Some things are just too silly to be worthy of comment. Read it yourself. Ask yourself why we should
ever again trust the FBI when it sententiously pronounces "national security" in defense of its
The preznit is about to deliver his presser. I'm thoroughly conditioned to reach for the remote
whenever he's on TV, even if I want to know what he says. I'll read about it later in the "paper."
So... what is Dubya scheduled to say? Yesterday he
one absurd thing that is striking not so much in its fundamental incorrectness... that's nothing new
for Dubya... as in its casual contradiction of what he told us right before elections:
As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has adopted the formula advanced by his top military
adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview
with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the
November elections, declared, "Absolutely, we're winning."
I'm not sure how replacing a whopper with a lesser lie is supposed to help him, but anything that
helps him moderate his ego has to be good.
Back to topic, this is what he is supposedly
President Bush will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. EST. The White House said Bush would open with a
10-minute statement discussing his decision to expand the overall size of the U.S. military to meet
the challenges of a long, global struggle against terrorism.
Bush also planned to stress the importance of working in a bipartisan way next year when Democrats
take control of Congress heading into the final two years of his administration.
The White House also said Bush would talk about the need to keep the U.S. economy strong.
That's funny; I don't recall any calls for bipartisanship when his party controlled Congress. In fact,
I recall talk by GOP committee chairs about "a majority of a majority" as justification for rendering
decisions without Democrats even present at committee meetings. The infamous quote from Grover
Norquist comes to mind; I'm pretty sure that's the kind of "bipartisanship" the preznit has in mind.
Back to the first significant topic mentioned: well, duh. Or should I say, well, Dub. If Dub is the
Decider, he could have ditched Rumsfeld any time during his six years in office and ordered an
increase in the size of the armed forces to combat terrorism. But that's not really what he is
thinking of: for Bush, this is just another distraction, a way of deflecting the increasingly obvious
charge that he, Bush, gutted the once-fine military we had; that he, Bush, is incapable of turning to
diplomacy to solve problems; that he, Bush, is pretty obviously the ultimate source of the orders to
engage in torture and other unconscionable, prohibited behavior; that he, Bush, is incapable of
admitting that he was ever wrong about anything.
I note that the presser should be underway by now. The ABC News site doesn't even have a headline
about it. If my corporation had backed this stinker of a preznit as often as ABC has, I'd hide the
Tony Blair has failed to influence the policies of George Bush's White House in any significant way,
despite his unwavering support for the US president, a leading foreign affairs think tank has said.
Delivering its verdict on ten years of foreign policy under Mr Blair, a Chatham House briefing paper
said his legacy would be defined by the "terrible mistake" of the war with Iraq.
It said Mr Blair was now paying the price for setting too much store by his relationship with Mr Bush
and warned that his successor would have to strike a new foreign policy balance between Europe and the
"The post-9/11 decision to invade Iraq was a terrible mistake and the current debacle will have policy
repercussions for many years to come," the paper said.
"The root failure of Tony Blair's foreign policy has been its inability to influence the Bush
administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice - military, political and financial - that
the United Kingdom has made. Tony Blair has learnt the hard way that loyalty in international politics
counts for very little."
Let's be a bit more specific about the last statement: Tony Blair has learned that, for George W.
Bush, loyalty works in only one direction. In Bush's limited lexicon, an "ally" is someone who does
precisely what George W. Bush wants, nothing more and nothing less, at all times. The notion that
loyalty could be mutual is... forgive the term... foreign to Mr. Bush.
One of the report's conclusions, according to the Guardian:
And it said Mr Blair's successor would not be able to make the same mistake, and would instead have to
develop a closer relationship with Europe.
Right. Wham... just like that... one of the most significant allies the United States has had in
the world, our nation's primary partner in international affairs for over a century, has been
compromised by a president (duly elected or otherwise) who, bright or stupid, clever or ignorant, has
been unable to see past the end of his nose in international matters, unable to realize that the US
has not the slightest hope of being able to go it alone in the world.
I have been no great fan of Mr. Blair in the past few years. From my admittedly limited perspective,
if I had been a member of the Labour Party (which of course is impossible, as I am not a British
subject), I would have been very discontented with his leadership since Mr. Bush took office here. But
I cannot help feeling some sympathy: Blair is by no means the only person who has been taken in by Mr.
Bush's congenial but dangerously crazy ways. How many times must the world be subjected to the likes
of Mr. Bush before it learns its lesson?
Preface: you have to read to the bottom of this post before you know my opinion on the subject.
There is a lot of discussion on our side of the aisle about whether George W. Bush should be
impeached. Among bloggers on my blogroll,
really, really favor impeachment and want to see the proceedings begin as soon as Democrats take
control of Congress in January.
are equally certain it's a terrible idea that is not going to happen, a waste of political capital
that will give all Democrats bad breath.
I am not on the fence about this. For the record, I favor impeachment. I favor it, pro forma,
for the same reason I favor charging and trying accused murderers: the rule of law is meaningful only
in its implementation. Bush has committed... and in some cases bragged about... numerous acts which
are likely "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the sense the phrase was used by those who drafted our
"High" in the legal parlance of the 18th century means "against the State". A high crime is one which
seeks the overthrow of the country, which gives aid or comfort to its enemies, or which injures the
country to the profit of an individual or group. In democracies and similar societies it also includes
crimes which attempt to alter the outcome of elections.
Mr. Bush stands accused (by a whole raft of legally knowledgeable people, not just by me) of at least
two of these charges, the two I boldfaced in the quote above. He deserves (in both senses of the word)
to be tried.
So Democrats in the House should get busy right away, impeaching Mr. Bush in January, right?
We have to keep our eyes on the prize. The goal... the only meaningful goal in dealing with this whole
sorry spectacle... is to stop Bush's crimes in progress and prevent him from initiating more criminal
behavior to the detriment of our nation. It is clear, to me at least, that impeachment will not
accomplish the goal of limiting the damage to our nation that even many Republicans understand Mr.
Bush is inflicting.
Moreover, impeachment would surely tie up our national discussion in a manner that
would be perceived as purely partisan, even if in fact it would not be so. That national discussion
needs to be about war, terrorism, torture, civil liberties, the wanton destruction of our armed forces,
the profligate spending of our nation's treasuries to no good purpose, the neglect of our young, our
elderly and our poor, the export of good jobs overseas to the detriment of American workers and the
benefit of only a small number of large corporations and wealthy individuals, the failure of the
healthcare system to provide even minimal health coverage to anyone not well-off or otherwise
well-situated, the deliberate interference with the workings of a free press and the sinister use of
power to perpetrate widespread surveillance of the entire citizenry of the United States. Impeach
Bush, and no one will be able to get a word in edgewise about any of these essential topics.
Lefties frequently find themselves... at least I frequently find myself... accused of hating Bush.
What garbage. My feelings about the man are irrelevant. But it is clearer day by day that his actions,
pursued for a couple more years, will lead to the demise of the United States of America, either in
actual fact, or by forcing America's descent into irrelevancy as it ceases to be counted among the
civilized free peoples of the world. I do not care one way or the other about Bush. But I do
understand that we cannot go on like this.
Congress must therefore use its most effective tools with all due speed. In my opinion, that means
constraining Bush's access to funds for his horrific misadventures, using the subpoena power to
bring accountability for his minions who actually do his hatchet jobs, and (while we have the Senate)
preventing any further Bush judicial appointments from being confirmed. We don't have time for
impeachment right now. Even if a conviction were possible... and I do not believe it is possible
at present... it would take most of the remaining two years of Bush's ill-gotten term. We don't have
the time. Let history... and possibly one or more international courts... judge Bush once he is out of
office, not because impeachment isn't right, but because we just can't afford the time for it. Given
the straits in which our nation finds itself, our best course is to hobble Bush in every way possible.
Don't impeach Bush... impair him.
of Talking Points Memo remarks on the absurdity of the term "surge" to describe Bush's proposed
last-ditch increase in troops in Iraq. Kurtz
Before any decision to increase troops, "I'd want to have a clear understanding of what it is they're
going for, how long they're going for. And let's be clear about something else. . . . There really are
no additional troops. All we would be doing is keeping some of the troops who were there, there longer
and escalating or accelerating the arrival of other troops."
I believe it all comes down to an error in spelling. Mr. Bush intends one final splurge, not a
surge. When one engages in a splurge, one spends resources one does not have, and pays a price one
cannot afford, for something one has no business acquiring in the first place.
What Mr. Bush does not understand is that to get from a sPLurge to a surge, he must lose his
P and get the L out... something Bush is utterly unwilling to do.
According to Flynt Leverett, former employee of the CIA, the State Department and the Bush White
House's National Security Council, the
White House is censoring his New York Times op-ed piece
critical of the administration's handling of Iran,
on the grounds that it contains classified material, even though the CIA review board has cleared the
very same contents for publication, not just once in one article but several times in several places.
Leverett's sources on the CIA review board tell him the White House explicitly intervened to censor
whole paragraphs of the piece.
Remind me again... why are we not supposed to call Bush a dictator?
(Clarification inserted moments after initial publication. - SB)
... is an unseemly sound.
Can't they at least find out Sen. Johnson's actual medical status before they start salivating over
his office? Hm? Oh. I guess not. I forgot who we're dealing with here.
for holding a Senator's place in office awaiting medical recovery, sometimes for long periods.
The practice has benefited both Democrats and Republicans over the years, something you would not know
if you read only
almost certainly deliberately misleading explanation, which mentions only Democrats. (Control your
I pray, and presume, Sen. Johnson will survive. The last word I saw is that his condition is
critical... that's usual after brain surgery... but that he is "responsive." If, however, he is
incapacitated, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) could hold the seat for him, replace him with a
Democrat or (considering the pressure certain to come from the White House) replace him with a
Republican, flipping the Senate. If he chooses that last option, it will be the second time in only
three elections that a Senate seat has been changed from Democratic to Republican by the actions of a
state governor. I still have my suspicions about Wellstone's untimely death. Have we become a bloody
bunch of Klingons, for whom ascent to high office is accomplished by the death of the current
officeholder? Do elections mean any damned thing anymore to Republicans? Anything?
Johnson as a Democrat is as conservative as they come. The good people of South Dakota clearly made
a conscious choice to elect a conservative Democrat rather than a conservative Republican. If
Johnson's health permits him to return to office... or is likely to permit a return in the next year
or two... Rounds is morally obligated, whatever Bush may think, to hold the office for him. If, on the
other hand, our means of choosing successors in office is changing dramatically, so that elections
mean little or nothing, we deserve to know that right now. If I were Rounds, I'd think long and hard
about the implications and likely long-term consequences of replacing Johnson with a Republican. I
think it is not a trend any thinking person really wants to start. But I wouldn't bet against it.
New York Times
gets it: Mr. Bush's delay in formulating his "new way forward" in Iraq is unconscionable:
In Baghdad yesterday, a suicide bomber killed at least 70 people, most of them Shiite laborers whose
only sin was looking for work. In Washington, meanwhile, President Bush held a series of carefully
stage-managed meetings with officials and outside experts whose common credential appeared to be their
opposition to the recommendations of James Baker’s Iraq Study Group.
Like the singer
I realize the futility of talking to Bush, but I'm going to do it anyway...
Mr. Bush, if an average of, say, 50 people are killed every day in sectarian violence in Iraq, that
means 1,500 souls a month, or 18,000 a year, depart this Earth while you dither over what will best
serve your selfish ends. Whether or not these killings are your fault, you are the only person in the
world... the only one... who can remove one major factor that is driving the killings. Will Iraq
descend into chaos without a U.S. presence? What a foolish question: Iraq has already plunged into the
abyss, doing its best to drag American forces with it, and no quantity of U.S. troops can stop the
civil war at this point.
Mr. Bush, the time for spinning, seeking political advantage, trying to paint Iraq as somehow a
success or a potential success, etc., is over. In the real world most of us inhabit, there is nothing
more to discuss: Iraq is cooked. Quit dragging your feet. Get us out of Iraq, or at least initiate a
clear motion in that direction. Do it. Do it now.
How I love the sound of that! Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) defeated incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla in
the special runoff in U.S. Representative Dist. 23, in the San Antonio area. With all precincts
reporting as of mere minutes ago, Rodriguez
long-time incumbent Bonilla by 38,247 to 32,165... in other words, not close enough to be easily
disputed. This is an amazing upset. Congratulations and welcome, Rep. Rodriguez!
UPDATE: It just occurred to me that many people outside of Texas
probably don't know the backstory of this race. It's pretty interesting. I'll let
tell you about it.
There are 2.2 million Americans behind bars, another 5 million on probation or parole, the Justice
Department reported on Nov. 30. We exceed Russia and Cuba in incarcerations per 100,000 people; in
fact, no other nation comes close. The biggest single reason for the expanding numbers? Our war on
drugs — a quarter of all sentences are for drug offenses, mostly nonviolent.
Back in the late Sixties when I was in college, some wag calculated that at the then-current rate of
incarceration, by the year 2007, everyone in America would be either in law enforcement (or the
courts), or they would be in jail. Obviously there were a few deliberately bogus assumptions in that
calculation, but it certainly seems as if that jokester had the right idea. This approach is a strain
on the taxpayer and of almost no use in protecting the public. When even State District
Judge Michael McSpadden (R-Harris County), once a hardcore lock-'em-up judge,
it's time to get out of the massive incarceration business, you know things are bad.
As the saying goes, drugs are for sick people. Could we please start treating them instead of locking
Thank goodness. Based on players' complaints, I thought the microfiber composite ball the NBA tried
for a few months was going to be the end of civilization, along with truth, justice, the American way,
motherhood, apple pie and the illegal-defense call. Oh, wait... In any case, now we can stop worrying
about this important matter and return to mere trivia such as saving America's Constitution from
wayward leaders. Whew!
UPDATE: HaloScan appears to be working again. Two hours of unscheduled
downtime would be unacceptable for a service I actually paid for, but I guess I can live with it under
For at least an hour, HaloScan commenting has been, to use
colorful expression, "tits-up." Now I am, in the equally colorful words of
"objectively pro-boob," and "tits-up," in a more ordinary usage, has never seemed an objectionable
position to me. But in a commenting service it is an unfortunate position indeed. If HaloScan is still
down when you read this, and you have something you really need to say to me in a place where others
can see it, you can post a comment
on my last-ditch Blogger blog... presuming Blogger is working. If Blogger and HaloScan are both TU,
Surprise, surprise... the
proposed minimum wage hike
from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour, the first since 1997 and certainly no bad thing in itself, is not
sufficient to allow people to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
I generally favor half-measures when they are the best one can manage in the political climate, and I
favor this half-measure, but I am concerned that an increase in the minimum wage will lead
conservatives to proclaim that the problem of poverty has been solved. Even if this passes and is
signed by the Decider... no certainty, though I'd think there would be a political price to pay if he
doesn't... we must keep the pressure on.
I admit it's been close to 30 years since I worked with one of the local hunger prevention
organizations, but the thing I remember most is how many people in America are hungry every single
day. As with the homeless, many of the hungry have jobs. That simply isn't right. If a person works a
full-time job, she or he should be able to raise a family on the wages from that job.
(Aside: It is nice to see Jared Bernstein, who is the senior economist of the Economic Policy
Institute, quoted, however briefly, in a wire service article. I guess the decades-long lockout of
liberal thinkers by the corporate mainstream press is beginning to crack. Good. It's easy to be
conservative if all you ever get to read is the conservative side of issues. And in recent years, to
paraphrase Liebling, freedom of the press has belonged to the multi-mega-corporation that owns one.)
UPDATE: The original
A.J. Liebling quote
is this: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
WACO, Texas — School administrators gave a 4-year-old student an in-school suspension for
inappropriately touching a teacher's aide after the pre-kindergartner hugged the woman.
A letter from La Vega school district administrators to the student's parents said that the boy was
involved in "inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment"
after he hugged the woman and he "rubbed his face in the chest of (the) female employee" on Nov. 10.
DaMarcus Blackwell, the father of the boy who attends La Vega Primary School, said he filed a
complaint with the district. He said that his son doesn't understand why he was punished.
I agree with the boy... I don't understand why he was punished, either. If anyone engaged in
"inappropriate" behavior, it was the fool who suspended a four-year-old for doing something no
four-year-old could possibly construe as sexual. That fool has what we used to call a "dirty mind."
often offers a bit of wisdom from his observation of cats: when there's nothing to do, do nothing.
Even the most enjoyable of family gatherings takes a lot out of one. In my current state I have
nothing to say, and I have work to do Monday, so I'll say nothing. See y'all soon.
President Bush vowed yesterday to come up with "a new strategy" in Iraq but expressed little
enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission that advised him to ratchet back the U.S.
military commitment in Iraq and launch an aggressive new diplomatic effort in the region.
Tell us how you really feel about the report, Mr Bush:
At a news conference with visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush called himself
"disappointed by the pace of success" and said that "we'll change it if we want to succeed."
"The American people expect us to come up with a new strategy to achieve the objective which I've been
talking about," Bush said.
Oh, good grief. You can't be "disappointed by the pace of success" ... no such thing exists. And
exactly which objective are we talking about? finding nonexistent WMD? deposing Saddam? bringing
Freedom 'n' Democracy™ to Iraq? How about the American people's objective, clearly expressed in
poll after poll, including the recent "poll" that put Democrats in control of Congress... that of
bringing America's troops home as expeditiously as possible? One more quote in which Bush says a
And he repeated his refusal to talk with Iran and Syria unless Tehran suspends its uranium-enrichment
program, Damascus stops interfering in Lebanon and both drop their support for terrorist groups. "The
truth of the matter is that these countries have now got the choice to make," Bush said. "If they want
to sit down at the table with the United States, it's easy: Just make some decisions that will lead to
peace, not to conflict."
Yeah, right. "Agree to my terms if you want to negotiate with me." That's an oxymoron. Sadly, that's
not the only kind of moron we are dealing with here. As many have pointed out, throughout the Cold
War, we continued official and unofficial diplomatic talks with the Soviet Union. I'd think that if
the U.S. could engage in dialogue with a nation that had thousands of nukes pointed at our heads,
surely we can talk to far less militarily powerful nations that may hold the keys to regional
stability in the Middle East. But Bush, in his incurious way, in his monochrome world, sees talk as
the equivalent of caving. And yet another opportunity is lost. (Aside:
comes to the same conclusion about Bush's refusal to negotiate, and he knows vastly more about the
region than I do.)
The ISG may have been Poppy Bush's probably vain attempt to compensate for Junior's efforts to paper
over the politics of a disastrously failed policy in Iraq. Even so, as
pointed out when interviewed a couple of days ago by Keith Olbermann,
The fact is this commission is entirely composed of people who did not have the judgment to oppose the
Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize that this was not a wise move in
the fight against terrorism. So that's who's doing this report.
Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There's virtually no-one who opposed the war
in the first place, virtually no-one who calls for a different strategy which calls for a global
approach to the war on terrorism. SO this is really a Washington inside job. It shows not in the
description of what's happened. But it shows in the recommmendations[.]
Incurious George is choosing to ignore the advice of a group selected specifically for their likely
support of his goals because they do not support his strategy. Bush wants neither help nor advice...
from anyone. He is quite beyond being saved from himself. What about us? Are we beyond being saved
"A date ['date' not 'day'] which ['which' not 'that'] will ['will' not 'shall'] live in
Now that we have that out of the way, go listen to the beginning of the
itself. Depending on your age, it may remind you of an era in which real presidents rose to the
necessity of implementing real responses to real threats of cataclysmic proportions, presidents who
not so incidentally could speak English without tripping over their own participles. Or it may cause
you to shrug, say "gee, that old man sure talked funny," and return to contemplating the iPod Nano you
hope you're getting for Christmas but probably aren't because they're mostly sold out.
Fast-forward 57 years to December 7, 1998. I played a concert with an ensemble in Austin, as guest of
a group of musicians quite a notch above my own capacity. As I walked onstage, I said a silent prayer
that that December 7 would not be a date/day which/that will/shall live in infamy. It wasn't. Like FDR,
like our Greatest Generation, I rose to the occasion, playing at my highest level. No one was
embarrassed. Not even I was embarrassed.
I can think of five times in my musical career in which I was challenged to play beyond my usual
abilities. On the whole, I have positive memories of those times, even the one out of five that didn't
go particularly well. It is important for everyone who would accomplish anything worthwhile to push
the limits at least once in a while. "A man's reach should exceed his grasp," and I say that as one
who has reached often and grasped occasionally.
This December 7, America faces a threat at least as much internal as external. A blithering madman, a
legend in his own mind, a stubborn, arrogant fool if ever there was one, grasps the helm of the ship
of state and wrenches us in every direction, ignoring the winds, the water, the sails and the advice
of wiser women and men in his crew. Of all the adjectives applicable to him... and there are plenty,
and I have applied most of them... "incurious" is the most damning: he has no interest in what anyone
else thinks he should do while he is at the helm. He has no interest in learning the lore of the seas
he sails. The laws of nature and the laws of humankind are equally uninteresting to him, and yet each
one of us is his passenger, willing or unwilling.
The Greatest Generation met its challenge, not without a lot of international help. Our challenge as
Americans today is not so much to make everything right... probably an impossibility in our
lifetimes... as to prevent the madman from steering the ship over the edge of the Earth. Heaven help
us all; it isn't going to be easy. But nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without a stretch.
Paul Kiel of
reflects on incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's declaration that the 110th
Congress will work a full five-day work week, unlike the lazy three-day schedule followed by its
Republican-dominated predecessor. Kiel points to a
"I have bad news for you," Hoyer told reporters. "Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em.
We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."
The reporters groaned. "I know, it's awful, isn't it?" Hoyer empathized.
For lawmakers, it is awful, compared with what they have come to expect. For much of this
election year, the legislative week started late Tuesday and ended by Thursday afternoon -- and that
was during the relatively few weeks the House wasn't in recess.
Next year, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m.
Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday, Hoyer said.
"Keeping us up here eats away at families," said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home
on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less
about families -- that's what this says."
Rep. Kingston and the rest of the GOP caucus, I have just one thing to say to you:
Last week, Newt Gingrich was the
at a dinner at which the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award was presented. The irony was thick in
the air as Gingrich, in his speech, advocated restrictions on free speech in the interest of
protecting us from terrorists.
Same shit, different day. Or, more politely, "we have all been here before."
Fortunately, we have
to remind Mr. Gingrich of the history of the suppression of speech in America, from colonial times
to the present. As always, Mr. Olbermann gets right to the point, lists previous incarnations of Mr.
Gingrich's almost unbelievably bad idea, and... well, just go watch the segment.
It may not be the Antikythera mechanism, but this little device full of gears and prisms and a tiny
solar-cell-driven electric motor...
... produces rainbows in abundance when the sun shines in the window...
... at Stella's place.
The show begins these days at about 10:00 AM, when there's enough sunlight to cause the
solar cell to run the motor; it ends at around 11:00 AM, or whenever the sun is high enough that
adjacent buildings shade the window.
The gears turn the two prisms at different rates, and they are suspended at different heights, so that the
rainbows appear to fly in several different directions at apparently different speeds.
There is no way to convey in a snapshot the effect of literally hundreds of rainbows swarming about the
room, across three walls, the floor, the ceiling, down the hallway and over assorted cats and people. This
snapshot was taken early in yesterday's show; multiply what you see by 10 to get an idea of the show when
it is at its peak, as it was this morning. The effect is mesmerizing.
I don't know where Stella got this gadget, but as a child of the Sixties (born in the Forties), I've seen
a lot of suspended crystals in a lot of windows over the years, and I've never seen anything comparable
to this one. If you find one for sale, buy it right away and place it in the brightest window you have;
you'll thank me for suggesting it. Your cats will thank you in turn. They will hunt rainbows that fall on
the floor, follow those on the walls with their eyes, and sometimes just settle in to enjoy the show the
same way we do.
Remember all the problems I had with my wired/wireless router a few months ago? They never really went
away; I just work around them by not doing serious work over a WiFi connection. Indeed, I'm retrieving
my 100-foot Cat 5 cable from Stella and stringing it from the office to the dining room... again... to
use with my allegedly "wireless" laptop when I need a solid connection, which is most of the time when
But that's not what I'm geek-griping about tonight.
I probably worsened my WiFi problems today, though I can't test until tomorrow. I bought a new
cordless speakerphone, because my old one is rapidly going bad, and I really need the speakerphone
when I'm working for a client in another city, because I seldom have face-to-face meetings with their
staff. I carefully chose a 5.8 gHz model so it wouldn't interfere with WiFi connections. (2.4 gHz
cordless phones are the bane of WiFi.) I brought it home, set it up, started charging the handsets,
settled in to read the manual, and discovered that in the technical specs... on the LAST page
of the manual... it mentioned that the handsets, unlike the base unit, transmit on 2.4 gHz. I
could have screamed when I found out. Nowhere on the outside of the box did it say anything
about 2.4 gHz, and I bought it in part because I thought it wouldn't conflict with WiFi. Now I don't
know if it will or won't. And I have to wait until the handsets are charged to find out.
Stella already owns the identical model VTech phone system... a base unit and three handsets... and
likes it a lot. So do I; it's well-designed from a user's perspective, and my old VTech served me well
for over a decade. I hope I don't have to return the one I just bought. If I do, Best Buy will get an
earful from me about the (probably unintentional) misrepresentation. But my real grievance is with
whoever decided to place those two kinds of devices in the same band of the spectrum... how stupid is
You read that right: no sex for 20-somethings is government policy. As Morford's headline says,
"Sex Will Make You Go Blind -- Single? Under 30? You are in grave danger. Your government says so.
Please, stop laughing."
I could throw up a bunch of block quotes, but why don't you just go read Morford; he's much, much
funnier, and at least as incisive, in his assessment of this idiocy.
I will, though, propose a slogan for our young men and women, inspired by another famous slogan:
They'll take sex from me when they pry my cold, dead fingers off...
The completion of the slogan is left as an exercise for the reader.
Maybe I'm the last person in the world to know this, but in case I'm not... In Firefox 2.0 (and
possibly earlier versions), if you delete cookies for a specific site, Firefox helpfully adds that
site to your "block cookies" list.
Somehow, my HaloScan cookies for the comments form values (name, email, URL) were broken, so I deleted
all cookies for haloscan.com and started over. Oops. After that, I could enter my name etc. and the
cookies would "stick" only for the session... close and reopen Firefox, and they were gone. That's
because, in deleting the HaloScan cookies, Firefox also placed HaloScan on the list of sites for which
cookies were blocked. Normally, the only cookies I block are those from known adware sites.
A word to the wise is sufficient. (A word to Bush is wasted, but that's another matter.)
UPDATE: I guess I should have told you what to do if this happens to
you. Under Tools|Options, choose the Privacy tab and click Show Cookies. Find the site whose cookies
you want to remove (e.g., haloscan.com), select the site and click Remove Cookie. (If you click Remove
All Cookies, I hope you have a good memory for your passwords and options on all the sites you visit.)
Back on the Privacy tab, click Exceptions... (the ellipsis is part of the text on the button), find
haloscan.com (which will have Block beside it), click it, then click Remove Site. That allows you to
accept cookies from haloscan.com again, which you almost certainly want to do. Software developers out
there, pay heed... it's not always helpful to combine two unrelated tasks behind a single user action.
Samantha and Tabitha bring a live lizard inside to play with it. The lizard is behind Samantha's
paw; she's on the left...
Stella retrieved the poor critter from them at some point. It was solid black by then, but according
to Stella it was still moving a bit. In my opinion, that was wishful thinking: it was a case of
Nature, red in tooth and claw, prevailing over Stella's good intentions.
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