Monday, September 27, 2004

198 Feet High and Full of Salvation!

As a warrior of Interstate 70, I've seen just about everthing there is to see between Wheeling, West Virginia and Salina, Kansas.

Here is Effingham, Illinois' offering:


Time to answer the burning questions regarding the Captain...

Hey Captain, didn't you used to race mountain bikes?

Yep, I did. But my second job, as an IT Security enthusiast, took me away for awhile. Actually, my junk food intake as reached record levels and my craving for Vodka tonics is insatiable. So methinks I won't be finishing the season. But there is always next season!

Ober, wasn't the flag of Iraq changed at one point? What happened to that?

Nice catch reader(s). You mean this flag:

I Don't know reader. Apparently our colony didn't like it.

Hey Ober, did you watch the Chinese Grand Prix?

Of course. The viewing times were a little odd but yes, I stayed up until 3 AM on Sunday morning to watch Ferrari win - again. Hey, at least this time it was Barichello rather then Schumacher right?

I was struck - not literally of course - by the fact that the Chinese government doesn't allow civil helicopters in its cities. At least they don't in Shanghai. So the teams had to drive to and from the track. I actually heard that the Williams team was involved in an accident on the Shanghai roads.

The real question is this: What kind of government doesn't allow civil helicopters? You fill in the blanks.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Grand 'Ol Fascist Party

I was feeling rejuvenated. After celebrating the New Year, preparing for Yom Kippur, and having recently been dazzled by Cato's Supreme Court Review nothing could bring me down.

Behold, the Republican Party, owners of Christ's well wishes and the party of over-the-top nationalism brings us a bill "protecting" the Pledge of Allegiance from judges. I have to admit, I had a little trouble even finding the record of this - even in the congressional records! What I found was an article over at the Mercury News documenting this constitutional abomination.

So this is conservatism? This is limited government?

If you bother to read or research any of the text from Cato, you'll come across one of my favourites over there: Erik Jaffe. Here is a link to his take on McConnell v FEC. I watched Jaffe give his presentation on his section of the report. He was asked to comment on the Pledge of Allegiance "passions." His take blew me away.

He posits that the Pledge of Allegiance is nothing more then a loyalty oath. And, being sanctioned by congress (see above), it is therefore unconstitutional on 1st amendment grounds. The argument as to whether or not "under god" should be included in the pledge is merely a species of the larger argument and as the larger issue is moot due to unconstitutionality, we have a closed case.

Jaffe's position reflects conservatism as I envision it. Not this bellicose nationalism practiced by Tom Delay and the GOP. While the GOP's shift to embrace nationalism, state religion, and hyper-militarism isn't true conservatism - or constitutional, it does seem to win elections.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Spinsanity calls "Shenanigans" on Kerry and MoveOn

I'm starting to wonder what this world would be like without internet-style journalism - blogging to you and me. All one has to do is put in a little work and then, voila, c'est verite!

Check out Spinsanity's take on the Kerry/liberal hysteria - or lying and exaggerating - over the assault weapons ban sunset.

But by connecting a deeply emotional concept - terrorism - to a marginally related subject - assault weapons - Kerry and MoveOn inflame and mislead in their attack on the President.

It sure is tough to come to a consensus in this country on an issue without the facts. Great job big media! Even better John Kerry! As far as Kerry goes: How the hell am I gonna vote for this ass?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Security Notes: Time-Based Security

I was engaged in a fairly healthy but heated argument recently regarding what many call "Time-Based Defense." I have been a believer in the time-based defense concepts for some time now. Others seem to need convincing.

As I understand it, Winn Schwartau is the main proponent of this concept these days. The concepts are documented here. Here is the gist:

If the time value afforded [one] by a protection device is greater than the amount of time it takes to detect and respond (repair, halt) to an attack, then [one has] a secure environment.

Makes perfect sense to me.

The Power of The Association

No, I'm not talking about the feel good group from the 60’s; I'm talking about mentioning Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in the same sentence. I'm talking about referring to Iraq as the war on terror. I'm talking about calling the insurgents terrorists - in the same way that Al-Qaeda is (are?). Come on; you know what I'm talking 'bout right?

But if you believe the horseshit be shoveled at you by the powers that be, then you can find yourself in the left column. (It's ok to be in the far right column.) Via Newsweek.

"Do you think Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was DIRECTLY involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, or not?"

Was Was Not Unsure
% % %
42 44 14

Among ALL adults:
1/29-30/04 49 39 12
9/18-19/03 47 37 16

Friday, September 17, 2004

Villeneuve Back In F1

So let's see: He's going to finish the season with Renault and then the next two years will be spend with Sauber-Petronas....ugh. But we fans of the Brickyard will always have a special place in our hearts for Jacques.

More here from Canada.com.

Ford Drops Out of F1

There was no compelling business case to continue the operation. We have to be able to win and we just can't justify the spending.

More here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bullshit Detecting 101

Truth or Fiction

Map of Springfield

I snagged this insanely detailed map of Springfield off of a Slashdot post.

Please be sure to read the first comment on the post before you get all "upity" about them "missing" something.

Anatolian Update

I've always had an interest in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. I have graciously provided links to two articles about that country that have appeared in the press today.

The first article is from Al Jazeera titled, "Turkey threatens US over Iraq attacks". A few interesting things in the article but it mostly just reminds us that if we intend to be a hegemon we better get our learn on.

The second article is from Asia Times Online titled, "Turkey brewing another economic crisis".

One of the things to watch out for is a sudden massive exodus of foreign capital from any economy. We saw capital exodus during the Asian financial crisis in '97. The author, regarding Turkey's issues notes:

Foreign capital flight only needs a trigger. Past triggers have included sudden recognition of Turkey's fiscal problems obviated by the failure of treasury debt auctions, rising inflation and interest rates, and unexpected political or geopolitical developments. Any or all of these triggers could suddenly surface in the next several months.

And then there is the proposed law regarding adultery. Here.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

more here.

Take, Take, Take

I had the unfortunate chance to eat dinner the other night with an owner of a Hummer H2.

He had just purchased his new assault vehicle and was quite proud. During the course of the meal he actually pulled out of picture of his vehicle and showed it to me. "Oh, that's precious I said. How old is she? She has her mothers CV Boot."

What interested me most was the fact that he felt inclined to personally thank George W. Bush by writing a letter of thanks. Thanks for what you ask? Well, my colleague wanted to thank the self-proclaimed "war-time president" for the allowing him the indulgence of a vehicle with a curb weight of 6,000 lbs. ...and a GVWR of 8,6000 lbs to boot; More then enough to kill me and Mrs. Ober in a relatively minor collision.

Seems that small businesses that operate in the wilds of New York City and Charlotte, NC can cash in on whopping tax incentives for petty indulgences; Ones that get 8 to 12 mpg. Mr. Macho even informed me that if it weren't for the tax incentive he wouldn't have made the purchase.

When I envision public policy based on equality, justice, and ethics, tax incentives for H2 owners doesn't come to mind.

Low hanging fruit here from Public Citizen but do your own research. (The link also has other stuff on why SUVs are for assholes with small dicks.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Sprawl and Urban/Suburban Policy Explained

I enjoyed reading this article by David Walters of Charlotte's Creative Loafing.

From the article:

Patterns of development in Charlotte are massively influenced and subsidized by American government taxation policies that reward suburban homeownership and penalize urban renters, and transportation policies that favor roads over rail. In other words, American governmental regulations and handouts of tax dollars promote the status quo. Charlotte's sprawl could not have happened if developers had to build the highways that opened up their land and served their subdivisions. In fact, these captains of free enterprise have enjoyed a government handout of $1.2 billion for the outerbelt -- and they have the gall to bleat about government getting in their way, or complain about smaller amounts of money going to build light rail!

There are a number of Public Opinions which I cannot stand. One of them is the fallacy of the free market. But what happens when the governments - local, state, and federal - actually subvert free markets to the detriment of citizens...under the auspices of free markets?

Simple research into the U.S.'s steel policy and sugar subsidies brings one to the conclusion that the impetus is political expediency and greed rather then public good. Research and open eyes would bring one to that conclusion when it comes to urban planning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

So That is Why the Press Blows

If colleges discourage young reporters from investigating powerful interests while in school, how can society expect them to probe political corruption once they graduate? When students cower rather than proclaim their opinions on campus, how can we expect them to stand up for what they believe off campus?

More from Reason here.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Ober's Flip-Flop; Sorry Mr. Nader

After last week's parade of lies and hate, also known as the Republican National Convention, I have decided that I can't, in good conscience support Ralph Nader's run for the presidency.

The continual use of 9/11 for political purposes and the slander of John Kerry by proxy have finally driven me to support a candidate by whom I am repulsed.

I can't say I agree with Kerry on many issues and I can't say he is really a man of any principle save maybe that principle which benefits him best. But as so many like me are saying, anything is better then George W. Bush.

If one were to go back through this blog and review the links I have provided, I believe one would find ample reason for a sensible person to withhold support for Bush. Optimal word: Sensible.

And that is the crux of the issue. I am withholding support, in a very active manner, for Bush rather then supporting Kerry.

The facts are that we are not safer, that Bush is not prosecuting the "war on terror", and is not empowering all Americans equally.

I'm sorry Ralph. While I can only hope to be half the man you are and I find your leadership truly inspiring, I cannot, in good conscience, support your candidacy.

Around the Musical Horn

Sunday is upon me and so I take my leave to the local record store.

Finally, got a chance to listen to the new M83. It is a very big record that is supposed to be listened to at very high volumes. I didn't purchase Dead Cities, Dead Seas & Lost Ghosts but I think I just may on my next visit.

Bjork's new record is Medulla. It is just damn peculiar! ...but in a good way.

Here's what AllMusic reviews says:

It's not a poppy or immediate album, but it is a fascinating one, not to mention a rewarding one for anyone interested in the world's oldest instrument being used in unexpected ways.

I also got a chance to pick up a few classics like Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Ween's The Pod, Supergrass's' Life On Other Planets and the new echobelly record, gravity pulls.

Long Week

It has been a long week and I fear next week will be longer. Especially bummer-ific was the fact that this weekends vacation to Wisconsin was cancelled due to work in Charlotte.

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