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Thursday, June 19, 2003

Gone until Tuesday...
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ?

We've all heard the recent news reports, but Mark Steyn offers his first-hand analysis of the situation. An excerpt:

"I went to quite a lot of effort to look for complete security breakdowns, miserable lives and total lack of basic services, but I couldn't find them in Tikrit or Rutba, Kirkuk or Ramadi, Samarra or even Fallujah, where they've had one or two little local difficulties but nothing like the widespread civic collapse Mr Day confidently asserts."

Of course he doesn't mention Baghdad, where most of the problems seem to be concentrated. To get a first-hand account of what life in Baghdad is like right now, check out these two weblogs, both written by Baghdad residents.

Where is Raed?

G. in Baghdad
LIBERAL CONUNDRUM

My votes used to go to Democrats, but the party is in big trouble, I think. George Will explains why.

"The liberals' conundrum is condign punishment for the discordance between the way they talk and the way they live."

Um, I think I know what that means, and I agree.
BEAT INSPIRATION, FISHING AND HIKING

Good travel article in NYT about Ross Lake and the North Cascades.

"Just 130 miles from Seattle, the lake is touched by only one public road - a dirt one, at the Canadian end. To the west and south lie the more than 300 glaciers of toothy North Cascades National Park. To the east lynx and gray wolf prowl the Pasayten Wilderness, nearly the size of Rhode Island. Buffering the lake is its own national recreation area, 117,000 acres large."
PEARL JAM ON NPR THIS MORNING

I think I missed the radio piece this morning, but the NPR site has some Pearl Jam goodies if you're interested.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

ONE TIME AT BAND, ER, NUDIST CAMP...

Nudist summer camps for kids? This seems wrong on so many different levels. Am I missing something?

(via BuzzMachine)
THEY LIKE HOMER, BUT THEY HATE THE REST OF US

A recent survey by BBC News handed the title of "Greatest American" of all time to Homer Simpson. The survey was part of a program titled "What The World Thinks Of America". One of the more revealing portions of the program was the collection of comments about America from respondents around the world. You can read them all here. Highlights include:

"I certainly do not envy Americans. I mean who would like to be that fat!" So deep, so thoughtful.

"What strikes me is how the most powerful country in the world, with all its resources and wealth manages to breed such an ignorant people. They know very little about the world beyond their shores, despite the fact that their collective heritage is derived from all over the world. Power breeds arrogance no doubt. Yet arrogance combined with ignorance is fatal." Hhhmmm, fat and ignorant. I see a trend emerging...

And yet, and yet, who do they vote as the Greatest American?

"While the Americans will invariably [be] accused by many of being a bunch of TV watching dimwits and decrying cultural imperialism, the world votes Homer Simpson - a cultural export celebrating those very qualities -the greatest American. Irony and contradiction on too many levels to get into here."

Couldn't have said it better myself. It's worth reading them all. They make you want to either, a) hang your head in shame, or b) smash your computer into tiny little pieces. I would choose b), but I have to get back to work (no really, I do).
SEN. MCCAIN ON IRAQ/WMD

Senator John McCain, in a column in last Sunday's WaPo, sums up the situation nicely. I couldn't agree more.

(via The Command Post)
RESEARCHER LINKS FOOD PRICES, OBESITY

Another article. Makes sense to me. Why do you think Taco Bell is so popular; because of its delectible vittles? No. Because you can stuff yourself for $2.
MAJOR FIRMS OPEN DRIVE TO REDUCE OBESITY

Here you go Julie.
REPRIEVE?

The Sopranos will be back for a 6th season. Season 5, which starts next fall, was assumed to be its last. I hope Furio comes back, too. I also read somewhere that they are planning on doing big-screen movies, a la Star Trek, when the TV version is over, so don't expect any grande finale that ends up with Tony getting whacked, or his NJ empire destroyed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

THE DA VINCI CODE

Dan Brown's novel, "The Da Vinci Code" was a great read. It's a murder mystery involving cryptology, art history and religous sects. He puts forth a very controversial history of early religion and how many of its original, cherished traditions have been tweaked or eliminated. What I didn't realize when I read the book is that it is based on historical fact. Really? Jesus was married to, and had a child with, Mary Magdalen? Apparently there is a detailed bibilography at his official site. I'll have to check it out.

Update: Try to solve the Code yourself. Time to dust off the Sherlock Holmes hat.
STRYKER BRIGADE

You asked for it. Here are some links:

Stryker Brigade Combat Team Homepage

Stryker vehicle history

Stryker brochure

More links at these pages.

Update: Links to news articles mentioning the Stryker Brigade:

Army chief starts shift away from tanks as he remakes forces

Stryker completes certification exercise

Army's new fighting vehicles moves from drawing board to battlefield


FRENCH KISS

Apparently France is starting to take the American backlash seriously. The number of American tourists visiting France has dropped 25% in the past year, with the number one reason cited being France's position on Iraq. "Will the French smile if doing so will bring back the Americans? They might, since this is not just a cultural issue, but also an economic one. The French economy has already lost nearly $1 billion this year, money un-spent by Americans in France." Mon dieu! (via USS Clueless)

I think Groundskeeper Willie summed up American sentiment quite nicely when he referred to the French as, "cheese-eatin' surrender-monkeys."

Maybe Willie should get together w/ the guy in Georgia we saw whose bumper sticker opined, "F**k France"?
DOGGIE LOJACK?

This is kind of cool. A new way to track your lost dog.
FAIR, BALANCED, WHINY?

There are plenty of morons on the right as well, here's one example. Here's another. Windbags.
WHITE RIVER VS. THE GORGE

Wonder how the new White River Amphitheatre compares to the Gorge? Here's the scoop.
The Washington Post tries to set the record straight about what really happened to Pvt. Jessica Lynch. Interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2003

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Apparently Hillary & Bill forgot Chelsea at the Kremlin on a trip to Moscow in 1994. They didn't even realize it until they got to the airport. Maybe they should adopt Bush's policy of, "Leave No Child Behind."
In case you need another reason NOT to kiss prairie dogs and large Gambian rats, read this.
NATURE VS. NURTURE

I used to think it was about 90% Nature, 10% Nurture. I'm probably at 60/40 now. There's a new book that sheds some light on the argument, and it's been reviewed by the LA Times.
Two great blogs from soldiers still in Iraq & Kuwait: Lt. Smash; and, A Minute Longer. I especially liked this recent post from Lt. Smash.
Confriming what we all knew, Homer Simpson has been voted the Greatest American ever (via BuzzMachine). Coming in a very distant second was Honest Abe. Doh!
Yesterday in Fremont activists promoted the establishment of nudist beaches in Seattle. What's more appealing than the thought of hairy, pasty hippies nude? All of this is a warm-up for the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade this weekend. Glad I'll be gone.
Good roundup of Iraq/War on Terrorism links over at The Winds of Change.
Lileks, worth a read every day.
SMOKING GUN?

Australian PM confirms that at least one of the three trailers dicovered in Iraq was a mobile production facility for WMD (via The Command Post).

"I had some investigations made through the Office of National Assessments and I have been informed as follows: that United States and United Kingdom intelligence agencies have concluded that at least one of the three vehicle trailers found in Iraq is a mobile production, biological weapons production facility," Mr Howard said.

Still think Bush lied?

Question. Aren't those calling Bush a liar b/c we haven't found massive caches of WMD in the two months since the end of the war the same people that were willing to let the U.N. inspectors spend months, if not years, searching for them? Why the double-standard?
Re-elected last November, California's Governor, Democrat Gray Davis, could be recalled and kicked out of office. A recall initiative, funded by a Republican Congressman, has almost enough signatures to be placed on the ballot next November. Guess who might step in and run if it happens? The Terminator.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

TRIVIA!

Lincoln trivia in honor of Springfield, IL. Why did Honest Abe grow a beard? The answer is here.
Take it easy on Willie Nelson, he's a legend. He's also a runner, which isn't too bad for a 70 year old. He's even got his own race. Pretty surprising given his history. When his house was burning down Willie took one prized posession with him, his bag of dope.
Rising white-collar unemployment is the downside of increasing productivity in the workplace. Apparently the white-collar workplace is undergoing a transformation similar to that of blue-collar industries in the late-eighties; jobs are moving overseas. The trend is expected to continue.

"In the next 15 years Forrester Research predicts that 3.3 million service jobs will move to countries like India, Russia, China, and the Philippines, with the IT sector leading the way. The financial services industry is expected to be another major job exporter, according to consulting firm A.T. Kearney, shifting more than 500,000 jobs, or 8% of its U.S. workforce, abroad by 2008."

Are your taxes being prepared by an accountant in India? Possibly.

(via Instapundit)
A local Masters runner is trying to become the first person over 40 to run a sub 4:00 minute mile. He's getting very close.
A good article to read on Dad's Day.
Interesting article in the New York Times Magazine (registration required) about the current fight between self-described "liberal" Nantucket residents and a company trying to develop an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. They claim it will be an eye sore that will lower property values, among other things. I'm not sure I'd want one in my backyard either, but the article exposes the opposition's hypocrisy.

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offered his name and voice to the struggle, despite the fact that the Natural Resources Defense Council, the environmental organization for which he is a senior attorney, is a strong advocate of offshore wind development."

This local issue raises an important question we'll all have to answer sooner or later. What price are we willing to pay to help the environment? The author notes:

"The wind supporters at least agree with Yearley on one point: the struggle is ultimately about costs -- it is about the costs of scattering turbines along ridgelines and sounds versus the costs of not doing so. To them, the national illusion that you can have electricity, clean air, a stable climate and independence from foreign oil without paying a steep price is ludicrous."

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