope KnoxNews will rethink this marketing strategy. In the interim, I will use other sources, like ESPN, CNNSI, and the Tennessean for Vol-related news.


    .: posted by Dave 12:28 PM

    In case the tactic being used by the purveyors of global terrorism has escaped you, it is now their modus operandi to attack countries and their citizens around election times. (I suppose we should be thanking Spain for their capitulation in this regard.) The latest victim has been Australia, who has said that they will "not be intimidated by acts of terrorism."

    I hate to take the pessimistic view, but I fully expect to see something happen in America, or at the very least to a group of Americans abroad, around election time here.


    .: posted by Dave 12:21 PM

    Matt at Overtaken by Events makes this observation:

    Isn't it strange that the biggest difference between the Bush National Guard stories and the Kerry Vietnam controversy is that, in the President's case, it's the major media dogging the story to death? I don't seem to recall any hard-nosed investigative reporting into Kerry's involvement with Vietnam Veterans against the War, a group that actively considered proposals to assassinate government officals. Nor has the New York Times bothered to dig into Kerry's actual testimony before the Senate in which he impugned every man that served.

    However, you bring up the possibility that Dubya missed a doctor's appointment, and the AP will spend three years applying all of the resources necessary to uncover the TRUTH.

    The Blogfather links to him. SKB notices, and decries:

    This is... ...the stupidest thing I've seen all week.

    Come on, SKB. Even a non-partisan can see that the media, especially CBS, jumped at the chance to report on the Bush story, but it took weeks for them to bring up similar questions about Kerry when similar allegations were made.

    This is not to say that one side or the other is right. Personally, I would prefer a debate on the issues. But to say that the observation made by Matt is stupid is a choice to ignore the fact that, where these two candidates and media coverage are concerned, there is a double standard being applied.


    .: posted by Dave 12:13 PM

    The News-Sentinel is hiring a local conservative writer. Surely, someone amongst the minions of the Rocky Top Brigade qualifies for this position.


    .: posted by Dave 9:16 AM

    Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    By now, you've probably heard of either a) the new Kitty Kelley book, 2) the newly surfacing evidence that Bush shorted the government on his service in the National Guard, or 3) both. I'm not sure how this hurts Bush in the long term, since most of this stuff has been tried already, and I'm sure after the drubbing taken by Kerry in the last few weeks, anything is worth a shot.

    Ironically, I think most people would rather hear about the candidates' records in government than in the military. The military records that should be most considered are the ones pertaining to the candidates now. That is to say, the man best for the job should be determined by what positions he has championed legislatively. Kerry's refusal to fund the Iraq war does not bode well for him in that regard. Even his staunchest supporters don't really know where he stands on this, or many other, issues.

    The reason these angles are not taken by the mainstream press is simple. They largely endorse the candidacy of John Kerry (and many have admitted to that fact), and to analyse the candidates on those records would not be to their advantage. Realistically, the best chance John Kerry has to attain victory is to show the President to be a war-dodging deserter, while showing himself to be a patriot.

    Thus, we have the reports on 60 Minutes II tonight. One could almost see the glee on Dan Rather's face as he reported the "exclusive evidence attained by CBS News". Moreover, one cannot ignore another fact: when similar information arises about the "preferred" candidate, the media buries it until it can no longer do so. Allegations directed toward the "other" candidate, however, draw the immediate attention of the mainstream media, to the point where they almost trip over themselves reporting it.

    In reality, the allegations of Bush drug use by Ms. Kelley, the CBS report, and even the book by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth will do little damage. Most Americans have already embraced a candidate for one reason or another. Undecideds do not get involved until late in the game, and those who have can only come to one conclusion: the mudslinging is unbearable, childish, trite, and enhances neither candidate.

    As for myself, I decided long ago that I would vote for George W. Bush because of his record regarding taxes, Social Security privatization, vouchers, and, most importantly, the prosecution of the war on terror. Kerry's record on those issues largely diverges from the President's. Thus, the choice for me is a simple one. The military records of either candidate have no bearing on that choice. I would venture a guess that most voters feel the same way.

    MORE: Rex Hammock, who blogs more about the world of publishing than about politics, says "Enough already". This seems to reflect the general mood of the public as far as I can tell. Even here in Connecticut, a largely Democratic state, the people with whom I work who are ardent partisans say the same thing.


    .: posted by Dave 7:53 PM

    Friday, September 03, 2004

    The new Mustang's styling draws heavily from the 1967 version, including interior treatment. But it also has a bold, aggressive stance that appeals to sports-car enthusiasts.

    Ford says it will deliver a V-6 version of the Mustang for about $20,000 and a GT model with a 300-horsepower V-8 engine for about $26,000.



    .: posted by Dave 12:54 PM

    Bill Clinton is having quadruple bypass surgery. Apparently, President Clinton was experiencing chest pains and checked into Columbia Presbyterian.

    I can't help that this sort of thing makes me think of Julienne Malveaux's comments about Clarence Thomas:

    "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter, and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease. . . .He’s an absolutely reprehensible person."

    Unlike Ms. Malveaux, I don't wish ill will toward those with which I disagree politically. Get well soon, Bill.


    .: posted by Dave 12:34 PM

    Conspiracy Theory of the Day:

    Spotted on Jessica's Well:

    Can we get back to the real issues now, please?

    Like how Karl Rove engineered the terrorist attack on the Russian school so as to better frame the President's prime time remarks on the war on terror?

    I can only assume this was sarcasm, but sadly, people over here probably believe it to be true.


    .: posted by Dave 10:48 AM

    Gun Control in the U.K.

    Despite the attention that imitation weapons are getting, they account for a miniscule fraction of all violent crime (0.02%) and in recent years only about 6% of firearms offenses. But with crime so serious, Labor needs to be seen as doing something. The government recently reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03.

    Crime was not supposed to rise after handguns were banned in 1997. Yet, since 1996 the serious violent crime rate has soared by 69%: robbery is up by 45% and murders up by 54%. Before the law, armed robberies had fallen by 50% from 1993 to 1997, but as soon as handguns were banned the robbery rate shot back up, almost back to their 1993 levels.


    Britain is not alone in its experience with banning guns. Australia has also seen its violent crime rates soar to rates similar to Britain's after its 1996 Port Arthur gun control measures. Violent crime rates averaged 32% higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than they did the year before the law in 1995. The same comparisons for armed robbery rates showed increases of 74%.

    During the 1990s, just as Britain and Australia were more severely regulating guns, the U.S. was greatly liberalizing individuals' abilities to carry guns. Thirty-seven of the 50 states now have so-called right-to-carry laws that let law-abiding adults carry concealed handguns once they pass a criminal background check and pay a fee. Only half the states require some training, usually around three to five hours' worth. Yet crime has fallen even faster in these states than the national average. Overall, the states in the U.S. that have experienced the fastest growth rates in gun ownership during the 1990s have experienced the biggest drops in murder rates and other violent crimes.

    At some point, bureaucrats will have to look at the statistics and conclude that banning firearms only serves to remove them from the possession of law-abiding people.


    .: posted by Dave 10:32 AM

    When one runs for office, especially the office of President of the United States, one must accept that his record is going to be opened to much scrutiny. John Kerry, blistered from the undressing he took from the speakers at the Republican National Convention, apparently sees himself as immune to such analysis. Says Kerry:

    "For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. Well, here's my answer. I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq."

    I don't know which convention Mr. Kerry watched, but the one I saw had no one questioning his patriotism. The Senator is having difficulty discerning between his record as a senator (and his public speeches in 1971) from his record as a Vietnam veteran. Even the animated Zell Miller did not question Kerry's military service, yet he did question Kerry's conduct when he returned to the U.S. Like it or not, these things are matters with which the public should be concerned. The RNC served as a bully pulpit for such questions.

    Just because he served in Vietnam does not mean that Senator Kerry's record on matters of national defense cannot be questioned. However, because his record is so consistently liberal, it benefits him not to debate on those issues, but to cry foul. This is a political ploy long espoused by the liberal wing of American politics. It is high time that someone called Mr. Kerry on it.


    .: posted by Dave 10:04 AM

    Oh, That Stagnant US Economy:

    U.S. employers cranked up the pace of hiring in August and estimates of job growth for the previous two months were revised upward. The unemployment rate fell to a three-year low.

    Nonfarm business payrolls grew by a net 144,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 5.4%, the lowest level since October 2001.

    Senator Kerry, true to his pessimistic form, said "Economically, after losing jobs, you're supposed to have ever faster job growth to make up for it. That's not what we're getting. We're getting mediocre, treading water job growth." I supposed that during the campaign season, any news is bad news, eh, John?


    .: posted by Dave 9:53 AM

    Climax to the Terrorist Siege in Russia:

    Russian troops stormed a school in the country's south, after hostages started fleeing the building where armed terrorists had been holding as many as 1,500 people captive for two days in Beslan, North Ossetia.

    More than 200 wounded were taken to hospitals, Interfax said, citing Lev Dzugayev, spokesman for North Ossetia's government. Russian broadcasters NTV and Rossiya showed children escaping and gunfire and explosions could be heard during the broadcasts.

    Russian forces haven't taken the area fully under control and gunfire can be heard coming from near the gym where the hostages were held, Sky News reported from the scene. Interfax earlier reported that the area was almost under control.

    ``Most of the children who had been taken hostage are still alive,'' NTV television reported from the scene. ``There are very many wounded.''

    If initial reports are correct, the end result is that it could have been much worse.

    Still, this event has had me pondering the possibilities of such an act in the US. What is to stop a well-organized group from entering one of our highly populated schools and executing hostages one by one? The only plausible solution is a long term assault on these militants, which illustrates why this war on terrorism is the most important issue of my lifetime. As the Blogmaster said, "That could be happening here, and sooner or later it will if we don't win this war first." I couldn't agree more.


    .: posted by Dave 9:42 AM

    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    Funniest Observation of the Night:

    "Is Susan Estrich trying to sound like Carol Channing, or is that just an unfortunate accident of biology?" - Rich @ Shots Across the Bow


    .: posted by Dave 10:16 PM

    Bush's Speech:

    I haven't blogged this week, mainly because I have felt somewhat apolitical. However, two things bear mentioning for me regarding Bush's speech tonight. First, his remark (I paraphrase) "Some people say I have a swagger. Where I come from, it's called walking" had me laughing aloud. Second, I just have to ask rhetorically, given the choice between the optimism of Dubya and the dreary views of Kerry, et. al., who should one choose? I think the choice is obvious.

    Oh, and I noticed that the balloon operators knew how to do their job, unlike the DNC. That has to count for something. Heh.


    .: posted by Dave 10:10 PM

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