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  Monday July 18, 2005

Here in Seattle one more day. Home tomorrow. Nothing remarkable happening here.




Monday   TOP    Current Mail

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005   

  On the way home. No t-mobile in this airport. TSA remains a test of what Americans will put up with.

Apparently it makes many feel safer. Indignantly So.

 The airplane has gone into Maintenance , apparently by Itself...


we are on an airplane! And clearly Cingular wireless works. The Connection is weak though. When I get home the problem will be to synchronize Outlook on the desktop and this Machine. I expect to use import from this to the desktop. We will see.

Batteries are holding up well on The TabletPC and the handwriting recognition is pretty good. I am Not editing this. the Capitalization is The main problem.  I would not really want to write a novel or Column first draft this way, but I could.


Home. It is very hot here, but we are here and safe. Hollywood Bowl concert tonight. Import worked just fine to bring in what happened on the trip to a master copy.


There is much mail from yesterday and today.


 You're not good enough!

 Human evolution is now being engineered. Choose to enhance yourself or face inferiority.

 By Joel Garreau

 Joel Garreau, a Washington Post reporter and editor, is the author of the newly published "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human"
 July 17 2005
 In the next few years, your child will come home from school in tears. He'll say, once again, that he is unable to compete with the children who are brighter, better behaved and physically more capable than he is because their parents have bought them technological enhancements and you have not. What will you do?
 The complete article can be viewed at:


  Comments for publication  invited.


Random gleanings:

(1) Peter Brimelow has observed how often a "racist" turns out to be someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.

(2) Hanna Rosin reported in 1998:
... around the Washington Times offices, the [John Podhoretz] column was often read out loud in Podhoretz’s absence, for comic value, in a ritual famously called Podenfreude ....

Something to read: A Skeleton Moves From the Courts to the Laboratory http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/science/19skul.html





 Committee on Science: Subcommittee on Technology

A Review of the Morella Commission Report: Recommendations to Attract More Women and Minorities into Science, Engineering, and Technology

Thursday, July 13, 2000 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 2318 Rayburn House Office

Danica McKellar, Actress ["The West End"] Mathematics graduate from UCLA


Hi, my name is Danica McKellar, and I want you to listen to my thoughts about women in mathematics. Why should you?

· I actually read the entire Commission's Report. Yes, all 100-some pages.

· I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a math degree from UCLA with the highest departmental honors, blah, blah, blah.

· I co-authored a math theorem in 1998, which is now published in the British "Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General."

· I have been helping students with math problems for 1 ½ years on my website www.danicamckellar.com

· I am the national spokesperson for the government sponsored campaign "Figure This!" which is aimed at middle school math students.

· Yes, I love math, and finally,

· I am a woman.

There is a lot more. http://www.house.gov/science/mckellar_071300.htm Worth your attention, if the subject at all interests you.


Tuesday   TOP  Current Mail


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WednesdayJuly 20, 2005

The day we went into space to stay...

Well, we thought we had, anyway. But see mail...

Judicial Restraint and the Supreme Court

The President has decided to appoint a Constitutionalist opposed to judicial activism to the SCOTUS (I hate those acronyms). Barbara Boxer, who probably never heard of him until three minutes before her speech, immediately denounced him. Move On and People for the American Way were shrill within the hour. Those are good signs, but not very good, because they have no idea who he is; this is knee jerk opposition to anything that lessens the influence of the court on American life.

This appointment is important because a return to judicial restraint is important. If courts continue to substitute their judgments for that of the legislature, the result is easily foreseen: it will take more and more force to subdue the population to the will of the court as sovereign rather than the consent of the governed; and that power, wielded supposedly on behalf of the courts, will actually be executive power and continue the trend to Imperial presidency. When Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas to subdue Orval Faubus in the name of SCOTUS, do you really believe that this enlarged the power of the Court as much as that of POTUS? When power is taken from the states, in theory to protect the rights of people within the states, we are at the edge of constitutionalism. The 14th and 15th Amendments took power from the states and gave it to Congress, explicitly stating that Congress should have the power to enforce those Amendments.  (http://www.usconstitution.net/cp_const.html )Congress chose in general not to do so after a flurry of Reconstruction activities, and meanwhile the Supreme Court whittled away at the new found rights of the freedmen (See the Slaughterhouse Cases, as an example; fashions on SCOTUS change, and it was not always pro-civil rights). The argument made after Earl Warren was that since Congress wouldn't act (since its majority was Democrat, sustained by the Solid South which never elected Republicans; and the Democratic Party would rather have a majority in Congress than do much to help the black Southernors) the Courts had no choice; which is a bit like saying the US had no choice but to invade Iraq since no one else would.

In fact the various Court interventions made a shambles of Federalism in this country, but it was the Congressionally mandated Voting Rights Act that actually transformed the South. The results of the well intentioned judicial activism of the Civil Rights days are with us yet, and may well last until the end of the Republic (if we can still be said to have a Republic). Transfer of great power to the executive and centralizing decision making in Washington -- a city that notably failed to lead by example, and so had to turn to imperial force -- has proven to be far more lasting and far more important than all the Civil Rights acts put together. The end of Jim Crow was mostly due to the determination of Southern politicians to win black votes -- as it should have been. Voting rights coupled with some measure of protection of voter registrars -- an executive action in accord with the laws -- transformed the South; but by then the whole notion of self-government, rule of law (as opposed to judicial decree), judicial restraint, and separation of powers had been dealt a mortal blow.

What SCOTUS gives, SCOTUS can take away from citizens; but when SCOTUS gives power to POTUS, it never gets it back.

Appointment of a Justice who believes in judicial restraint is important; but I doubt anything can restore self government to the people of the United States.  But, as I never tire of saying, despair is a sin...


Incidentally, in looking up the text of the Amendments, I found MSN search a lot more useful than the commercialized Google which insists on reserving many of the first place hits for people who paid to be there no matter how tenuous their connection with the subject matter. I now keep both Google and MSN search tool bars in my Explorer.


In all the furor over Joe Wilson (a career FSO promoted by Ronald Reagan to what was supposed to be a non-political post) and Valerie Plame (whose name appears in Wilson's Who's Who entry as well as other standard biographical references to Wilson), has anyone looked into whatever arrangements Wilson had with the CIA before he went to Niger? I seem to recall there used to be contracts on what you could and could not release from reports you wrote on the Company's dime. Did Wilson go to Niger as an overt CIA operative? If not, didn't he blow his own cover when he did his op ed piece about his report? And does that compromise any sources he spoke to in Niger?

/begin fiction

"What the hell is this thing in the Post? Who is Joe Wilson, and why is he writing about yellowcake in Niger and calling the President an idiot?"

"He says the CIA sent him over to find out what what was going on, and he told them nothing was happening and Saddam wasn't trying to buy uranium."

"Holy cow, is that true? Did we blow it for Bush? Who is this guy?"

"Used to be an Ambassador. Speaks French. Seems to have been active in Democrat politics after Clinton came in. Worked with Gore, it says here."

"So why did the Agency send him?"

"Speaks French, was in Niger in the 70's for a year or so as an FSO. Let me make some calls." ... "Henry says he was sent because his wife recommended him as the best guy for the job."

"His wife?"

"Yeah, she works for the Agency in arms control or something. Told her boss he'd be a good man for this."

"Yeah, sure, good man, does a report and then blows it on the op ed page of the Post. Sure. So his wife got him the job, eh? Who's my next appointment?"

"Novak, I think."

/end fiction

And we are off to the races. But no one seems to have looked into whether or not Wilson violated his contract when he did the op ed piece. We do know that he got it all wrong in the op ed article, referring to obviously faked documents he could not have seen when he did his Agency report. And it's my understanding that the Agency did not consider Wilson's report a very strong indication that Saddam was not trying to buy yellowcake (or trying to make it look as if he were trying to buy the stuff), but I haven't seen the report so I am not sure of that. One does wonder why they don't just publish his report and have done with it; he has certainly blown any cover he ever had.

 Mr. St. Onge has accumulated some references that may also be helpful.

And I am pretty weary of the whole subject. I find judicial restraint far more important. But I have included one last letter from one who disagrees with me.


Site Change Proposal:

My own attitude is that what you're doing is fine. If it ain't broke...

It's true that your page layout is cluttered. For an example of a clean, uncluttered, simple layout, see my own page.


I would recommend eliminating your separate View and Mail pages and using one consolidated page that contains both elements. Why force readers to go two places when you could have all of your stuff in one place? Also, many readers who would otherwise read your mail don't bother to load the second page.

Finally, I would recommend that you keep things strictly sequential. It's very annoying when you go back and embed a new mail message and response in material that I've already read. I know I've missed a lot of those simply because I don't have time to re-read everything looking for a new nugget. When you post something new, please, please tack it on the bottom, not up in the midst of stuff I've already read.

I think going to a blog-oriented content management system would be a disaster for you.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

I think going to a blog-oriented site would be a disaster also.

Bob suggests I end separate pages for Mail and View and integrate them into one package. I have thought of this, but so far I have resisted since it is more work. I would think it clear to most that my reactions to mail are likely to be more "off the cuff" than the more formal essays I do in View. Also, I sometimes post mail without comment: by keeping it on a mail page, I hope to make it clearer that in those cases I post it because I think it interesting, but interesting can be provocative as well as something I agree with. Sometimes I just don't know: I hadn't thought that way, but this raises questions; let the readers see and comment. Curtsey as I think of what to say.

An integrated format would require that I think through a position as I post mail, or so I have persuaded myself. It would be both easier and more difficult. Note that I will almost never break mail into paragraphs and deal with each one; if I break up mail and comment I am more likely to break it into two different letters because they deal with unrelated topics. Anyone who deserves publication deserves to be published in his own voice, not in choppy little chunks with remarks (often snide) interpolated. A letter that deserves that treatment probably ought not be published at all. Or so think I.


Record your thoughts on site organization as you renew your subscription (or start a new one...)


From last night at the Hollywood Bowl:

Dr. Laura Brodian Freas, announcer and music commentator at K-MZART, just before she joined our party to hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto and the Seventh. Dr. Brodian Freas is the widow of my old friend Frank Kelly Freas. Kelly did the illustrations of my first science fiction stories, although I expect he is better known for other works...



Wednesday  TOP  Current Mail



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Thursday, July 21, 2005

07.21.2005 <https://www.stratfor.com/subscribe_free_intel

Red Alert Special Report: Four Blasts Confirmed in London

Security officials in London have confirmed four blasts (or attempted blasts) July 21 -- three in the Underground and one on a bus. The incidents come two weeks to the day after the July 7 London bombings that left 56 dead and more than 700 injured. They also come at a time when the London mass transit system is still at heightened security levels following the July 7 attacks.

At 12:38 p.m. local time, London's ambulance service responded to a call at The Oval station, located in southeast London in a fairly run-down area near a cricket ground. Witnesses report that a person with a backpack approached a train, threw the backpack on and fled as other passengers attempted to give chase. The backpack then gave off small explosions and noises that "sounded like champagne corks popping."

At 12:45 p.m. local time, emergency services responded to a call from Warren Street Station in Central London, close to businesses and upscale neighborhoods. Before the station was evacuated, passengers reported seeing smoke coming from one of the trains, and some reported seeing a backpack explode. The British Transport Police reported one injury at Warren Street but did not specify its nature; reports also indicate that police detonated suspicious items at the station as a precautionary measure. Some reports indicate a nail bomb exploded on the train.

The third incident happened at the Shepherd's Bush Station, in a west London commercial district. This incident was reportedly above ground. There were no reports of injuries at this incident.

The fourth incident was an explosion onboard a No. 26 route bus on Hackney Street near Bethnal Green station, just southwest of Victoria Park in north-central London. A bus driver reported no injuries; witnesses say windows were blown out of the bus after an explosion occurred on the upper floor of the double-decker.

The incidents bear a clear resemblance to the July 7 attacks -- they occurred on a Thursday, there were three attacks on the Underground and one on a bus, and the attacks were spread out yet nearly simultaneous. However, the differences are more striking.

The attacks on July 21 occurred at mid-day, not rush hour, minimizing the potential casualties. The bombs used were also apparently significantly smaller, perhaps fireworks and smoke bombs or pipe bombs. Thus far, only one injury has been reported. <snip>


WE took a small (new, for review) JVC combination still and movie camera on our morning walk. I got a splendid shot of Sable and the neighborhood cat, with the cat giving no ground. Now if I can figure out how to get the pictures out of the camera...


As part of the attempt to make this place a little better organized, I have snipped off most of the interminable list of headlines I kept on the home page and put them on a new page, Old Headlines. They are preserved in part because it is a record of what I thought important (and had the time to comment on or draw attention to); and they do collectively provide a pretty good picture of what this place is about. Anyway from time to time I will snip from the home page and past on the Old Headlines page.

Note that given the shorter list, it is now possible to find the list of "permanent" links I keep down below the headline list.


I note that Senator Charles Schumer, Senior Senator from New York, has appointed himself the Grand Inquisitor of the United States, and insists that anyone appointed to the Supreme Court must answer his ideological questions and conform to some grand ideological scheme that Schumer -- and perhaps the Junior Senator from New York -- understand and which they intend to impose for the good of the people of the United States.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Perhaps an opera can be made from it...


Thursday   TOP  Current Mail



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Friday, July 21, 2005

From the Iraqi Constitution:

"Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality.

"An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israeli."

Or so I am told... (But this was seriously in error; see below; it is from an early version that is no longer applicable.)


It's the silly season for news, and I anxiously await the usual  summer news...

Hillary Blasts Bush Court Picks <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/22/02122.shtml

Hatch Slams Schumer's 'Dumbass Questions' <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/21/102207.shtml>

 Bush Asked Judges: How Often Do You Exercise? <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/7/21/145926.shtml

Hillary Book Sales Prove NY Times Dead Wrong <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/21/151141.shtml

Court Rejects Schwarzenegger Ballot Measure <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/22/83623.shtml

Vatican Condemns Canada's Gay Marriage <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/7/21/231736.shtml

Dr. Laura Goes Broadway <http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/21/114413.shtml>


Windows Vista is coming. Look for it...


An interesting rant/debate on science and the social sciences over in mail. It began with a note pointing to something Fred said, but soon blossomed into something else. Begin with Fred and my comment to get started...


What is the New New Left?

"The New New Left, which I also sometimes call the public sector economy, consists of those taxeaters who live off government, either through transfer payments, public sector employment, or employment in sectors like private social services or health care which are increasingly funded by government. These groups began acquiring political power 40 years ago, largely with the help of the vast expansion of government that began during the War on Poverty."

The Contest Between Taxeaters and Taxpayers




An interesting interview, conducted by Ouija board with the late James Jesus Angleton.

John Strohm

As he says, what makes anyone think those were suicide bombing? Or that today's was anything but panic?






Friday   TOP  Current Mail


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Saturday, July 23, 2005

We got a new JVC GZ MC 200 combination digital video and still camera the other day, and I took it for our morning walk. All the settings are default except the date.


All of these were done more or less randomly guided by whim. The camera has both SD card and a micro-drive in a CF slot. These were stored on the micro-drive although I thought I had set it to put still pictures on the SD; I have since fixed that. I made no attempt to adjust for light conditions and in some cases I clearly didn't allow the camera time to do a proper auto-focus. The rightmost picture is of the house formerly owned by the owners of Von's markets. Sasha, Sable's predecessor, used to run away to there because they kept four dogs and put him in the yard with them and their food...



As we rounded a corner Sable was confronted by our neighbor's cat. Sable isn't familiar with cats and doesn't quite know how to act around them, and we've always kept her from getting closer when the cat won't retreat. This cat, though, advanced to drive this wolf out of the yard, and Sable really didn't know how to deal with that. That is one brave cat.

I was taking these as fast as I could, again, with default auto settings. I do wish I'd had my Olympus camera which I think has somewhat better lenses, but for a small hand-held video camera the JVC did a pretty good job of catching this confrontation...


I am told that it's easy to use Irfanview to shrink the size of the primary pictures in batch mode, but so far I have not figured out how to do that, and we have to go take care of Alex's cat before it gets unbearably hot, so that will have to wait. At some point I'll go through all the image files and shrink them to something a bit more appropriate for the web, since I suppose there are readers who haven't got cable modem as we do, and it takes a while to load a big picture. On the other hand, if you do have high speed access, the additional pixels may be useful, and those without probably don't bother with anything but the thumb-nail, so I don't know. It will be useful to figure out how to do it, though.


Today's MAIL contains some important items.




Saturday   TOP  Current Mail

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chief Justice Roberts: once confirmed as Associate Justice, his confirmation as Chief Justice ought to be a lot easier, even with Schumer threatening to die of apoplexy.


Regarding the Iraqi Constitution, I have asked the original source (whom I trust) for clarification and got this answer:

Jerry, The version I quoted in my post I got from a link in Justin Raimondo's column in antiwar.com, his Friday column. I followed the link to the Carnegie Endowment website which had a draft, with commentary by a Dr. Brown, and the quotes were accurate. (Much as I trust Justin, I found the draft difficult to believe). Today I went back to the site, and the link has changed--there is a new draft, which has the following commentary by Dr. Brown. (It's to a PDF, so it was difficult to cut and paste the whole thing. But the following quote is from Dr. Brown's commentary.)


<<edged out of power later that year. The drafters may have conflated the two dates. The earlier al-Mada draft took pains to exclude Israelis from those who could obtain dual citizenship. That effort is absent from this text. This more focused clause would not apply to most Israelis of Iraqi origin, since the vast majority would have lost citizenship rights considerably before 1968 (though some did emigrate in aftermath of espionage trials in 1969. The main purpose of this article is to treat those who lost citizenship in the 1970s—chiefly Shi‘a but also some Kurds.] >>


I didn't go to the Carnegie site because I have faith that my original source had taken the trouble to do so, and of course had I gone to the Carnegie site I would have got the same result.

One would usually trust the Carnegie Endowment to get something like that right, so no apologies are needed from those who did rely on it as a source, but it's important to correct this sort of thing when the facts do come out.

Given his views, Raimondo must have rejoiced to see this, but he can hardly be blamed for believing that source. I was appalled, and I'm happy to see that it was in error.

Thanks to all those who took the trouble to write me questioning that quote. The actual current text is given in mail.


failed attempt to insert a squished line of balls

I got that little separator above from a web site, by left click, drag, control-c, then pasting it here and saving it. It's not spectacular but in doing it I found something interesting: on that web site, attempts to right click to save the thing directly as a gif got the message "NO RIGHT CLICKING ALLOWED."  You learn something new every day, I guess. I have no idea (1) how you forbid right clicking on a web site, or (2) why you would want to. I suppose re (2) one might want to hide the code and meta-comments and such like, but even so, I don't see why you would go to that trouble. I guess I have more to learn about this than I thought, especially since I don't seem to be able to put the squashed one in to begin with.

Even more interesting I find that all it is, actually, is a squashed version of

actual line of balls (line6.gif)


which I have used for years; I think it came with Front Page. Once again one learns something new every day...

I have fooled around trying to make the squished line of balls appear in Internet Exporer and failed. The Alt reference appears. It shows perfectly in both Design and Preview views in FrontPage. But when I go look at it on the net, it's a mess. Not enough to make it worth worrying about, but I do wonder what is happening.

And now it does work so it's even stranger. Some kind of cache phenomenon I would guess. Not worth worrying about.




 Sunday   TOP    Current Mail

This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending.  (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If  you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.

If you have no idea what you are doing here, see  the What is this place?, which tries to make order of chaos. 

Boiler Plate:

If you want to PAY FOR THIS, the site is run like public radio: you don't have to pay, but if no one does, it will go away. On how to pay, I keep the latest HERE.  MY THANKS to all of you who have sent money.  Some of you went to a lot of trouble to send money from overseas. Thank you! There are also some new payment methods. I am preparing a special (electronic) mailing to all those who paid: there will be a couple of these. I am also toying with the notion of a subscriber section of the page. LET ME KNOW your thoughts.

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If this seems a lot about paying think of it as the Subscription Drive Nag. You'll see more.



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