Thursday, January 29, 2004

Whale explodes in Taiwanese city

Ruined someone's day, not to mention the whale's.

{ Digiquaria }

Now, this is relaxing. And cool. And weird.

Site undergoing transformation

You may notice some of the pages herein aren't looking so good, mainly because I've been tweaking the main page with CSS for a whole new look and feel, and the stylesheet affects other pages in adverse ways. I'm working on it, but hey, I got a REAL job, too, you know....

Speaking of the front page, this is done with no tables, all CSS.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A case for Dean

Sullivan's take on the primary outcome:

"Most of the day, I thought that Edwards was going to be the un-Kerry from now on. Dean was too damaged after losing both Iowa and New Hampshire. But Edwards' disappointing fourth place showing - behind the nutcase Clark - after such a big win in Iowa has to make his candidacy more suspect. Dean did a little worse than the exit polls suggested. But his concession speech was easily the best of the night. It was authentic, uplifting, and red meat to the Democrats. It actually rang true to me as Dean's real view of the world. It isn't one I entirely share, to say the least, but it is genuine, represents a lot of people in this country and deserves a hearing. He seemed more affable than recently as well. He smiled more. He spoke more calmly but not ineffectively. He's real. Kerry is so fake, in contrast, I cannot believe that Democratic primary voters will continue to support him in such numbers. "

I don't like Dean, but as Sullivan indicates, he's real, and he deserved better than the orchestrated ridicule over the "scream" speech that really didn't sound like anything other than big-time motivation to me. Had the mike not been right at his face, he it would have sounded pretty normal in the circumstances. Not that I'll vote for the guy, but for some reason, the media got a little nasty with that one -- even the liberal media at the big three. Gotta wonder why.

Tyranny the real threat

Claudia Rosette in OpinionJournal today. Here's one of the key sections:

"We seem to be heading for the surreal conclusion that it is all right to be a murderous tyrant who only thinks he is pursuing weapons of mass destruction--even if he apparently believes it himself strongly enough to take the risk of kicking out U.N. arms inspectors for four years. Somehow, I am not comforted by the vision of a Saddam presiding over a country where he is allocating resources for WMD, terrorists are traipsing through, and whatever is really going on is anyone's guess, including Saddam's."

"What needs to start sinking in, somehow, is that while arsenals matter, what matters even more is the set of rules and values that a regime defends and its leaders live by. This, more than anything signed on paper or offered as totalitarian propaganda, tells us where the worst dangers lie. We have heard by now too many discussions in which mass graves, mass starvation, conventional mass murder and terrorist trafficking are all somehow hived off from the high and nuanced talk of geostrategy, of bomb estimates and inspections, so scientific but imprecise."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Watizit is down again

Once again, following some changes at my hosting service, WATIZIT, my creative idea generation tool, is not working properly. I apologize for any creative inconvenience. WATIZIT had been experiencing a lot of interest and use up to the point it crashed. I'll get it fixed as soon as possible and let you know here.

NH Primary

I don't think Dean will win, but that's all I feel safe predicting. Dean would be relatively easy to beat in November, but I think that might be true of Kerry as well.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Regarding Iraq, WMD and whether or not we shoulda done it:

As is often the case, Sullivan sez it best:
"It was never incumbent on the world community to prove that Iraq had dismantled its WMD program before the war. It was incumbent on Saddam to show otherwise. He refused - either because he was being lied to and wanted to conceal weapons that did not exist, or because such an admission of impotence would have been terribly damaging to the dictator's reputation, both internally and with regard to Iran, or because he was slowly going nuts and his regime was collapsing from within. But what matters is that he refused.

The responsibility for the war therefore lies squarely with the dictator. Moreover, we know that if Saddam had been left in power and sanctions lifted, he would have attempted to restart such programs - and indeed Kay has found a vast apparatus of components, scientists and plans to achieve exactly such a result. Kay has now told us that Saddam was working on a ricin-based biological weapon right up to the eve of the invasion.

We know now something else: his tyranny was worse, more depraved and more brutal than we believed to be the case before. The moral and strategic case for his removal appears stronger now than ever. We also have a chance to move one part of the Arab world toward some kind of open, pluralist society. Since the appeal of Islamo-fascism is deeply connected to the backwardness and tyranny of so much of the Arab world, this is a fundamental and critical part of the response to 9/11. Iraq was and is a critical component of the war on terror. It's an attempt to deal with the issue at its very roots. I believe the victims of 9/11 deserve nothing less. "

Also in Frontpage.com

Ann Coulter had an interview with the online mag a couple weeks ago. While a lot of her responses seem to be begging for a rimshot, I loved the following, in response to a question about why she dislikes trial lawyers:

"Everything you do -- from driving to earning a living to making a cup of coffee to owning a home to getting medical care -- is more expensive and difficult simply because of trial lawyers, who, at the same time, contribute absolutely nothing of any value to society. You can't buy as simple a device as a telephone without having to wade through a 50-page manual to locate information you actually need, like what your new security code is. (How about adding a one-page short list of instructions for consumers who already know not to place their phones in a microwave oven?) But other than the fact that trial lawyers have made every single facet of life worse, I can't think of a single good reason to dislike them."

FrontPage Interview of Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan is a political writer I've discovered relatively recently, but for whom I have a great deal of respect. Here is his interview in Frontpage.com. His blog is here.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Good Read

Just started reading Zeldman: Designing With Web Standards. So far, so good. Well-written, not absolutist in its approach, useful.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

From the Beeb and Andrew Sullivan yesterday

More indication that, even if the intelligence turns out to be incorrect, the best experts in the business believed there were (and still may be) WMD in Iraq. The "Bush lied" crowd is getting on my nerves because they refuse to make a distinction between errors in knowledge and outright deception (something they are pathologically good at.) Even the BBC, which has had a distinctly anti-Bush/anti-Blair stance over Iraq, is admitting they've misreported -- dare I say it, "sexed up?" -- their point of view at the expense of truth.

Dean as a healer -- WWHD?

I can walk again!.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Another Opening, Another Show

Over the River and Through the Woods, in which I play an elderly Italian immigrant, opens tonight at The Bristol Opera House. Wish me a broken leg. Tickets are selling out fast, so hurry and get some if you want to come.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Paige is now a sorority girl

Paige, my "baby" daughter, is now a sorority girl. I know this doesn't seem like much, but to her dad it's a milestone, and Paige wanted it very much. Her personal blog post from last night follows.
sorority girl:

Today I pledged a sorority, more specifically, the Beta Delta chapter of the Alpha Gamma Delta women's fraternity. And it's their centennial year! I am so tired I think I might pass out. Have a lovely day tomorrow, everyone, because I plan to go and spend more time with my fellow baby squirrels and sisters. See the squirrel, be the squirrel. -Paige

Cake all around!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Where does this idea come from?

In the NYT magazine, Questions for Wallace Shawn: Stage Leftish, the interview ends with Shawn saying, "We're in an emergency situation. The United States has become an absolutely terrifying country, and I would hope that I could participate in some way in stopping the horror and the brutality. "

How is it possible that a guy like Shawn, whose work I've admired in the past, can be so shallow when it comes to politics? Earlier in the interview he says, "To be honest, I see myself as a citizen of the planet. Even as a child, I always found it mindless to root for your own team. I was puzzled by the fact that people said their own team was better than other teams simply because it was theirs. "

Patriotism isn't always mindless. The "My Country Right or Wrong" attitude is mindless, possibly, especially in service to dictators, but to believe America (our team) is better, is much more than just putting on the right sweatshirt. America is based on an ideal of freedom, not simply a property line. Can't Shawn see that America IS better because of the idea on which it's based?

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Peggy Noonan on Howard Dean

Here is what I see as the nut of Peggy Noonan's OpinionJournal piece of today:
"Howard Dean is as much like George McGovern as 2004 is like 1972, which is to say not much. But Mr. Dean is not Mr. McGovern in a more important way. Mr. McGovern was guided and inspired by his own sense of a particular ideology. He reflected it, and his young supporters, who that year took over the party, shared it. They stood for something. Mr. Dean's people--and Mr. Dean--don't seem to have anything as coherent as an ideology. Instead they have attitude. "

Attitude, posture, image, presence, not ideas, ideology or even policy. Is this what we want in a president?

Friday, January 2, 2004

Sir Howard the Egregious

Dean's tax policy is worse than I realized. Today's
OpinionJournal Editorial by Stephen Moore makes it clearer. Dean actually PROMISES tax increases -- shades of Walter Mondale. Except unlike Mondale, Dean appears poised to nail everyone, even working poor.

Here's a distillation quote:
When it comes to taxes, Mr. Dean thinks really big. In raw numbers, the Dean tax proposal would raise taxes on 109 million Americans by roughly $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. This comes out to a Dean tax of about $15,440 for every family of four in the U.S. over the next decade. The Dean tax rule of thumb is that if you are in the middle class, he would roughly double your federal income tax payments.

And --
If the Democrats do indeed nominate Mr. Dean and make the Dean tax the underlying economic message of their party, that would be good news for Republicans, but awful news for sound economic policy making in Washington. It will signal once and for all that the Democrats have gone off the deep end on economics and no longer believe a word of John F. Kennedy's message of 40 years ago that higher tax rates "will never produce enough revenues to balance the budget, nor enough jobs" to put Americans back to work.

Read the article.