November 26, 2006
But the New York Times has found a bit of bad new to share in the midst of it's glowing report on Black Friday. But it's OK, because it's bad news about Wal-Mart.
But Wal-Mart, by far the nation’s biggest discount chain, threw cold water on that legacy this weekend, estimating that sales in November — including Black Friday — fell 0.1 percent, below its expectations.At least they want you to think it's bad news. They want you to think that Wal-Mart's sales had actually gone down. Wal-mart missed its expectations by .1%. But they never tell you what those expectations were. Maybe Wal-Mart expected 6% growth and only got 5.9%. Granted .1% of Wal-Mart's sales represents a lot of money left on the table but would 5.9% growth from Wal-Mart really throw cold water on Black Friday. What if Wal-Mart expected to do 12% better than last year?
I don't know what Wal-Mart's expectations were - and neither does anyone reading this story. Nor does the Times mention that one reason Wal-Mart missed its number might be that much higher than expected traffic took their web site down for much of Friday. We just have to accept the Times' opinion that it was a cold shower on an otherwise hot sales weekend.
November 24, 2006
US scientists have identified a gene from wild wheat that could increase protein and micronutrient content of its cultivated cousin by 10 to 15 per cent, and could soon be used in food products with enhanced nutritional value.
“The reintroduction of the functional gene from the wild species into commercial wheat varieties has the potential to increase the nutritional value of a large proportion of our current cultivated wheat varieties," said lead researcher Professor Jorge Dubcovsky from the University of California, Davis.Now having discovered the value of this gene, scientists could have gone into the lab, waited for a lightening storm and whipped up a brand new variety of Frakenfood. Which the world would have resoundingly rejected.
So they have begun a program to breed new strains of wheat the old fashioned way.
Several breeding programs are reported to have already used the GPC-B1 gene to develop elite breeding lines, which are close to being released as new wheat varieties.
Such varieties are now being tested by breeders in multiple environments to determine if the introduction of GPC-B1 has any negative impacts on factors such as yield and quality, and the researchers hope that these will soon translate into food products with enhanced nutritional value.
And concerns associated with transgenic crops are not valid with the new wheat variety, because: “The resulting varieties are not genetically modified organisms, which will likely speed their commercial adoption,” said a statement from the University of California, Davis.Same end result, same varieties of wheat. Same enhanced nutritional benefit. One will be welcomed, the other would be shunned.
I'm looking forward to a good high protein Krispy Kreme though.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states (Not even close.)
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
November 21, 2006
It was a stupid and pointless exercise on Hannity's part because no Democratic member of the House was going to come even close to saying that.
Along the way, though Hannity's myopic focus seemed to prevent him noticing, the representatives I heard did manage to reveal something of what Pelosi's "most ethical Congress" might look like.
(As an aside, one of the representatives complained that Hannity was digging into the past to come up with skeletons in the Democratic closet and that if you added it the combined age of all the issues mentioned was about a hundred years. This is perhaps the stupidest argument I have ever heard. As if the combined age of several ethical lapses could somehow erase any individual case.)
What was striking is that the two Congressman I heard had essentially the same response to questions about the ethical lapses of Murtha, Hastings and William Jefferson. "They were never indicted. They were never convicted." And yes, one of these guys even put forth the distinction that despite being impeached by the house and convicted in the Senate on eight chareges and removed from the federal bench, Alcee Hastings had not been criminally convicted. Essentially they were saying is that the standard they are setting for the "most ethical Congress ever" is whatever they can get away with.
What these distinguished gentlemen failed to recognize, and Hannity obliviously failed to call them on (Note: I did not hear the entire show and am basing this on the striking similarity between the two interviews - and having heard Hannity before) is that violating ethics and being criminally prosecuted are two different standards.
November 20, 2006
Now I don't know the first thing about Zune, and it's safe to say that I probably never will. But I do know that iTunes DRM is as easily beaten as the French Army. Not that I would ever suggest you do anything of the sort, but if you were the sort of person who would do this sort of thing, this is what you do.
First make a playlist of songs you bought from iTunes.
Burn those songs to an audio CD.
Rip the songs from that CD back into iTunes as MP3 files.
Now I've read somewhere that if you do this, you might suffer some very minor quality degradation. However if you're a serious audiophile you're not spending a lot of time listening to music on your computer, and you already know that an iPod is not the be all and end all of sound quality.
That's what I read somewhere. Now you've read it here. What you do with the knowledge is up to you.
November 19, 2006
This November is already the wettest November in Seattle's history, after 11.64 inches of rain. With nearly two weeks remaining in what is historically the city's wettest month, November 2006 seems certain to become the single rainiest month on record. (emphasis added)Not once does the Post point out that Seattle was first settled in November of 1851. They display absolutely no curiosity about what rainfall might have been in the area in November of 1850 or 1750 or any random November in the previous several hundred million years. Nor do they seem willing to point out the reality of the "record" to their readers so that they might ask the question.
Better to report that the sky is falling.
November 15, 2006
by Terry Dillard of The Right Track
Well, the elections are over and I've heard everything from "It's a sure thing" to "No way it'll even make it out of committee now" regarding the FairTax.
One thing I do know -- never underestimate the power of a grassroots movement. Democrats were shown in 1994 not to take their power for granted, and Republicans had that same lesson hammered home to them a week ago. The American people have no hesitation whatsoever about "flushing the toilet" as I prefer to call it.
Whatever your political orientation, it's been amply proven by now that lower taxes produce a stronger economy -- if we can keep spending in check. Giving Americans the ability to choose exactly how much they pay in taxes via the FairTax is a win-win situation for individuals and our government.
I found an interesting blog article that managed to work the FairTax into a post on national security. From "Freedom Is Always the Right Answer", the post is titled "Defeating China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran in the Cold War of Terror". The post begins:
China and Russia are allied and using all the tools at their disposal, including supporting North Korea and Iran, and to a lessor extent Venezuela, to defeat us in a new Cold War of Terror. China and Russia have supplied weapons, diplomatic cover, and economic support to these rogue states to drain American resources, our respect in the international community, and generally create chaos. China is stealing our technological secrets through a coordinated program of traditional intelligence and computer infiltration. China and Russia are threatening our satellites. China constantly threatens our ally, Taiwan. We can use the lessons from the first Cold War to figure out how to win this new one.
The author postulates that winning the war against terror and those who sponsor it -- directly or indirectly, it would seem -- will require the same tactics used by JFK to get the missiles out of Cuba, and by Reagan to defeat the Soviet Union. Part of this, of course, is economic in nature. According to the author's theory:
Once we put China in this position, it won't allow North Korea to be the tail that wags the dog. China will be upset with the U.S., as will the rest of the world who will call us dangerous cowboys, like they did Reagan, but China's only good option would be to work for a nuclear free Korean peninsula. China would suffer the economic pain (no more Kentucky Fried Chicken) of losing the world's greatest consumer as a costumer, plus it would be in the untenable position of being at the mercy of the madman in North Korea. America could get China's support for regime change or some other policy to remove the nukes in North Korea.
America would also suffer economic pain (T-Shirt prices would rise) from these trade restrictions, but domestic policy would limit that pain, and turn it into an advantage. By adopting the FairTax, America would begin to return as a manufacturing juggernaut. Reducing government interference in the free market would assist this process. American products, no longer burdened by the income tax, would compete with Chinese made products on the world market, further enriching America and hurting China/NK. This American growth in manufacturing would drive prices lower to compensate for the price increases from restricted trade with China/NK. This would put pressure on China to democratize. [TD - emphasis added]
But aside from National Security, the FairTax is just a good idea. The Kodiak Daily Mirror came out in favor of it because it is grassroots in nature. You know, "We the people" kind of thinking. In "New Tax Act Gives Power to the People", the Daily Mirror gives its reasons for supporting the FairTax:
A proposed bill, The Fair Tax Act, would change the way our government collects our tax money. It sounds the death toll for the Internal Revenue Service, paycheck withholdings and tax returns. As the replacement, a national sales tax, designed to fund our government at its current rate, would replace our old system. It relieves the burden of an overly complicated tax code as special interests lobby for loopholes.
The national sales tax will be collected on all new goods and services and takes the place of our income withholdings. The system is blind to income levels, yet ensures the basic necessities of life are not taxed through a tax pre-bate system. This prevents the government from dictating what the basic necessities are and affords us the ability to make our own decisions. [TD - emphasis added]
How cool is that? What a novel idea! Letting us make our own decisions! I like it! The Daily Mirror finishes the article by referring to no less a document than our own Declaration of Independence:
As stated so eloquently in our Declaration of Independence, we hold the power, not the government or our elected officials. It is time for a real change offered by the Fair Tax Act to encourage economical growth and investment. It is time to do away with the burdensome taxation system that we detest and political officials use to gain votes.
All I can add to that is a hearty "Amen"!
The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.
Not the typical pseudo-politiczl apology in which a politician expresses regret that people were offended by what he said, or that he is sorry that his words were misunderstood. The man flat out apologized for what he said.
When talking about the distribution of federal money, Rangel said
"Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"Naturally, the people of Mississippi were not too pleased, and called on the Senator to issue an apology. He answered that call:
"There is no excuse for my having said that. I am fully aware that every American loves their respective state and city, and I'm afraid that my love and affection for New York got in the way of my common sense and judgment, and for that I sincerely apologize."No spin. No equivocation. Just I was wrong. I'm sorry. Well done, Senator. Well done.
November 12, 2006
My foil went by the unassuming screen name "ForConsciousness, In The Real World." He was his? first comment:
Don't you just love the arrogance of ignorance of the over-consumers? It's not about the efficiency of a particular ship, or a particular MP3 player, or even the latest Hummer you probably own... It's about total, overall consumption on the planet.
It's been estimated by people way smarter than both you or I that if everyone on this planet suddenly demanded to live at the standard of living you no doubt enjoy on a daily basis, we would need the entire resources of somewhere between 6 and 10 MORE planet Earths to keep us all alive. On that scale of environmental resource depletion, caused by MP3 players, electronic dinosaurs and cocktail shakers, an energy-efficient ship doesnt' mean shi*!
Hurrah, to you, too! In 30 years, when the petroleum resources are gone, and your daughter is a starving, formerly-wealthy, financial analyst, and mine knows how to grow her own food and fix a bio-diesel engine, we'll see who's calling whom a "dummy".Well I couldn't let something like that go unanswered. Well I could have, but I didn't want to. I, using my actual real name, commented:
I revel in the arrogance of the over consumers. I work very hard to be able consume what I want when I want. And I do so not not only without guilt but with pride.
And in 30 years while your daughter tries to subsist on what she can grow and struggles to keep the old bio-diesel clunking along, my children will enjoy the benefits of the new technologies and energy sources developed to keep the world moving if and when it runs out of oil.I didn't expect the consciousness of the world to let that go, and I was right.
To Stephen (and all the other arrogant over-consumers)...
The "technology" you hope will save you, will need to be "paid for" by one or two of those additional Earths I noted, unless you continue stealing ("borrowing"?) resources at such a rapid rate from those of lesser means on this planet to pay for that "technology". That is until the resources run so low they decide to rise up and teach your office-chair-bound hides a thing or two about equitable distribution of wealth and resources.
Trust me, the vaquero working his cattle in South America 14 hours a day (so you can have a cheap Big Mac), and the hand-digging miner in Africa, working in conditions that will kill him before he is 40, (so you can have cheap electronics), think they are "working very hard", too. But because of our Western world's "borrowing" of their resources without just compensation, they don't get to "consume what they want, when they want". At some point, though, it will no longer be about money, but be about food, or water, or medicine, for that cowboy or miner's children. Then you will have a real fight on your slovenly, wasteful, hands.
How self-centered and impudent can you (and those like you) be?! No wonder the world despises Americans like they do...I just love it when people try to insult me. Especially when they try to do it by using things I consider a value as a smear. It makes me smile. It makes me laugh. It makes me reply:
And without the demand of us self-centered, impudent and hated consumers, where would the market be for the beef and raw materials?
The western world does not borrow resources. It pays for them. and where would the rest of the world be without that trade.
And if an when the time comes that I have a fight on my slovenly hands, then I will fight to defend the life that I have made. And I will probably be better armed.The thread sat idle for several days with no sign of consciousness. Alas comments have now been closed. Perhaps one day soon the consciousness of the real world will Google the MS Emma Maersk, find this post, and the debate can continue.
I have finally found the words to express the point I was trying to make. My thanks the the author for writing them.
The worry is that shuttle computers aren't designed to make the change from the 365th day of the old year to the first day of the new year while in flight. NASA has never had a shuttle in space Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.
"We've just never had the computers up and going when we've transitioned from one year to another,"said Discovery astronaut Joan Higginbotham."We're not really sure how they're going to operate."Now not only am I not a rocket scientist, I'm not a computer scientist either, but shouldn't it be really easy to test this? I mean couldn't they just fire up the on-board computers and reset the date to December 31 and the time to 11:50 p.m. then sit back and wait 10 minutes to see what happens?
McCain says he has not made a decision to run and will not do so until after the new year. Which means he is running, but not willing to say so yet.
I suppose the only thing better than having him drop out will be watching him go down in flames.
Wal-Mart, already the scourge of the left, is bringing back Christmas.
“I think we learned a lesson last year,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said. “We listened to our customers. There’s a call to return to a core Merry Christmas message. We’re proud to say Christmas is back at Wal-Mart this year.”The truth is, I don't think anyone was ever really fooled by "Happy Holidays." If someone said that to you in mid-December you knew what they meant. You appreciated the sentiment. You bristled at the ruse.
I'm glad to see that Wal-Mart got the message.
November 08, 2006
The election is over at last. We get at least a six month respite from active campaigning before the 2008 Presidential campaigns get into full swing. Of course that entire six months will be spent dissecting and analyzing every detail of the election we just had.
But the truth is probably a lot simpler than all of the analysis will lead you to believe. The sad truth is that a good deal of the voting public was disappointed in the results of 6 years of Republican majority. the Democrats, of course virulently hated every moment of it, and conservatives and moderates had no trouble finding things to be upset about. Be it rampant spending, corruption, the war in Iraq, weakness on immigration, or general weakness of the GOP Congressional Leadership, there was something to bother everyone.
So the system did what is was supposed to do. Booted out the party that was the the problem and replaced them with the other guys. The downside is that the other guys are no better. They think the GOP didn't spend enough, their policies toward Iraq are equally bad, they are just as corrupt, just as weak on immigration, and their leadership will likely prove to be joke.
There is no real choice between the two parties. All we seem to have done is switch from the right shoe to the left one. But we are still walking in the same direction.
And this just in: In a move no doubt designed to pre-empt an inevitable Democratic Party congressional issue, President Bush has announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, despite repeated assertions of his undying support for Rummy. Let the cutting and running begin.
November 06, 2006
November 05, 2006
It cannot be confirmed if members of the Board of Directors of Diebold Inc. will be accompanying the Vice President on the outing.
How about the New York Marathon?
How about the New York Marathon in under 3 hours?
November 04, 2006
1) My ex is:
I've been happily married for 12 and half years. No one else before that means enough to qualify as an ex anymore.
2) I am listening to:
Have a Cigar from the album "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd
3) Maybe I should:
get to work on cleaning the house instead of doing this.
4) I love:
too many things to list.
5) My best friend:
My wife. A bit corny I know - but it's true.
6) I don’t understand:
why so may people feel they are entitled to any portion of what anyone else earns.
7) I lose:
anything I set down.
8) People say:
I am a saint because of everything I do around the house. They're wrong.
9) The meaning of my screen name is:
I don't really use a screen name. The name of this blog is the name of column I wrote for my college newspaper. That name was a prinatable alternative to "Cut the Shit."
10) Love is:
11) Somewhere, someone is:
sailing - and I envy them.
12) I will always:
do what I said I will do.
13) Forever seems:
to happen every day.
14) I never want to:
stop looking forward.
15) My cell phone is:
an annoying piece of electronic crap that I can't live without.
16) When I wake in the morning:
I clean all the overnight spam out of my inbox, check the headlines, read the Bleat.
17) I get annoyed when:
I forget that so many of the things that annoy me aren't worth the energy.
18) Parties are:
great fun until it's time to clean up.
19) My dogs are:
English Springer Spaniel, Sir Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua
20) Kisses are the worst when:
they are routine and empty of passion.
21) Today I did:
dishes, laundry, took my daughter to theatre class, took the kids to lunch, took the kids to Blockbuster, tried to ignore my head cold.
22) Tonight I will:
go grocery shopping at about 10:00 when the store is empty. I will buy myself a pint of Cherry Garcia.
23) Tomorrow I will be:
doing more laundry, vacuuming, maybe hanging curtains.
24) I really want:
to go sailing.
November 01, 2006
In a written statement Kerry said
"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended," he said in a written statement.
"As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: My poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and [was] never intended to refer to any troop," he said.So it is somehow still not his fault. He admits he told the joke poorly, but the fault still lies with those who only responded to the words they heard they spoken and not to the words he was allegedly supposed to say.
I personally don't buy the bungled joke line. Kerry was not speaking like a man telling a joke. Deadpan comedian Steven Wright is more animated when telling a joke.
This apology is a BS excuse wrapped in spin. It's very Democratic. It's not good enough.
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