Thursday, April 21, 2005

New comments

After several requests I've finally installed Haloscan comments. I haven't taken the old ones off yet, mainly because I don't like messing with my template and I don't feel like trying to figure out how to get rid of them right now!

Anyway, I hope these will be easier to use and faster...

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Please do something...

I'm growing concerned that the Republicans in congress haven't learned anything from George Bush's political success. He's a leader, and he isn't afraid to take unpopular positions to get things done.

Glenn Renyolds posted this quotation: "I grow more and more convinced the Republican majority will end itself by 2006 if the Left will just shut up for five minutes."

I must say that I agree, and the guys at Powerline are on the case today:

The next election is a year and a half away. If the Republicans in the Senate aren't willing to buck the polls now, when will they be? And how can anyone think that a delay in pursuing the Constitutional option will cause the poll numbers to turn around? It won't. It will merely be perceived as blood in the water that causes the Democratic/media attacks to intensify.

Success breeds success, and weakness breeds more weakness. The Republicans have been voted into the majority. The greatest danger to them is not doing something that is temporarily unpopular; the greatest danger is being perceived as too weak to enact their agenda. That danger, I am afraid, is upon us.

I won't get into it right now, but I have a feeling that term limits would do lots of good in getting the republicans out of their scared, carreer politician mindsets.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A lost cause

Worldmagblog points out William Raspberry's piece in yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune, Is Fox News promoting media bias?

I don't watch Fox News (or any TV news at all) so I'm anything but authoritative on this matter, but Raspberry is partially correct.

Raspberry claims that Fox's biased programming has two dangerous effects:

The first is that the popularity of the approach – Fox is clobbering its direct competition (CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, etc.) – leads other cable broadcasters to mimic it, which in turn debases the quality of the news available to that segment of the TV audience.

The second, far more dangerous, effect is that it threatens to destroy public confidence in all news.

That last, I admit, is more fear than prediction, but let me tell you what produces that fear. Fox News Channel – though the people who run the operation are at great pains to insist otherwise – is deliberately partisan. It is as though right-wing talk radio has metastasized into cable and assumed a new virulence.

As for his first point, he may be right that the opposing views will drive each other toward the right and left fringes, but Fox certainly has legitimate claim to the grade school argument "he started it!" There would have been no market for Fox had the other networks not already disenfranchised so many viewers.

I think his second point is further along than he believes. I have had no confidence in TV news for years. It's just entertainment, as the ridiculous coverage of election day 2004 goes to show (remember how none of the networks would call the election for Bush, and each picked their states carefully to keep us all hanging on through the next commercial break?)

People who are seeking the truth and not just clever soundbites will choose their sources carefully, and will also become adept at separating fact from bias.

Raspberry's idea that bias and the loss of credibility of TV news is FNC's fault is ludicrous - Fox isn't helping the situation, but the other networks lost credibility long before Fox came along.

If you're serious about finding truth and aren't interested in sorting through the BS to get to it, I must recommend that you turn off the TV.

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Learning something new

Being a protestant, I have never learned much about, nor paid special attention to the pope. However, I have tried to read up on the subject in the past couple of weeks.

According to Captain Ed, Benedict XVI seems to be a good choice, and from reading only some of his first remarks I am impressed with his humility:

"Dear brothers and sisters, after our great pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard," according to a translation of remarks he made in Italian. "I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers.

"In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help. And Mary, his most beloved mother, stands on our side."

I'll continue my research, and if anyone has any applicable links I'd appreciate the help.

Update: Hugh Hewitt has some excellent links.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Learning to blog again

Blogging definitely isn't like riding a bike.

I've been out of the news cycle for awhile now, and it's tough to jump back in...especially since I don't have as much time as I did in Iraq. It sounds strange, but back here at home I have so much other stuff going on that I don't have nearly the time I did in Baghdad; I just need to learn how to fit blogging back into my schedule.

Anyway, I have put up a couple of posts at Cord of Three, and I'm reading other blogs to get back into the swing of things. If you didn't catch this post over at Powerline, it's quick and worth your time - some encouraging stats on the real situation on the ground in Iraq.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Policies to watch

Drudge links to an AP story on a South Korean crackdown on online pornography.

Since January, the main prosecutor's office in Seoul has issued arrest warrants for about 100 people charged with spreading obscene material under South Korea's telecommunications law, a crime carrying penalties of up to a year in jail or a nearly $10,000 fine.

Later in the article, an interesting statistic and a disturbing trend:

In a country where more than 70 percent of homes have high-speed Internet connections, access to cyberporn is easy.

That means traditional taboos in Korea's conservative, Confucian-based society have quickly shattered, said Lee Mee-sook, a sociology professor at Paichai University in the central city of Daejeon.

"The code of ethics became weak, and people started satisfying their sexual desires through the Internet - anonymously," she said.

Also, South Korea already has a national ID card, and they’re not just using it to control immigration:

Many Korean Web sites require users to enter their national identification card numbers to confirm their age to access adult content. But tech-savvy children can use programs to create false numbers or simply use their parents' IDs instead.

And lastly, the interesting concept of limited free speech:

South Korea's constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but contains the caveat that such expression should neither "violate the honor or rights of other persons nor undermine public morals or social ethics."

I’ll pay a little more attention to articles from South Korea from now on - the results of their efforts will be fascinating I’m sure.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

False Alarm

At first I thought this story might be a harbinger of some semblance of personal responsibility returning to our lawsuit crazed society, but I was mistaken. It appears that the woman was probably just lying.

She originally claimed to have found a human finger in her Wendy’s chili. She hasn’t backed away from her claim, but she has now decided not to sue the restaurant.

These paragraphs are telling:

Court records show Ayala has a history of making claims against corporations, including a former employer, General Motors and a fast-food restaurant. She acknowledged getting a settlement several years ago after her daughter was sickened at a Las Vegas restaurant.

''Lies, lies, lies, that's all I am hearing,'' she said last week after her home was searched last week by police. ''They should look at Wendy's. What are they hiding? Why are we being victimized again and again?''

I don’t know all the facts on this case, and perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions, but had this woman actually found a finger in her chili, it wouldn’t take an all-star lawyer to get her a hefty settlement with Wendy’s. Instead, she’s backing down because the process thus far has ''been very difficult for her emotionally.''

Give me a break.

Had she actually found a finger in her meal, gotten deathly sick and spent a week in the hospital I’d say go ahead and sue Wendy’s. However, what basis has she to sue just for finding a finger and suffering nothing but some sort of vague emotional harm?

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Dogface please

I’ve never liked the labels ‘dog person’ or ‘cat person.’

I like both cats and dogs, and they both serve perfectly legitimate purposes, but if I have to choose a label I’m definitely a dog guy.

Callimachus points out a funny (if slightly profane) post on cats and dogs of which I’ll excerpt just a bit:

Dogface can not only warn you of intruders in an unmistakable aural way, but he can also scare them away, and if that fails, he can actually wound them. Good boy, Dogface. Dogface can live outside comfortably - and that's where all his dander and fur and dirt will blow away, rather than on your furniture. Added bonus: that's also where he will defecate. Instead of, you know, in a box inside your house. Because that would be gross.

Dogface can be trained to help blind people, handicapped people, epileptics, firemen, policemen, the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, the border patrol, military troops, and terminally ill hospice residents. To mention a few. Dogface can be trained to call medics on a freaking telephone. Which he can be trained to do in response to realizing his owner is getting ready to have a seizure. Which he can detect in some way that humans can't even determine.

Catface, on the other hand, can detect his fellow cats' fresh vomit, which he'll have as a snack. And that's about it. Cats have the personality of toenail clippings. I've had about 10 cats in my lifetime, and I dearly loved each one of them. I was a full-fledged "cat person", and I spent many hours talking to and about my cats. But now that I've spent a few years with dogs, good grief. It's like comparing dolphins to jellyfish.

Too funny.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A few quick links

Hugh Hewitt points out This one will run, a good read for any other runners out there.

Glenn Reynolds is onto an interesting topic - IM in class.

Bookworm has some good observations on one of her favorite topics - one that is very prevalent in the Army - obsessive swearing. She’s right on in calling it mental laziness.

GotDesign has a sweet new look.

And I have no idea if this is true, but Bunnie Deihl says that Idaho is considering a bill "commending Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City of Preston for the production of the movie Napoleon Dynamite."

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, you need to order the DVD today...it’s that funny.

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Playin' catch up

Wow, I guess it really has been awhile since I posted anything...

Anyway, Jennyjo arrived safely on March 15th, and the days since then have been much more enjoyable than the previous 400 or so!

I haven't done very well keeping up with the news (no TV or internet at home will do that to you...) but I know that I've missed out on some great discussion, especially on the Terri Schiavo case.

My free time has been mainly consumed with yard work (a neglected quarter acre is no cake walk), repairing long-sitting automobiles (my newest model is an '88 Volvo wagon...gotta love it!), catching up with friends, and finally spending some time with my beautiful wife.

I've certainly missed the dialogue here at beef, and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone...it'll probably take me some time to really get back in the swing of things, so please bear with me.

btw, wireless internet is pretty much the coolest thing ever. I'm not sure how much my roadrunner bill will be, but whatever it is, it's worth it!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Back in the saddle

ok, I think I'm actually back now.

The new laptop arrived (Dell Inspiron 2200), the cable guy showed up to hook up the internet, and the wireless router is actually working...I have no excuse for not blogging!

It's late and tomorrow is an early day, but I have a lot to catch up on...starting tomorrow...if anyone is still bothering to check this neglected blog...

seeya soon!

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