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Posts from — January 2007

Damn

First Barbara Jordan – the voice of Watergate and justice, then Ann Richards – who could barbeque you with a phrase, and now Molly – whose gentle humor covered a deeply felt sense of social justice.

The three of the best things to come out of the Lone Star state are all gone.

Rest in peace.

January 31, 2007   7 Comments

Windows Vista Released to Consumers

According to CNet: Buying Vista? Get a guarantee

Customers who pay about $233 for an upgrade copy of Vista Ultimate (or about $399 for the full version), for instance, could essentially end up running the equivalent of Vista Home Basic ($100 to $199) if Vista’s installation software finds that the computer doesn’t have the hardware to run specific Ultimate features optimally, Cherry said.

[snip]

Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner, agrees: “Joe Consumer is not generally equipped to upgrade an operating system. This is not a trivial matter.” The market researcher estimates that roughly 40 percent of the 320 million consumer PCs worldwide running a previous version of Windows can run some version of Vista.

However, “some portion of that (percentage) will need at least memory upgrades,” Silver said. Moreover, he estimates that only about 15 percent of those PCs are ready to run Vista Premium and take full advantage of the software. But it’s hard to predict how each individual PC will fare during Vista installation.

Hmm, only 40% of current Windows machines can run the basic version, and only 15% of that group will be able to run the second level, Premium. Sounds like a marketing plan to sell hardware. Almost every level of the product requires some new and expensive additional hardware. The Premium version wants 15 gigabytes of free disk space. Some of the levels require Internet access.

Of course, when you buy a new computer, they will probably pre-load this, so it may be time to look at Macs and Linux.

January 31, 2007   16 Comments

On This Day

* 1649 – King Charles I of England is beheaded.
* 1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is formally executed – after having been dead for two years (it’s never too late for revisionism).
* 1835 – A mentally ill man named Richard Lawrence attempts to assassinate President Andrew Jackson in the United States Capitol — the first assassination attempt against a President. Both of Lawrence’s pistols misfire, and Jackson proceeds to beat his would-be assassin with his cane.
* 1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling. How they died remains a mystery.
* 1933 – Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
* 1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.
* 1968 – Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive begins when Viet Cong forces launch series of a surprise attacks in South Vietnam.
* 1969 – The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.
* 1972 – Bloody Sunday: United Kingdom British Paratroopers kill fourteen Roman Catholic civil rights /anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland- Bloody Sunday
* 2003 – Belgium legally recognizes same-sex marriage.
* 2005 – Amid violence and threats to boycott the results, Iraq holds an election for its National Assembly, the country’s first free election since 1953.

Births
* 1882 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
* 1912 – Barbara W. Tuchman, American historian
* 1922 – Dick Martin, American comedian
* 1930 – Samuel J. Byck, American attempted assassin of Richard Nixon
* 1941 – Dick Cheney, oil executive
* 1962 – King Abdullah II of Jordan
* 1962 – Mary Kay Letourneau, American teacher

January 30, 2007   9 Comments

A House Divided

Karen at Peripetia discusses David “Bobo” Brooks strategy for Iraq in her post, No Use Crying Over Broken Eggs… Bobo’s plan is as simple and fantasy-based as the man himself – the country will become a federation of three states, everyone will share in the oil wealth, and the war will stop.

It sounds logical, and reasonable, and completely ignores the lack of good will that is required to make it work.

If a logical plan was all that was require to solve problems, the Israeli-Palestinian problem would have been resolved before the Korean War started.

The Kurds do not want to be part of Iraq, they want their own nation, and that will lead to the situation that Juan Cole sees addressed in a Toronto Star article, Dividing Iraq means ‘endless war’: Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, makes it plain that Turkey will invade if raids from Iraqi Kurdistan don’t stop, and the Iraqi Kurds have no interest in stopping the PKK from their attacks into Turkey.

We can all stand around and say that this doesn’t make sense, but it makes sense to the Kurds, and they are willing to die for it. They went along with the Shrubbery’s plan to invade Iraq, despite being screwed over by Republican Presidents going back to Nixon. They can see victory, so they are not going to settle for less.

Even if we had followed doctrine and maintained security in Iraq after the invasion, I’m not certain we could have kept the Kurds in a nation called Iraq. Deals were made to get their assistance, and the Kurds are going to enforce the terms of those agreements, with blood if necessary.

A quick review of the effects of nationalism when the Soviet Bloc collapsed should have told anyone who was paying attention what was going to happen. Not even Czechoslovakia was able to remain as a single nation. Expecting to accomplish in Iraq what couldn’t be accomplished in Czechoslovakia, where there was no war, is unrealistic.

January 29, 2007   Comments Off on A House Divided

Blogginess

Maru’s upgrade at WTF is it now? went smoother than TBogg’s, but things act differently.

Susie Madrak’s site, Suburban Guerrilla, is in the midst of a host change and is down, probably until tomorrow.

I’m trying to finish a project before 1 February, so my posts and commenting will be down.

January 28, 2007   Comments Off on Blogginess

Challenger

Challenger

January 28, 1986

Commander:
Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Pilot:
Michael J. Smith, Commander, USN

Mission Specialist:
Judith A. Resnik
Ronald E. McNair
Ellison S. Onizuka, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Payload Specialist:
Gregory B. Jarvis
Sharon Christa McAuliffe

January 28, 2007   Comments Off on Challenger

Passing the Plate

Florida License Plates

Florida Plate Blogging

Beneficiary

Standard Florida Plate

A weekend feature of Why Now.

January 28, 2007   Comments Off on Passing the Plate

Cue the Twilight Zone Theme

“This blog is currently moving to the new version of Blogger. Please try back in a little while.”

This is what I’ve gotten for the last four hours when I click on Tbogg. It looks like he’s been Beta‘d.

I’ll wait until tomorrow before I send out Lassie.

Update: He’s back in the new format.  It finished about an hour and a half after I posted.  Lassie wasn’t necessary as two basset hounds of a friend followed Beckham’s trail of wreckage.

January 27, 2007   5 Comments

Only In The US

Both Steve of No More Mr. Nice Blog and John McKay of Archy noticed the announcement that having lost over $10 billion last year Ford is considering giving managers bonuses to keep them. In most of the rest of the world, and in sports teams in the US, when the organization is a loser you fire executives, or at least cut their salaries for the poor performance. Ford is going to pay the people in charge more money for failure.

Steve also quoted the part of the article that indicated that Ford is going to ask for concessions from the unions to “turn things around.”

Lets see, the people who actually make the products that the company sells are expected to take a pay cut, because the guys at the top had them make products that people don’t want to buy. The guys who decided to build the products that no one wants get bonuses. I guess you have to have an MBA to understand this logic.

January 27, 2007   Comments Off on Only In The US

Apollo 1

 Apollo One Patch

January 27, 1967

Virgil “Gus” Ivan Grissom, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Edward Higgins White, II, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Roger Bruce Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander, USN

January 27, 2007   Comments Off on Apollo 1

Disgusting

Pierre Tristam calls it The Hounding of Maher Arar, while Glenn Greenwald talks of a Tale of two governments. Ellroon notices that Canada is getting a bit testy with us.

In the linked CBC article retired Canadian diplomat, Jeremy Kinsman, channels his mother’s people from Texas and writes: From one ambassador to another: Mr. Wilkins, cut the bull.

The facts indicate that the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, is something of jerk, who manages to insult Canadians and their government on a regular basis. I’ve written about him before on other US-Canadian issues. He seems to find just the wrong words and manages to do the near impossible feat of really pissing off the Canadians.

Ellroon covers the diplomatic part of the article but further down is a great piece of snark from a Canadian politician:

In the innocent days prior to 9/11, one of Paul Martin’s memorable lines as finance minister was his sceptical reaction to an appropriations request for a big increase in the Canadian intelligence budget.

At the time, Martin noted that the U.S. spends billions on intelligence and still hasn’t a clue, whereas Canada gets the same result for nothing.

If you are interested in the mindset of the people in charge of the War on Terror™, read about the activities of Pierre de Lancre during the Labourd witch-hunt of 1609. [For Pratchett fans, this is the source of the name for the country.]

Keep in mind that the US is a “civilized” country, and waterboarding is nothing like dunking people suspected of witchcraft. [Yeah, right.]

January 26, 2007   7 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Itchy

Friday Cat Blogging

Hang on, I need to scratch.

[Editor: Blaze concentrates as he prepares to scratch his ear.]

Friday Ark

January 26, 2007   13 Comments

Their Worst Nightmare(s)

As the Republicans look at the definite possibility of losing the White House to the Democratic candidate in 2008, they are also beginning to notice that the individual could well be a woman, an African-American, an Hispanic-American, or a trial lawyer. I expect a lot of the wingers will choke on their Kool-Aid when this occurs to them.

January 25, 2007   5 Comments

STFU About Cowboys

Tony, Topper, Scout, Loco, Trigger, Champion – those are the names of something that you will not see on the Shrubbery’s property in Crawford: horses. Cowboys ride horses, and the Shrubbery apparently has a problem with horses. That property isn’t a ranch, or a farm, the only “stock” are bass in a pond on the property.

My Dad was the weekend projectionist in the local theater when I was a child, so my brothers and I saw a lot of movies, and the majority were B westerns. My maternal grandfather read Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour almost exclusively, so my Mother liked westerns. She would watch all of the westerns on TV, and still watches reruns of Gunsmoke and Bonanza on a nostalgia channel. I know about cowboys.

The Shrubbery has absolutely no connection to the “Code of the West” or any of the things that caused young children to cheer on the sheriff. Remember: the good guy never draws first, and never, ever shoots anyone in the back. There’s a name for people like the Shrubbery in westerns, and he has been rubbing the noses of those who think he’s cowboy hero: he’s a bushwhacker.

January 25, 2007   4 Comments