Sunday, March 30, 2003

politics is only one avenue

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
~Edmund Burke (17291797), Irish philosopher, statesman

And I'm looking for other avenues. But I respectfully don't think looking inward is the answer other than to center oneself in order to sustain the effort needed to do SOMETHING -- even if it's just writing in a journal or sharing the memories of the horrors of war seen firsthand -- as on a television show. Telling is doing something.
posted by lee on 03/30/03 at 04:42 PM

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Saturday, March 29, 2003

one today - will there be other congresspeople
taking a stand against evil?

Press Release -- Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (OH10) -- Kucinich: This War is Wrong And Must End

Today, at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who leads opposition to the war in Iraq, issued the following statement:

This Administration has never made its case for war against Iraq. It is an unjustified war, which the Administration continues to misrepresent and exaggerate. The most recent example is the Administration's characterization of international coalition support for this war.

ӓThis morning, President Bush once again exaggerated the extent of support for the war stating that the coalition of countries supporting this war is larger than the 1991 Gulf War. What Bush failed to mention was that back in 1991, all of the 34 coalition members offered military force, by contributing troops on the ground, aircraft, ships or medics.

This war involves the troops of only the U.S., Britain, Australia, Poland and Albania. Not even the three members of the Security Council that support the war, Spain, Italy, and Bulgaria are committing military support.

ӓThis Bush Administration has been adding coalition member to their list based on statements of moralӔ support. As the Washington Post reported last week, if this type of criteria was used back in 1991, the size of the coalition would likely have topped 100 countries.

Further, the total cost of the Gulf War to the United States was around $4 billion dollars. This time, the President has come to Congress requesting a $75 billion bill, all of which will be paid by U. S. taxpayers. Clearly, military and economic support from countries is far more important than statements of ӓwell-wishes.

ԓThis war must end now. It was unjust when it started last week, and is still unjust today. The U.S. should get out now and try to save the lives of American troops and Iraqi citizens. Most importantly, ending the war now and resuming weapons inspections could salvage world opinion of the United States, which has been deteriorating since the talk of war began. After all, the greatest threat to the United States at this time is terrorism, which is breeding from this war.

And today:
Kucinich: Stop War Now,
Bring Troops Home


Today, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), who leads opposition in the House to the war in Iraq, issued the following statement:

ԓThis war is illegal and wrong, we must stop it now and bring our troops home.

As the human and fiscal costs of this war become clear, now more than ever it is urgent that the United States bring our troops home. We must end this war and allow the United Nations (UN) to search for suspected weapons of mass destruction and provide humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq.

ӓWe are at a critical point in this war. Our troops are poised on the edge of what almost all military experts say will be the toughest and potentially most deadly phase of this war. This war must end now. It was unjust when it started last week, and is still unjust today. The U.S. should get out now and try to save the lives of American troops and Iraqi citizens.
posted by lee on 03/29/03 at 01:37 PM

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Friday, March 28, 2003

Eminently silly - a perfect matinee

I wrote a review of The Core, which Stanley and I went to see this afternoon (we played hooky). But, when I hit the save button, the frelling browser crashed before anything was sent to the server. Internet Explorer 6 is a suckass browser -- I've had nothing but trouble with it, almost as if it's designed to crash on Win98 systems so we rush right out and buy XP. (Ain't gonna happen -- I'll switch to Lindows before I'll shell out money for XP.)

At any rate, The Core was fun, a great matinee movie, don't pay full price to see it but do see it on the big screen, suspend disbelief, enjoy. Maybe I'll reconstruct my review one of these days, but I really don't have the heart to do it now.
posted by lee on 03/28/03 at 07:56 PM

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Thursday, March 27, 2003

one o’ those bad pet days

Ginger loves peanut butter cookies (well, ANY cookie will do). So does Stanley. Stanley put three boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the counter, then checked his email. Went back to put the cookies away, but there was one box missing. Ginger helped herself to about half a box of cookies. It didn't make Stanley's disposition any nicer when I couldn't stop laughing about it.

Then, as we were coming home from the library, I saw a look of horror cross Stanley's face, then caught sight of a gray streak out of the corner of my eye. Twitch! He somehow slipped past us as we were coming in the door and made his big escape, probably headed for the poison ivy jungle at the back of the yard. Twitch is not allowed outside because he'd get killed on the busy street we live on. Fortunately, Stanley managed to snag Twitch before he got too far off into the dark for us to find. It's a miracle we even saw him at all.

Poor Stanley! [I'm STILL laughing about both incidents!]
posted by lee on 03/27/03 at 09:09 PM

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eyewitness to crimes against humanity

Robert Fisk, in Baghdad, in The Independent: "'It was an outrage, an obscenity' The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smouldering car.

"Two missiles from an American jet killed them all by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians, torn to pieces before they could be 'liberated' by the nation that destroyed their lives. Who dares, I ask myself, to call this 'collateral damage'? Abu Taleb Street was packed with pedestrians and motorists when the American pilot approached through the dense sandstorm that covered northern Baghdad in a cloak of red and yellow dust and rain yesterday morning."

"Conservative figures for those killed in air-raids on Baghdad stand at around 100. The number of dead and wounded among the allied forces is infinitely smaller at fewer than 50 so far, but the numbers mount daily."

What are we supposed to be doing there, again?
posted by lee on 03/27/03 at 07:18 PM

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Lessons

I've been busy trying to wrap up stuff, so have woefully neglected this journal, reading, cleaning the house, breathing ... I have to pay more attention to working a set number of hours each day and no more -- since I'm not a medical professional, NOTHING is so urgent that it can't wait another day. At least, nothing I have to do. So here are a couple of odds & ends that have been on my mind.

DON'T GIVE AWAY YOUR TALENT
I've learned recently that there are some people who don't appreciate the value of something unless they've paid for it, whether it's website work, design work, opinions, or advice that THEY'VE asked you for (the latter two are otherwise known as consulting, if you're being paid for it). It's hard to know who these people are in advance -- especially if these people are friends and you don't want to think badly of them. I've done what I could, gratis, for friends, colleagues, and family members when asked (especially when it was a way I COULD help in their time of need) and had never been burned for it -- until today. Someone I believed in and thought better of decided to go off on a stupid power trip and excoriated me for, essentially, not doing these free things fast enough to satisfy him -- give me the CD artwork NOW ... The asshole. No more freebies for him, no way. He can pay my going rates. He shot himself in the foot, the jerk.

TELEPHONE FRAUD ALERT
Stanley has been writing about a scam that's been bugging us -- put on by the pond scum of a company called World Wide Source when it sets up the scam and American Solutions Information when it tries to collect on the scam. They've been calling every day and when we feel like it, we answer the phone. Sometimes we just hang up, sometimes we make demands of them. Depends on our mood. I think Stanley's next step is to get them to send us a couple of more documents and then turn them over to the Connecticut Attorney General. Who issued a press release about this scam.

CT A.G. Blumenthal wants, I think I've read, to run for governor -- maybe in the next race (when hopefully the citizens of this state will finally realize that Rowland is a shitty administrator). The problem is that Blumenthal is so good at being an attorney general that people just won't want to see him as governor -- why should we when he does more good for the citizens of CT in one week as A.G. than a governor could ever do (especially Rowland)?

THE WAR
Support our troops: bring them home NOW.
posted by lee on 03/27/03 at 01:43 AM

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Saturday, March 22, 2003

BigFix works

BigFix is software that runs in your system tray and notifies you when there's a new update or security patch that needs installing. I installed it a few months ago (I don't remember how I learned about it, maybe TechTV?) to give it a whirl since I get so tired of eternally trying to track down, access, and install relevant MS security patchs (seemingly almost daily).

BigFix is designed to "automatically check your computer for bugs, configuration conflicts, and security holes." The company's trademarked tagline is "Fix it before it fails." I gotta say it does its job quite well, at a cost that can't be beat: for personal use, the cost is zilch. Nada. As in $0.

Why, you may wonder? Because they're really after the big boys -- the enterprises that find managing and installing patches and upgrades a logistical nightmare. As in BigFix is a "patch management solution." So I guess giving it away to the little people is a way of 1) evangelizing and 2) testing. Okay by me. So far it's offered in several flavors of Windows, but, according to their FAQ, they'll soon be offering a version for Macs.

So, it works and I'll keep using it for free -- but I would pay for it as it's become as essential to me as my anti-virus program, ZoneAlarmPro, and Ad-Aware. I'm willing to pay for programs like these because business that actually generate revenue tend to stay in business and therefore support and upgrade their products.
posted by lee on 03/22/03 at 01:18 PM

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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Breathing room, finally

Had two big deadlines, both of which we met! The first was getting up a new website for the Massachusetts/Israel company Bandwiz: www.bandwiz.com. We're pretty proud of this site. We still have a bit more work to do on it, but it's all under-the-hood stuff. For the most part. Building this site is a pleasure because the folks there are so cool and so easy to work with.

The other deadline met was the completion of a back-of-the-book index for a financial book to be published, in June, I think, by John Wiley & Co. When it gets closer to release, I'll post more details -- but I will say the book is about trading stock options and it was written by S. A. Johnston and that it's a fascinating book that's written very well.

It was a little discombobulating at times, being pulled into two different media: print and online. Thinking about both projects at once, juggling ... all the while trying to pay attention to this obscenity of a war foisted on the world by the lunatics in the White House.

Why is it that if we oppose the war, people assume we don't support our troops? That's absurd. Each and every military person over there is a volunteer and has signed up to do what they perceive as their duty. This is both noble and honorable and I admire them for this.

I don't, however, admire the president for sending these honorable men and women off to possibly die in a war that is both morally wrong and unnecessary. I believe that's tantamont to murder. I believe it's a crime against humanity.

Do I support our troops? Absolutely. Do I believe in this war? Absolutely not. The best way to support our troops is to end this disaster now and get them out of harm's way as quickly as possible.

If there were some tangible way for me to show support, a way that would actually benefit even one military person thrown into hell by the president, I would do so. All of a sudden saying we support the president when we didn't, and still don't, is NOT supporting our troops. It's actually the same as spitting in their faces since we would not be exercising the duties and rights we have as Americans -- which the troops enlisted to protect.

So, support our troops: BRING THEM HOME NOW.
posted by lee on 03/20/03 at 07:27 PM

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Sunday, March 16, 2003

Junior chooses the wrong roosevelt to emulate
(not that he understands history, anyway)

The Arrogant Empire | Newsweek | March 24, 2003 | by Fareed Zakaria

Does America really want a world in which it gets its way in the face of constant public anger only by twisting arms, offering bribes and allying with dictators?

This article is a balanced look at why most of the rest of the world has gone from predominantly pro-American to predominantly anti-American. Not anti- average- Joe- in- the- street- American, but anti American government. The author takes a look at Clinton's unilateral actions (such as those in Kosovo and Haiti) and why his actions were supported, vs. Bush #2's tactics and why these are blowing up in our faces.

The one thing that I'm still not clear on in what the current administration hopes to gain from destroying 50 years of careful coalition building and diplomacy? Or why its conduct of foreign affairs is so, well, amateur?

What appalls me most is Rumsfield's penchant for conducting world affairs a la Al Capone, whom he quotes: You will get more with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.Ӕ It's pretty frightening when our Secretary of Defense's hero is an evil gangster.

"There are many specific ways for the United States to rebuild its relations with the world. It can match its military buildup with diplomatic efforts that demonstrate its interest and engagement in the worlds problems. It can stop oversubsidizing American steelworkers, farmers and textile-mill owners, and open its borders to goods from poorer countries. But above all, it must make the world comfortable with its power by leading through consensus. AmericaҒs special role in the worldits ability to buck historyחis based not simply on its great strength, but on a global faith that this power is legitimate. If America squanders that, the loss will outweigh any gains in domestic security. And this next American century could prove to be lonely, brutish and short."

On a side note, the one thing that bothers me a lot about America's current France-bashing frenzy is that we would still be a colony of Great Britain without the considerable aid of France during the Revolution. It also bothers me that so many people think so little of freedom that they persist in making the word insipid enough to apply to deep-fried potatoes.
posted by lee on 03/16/03 at 12:19 PM

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Saturday, March 15, 2003

a very good bullshit list

The Millenium Project, from, I think, Australia. Site owner Peter Bowditch devotes an amazing amount of time and energy to listing the worst on the web -- most of it annotated.

A great resource -- Penn & Teller should consult it for their excellent Showtime Bullshit series. Which, by the way, was excellent last night (about creationism). I'm looking forward to next week's show: Self-Helpless.
posted by lee on 03/15/03 at 03:35 AM

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