Archive for January, 2006

2006.01.31

State of the Union 2006

You looked a little bit confused at the loud applause after you said, ‘Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,’ and I admit I was at first, too, because I thought it was the Republicans clapping so enthusiastically.Like a few people out there I heard President Bush’s State of the Union Address. Geez, I was practically finishing his sentences for him. Tax cuts, war, oppression, activist judges, cloning, compassion… That’s ok, there was still quite a bit that wasn’t deja vu.

I’m sick of these references to a “war on terror.” Congress has not declared war, so there is no war. Sorry Mr. President, but please use the correct terminology. Hey! You mentioned bin Laden! What ever happened to that scoundrel? Maybe he’s at some resort with the other assholes of the world, smoking a cigar (Cuban) and laughing at us. Maybe you should work on that…

I hear you saying that decisions regarding our military in Iraq will be determined by our military leaders and not politician in Washington, DC. Does that mean you don’t think you’re a politician in Washington, DC? Or that you’re not really the Commander in Chief who tells the military what to do? That’s rhetorical; I don’t really expect an answer.

I think one of the best quotes of the evening was, “Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.” I know this is another rhetorical question, but what are the other components of wisdom? At least you’re absolutely right that second-guessing is not a strategy, but neither is plowing ahead with a bad idea regardless of the consequences. Like, say, invading a country on faulty intelligence, proceeding to nation build with out a clear strategy, ill equipping our troops, and continually saying everything is hunky dory. Maybe that’s just me and my common sense, though.

You are correct that we have to hold the course, though. Once you started us down the path of invasion and nation building it is anything but criminal to stop. Yes, future Presidents from both parties will be dealing with the consequences of your actions for many years. After all, it’s not like they can step back and say, “Oh, hey, sorry about all that. Would you like to come to Disney Land?”

You looked a little bit confused at the loud applause after you said, “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,” and I admit I was at first, too, because I thought it was the Republicans clapping so enthusiastically.

I don’t want to sound like I’m entirely contrarian to your words, Mr. President. I agree with you entirely that American competitiveness requires affordable health care. I see a brilliant way of achieving this laudable goal, too! Wanna hear it? Expand the existing military health care system to the civilian population! Free healthcare! Plus it focuses on our military and how efficient they are. (This, BTW, is not sarcasm; the military health care system was the best balance of affordability and quality I’ve encounter anywhere I’ve ever been.)

I’m happy you are again bringing up the need for new energy sources to wean us of our oil addiction. You mentioned this in your 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 addresses, too. I’m still waiting for this clean and reliable source of energy so I can stop the IV drip of black gold.

I applaud your education bits. It would be great for our economy if our kids (mine are a figment, but hopefully not for forever) were awesome at math and science. Our economy would definitely improve… if our corporations weren’t so busy sending all those jobs overseas.

Mr. President, I don’t know what the coming year will bring. The only thing I know is that you didn’t once mention the pressing need to give me your office and do the job right. Maybe that will come next year.

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2006.01.31

The Longest Commute

How was your commute to work today? I think I just had the longest commute of my life. This morning I got up at 4AM PST and took a plane from Austin, TX to SFO, and then a shuttle in to work. I was a little late, but I think that’s alright.

Now I’m a walking zombie. You know that pain you can get right behind your eyes when you don’t get enough sleep? gTodd calls them little nails. I’ve had that since about noon. Once the laundry is done I’m hitting the sack. Meanwhile I’m going to catch up on some posting.

2 Comments | Catergorized: life

2006.01.30

Down and Out in Austin, TX

Should I get boots?
New Boots?
For those not in the know, which is pretty much everyone, I’ve been in Austin, Texas hanging out with Ann and visiting my stomping grounds of almost 30 years ago. I’ve written a couple posts of All Things Austin from my perspective.

Heather, you were born in a pretty cool place. I can’t speak for the bulk of Texas, but Austin is exceeding expectation!

3 Comments | Catergorized: austin  life  photos

2006.01.30

Two Front Doors

Can someone please explain to me why many (most?) older houses in Austin have two front doors? Were they designed as escape hatches? Was the idea that you might have a business in one half of the house and live in the other?

Speaking of which, it was pointed out to me that a ton of businesses are actually located in existing houses and this is true. Is it simply cheaper to renovate an existing house and bring it up to code (do they even have a City Code here?) than to build a new building? Probably.

Anyways, if anyone knows why these houses have two (and I’ve seen three) front doors please leave a comment!

2 Comments | Catergorized: austin  technology  thoughts

2006.01.30

Cunningham Elementary School

I grew up in the military and so one of the realities of my childhood was moving around every couple years. It never occurred to me that I might have the opportunity to visit a place I’d lived once I’d left. The exception was Seoul, and only because my parents moved back there.

Until now. I knew I was going to be in Austin visiting Ann, so I made a point of getting the address of our old house from Dad. I had already found my old elementary school on a map but couldn’t remember exactly where we lived.

Read the rest of this entry…

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2006.01.28

Do You Want Power?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: until the Democrats (or some segment there of) want power more than the Republicans (or some segment there of) they will continue to lose every serious election they face.

Further, until the Democrats accept that not all of the Republican agenda is wrong they will only limit themselves and their potential. It is sad to me to see no one willing to take the best both “sides” have to offer and amalgamate those ideals into a new unity.

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2006.01.28

Belly Button

“It’s strange to look at her and know that she has a belly button.” That was my thought when I saw a woman walking today. When you’re walking around sometime look at someone and think to yourself, “They have a belly button.”

(Apologies to Zapski; I know you hate belly buttons…)

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2006.01.27

Bite the Bullet Train

Right now there is a bond measure up for the November 2006 elections to fund high speed rail in California. It’s a great idea, and will be important in the future as fuel and energy costs go up and people can’t afford to travel by car and air like they are used to today. Unfortunately the measure is in trouble and might never even get started.

Americans love their cars. I’m no exception. However when I started driving gas costed 80 cents a gallon. Tonight I paid $2.45. Prices are only going to go up; gasoline is a finite resource. Eventually it will cost too much for me to drive and I’ll give up the car.

At that point, if I want to visit SoCal, how will I get there? If I can’t afford the car I doubt I’d be able to buy a plane ticket. Trains, if they are built correctly and run on something aside from fossil fuels, are pretty inexpensive.

The Governor recently proposed all kinds of infrastructure improvements for California. Among the improvements was for our road system. To me it makes far more sense to invest (or go further in debt as it looks like his proposals actually would do) in transportation that has longevity. Pour those billions of dollars into research for actual electric engines powered by hydrogen or into trains.

For more information about trains visit the California Hi Speed Rail Authority. Thanks to Alan for inspiring this entry. His email is below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry…

Comments Off | Catergorized: political  san francisco  thoughts

2006.01.26

California classifies second-hand smoke ‘toxic’

I’m sure most who come read this site will love this news:

California regulators became the first in the nation today to designate second-hand tobacco smoke as a “toxic air contaminant,” placing it in the same category as the poisons
arsenic and benzene.

Ignoring the fact that smoking is, indeed, bad for you, I don’t get why they don’t just ban smoking all together. After all, that’s where this is going.

Here’s where my liberal tendencies fray and my libertarian self pokes his head out and says, “WTF?” There is so much out there that is bad for you. Car exhaust, for example. Maybe instead of sending agents to snoop outside of buildings to learn how to protect innocent pedestrians from the evil smokers lurking outside of buildings they should shove thier noses in Pacific Steel’s pipe and see how they feel about it.

Really, with the state already owing more debt than I ever did (and that was a lot!), don’t you think they would have bigger fish to fry? Like tax evaders? Or education? Or better transportation?

California, land of the free to be regulated.

3 Comments | Catergorized: grrr  thoughts

2006.01.22

Underworld: Evolution


Underworld:
Evolution
Underworld Evolution came out this weekend. If you are a fan of action and/or vampire movies you will love this one. It’s the sequel to Underworld and continues the story of Selene and the hybrid vampire/lycan (lycan = werewolf) Michael. The great thing is that you don’t have to have seen the first movie to really enjoy the second. Some quick exposition sets the stage for the rest of the film.

It’s rare that a sequel is made this well, and possibly outshines its predecessor. The Empire Strikes Back comes to mind, and offhand that’s the only movie I can think of. Usually Hollywood is more interested in sucking the life out of any potential franchise. In this case hopefully the franchise will suck the life out of Hollywood. This movie has a story that drives it along, and characters that are believable enough that you want to be their passenger.

Expect more graphic violence and sexuality in the movie. It is not over the top and fits with the story but was a surprise to me given that the first movie didn’t have quite so much. Definitely a movie I’m going to pick up on DVD and watch again and again on Geek Nights.

Comments Off | Catergorized: movies
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