March 31, 2006
This has been one hell of a week. The fact that it started on Sunday morning at 4:30 AM didn’t help much. But alas, it’s over. I’m off to Manhattan tomorrow to celebrate the 3rd anniversary with the wife, and I can put all this work behind me.
As a parting gift, one of my customers was looking to make sure that we had destroyed all copies of a certain software version in our possession. They had switched versions, and we needed to make sure only the right version was kept on site. I’ve been pretty stressed out, pissed off, and ready to drive off a bridge all week, so I decided to have some fun.
They requested “confirmation” that I had destroyed my copy of the software. Below is the picture I sent them. Yep. It must be Friday.
Jill Carroll, a journalist for the Christian Science Monitor, was taken hostage months ago and used as a bargaining chip by her terrorist captors. Deadlines passed, demands were not met, yet Jill Carroll was not killed. Despite the expectation, videos never surfaced on the internet of a cruel, brutal beheading.
Why? Why did the terrorists let her go? Did they have pangs of conscience about killing a woman? Have they suddenly become kinder and gentler?
Of course not. The adherents of the brutal ideology that suggests women who commit adultery should be bludgeoned to death in a hail of stones haven’t changed their tune, just their tactics.
Let me reiterate. Jill Carroll, who claims she “doesn’t know why I was kidnapped”, was nothing more than a bargaining chip. As was Nick Berg. As were the countless other hostages taken by the terrorists. They don’t care whether it’s a journalist, a missionary, a “peace activist”, or a US soldier, they see westerners as a means to an end.
But we didn’t let them get away with it. When they tried to use hostages as a bargaining chip, we didn’t come to the table. They, understandably, tried to ratchet up the heat a bit, and started beheading those hostages. We still didn’t come to the table. We did not meet their demands, and they had no indication that we would in the future. Their bargaining chips didn’t have any worth.
All the time, they were losing moral support throughout the world. It is easy to take a hostage and issue demands that must be met before the hostage is released. That may be a violation of the Geneva Convention (I’m not sure), but it’s pretty standard practice. The world doesn’t bat an eye when that happens. But when you start beheading people? All of a sudden the world gets a lot less sympathetic to your cause.
Never underestimate your enemy. The terrorists see what world opinion is doing, and they know if they release Jill Carroll, they come out looking like reasonable parties to this conflict. If they behead Jill Carroll, they look like brutal murdering thugs. Jill Carroll is just a pawn in this game, a game the enemy is getting better at. We must remember what the terrorists are fighting for— the enslavement and oppression of the world under the guise of Islam. They realize what damage those beheadings were doing to their ultimate goal, and their change here is tactical, not based on a change of beliefs or goal.
March 30, 2006
Let’s see, I like math, engineering, philosophy, psychology, and writing. Yep. Pretty darn accurate.
Considering I majored in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Philosophy, I’d say I’ve got most of those bases covered!
| You scored as Mathematics. You should be a Math major! Like Pythagoras, you are analytical, rational, and when are always ready to tackle the problem head-on!
Hat Tip: Anarchangel
Because I can’t stand overbearing service at stores… It seems that at Wal-Mart, they’ll let you shop in peace. FOR 41 STRAIGHT HOURS!
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — For spring break, some college students set out for sun-drenched beaches or cheap European cities. Skyler Bartels headed for the local Wal-Mart.
Bartels, 20, an aspiring writer and Drake University sophomore, thought he’d spend a week in a Wal-Mart as a test of endurance, using it as the premise for a magazine article. His college adviser liked the idea.
“I just intuitively thought, ‘This is brilliant!”‘ said Carol Spaulding-Kruse, an associate professor of English. “I wasn’t quite sure why, but it just sounded like a really good idea.”
For 41 hours, Bartels wandered the aisles of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Windsor Heights that’s open 24 hours a day. He checked out shoppers, read magazines, watched movies on the DVD display and played video games.
He bought meals at the in-store Subway sandwich shop, but was able to catch only brief naps in a restroom stall or on lawn chairs in the garden department.
Other shoppers and employees didn’t pay much attention until the end of his stay, he said, when it appeared some store greeters began to take notice — pointing at him and whispering.
A shift manager approached him and asked him if he was finding everything he needed.
“He said, ‘Didn’t I see you over by the magazines, like, five hours ago?’ I told him, ‘Maybe,”‘ Bartels said.
Tiring to the point of hallucinating, Bartels said he decided to go home before he was thrown out.
You know, if Wal-Mart just started charging him a little bit of rent, they could lower prices even further!
Hat Tip: Catallarchy
March 29, 2006
I know I’ve been neglecting my duties here. I have a post on tap about the “Real Housewives of Orange County”, but have been too busy on posts of import at The Liberty Papers that I haven’t had a chance to post it. So check out these two over there, and I’ll do my best to put something up here tomorrow:
Go and read. As KJ might say, if you don’t enjoy it, you’re a commie.
March 26, 2006
I realize it doesn’t photograph well. A very bright 120″ LED TV combined with a POS cellphone camera will do that… But this is what I saw today:
For a cool $98,000, it can be yours! I’m planning on putting it on my Amazon wish list once it’s released, just in case any of you would like to give me something more to brag about
Actually, it has it’s benefits, in that it’s a very bright display that is enough to show TV signals for large crowds. But I wouldn’t want it for anything else, because the resolution isn’t that great, and you can see the individual LED’s from a distance of about 25′. But a 120″ TV, that’s no more than 6″ thick, is cool despite poor picture quality!
In other news, I’m down here in Orlando for a tradeshow. I managed to make a nice detour this evening to a legendary local beer shop (Knightly Spirits), and all I can say is WOW. Just WOW. One of the best selection of Belgian beers I’ve ever seen. I managed to pick up some excellent brews I’ve heard great things about. Thankfully, I planned well and didn’t leave myself much room in my luggage, so I couldn’t buy so much as to call it “overboard”.
March 24, 2006
I’m swamped today, so I don’t have much time to post… Go read Will Wilkinson’s post, though, on how to fix the health care mess in this country.
He takes aim at the meme on the left that the “free market” in health care is a failure, because he recognizes that we don’t have anything approaching a free market now. Go and read. When Hillary gets elected and institutes socialized health care, to the detriment of us all, we can look back at this and ask why we couldn’t make the country listen…
March 23, 2006
TUPELO, MSâ€”The Blessed Mother Mary said Monday that devout Catholic Anthony Montero is simply praying to her as a way to get to her Son, Jesus Christ. “People exploit me for my connections, worshipping me as a way to get closer to Jesus,” said the Holy Virgin, bathed in a golden light and attended by seraphim. “How would Anthony feel if I called upon him in the guise of friendship, but simply wanted his cousin to do some plumbing work for me? It’s just rude.” Our Lady added that, if Montero wants to reach Jesus so badly, maybe he should “grow a pair and pray to Him directly.”
Hat Tip: Libertopia
March 22, 2006
Because apparently they’ve solved all the real crimes…
TABC agents and Irving police swept through 36 Irving bars and arrested about 30 people on charges of public intoxication. Agency representatives say the move came as a proactive measure to curtail drunken driving.
North Texans interviewed by NBC 5, however, worried that the sweep went too far.
At one location, for example, agents and police arrested patrons of a hotel bar. Some of the suspects said they were registered at the hotel and had no intention of driving. Arresting authorities said the patrons were a danger to themselves and others.
“Going to a bar is not an opportunity to go get drunk,” TABC Capt. David Alexander said. “It’s to have a good time but not to get drunk.”
Texas used to be the sort of place where walking into a bar looking to arrest someone randomly would be met with the sound of firearms being cocked (or so the legend goes, anyway). What the hell happened? It’s times like this that I just want to head for Montana and become a hermit. I’ve already learned to make my own beer, so all I need to do is figure out how to grow food and hunt, and I’ll be ready!
At least a stand-up comedian knows the score:
TABC officials said the sweep concerned saving lives, not individual rights. Harvey and others interviewed by NBC 5 said they believe drunken driving to be unacceptable, although Harvey wanted to confirm that the United States remains a free country.
“Freedom of drinking should always be allowed, and it is only American to let a guy get drunk where he wants to get drunk,” Harvey said.
Damn right. Buy that guy a beer. Or, more accurately, serve him a beer in a private club where the federali’s can’t get ya.
One of these days, these roman numerals are going to catch up to me!
Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said it would delay general availability of Vista, the next major upgrade to the Windows operating system, until January 2007, a move that’s expected to have some impact on consumer PC sales.
Businesses are expected to get access to the next-generation OS in November, with broader availability to consumers set for January 2007.
The door is open for Apple to have a gangbusters Christmas season. But the window is open for a small PC company to capitalize on the delay by rolling out a fully-functional linux-based PC.
I can see the marketing angle now: “Microsoft has delayed their new Vista operating system to work out ’security flaws’. Linux is widely considered by industry worldwide to be a much more secure operating system, and it’s already here!”
Microsoft is leaving the window open, all it takes now is someone to climb through it.
March 21, 2006
Homer, Bart and the dysfunctional family that is “The Simpsons,” the longest-running animated television show in history, will live on for at least two more years, a US television network said.
Fox Broadcasting Company has commissioned two more seasons of the hit series, taking it up to the end of its 19th year at the end of the 2007-2008 season.
“‘The Simpsons’ is a cultural institution and will celebrate a milestone 400 episodes in May 2007,” the network said in a statement obtained by AFP.
(Drums Fingers like Mr. Burns) — Excellent…
The question now is how long it will be before they officially jump the shark?
PS – For an explanation of the post title, see this link.
And unlike the late nineties, these are stable numbers. There hasn’t been a sharp rise to reach this point, making me believe that these levels are very easily sustainable.
Non-farm payroll employment in the United States grew by 243,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was up slightly to 4.8 percent.
The Labor Department also said Friday that job gains occurred in construction, financial activities, healthcare and several other industries.
Economists had expected the figure to be less, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to 219,000.
The unemployment rate, 4.7 percent in January, was 5.4 percent in February 2005.
U.S. college graduates are facing the best job market since 2001, with business, computer, engineering, education and health care grads in highest demand, a report by an employment consulting firm showed on Monday.
“We are approaching full employment and some employers are already dreaming up perks to attract the best talent,” said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In its annual outlook of entry-level jobs, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said strong job growth and falling unemployment makes this spring the hottest job market for America’s 1.4 million college graduates since the dot-com collapse in 2001.
The firm pointed to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which showed employers plan to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates than a year ago.
The survey also found higher starting salaries this year. Graduates with economic or finance degrees will see the biggest gain with starting salaries up 11 percent to $45,191, while accounting salaries are up 6.2 percent, business management salaries up 3.9 percent and pay for civil engineers 4.3 percent higher.
Hat Tip: Wizbang
While 15% of Americans say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, which is unchanged from January, 49% say they believe the national economy will be worse a year from now
A total of 15% of Americans say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, 30% say it will be the same, 49% say it will be worse, and 6% are undecided.
Overall, 40% of Americans say they believe that the national economy is in a recession and 45% say they do not believe the economy is in a recession.
A total of 45% of Americans rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good and 54% rate it as bad, very bad, or terrible.
The stock market is up. The job market is going gangbusters. Consumer confidence is pretty good. The housing market is defying gravity (although this could be a big issue in the next 6-18 months). And all this is coming out of a recession a few years ago, major terrorist attacks on our country, two wars, natural disasters, high energy prices, and ludicrous government deficits. Every time people have claimed that one of these blows would shake our economy, it’s stood up and grown. I think the situation is pretty rosy at the moment.
So why do so many people in this country think the economy is failing? Why is it that 40% of people think we’re in a recession? Could it have anything to do with the fact that every economic report coming out of our wonderful media hypes every negative aspect or downside to the great economic news we’ve been receiving? We’re not seeing irrational exuberance from the public any more, we’re seeing uninformed pessimism.
March 20, 2006
I got one of the ubiquitous “PLEASE READ” emails today. You know, the ones advertising the boogeymen that will assault you in a parking lot, or will warn you about viruses, or claim that if you forward this to all your friends, Bill Gates will send you a check! It’s so much BS, but yet they keep arriving in my inbox.
Getting fed up (as I usually do), I fired off a curt email. I probably shouldn’t have, since it went straight to everyone in my immediate family, but such is life. I thought it might be a good primer for any readers I have who reflexively forward any tripe that arrives in their inboxes.
However, it is always good practice not to open any files or attachments in an email unless you’re certain of the source. If you are ever in question, e-mail the sender for confirmation that they actually intended to send it to you. If it came from someone you’ve never heard of, don’t open it.
For all emails you get like this, whether they’re funny “news” stories, or simply hoaxes like this that demand you forward them to other people to warn them, always do a search on http://www.snopes.com/ before you send it.
There are loads of emails out there that make you want to forward them to everyone you know as a warning, but all you’re doing is wasting network bandwidth and peoples’ time. As an example, here’s one about crime in Wheaton, IL, that had been going around for a while. Completely BS, but that doesn’t stop people from sending it.
The one that annoys me the most is the idea that Microsoft (or Google, or AOL, insert whatever major computing corporation) is “beta testing” a way to track your e-mail, and if you forward the email to large numbers of people, they’ll send you a check. Frankly, if Microsoft had the power to track all of my email, I think I’d be a little worried about that, wouldn’t you? Doubly so if they could identify (just from my email address) my home address to send a check to me!
Ugh… That’s the end of my rant for today…
(FYI, I grew up in Wheaton, which is why I chose that one for my family members. Wheaton is a low-crime town, where the biggest happenings are kids filling the fountain in the center of town with dish soap).
But if you can’t tell, these emails are one of my biggest pet peeves. I do my best not to waste people’s time with hoaxes, and sometimes I wish that others would spend a few seconds to save me the same hassle.
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