January 28, 2003

State of the Union

My impressions as he goes along:

Tax cuts? Hey, bring 'em on. Although I still think the whole dividend tax cut is pretty much of a stretch. "Double taxation," he says. Um, no. That like saying when government taxes my income, and then taxes the income of the plumber I pay to fix my toilet, that his income is subject double taxation. It's just rhetoric, not reality. Furthermore, even though roughly half of all Americans own stock - or did before the panic sales of the last two years - few Americans derive a significant amount of income from stock dividends. Only those with very large investment portfolios would even notice such a tax cut. Make the death tax repeal permanent; cut the marriage penalty; hell, scrap the code and give us a national sales tax instead. But don't pretend that taxing dividend income is a serious drag on the economy.

"No one has ever been healed by a frivolous lawsuit." Well, actually, No one has ever been healed by any lawsuit that I can think of, certainly not an after-the-fact medical malpractice suit. Lawyers just sue... doctors heal.

"Protect infants at the hour of their birth..." I've seen the face of my unborn child, just 20 weeks old. I've seen and felt it kick in response to touch and sound. Once a pregnancy has advanced to the eighth month, can anyone but a real zealot deny that there's a real, living, human baby in there?

Emergency plan for AIDS relief: hey, isn't that compassionate and conservative?

"Arrested or otherwise dealt with...Al Qaeda leaders... [and they are] no longer a threat to America or its allies." That would be code for "rained death upon their heads from above."

"One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice." Great line, unless you're talking about Suleyman Al-Lindh's plea bargain or John Ashcroft's eavesdropping on the conversations of detainees with their lawyers.

"The ideology of power and domination has appeared again, and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror..." Microsoft has nukes? When did this happen? Send the inspectors into Redmond!

We're not looking to "follow a process," we're looking to "acheive a result." I think that just about sums up the rebuttal to France and Germany, wouldn't you agree? "The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others." Oh, and if France and Germany don't like it, we'll pause briefly to consider why we should care... and we'll decide that we don't care a bit.

"North Korea... throughout the 90's the United States relied on a negotiated framework to keep North Korea from developing nuclear weapons..." That's about as close as it comes to blaming Clinton for the foreign policy dangers we face today.

"No evidence that he has destroyed... [weapons of mass destruction.]" Interesting, and probably correct argument, shifting the burden on proof to Saddam Hussein to prove that he has disarmed, not on us to prove that he hasn't. No "Easter Egg hunt." I think he's doing a good job of listing the weapons we knew he once had and saying that we do not know where those weapons are now, making Iraq a plausibly greater danger than North Korea.

"Why" does Saddam Hussein pursue weapons of mass destruction? For intimidation, domination, or attack. He cannot be contained... we must remove him from power. "Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy and it is not an option."

"If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning." ....so all of you who derided the Axis of Evil comment last year, take that.

The U.S. will ask Security Council to convene on February 5th, and Sec. Powell will present our evidence at that time. in other words, we have a case to make, and we will make it. And then we will act, with or without the United Nations.

All told, a short, but effective message to the people of America and the world.

Wow, Nancy Pelosi is really bad in her interview on NBC. If she really thinks that "Pandora's box" is an effective rebuttal to the President's case for regime change in Iraq, expect Democratic numbers in the House to shrink even further in 2004.

UPDATE: Proofreading props once again to Scully.

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January 27, 2003

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Super Bowl Champions

I grew up in Tampa during its darkest pro football days. The words "Tampa Bay Buccaneers" and "Super Bowl Champions" in my mind go together like peanut butter and motor oil. (Yum!)

But it's happened. They not only won, they won HUGE. There's a lot I could say about this victory, but my brain is still refusing to process it.

I wonder if I'll have a chance to see the trophy next time I'm in Tampa.

Posted by wasylik at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2003

Wolverine Diversity

George Will does a fantastic takedown of the lie that racial admission preferences promote "diversity" in his column, "Wolverine Diversity."

However, the university says rewarding certain favored races and ethnic groups is just a means of promoting diversity. Because the university is an institution of higher learning, its focus is on minds. Therefore the "diversity" it wants -- the law school speaks of diversity of "perspective" -- is presumably diversity of thinking. Or, considering that applicants are young and intellectually unformed, perhaps just diversity of experiences and outlooks.

If diversity of outlook or perspective is the true goal, then surely the best way to achieve that goal is to find out what the applicant's outlook or perspective is (hey! Maybe you can ask them to write an essay?), rather than the current system, where having the right genetic traits gets you gobs more credit than a perfect score on the SAT. (20 points vs. 12 points)

By the way... what do you call someone with a 2.5 GPA, who got a 400 on the SAT, and wrote a crap essay, but is an underrrepresented minority, has a "socio-economic disadvantage," and lives in Michgan? You call that person a member of the incoming freshman class. (100 points)

What do you call an out-of state applicant with a 4.0 GPA and a perfect 1600 on the SAT, with the best essay the admissions committee has ever seen, and whose parents both went to Michigan (and maybe even met there or got married in the campus chapel) who happens to be white or Asian? You call that person a denizen of the dreaded Wait List. (97 points)

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Recount Needed

Abortion rights activists and the media commonly report that "Reversing Roe requires only one more anti-choice justice on the Supreme Court." Howard Bashman and readers of How Appealling debunk that myth, since the true count is closer to 6 -3 in favor of keeping the status quo:

Thus, the 5-4 vote that existed in 1992 in favor of retaining Roe v. Wade's central holding has since become a 6-3 vote. Justices Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer are the six, and Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas are the three.

Of course, as the advance of medical arts dial down the "viability" threshold, Roe and Casey may slowly become obsolete.

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What if Yahoo got into Weblogs?

Inluminent has another interesting idea (and by the way, if you don't yet know about Inluminent, add it to your regular reading list for week. You'll see.) about bringing weblogs to the masses: Get Yahoo involved.

Think about it. Just about everyone had a Yahoo id already. Yahoo provides free web space through Geocites. It would be trivial for them to gin up - or buy - a basic, novice-frendly content management system with pre-packaged templates.

Yahoo could tap into markets Blogspot might never reach. And weblogging would likely hit new depths of inanity.

Posted by wasylik at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Microsoft Considered Harmful

Yesterday I noticed a severe Internet slowdown. I checked my network's logs and noticed an unusual number of requests for port 1434, which would be hackers looking to exploit a known hole in Microsoft's MySQL server, which I don't run at home.

As Inluminent explains, this turned out to be a global attack that crippled Internet traffic over the last day or so.

I'm thinking that running a Microsoft server attached to the Internet may soon become a new flavor of "attractive nuisance" that server operators could be sued for. Well, maybe not, but if you have a chance to switch to Apache, please do.

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January 23, 2003

Sexist Medical School Yearbook

The Ratbastard found a vintage 1947 medical school yearbook, and scanned the pictures in.

My sister went to medical school and worked her ass off for four years, and continues to work her ass off in her residency. If a yearbook editor had treated her like this, he and I would have some harsh words to exchange.

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Graham Announcement Delayed By Leaky Valve

I had thought Bob Graham to be a strong contender for the White House in 2004. His impending heart surgery may knock him out of the running.

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January 21, 2003

How Many Republican Appointees?

Fellow blawger Kaimi Wenger notices an error at the Washington Post:

If Rehnquist retired, Bush would have the option of elevating a current member to chief justice while installing a new nominee as associate justice. In that case, officials said, he would most likely choose from the court's other four Republican appointees, O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas or Anthony M. Kennedy.
Let's see, that makes Stevens, Rehnquist, and the "other four Republican appointees." A total of six.

I guess Souter is much more "stealth" than anyone realized: the Post apparently forgot he exists!

Link from Howard Bashman.

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January 19, 2003

The Pirate Bowl

There are no old players in the NFL. There are young, vigorous players, and there are experienced, productive players. The Oakland Raiders have both, and that is why they are beating the Titans 41 - 24 as the two-minute warning closes in.

What a great game that is going to be - a high-scoring, high-powered offense against the number one defense in the league.

Posted by wasylik at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why Are These Guys On TV?

Dumbest thing I've ever heard a football commentator say:

And he threw a strike for the touchdown.

I'm not sure which CBS morontater said that but it was in reference to the Titan's first touchdown of the game. A football game. Duh.

Posted by wasylik at 07:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AFC Prediction

I'm expecting the Raiders to beat the Titans, by a somewhat respectable margin. It's an all-pirate Superbowl, coming up.

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All Those Haters Can Kiss My...

Robyn is another enthusiastic Bucs fan. In fact, the game seems to have knocked her socks... and some other garments... right off.

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Who's Your Chucky?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of only nine NFL teams (including four recent expansion teams) to have never made it to the Superbowl. Thanks to Coach Jon Gruden, that number has been reduced to eight.

I said it way back when:

With Gruden's track record of taking under-achieving players like Rich Gannon and squeezing out every last drop of potential, Jon Gruden is the right choice for a Bucs team that is a non-porous pass protection squad away from the Lombardi trophy.

But thank goodness I was wrong when I said this before Gruden's hiring: "It's going to be another long, frustrating year for Bucs fans." Not as bad as that, after all.

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Twinkie Killa

Warren Sapp has been killing some twinkies, all right: green and white twinkies. Check the site out before:

  1. It gets hit with a cease and desist, or
  2. embarassed Philly fans take it down after their season ends today.

Link from Mike. Also, check out the blog of another Buc fan.

UPDATE: Of course, Skarlet is a Bucs fan as well, since she, like me, grew up in the Bay Area.

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More Support for Less Reason

A little halftime diversion: Patrick reminds us that the American public was less supportive of intervention in Iraq in 1991 than it is for intervention today, when the case for intervention - Saddam's unprovoked aggression against Kuwait - was much more obvious in 1991. The anti-war effort, he reports, is clearly fading over time.

I think there's a big reason for that: anti-war sentiment in 1991 was driven in large part by the specter of Vietnam, the notion that we'd go in and get our backsides kicked and come crying home. Since then, the first President Bush waged a hugely successful military action in Iraq, Clinton got our boys killed in Somalia, and this President Bush eliminated the Taliban almost without breaking a sweat and with relatively few American casualties.

The American public has learned its lesson. America can and should win these types of conflicts at a relatively low cost so long as our Commander-in-Chief understands the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force.

Very few Americans today oppose the war in Iraq out of fear we might lose. Some oppose it because they oppose all war; some oppose it for fear of offending our allies; some oppose it for other reasons. But unlike 1991, there is almost no one who credibly claims to oppose a war in Iraq because they think Saddam will win it.

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Halftime Report

17 - 10 at the half, Bucs leading.


The offense is zipping right along, and the defense, after a shaky start, got into their groove and have been frustrating the Eagle's scoring hopes since the second play of the game.

Keep it up, boys.

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Go Bucs!

Looking forward to the NFC Championship today.

Go Bucs!

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January 17, 2003

Stroke of Genius

Den Beste yesterday argued that we're about to see a fundamental shift in the Iraq debate as Bush plays rope-a-dope with his critics:

I have a feeling it's about to happen again. There's an uncanny similarity between the kind of silence we're looking at now regarding beginning military operations in Iraq, and the same silence from the administration just before those two other cases. The opponents are heated white hot; they're tossing around all kinds of rhetorical arguments; and yet there still seems to be total determination and unshakeable will in the administration which hasn't been voiced.
And I think that sometime in the next three weeks Bush will make another of those speeches and change the political climate again. He will yet again make his critics look foolish. He will declare a policy, and explain it clearly, and afterwards we'll all look back and realize that he was yet again giving his critics plenty of rope to hang themselves.

I wonder if the warhead news will have any bearing on this. I am very curious about this year's State of the Union message now.

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January 15, 2003

We Have Preserved Steamboat Willie for Future Generations of Stockholders

You've already heard about the outcome of the Eldred case, right?

Good. I have little to add to the commentary that already saturates the Internet. I think Lessig makes a great policy argument, but I never quite bought the Constitutional argument all the way. Apparently, the Court didn't either. But those who chalk this up as the death of creativity are, I think, overrreacting. Soemtimes the most creative thinking comes as result of working within constraints.

Posted by wasylik at 11:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

President Graham?

Almost every single Democrat who has expressed an interest in running for President makes me giddy with delight at the thought of the drubbing they would receive at the hands of the current officeholder - not so much because I agree with our current President often, but because the Democratic Party is so deserving of another good drubbing. A bunch of liberal Senators and a governor from the state that elected Bernie Sanders statewide? Puh-lease. (Oh, yeah, and I forgot Al Sharpton. 'Cause he's got a strong chance.)

There's one that gives me pause, though, and that's Florida's senior Senator Bob Graham. He's got executive experience as a former two-term governor, foreign policy cred through his Senate committe activities, a moderate reputation, bulletproof party connections, a great fundraising network, and the State of Florida in his back pocket.

Let me say that again. Bob Graham has the State of Florida in his back pocket. I grew up in Florida in the shadow of Graham's political dominance. Bob Graham would embarass any other Democrat in a statewide contest for any office. I think he would also beat any Republican in a statewide contest for any office. His ability to pull the crucial swing state of Florida in a general election will convince many Democratic voters that Graham is The One in 2004.

The road to the nomination for Graham is clear, should he choose it. But can he win the general? Obviously, the state of national and world events will have a lot to do with that. But I look at one crucial factor that makes me wonder.

Many sitting Senators have won their party's nomination for President, but only two have won the office in the history of the United States: the scandal-ridden Warren G. Harding and the mythicized John F. Kennedy. (Also interesting, the last person to serve as Governor, Senator, and President was Lincoln's Vice-President, Andrew Johnson.) I don't know what it is about holding the office of Senator that weighs so heavily against winning the race for President, but it appears to be a genuine disadvantage. Perhaps some of Graham's attributes offset that disadvantage, but without knowing the nature of the obstacle it's hard to determine how to get around it.

I'll reserve for myself the tradional cowardly "barring the unforseen" that all political prognosticators love (because, after all, everything but our prediction is "unforseen,") but I think Bob Graham currently has the best chance of winning the Democratic nomination if he chooses to run, and the best chance of beating George W. Bush in 2004 - if only he can overcome that Sitting Senator Jinx.

Posted by wasylik at 11:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Filthy Diapers Lucre

What convenient timing: Buying For Baby, about what new parents need most.

I see an Amazon wishlist link in our future.

UPDATE: And item number one is a spell-check program for Daddy.

Posted by wasylik at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2003

Call Me...

Over the years, I've filled many roles and been known by many labels.

First, I was "son." Others first knew me as "cousin" or "nephew" or "grandson," and a few years later I added "brother" to my list of titles. As time passed, I accumulated more: student, slacker, friend, jerk, athlete, geek, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend. More recently I've added some grown-up names: Lawyer. Husband.

None of these has been as thrilling, as fulfilling, as satisfying, or as scary as the one I will take on sometime in the first week of June.


Posted by wasylik at 07:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2003

Cease and Desist Madness Hits Neoflux

Bret of Neoflux fame got a cease and desist letter.

Without saying more than we need to, Dineen and I read it and laughed.

This looks like another case of "lawyer needs primer on Internet." For example:

[W]e demand that you immediately... stop linking to [our] websites.

Oops. Sorry Chester, but that's something I like to call "without legal merit." But that just means it fits in nicely with the rest of the letter.

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January 10, 2003

Less Guns = More Crime Using Guns

Donny points to a new report from Britain's Home Office that crime with handguns has risen 46% last year, more than doubling since Britain banned handguns.

British officials were quick to blame the ease with which criminals could import guns from Virginia. No, not really... then they'd be as foolish as the folks running D.C.

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January 09, 2003

Nice Tits

Those Brits and their birdwatching: nice-tits.org

Link from Subaverage.

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I've been using Apple's new web browser, Safari for a couple of days now. It's still in beta, and some folks have been pointing out its flaws, both real and imagined.

Of course, it's still in beta, and one expects that there will be some bugs, and one expects that those bugs will be fixed, much like they did with Jaguar. The biggest complaint about Safari is that it forsakes the tabbed-browing model of Mozilla and Chimera for Apple's neotradition bushed-nickel sloppy windows everywhere. I don't think the "snapback" feature is really a great substitute fror the tabs, but I don't see Apple going with tabs. If they go tabs in Safari, they'll eventually see their utiltity for other apps, and have to re-think their interfaces for every iApp. I just don't see it happening.

Despite the lack of tabs, I think it's about time Apple came out with a browser of their own, especially one that starts out both lightweight and fast. I now have five different browsers installed on my iBook, and I'm just about ready to start deleting some of the others.

Posted by wasylik at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2003

Wide Right

Ohio State wins the national championship after Miami fails to score on its final overtime possession.

Missed field goal? Nope. But Miami QB Ken Dorsey failed to complete that last pass due to heavy pressure from... guess where...

...the wide right side of the line.

Buckeye fans, Florida State fans, anyone else who has reason to loathe Miami... don't ever forget where No. 6 came from to pull Dorsey down as he tried to make that last pass.

Wide and right.

By the way... someone please tell Buckeye fans not to flip, burn, or otherwise destroy anything in Columbus tonight.

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Crime Doesn't Pay

Pass interference in the end zone?


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January 03, 2003

Best. Championship. Ever.

A 17 - 17 tie? Sick!

Go Buckeyes! Win that overtime!

Posted by wasylik at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Finger on the Pulse

Tom Bridge, the man with his finger right on the pulse of the tech world.

Posted by wasylik at 11:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2003

Who Put Rat Poison in My Sugar Bowl?

I still consider it a successful season, despite everything. But good golly, I hope it gets better next season.

Posted by wasylik at 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 01, 2003

First Post!

Happy New Year, everyone.

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