Monday, January 31, 2005

A picture worth a thousands words

This picture says it all. An Iraqi woman, with an ink-stained finger, looks into the camera and gives the "V" for victory sign.

There will be tough times ahead. The terrorists still have all those bombs they didn’t get a chance to use yesterday. They’ll now use them tomorrow.

The Iraqis have ONE person to thank for this – George W. Bush. Everyone said how elections couldn’t be held because of security. But Bush held firm. When others were losing their heads, Bush kept his. He has shown himself to be a man you can depend on, no matter what anyone says.

And this picture is one of the results.

Posted by Ted on 01/31/05 8:47 PM | Link

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bush is Vindicated

The Iraqis have voted in a historic election. Here are some thoughts in no particular order.

Bush wins big
For months now, we have been hearing how it is impossible to hold elections because of the security issue. We have been told elections must be postponed. Bush never wavered and he never flinched. His steadfastness was vindicated today.

Bush Sandbags the Media
They expected a blood bath in Iraq during the elections. Not to miss an opportunity to make Bush looked badly, they pulled out all the stops to broadcast Bush’s “failure.” They misunderestimated him again. Instead of covering a disaster, they wound up covering a huge success. Instead of making Bush look bad, they have shown the wisdom of his determination.

The Terrorist take a Hit
The terrorist lost big time. The security preparations pretty much shut down the terrorists. With vehicular traffic banned, they were reduced to walk-in suicide bombers. They had some, but their impact was ineffectual.

The election and the Iraqis enthusiasm for it, is a big blow to the terrorists. The fact that Iraqis were willing to let themselves be marked for voting shows, the terrorist can hurt people, but they cannot stop the tide of history. It is now clear. It is not IF they will be defeated, but WHEN.

The Iraqis are a Brave People
I don’t know if I would have gone to the polls with the kind of threats the Iraqis faced today. I have said for a long time, that freedom cannot be given to a people. The must earn it. Today I think the Iraqis made a down payment on their freedom. Strangely enough, they fought not with bullets and bombs, but paper ballots. It was an impressive and awe inspiring demonstration.

The Democrats are in Deep Trouble
Kennedy makes his asinine speech three days before the Iraq election and now all we hear from the Democrats is silence – except for, perhaps, Lieberman. He is possibly the only sane Democrat left in the Senate.

The Democrats have lost the Presidency, Congress, the Senate and a majority of Governorships. They are bereft of ideas and all they have left is their hatred of Bush and Karl Rove.

I believe that Bush and Rove have, as part of their agenda, the destruction of the Democratic Party. It looks like they are well on their way to achieving it.

Great Epilog to Bush’s Inauguration Address
In his inauguration address, Bush spoke about spreading Democracy and freedom around the world. The Iraq election is a great follow-on to his speech. The jubilation exhibited by the Iraqi’s shows the power of freedom to a people long subject to brutality.

It is the End of the Beginning
One election does not make a democracy. Just because the terrorists lost this round doesn’t mean they’ll just give up. The Iraqis and we will have to either capture or kill them one by one.

Few countries want to see the Iraqis succeed. The Middle East countries don’t what a democracy on their doorstep. The Europeans don’t what Iraq to succeed because George Bush is the guy behind it. Everyone will SAY the right things, but they’ll be hoping for failure.

The Iraqis still need to figure out how to make all the disparate groups work together. That’s a tall order.

There are a zillion ways this could go wrong, but for now, we’ll celebrate the here and now.

Posted by Ted on 01/30/05 9:36 PM | Link

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bush has the right vision

Larry Kudlow has a riveting column about the Iraqi elections and Bush's Inauguration speech. He relates how Bush is a lot like Reagan and he castigates Peggy Noonan for her criticism of Bush’s speech. The Liberals hated Reagan too.

“Let Reagan be Reagan,” was the cry of that great president’s loyal supporters. How is it that Peggy Noonan is now deciding, “Don’t let Bush be Bush”?

The reality is the Iraqis will be risking their lives in pursuit of freedom when they go to the polls on Sunday. Do people think the Iraqis in the Baghdad area -- knowing full well they may be killed by a car bomb while trying to cast their votes -- are more or less incentivized to vote after listening to Bush’s speech? As Tony Blankley writes in the Washington Times, we have seen such courageous pursuit of freedom before -- people throwing safety to the wind in El Salvador in 1984, in Cambodia in 1993, in Algeria in 1995, and of course in Afghanistan only a few months ago.


Bush’s inaugural vision will be proven right. His speech will be vindicated, and along with it will come a foreign-policy triumph of moral idealism, human rights, and freedom over the cynical “realist” view that after all we have seen in the past 25 years we can still do business with dictators and despots in the name of stability.

Click the above link to read the whole column. I think you'll find it a good use of your time.

Posted by Ted on 01/29/05 9:33 PM | Link

Iraq, Yearning to Breathe Free

Mohammed of Iraq The Model makes a heartfelt post about the upcoming elections. Since he lives in Iraq, he should know of which he speaks.

Less than 48 hours left before the people of Iraq experience free decision making for the first time in their country's modern history. It's a moment of pure freedom but still surrounded by lots of dangers just like any beautiful rose surrounded by spikes. There is fear from the enemies of freedom who have their weapons already prepared to intimidate us and stop us from choosing our future. But at the same time we're full of hope as we know that we've put our feet on the right track and even if we make a bad choice once, we know that we will have the chance to reevaluate the situation again. No more tyrants ruling the country for decades.

We're standing before a historic moment and I won't be exaggerating if I said that it's an important moment for the whole world; we're standing before a crossroads and everyone should watch and learn from the rebirth of Iraq.

Regardless of the winners in the se elections, those who opposed the elections and resisted the change will have to deal with the new reality.

In 48 hours from now, the dying dictatorships and their filthy tools, the terrorists, will find themselves facing an elected legitimate government in Iraq.

The tyrants nightmare is becoming reality, now they will have to deal with the scariest word in their dictionaries; THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE. The terrorists have challenged the bravery of the Iraqi people but they messed with the wrong people. The people have accepted the challenge; democracy and elections are not a luxury for Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death. And the terror brutal campaign has only made the people more determined to go on with the change.

The results of some recent polls that have shown how determined Iraqis are to hold the elections might have surprised you, but they weren't a surprise for us; we're not the kind of people that kneel to terror and the sights of blood and beheadings.

Saddam had tried all tools of oppression, killing and torture he could find against our people (including WMD's) but he failed to make the people believe in his hateful regime. And that's why the people abandoned him and now, he and his regime are just a bad old tale from the past.

On Sunday, the sun will rise on the land of Mesopotamia. I can't wait, the dream is becoming true and I will stand in front of the box to put my heart in it.


Posted by Ted on 01/29/05 2:40 PM | Link

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

Another photo from the vault. This is one of the Vorlon wife’s Dutch Irises. This picture was taken in May of last year. It is a hope of warmer days to come. It was five degrees this morning, may this warm weather photo give you hope for the future.

Posted by Ted on 01/28/05 11:37 PM | Link

What do terrorists want? Duh

Many people ask what the terrorists want. New Sisyphus has an excellent post on this. Here's an excerpt:

One of the most common observations about World War II was that if only Western leaders had heeded what the National Socialist Worker's Party and its leader Adolph Hitler were saying, they would have known of the grave danger facing the world. After all, it's not as if the Nazi Party or its frenzied Fuhrer tried to hide what they were about.

On the contrary, in speech after speech, newspaper after newspaper and book after book, Hitler and other senior Nazis laid out in some detail their plans for European domination, the destruction of parliamentary democracy and the elimination of the Jewish people.

Later he gets on to Al-Zarqawi. In case, you didn't catch Z-Man's (that's what the troops call him) latest rant. Here's an excerpt form Z-Man.

The speaker said democracy was based on un-Islamic beliefs and behaviors such as freedom of religion, rule of the people, freedom of expression, separation of religion and state, forming political parties and majority rule.

He said that freedom of expression is allowed, "Even cursing God. This means that there is nothing sacred in democracy." He said Islam requires the rule of God and not the rule of "the majority or the people.

"We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it," the speaker, who was identified as Zarqawi, said in the tape posted on Sunday.

Candidates in elections are seeking to become demi-gods while those who vote for them are infidels. And with God as my witness, I have informed them (of our intentions).

By their own words, you will know them. The terrorists have declared themselves enemies of democracy and those who practice it are infidels. As we all know, the terrorists kill infidels.

Posted by Ted on 01/28/05 8:59 PM | Link

Is this wild or what?

Take a look at this skydiving video. The skydiver in question is obviously crazy, but I have to give him credit. It is a VERY cool maneuver.

This requires a high speed connection.

Hat tip to BlackFive.

Posted by Ted on 01/28/05 8:38 PM | Link

Thursday, January 27, 2005

One Iraqi's View

Iraqi blogger, Alaa has what I think it a “right-on” attitude about what’s going on in Iraq.

This is an unfinished war; the Saddamists and their allies have fully regrouped and rearmed and are being very well financed and supported. The brave American people have given President Bush the mandate to finish this war despite the painful sacrifices and material cost. The Iraqi people are up in arms through the political groupings, new army, N.G. and various security forces and are suffering the greater part of the sacrifice. Despite all the snags and faltering, these forces are getting bigger and stronger and should be supported and nurtured until they can bear the full responsibility; this is the only viable “exit strategy” available. In fact, we do not like this phrase, for what is required is a “victory strategy”. This war must be fought to the bitter end, and there is only one outcome acceptable both to us and to you: Total and Complete Victory. Anything else is completely unthinkable.

I’ve thought that for some time. We don’t need an exit strategy, we need a victory strategy. The best exit strategy is always as the victor.

Posted by Ted on 01/27/05 7:44 PM | Link

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Iraq is NOT Vietnam

Vietnam is still the comparison to Iraq, when the comparisons are so lame. In Vietnam, it is said we were defeated by the insurgency. That is wrong. The Tet Offensive destroyed the Viet Cong. After Tet, the U.S. was mainly fighting the NVA (North Vietnamese Army).

The U.S. did not lose the war, but withdrew from the battlefield. Congress stopped funding the war and there was no longer any way to fight it.

Out withdrawal was costly on a couple of fronts. For one thing, the people that supported the U.S. were systematically slaughtered. How many millions died from the North Vietnamese?

The other front was Osama bin Laden. He looked at the U.S. ignomious withdrawal and concluded we were a paper tiger that would not fight a protracted war (The jury is still out on that conclusion). That’s one of the reasons he attacked the U.S. He figured we would not respond and if we did, the response would be short lived.

One can make the logical conclusion that our “defeat” in Vietnam as cost 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001.

Posted by Ted on 01/26/05 9:39 PM | Link

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Family under fire

My brother went into the hospital (University of Michigan) this morning for something called heart ablation. It seems he suffers from something called atrial fibrillation. That’s when the heart is irregularly (usually between 60 and 100 times a minute); the abnormal heartbeats are called arrhythmias. Atrial fibrillation got its name because the atria (the heart’s upper chambers) send rapidly firing electrical signals that cause them to quiver, rather than contract normally. The result is an abnormally fast and/or irregular heartbeat.

The ablation procedure destroys carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area (about 1/5 of an inch). This stops the area from conducting the extra impulses that caused the rapid heartbeats.

According to my father, which he got from my nephew, the surgeon said the procedure went very well. He said they wouldn’t know if the operation was successful for six month. (That’s a bummer.)

Lord willing, he will return to his normal schedule this Friday.

The other sibling, my sister, just underwent a colonoscopy. They trimmed the shrubbery and she is completely recovered.

I would have live blogged the events, but I was on-site at a client getting them up and running.

Posted by Ted on 01/25/05 9:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

To dream of summer

It’s pretty wintery right now and I thought it might be a good time to remind ourselves that warm times will come again. I took this photo back in May of last year. This was an arts and crafts sale on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. I liked this display of different colorful wall decorations with a nautical theme.

Posted by Ted on 01/25/05 8:57 PM | Link

Monday, January 24, 2005


I don’t understand all this discussion about torture. Where are the chemists? Don’t we have some drugs that would make these people very cooperative?

A few years ago someone I knew went into the hospital for a procedure. That gave him something just before surgery. He reported that the way he felt, if they told him they we’re going to cut off both legs, he would have been willing to help.

Surely, something like this could be used to elicit information from terrorist. Or is this considered inhumane? It sounds very humane to me.

Posted by Ted on 01/24/05 8:51 PM | Link

The Iraqis Will Vote has a post on how the Iraqi elections look and what the terrorist are doing to stop them. Here's an excerpt with a surprising statistic.

In the last month, al Qaeda has detonated more bombs in Iraq than American warplanes have dropped. But these efforts are a distant event for over 90 percent of Iraqis. There are simply not enough Sunni Arabs, willing to take up arms, to dominate the majority of Iraqis. The Shia Arabs and Kurds have guns too, and use them when threatened. As a result, Al Zarqawi and his Baath Party allies are directing most of their efforts at Sunni Arabs who want to vote. The terrorists have done the math and concluded that they cannot stop a majority of Iraqis from voting. It's not just a matter of numbers, but of determination. It's been largely ignored how determined the majority of Iraqis are to vote, and how small and vile are the groups that are trying to stop the elections. The anti-democratic forces represent Sunni theocracy and Baath Party dictatorship. The majority of Iraqis want none of this, and are openly telling anyone who will listen that they are not going to run for cover on election day.
Posted by Ted on 01/24/05 8:35 PM | Link

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Storm Blogging VII

Here’s the view from ground zero this morning.

This is the view of our home from the street. Part way through our shoveling this morning, two guys came by and offered to shovel out both driveways. They quoted me $50. That seemed like a lot, but I have some work to do today. I charge $120 an hour. It would like have taken me four hours to do all the shoveling, so it seemed like a reasonable offer.

When I first started shoveling, I thought, "Gee we must have gotten a foot." But then I had the Vorlon wife put a ruler to it and you can see the results here.

Now the sun is coming out and the temperature is up to 22 degrees.

Posted by Ted on 01/23/05 10:30 AM | Link

Storm Blogging VI

As you can see, the snow is still here. The temperature this morning is 17 degrees and they are promising the wind to pick up. We got another dusting overnight.

After breakfast, the Vorlon wife and I will head out to start shoveling.

Posted by Ted on 01/23/05 8:14 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Storm Blogging V

This is my last storm update for tonight. I just took the photo above. Actually, it is three photos stitched together. I wish I had a wide-angle lens.

The new monopod was a big help with this. Exposure was a full second. Then I used PaintShop Pro to brighten it up so that the photo looks more like what I see, when I look out the window.

When I look out the window I'm reminded of these lines...

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

Only in my case, it's the street lights and my back porch light. If you look on the right, you’ll see that the city has already plowed our street. I’m impressed.

Tomorrow morning is going to be a busy day. The temperature is back down to 22 degrees.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 8:22 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Storm Blogging IV - Storm Over?

It looks like the snow has stopped. Whether it will start up again, I don’t know. I’m guessing we got six to eight inches. There is enough to keep the Vorlon wife and I busy for a couple of hours tomorrow morning.

The snowplows have already made a couple of passes down both our streets. We live on a corner. I’m rather impressed with how quickly they have done this.

I just checked the thermometer and the temperature is now at 28 degrees.

This will probably be my last post on the storm until tomorrow – unless there is dramatic news.

I used my new monopod for this shot. It was a big help as the shutter speed was down to about half a second.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 5:36 PM | Link

Bush's Inauguration Speech was right on the Money has an informative post on the current state of terrorism, what's causing it, and what the ultimate solution is. In the article, they say…

How does one defeat this Islamic terrorism? The simplest way is to bring good government and education to Moslem nations, and let them prosper. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein, easily the worst of a bad bunch of Moslem despots, and getting a democracy going in Iraq, is the Islamic radicals’ worst nightmare. It was always thought that Iraq would be one of the last nations to be overthrown by Islamic radicals. That’s because Saddam had built one of the most effective police states in the Moslem world. The problem there now is that the thugs, who made that police state work, are still in business. And just to show you how bizarre this whole business is, a year ago, the Saddam diehards and Islamic radicals joined forces in Iraq to try and prevent a democracy from being established. Both groups are natural enemies, and even if they forced coalition troops to leave, it would eventually have to come to a battle between Saddam’s secular thugs, and the Islamic radicals, to determine who would rule Iraq.

StrategyPage recommends the same as Bush. I really recommend you read the whole post and make up your own mind. But he does make a good case.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 3:54 PM | Link

Church is Cancelled

The pastor just called. He said they cancelled church services tomorrow. I could sleep in or go out an shovel all that snow.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 3:30 PM | Link

Storm Blogging III

I shot this from the upstairs bathroom window. I thought it gave a better overall view of the back yard and you can see how the snow is starting to accumulate on the hedge. It’s also a lot warmer. I don’t have to go outside. The temperature continues to creep upward. It’s now 24 degrees. It looks like four to five inches on the picnic table

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 3:14 PM | Link

Storm Blogging II

The snow continues to fall. As you can see in the photo above, the lawn is now completely covered. It looks to be three to four inches deep. Fortunately the air is dead still and the snow if falling straight down. I had heard predictions of 50 mph winds. That would be pretty bad. So far, that prediction has not materialized. The temperature continues its slow rise. It’s now up to 23 degrees.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 2:05 PM | Link

Secret doings in Iraq

The Mudville Gazette has an interesting story on work that goes on outside the prying eyes of the press. Here’s an excerpt, but I recommend you read the whole post.

Bloody days are in store. These elections will be like nothing before witnessed. In most areas of the country, all will be well, but elsewhere a shredded remnant of the anti-Iraqi forces will make their presence known. Their efforts are nearly impotent; on a recent day, five separate car bomb attacks failed to reach their intended targets. Yet even as their failures mount, even as their ranks are diminished and their slaughterhouses are shut down they know one thing that brings them a glimmer of hope: their allies in the world media will not let them down. Whether simply to sell papers lure advertisers or to support a cause they firmly believe in, many in the media are the insurgent’s final hope.

Lines are drawn. On one side, the people of Iraq, the majority of Americans, the freedom loving people of the world. On another are those who would behead them all in the street. A better-defined definition of good vs. evil has not been seen in modern times. The final days approach.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 1:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Storm Blogging

It started snowing about 09:30 this morning. So far, we haven’t gotten much snow, as you can see above. The temperature has gone from 11 degrees to 20 degrees. The roads are slippery as they were very cold and they started to look white very shortly after it started snowing.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 12:30 PM | Link

Weather Watch

They are predicting several inches of snow this weekend. So far we have nothing and the temperature is 11 degrees. We'll see what develops.

Posted by Ted on 01/22/05 7:46 AM | Link

Friday, January 21, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

Another dip into the vault. This is a one of the Vorlon wife’s Lillies. The picture was taken back in May of 2004.

Posted by Ted on 01/21/05 11:38 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thoughts on Bush's Inaugural Speech

In hearing some of the reaction to Bush’s speech today, I hear a lot of fear. That’s not how it’s phrased, but I think that’s the motivation.

In his speech, Bush has laid down a very big marker when he said:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

I think that when people really think about this they go, “Gulp.” Bush is taking on a Herculean task and I suspect much of the cynicism I heard was really people afraid we might fail in the mission.

I think that 9/11 changed Bush. He feels it is the first duty of government is to protect its citizens. It failed on 9/11 under his watch. I suspect he wants never to have that happen again.

I believe he thinks that democracies don’t attack each other, only tyrannies do. In addition, he sees that tyrannies breed terrorists. He thought train is if we can eliminate tyrannies, then we eliminate terrorists. The result is a safer more secure American.

Time will tell if Bush is right. But right now, all I can say is, “Gulp.”

Posted by Ted on 01/21/05 9:45 PM | Link

The Army hires a Warlock has a article about a device called "Warlock." It is a device is used to jam the electronic triggers on roadside bombs in Iraq.

So far, over a thousand Warlock electronic bomb jamming devices have been sent to Afghanistan and (most of them) Iraq, where they have proved very successful. Originally designed to prematurely detonate proximity fuzes in approaching enemy artillery shells, the system was rapidly modified (in 2003) to work on the various types of wireless detonators used for roadside bombs and boobytraps. There are actually two models of Warlock; Red and Green. The Warlock Red model, the most common one, costs only $10,000 and is used mainly to defeat roadside bombs. The Warlock Green model can jam a wider array of frequencies at longer ranges, and costs $50,000. Both models work off a trucks electrical system. Warlock equipment is constantly updated, as the enemy adapts new types of wireless equipment for their roadside bombs. Warlock has been around for some twelve years, and never received a lot of funding. It was always an orphan program, a “relic of the Cold War,” because the army did not see any opponent around the corner who would be using a lot of proximity fuzes (which are actually little radar sets in the nose of the shell, which enable the shell to detonate when it was a certain distance above the ground.) Then came Iraq, and lots of roadside bombs. The army won’t say how many roadside bombs have been defeated by Warlock, lest they give useful information to the enemy. In fact, many troops traveling convoys through Iraq don’t know about Warlock, because of the importance of preventing the enemy from gaining any technical knowledge about it. The enemy does notice their bombs not going off, or going off prematurely, and continues to try new wireless devices for their remote control bombs. The army has ordered over 2,000 Warlock units so far, indicating some degree of user satisfaction.
Posted by Ted on 01/21/05 8:12 PM | Link

The pipes work again

The drain pipe on the kitchen sink was leaking. Although it looked like I could have fixed myself, it was badly corroded and I feared the job getting more involved than I would anticipate.

We called a plumber. It was a good decision. He came about 07:30 this morning and left about 08:00. It took him half an hour to fix it. I would likely have taken four hours with multiple trips to the hardware store.

I am satisfied.

Posted by Ted on 01/21/05 8:34 AM | Link

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My distorted view of the coming Iraqi elections

A commentor, Ruth, on a local blog asked what I predicted in the coming Iraqi elections. Here was my response.

That's a very good question, Ruth. I like to read to get a more realistic look at Iraq than the Legacy Media gives. But none of us as has a complete picture. What we get is filtered.

Iraq has proved more difficult than I would have predicted. I think I was a little overconfident after Afghanistan.

I think the Iraqi elections will go pretty well in most providences. But I could be wrong. This is not to say that some of the Sunni providences won’t have a low turnout. But if the Iraqi’s turn out in large numbers, I rate them as the bravest people I know of. Would you go out and vote if you knew you could get shot or blown up for voting? I don’t know if I would.

The terrorist are clearly trying to return to a dictatorial regime. Should we leave before the job is done, all those Iraqi’s that have sided with us are toast.

The bravery and sacrifice of the Iraqi people continue to amaze me. Terrorists blow up police stations and more Iraqi’s show up to join the police.

For Bush politically, he has to beat expectations. If I were he, I’d sandbag the press and say how the elections would likely have a low turnout do to the threats of violence. I haven’t seen him to that – yet.

Iraq is a hard and perilous task. The president has not taken the path of least resistance. I don’t know if the U.S. population has the focus to see it through to a successful conclusion.

Posted by Ted on 01/20/05 9:27 PM | Link

Bush's Inauguration Speech

I streamed Bush’s speech when I got home tonight. It was a good speech. I have just a couple of complaints.

I thought it was too long. I think that in most times, less is more. Remember that the Gettysburg address was about two minutes.

Secondly, I would like to see Bush speak with more fire in the belly when he speaks. I thought he delivered speeches better during the campaign. I’m a little frustrated by Bush’s speaking style. The President of the United States should have the power to hire any speech coach he wants. Why isn’t he getting he best?

Posted by Ted on 01/20/05 8:45 PM | Link


It snowed yesterday and I was in Conshohocken. It took me over two hours to get home. Fortunately, the trip wasn’t that bad. Although my progress was slow, it was not stop-and-go. We just moved along at a slow speed.

Fortunately, the Vorlon wife had a plate of Collard Greens with some Italian sausage with spaghetti sauce over the whole thing. Boy did that go down well.

I’m a little tired today.

Posted by Ted on 01/20/05 8:16 PM | Link

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dang it’s cold

It was 15 degrees at 05:30 with a light breeze when I went jogging this morning. I put on all my jogging clothes. I look at the thermometer right now and it’s already 12 degrees with a clear night sky. The clear sky means we have no clouds to hold in the heat. I expect it’ll be darned cold in the morning.

Posted by Ted on 01/18/05 10:02 PM | Link

Monday, January 17, 2005

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

With Bush's pending inaugural address, much has been made of Lincoln's second inaugural adress. In case you haven't read it, I reproduce here for your reading.


AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

I think if Bush uses this many bibical quotes, there will be riots in the streets.

Posted by Ted on 01/17/05 9:55 AM | Link

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Shrinking Deficit?

The U.S. budget deficit appears to be shrinking. Can this be true? Did Bush’s tax cuts so stimulate the economy that it’s growing faster than the spending? Read this link and decide for yourself.

Posted by Ted on 01/16/05 9:30 PM | Link

A Little Perspective on Iraq

Victor David Hanson has a tour de force in comparing Iraq to WWII. It's not a pretty picture.

Our armored vehicles [WWII] were deathtraps and only improved days before the surrender. American torpedoes were often duds. Unescorted daylight bombing proved a disaster, but continued. Amphibious assaults like Anzio and Tarawa were bloodbaths and emblematic of terrible planning and command. The recapture of Manila was clumsy and far too costly. Okinawa was the worst of all operations, and yet was begun just over fourth months before the surrender — without any planning for Kamikazes who were shortly to kill 5,000 American sailors. Patton, the one general that could have ended the western war in 1944, was relieved and then subordinated to an auxiliary position with near fatal results for the drive from Normandy; mediocrities like Mark Clark flourished and were promoted. Admiral King resisted the life-saving convoy system and unnecessarily sacrificed merchant ships; while Bull Halsey almost lost his unprepared fleet to a storm.

The war's aftermath seemed worse, to be overseen by an untried president who was considered an abject lightweight. Not-so-quite collateral damage had ruined entire cities. Europe nearly starved in winter 1945-6. Millions were on the road in mass exoduses. After spending billions to destroy Nazi Germany we had to spend billions more to rebuild it — and repair the devastation it had wrought on its neighbors. Our so-called partisan friends in Yugoslavia and Greece turned out to be hard-core Communist killers. Soon enough we learned that the guerrillas in the mountains of Europe whom we had idolized, in fact, fought as much for Communism as against fascism — but never for democracy.


All this we cannot see [Iraq] at the present as we in our weariness lament the losses of almost 1,100 combat dead and billions committed to people who appear from 30-second media streams to be singularly ungracious and not our sort of folk. We dwell on unmistakable lapses, never on amazing successes — just as we were consumed with Afghanistan in its dark moments, but now ignore its road to success. But never mind all this: The long-term prospects are still as bright as things seem gloomy in the short-term — but only if we emulate our grandfathers and press on with the third Middle East election in the last six months.

I recommend you read the whole column.

Posted by Ted on 01/16/05 8:47 PM | Link

What the Troops Think

The Army Times has polled its readers (U.S. Military Personnel) to see what they think of the war. Here's the results of that poll.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Pres. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?
Approve: 63%
Disapprove: 20%
No opinion: 8%
Declined to answer: 9%

Should the United States have gone to war in Iraq?
Yes: 60%
No: 21%
No opinion: 8%
Declined to answer: 10%

How likely do you think U.S. success will be in Iraq?
Very likely to succeed: 38%
Somewhat likely to succeed: 45%
Not very likely to succeed: 12%
Not at all likely to succeed: 2%
No opinion: 4%

How long do you think the United States will need to stay in Iraq to achieve its goals?
Less than a year: 1%
1-2 Years: 7%
3-5 Years: 38%
5-10 Years: 49%
No Opinion: 5%

Given that the troops obviously support the effort in Iraq, I would say one way to support the troops is to support their mission.

Posted by Ted on 01/16/05 5:13 PM | Link

Be careful of nutritional supplements

In this post, I referenced a Science News article relating the benefits of eating colorful foods. One thing I forgot to mention is that concentrated supplements may not replace actually eating the foods.

One study found that people with an overly high amount of beta-carotene in their diet were much more susceptible to skin cancer.

A word to the wise is, eat the foods and a variety of the foods.

Posted by Ted on 01/16/05 10:26 AM | Link

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Word from the front in Indonesia

This letter was posted on

Yesterday and today was a busy day. A lot of bodies were recovered and we are in the process of putting teams together to hit the beach again today. Debris is everywhere even 2 miles off the beach. We passed 4 floating TV's, couches, beds, dishes, clothing. It was like the entire town was pulled into the sea.

We had a lot of problems when landing the helos in remote villages when people, starving and scared, rushed the helos for food. The pilots had no chance for safety to immediately take off, so they dropped the food while hovering. Our entire Medical unit went in today, except one Doctor to help with the sick and injured.

Everyone onboard has spent every last penny of their own pay depleting the ships store of food, clothing, water, batteries to donate to shore. Hell, even care packages from home are being given to send to the beach to help with these problems.

Today's youth has put on an impressive display the last couple of days with the sacrifices they have made. They are giving everything they have to these people. Lack of sleep and a drive to make a difference are what I have seen. The families of these kids should be proud of what I see. Dealing with death and disaster is not easy and some of the things we have witnessed would humble the strongest of most, but they keep going. Americas finest is showing true. Everyone is safe as far as disease is concerned.

We get shots each day. The ones of us going to the beach have been taking Malaria pills, which we will be required to take for a while after we leave. We go in early in the morning, but because of logistics we have to leave before nightfall.

We do as much as we can, but more is needed. More ships in our fleet are on the way here, but they are out a ways. We were the first ones here and have been operating solo until this morning when the Indonesian Navy came through. The Chaplains have been doing defusing on us as we return from the beach to help reduce Post traumatic syndrome. Everyone wants to stay ashore and have a hard time leaving with the people watching us leave. It is hard because they are always happy to see us and most cry and just hold on to you for comfort. Right now the Captain said that only 20% of the population where we are survived. I know the news has been saying 94,000 have perished, but it is much more than that. Illnesses have started to break out and people that were already sick have been dying. Those injured are getting sicker. Our Doctors and medical team have been doing the best they can to stop it and have saved quite a few. We only hope for all to pull through, but it is going to be tough to stop.

I am going to get some rest and wait to get called. We have 11 helos operating right now and once the rest of the fleet gets here we will have much more. About 1,600 out of the 6,000 crew members are being utilized for support ashore. I will email more as it comes up.

Dan Rather flew onboard this morning and is staying on board to cover the story. Everything is being done that can be done. The rest is up to a more powerful force than us. Well, that's all for now.

Posted by Ted on 01/15/05 9:10 PM | Link

Food Colors are Good for You

Science News has a very interesting article about the colors in foods and the nutritional value behind them. It seems we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables that have a lot of color in them - and I don’t think they’re talking about chocolate cake and Coke.

Here’s a few highlights from the article.

In a study involving 100,000 health professionals, they found significantly less chronic illness and heart disease in those that ate the most fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables seemed to be the most effective. The study authors say that each daily serving of spinach or other greens eaten lowers the risk of getting heart disease by 11 percent.

Dark tinted fruits and vegetables are also very good for you. Some research shows that the red in tomatoes and watermelon helps to prevent and reduce prostate cancer - but only in men.

Another study indicated grape skins and seeds are very good for your heart. I just don’t care to eat grape seeds. I prefer the seedless kind.

Pomegranates are especially rich in “flavonoids.” A study on drinking about two ounces of pomegranate juice a day lowered blood pressure by 20 percent.

Blueberries were shown to be very nutritious with flavonoids. In a study of rats, they found that when their food was about two percent blueberries, the rats did not develop Alzheimer’s symptoms and their memories stayed keen. They never forgot where their cheese was.

My mother makes a great elderberry pie. I wonder if a piece of elderberry pie a day is good for me.

Upon reading this, I went right out and bought a bag of Doritos blue corn chips. They are made with blue corn and the article implies they should be healthy.

That’s what I like, food that both taste good and is good for you. At the end of the article, they link to this recipe for an avocado and blueberry smoothie.

I would think my breakfast drink would fit nicely with their recommendations.

In fact, I just bought new blender today at Wal-Mart for $18. My current blender still works OK, but it’s starting to sound unhappy. I’ll keep the new blender in the basement, until my current one dies.

Click on this link here to read the whole article. It's a little long, but worth the read.

Posted by Ted on 01/15/05 8:34 PM | Link

Iraq is not as bad as some make it out to be has an update on Iraq. You won't see this in the legacy media.

Much more is known about the anti-government movements than is released to the public. Every day, members of these groups are captured, or their dead bodies identified. Every day, documents are captured. While the Baath Party and Saddam era security officers running the operations know how to keep secrets, many of their subordinates do not. Moreover, many Sunni Arabs who believed that the Baath Party could make a comeback now have second thoughts. The Western media, in their quest for bad news headlines (which sell much better than good news headlines), report only the damage to American and government forces. This gives a very distorted view of the situation. For example, the after-effects of the November battle of Fallujah have generally gone unnoted. Since the anti-government forces in the city were smashed (3,000 fighters killed or captured in a two-week campaign, losing over 30 men for each American or Iraqi soldier killed), anti-government activity in the area around Fallujah went down by more than half. The media switched its attention to the next most active area for the anti-government Mosul. But the government had also moved its police and army units to Mosul, and along with American troops, the anti-government forces are getting hammered again. But you'd never know that by depending on the mass media for information.

With more and more Sunni Arabs deciding that bringing back the old days is not going to work, attention is turning to the movement of money, weapons and fighters across the Syrian and Iranian border. An example of this is a recent public confession by Moayad Yassin Aziz al Nasiri, a commander of anti-government forces who was captured several months ago. Al Nasiri was betrayed by a Syrian intelligence official who defected to Iraq. Al Nasiri himself finally saw the light and agreed to talk openly about the cash and equipment being supplied by Syria and Iran to the anti-government forces. Because of this confession, and the evidence seized daily at border crossings, security at the borders has been increased. More troops are at the border crossings, and more thorough checks of trucks and people crossing. The government has warned truckers that these measures will stay in place at least until the January 30 elections are over. But now, hundreds of trucks are backed up at the Syrian border. The Iraqi and American governments have made strong protests to Syria and Iran about the illegal support crossing the border. But both governments, off the record, plead an inability to stop rogue elements from providing support to the Baath Party violence. Syria has a long history of senior government officials being allowed to have business dealings on the side, in return for loyalty to the Assad family. These days, good business opportunities are to be had from Baath Party big shots. In Iran, Islamic conservative groups are willing to hold their noses and supports Saddam's thugs, because they believe America, and sectarian democracy, are a bigger danger than a bunch of Saddam wannabes. While Saddam may be gone, Iraq's long history of bad relations with its neighbors appears to continue.

Posted by Ted on 01/15/05 7:55 PM | Link

Friday, January 14, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

I went into the vault to get a flower from May 2004. This is one of the Vorlon wife’s Foxgloves. Here’s what I found on the flower.

One of the loveliest, most important plant species that has been introduced from Europe and naturalized in various parts of North America. The flowers are numerous, on a spike, and range from a deep purple to lilac with conspicuous spots interlining the throat of the tubular flower. As a biennial, the leaves form a rosette the first year followed by the flower spike the next year. Prefers a nitrogen-rich sandy loam soil, in partial sun to full shade.

Unfortunately, our soil is sandy and the Vorlon wife has these planted in full shade. Perhaps that’s why they don’t have more blooms. I guess I need to fertilize them more.

Posted by Ted on 01/14/05 11:35 PM | Link

Battlestar Galactica

The Vorlon Wife is watching Battlestar Galactica and I’ve perused a bit of it. It looks rather well done, but one thing really impressed me.

They’ve taken out the sound effects for the space battle scenes. That makes it appear more accurate. In space, there is no sound.

It somehow makes the battle scene seem even deadlier. As I recall, they don’t play music, per se, but there’s kind of a drumbeat that seem to increase the tension.

The only technical screw-up I see is when the fighters land on the Battlestar Galactica. When they touchdown, they flair like an airplane would. The trouble is there is no air to flair with. Instead, I would expect them to just fly into the landing zone and grind to a halt.

Posted by Ted on 01/14/05 9:31 PM | Link

A Marine sets a new record in Iraq has an item on a new record set by one marine in Iraq.

During the November, 2004 battle for Fallujah, a U.S. Marine sniper made the longest range kills so far in Iraq. Reservist sergeant Herbert B. Hancock, chief scout sniper for the 1st battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, shot four Iraqis at a range of some 970 meters. The 35 year-old marine is a Texas police officer in civilian life. The shooting was done with the 7.62mm M40A3, bolt action rifle. Based on the Remington 700 short action rifle, the M40A3s are hand made to marine specifications. The rifle weighs 16.5 pounds, is 44.25 inches long and uses a 10X scope. The rifle comes with a bipod, and a rail that can also mount night vision scopes. Marine snipers operate in teams of two men, with the other man, who is often also a qualified sniper, acting as a spotter (usually with a 20X scope and binoculars.) A 970 meter shot is difficult for a 7.62mm rifle, especially in Iraq, with it’s heat and humidity (which interferes with the predictability of the bullets flight). Shooting is easier in Afghanistan, where higher elevations provide thinner, drier air, and cooler temperatures. The U.S. Army has been following the marine example by training more snipers and supplying each infantry battalion with at least half a dozen of them. The snipers are particularly effective in Iraq, where the enemy fighters are generally amateurs, and don’t know how important it is to constantly stay under cover.

In case you were wondering, 970 meters is about six tenths of a mile. That's quite a shot. It gives new meaning to the phrase, "Reach out an touch somebody."

Posted by Ted on 01/14/05 8:16 PM | Link

Beards on men - Not good

I have a confession to make. I don’t like beards on men. I like them even less so on women. I think beards are unattractive. I’m not too wild about mustaches, but they’re not as bad as beards.

I have observed the following about men that wear beards. Mind you, this is not a scientifically designed survey. It is only my casual observations.

Most men that wear beards are liberals. If I see a man on TV and he’s wearing a beard, I would guess that 75% of the time he’s a liberal. Mustaches, on the other hand, seem to predominate on conservatives.

Most men that wear beards have a receding hairline. It’s almost as if, since they can’t seem to grow hair on their head, they can at least grow it on their face.

It’s been known for some time, that facial hair on a face-to-face salesman will cost him money. Over a year or more a salesman with a beard will make few sales and get few commissions that a salesman without a beard.

I think this is partly because a beard masks a man’s face. It’s as if he’s wearing a mask. I think that subconsciously people think the person is hiding something and they don’t trust them. But that’s just my pop psychology thought. When a man wears a full beard, you can’t tell if he’s smiling or frowning.

The Vorlon Wife likes to watch some soap operas. When one of the male characters starts to grow a beard, most of the time, their personality changes and they turn to the dark side.

At some point, the character regains their former good behavior and the beard then disappears.

Personally I haven’t missed shaving in so many years I don’t remember they last time I didn’t shave. If I miss shaving, I feel so thoroughly yucky I can’t stand myself. Once I have regained my clean-shaven face, I feel like I’m now ready to take on the world again. I guess its sort of a reverse Samson psychosis.

We all have our little prejudices and this is one of mine.

Posted by Ted on 01/14/05 8:08 PM | Link

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Speaking of Lurch, er, Kerry...

I see Kerry has been on a Victory Demoralization Tour of the Middle East. He met with the troops in Iraq where he attacked what he called the "horrendous judgments" and "unbelievable blunders" of the Bush administration.

"What is sad about what's happening here now is that so much of it is a process of catching up from the enormous miscalculations and wrong judgments made in the beginning," he said. "And the job has been made enormously harder," Kerry said.

But then he met with and had some very nice things to say about the dictator of Syria. Later in Egypt, he admitted that the US committed terrible mistakes in Iraq. During a meeting on Wednesday with grand Imam of Al Azhar Mohamad Sayed Tantawi, Kerry regretted the difficult conditions in Iraq.

I’ve decided Kerry’s not just a critic of U.S. policy. He’s on the other side. He might as well go to Fallujah and help the insurgents make IED’s.

Do all Democrats lose their minds, when they lose a presidential election?

Posted by Ted on 01/13/05 8:21 PM | Link

Even Kerry can’t do this

Have you seen, what looks like a stolen election, being ratified in Washington State? After three recounts the Democratic candidate, in a hand recount, won the gubernatorial race by something like 129 votes.

Hand recounts are less accurate than machine recounts, yet this one was ratified.

Now we are finding out that a miracle took place in Washington. The dead have walked again.

I remember during the presidential campaign, John Edwards said that if Kerry were elected president, people would rise up out of their wheelchairs and walk again.

Now the Democrats in Washington have done even better. The dead have risen from their graves and not only walked, but also voted. It is now being reported that many people that cast ballots are dead. That’s a miracle.

King County, a heavy Democrat stronghold had 1800 more people vote than there are voters in the county. I have a Democratic friend and he always tells me to “vote early and vote often.” It appears the Democrats in Washington are following his advice.

And people are worried about the election in Iraq appearing “legitimate.”


Posted by Ted on 01/13/05 8:15 PM | Link

How to get a job interview

I read this and felt compelled to pass it on. It’s a story about how a 14-year old teenager got a job interview. I recommend you click on the link and read the whole story. Who wouldn’t want to hire the kid that wrote the letter?

Posted by Ted on 01/13/05 7:44 PM | Link

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Why would anyone call the UN

The Diplomad, on-site in the tsunami disaster are, has a take on the UN effort or lack there of.

The UNocrats know that young Aussies and Yanks have shown them up as the fakes the UNocrats are. That makes them furious; it makes them lash out at us and our friends. They call us names ("stingy"); sniff about our alleged mistakes ("you fed some people twice"); and complain that we won't take their instruction ("you should wear blue vests.") When all else fails, they try to take credit for what Australian and American taxpayers and their military and diplomatic services have done -- yes, indeed, a word of praise for the State Department, which responded superbly.


The UN's performance in this disaster has been a disgrace of epic proportions; it's vastly overfunded and overstaffed agencies, allegedly established to deal with precisely this type of event, are MIA. We are now in day 16 (DAY 16!) of the crisis, and the UN is still not ready to act. It is no wonder affected countries want to deal with the US and not the UN. At a minimum, the UN owes the world an apology; the entire upper echelon of the UN and its bloated agencies should resign.

If I needed help I'd sure rather have the U.S. military for help than the UN. Look at the UN track record. There is the Oil for Food scandal that did nothing to help the Iraqi people, but made a lot of people rich. There are also many reports of UN “peace-keeping” personnel abusing the very people they were supposed to protect.

Posted by Ted on 01/12/05 8:19 PM | Link

Medical technology that saves lives

A fascinating article on highlights a new type of bandage that is saving lives in Iraq.

One of the unnoticed reasons for the unprecedented low death rate for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is a new novel bandage design. The Emergency Bandage, developed by a small Israeli firm, enables non-medical personnel to quickly and effectively bandage just about any type of wound, and do it, if necessary, one handed. The innovation is an elasticized bandage with a non-adhesive bandage pad sewn into it. The bandage also has a built-in pressure bar. This allows the soldier to twist the bandage around the wound once, and then change the direction of the bandage, wrapping it around another body part, thus creating pressure on the wound. The key factor is the pressure bar, which makes applying the bandage in an effective way much easier. There is a closure bar at the end of the bandage, which clips into place without slipping or loosening the tight application of the bandage pad. The pressure bar makes it possible to quickly apply the bandage to wounds on the head, or in the groin. Normally, getting wounds there quickly bandaged is difficult, particularly for non-medical personnel. One of the developers of the bandage had combat experience in the Israeli army, and wanted to create a bandage that would perform better than current bandages. The Emergency Bandage was first sold to the Israeli army and civilian users. In 2002, some U.S. Army medical personnel saw it used in emergency rooms and were impressed enough to get it adopted by the army. Last year, the United States Army bought some 200,000 of the bandages, and is buying 800,000 this year. The bandage has been responsible for saving dozens of lives in Iraq, as well as making some wounds less damaging.

I find this very interesting.

Posted by Ted on 01/12/05 8:14 PM | Link

Mary Mapes does not yet have a new job

I was streaming Rush tonight and he reports that PBS sent him a memo about Mary Mapes. They say they have not made Mary a job offer.

Posted by Ted on 01/12/05 8:09 PM | Link

The Iraqi thugs have no future has an informed take on the future of Iraq.

Can the anti-government forces in Iraq win? Some pundits think so. But do you really think the Shia Arabs and Kurds will allow Saddam's thugs to bully their way back into power? The Kurds and Shia Arabs are 80 percent of the population; they control of the oil, and have American troops to back up their efforts. Iraqis indicate, to anyone who will listen, that they have no intention of folding under Baath pressure, and a growing desire to come down hard on the Sunni Arabs who support the violence. The Kurds and Shia Arabs have lists of names, because Saddam's thugs didn't wear masks when they ran things for three decades. Guess who is going to lose? But that thought is what is driving the resistance. The Baath Party thugs know what they will have to face eventually, if they don’t regain control of Iraq.

The Baath and al Qaeda campaign against the police and government officials results in spectacular and newsworthy attacks each day. But there are still 7,000 new police and National Guard undergoing training, and another 25,000 waiting to start their training. The attacks are concentrated in two provinces; Anbar (where Fallujah is) and Nineveh (where Mosul is). Because the attacks are killing mostly Iraqis, the attackers are not very popular, even among Sunni Arabs. The police are getting more tips about anti-government activity. This includes information about where roadside bombs are planted, or where gunmen are hiding out. Although the Arab media makes a big deal about how impossible it will be to run the elections, the Iraqi people don’t think so. To the average Iraqi, the elections mean the difference between a free and prosperous future, or more Baath Party tyranny. Candidates for the new parliament have the most to lose, especially in Sunni areas. Baath and al Qaeda have threatened these candidates with death, and in Sunni Arab areas, there are plenty of Baath Party gunmen to carry out the threats.

I have found to have a good grasp of thing military. They are not nearly so prone to hyperbole as the Legacy Media. They just tell as they see it without any overt agenda.

Posted by Ted on 01/12/05 7:56 PM | Link

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Mary Lands on her Feet

It has to be tough on Mary Mapes at CBS. From all accounts, she reeked with Bush hatred.

But her world has come apart. First, the Blogosphere blew her Bush-targeted cruise missile right out of the air.

Then Bush been re-elected.

Now the CBS report has finally been released and she was not only fired, but Les Moonves has some nasty things to say about her.

Recent reports indicate that she still believes the memos accurate. Whether she believes there were “fake, but accurate” has not been reported.

As I was driving home tonight, I felt a little sorry for her. “But,” I said to myself, “she can probably get a job on PBS.”

Surprise, surprise. I’m streaming Rush tonight and he reports that PBS has offered her a job.

Posted by Ted on 01/11/05 10:02 PM | Link

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Rather Report

I know that's an old trick, but I couldn't help myself.

The CBS report finally hit the fan today. I’m not sure quite what to make of it. I sort of get the impression the report protected the higher ups and sacrifice the lower beings. I guess you could say, it sort of like having your finger amputated to save your hand. In the case of the large CBS organization, it could be more like losing a fingernail or perhaps clipping one.

PowerLine is always on the job and they have read the WHOLE thing. Don’t these guys have anything else to do?

Hindrocket has an interesting question. Why did CBS move the airdate of the report up from late September 2004 to September 8?

Finally, what are we to make of the fact that the Panel specifically found that the 60 Minutes report broadcast on September 8 contained repeated misrepresentations? The report, often in harsh and condemnatory language, specifically finds that the program misrepresented what CBS had been told by document examiners. It says, with respect to the interview with Robert Strong, that "virtually every excerpt used from the Lieutenant Strong interview was either inaccurate or misleading." And it concludes that the Ben Barnes interview excerpts were "misleading." These characterizations are at odds with the report's assurance that the problems with the report were due only to haste and competitive pressure. Competitive pressure does not cause a reporter to make affirmative misrepresentations and misleading statements. If it wasn't political bias that drove the show's inaccuracies and misleading content, what was it?

He hypothesizes, it was because the Swift Boat Verterans for the Truth were pummeling Kerry and the CBS crew was desperate to step into the breach.

Like many things in life, I suspect there are facets to this we will never now. Including, does Dan Rather still believe the memos were “fake but accurate?”

Posted by Ted on 01/10/05 9:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Which font do you like best

I've wondered what font looks best for Vorlon Whispers. Please take a look at the samples below and decide which one you think is most readable. Microsoft claims all are designed to be readable.

The only trouble with doing this test is what fonts get displayed on your monitor depend pretty much what fonts you have installed on your machine.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Comic Sans MS
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Trebuchet MS
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Georgia is the font I currently use. Do you think I should change?

Posted by Ted on 01/10/05 8:01 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Sunday, January 9, 2005

A new way to win the Presidency

I believe the Democrats have shown a way to have a second chance to win the presidency. In their challenge to Bush’s win in Ohio, I wonder what would have happened if the Republicans had not had a majority in both houses of congress.

This means that in 2008, if the Republicans retain their senate and house majorities and they lose a close presidential race, they can challenge the voting results in close states that went to the Democrat. Since they would have majorities on both houses of congress, they can disqualify the votes from those states and sweep the Republican into the Presidency.

Since it would be the Republicans doing it, the Legacy Media would have a fit. But it appears it would be legal. From 2000 forward, the votes don’t count as much as the resulting court cases, how good ones lawyers are and if you have judges leaning in your favor.

It’s a brave new world in our representative democracy.

Posted by Ted on 01/09/05 9:39 PM | Link

Christmas is officially over at our house

We took down the Christmas lights that were adorning your house today. That’s always a bit of a sad task. After the euphoria of the Christmas buildup, the world seems blah afterward. Now we don’t even have the lights to brighten the night.

It’s back to the salt mine.

Posted by Ted on 01/09/05 3:28 PM | Link

Saturday, January 8, 2005

Vorlon Whispers Upgraded

I just had Vorlon Whispers updated to Movable Type 3.14. You, dear reader, should see no difference. The only difference you’ll see is the version number on the bottom right.

Chad Everett of Everitz Consulting did the upgrade for me. He did it quickly and I lost access to the blog for a little over an hour. It’s not as if I’m in the blog all the time anyway.

If you’re considering setting up a Movable Type Weblog or upgrading an existing one, I recommend you contact Chad. I think you’ll like the work he does.

UPDATE: It turns out there was one glitch. But I contacted Chad and he quickly fixed it. Well done!

UPDATE II: It took me a few minutes to realize what the Movable Type people are doing with their version numbers. You'll see the version is 3.14159. I turns out this is the numerical equivalent of the mathematical value of PI. Someone at MT has a sense of humor.

Posted by Ted on 01/08/05 8:07 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, January 7, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

Mr. Peabody and I went into the Wayback machine and retrieved some pictures from June of 2004. This is another of the Vorlon wife?s Columbines. I really like the way the flower is sharp in the foreground and the foliage creates a blurred lush background.

In this weather it good to look back to warmer days.

Posted by Ted on 01/07/05 11:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Who ya gonna call?

The Diplomad Blog is in rare form. It seems they've been working their tail off, while the UN has done virtually nothing to help the people in need. Here's their take. If you want to read the whole thing, click the above link.

This [American] Embassy has been running 24/7 since the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Along with my colleagues, I've spent the past several days dealing non-stop with various aspects of the relief effort in this tsunami-affected country. That work, unfortunately, has brought ever-increasing contact with the growing UN presence in this capital; in fact, we've found that to avoid running into the UN, we must go out to where the quake and tsunami actually hit. As we come up on two weeks since the disaster struck, the UN is still not to be seen where it counts -- except when holding well-staged press events. Ah, yes, but the luxury hotels are full of UN assessment teams and visiting big shots from New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The city sees a steady procession of UN Mercedes sedans and top-of-the-line SUV's -- a fully decked out Toyota Landcruiser is the UN vehicle of choice; it doesn't seem that concerns about "global warming" and preserving your tax dollars run too deep among the UNocrats.

Sitting VERY late for two consecutive nights in interminable meetings with UN reps, hearing them go on about "taking the lead coordination role," pledges, and the impending arrival of this or that UN big shot or assessment/coordination team, for the millionth time I realized that if not for Australia and America almost nobody in the tsunami-affected areas would have survived more than a few days. If we had waited for the UNocrats to get their act coordinated, the already massive death toll would have become astronomical. But, fortunately, thanks to "retrograde racist war-mongers " such as John Howard and George W. Bush, as we sat in air conditioned meeting rooms with these UNocrats, young Australians and Americans were at that moment "coordinating" without the UN and saving the lives of tens-of-thousands of people.

Posted by Ted on 01/07/05 9:19 PM | Link

Thursday, January 6, 2005

More on RSS

I've tweaked my RSS a bit. You should now see RSS 1.0 and 2.0. In addition, if you set up an RSS feed from this site, you should now see the full text of the post and not just an excerpt. I still need to figure out how to get the formatting right, but I'm getting there.

For my money RSS 1.0 is nicer that 2.0. I am just not impressed with XML, even if it is Microsoft's idea. I think of it more as a variant record structure and I've never been a big fan variant records. Normalized databases are much easier to deal with.

I worked on a client's system in which he is attempting to export orders from his Yahoo store and import them into Great Plains. The Yahoo store allows you to export in "comma separated values" or XML. XML looked nicer out of the gate. However, I wound up using the CSV. It was just easier to use and gave me a better import.

Posted by Ted on 01/06/05 8:48 PM | Link

The sales trainee

I thought you might enjoy this story. I did. It from High Probability Selling.

A young guy from New Jersey moves to California and goes to a big "everything under one roof" department store looking for a job. Instead of going to the Human Resources Department, he asks to see the store manager. He tells the manager that he wants a sales job: He can quickly determine if a shopper is a real buyer, and he can close most of the Buyers.

The manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?"

The young guy says, "Yeah, I was a garden equipment salesman back home in New Jersey."

Well, the manager liked the way the young guy spoke, so he offered to put him on trial for a few days as a Sales Trainee. "Start tomorrow. Just report to the floor manager on level one. I'll come down after we close and see how you did."

His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it. After the store closed, the store manager came down. "How many sales did you make today?"

"Just One."

The boss says, "Just one? Our salespeople average 20 or 30 sales a day, with an average gross of about $1,500 each. How much was your one sale for?

The new guy says, "$111,447.23."

"Over one hundred thousand dollars? What the heck did you sell?"

"First, I sold him a small fishing hook. Then, I sold him a large fishing hook. Then he bought a new fishing rod and reel.

When I asked him where he was going fishing, he said, "down off of Costa Mesa". So, I asked him if he wanted to have his own boat down there. He said 'Yes,' so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin engine 21 foot Starcraftt with a trailer.

But, his Honda Civic couldn't pull the boat, so I took him down to the automotive department, where he traded in the Honda on a 4X4 Chevy Suburban."

The manager said, "A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and SUV?"

The new Senior Sales Representative says, "No ... I forgot about the Tampons. He came in to buy a box of tampons for his wife, and I said, "Well, your weekend is shot, how would you like to go fishing?"

Posted by Ted on 01/06/05 11:21 AM | Link

Robins Again

I see the robins at my office again this morning. They're still eating the crab apples off the crab apple tree. After the very hard freeze we had a couple of weeks ago, they should be soft and squishy.

Posted by Ted on 01/06/05 9:35 AM | Link

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Digitizing Slides

I'm looking for a good solution to digitizing my slides. Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, has posted thoughts on digital photography. I emailed him about my query.

He posted my email. You can read it here as well as the resulting response from Glenn's readers.

Posted by Ted on 01/05/05 6:25 AM | Link

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

MT and Norton

I've found a conflict between Movable Type and my Norton Firewall. When I try to make a post to my Blog, it just hangs. If I disable my firewall, it posts normally.

I've looked at MT's support forum and found another user with the same problem, but no solution. It's a pain.

Posted by Ted on 01/04/05 9:10 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

More RSS

I'm starting to really like using RSS for reading my favorite blogs. It saves me going to each blog to see what's posted. If you peruse more that a couple of blogs, I recommend it.

Posted by Ted on 01/04/05 9:07 PM | Link

Business still good

Business continues to do well. I just closed another sale for a small upgrade today. I sold a few upgrades prior to the end-of-the year. That should get me some good billable hours for the first month or two this year.

The economy must be improving if clients are opting to upgrade their systems.

I remember the quote from the salesperson, "I guess the economy is getting better. I?m losing bigger sales."

Posted by Ted on 01/04/05 8:56 PM | Link

Who ya gonna call?

For all the carping about the U.S. response tsunami disaster, it is the U.S. and the Aussies that are doing the work. Due to our "stinginess" we have only 20 ships with 13,000 U.S. personnel involved in the effort. And where is the UN? The Diplomad has this comment.

Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city's Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for "Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-afected countries." Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word "coordinator" twice in her title!


The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground.

Posted by Ted on 01/04/05 8:39 PM | Link

Monday, January 3, 2005


I've been playing around with RSS (Real Simple Syndication) for reading Blogs. It's a way of getting all our blogs like you get email. It's pretty convenient. I still haven't figured out all the in's and out's of it. But so far, I'm encouraged.

My Blog has the capability to feed RSS. Right now, I'm using SharpReader.

Posted by Ted on 01/03/05 9:26 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

She walks!

I just received this picture from my niece in Nevada. It seems my grand niece can now walk. It seems, just like a woman, she doesn?t go anywhere without her handbag. Jeez, do they start that young?

UPDATE: Just received this from my Grand Niece, "No, I didn’t know you posted that until Grandpa wrote me, LOL! You know, she just picked that up one day, threw the handles over her shoulder and took off running! Crazy how she knew what to do with it! She likes talking on her play phone too. . . . I didn’t teach her that one either!"

Posted by Ted on 01/03/05 8:18 PM | Link

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Good news from Iraq

Powerline has email from a National Guardsman returning from Iraq. Here are some of the things we've accomplished there.

Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.

School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.

Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.

The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.

The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.

Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.

The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.

100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.

Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.

Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.

Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.

Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.

Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.

Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.

Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.

An interim constitution has been signed.

Girls are allowed to attend school.

Posted by Ted on 01/01/05 4:04 PM | Link

It worked!

I got the Vorlon wife a DVD/VCR player for Christmas. We just hooked it up. I noticed it said it would play JPEG's. I thought, hmmm. I burned some of my pictures to a CD and inserted the CD into the DVD player.

It took me a few minutes to figure out how to set it up, but very shortly, I had my pictures being displayed as a slide show on the TV. Very cool. It appears you can also put MP3 music on the CD and make a complete program.

Posted by Ted on 01/01/05 4:01 PM | Link

Happy New Year!

I saw this cartoon on Cox & Forkum's web site and thought I'd share it with you. I think it says a lot.

Posted by Ted on 01/01/05 1:05 PM | Link