March 31, 2003

Looking for HD Space on your PC?

- BestBuy has a decent 200Gig HD for $180 after rebate. Check your flyer, or go to your local BestBuy. The website has it, but does not seem to reflect the $50 off that I saw in the store: Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 200.0GB Internal Hard Drive at BESTBUY.COM

I can't believe you can get a gigabite of storage for $.90 nowadays.

Posted by James at 3:21 PM

March 29, 2003

Kings of Chaos

- Help Me Build My Army.

I'm playing this silly online game called "Kings Of Chaos." If you click my recruit link and join up, you will help me build my army, which is part of a larger army. Once you join, let me know and I'll send you the link to the larger army's hierarchy page.

If you just click the link for the heck of it and sign up, you need do no more. But if you find it to be fun, you can try recruiting your own folks, fight battles for money, etc. I'm not much good at networking, so my army is growing very slowly thus far. It's a pyramid scheme kind-of-thing, except instead of real money it's fake money and orcs.

A silly diversion from real war, but welcome at this point.

Here are the instructions from the website:

In Kings of Chaos, you are a warlord controlling an army and attempting to become the most powerful force in Middle-earth. You can choose your race, either humans, elves, dwarves, or orcs. Once you choose your race, you cannot change it for the duration of the age, so choose wisely.
You build your army by sending people your unique link (found in your profile page). If they click on the link, they will be recruited into your army!

If someone joins from your link page, they will become one of your officers, and when their army grows your army will get extra recruits. Also, your army will help them when they are being attacked.

Every game turn (30 minutes), you will generate money. The amount of money you generate is based on the size of your army. The larger your army, the more money you will make by using it to pillaging the surrounding countryside.

Use your money to buy weapons from the Armory. Weapons make your forces stronger by giving them attack and defense bonuses.

When you want to attack someone, the number of attack turns you use determines how much money you will plunder if you win. Use attacks wisely though, as you only get 1 every 30 minutes. Different races have different bonuses. Keep this in mind when choosing your race.


So, you don't have to join as one of my officers to help, just clicking on my recruit link helps. But joining is good, too.

I'll eventually add my KOC link somewhere semi-permanent on this page, for convenience.

Posted by James at 11:49 AM

March 28, 2003

Quotes o' the Day

- What is it with this administration and its ability to give us a straight story?

Vice President Dick Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press" March 16:
"The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
"My guess is even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces and are likely to step aside."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN March 23:
"The course of this war is clear. The outcome is clear. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone. It's over. It will not be there in a relatively reasonably predictable period of time."

Posted by James at 2:58 PM

Definition of Naive

- I had pro-war people telling me this entire war was going to last 10 days. Some were saying we'd be in Baghdad 2 days into the war. Here we are at a week and then some, and this clearly isn't going to be over by Monday.

And so we see how some opinions were not based on reality.

Posted by James at 7:57 AM

March 27, 2003

Long Road

- Frontline's "The Long Road to War has been recommended to me by a number of people, but I haven't caught it yet. If I keep missing it, I may have to settle for the website. Apparently it has the full text of interviews and such. If I weren't so busy, I might stop to read it. It will have to wait.

Posted by James at 1:53 PM

Displacement Method

- I commented the other day on how the war is pushing other things out of the news. Well, it pushes things out of our consciousness, too. So much that was going on in my mind seems to have been pushed off because of the war. On the other hand, so much outside of it seems to still be going about its daily existence.

Anyone else have this odd feeling?

Posted by James at 1:50 PM

March 26, 2003

File under "There Ought To Be Limits To Freedom"

- News.com reports that the House is scheduled to vote on proposal which could result in the owners of misleading domain names being jailed for up to 2 years.

Under the proposal, a last-minute amendment to an unrelated child abduction bill, people who knowingly use an innocent-sounding domain name to drive traffic to a sexually explicit Web site could be fined and imprisoned for two to four years. An example of an innocuous-sounding domain name with pornographic content is WhiteHouse.com, which is not sponsored by the Bush administration.
Thanks, JC, for pointing this out.

Posted by James at 4:13 PM

Cthulhu Ftaghn! (Or whatever)

- it's the Random H. P. Lovecraft Story Generator! Hold onto your Necronomicon, it's a long way to R'lyeh. Or whatever.

More Cthulhu links (or loosely related):

Posted by James at 12:29 PM

Swamped

- I'm buried at work today, so I'm just going to provide a miscellany of quick links.

The neo-imperialist in the Boston Phoenix. (Thanks, Patti)

Harvard says common virus, MS may be linked reports the Boston Globe. Interesting to me, because my daughter's disease is, in some ways, similar. Both diseases have mysterious causes. I often wonder if it wasn't triggered by some infection she had, causing her immune system to go into a crazed overdrive. The more they learn about this kind of thing, the better.

China Pneumonia Toll Jumps; Singapore Shuts Schools via Yahoo and Reuters. Holy cow. What's this doing in the "Oddly Enough" subhead?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away but what would you say to teachers who flay?

March 25, 2003

Moore Than They Bargained For

- So, Michael Moore gave a speech at the Academy Awards. (He won for best documentary)

A lot of people have been outraged by his speech. Many were offended by the fact that he had people on stage with him who may not have shared his views, and sprung this on them without their knowledge. I can understand why that might bother people.

I was thinking about this. I am not always a fan of Moore's tactics, though I have long followed his work and agree with a lot of his politics. And I have gotten a real kick out of a lot of what he has done.

He claims that he told people he'd be making a statement on stage:

"Moore said backstage that he invited the other nominees to join him while walking up the aisle. He had warned them during the commercial break that the invite and the rant were coming."
Realistically, when Michael Moore calls you onto the stage and is about to say something, don't you know what's coming if you know anything about the man. Just the warning about the rant should have been enough.

Folks were applauding his political commentary (in his movie) moments before, and then when he gives them his honest opinion in his statement, all of a sudden it's distasteful. It's a little inconsistent. People don't have to like it (and many don't) but at this point to be surprised by it is puzzling.

I know a lot of people aren't going to agree with me on that. But I also think it's great that someone is willing to express an unpopular conscience. The people booing didn't get up in front of the world - they remained anonymous.

If Moore is guilty of anything, it's putting those other directors on the spot when he invited them up, since they knew what was likely coming. They weren't denied their decision just because they didn't know the exact text of his rant - they were forced to make a decision. No one made that decision for them, but no one likes to be forced into making a decision.

That's not a very strong complaint, in my eyes. And if Rush Limbaugh told me he was going to rant on stage and invite me up, I sure as hell would not follow him up there.

They knew what they were getting into.

(And I've stayed pretty much away from the substance of his speech!)

Posted by James at 2:49 PM

In Search Of...

- Anyone notice much in mainstream the news lately about corrupt corporate CEOs, taxes, etc?

No?

I didn't think so.

Conservatives Gone Wild! mentions a little of what's been happening while you were watching the war.

Posted by James at 12:06 PM

March 24, 2003

The City Drops Into The Night

- The here and now is fucked up. Self loathing doesn't stop the war, make it right, or fix the here and now. Neither do jingoism, gung-ho mentality, apathy, or a host of other things. Killing more people doesn't "fix things" but it is a way of moving on. The way through the Gordian Neighborhood is, apparently, to blow it up first. That's what we're looking at in the here and now.So, what happens next? What will we do in Iraq? Will we hand control over to people who will rule it like Saudi Arabia? Turkey? Pakistan? A new version of Saddam? If we don't point to past administrations, and the ghosts who have risen again to haunt the current one, how do we have any hope of avoiding just starting over again? Same Git, Different Decade. Is "democracy" just something we say as long as the democracy makes decisions we like? If you're an Iraqi daisy about to be cut, what's your feeling about the democracy that built the bomb, and the pumping fists and surging popularity numbers riding that bomb like a skeletal Slim Pickens? How, exactly do I learn to stop worrying? Is it easier to be killed by a few madmen with a plane and a mandate from god, or by someone with who feels he has a mandate from the voters? A war about our safety in a world where it's not nations who are our worst enemies, it may be that perception is an important battlefield. I guess there are a lot of questions in the air.

Posted by James at 3:14 PM

Who Moved My %$&$@!#@% Cheese?

- At WEEN---AUDIO you can hear the two versions of a jingle that ween wrote for Pizza Hut. The jingle was rejected. I don't know if they wrote that second version before or after the rejection, but it made me laugh out loud.

I guess I have a love/hate relationship with advertising. Whoop - scratch the "love" part. Thanks Mike, for pointing this out.

Posted by James at 11:33 AM

Talk Radio

- I don't listen much, but when I do I'm usually disgusted. If I were a magazine publisher, I'd... (Yes, I have too much time on my hands late at night)


A fellow named Brian who posts on EAForums had the idea for most of the text and I laid it out.

Click the image for the full-sized version. Print quality versions available on request.

Posted by James at 1:07 AM

March 22, 2003

Secret Intelligence

- We've heard that there are things the Bush administration knows that it would rather not reveal because it would comprimise security. The Smoking Gun has revealed one of these tidbits.

The BBC has had to apologize for showing Bush getting his hair adjusted just before speaking.

Posted by James at 9:06 AM

March 21, 2003

The Human Body

- Last weekend I took the kids to see a new IMAX film called The Human Body.

Mattie spent most of the time with her hands over her eyes. Kit was fascinated by the heart pumping and remarked "I didn't know my heart was so loud!" Both enjoyed the part of the film dealing with babies and reproduction.

The film uses CGI and other methods to illustrate the processes at work in the human body. Among them, the skeleton, respiration and circulation, the reproductive cycle, digestion, and how neurons fire. There is probably little new here in the way of facts for longtime documentary enthusiasts, though one or two facts were new to me. What's special is the presentation, which is superb. It's a little gross at times, but very well done, as many IMAX films are.

In the previews we were treated to a trailer of the new Titanic IMAX film, done by James Cameron and a crew of explorers who go down to film the actual wreckage. They take actor Bill Paxton along with them. Game over, man!

Posted by James at 12:31 AM

SARS Reaches Mass?

- MSNBC is reporting More suspected SARS cases in U.S.

In Massachusetts, a health official said a man there who traveled to Hong Kong and Singapore last week, has shown possible symptoms of SARS but has never been ill enough to be admitted to the hospital.

Posted by James at 12:21 AM

March 20, 2003

Wonderful Feeling?

- How does it feel to send people into combat and possibly kill Iraqi civilians?

Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist. "Feels good," he said.
I wonder if this ranks up there with receiveing oral sex on the "feels good" scale.

Posted by James at 5:53 PM

Exciting War Coverage!!!!

USA Today reports that Iraq war could herald a new age of Web-based news coverage.

This time, reporters and producers with wireless laptops and handheld digital cameras will file reports from battlefields and military installations. Cameras are at key locations for live feeds 24 hours a day. Interactive, 3-D maps will update troop movements, casualties and weapons used.

Wow, I can see all the nifty little web-based video, JavaScript and Flash animations that we'll be treated too.

Hey, I have a great idea. How about a script that allows you to click a button and display a picture and bio of your own dead Iraqi civilian. Every person who clicks gets a name and a face of a civilian casualty. That would impress me.

Although it should be obvious that I have the members of our armed forces best interest in mind (since i don't want them over there in the first place) since this war has begun I hope that they return home both safely and soon.

Posted by James at 4:58 PM

March 19, 2003

Buggery

- BBC News reports:European Union officials have launched an investigation after bugging devices were found at offices used by several delegations - including those of France, Germany and the UK. When we find out what country or agency is responsible for bugging France and Germany, does that mean we have a new axis - the Axis of Weevils?

Posted by James at 4:15 PM

Passion for Peace

- My father-in-law's PeacePassion blog contains his thoughts and links on the situation in which we now find ourselves.

Posted by James at 8:20 AM

Interruption

- Somehow I apparently disabled the subscription service temporarily. I've re-enabled it now. I swear I don't remember pushing that disable button. Darn poltergeist!

Posted by James at 8:11 AM

March 18, 2003

Anna Kournikova

- She's said to be one of the most downloaded women on the internet (photos, that is.) Now, the next time you see a picture of this youngster, John Ashcroft may be looking over your shoulder with interest.

Posted by James at 6:05 PM

Food That Will Haunt Your Mind

- Right out of the "What Were They Thinking?" file come Weight Watchers recipe cards, circa 1974. It's a recipie! It's a torture device. Face it folks, it's both.

Posted by James at 5:58 PM

War

- So, the air of inevitability that the administration has worked so hard to spread has permeated our skin. We're now at the point that I can practically hear people sighing around me, hoping the war would start so that it can just be gotten over with. Let's start this war, we're bored with it already. Next news story.

I think I'm going to be sick.

Posted by James at 4:06 AM

March 17, 2003

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

- EOM

Posted by James at 1:32 PM

Spring is here

- Yesterday it was positively sweltering compared to recent weather. This made for a beutiful day to be outside, but did make it a bit tougher for shose running the New Bedford Half Marathon. Maggie was among them. CONGRATS on finishing your second 1/2 marathon!

You can feel spring. Having the windows open in the house, the fresh air perfuming the office... coming home after the race to the house like that was very relaxing.

Unfortunately, I am indoors now. But I can see the pine trees right outside the window. I've got it wide open and I'm about to open the back door to the landing, to let the air flow through.

Posted by James at 1:19 PM

Peace Slipping Away

- Bush is going to address the nation tonight, embassies are closing, the government is recommending that inspectors leave Iraq and the networks are telling their reporters to leave Baghdad. I wonder what's up?We were at a peace vigil last night in Westport. There were 25-30 people there in front of the Quaker meeting holding candles, part of a larger vigil which took place all over the world.

Posted by James at 12:37 PM

March 15, 2003

Musical Antidote

- Just in case you were getting sick of news stories about pro-war songs, here's Salon.com Audio | The antiwar sampler - Anti-war music from John Mellencamp, The Beastie Boys, et al. Here's a John Mellencamp lyric snippet:

What is the thought process
To take a humans life
What would be the reason
To think that this is right
From heaven to Washington
From Jesus Christ to Washington
Maggie was involved with a peaceful peace demonstration today along the highway and was, along with her companions, treated to people hurling expletives from cars. Ah, the art of debate is alive and well among our citizenry! Thankfully, those people were an insignificant fraction of the passersby.

[Oops! It just came to me that the Salon article is premium content only available to subscribers. So, here are direct links to some of the artists with peace-related music]

Posted by James at 10:51 PM

War Roundup

- There are so many important stories flying by now about the war that I'm just going to point to them briefly in one post.

The forged nuclear documents story is heating up. This was the evidence cited by both Powell to the UN and Bush in the State of the Union. "Obvious forgery" is the term being used now.

Kerry is getting his shots in. "What I regret is that the United States of America, the strongest military power on the face of this planet, has not had diplomacy that matches it. In fact, it has had some of the weakest diplomacy that we have ever seen in the history of the conduct of this nation."

Is this war going to be good for the economy? Ask George Soros. He says "The deficit policy that we are now pursuing is a very dangerous one. Not in the near term -- because as long as the economy is languishing there is no negative effect on interest rates. But the moment the economy shows signs of life, interest rates would jump because of the budget deficit and choke off the recovery," Known for his financial acumen, Soros' comments echo sentiments I have heard elsewhere. What gets me is the title of this Reuter's story "Soros Predicts Brief War Rally." To more accurately reflect the story, it ought to say something like "Soros Predicts All-Too-Brief War Rally."

Last, but not least: you want a rebuttal to the hawks? You got it. This, brought to you by the New America Foundation, called by The Economist "The Brightest American Thinkers Under 40."

Posted by James at 5:10 PM

March 14, 2003

CALL TO PROTECT

- Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our society. Here's a small thing you might be able to do to help, which I only learned about recently.

This organization can allow you to help, if you've got cell phones you have replaced which ar eno longer useful to you. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.

CALL TO PROTECT

2555 Bishop Circle West

Dexter, MI 48130-1563

(888) 901-SAFE (7233)


This comes at an opportune time for me, as I have 2 phones languishing in the house.

Posted by James at 1:17 PM

Random Xanax of unKindness

- Whatever happened to doing a magic trick for a kid, or cooing at the kid, blowing in her ear, tickling her, making funny faces, doing a silly dance, giving her candy or other food, or, you know, any of those time-honored practices for distracting and occupying a child?

A former Northwest Airlines flight attendant was charged with assault for allegedly putting a prescription depressant in a toddler's apple juice to stop her crying on an international flight.

According to the New York Times story, the guy was also caught carrying a bunch of Xanax and Valium. If I were this child's parent, there would be fireworks.

Posted by James at 11:33 AM

March 13, 2003

New Tool: The Links Summary

- If you look over to the right, you'll see somehting new under the "tools" heading. "Links summary" opens up a new window that displays some of the most recent links in Aces Full Of Links. So if you know there was a link you were interested in, but don't want to slog through my text, check out the links summary because the link is probably there. Requires Javascript.

This feature currently only covers the latest links that are on my blog's front page, so after a week the links fall off the end and disappear into the archive.

Also under tools, "add PDA channel" for AvantGo users.

Posted by James at 1:04 PM

Got Yeti?

- YETI@Home

Posted by James at 12:58 PM

Up, up and away

- My daughter is learning "conflict resolution" in school. It's something they teach to give kids tools to deal with avoiding violent situations.

When you put something in a kid's head, it doesn't just sit there, they put things together on their own. We get
Kids Discover
, and a recent issue was about war. This prompted my wife to explain to her that we are in a situation that may lead to war today. My daughter's conclusion (in her words):

President Bush is "going up the conflict escalator." "At the top, people get hurt or sick." He needs to "calm himself down and try to solve the problem."

Posted by James at 11:55 AM

March 12, 2003

Two bits of humor

- First, this little link which looks like an error at first, but has to be read to be appreciated.

Next, this little checklist I found posted at EAForums:

Vietnam 2 Preflight check

  1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
  2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
  3. Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
  4. Unshakable faith in our superior technology? Check.
  5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
  8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
  9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
  10. Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
  11. Land war in Asia? Check.
  12. Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
  13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
  14. Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
  15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
  16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
  17. B-52 bombers? Check.
  18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
  19. In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
  20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
  21. Local experts ignored? Check.
  22. Local politicians ignored? Check.
  23. Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
  24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
  25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
  26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.
  27. Unpopular war? Check.
Vietnam 2, you are cleared to taxi

Posted by James at 9:31 PM

Frank Talk About the French

- Good for Barney Frank. In this New York Times story (registration may be required) the congressman gives us his view of this whole "Freedom Fries" ridiculousness.

"Making Congress look even sillier than it sometimes looks would not be high on my priority list," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts.

"There's a potential war going on. There's a lot of debate about is Congress being actively involved in foreign policy. It's bad enough not to be able to do anything, but I think self-caricature is a poor substitute for thoughtful discussion."

Right on, Mr. Frank. (For those who'd rather not register, Annanova is also covering the story.)

Papa Don't Preach

- Thanks to Ed for digging up the text to G.H.W. Bush's Tufts lecture.

Incidentally, the Madrid conference would never have happened if the international coalition that fought together in Desert Storm had acceded the U.N. mandate and gone on on its own if the United States had gone on on its own, had gone into Baghdad after Saddam and his forces had surrendered and agreed to disarm.
Papa Bush's observation applies, I think, even today. Going it (relatively) alone is going to set back peace in the middle east. This lecture, overall, is not critical of the president, but it does show there is a difference of approaches.

Posted by James at 1:30 PM

March 11, 2003

"I See Overly-Sentimental People..."

- Yeah, I always thought it was a little creepy that Billy's grandparents' ghosts were always hanging around the comic strip. (Note: The site hosting the animation I linked to above has a sucky layout, so you may need to scroll down to see the real animation. Don't be fooled if you see an ad that says "hit me")

Posted by James at 1:26 PM

Talk, Talk, Talk

- One of those wonderful visions of the future that you see in sci-fi is computers that talk to you, and that you can talk back to. We've had voice interfaces for a pretty long time now, very useful in things like wireless phones. However, as a past coworker of mine used to say "I wish my computer would shut up."

I was geekily setting up my home computer to use Star Trek LCARS themes which include computer sounds for all of the little things your Windows PC does. What I realized was, I didn't want my computer talking to me all the time. A beep or two suffices for communicating the most frequent things. A talking device is a huge annoyance, like having an idiot babbler in the office with you. So I replaced all the spoken-word sounds with Star Trek beeps of various kinds.

The meaning of each beep might not be immediately apparent to the new user, but people learn quickly, and will associate the sound with the meaning soon enough. A good interface does not mean the user doesn't have to learn anything.

Posted by James at 8:15 AM

March 10, 2003

Comments Improvement

- Okay, this is a learn-as-you go kinda thing. The new comment system didn't work with enough platforms to make me happy, but it turned out to be a problem with the default template. When I changed it to allow rich text, it also fixed the smiley problem. Comment away.

Posted by James at 11:21 AM

Humor for our time

- Just when I was thinking I needed some humor from someone in my generation, along comes John Cougarstein. Check out his MP3s on IUMA and his CD at CDStreet. The sample from his CD ("Smurfette") had me laughing out loud. I haven't gotten a chance to read through much of his written humor, but I bought the CD. Sure, his voice sucks. But I have to hear "Livin' Like Deepak Chopra."

Posted by James at 8:14 AM

March 9, 2003

Mastercard Moments

- I was in the supermarket today and I overheard two women talking about t heir children. One woman's son (middle-school age, I gathered) is going to be in a sporting event that will take place in a nearby professional sports arena. They were saying that this was great, and she must be happy, etc. Apparently her daughter was also going to be cheerleading the event.

Then the mother said, "This is something the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. It will be a real Mastercard moment."

Maybe I'm overly something-or-other, but that bummed me out. The important moments in your child's life are compared to an advertising campaign...? She tossed it off as a normal part of the conversation.

I suppose all I was seeing was two people simply talking in pop culture shorthand. This would be an indication of the effectiveness of Mastercard's campaign, that it has memed its way into our thoughts and language. On the other hand, the woman didn't stop to think that her son't life experiences are something real, wheras an ad campaign is manufactured emotional manipulation, and that the comparison brought her son down, rather than lifting him up.

It's the natural evolution of the language. But I wish something more valuable than ad campaigns were providing the linguistic fodder.

Posted by James at 9:39 PM

No Standing O? I Won't Go

- Apparently, Bush won't speak at the European Parliament unless he's guaranteed a standing ovation.
Anybody else catch this story? No wonder we're looking like a bunch of ya-hoos to the Europeans. Our leaders are afraid of dissent or challenge to their opinions. Holy moley. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong about this story.

Posted by James at 10:10 AM

March 8, 2003

Seized of the matter

- If you look at recent UN resolutions on Iraq, you'll see that they end with the phrase "Decides to remain seized of the matter." Wondering what, precisely, that means, I found the following article: What Is the United Nations Seizing, Anyway? By Brendan I. Koerner.
Perhaps another way to say it might be "We're handling it, for now."

Posted by James at 9:09 AM

Another 24 Hours

- Yahoo! News - Fox Renews '24. 'Nuff said.

Posted by James at 2:02 AM

A Little Past My Bedtime

-

It’s a fine line between “properly somber” and “it’s a little past my bedtime.”
The Liberal Oasis captured Bush's demeanor in Thursday night's press conference perfectly. What kind of drugs did they have Bush on? Yes - the Oasis goes on to give more substantive criticism, but let's talk about getting Bush some coffee. 8pm... my kids go to bed later than that.
<obligatory serious content> Press Conference Transcript </obligatory serious content>

Posted by James at 1:52 AM

New Comment System

- The new comment system is in place (powered by backBlog). We've lost the old comments (I've got many of them in a file here on my machine) but I'm hoping that the new system is more responsive. Let me know if it is.

Posted by James at 1:41 AM

More on Fluff

- I'm not going to suddenly go all fluffy on you, blog readers. But I am going to make an effort to make this blog more personal. Not less political, but a little more interesting on the personal side. More journal to balance out the stridency.

Part of the difficulty of disliking Bush's governing so much is the fact that there are so many things to complain about, you start to feel like every comment on the day is a shrill criticism. Your entire attitude becomes shrill.

The Utne Reader this month has an article about how the conservatives have been better at getting their message across than the left has. I think part of it has to do with always coming from a position of criticism. I am a critical person, critical of our government. But I really don't want to turn into the people I remember from the Clinton years - the knee-jerk Clintonhaters. That was just plain sad.

I don't know how I can change people's minds. But I do know that even people I disagree with have stories, and people like to tell their stories. Those stories are much more valuable than quoting what someone else wrote in an article, back and forth. That makes listening a valuable skill. You will have a hard time conveying your point of view if you don't know where your audience is coming from.

I'm making a concerted effort to listen. It is, in fact, much easier to disagree if you listen carefully, and find out where it is that you fundamentally differ from someone else.

Posted by James at 1:38 AM

Fluff

- I'm tired of posting war-related, Bush-related stuff on my blog. I wish I could stick to airy observations, fluff, poetry, amusing links and such. However, the fact that we're going to start a war is really bothering me, obviously. Simultaneously, the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam's regime bothers me. I'd feel a lot better about our aim to supposedly free Iraq if I thought we had tried some other way to help the people of Iraq, but I didn't see any actual diplomacy happen.

If war does happen, I really don't expect rebuilding Iraq will be easy, or cheap, or quick. I don't expect them to actually be allowed to form a popular Iraqi government any time soon, either.

Posted by James at 1:09 AM

oderint dum metuant

-

Kiesling later asks: "Has "oderint dum metuant" really become our motto?"

This phrase, now quoted regularly among the most militant denizens in the White House, means, "Let them hate us so long as they fear us." It was penned by Lucius Accius, the Roman poet (170 B.C.), and was said to be a favorite phrase of the emperor Caligula.

That's the passage that stood out the most when I read: Colin Powell Should Make An Honorable Exit.

Posted by James at 12:57 AM

March 7, 2003

New, Email subscription!

- Now you can subscribe to Aces Full of Links via email, so you don't miss a post! Check out the subscription form in the right column. Enter your email address, hit the button, and "Bloglet" does the rest. It'll mail you once a day with a summary of posts.

Posted by James at 1:46 PM

Ahhh - that's better!

- I like this setup much better. I may make some small changes, but this is the new, basic look for now. More room for content means less scrolling. Smaller font because, dammit, I'm not a senior citizen yet!

Posted by James at 1:33 PM

March 6, 2003

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

- I'm royally sick of the way my blog looks. It's part of why I am reluctant to blog lately - bloggerface shame. So I'm changing it. I'm also sick of how slowly it loads, which I believe is partly the fault of the comment system. So I may be switching it out very soon, which means old comments will be lost. Try not to give in to that feeling of unease.

Posted by James at 12:22 PM

There Have To Be Limits...

There Have To Be Limits... - I remember being puzzled back when Bush said "There ought to be limits to freedom". What limits? Which freedoms? Of course, he was talking about a specific website.

But some people have taken his idea and run with it. Yahoo! News - Mall Wants to Drop Peace T-Shirt Charges. Yes, the mall that booted a guy and his son for wearing peace-themed T-shirts (and had them arrested) is now sorry. Whoops! Imagine their confusion. "What? Peace is an OK thing now? Will someone please give me the playbook - I swear I heard the president say war was the way to go. C'mon folks! What happened to with us or against us!!!??"
Shocked that anyone would be shocked at their actions, the mall is now dropping charges as it tries to figure out what is best for commerce. The peace t-shirts are bad for duct tape sales, but national news coverage is worse for everything else.

Be careful - you don't want to be caught yelling "PEACE" in a crowded mall.

Posted by James at 8:38 AM

March 5, 2003

Selective Witnessing - Over and

Selective Witnessing - Over and over I've had conservative acquaintences tell me about Saddam Hussein's son in law - the one who escaped from Iraq and told us all about his weapons of mass destruction, but then returned to Iraq only to be killed.

For example: "Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N. Security Council claimed: "It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law."

Only, it turns out that Kamel was talking about weapons that Iraq had before 1991 - weapons our witness says Hussein secretly destroyed in order to avoid admitting they ever existed.

FAIR MEDIA ADVISORY: Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed

Selectively using the information from Kamel does not increase my confidence in this administration's strident claims that war is necessary. We keep being told that they can't tell us the whole story (which they imply would obviate war) but when the story starts coming out we see that knowing the whole story weakens their position.

Posted by James at 11:27 AM

March 3, 2003

We Spy - When reason

We Spy - When reason does not sell the war, it's time to resort to the trick bag. This was brought to my attention by a number of peopl eover the weekend (thanks, all). The Observer | International | Revealed: US dirty tricks to win vote on Iraq war

My children love the "Spy Kids" movie series. Is it possible that these DVDs are on Dubya's playlist, too?

Posted by James at 12:11 PM