Friday, October 07, 2005


I've been watching season 1 of Lost. It's excellent. Got get it and watch it.

Nobel Peace Prize, A Leftist Award?

In a comment to an earlier post Travis opined:

The Nobel Peace Prize has been a left-wing award for decades now.

Now I'm never quite clear on what Travis means when he calls things "left-wing", so I decided to look up the last 20-30 years of NPP winners and see if I could winkle out a definition based on Travis' assertion.

2005: Mohamed ElBaradei : "...efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way": No nuclear WMD is, I guess, something only the left likes (does that mean the Right is pro-nuclear WMD?). I thought the left didn't like nuclear power, so I'm confused.

2004:Wangari Muta Maathai : "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace". Wanting to develop democracy is a left-only attribute. Got it Travis.

2003: Shirin Ebadi : "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children." The Left favors womens voting rights, the RIght must therefore be against them? The right is for repealing the 19th Amendment. Got it.

2002: Jimmy Carter : Point to Travis

2001: Kofi Annan : "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world. While I know the Right lothes both the UN and KA, it doesn't follow that the Left must love him. Regardless, another point to Travis.

2000: Kim Dae-jung: "for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular": Trying to end the tyranny of one of the "Axis of Evil" nations is a Leftist thing?? Okay, so far we have democracy and ending tyrrany in the Leftist column.

1999: Médecins Sans Frontières : "in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents": Because Ayn Rand would have called this kind of compassion weak. I'll accept that compassion is an attribute of the Left.

1998: John Hume , 1/2 of the prize: "for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland". Again ending war is a leftist thing. I'm starting to see the pattern. As a point to Travis' argument though, one of the winners does have the words "Social Democratic and Labour Party " in his title.

1997: International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) : "for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines": The Left is against landmines leftover from wars. Does that mean the Right is in favor of them? No clearity here.

1996: Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, José Ramos-Horta: "for their work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor". More war-ending do-gooders.

1995: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs,Joseph Rotblat: "for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms". Again, this establishes that the Left would be anti-nuke WMD in Travis interpretation.

1994: Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin: "for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East". Yes, Rabin is a Leftist.

1993: Nelson Mandela, Frederik Willem de Klerk: "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa". More peacenik do-gooders. I'm starting to see the pattern.

1992: Rigoberta Menchú Tum : "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples". Social Justice??? Sounds Leftish to me.

1991: Aung San Suu Kyi : "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights". Non-violent struggle is obviously a Left-only trait.

1990: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev: "for his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community" Communist!!! Wait didn't Reagan.... ???

1989: The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) : Anti-Catholic do gooder.

1988: United Nations Peacekeeping Forces : Because only the Left stands for Peace.

1987: Oscar Arias Sánchez :"for his work for peace in Central America, efforts which led to the accord signed in Guatemala on August 7 this year": Again, peace making, do -gooder.

1986: Elie Wiesel : All your jews are belong to us.

So, if I take Travis at his literal word, the Left stands for democracy, peace making, the enfranchisement of minorities and generally raising the world to a more coopertive place, while eliminating the proliferation of nuclear weapons to thrid world countries.

Got it.

I can live with that.

Our Karl Rove

I was setting up some RSS feeds over at and was going through the latest dish from Wonkette (more uses of the word "penis" than 3 gay pride parades or a Bob Dole ad). She has a link to a site called Our Karl Rove, If Karl Rove was a Democrat, This is What He'd Say, and took a look.

It's advice worth listening to if I were the Dems. Solid block-and-tackle strategy from a marketing, brand-management POV. And let's face it, that's what Karl does, GOP Brand Management.

At least that's what he does now. After the indictments, who knows.

Geoff Was Right

Geoff often complains that I only blog abou thim when it makes him look foolish or silly. That's not my intent, but I think that might be somewhat true becuase he's often hilarious under pressure.

So in the spirit of Fair and Balanced I want to point out that he told me to buy some AOL stock thinking that this would be true. And it looks like he's right!

The world's largest software maker Microsoft (Quote, Chart) and media titan Time Warner (Quote, Chart) are exploring the possibility of merging the MSN Internet portal with the America Online unit of Time Warner, according to a source familiar with the talks.

Redmond, which is said to have initiated the talks earlier this year, is interested in buying a big stake of the struggling online business, possibly leaving the two companies equal partners in a venture that would make for the world's largest Internet company.

However, they appear to be discussing numerous possibilities, including combining their respective Internet search businesses, instant messaging and online advertising.


Asynchronous JavaScript Technology and XML (AJAX). Very cool technology (in MSFT we call out supporting product ATLAS) being used here at

One cool bit is that the windows are dockable.

Best Thinking on Harriet

Volokh has the best thinking so far on Harriet Miers. Even I was a little taken aback by her answer to a seemingly softball question.

Qualified or not, she needs presentation training.

Don't forget to scroll down and look at the other links

Earl Warren Burger Is Miers' Favorite Justice?--
quotes from the Washington Post on Harriet Miers' favorite Justice:

In an initial chat with Miers, according to several people with knowledge of the exchange, Leahy asked her to name her favorite Supreme Court justices. Miers responded with "Warren" — which led Leahy to ask her whether she meant former Chief Justice Earl Warren, a liberal icon, or former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative who voted for Roe v. Wade. Miers said she meant Warren Burger, the sources said.

I find this story disturbing on many levels. Perhaps Miers couldn't think of anyone appropriate off the top of her head and thought that Leahy would like it if she said Earl Warren, but then caught herself when she realized that (rightly or wrongly) he was the poster boy for judicial activism. It would be odd to refer to Chief Justice Burger simply as "Warren." So perhaps the question was too difficult for her to answer without stumbling (of course, we all stumble in answering questions some time).

Living Well is the Best Revenge

Mohamed ElBaradei, the man who called bullshit on the Bush Adminitration's WMD line has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr. ElBaradei, 63, has championed the peaceful use of nuclear energy while emphasizing quiet diplomacy in trying to dissuade countries from using the technology to develop weapons. He has been at the center of non-proliferation crises involving all three states that President Bush once labeled the axis of evil, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran and North Korea.
He faced intense pressure from Washington in the days before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, demanding more time for weapons inspectors to search the country for weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons were never found.


All is Calm, Keep Doing What You're Doing...

I had a unique experience at the Paris casino the other day. During a break at the Reuter's conference, I hit the tables for about a half an hour. I was doing well but also checking my watch to see when I had to be back into the next session. While I was at the table, something seemed off and gradually I became aware that the fire alarm was going off.

Now, in normal circumstances it's almost impossible to ignore a fire alarm. When I was at CertCo, the building had an alarm so loud and annoying, it cut through your thoughts like a serrated knife. It was impossible to ignore it for more than a few minutes before fleeing the building or going insane. A casino floor is a little different and already has a lot of flashing lights and noise, so it took a while for people to figure this out. It was also, I think, the least intrusive alarm I've ever heard. Quiet, almost like background music or your conscience ("You should probably flee for life... something is wrong... the building is on..hey! Don't split 7's against a 8, are you nuts?? oh, flee the building... idiot..."..). A few minutes later, as people began to notice the well-synchronized strobes, a recorded voice came over the loudspeaker, again just above the din of slot machines, gamblers and prostitutes. It said:
"The Fire Alarm has gone off. The situation is under control. We will advise you if you have to leave the building. The situation is under control. DO not panic. Do not flee the building."

It all but said, "what ever happens, don't stop gambling"

and no one did.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back from Vegas

I'm heading to bed after being up for 72 hours at the Reuter's Development conference in Vegas. I was one of the keynote speakers, talking mostly about WCF, Vista and Enterprise Service Bus architecture (I'm the architect for the ESB servicing the SWIFT payments network).
Tired, cranky and full of interesting storys I'll add tomorrow.

I also managed to produce a draft of some new art this afternoon when I was supposed to be napping. The working title is Grass. Constructive comments welcome.

Lots of updates tomorrow, I swear, including a story about what happens when a fire starts in a casino when you're on the floor at the blackjack table 150% ahead.

A Pan Flute Flow Chart

How to make a rational decision involving the Pan Flute.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Maybe because I don't read redStates that often (or little green footballs or instapundit or most of the Right feel-good space. I do read National Review and Weekly Standard sicne the writing and insight are a little better) I don't have a feel for how they normally go. Reading it this morning, I detect a familair tone, although it's one I haven't heard in a long while.

They sound very much like the Dems did on a cold Novemeber evening in 1994 when they began to realize that 40 years of corrupt hegemony was ... over? Naw.... it couldn't be. Things would be okay in '96. This is normal and we'll fix it in 2 years. etc. etc.

Don't get me wrong, 12 years later the Dems are still wandering lost in the desert, and the GOP pulled a magnificent plan together in '94 which isn't the case here.
Still, the tone is the same.
I'm wondering if "the base" has cracked, or at least if the evangeligicals are going to pout for a few elections. Or, if like many an abused spouse, they will cover their bruses, but on a smile and go back because "there isn't any where else to go".

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Soul of Reason

Here's a great quote:

Fact is, we need a new Supreme Court justice, and Bush, as president gets to nominate. The Senate, run by Republicans, gets to confirm. That's a perk of winning elections, and [Dems could ] filibuster, but really, it was in Bush's interest, just like Clinton's, to find a safe candidate. Reid offered up Miers, Bush agreed.

Oh, so genteel! And who is this Socrates? This Thalia inspired sage?

You've probably already guessed.

My Prediction on Harriet

I just spent a bit of time reading through the conservative blogosphere on Harriet. My Prediction:

1) The Beleivers will believe. If they still beleive that there were WMDs, they will believe Harriet is a "stealth pick", and sing themselves to sleep at night with it.

2) The Loose Teeth will fall out. Many will see this for what it is; Bush rewarding a loyal follower. But the fact that he's doing it with a SC Nomination is just too much. They will recognize that W often makes choices from the gut and, while sometimes admirable and even sometimes correct, it's not a good, long term method for governing. They will start to walk away from the GOP, endangering the '06 elections. There will be a scramble but not to worry, the Dems will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again and the balance of power will not shift much.

3) The Dems will have some fun with this. Why not? They've been sucking the wrong end of the septic hose for 8 years now, they deserve a little fun.

4) Baring major revelations (drug use, cancer, presbiterianism) Harriet will get to sit in the chair for awhile.

5) Surprise, bonus prediction: Harriet will serve less than 5 years. Maybe less than 3.

A Short, Sharp Shock to the System

An interesting comment over at Red States. I got fed up over there a while back, but thought I'd dip back in today. The context is, of course, Harriet, and the idea that dems and GOPers will come together to oppose her.

You are hoping for a coalition to ensure that qualified folks are put in important positions instead of political cronies?

Where have you been? The viscious polarization that has occurred since 00 in this country has been, IMHO, deliberately engineered to insure that such coalitions can not form as check on the power of a runaway government. They've got us too busy hating each other and being sure that nothing that the other side says or does is ever worthy of support, to even question what they are doing. And anyone who has tried to sound the warning bell or imply that the Emperor has no clothes is branded a RINO or a DINO or a traitor depending on which side you are on. Politics is now more about deriding the other side, and defending your own guy no matter what, than putting forth sound policy arguments or actually governing.

We'll Get Right On That, Sir!

How dare they!

Harriet Miers

Send by me to Andrew Sullivan today:

She's an unmarried woman of a certain age, who was a staff secretary and got promoted to chief of staff.

Bush nominated
Miss Jane for the Supreme Court????

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Best Onion One-Shot

I was flipping through a book of collected Onion pages and came across this one-shot in the corner:

Like Big Boxes of Shit in Your House?
Get a Cat!

Drive-by Memeing

I've been Meme-ed. Travis has sent along his music meme, and I've decided to both answer and pass it along to one or two others.

1. How much music do I have?

I dumped every CD I own into the server at home and rip a copy of every CD I buy. So far I have 4220 songs in the Jukebox for a total of 12.4Gig. Assume 8 songs/CD and that's ~528 CDs. Given that I am largely non-musical, I figure that's a lot.

2. What was the last CD I bought?

I bought a set of songs and guitar solos by Tupahn, an itinerant troubadour I've heard in a few places.

3. What am I listening to right now?

PNN radio webcast. They're having a "70's Flashback". I'm generally listening to something I pick up on live365 where I bought a VIP membership a few years back.

4. Name five songs that mean a lot to me.

This is a tough call for me. I hear little snippets of music all the time, over and over, so almost any piece of music can help me recall just about any life-event. Narrowing it down to 5 is very tough, but here are my choices

The South Side of the Sky - Yes. I don't know why, I just love this song. It does a great job of putting the right visuals in my head when I hear it and I can really imagine myself lost in the mountains, freezing to death. I have been known to replay this song for hours.

Papa was a Rolling Stone - Tempations. I grew up in Detroit so the surprise is not that this is here, the surprise is that all my choices aren't Motown songs. I heard this song a lot and it took me a while to understand what it was really about, and when I did, I realized it was trying to tell me something.

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When I was working on my fractal turbulence paper in grad school, I would sit up in my room and listen to Mozart over and over to make the task more bearable. Now whenever I hear it, I remember those times vastly more fondly than they actually were.

Bad, Bad Leory Brown - Jim Croce. Okay, more motown. I just remember this as a hell of a lot of fun.

The Letter- The Box Tops. This is the first song I really remember, start to finish. The whole musical score is a part of my cognative development in a weird synaesthesic way. The song for me has a physical shape, a set of colors and other weird properties unlike any other music. And I re-expereince it everytime I hear it, but not as strongly as when I was a kid (I can actually feel the shape of it as I write this, it's indescribable). I must have got it in my head at some critical brain development phase becuase it's lodged in there deeply.

Bonus Song

It's Raining Men - The Weathergirls. I hate this song. It makes me physically ill to hear it. It's the most overplayed, over-hyped, stereotypical bucket of diarrheatic haggis imaginable. Which makes it meaningful, just not in the good way.

I'm now passing this meme onto Geoff, my son.

86 Agent 86

Don Adams died last week. :(

I guess I'll never get to see the live-action Tennessee Tuxedo Movie.

All the Charm of Michael Moore, Less Estrogen

I thought the graphic here was very amusing (click on the picture).