diet coke for breakfast


Thursday, April 29, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Google files for an IPO

I wish Google the best of luck. I started using Google in 1998 when it was a barely known start-up. In fact I have a career-fair t-shirt from 1998 or 1999. At the time Google came out, search engines had about a 6 month life-span before they would become overwhelmed and start spitting out garbage, and then some other engine would take over. Lycos, Altavista, Webcrawler, Hotbot, and others all came and went in a short time. Yahoo switched their search engine (for queries outside their directory) several times for just that reason. Google, however, never seems to get bogged down. I don't know if that's just a testament to the strength of their algorithm, or because they keep changing things to shake it up, but I applaud them. At the same time, they keep adding products that are useful. This was written in the blogger add-in to their toolbar, which also contains an excellent pop-up blocker. The only question is whether their revenue stream of sponsored links is sustainable. Let's hope so.




Posted by Tanstaafl


Posted by Tanstaafl
Lung association ranks most polluted cities:

Southern California tops the list of the nation's cities and counties most threatened by air pollution, according to the American Lung Association's annual report.

Maybe banning smoking on their beaches will help with this problem.




Posted by Tanstaafl
L.A. shopping malls on alert over terror threat

Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but I didn't see this on the CNN site. This is inevitable however... it's only a matter of time before a soft target like a shopping mall, a movie theater, or god forbid an elementary school gets attacked. All we can do is beef up our intelligence efforts and hope for the best.



Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Posted by RFTR
CNN.com - Music industry sues 477 more computer users - Apr 28, 2004: "The trade group said the newest lawsuits targeted students at Mansfield; Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; Emory University in Atlanta; Georgia Institute of Technology; Gonzaga University of Spokane, Washington; Michigan State University; Princeton University in New Jersey; Sacred Heart University of Fairfield, Connecticut; Texas A&M University; Trinity College of Hartford, Connecticut; Trinity University of San Antonio; the University of Kansas; University of Minnesota and Virginia Polytechnic Institute."

Starting to hit a little closer to home, but I'm still safe so far...




Posted by Tanstaafl
DVD player filters out nudity, violence:

'ClearPlay software edits movies to conform to ClearPlay's vision of a movie instead of letting audiences see, and judge for themselves, what writers wrote, what actors said and what directors envisioned,' a guild representative said in a statement.

Sorry guys, but from my point of view, it allows people to choose to see things differently. If they want to see what the director intended they can pop the DVD in a regular player. It's a market choice.

That being said, can I filter out sappy scenes leaving only sex and violence?




Posted by Tanstaafl
Gore gives Democrats $6 million:

Gore met privately with Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio. He announced Wednesday that he would give $4 million to the Democratic National Committee to boost the senator's campaign.

What did I miss... isn't this soft money?




Posted by Tanstaafl
Defending Kerry, senator blasts 'chickenhawks':

In a speech Monday at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Cheney attacked Kerry's votes in the Senate to cut weapons programs, his opposition to the 1991 Persian Gulf War and recent comments that the war on terror should not be thought of primarily as a military operation.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Cheney criticized Kerry on policy issues and said that 'no one is questioning his military service.'


Even those criticizing whatever happened with the medals 35 years ago aren't criticizing his military record or questioning his heroism. They're criticizing and questioning subsequent actions, positions, and policies. Does this mean that we can't question anything that someone who served in Vietnam does afterward?

That being said. I think the Republicans should stop even mentioning the medals fiasco or Kerry's anti-war protests. It distracts from their more reasonable criticisms of how he voted in the Senate.




Posted by Tanstaafl

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Teen successfully fights off bear

Way to go kid. Good thinking with the air horn!

Matt - I don't usually remember my dreams, most are pretty boring, but this story reminded me of one of my all time favorites: about four years ago (probably during big game week) I dreamt that a large grizly bear was terrorizing campus on Escondido near the dorms. For some reason, this really pissed me off, and I took it upon myself to attack the grizzly bear. I ran around the bear yelling at it and throwing anything I could grab at it: bikes, branches, etc. Then James appeared and tossed an aluminum baseball bat towards me. I remember thinking "oh, its on now, b****!". I beat the tar out of that bear. It was cool.



Thursday, April 22, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl


Posted by Tanstaafl

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
GSM America | AT&T Wireless

I'll believe it when I see it. They've had huge problems logistically, and I've been told several times now that if my phone says ANYTHING other than AT&T Wireless on the screen when I make or receive a call, that I'll get dinged for roaming. I'm going to call them to find out.

Brian --They've been a bunch of lying sons of ____ in dealing with me. Hopefully this will change things. I'm also hoping the cingular merger works out in our favor.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Amazon.com: DVD: Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)

It's about DAMN TIME! That's a pretty reasonable price too. I wonder if that's just the Amazon pre-order price.



Monday, April 19, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Duke University cuts out 8 a.m. classes:

College students sleep an average of six to seven hours a night, down from seven to seven and a half in the 1980s.

That sounds like a measurement issue. They should look at how many hours they sleep a DAY!




Posted by Tanstaafl


Posted by RFTR
CNN.com - Brokaw to sign off on December 1 - Apr 19, 2004: "NBC has confirmed that December 1 will be Tom Brokaw's last day on the job as anchor of the 'NBC Nightly News.'"

I guess he's not in the running for Veep, then.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Woodward: Tenet told Bush WMD case a 'slam dunk'

I'm not sure if this is good for Bush or not. I think some ups and some downs.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Healthcare Debate

I tried to put this in the comments section at RFTR, but it was almost 2000 characters too long:

1) I sorta remember that conversation, butI don't think I was the one who made the house analogy... maybe I was, who knows.

2) Universal healthcare is not usually criticized on equal opportunity grounds. That's a new one to me... The problem with goverment management of the healthcare system is that it will create more perverse incentives than it already does. Right now, the fee for service system provides an incentive for lots of tests, medicines, and treatments even if they're not particularly necessary because doctor's get paid for what they provide whereas patients only pay their flat copay fee. A government system that ignores economics would only exacerbate this problem. Now as it turns out a better system might be the much reviled HMOs. With the HMO, the doctors are on salary, not a fee for service system. So, they get paid regardless of what treatment they provide. But, as they compete with other HMOs they have an incentive to keep you as healthy as they can for the least amount of cost to you. If someone other HMO does it better, you'd switch. As a result HMOs stress prevention over more costly after-the-fact treatment. Comparison studies in Oregon have shown that HMO patients are just as healthy (if not healthier) than their counterparts in the typical co-pay insurance programs, at a fraction of the cost.

2) Yes the British system is slow... and in medicine that can mean life or death. There are numerous examples of cancer patients, for instance, dying while waiting six months for an appointment. Don't marginalize that important aspect.

3) If the concern is to get people with less income access to healthcare, then purhaps what needs to happen is to decrease the cost of healthcare. That's no small feat however. One way is to institute what some economists call "Managed Choice". Right now the California State Employees system (and I think federal employees system) works this way, and it has gone a long way toward restraining costs. The way it would work is that your employer (or the govt. if you're discussing medicare/caid) would approve a list of 10 or so insurance providors that cover at least a base level of care (ER visits, OB-GYN, etc). The employer pays the cost of the median provider in this list. If the employee wants more, they can chose to pay the difference for one of the more expensive plans. If they don't need all of the services the median provides (eye-glasses for instance) then they can choose one of the less expensive providors and get the difference back in their pay-check. This way you turn employees into educated health-care consumers, and you provide an incentive for insurance companies to restrain costs. In the 1970s when oil crises raised the price of gasoline, Honda and Toyota brought cheap, gas-efficient engines to the market, and beat the pants off of the gas-guzzling Caddies and Lincolns. The consumer won, because the Hondas ended up being, for a long time, better cars for less money. Right now, there are few Honda of health-care, and the cost of the system will continue to spiral upwards until govt regulations allow more to be introduced.

4) The other major reason that healthcare costs are so high is that malpractice insurance is extremely expensive. Until that's brough under control, this whole debate may be academic. If doctor's can't make any money because their insurance costs are higher than what they can get paid for their services, then they'll find other lines of work. If you don't think that's a problem, try having a solid healthcare system with sub-standard doctors.

Brian -- 1) You didn't come up with the house analogy, you were the one that pointed out the first two assumptions were false. You came up with the "I want my house to be the best it can possibly be, independent of my neighbor."
2)I have posted your comments (minus the dispute about the house conversation) over at RFTR.

Thanks for your help in making my case. I figured you'd know more about this than I.



Thursday, April 15, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Poll: Kerry leads Bush?among students:

Thirty-seven percent of students said they don't know enough about the senator from Massachusetts to have formed an opinion about him.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Poll: More want jobs program, reduced deficit than tax cut.:

The poll found 76 percent of those surveyed would have preferred the government devote resources to job creation rather than the tax cut, and even 54 percent of Republicans would have chosen jobs over tax cuts.

What jobs program would they like? Digging ditches? Paving roadways? I'm dismayed that people have the impression that some sort of spending program would create jobs, but a tax cut would not.



Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Brain implant devices approved for trials

Well... that's it, we might as well give the keys to the nuclear weapons over to the robot army now.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Read how they phrase the question...

Maybe I'm being overly semantic, but isn't this a bit leading? Convincing performance? Are they saying that he's pretending to be something he's not?

I watched the news conference last night, and was encouraged in parts, and discouraged in others. I felt that Bush did a very good job on explaining why the fight in Iraq is necessary and is the right thing to do. I was glad that he called out the fools who have criticized the administration for acting "preemptively" in Iraq, but now think that he should have ordered our troops into Afghanistan sometime between January and September of 2001. I found his handling of the press corp amusing, but at the same time, I'm sure many will see it as arrogant and annoying.

I think my one complaint was his handling of the "can you admit a mistake" question. Look, no politician ever admits a mistake. Their opponents would jump all over it. That being said, he could have been ready for the question. This has been a pretty consistent criticism by pundits lately, and his staff should have known it was coming. A better response than "I can't think of anything right now" would be something like "Look [Mr. Reporter guy], all people make mistakes. Are there things that I wish had happened differently? Sure. But hindsight's 20/20 and I can't honestly say that I would change any of the decisions I've made, given what I knew at the time. Right or wrong, I'll stand by my decisions. If the American people think that someone else can do better, then that's their perogative." But maybe that's why I've never won any sort of election.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Consumer price measure rises more than expected

Will the Fed respond? Probably not unless this continues for 3 months or more. This is remarkable because only 6 months ago, Greenspan was warning about the danger of deflation.




Posted by Jake
The Command Post - Iraq - Annan doubtful of U.N. return to Iraq

"U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says violence in Iraq will prevent the world body from re-establishing a major presence in the country anytime in the foreseeable future."

Oh yeah, they are going to be a whole lot of help.



Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Posted by Jake


Posted by Jake
Faster Iraq? - Plus, paranoia about Fallujah and that Aug. 6 memo By Mickey Kaus

"John Kerry does best when he's exposed to the voters least! His optimal approach is to let Bush stew in the Iraq mess while he remains offstage, an attractive unknown. Any other strategy is a triumph of vanity over recent experience. If I were a Democrat--oh wait, I am a Democrat--if I could keep Kerry in a sealed steel shipping container until November 1, I would."




Posted by Jake

Monday, April 12, 2004

Posted by RFTR
CNN.com - Stamos, Romijn-Stamos have separated - Apr 12, 2004: "Married life is over for 'Full House' actor John Stamos and 'X-Men' actress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, the former Victoria's Secret model."

You have to feel bad for John. After all, having his name attached to Rebecca Romijn is the best credit he's ever gotten.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc. - Fact Sheet - Hoover's Online:

Now the engineering and construction arm of oil field services giant Halliburton, KBR offers construction management, project management, and facilities operations and maintenance services.

I'm a bit amazed at this. I did a google search on Kellogg Brown & Root to see if there was anyway anti-war activists could portray them as "deserving it" as some have done with the security personnel who were dragged through the streets last week. I discovered that KBR is part of Halliburton. I'm just amazed that the mainstream press wouldn't mention that fact. Could it be that they don't want anyone wot feel sympathetic to Halliburton? Or maybe they have mentioned it, and I've just missed it.




Posted by RFTR
CourierPress: Me
Our med-student-in-residence may be intrigued to learn that Guiness may be very good for you.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Kerry says "misery index" highlights middle class woes:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is set to release a study Monday that his campaign says will show President Bush's economic record as one that increased 'middle class misery.'

Now there's an upbeat campaign message.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Play that Funky Foreign Policy?:

She needs to follow the example of the one-hit-wonder Wild Cherry, realize that she is out of touch with the times and get funkified.

Now, why would you want to follow the example of a one-hit-wonder? Wouldn't you rather be Springsteen or a Rolling Stones and endure the test of time? Even if you really want Funk, wouldn't you rather be Earth, Wind, and Fire or James Brown?



Friday, April 09, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
RFTR Complains about Henninger

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. First, I don't generally look forward to Henninger, for a while now i've found him a bit too arrogant for my taste, but I still read him if I have time. Second, it's juevenile to think that someone can only write about something if they've experienced it. By that token, you and I had better stop writing about war and about what's going on in Iraq, and leave that to John Kerry (who by the way served in Vietnam). Of course, lack of personal knowledge brings about certain limitations in your ability to adequately analyze or describe something, but I don't think Mr. Henninger stepped across those bounds at any point here. He pointed out that it's violent... I'm pretty sure that's common knowledge... He mentioned that people disagree over whether it's anti-semitic... again, I don't think you need to see the movie to know that it's controversial.

As for saying that he doesn't need to see, I don't see any problem with that. In fact, I feel the same way, about this movie and many other popular entertainment pieces. For instance, I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books. People tell me I NEED to read them. I don't believe I do. These same people say, "well how can you make a judgement without having read even one?" My response is simple. I have listened to the descriptions of the books, both from people who liked them and from those who didn't. I could be wrong, but from these accounts, I've ascertained that the books are amusing stories about a boy who studies magic and gets into exciting adventures and conflicts with an evil Wizard of some sort. While entertaining, they don't have much deeper meaning, which is fine: I've read my fair share of pulp. But, if that's the case, then given the time, I'd prefer to read Tolkein, Heinlein, Herbert, CS Lewis, Clancy, or books by a dozen other authors before I got to JK Rowling. Henninger isn't saying anything more than that.

Mel Gibson's "Passion" sounds a bit too much for me. The explicit, physical tearing and torture of a body, done by filmmakers, is something I've never been inclined to watch. Of course some Holocaust movies are also difficult to watch, but one must, and it doesn't bother me much--it is ironically appropriate--that Mr. Gibson is using the same film technology that thrills younger audiences for slasher films to draw them to this most violent and therefore modern version of the Passion. Had he or anyone made today the gentler version that is "Ben-Hur," it would have been yawned away.


He's not saying that no one should see it, or that it's somehow disgusting or perverse. He's simply saying that he doesn't have a desire to see something as bloody as Gibson's portrayal, and that given the choice he'd rather rewatch Ben-Hur. That's not proud ignorance, that's just his personal perference.

Brian-- But his tone wasn't why he doesn't want to see it, and won't, but rather why he doesn't think he should see it, and why it's not worth seeing. I don't like him commenting on the fact that it's too violent for his taste without having seen it. Or that he seems to say the Jesus story has been done before, and he liked those versions better, so he doesn't need to see this. I don't think he needs to see it either, but when there's a controversial film out, and plenty of people have seen it and are therefore able to comment on the controversy, I'd rather not have someone come in writing about why he doesn't want to see it. It's like a valedictorian giving an address about how she didn't want to write the speech, but "finally got down to work." Classless.



Thursday, April 08, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Are There Any Iraqis in Iraq?:

When I say that there are no Viet Cong in Iraq, I mean that the Iraqi 'insurgents' opposing the U.S. today cannot plausibly claim to be the authentic expressions of Iraqi nationalism ? as the Viet Cong claimed to be in the Vietnam War. The forces killing Americans and Iraqi police are primarily Sunni Muslims who want to restore the rule and privileges of their minority community and Baath Party, or foreign and local Islamists who are trying to undermine any prospect of modernism, pluralism and secularism in Iraq."


Fair criticism.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Rice Testifiy Live

The video feed is REALLY clear.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Bob Kerry Responds to Richard Clarke:

Mr. Clarke's views on Iraq notwithstanding, after 9/11 we could not afford either to run the risk that Saddam Hussein would be deterred by our military efforts to contain him or that these military deployments would become attractive targets for further acts of terrorism. I supported President Bush's efforts to persuade the United Nations Security Council to change a 10-year-old resolution that authorized force to contain Saddam Hussein to one that authorized force to replace his dictatorship. And I believe the president did the right thing to press ahead even without the Security Council's support. Remember, the June 25, 1996, attack on Khobar Towers that left 19 American airmen dead happened because of our containment efforts. Sailors had also died enforcing the Security Council's embargo and our pilots were risking their lives every day flying missions over northern and southern Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds and Shiites.

It is my view that a political victory for terrorism in Iraq is a much greater danger to us than whether or not we succeed in capturing Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Victory in Iraq will embolden radical Islamists as much as our failure to recognize the original danger of their declaration of war against us.


What SHOULD be the lessons of Vietnam? That when the going gets tough we should cut and run? Or that when the going gets tough, damn the politicians and let the generals unleash the fury of hell?

Frankly I'm with the latter. The former got us Moghadishu. The latter got us Normandy. We need to pick our battles, but once we're in them, we had better do everything in our power to win.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Force Size Poll Results

Unscientific as always, but interesting results none-the-less.



Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Posted by RFTR
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire: "'Brewery giant Pete Coors will enter Colorado's U.S. Senate race today,' the Rocky Mountain News reports. 'The candidacy potentially gives Republicans a well-known and well-financed candidate to challenge Ken Salazar, the Democratic attorney general.'"

Down with Salazar!
(Up with beer?)




Posted by Tanstaafl
Op-Ed Columnist: Two-Front Insurgency:

And we should coolly confront the quaking quagmirists here at home.

Required Reading.



Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Posted by RFTR

Monday, April 05, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Labor Force Surge

I can't speak to the validity or cause of this anomoly, but it would help to explain the "jobless recovery" or the fact that consumer spending has remained pretty high throughout the downturn.



Friday, April 02, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Army divisions hit re-up targets:

Army divisions that fought the past 12 months in Iraq have met virtually every re-enlistment goal, a sign that the all-volunteer force remains strong under the stress of frequent deployments and hazardous duty.

Use this to counter the argument that our troops are there against their will. They know they're doing good work for both the American and the Iraqi people.




Posted by Tanstaafl
Seniors flunking finance

Seems like a course in practical finance might be more usefull than a lot of the underwater basketweaving art classes that are currently taught in high schools. And before you jump all over me, I agree that art/music is important, but I think that too often it crowds out reading, writing, and math.




Posted by Tanstaafl
JOB GROWTH WAS BIG LAST MONTH!

As I was reading this I pictured GW slapping JFKerry around as those big 1970's Batman cartoon exclamations popped up. Splat! Biff! Kapow!



Thursday, April 01, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
More Clarke Criticism

I may get the book out of the library, I imagine it's a fairly quick read, and might be enlightening... but I can't stomach pouring money into fiction that reads like fact.

Is Richard Miniter related to Brendan?




Posted by Tanstaafl
Mark Goldblatt on Condoleezza Rice & 9/11 Commission on National Review Online:

Want a 'for example'? In his tell-all book, Clarke asserts that the first time he mentioned al Qaeda to Rice, in January 2001, 'her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before.' Except in October 2000, Rice gave a radio interview in which she discussed al Qaeda. So much for facial expressions.

If the commission Democrats think they can handle her, let them try!




Posted by Tanstaafl
LILEKS (James) The Bleat:

We stopped pretending we would ratify Kyoto. We only spent $15 billion on AIDS in Africa. We did not take dictation from Paris. If we had done these things, it would minimize the world's anger.

Couldn't have put it better.



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