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Showing posts from September, 2004

IMHO: Debate a draw

I opted out of "liveblogging" the debate. I figure Instapundit would be on it and linking to others who are on it. So go here and scroll up.

My take: a draw.

Truth in blogging: I'm a Bush supporter but I do try to offer as fair and objective an analysis of things as I can which means stating my point of view and not pretending I don't have one.

Both sides had their message and mission: Sen. Kerry had to be sure to avoid Al Gore's mistakes of being too smart aleck and aggressive. On that front (a personality issue), I think he was successful. Sen. Kerry had to draw differences (a policy issue) from President Bush yet not appear to be pandering to the anti-war voters. On this point, I believe he was less successful.

President Bush is regarded as clear in his positions. But there is sometimes doubt about his grasp of detail in formulating those views and carrying them out going forward. President Bush had to assure the voters he remains up to the job wit…

Michele's Musings: Switzerland and "the Lexus and the Olive Tree"

Dear Rene,

You read, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree”" a few years ago like I did.

I can appreciate the thesis of that book more and more each day. You are probably seeing signs in Iraq more related to the “Olive Tree” philosophy. In this post, I will give you my thoughts from a Swiss-perspective.

Basically, every country in the world with a more or less homogenous culture and/or population is under increasing pressure from globalization, more so than in the much more heterogeneous USA where the “Lexus” is almost the only connecting value. Those homogenous countries with strong values on the “Olive Tree” side obviously want to preserve what is precious to them. Switzerland, I have learned, though a very developed country is no exception. There is just the ongoing question of how to blend those different, sometimes contradictory, requirements.

I have the feeling that Switzerland doesn't want to avoid globalization entirely as almost 20% of the people in Switzerland are no…

LA Life: Avoiding Parking Tickets

I live in a part of Los Angeles where parking is scare and enforcement aggressive.

Last night, I put my car in a permit 78 street with Tuesday 8-10 AM no parking for street cleaning.

I dashed out of my apartment at 7:57 AM this Tuesday morning to see the white Parking Enforcement vehicle right behind my car... it was probably about 8:02 AM at this point! Drat, this could be my fifth ticket of the year.

One time I got to my car just as the officer pushed the print button on the ticket producing PDA... too late it can't be recalled he said... ring a ding we have a winner: $45 "contribution" to the LA City government.

Whew! He either hadn't started typing in the information into his PDA or hit the print button yet so the Parking Enforcement vehicle started up to pull in behind the other car on the street in front of me. I saw a guy sprinting down the street to this car and the Parking Enforcement officer foiled again pulled his car to the next car down the st…

Michele's Musings: The Fall of AT&T Wireless

Hello Telco-Friends,

This really is a good article worth 10 minutes of your time to read.

Michele

Rene: I recently left ATTWS because of poor signal strength in my service area.

Hooray for Lance Berkman

The Dodgers managed to win in San Diego. Many game balls to hand out for the victory. The pitching was not great but it was enough. Ishii managed to escape some early inning troubles but eventually ran out of gas in the 5th but by then the Dodgers had a big lead. But key was some great defense and finally some offense.

Meanwhile, up in SF, the Giants were on their way to a win until Berkman hit a 3-run HR to take the lead in the top of the 9th.

So as it is, the Dodgers are up 1 1/2 game with 10 to go. Six are against the Giants!

Go Dodgers!

Troops to Darfur Sudan?

It may finally happen. The African Union may send some troops but they are asking the West and the UN for logistical help.

Money quote:

The African Union is ready to send 4,000 to 5,000 troops "very soon — within days, weeks," African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare told The Associated Press.

But Konare said movement depends on logistical help from "Europe, America and the United Nations especially."

So far, he said, there has been just talk about assistance.

"Sometimes people speak big, but when it is time to give big, they are not willing," Konare said.


Will the USA and some other nations step up to the plate? We always hear the phrase, "Never again." Yet, it has happened time and again.

Can Iraq be won? Two views.

Went to RCP to see their latest op-ed roundup.

Here is an item that says we should stay.

Here says it is Vietnam all over again.

Excerpts from the latter:

The United States is "losing" in Iraq, literally losing territory and population to the other side. Careful readers of the leading newspapers may know this, but I doubt most voters do. How could they, given the martial self-congratulations of the President and relative restraint from his opponent? High-minded pundits tell us not to dwell on the long-ago past. But the cruel irony of 2004 is that Vietnam is the story. The arrogance and deceit--the utter waste of human life, ours and theirs--play before us once again. A frank discussion will have to wait until after the election.
............
I remember how well General Westmoreland articulated the strategy back in the 1960s, when war's progress was measured by official "body counts" and reports on "new" fighting forces on the way.

But this time Washing…

Existence of God: Wish fulfillment?

I managed to set my VCR for the PBS show, Existence of God and watched about 1/2 of it tonight.

Very thought provoking.

The format of the show is to follow the life of Freud (who was an atheist) and Lewis (who was an atheist who became a Christian). After an episode in the life of Freud and Lewis is shown in drama/documentry fashion, a round table of people talk about the issue at hand.

One commonly held view is that God is really created in our image: we have this childish wish for a God.

Interestingly, one panelist said, well, does wishing for something tell you anything at all about the reality or non-reality of the thing wished for?

And then there was this comment, what if there really is a God and God put that wish and desire within us?

Very thought provoking.

How about it readers?

As a theist who believes in Christ, I find this discussion right on target.

We all have a God shaped place in our life.

We try to fill it with all sorts of stuff but there is this longing for…

Dodgertown: Panic City?

The Dodgers have now dropped 4 of the last 5 and haven't scored a run in 17 innings.

The starting rotation is a shambles.

Beltre has cooled off. Werth is injured. Bradley has been in a funk. Green is becoming the new Eric Karros of the Dodgers. You can almost always pencil in an out for the catcher's slot with Mayne or Ross.

About the only thing that is still sort of normal is the bullpen. Considering that Mota (traded), Martin (traded) and Dreifort (injured) are gone, the "no name" bullpen still goes on with Brazoban, Carrara, Sanchez, Venefro and Stewart. The only big name is Gagne and he doesn't have much to do now that the Dodgers are losing games.

Last night, in post-game Dodger talk, host, A. Martinez asked, "Is it time to panic yet?"

Well, with only 2 1/2 games on the Giants, I think so!

Of course it is better to be 2 1/2 games up rather than 2 1/2 games behind like they were in previous seasons.

What I'm listening to...

Love my iTunes.

I have Ordinary World by Duran Duran playing.

Haunting sound and lyrics. I seem to be drawn to those kinds of songs.

If you haven't been able to catch the lyrics as you hear it on the radio, here are some...
Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue
Thought I heard you talking softly
I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still I can't escape the ghost of you

What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some'd say
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away
.........
Passion or coincidence once prompted you to say
"Pride will tear us both apart"
Well now pride's gone out the window cross the rooftops
Run away left me in the vacuum of my heart

What is happening to me?
Crazy, some'd say
Where is my friend when I need you most?
Gone away
Obviously a song about love lost.

Am not in a love lost mood tonight - there have been those sleepless nights and tearful mornings - not tonight, but am in a reflective mood. And so for al…

3 years after 9/11

A part of me says, it is time to move on. But a part of me says, no, we have to continue to remember.

Last year, I started a blog with my good friend, Kari. Our blog had just started then and we remembered 9/11 here and here.

Glenn Reynolds is of two minds also but did post. He remarks, One day, I suppose, these images will be like the images of the exploding Hindenburg, or woodcuts of the Chicago fire: historical, without much power to move people. We're not there yet. And we won't be, for quite a while.

Today, as I post, I went to volunteer in Los Angeles to serve food to the poor, I'll swing by the lab to take care of some things and in the evening it will be a guy's night at the ballpark. I would imagine at the stadium there maybe a moment of silence or some other kind of simple way to remember the lost and honor their memory.

For this blog post, I'll direct you to some photos I took of New York 11 years ago when the Towers stood tall. They maybe gone but…

Sold OUT - all LA Dodger NLDS tix snapped up

Well, I opted to try to get the tix via internet and by phone rather than go to the Stadium box office.

By the time I got through on the phone at 3:30pm.... the sales rep reported that all tickets were sold out!

Prior to getting through on the phone I periodically tried the internet option. That was also unsuccessful as I kept getting the page that said, you are in the "virtual waiting room" and then when I got past that, I got error messages saying due to high demand we cannot process your request.

Oh well. Live and learn. When it comes to sales of hot tickets like this: GO TO THE TICKET OFFICE!

If the Dodgers survive the first round and tickets go on sale for the NLCS, I hope I'll be able to go to the ticket office!

Guest blogger

Below this post is the first of what I hope will be periodic posts from half-way around the world!

I met Michele during my Washington DC life. Since those days, I've moved to SF and LA while she has moved to HK, NY, OC, SF, OC and now Switzerland!

We have been able to stay in touch and stay friends through the digital link that emails and cyberspace affords.

Her features will be titled Michele's Musings.

So dear gentle readers, please welcome Michele to the blog!

Michele's Musings: Summertime in Switzerland

Image
I was in the Alps a few days ago for a very traditional event. The farmers celebrate the "Alpabzug" every Autumn when they bring their cattle down from the Alps for the winter months. They dress up in traditional clothing as the farmers and their sons celebrate coming down from the mountains and entering back into the little village. They spend most of their time up in the Alps during the Summer and don't have contact with ordinary life. It is amazing that this tradition is still held over all these years but Switzerland is very good at holding on to the past! I often feel as if I live in a "paradise" where "time stands still."



Breakfast in the Alps!


Russia under attack

Two passengers blown up. A massacre at a school. The terrorists are at war with the world. What can the Russians do?

Postrel cites an item she saw over at Belmont Club. Excerpts:

America's unmatched power allowed President Bush to select the most humane course of war available. No European power, nor all of them put together, could have embarked on such a precise campaign for lack of means. It was a rich man's strategy, a guerre de luxe.

But no one who has seen the rags and hodgepodge of equipment issued to the Russian Special Forces can entertain any illusion that Vladimir Putin can go around launching raids with hi-tech helicopters, or follow around perps with robotic drones before firing, or use satellite-guided bombs to wipe out enemy safe houses that have been seeded with RFID chips. Nor will those detained by Russia gain weight the way detainees have done at the "inhuman" Gitmo prison. That's an American way of war which even Europeans can only regard …

the single life, part II

Another delightful thirtysomething female writer on the internet I have a "blog crush" on is Camerin Courtney.

In a recent essay she asked the question, "Is Singleness a Sin?"

Excerpts:

In a moment of melodrama a couple years ago, I joked with a single friend that at times voices within Christendom have been so silent or so judgmental about singleness, that I suspected they thought the s-i-n at the beginning of the word was no mistake.

Now, unfortunately, one Christian leader has made that bit of humor-laced conspiracy theory a reality. At Joshua Harris's New Attitude Conference for singles this past January, Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, said:
"I'm going to speak of the sin I think besets this generation. It is the sin of delaying marriage as a lifestyle option among those who intend someday to get married, but they just haven't yet. This is a problem shared by men and women, but it'…

the single life, part I

Every couple of weeks I drop by Sherry's blog... and these two recent posts stand out to me today...

"Always a bridesmaid" resonated with me in that I am keenly aware that as time goes by my single friends are and will be getting married off and finding new single friends will be an ongoing challenge.

Excerpt:
I scrolled through my cell phone listings. A few singles here and there but not among my closest friends, at least not the ones who are local. And not many among my outer circle, either. Good heavens, I've become one of those people.

In "Once Upon a Time" she wistfully remembers a weekend she spent with an intriguing man.

Excerpt:
We didn't know one another very well or have too much in common but we liked being together and we laughed and pointed things out to each other and leaned into one another while we walked. We ate Krispy Kreme donuts. There was a gingko tree on the street outside his little brownstone and as I left I tucked a leaf from t…

Read the fine print in polls

Drudge is linking to this poll which claims Bush has a 54-43 lead on Kerry.

The problem with the poll?

374 Republicans (plus or minus 6)
303 Democrats (plus or minus 6)
300 Independents (plus or minus 6)

The sample has a LOT more Republicans which I don't think is reflective of the country at large.

LA isn't a football town

The Raiders and Rams have long left the area and for many years. UCLA had a couple of good seasons but otherwise have been pretty much out of it. Last season USC had a good run to the national title and they are favored to do so again.

As a UCLA alum, I follow the team. Today, I have the radio on and they are playing against Ok State. The guy on the radio says the O-line of Ok State has about a 60 pound average edge over the defensive line of UCLA. It shows. OK State is making the defense look like swiss cheese. The score is 21-14 and the half isn't even over and Ok State has the ball again and they are marching to score again.

At this rate, it will be a blowout. UCLA's only chance will be to force some turnovers on defense and hope for some big plays on special teams and offense to score. A grind it out game means the Bruins will be turned into mashed potatos.

Dodgers shut out 3-0

A loss is a loss but at least it wasn't 13-0. Lima only giving up 3 runs in 7 innings is a good outing considering how many big bats the Cards have. But unfortunately, the Dodgers only manged 2 hits the whole game.

We shall see how the next two games go. If the Dodgers can take at least 1 game and be competitive in the other, they have to feel good about their prospects.

Live blogging the final night of the GOP convention

Here is the released text of the upcoming speech.

Wonder if any other speaker has used the speaker in the round set up for an acceptance speech?

Bush opened up with thanks to family.

He moved next to a simple recollection of 9/11.

Bush is now moving onto economic issues.

It is a bit of a laundry list and short on details. In particular is the commission on tax code simplification. Sounds good but can you give us a peak at what is on the table? Flat tax? Sales tax?

Now, he is onto health care. He is talking insurance portability and medical malpractice lawsuit reforms.

Okay, so this is being folded into this notion of the "Ownership Society." It is about owning your health care, home and retirement plan and having more control over your life.

Transitioning to education.

Bush uses Spanish to say, "We will leave no child behind."

Next up is health care for children.

This speech is turning into a bit of a State of the Union laundry list.

He gives a brief counter…

Can the Dodgers do it?

It has been a few years since there has been this much excitment over the Dodgers. The true blue fans have been riding the rollar coaster for a few months now and are feeling some hope and anticipation.

I think the city's casual fans haven't gotten on board yet. When they do, will the town be as excited about baseball as they have been about the Lakers?

If you are a fan you know they are 5 1/2 games in front of the Giants and 6 up on the Padres and that Dodger playoff tickets go on sale on September 10, the Friday after tomorrow.

If you are a casual fan, wake up and join the bandwagon!

Anyway, I won't be showing up at the ballpark for the lottery but I'll try from the internet to snare some tickets.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday contests against St. Louis will be a huge test of the Dodgers. Skeptics have been thinking the Dodgers have been beating up on the NL West but won't stand up against the best of the rest. Right now the Cardinals are definitely getting the buzz …

Live blogging Cheney's speech

Very low key. Must be intentional. Don't want to appear rabid while he is slicing up Kerry. And it shows that he isn't out for 2008 and carving his own place.

He is tearing Sen. Kerry limb from limb... a Senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequence... OUCH!

UPDATE: Instapundit is live blogging and agrees Cheney is quiet. He liked Zell Miller. Unfortunately, I missed that speech!

UPDATE: David Brooks on Newshour is saying Cheney's speech comes across like how he talks in person in an interview. As Brooks puts it, he doesn't do showmanship.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge is live blogging and here is what Bainbridge thinks of Zell Miller's speech and there is more and still more.

UPDATE: Here are Cheney's remarks on USAToday.

Excerpts:

People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal, and his great hair. I say to them — how do you think I got the job?
.......
Since I last spoke to our national convention, Lynne…

Electoral Vote Web Page

Check this out for the latest electoral college breakdown.

Speaking of the electoral college. Many years ago I read a short little paperback that explained the system and largely defended it. I'm sure newer books have been written about the system pro and con.

I'm dusting off my memory of what I read in that book and here was how they defended the electoral college.

(1) The US has benefited from the political stability of the two-party system. In popular vote models, the role of minor party candidates could prove disruptive. If people think politics in the USA is "Balkanized" now, imagine how it would be if minor party candidates can horse trade their voters in a popular vote system. As it is now, minor party candidates almost never get electoral votes and thus their impact is minimized.

Some will say Nader cost Gore the election. Possibly so. He got 2.88 million votes nationally. If there was a popular vote system, imagine if Nader on October 15 approach…