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3/31/2004

The sun and the air

All this talk about the new liberal station made me wonder how last big local media startup, the New York Sun, is doing these days, circulation-wise. It started up two years ago as the one true right-leaning New York newspaper (the Wall Street Journal isn't considered a general newspaper I think because of their lack of a sports section, and the New York Post is likewise discounted due to its tabloid format). A search found these figures: the circulation hit 40,483 in September '03, a figure which more than doubled the 17,994 of the year before. Truly amazing growth. I definitely like the Sun, I probably read it at least once a week; it's my second favorite daily after the Post. At 25 cents it's a great deal, it's got a nice focus on local and state news from a conservative perspective, and it's the only paper hip enough to include Best of the Web. For all the quality of the publication, clearly a big part of their success is that they're meeting an untapped need on the ideological spectrum (the New York Times' circulation stayed essentially static over the same period).

As for whether the liberal channel, Air America, can achieve the same meteoric rise, it's all up to whether Al Franken and Chuck D can effectively sell statist politics while remaining entertaining to the masses... that's a question that pretty much answers itself.

Racial pawns in the master game

Jeff Jacoby on the American Advertising Federation's "Most Promising Minority Students Program", and on minority achievement programs in general:
It doesn't seem to have occurred to the American Advertising Federation or its corporate sponsors that it is insulting to tell a group of students that, for minorities, they are hot stuff. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the students, either. No wonder: They are winning at the game of racial double standards that for years has reinforced the stereotype of black and Hispanic inferiority -- the degrading myth that members of certain racial and ethnic groups can succeed only if the bar is lowered for them.

...

Once upon time it was racists who insisted that "nonwhite" was a synonym for "intellectually deficient." Today that attitude is promoted most emphatically by the defenders of affirmative action, a system rooted in the belief that blacks and certain other minorities can't hope to win if they have to compete on a level playing field.

What he doesn't mention is that it's also wrong because racial discrimination is inherently wrong, and because it's just wack as hell. I mean, I think we should have a "Most Promising Young Italian-Americans Program". What, you find that offensive? Exactly.

3/30/2004

Take this money

Mark Steyn's latest column heavily references a speech given by Niall Ferguson: The End of Europe? Ferguson details how the countries of Europe, especially Germany, are being hit by a perfect storm: declining populations, rising median age, falling man-hours, and the one problem I wasn't aware of before, massive wealth redistribution between countries as a result of EU-nification:
If you add up all the--to use the technical term--unrequited transfers that Germany has paid through the European budget since its inception, one of the most striking facts that I can offer you is that the total exceeds the amount that Germany was asked to pay in reparations after the First World War. It is more than 132 billion marks, the sum that the Germans in the 1920s insisted would bankrupt them if they paid it. Well, they finally did pay it. They paid it not as reparations, but as net contributions to the European budget.

...

Today, Germany accounts for around a quarter, a little under a quarter, of the combined gross domestic product of the entire European Union. It accounts for just over a fifth, 22 percent, of its population. It accounts for 16 percent of the seats in the European Parliament, and around about 11 percent of votes on the Council of Ministers, though that process of voting is, of course, under a process of reform. (In fact, if the draft treaty isn't enacted after enlargement, Germany's share of votes in the Council of Ministers will fall to 8 percent.) But if you look at net contributions to the European budget in the years 1995 to 2001, Germany contributed 67 percent.

I never thought I'd say this, but the Germans have gotten an unfair shake. Of course, such socialistic wealth redistribution doesn't help anyone in the long run.

3/29/2004

There are two colors in my head

Color photography in 1907 - photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii travelled around Russia taking, yes, color photographs, using a separation-of-colors technique that had actually been invented in the 1860's; since color film didn't exist, three black-and-white pictures of the subject were taken, using red, blue, and green filters on the film respectively; the photos could then be projected together on the same surface using colored bulbs. Working on a commission from Czar Nicholas II, he created an extensive set of images over the next 10 years cataloging the expanse of the Russian empire, which I think were the highest-quality color photographs created up until then. A project sponsored by the Library of Congress fairly recently created an online archive of these amazing photos, using modern graphics software to recreate them.




Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii,
Tea Factory in Chakva. Chinese Foreman Lau-Dzhen-Dzhau, ca. 1907-1915.


Via Photon Courier.

Positive trend

The Boston Globe: "home schooling has gone mainstream".

Via Hit and Run.

3/28/2004

The People's Republic of Casiotone

I just discovered through a random traipse that not only can the Czech Republic be referred to as "Czechia", but that this is actually the preferred informal designation, by decree of the newly-formed Czech government in 1993. There's some long historical explanation offered for why the name hasn't really caught on, but I didn't understand it. Good to know. Although it sounds awkward to say it. "Czechia". Hm.

Summer's what you make it

Last night a friend and I went on an East Village/Lower East Side bar crawl. At some point a girl I had just met bought me a veggie dog at a kimchi hot dog food cart on the Lower East Side. It sort of made my night. Ladies, I don't care what anybody tells you about playing coy or whatever; if there's some guy you run into that you like or just want to hang out with more, feel free to buy him a drink or something. It's a nice touch, you won't come off looking bad, and he'll be grateful for it. Trust me on this. Men aren't inclined to second-guess such an act; they'll take it at face value.

Nothing came of it, but that's just because I'm already seeing a girl (she's on vacation at the moment).

I'm at work all day today, trying to finish a neverending project, so I have plenty of time to contemplate all these things.

Lay my head on a pillow and another on my head, lightly
I pull the blankets up just over my mouth, and breathe
I'll spend time thinking about the people I know, how I feel, and if it shows
I turn over

I've got a girl in my bed that's more sure of what she says than what she hears
I've got a song in my head I'm sure I won't remember
Come morning, may my mind be at ease

But please come, morning


Owen, "Most Nights"

Alright, enough politics for now. Seriously, this political stuff on my blog is beginning to annoy even me.

3/26/2004

They make no sense

Now that Noam Chomsky's idiocy is available in easy to access and updated-often form, another hero of the progressive movement, Howard Zinn, is up for review.
Hit and Run links to a review in the leftist Dissent Magazine of Zinn's "A People's History of the United States", which just came out in an updated edition. I've never read it or even flipped through it; I mostly know it as the book a lot of people at my high school were reading around junior or senior year. (I'd probably know it as the book people were reading in college too, if I had attended the type of college where people read history books of any kind). The concept struck me as a neat idea, a history book that focuses on the lives of everyday people as opposed to the dealings of political leaders. Apparently, though, it's actually just Marxist crap:
Zinn's conception of American elites is akin to the medieval church's image of the Devil. For him, a governing class is motivated solely by its appetite for riches and power-and by its fear of losing them.

...Zinn's ruling elite is a transhistorical entity, a virtual monolith; neither its interests nor its ideology change markedly from the days when its members owned slaves and wore knee-britches to the era of the Internet and Armani. Zinn thus sees nothing unusual in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. It simply "meant that another part of the Establishment," albeit "more crass" than its immediate antecedents, was now in charge.

The ironic effect of such portraits of rulers is to rob "the people" of cultural richness and variety, characteristics that might gain the respect and not just the sympathy of contemporary readers. For Zinn, ordinary Americans seem to live only to fight the rich and haughty and, inevitably, to be fooled by them. They are like bobble-head dolls in work-shirts and overalls-ever sanguine about fighting the powers-that-be, always about to fall on their earnest faces.

Alas, disappointing.

War dividend watch

More recent positive developments in the Middle East:

3/25/2004

Still Chomsky from the block

From Spot On I find out that Noam Chomsky's now got a blog. For a second I thought this was a return of the beloved Chomsky Pirate, some guy writing as Chomsky as if he were a pirate - sample: "Would ye but agree the real terrorist be the Americans?". But no, this one's the real deal. He has three posts up so far; in the first, he introduces the blog and refers to himself in the third person. In the second, he cites some vague statistics with no links, "according to Congressional Budget office economists", to claim that 90% of Americans are poorer than they were 30 years ago. In the third, he claims people in third world countries (or, in Chomsky-speak, "what we call 'the third world'") "often burst out laughing" at our election process. Probably he thinks so because most of his third-world friends are Marxists who laugh at elections with more than one candidate. Also, he figures the country would be more democratic if the government just seized control of all financial companies.

Amazingly, there's a comments section under each post. As would be expected, the commenters are running amok. Each comment section starts off with a few posts from sympathizers, followed by hundreds of people attacking him or just making immature or obscene statements. I give it about a day before commenting is totally removed from the site.

UPDATE: As commenter Karol pointed out, commenting was removed within 12 hours. Score another blow for the imperialist hegemony!

3/24/2004

Business, numbers, money, people


Frank Scavo at The Enterprise System Spectator (via Carnival of the Capitalists) has an interesting post about outsourcing of software development from America to the third world, most notably India. The pessimistic claim made by some is that, within some given time frame, say the next 20 years, most actual software will be written in India, where wages are currently around a fifth of what they are here, and that the only software work available here will be project management, sales and the like. I've heard this opinion from my parents, who think it's justification for me pursuing a PhD, and from some of the programmers I work with, who think their jobs are endangered. I disagree with the pessimism, since to me the demand for software development doesn't seem to have a limit in sight. Scavo agrees with me:

Anyone who has been involved with corporate information systems knows that the backlog of new system requests and enhancement requests is measured not in months but in years. Users often give up asking for new systems because the ones they've already asked for have not been delivered.

...

The hidden backlog is sometimes manifested when a company does one successful new software development project. Suddenly users realize that they can ask for stuff and stuff gets delivered. So they begin to ask for more. Demand for software development is not like demand for baby diapers--a relatively static number based on the number of babies born each year. Dropping the price for software development can often stimulate new or hidden demand.

Sounds about right. Even at banks, which tend to have a good amount of money to pursue long-term projects, the norm is that systems are 15, 20, 30 years old (40-year-old systems are not unheard of either, as the Y2K scare highlighted), with most of the work involving making continuous, triage-style fixes and improvements to these existing systems, not working on their replacements. It's not for lack of demand that there's relatively little in the way of introducing newer technologies, but mostly just lack of resources, given the tremendous undertaking that a new "enterprise solution" (to use a corporate world favorite phrase) entails. Being able to outsource work overseas would could actually increase demand for local programmers, in my view, by enabling projects that were previously impossible given money constraints to go forward; on each such project some of the work will simply have to be done locally. And, as Scavo points out, each project ends up increasing end users' demand for more such development, which is a win for developers on both sides of the Pacific.

Yes, there have been cases of companies laying off developers and going with an overseas contractor, but scratch beneath the surface in such cases and you'll nearly always see a company in economic trouble. Given the difficulties of managing a development team in another country, it has to be seen as a last-ditch effort, when the money just isn't there to support a local software group. The alternative in such cases 10 years ago would have been just to lay people off and leave it at that; thus you couldn't make the case that a job here was lost due to outsourcing.

The test will of course come as the current economic recovery continues: seeing whether IT hiring in this country will reach anything close to its levels during the late 90's internet bubble (AKA "the good old days"). From what I hear from the recruiting world, it's certainly picking up noticeably, at least in the New York area. Time will tell.

It's an important issue, both obviously to me personally as a software developer, and in the greater sense because the fate of software development can be seen as a bellwether for whether the U.S. will still be able to compete internationally when white-collar "information work" is as easily transferrable overseas as manufacturing work currently is. I say (in some part of course due to sheer hopefulness) the answer is yes.

3/23/2004

You're drinking what they're selling

Associated Press discovers the PBR revival. Yeah, but we know Rheingold is already the next next thing.

3/22/2004

Royale II: Royale w/ cheese

I'm finally over a hangover that began on Sunday morning. Never much more than a sense of dullness in my head, like a vague empty hole, but it never really went away.

The cause of the hangover was a happy one: a return visit to The Royale, on Saturday night. Having learned from last time I was there, we showed up at around 10:30, still early enough to get a good seat before the party really started about an hour later.

The music was choice: solid-gold hits from the 80's, a little salsa, some vintage funk. There was a conga drummer in front of the DJ booth, playing along with the records. Actually there were a few who switched off. It added a lot to the music.

We met a variety of interesting people, most of them drunk. Good dancers in the crowd.

I ran into an old co-worker of mine, from my first job, who was a full-time programmer/part-time DJ then, and now. A cool guy.

The crowd was a nice multi-racial, multi-ethnic mix. And the drinks were reasonably priced.

I think I have a new favorite bar in Park Slope.

Got him



"Fall'n is the foe"

The world was rid yesterday evening of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, so-called spiritual leader of Hamas, courtesy of a well-timed Israeli rocket.

The usual gang of immoral leaders, from France, Germany and the EU, are condemning the attack as "unhelpful" (strangely, no quote yet from Kofi Annan about his "deep concern", though I'm sure it's coming). I'd have expected no better from these people, Israel-haters all. I am disappointed that Tony Blair's administration has gotten in on the condemnation act too; I cling to the belief that Britain is somehow different from the rest of Europe. Would any of these leaders be upset if Spain took out the planners of the Madrid bombings? Of course not.

UPDATE: Here comes Kofi: ""Such actions are not only contrary to international law but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution." I utterly disagree with both parts, although that statement would apply well to the UN's handling of Saddam's oil contracts.

3/21/2004

Seasons change with the scenery

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the war in Iraq. Didn't pay attention to the rally in New York (if you're interested, you can see some shall we say eye-opening pictures from the San Francisco rally here), but on Friday evening I did catch an uplifting speech given by President Bush to a group of foreign ambassadors, marking the date. Who still claims Bush isn't a good public speaker? The whole thing was beautifully worded and delivered. The text is here. Part of what he said:

Many countries represented here today also acted to liberate the people of Iraq. One year ago, military forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq to enforce United Nations demands, to defend our security, and to liberate that country from the rule of a tyrant. For Iraq, it was a day of deliverance. For the nations of our coalition, it was the moment when years of demands and pledges turned to decisive action. Today, as Iraqis join the free peoples of the world, we mark a turning point for the Middle East, and a crucial advance for human liberty.

There have been disagreements in this matter, among old and valued friends. Those differences belong to the past. All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression and instability in the Middle East. It's a good thing that the demands of the United Nations were enforced, not ignored with impunity. It is a good thing that years of illicit weapons development by the dictator have come to the end. It is a good thing that the Iraqi people are now receiving aid, instead of suffering under sanctions. And it is a good thing that the men and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like.

There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we're dealing with them. But no one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces. Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open? Who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled? Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation? One year after the armies of liberation arrived, every soldier who has fought, every aid worker who has served, every Iraqi who has joined in their country's defense can look with pride on a brave and historic achievement. They've served freedom's cause, and that is a privilege.

Today in Iraq, a British-led division is securing the southern city of Basra. Poland continues to lead a multinational division in south-central Iraq. Japan and the Republic of Korea--South Korea--have made historic commitments of troops to help bring peace to Iraq. Special forces from El Salvador, Macedonia and other nations are helping to find and defeat Baathist and terrorist killers. Military engineers from Kazakhstan have cleared more than a half a million explosive devices from Iraq. Turkey is helping to resupply coalition forces. All of these nations, and many others, are meeting their responsibilities to the people of Iraq.

...

The rise of democratic institutions in Afghanistan and Iraq is a great step toward a goal of lasting importance to the world. We have set out to encourage reform and democracy in the greater Middle East as the alternatives to fanaticism, resentment and terror. We've set out to break the cycle of bitterness and radicalism that has brought stagnation to a vital region, and destruction to cities in America and Europe and around the world. This task is historic, and difficult; this task is necessary and worthy of our efforts.

In the 1970s, the advance of democracy in Lisbon and Madrid inspired democratic change in Latin America. In the 1980s, the example of Poland ignited a fire of freedom in all of Eastern Europe. With Afghanistan and Iraq showing the way, we are confident that freedom will lift the sights and hopes of millions in the greater Middle East.

Mark Steyn marked the date with a brief roundup:
Iraq’s provisional constitution is the most progressive in the Arab world. Business is booming. Oil production is up. The historic marshlands of southern Iraq, environmentally devastated by Saddam, are being restored. In February, attacks on coalition forces fell to the lowest level since the liberation. Attacks on the oil pipelines have fallen by 75% since the autumn. In a BBC poll, some 60% of Iraqis say their lives are much better or somewhat better than a year ago; under 20% say they’re worse. Seventy per cent expect their lives to be better still a year from now, and only five per cent say worse. Eighty per cent of the country is pleasant and civilised, and the Sunni Triangle will follow. Not a bad year’s work.

3/19/2004

Confidential to International ANSWER

Anti-war rallies tomorrow around the country, sponsored by Marxist group International ANSWER, including one in New York. Okay, so it's not really "anti-war", since the war in Iraq ended about a year ago. Instead it's billed as "End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti & Elsewhere!" Yes, that's right, Palestine and Haiti. By "Palestine" I assume they mean the entirety of the state of Israel, which is the usual meaning when the anti-Israel side uses the term. As for Haiti, they just had a coup to replace the leader we helped put in power. Hey guys, enjoy yourselves in New York, but if you want to get people to take your cause seriously you might want to lighten up on the clearly insane statements.

I know him so well

I forgot to mention that, even though I haven't seen any more episodes of The Apprentice yet, I passed David, fired in the first episode, again, a few days ago, this time in Grand Central Station. Sad, when all your celebrity sighting stories are restricted to just one guy.

She's the cheese and I'm the macaroni

Why did this date fail?



a) He's a Republican and she's a Democrat, and they couldn't reconcile their divergent views on key political issues of the day.

b) His status as a math-tutoring entrepeneur intimidated her, both from a technical and a professional standpoint.

c) He's rocking the standard nerd-gear: button-collared shirt, no undershirt.

Actually, maybe more than one of these is correct.

3/18/2004

Ben, you're always running here and there

A co-worker of mine sent me this Flash animation that's a solicitation for TrueMajority.org, some sort of liberal political action committee started by Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry's fame.

Let me start off by saying that it's refreshing to see a piece of leftist agitprop that takes some tone other than bitter anger. It's an animated version of Ben, smiling and using Oreos to demonstrate the size of the federal defense budget, and how cutting it by $40 billion or so (not an unreasonable value) would be enough to pay for massive increases in all the favorite liberal programs: public education, welfare, foreign humanitarian aid, "alternative fuels" and the like. The tone is a bit cutesy and dumbed-down but, as I said, it's nice to see that leftist political thought can extend to things other than personal attacks on our administration.

That said, I find the actual opinions expressed misguided. I certainly agree with the first part of the equation: there's an enormous amount of waste in the military budget that can easily be removed without harming our military strength, in the form of obsolete weapons systems, unneeded army bases and the like; if anything, $40 billion is probably a low estimate. I don't know if TrueMajority and I would agree on what's unnecessary and what isn't, but in any case it's a losing cause. The defense waste fills a constant demand for defense pork that emanates equally from both parties. I remember Al Gore boasting during a debate in the 2000 campaign that his planned defense budget was higher than Bush's, and Kerry today is running his campaign along similar lines. Nevertheless I agree with the sentiment.

It's in the call for increasing spending on social issues that the delusions take over. If only ending poverty in America (in the words of the ad) were as simple as taking an extra $10 billion a year and spreading it among the nation's poor: for that kind of benefit, everyone can agree the funding would be small change. Alas, a century of world experience tells us otherwise: that welfare does not end poverty, but rather increases it: by subsidizing poverty, and by stripping of their dignity and sense of responsibility, it leads to crime, family breakdown, unemployment and the rest. It's why Bill Clinton's welfare reform initiative, was such a success (see, I can grant credit where it's due).

The other initiatives mentioned in the ad are similarly wrongheaded: the public school system suffers from a variety of problems, but lack of funding is not one of them (the linked editorial points out that the public schools of New York City, where I live, considered among the worst in the nation, "spend more per pupil than 95 of the 100 largest school districts in the country". As for foriegn aid, the lessons learned in Somalia, North Korea, Iraq and Haiti, among others, tell us that the problems of getting food aid to impoverished 3rd worlders sadly have very little to do with the material cost of the donation and much more to do with the local regime or warlords withholding the aid from their citizens and using it to feed their soldiers, or depositing it in a Swiss bank account or whatever.

Here would be my use for money saved by cutting unnecessary government expenditures: just don't spend it. Then cut taxes accordingly. That's the Daily Lunch alternative budget plan.

3/17/2004

Luck o' the Irish

It's a bit late in the day (I've been working on this project with a rapidly-approaching deadline), but happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. Yeah I can celebrate this thing too, it's more of an American holiday than an Irish one.

My reading of Joseph Campbell tells me that St. Patrick's banishment of the snakes from Ireland, one of his two known accomplishments (the other being converting the locals to Christianity) is an appearance of the snake-banishment myth found in a variety of mythologies around the world, the Garden of Eden myth and the Medusa story being two other examples. In every such case it's meant to symbolize mankind's subjugation of nature.

Hope everyone drinks responsibly.

Guess who's back

Howard Dean steps out of the woodwork for just long enough to remind everyone how annoying he is:
"For the president of the United States to assert that we were safer because (former Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein is in jail is ludicrous, given what happened three days ago in Spain," Dean, a Democrat and former Vermont governor, told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Wow, so the war in Iraq didn't magically end Islamic terrorism all around the world within a year. Ergo it must have been a failure.

Actually, if the "we" includes the reigning mullahs of Iran, he may have a point. From an Iranian news forum, dated March 16 (via Instapundit):

Sporadic and minor clashes have started in several areas of the Iranian Capital, Tehran and its suburbs, especially in the southern, eastern and western areas as the night has fall and streets are enflame with thousands of fire set for celebrating the traditional but banned "Tchahar Shanbe Soori".

This time is no more the security forces that are taking initiative of attack but young exasperated Iranians who are throwing hand made grenades and powerful fire crackers against them and forcing them take distance. Several security patrols cars and bikes caught in the middle of the crowd have been damaged by fire or abandoned as its occupants preferred to escape from crowd which is making use of the sirens and speakers of governmental confiscated repressive tools for broadcasting songs under the desperate eyes of the regime forces.

Same trend is getting followed in several provincial cities, such as Esfahan, Shiraz, Hamedan and Kermanshah.

Never, never, Iran had witnessed such celebration as the issue has become of a matter of National and Freedom emblem for millions of Iranians.

3/15/2004

Quick hits

And that's Kool Aid and gin

Much of Sunday was spent tending to a mutual friend of me and my roommate, who turned ill after a drinking session that went bad and ended up staying at our place, mostly lying on our couch. It wasn't a big deal to me, I've been through the experience on the other side up to a point and so I had nothing but sympathy. Kids, take it from Uncle Yaron, DON'T MIX DRINKS! I'm serious about this one, it's the bane of most drinking mishaps. Let whatever drink you chose at the beginning of the night serve like a talisman for the rest of your drinking session.

I was thinking of adding "if you do mix drinks, don't then accept an offer of pot from random Bulgarian girls", but that one doesn't seem like enough of a universal message.

3/12/2004

You know my bip-bopping days are over

Will I go looking for a new band now? Sarah asks that in a previous comment. I don't know yet. The whole process of finding a band is pretty time-consuming. There are a lot of things that have to fit for a band to work out: you have to get along with each other, you have to have the same basic musical interests, it helps if everyone's around the same talent level musically, and it helps a lot if you're around the same geographic location. Thinking about, I'd say the talent level issue is actually the least of the four: people can usually pick up any part if you rehearse it often enough, and there's a lot to be said for keeping things simple as opposed to being some kind of master musician (see: the drummer from the White Stripes, the bassist from Yo La Tengo, everyone from a lot of punk bands).

For whatever of these issues, it took me a long time of looking before I found my last band. Or the one before that. In every case, it's been a lot of talking on the phone, and coordinating, and heading out to various rehearsal studios and people's apartments.

Not that it was a burden: I'm grateful for all the experiences I've had playing with various bands that didn't work out, for one reason or another. Every one has been an interesting experience, in seeing what other musicians are doing. I've run into a few that I think actually have some sort of shot at hitting fame: The Blondes, Inc. (they were called China Girl when I met them), who sound like The Strokes and Oasis, and Scarlet Fields, who sound like Radiohead and Garbage. Plus Chancer, a really good band that I nearly joined, who sound a little like Nirvana. If any of these bands make it big, I'll of course take every available opportunity that to mention in passing that I played with them once.

Still, I don't think I have the patience right now to go through the whole process again. Plus it would be nice to start handling the creative duties for myself.

What did you think I'd find?
I'll keep on trying to change your mind
Hug, hug, hug you and kiss, kiss, kiss you
Tell me, tell me, tell me you miss, miss, miss me
What did you think I'd do?
The ch-ch-chan-changes you put me through
The sun shines brighter every day I'm without you
But I love, love, love you like the way that I used to do


Rocketship, "I Love You Like The Way That I Used To Do"

I was putting together a mix CD with this song on it, and now I can't get it out of my head.

3/10/2004

The biggest wagon is the empty wagon

Reader Sean Doherty asked me to post something about Michael Benjamin, a Republican who's running for the senate seat currently occupied by Chuck Schumer. The problem is that the state Republican party has already chosen a candidate, and is refusing at this point to hold a primary. This issue resonates with me because the anointed candidate, Howard Mills, a middle-of-the-road pseudo-Republican who was referred to as a "sacrificial lamb" in the New York Post being placed against the supposedly-unbeatable Schumer. This embodies to me everything that's wrong with the state GOP: in a desire to not offend the liberals, the party ends up looking weak and ashamed of its own principles.

I can understand the reasoning behind the machinations: here in the People's Republic of Manhattan, Democrats outnumber Republicans by something like 6 to 1, and the numbers are similar in most of the other boroughs. But the situation is more complex than that would indicate. Rudy Giuliani showed that a strong leader with forceful conservative ideas can win in the city, and Bloomberg showed that an outsider businessman (as Benjamin also is) has a natural appeal here; his $60 million advertising spree didn't hurt either, but that's a subject for another day.

There's an online petition you can sign to support a primary, if you're a New York State Republican.

Quagmire deepens

Clearly we're in way over our heads in Iraq. From the newly-signed interim constitution:

All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts.

Seriously, it's a big day for human liberty. Mohamed at Iraq the Model says: "We are witnessing the true birth of democracy in a country that witnessed what maybe the worst example of injustice and dictatorship." Steven Den Beste says: "It contrasts rather sharply with the proposed constitution of the EU, which is phone-book length and is unlikely to be ratified."

3/9/2004

If you're so prone to accidents and misunderstandings you may accidentally misinterpret honesty for selfishness.
We're two human beings, individually
with inherent interest in each other and how we relate.

If you're still prone to accidents and misunderstandings
you won't understand me
or my motivation for being alone.
We're just two human beings, individually
with inherent interest in each other and how we relate.
Considering everything, me leaving with regrets only makes sense.
I'll see you when we're both not so emotional.


American Football, "I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional"

3/7/2004

We're sympathetic to chance


It looks like Handwriting the band is no more. When your singer/guitarist says he's unhappy with the direction the music was taking there's not much you can do. Thankfully there was no personal acrimony involved. I have possible other plans at this point, but it's all speculative.


3/5/2004

Oldie but goodie

You've probably all seen this, but I was sorting through my old emails today and was reacquainted with this billboard image.

Thankfully these days I'm more of a banker than an engineer.

3/1/2004

Rudy '04

The Scotsman says: "US PRESIDENT George Bush is ready to pull off the biggest shock of this year's election campaign by naming Rudy Giuliani as his running mate at the Republican convention in Manhattan in September."

No "speculations abound in inner circles that...". No "according to one unnamed senior official in the White House...". The statement stands by itself. Maybe it's the laconic Scottish style, I don't know. The only source quoted in the article is Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today. Was the McPaper on the receiving end of the scoop of the year?

I like Dick Cheney; as far as I can tell his contributions have been entirely in the realm of foreign policy, and I'm a big fan of this administration's foreign policy. I like Giuliani too, although I think he might be a little too thin-skinned for national office. Karol thinks he'd never make it in national politics because he's pro-choice. Switching VP's feels like desperation, unwarranted I might add because I can't see the rudderless John Kerry winning more than 10 states in the general election.

Via Damian Penny.

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