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Posts from — March 2006

I Feel Better

Blogger does not play favorites. During the recent “troubles” they managed to delete the Google blog.

This was assumed to have been a hack at the time, but no, their blog was erased on their site by their software and personnel.

Given what Google pays for Blogger, I feel better about the service I received.

March 28, 2006   6 Comments

Missing The Point

Thanks to Steve M. at No More Mr. Nice Blog I don’t have to go looking for NPR’s interview with Karen Hughes, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy yesterday on All Things Considered.

Hughes says she’s trying to convince foreigners about the positive aspects of U.S. policy.

“One of my frustrations as a communicator is that a lot of times people don’t even know what we’ve done.”

Au contraire, Ms. Hughes, the problem is that people do know what the US has done in their area for more than a half century during the Cold War, and while the actions may have been in accord with the goals of the US at the time, they have not been universally beneficial to the local inhabitants.

The local people know:

The US and UK removed a democratically elected government in Iran with Operation Ajax;

The US supplied Saddam Hussein with weapons and helped him create WMDs during the Iran-Iraq War; and

Most of today’s “terrorists” were created by the US financed Mujahideen during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Painting schools or rosy verbal scenarios are not going to negate what people know.

March 28, 2006   2 Comments

A Tribute To A Friend

Echidne has a moving tribute to her friend, Hank the Lab, who died last evening.

It is always hard to lose a living thing that shares in your life and makes it better.

My condolences and sympathy go out to her and Henrietta.

March 28, 2006   2 Comments

How’s Your Bush Boom?

CBS

[A screenshot from CBS this weekend.]

March 27, 2006   4 Comments

The Southern Insurgency

Given the definition used by the Shrubbery’s agitprop people we did not have a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865. It wasn’t The War Between the States or The War of Northern Aggression, it was an insurgency.

The incident at Fort Sumter wasn’t really a battle. There were only four casualties, and they were the result of an equipment malfunction, so it doesn’t count as a real battle.

Since the current Iraqi military and police units are derived from Shi’ia militias it is little difficult to discern Shi’ia on Sunni violence. This was the obvious result of Bremer’s “de-Ba’athification” program as the Ba’ath party was a Sunni organization.

Let me spare Secretary Rice the trouble of saying: “No one could have imagined an Iraqi civil war.” Yeah, right.

March 27, 2006   2 Comments

A Blogger In The Spotlight

Riverbend of Baghdad Burning is in the running for the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction writing. The award includes £30,000 [$52,281] in cash, but she would have to identify herself to collect it, and I can’t believe that she could remain in Iraq if she did.

Being identified as wealthy in Iraq makes you and your family the target for kidnappers.

March 27, 2006   2 Comments

Immigration

How about we enforce some of the laws that already exist, before we enact any more?

It is illegal to hire undocumented workers, but they are all over and being abused by businesses. You start by actually enforcing the laws against the businesses. Stop arresting workers and start arresting employers.

Then, actually fund the securing of the border. Hire the Border Patrol agents you need and let them patrol the border. Hire the Coast Guard and give them equipment to patrol our waters. Fund and implement port security.

The great fallacy of the “guest worker” programs and the H1B visas, is that Americans don’t want these jobs. Americans don’t want to work for the money that business wants to pay for these jobs, and as long as business is assured of labor at poverty level wages, the wages won’t rise to a living level. “Guest worker programs” are nothing more than a variation of outsourcing.

March 27, 2006   10 Comments

Don’t Bother Me With Evidence

NBC says Scalia Speaks His Mind, but it should probably read Scalia Shoots His Mouth Off.

Scalia is not interested in facts, jurisprudence, or the Constitution, only in his own ideology. He apparently supports the “imperial presidency” and not the rule of law.

While he should recuse himself from the latest Guantanamo case, I would be surprised if he had that much integrity left.

March 27, 2006   8 Comments

Ukrainian Election

Ukraine

The BBC, among others, is reporting on the election in the Ukraine as some sort of huge victory for Viktor Yanukovych’s “blue” party, the Putin faction in the Ukraine. While they are the leading party, they only have 27.3% of the votes.

President Viktor Yushchenko’s party is running third with 16.3% of the vote, but the coalition, the “oranges”, that elected him included Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, currently second with 23.4%. If the “oranges” stop arguing among themselves they still have a majority in the government and should use it to help the Ukrainian people.

March 27, 2006   Comments Off on Ukrainian Election

Indoor Cats Use Litter Boxes

Or dog bites man. From the BBC: Microsoft warns on browser bugs.

“To avoid falling victim, Microsoft urged users to avoid websites they did not trust and to refrain from opening attachments on e-mail messages from unknown senders.”

Internet Explorer is a bad piece of software that was written more to enforce Microsoft’s platform orthodoxy than to assist the user. Its proprietary “features” are designed to lock users into dependence on Microsoft, not to assist them with the task at hand.

The real shame is that Microsoft has some talented coders who are quite capable of writing software that would win market share on its merits without all of this extraneous garbage. They could write software for Linux that people would be willing to buy.

Too bad they don’t believe in their people enough to compete on a level field, rather than attempting monopoly.

March 27, 2006   Comments Off on Indoor Cats Use Litter Boxes

Making the switch

I’m not advocating anyone switch, because each of us has different needs and expectations. If Blogger and BlogSpot fill your needs, there’s no reason to switch.

If you like the look and feel of Blogger, you can still use it to publish at your own site, rather than BlogSpot. This is useful if you want your own URL, or don’t want to be associated with BlogSpot. Anya does this at Out, Standing in Her Field.

If you’ve had it with Google/Blogger but still want a free blog, you could move to WordPress.com as Steve Bates has done with The Yellow Doggerelist. He uses the site to host his G-rated verse and cat pictures for friends and family who wouldn’t appreciate his writing at his main site.

If you want the ability to kvetch you could move to the Six Apart blogging empire for pricing starting at $4.95/month for the equivalent of a BlogSpot blog but the right to complain because you are paying something.

Six Apart now hosts TypePad and LiveJournal blogs with several levels of sites. Michael at Musing’s musings has a TypePad site, and Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged is on LiveJournal.

Six Apart also owns Movable Type blogging software that you use on your own server space, like Guy does at Rook’s Rant.

It’s a brave person indeed, who hand codes their blog, like Steve does at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat.

[The ghastly geek details below the fold]
[Read more →]

March 26, 2006   4 Comments

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

John wondered why I didn’t print the lyrics to Waist Deep In The Big Muddy if I was going to use a Pete Seeger song. I thought of Flowers first is the simple answer.

But since it is a pointed reference to the current “unpleasantness”, here’s a link to the lyrics at the University of San Diego, a Catholic institution and home of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Go by and check out their news section on the main page. Mrs. Kroc would be proud.

March 26, 2006   5 Comments

Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Pete Seeger

March 25, 2006   2 Comments

This Sounds Familiar

Local Australian officials report that rain and sightseers are hampering cyclone relief.

Forget looters, sightseers should be shot on sight. They aren’t helping; they are clogging up the roads; they are using things that are needed; and nobody needs strangers showing up to gawk – that’s the media’s job.

Ergon Energy is the local power company and they are amazing. They have delivered generators to supermarkets to get them back up, while they go about repairing the grid. That is an obvious move, but I don’t know of a single utility on the Gulf Coast that has ever suggested doing it.

March 25, 2006   2 Comments