Random Musings
Friday, February 27, 2004
 
Incremental Blogger: Continuing the conversation about gesture-based editing: "I can imagine a day in which students draft a piece on their tablet pcs using a stylus, easily revise and edit, possibly with 'gesture based editing,' and develop their ideas further by seamlessly adding diagrams, labels, illustrations--even pictures they've annotated, all with the use of a pen/stylus--just like paper and pencil!'"

I don't want to dampen his enthusiasm, especially since good technology tools for education are sorely needed, but I fear that too many students would use the technology to create increasingly elaborate sketches of dragons on skateboards.

Yes, I know, I'm sometimes a cynic.

Sometimes.

-B-

 
Yahoo! News - Jackson Pulled Over While Wearing Mask: "GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. - Michael Jackson (news) was pulled over by police and asked to identify himself after shopping at a Wal-Mart while wearing a ski mask.
An employee called police Tuesday, police Lt. Bill Kimminau said. The employee gave a description of the vehicle and Jackson was stopped a short time later.
Authorities asked Jackson to identify himself, which he did by removing his mask.
'There were no problems, and that was it,' Kimminau said.
Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain said the incident was a trifle.
'The police car pulled to the side and just asked that he show his face, and he did, and that was it,' Bain said. 'There was no altercation or any kind of encounter.'
The singer is known to wear disguises when in public. "


Does it seem to anybody else that perhaps wearing a ski mask at Walmart is not a good way to go unnoticed? I remember the days when a "disguise" for a celebrity meant dark glasses and a hat.

-B-

 
Yahoo! News - House Speaker OKs 9/11 Panel Extension: "President Bush (news - web sites) supports the extension and the Senate earlier Friday passed on a voice vote a Senate Intelligence Committee bill including the two-month extension.
But without a guarantee that the House would act by next week on that bill, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman (news - web sites), D-Conn., held up a vote on a highway bill needed to prevent the furlough Monday of some 5,000 federal workers and a cutoff of highway money.
They lifted that hold after being informed that Kean and Hamilton were satisfied they would get the extension they requested. "


So, just to be clear, Senators McCain and Lieberman held up an unrelated bill and jeopardized the jobs of 5,000 federal workers as a political ploy to get what they wanted? Is this the way we want our congressmen to behave? What next, are they going to take their gavel and go home if they don't get their way?

I hope there are some readers in Ariz. and Conn. who will remember this come the next election.

-B-

 
World Press Review - World Press Wire
Today former colleagues and ex-diplomats rounded on Ms Short.

Her one-time deputy at the Department for International Development, George Foulkes, said: "This is the latest outburst from Clare ... there has been a pattern, since she ceased being a minister, of constant attacks on the Labour government and particularly on Tony Blair.

"She has got a clear political agenda here and this is just the latest part of it."

Helen Liddell, a former Scotland secretary, said Ms Short's claims were "completely unsubstantiated". She said: "I think a period of silence from Clare might be appreciated. It is becoming increasingly difficult to work out where Clare is coming from. This is a pattern of behaviour that really is confounding her friends and colleagues, and I don't think it is doing the country any good."

Sir Crispin Tickell, former British ambassador to the UN, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "My conscience is quite clear about these matters and I would not think it necessarily a bad thing at all if it is in the national interest."


What I notice here is that none of these people is saying that it isn't true. The closest they come is when Ms. Liddell says that the claims are "completely unsubstantiated" which simply means there isn't any evidence to prove them (or disprove them).

Sir Crispin Tickell even appears to confirm the veracity of Ms. Short's claims in the final quote - or at least indicate that he finds her claims plausible.

-B-

Thursday, February 26, 2004
 
If you like special effects and neat ideas it's hard to top this short film: 405

-B-

 
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Astronaut pair leaves ISS empty: "Commander Foale has said he is happy to carry out the five-and-a-half-hour walk, recalling that pairs of Apollo astronauts had made lengthy walks across the Moon's surface in the 1960s and 1970s without anyone staying behind on their lander. "

Well, that's certainly true but I don't think there was much risk that the lander was going to float away on its own or that they might get locked out of it. Walking across the surface of the moon, while significant of course, is not quite the same thing as doing a spacewalk in open space.

Or am I just displaying my ignorance of the operational details of space walking?

Update: The risky spacewalk had to be cut short due to a problem with one of their flight suits.

-B-

 
CBS News | Radio Group Delivers Stern Shock | February 26, 2004�14:01:42 (CBS/AP) The head of the nation's largest radio group said he was "ashamed" of one "shock jock" program, even as his company suspended another, better-known personality's show.

Clear Channel Radio has pulled Howard Stern's show from the half dozen of its 1,200 stations that run it, saying it did not meet the company's newly revised programming standards.


The backlash from Janet Jackson's Super Bowl peep show continues. Broadcasters, suddenly caught like a deer in headlights in front of millions of outraged American conservatives are scrambling to scrub their programming. I don't listen to Stern's show personally, but that's in part because I've heard it before and I know what to expect. It's going to be low-grade shock material, lots of sexually suggestive stuff (which I don't generally object to, but don't usually need to hear) and crude grade school humor. I choose not to listen.

But the thing that makes Stern different from the Janet Jackson episode is that with Stern you know what you're getting. You don't listen to Stern for wholesome family entertainment - that's not his act.

While I support Clear Channel's right, as a private organization, to decide who they will and won't broadcast, I don't support pulling Stern's show off the air. All radios sold in America today have knobs or buttons that allow the user to change the channel or even turn it off. If you don't like what Stern does, don't listen to him, but don't pretend to be surprised when he spanks a stripper on the air. With Ms. Jackson's act it was in the middle of the Super Bowl Halftime show, with no warning whatsoever. Most of us are used to marching bands, some lip synching and a lot of generically choreographed 15-year old dancers at halftimes. Not Nelly grabbing his...umm....nelly and Janet showing her breasts. There is a time and place for that kind of entertainment and I would have had no objection if it had been shown on HBO and/or with appropriate disclaimers ahead of time to warn people that there may be sexually suggestive material and nudity during the performance.

But they chose to spring it on us, if you'll excuse the phrase, and that was entirely inappropriate. Stern's act, as I understand it, hasn't changed in years. To yank him now is just reactionary and unnecessary, in my opinion.

-B-

 
Following up on the allegations of spying on UN diplomatic groups by the U.S. and Britain...

I have to think that we would be outraged if it was revealed that a foreign nation had bugged our diplomatic groups. If these allegations are true they are at the least embarassing for us and may even carry some consequences internationally.

-B-

 
A follow up to the story about the British intelligence agent:

Claire Short, the former Cabinet Minister, said that British agents has spied on Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, in the run up to the war on Iraq.

This is certainly revealing an uncomfortable amount of intelligence work directed against the UN and UN member nations. Perhaps that work is necessary, but I don't think we like to be caught having to admit to it.

-B-

 
Church of the Customer: "'The early work I did on loyalty was powerful but useless... satisfaction surveys are such a joke... The key is making your customers' lives better.'
Making your customers' lives better can produce far better top-line and bottom-line returns via word of mouth than any points, rewards or frequent-purchaser programs. Making your customers' lives better is planting the deepest roots for customer evangelism. "


Fred's right, of course. The ultimate goal is to make your customers' lives better. But the trick becomes...how do you know if you're making their lives better if you don't ask them?

-B-

 
World Press Review - World Press Wire: "Mrs Gun's disclosure about the bugging operation has already embarrassed the Government, with countries involved, including Mexico and Chile, asking questions.
A Mexican diplomat alleged that it allowed the Americans to head off a proposed compromise resolution in the UN that might have averted war."


The story about Mrs. Gun (a British intelligence officer) leaking the memo that alleged that U.S. and British intelligence was bugging UN member nations during the debates about whether to go to war in Iraq is interesting, but I find this statement by the unnamed Mexican diplomat to be far more interesting. What does he mean and can he prove it? He seems to be saying that the bugs were used, assuming they were used at all, by the Americans and British to avoid peace. That's a powerful accusation if it can be proved.

-B-

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
 
Winners never quit and quitters never win, but only idiots never quit AND never win...

Dennis Kucinich took 2nd in the Hawaii Caucuses. He was the only candidate who bothered to campaign there. When you can't even win in a state where you are the only candidate who shows up, that is a good sign that it's time to fold the tent and go home.

-B-

 
The Creatures From the Sandwich Shop - Behind the singing rodents in the Quiznos ad. By Seth�StevensonThe spot: A small, furry creature, wearing a bowler hat, levitates as he sings an ode to Quiznos subs. Nearby, another flying creature wears an 18th century seafaring hat, and strums on an acoustic guitar. Song lyrics: "We love the subs! 'Cuz they are good to us. The Quiznos subs. They are tasty, they are crunchy, they are warm because they toast them. They got a pepper bar!"

Sorry, the first time I saw that ad I thought it was awful. After further consideration I've concluded that my first impression was right. I've eaten at Quiznos and I enjoy their subs, but these ads stink. The creatures aren't cute, they look too much like mutant rats (and not in a good way), the song isn't compelling and frankly looking at them spoils my appetite.

When you're a sandwich shop you want your ads to make people hungry for your food. Not make them cringe and decide to skip lunch.

-B-

 
IHT: Chief of the CIA warns of �next wave� of terrorWASHINGTON George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, has said that the world is at least as "fraught with dangers for American interests" as it was a year ago, despite the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq and successes in dismantling the leadership of Al Qaeda

This illustrates the paradox we face and perhaps the brave face that President Bush is trying to put on the situation. While he tells us that because of his war of choice in Iraq that the world is a better and safer place, our CIA director tells us that the world is at least as dangerous for us as it was before the war in Iraq. The reality is in the difference between rogue states and terrorist organizations, I think. While the toppling of Saddam Hussein does remove a brutal dictator with a history of aggression who was hostile to U.S. interests, it does very little to alter the landscape in terms of terrorism.

While the war in Iraq is having the interesting side benefit of attracting large numbers of terrorists and Al Qaeda members anxious to strike at U.S. forces (and thus providing us with a chance to attack them with our best troops far from American soil) the reality is that it has also stirred up a lot of anti-Americanism and perhaps bred a whole new generation of Americans.

However we do have to attack the anti-American terrorists where and when we find them. The catch is in the differentiating between terrorists and states.

Whatever you believe about what Bush has told us about this war, he was certainly telling the truth when he said it would be a very, very, long fight.

-B-

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
 
The ThinkThink store has some neat shirts for sale including one I really like which says on the front "If you're going to vote, please think" and on the back "If you're going to think, please vote."

I hope that sentiment catches on.

-B-

 
KansasCity.com - The Kansas City Star, breaking local news, sports, entertainment, business: "MIAMI - (KRT) - The Pentagon on Tuesday charged two Arabs being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with conspiracy to commit war crimes on behalf of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network, setting the stage for the first U.S. war crimes tribunals since World War II."

It's about time. I'm heartened to see that criminal proceedings are at least in the works for those people. Either they're criminals and should be locked away, or they're not and should have some timetable for release. Either way, holding them indefinitely without due process is not the American way.

-B-

Friday, February 20, 2004
 
ESPN.com - MLB - Attacker of Royals coach may end up in jail: "CHICAGO -- A man on probation for running onto the field at a Chicago White Sox game with his son and attacking a coach has tested positive for drug use, court records show, and prosecutors said they will ask a judge to send him to prison."

My first thought was: "Why isn't he in jail already?" The guy, and his son, ran out onto the field and severely beat an elderly coach in front of 20,000 witnesses. The coach lost his hearing as a result of the beating. For this the guy was sentenced to probation?

A good example of what's wrong with the criminal justice system. Too many criminals...too little justice.

-B-

 
All Headline News - Friend Wavers at Martha Stewart Trial: "NEW YORK - A close friend of Martha Stewart who told a damaging story about the homemaking expert wavered slightly in her testimony Friday as the government neared the end of its case.

On Thursday, Mariana Pasternak testified Stewart told her shortly after selling her ImClone Systems stock that she had known ImClone founder Sam Waksal was trying to dump his shares. Pasternak also testified that Stewart told her in a separate conversation: 'Isn't it nice to have brokers who tell you those things?'

But under cross-examination Friday from Stewart's lawyer, Pasternak conceded about that remark: 'I do not know if that statement was made by Martha or if that was just a thought in my mind.'"


Wavered slightly? "I don't know if she said it or if I imagined it." I'm no lawyer but that doesn't seem like especially strong testimony to me.

-B-

 
All Headline News - Bush to Install Judge, Bypassing Senate: "WASHINGTON - Bypassing Senate Democrats who have stalled his judicial nominations, President Bush will use a recess appointment to put Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at least temporarily, government sources said Friday."

What does it tell us about our government when the only way to get judges on the bench is to bypass the process because the petty, partisan, bickering stalls the regular process?

-B-

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
 
CNN.com - Whites-only scholarship generates controversy - Feb. 18, 2004: "(CNN) -- A whites-only scholarship to be awarded Wednesday by a student Republican organization at Roger Williams University in Providence, Rhode Island, has drawn both controversy and support. "

My wife and I have often quipped that we were going to open a "Caucasian Cultural Center" here in Honolulu. Naturally we would expect some outrage...the kind of outrage that strangely does not seem to be focused at the Japanese Cultural Center, Chinese Cultural Center, Filipino Cultural Center....

"The state Republican Party has criticized the scholarship as having racist overtones."

I believe that's the point.

-B-


 
Yahoo! News - Kerry Wins Clark's Backing, Republican Attacks: "Citing a news report quoting an unidentified Democrat as saying 'everything' was on the table for the November campaign, Gillespie told a Republican dinner in Reno, Nevada, that Kerry did not want to debate issues with Bush. "

Hasn't Kerry repeatedly said that he wants to debate issues with Bush? This seems like just political rhetoric to me.

-B-

 
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage: "On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated on its Web page reported that Katie Hnida, a former place kicker, said she was subjected to lewd comments by other players, groped in team huddles and raped by a teammate.
Coach Barnett issued a statement saying he knew nothing about the rape but later when trying to explain why Hnida had been harassed said she was an awful player who was not respected by team members.
'You know what guys do, they respect your ability. Katie was a girl, and not only was she a girl, she was terrible. She couldn't kick the ball through the uprights,' he said. "


As a former coach I've had the opportunity to meet and talk with Gary Barnett and it is my opinion that he's a great coach and a good guy. Seeing this interview clip on TV this morning just stunned me -- it seemed so out of character for him to say this. Frankly, in my opinion, there is a certain contingent of guys who will never accept a woman on their football team and will harrass them regardless of their ability to play. The fact that Hnida is blond and at least somewhat pretty undoubtedly made things that much harder on her I'm sure.

For Coach Barnett to say she was "terrible" certainly doesn't reflect well on him or his program -- if she was so "terrible" then why was she wearing the Colorado uniform? How did she make the team? Surely she must've kicked the ball through the uprights at least occasionally. I don't think it's Coach Barnett's policy to just pluck random women out of the student directory and offer them spots on the team.

I suspect that what happened is that Coach Barnett is under tremendous stress with all of the sex scandals facing his program right now and he just snapped and lashed out in this impromptu interview. I don't know him well, but if he is the man I always thought he was I'm sure he regretted what he said as soon as he got in his car and left.

I'd like to think that if he had the chance to do it again he would have said something more along the lines of: "Katie gave it a great effort, but ultimately we had other kickers on the roster who had better range and accuracy than she did and we had to let her go. We wish her the best at New Mexico."

Maybe I'm wrong, but I hope that's what he would have said in a less-crazy time.

-B-

 
Yahoo! News - Bush Backs Off Forecast of 2.6M New Jobs: "Jobs are a sensitive political issue for Bush as he fights to keep his own job in a second term. The economy has lost 2.2 million payroll jobs since Bush took office, the worst job-creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. "

Wow, now this is a startling fact. In Bush's defense the economy took a pretty hard hit after 9/11. Still, all of that defense spending should be boosting the job market (at least in those industries).

-B-

 
Education - what could be more important than reading? Reading is how you access the dubious wisdom of this blog.

I'd like to suggest that the public schools look to add teacher aides and/or community volunteers who are specificly tasked to work with kids on reading to the classroom beginning in the third grade. No child should leave the third grade unless they can read at an age-appropriate level.

Next I'd like to see expanded reading tutor programs in the public library.

Reading is too important to skimp on. Parents, teachers & the community need to get involved.

I'll have some more on this in the coming weeks. Assuming you're able to read it.

-B-

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
 
Political Wire: Drudge Rumors Prove False: "Drudge Rumors Prove False
'A 27-year-old woman who became the subject of Internet rumors about a supposed relationship' with Sen. John Kerry said 'that those reports are 'completely false,'' the Washington Post reports."

This is a good example of how low the standard of "proof" has fallen in today's politics. This is from a pro-Kerry website. In fact if simple denial were all that was required to prove allegations false then nobody would ever be guilty of anything.

Let me make clear that I don't know whether the rumors were true or not and I don't especially care. In my opinion if Kerry did have an affair then that's between him, his wife and the woman he had the affair with.

-B-

Thursday, February 12, 2004
 
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on National Review Online: "So i say again, the only solution is to strike the religious, military, and other cadres of the Shi'a so that they revolt against the Sunnis. Some people will say, that this will be a reckless and irresponsible action that will bring the Islamic nation to a battle for which the Islamic nation is unprepared. Souls will perish and blood will be spilled. This is, however, exactly what we want, as there is nothing to win or lose in our situation. The Shi'a destroyed the balance, and the religion of god is worth more than lives. Until the majority stands up for the truth, we have to make sacrifices for this religion, and blood has to be spilled. For those who are good, we will speed up their trip to paradise, and the others, we will get rid of them. "

I've said it before and I'll say it again...there are none so dangerous as those who think they alone know the true word of "God."

-B-

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
 
This might really be more appropriate for my Technology blog but it occurs to me that the proliferation of cell phones was a big step in society. Both forward and backwards.

Forwards in that it gave people tremendous freedom and tremendous security. You can go anywhere and still be able to stay in contact. Get a flat tire by the side of the road? You can call the auto club without having to trudge a mile to the nearest callbox or find a gas station that has a pay phone. Witness a crime? 9-1-1 is right there in your pocket.

Backwards in the same way that most mobile technologies infringe upon our lives. It's harder to get away from the phone now. Sure, you can turn it off or ignore it, but it doesn't seem like many people do that. People are working longer hours because now they can work from the car or the patio or the restaurant with their cell phone and laptop and PDA and...

Now we've stepped forward into the next generation: Camera phones.

They have all of the advantages and drawbacks of their less sophisticated ancestors but they have an added advantage: anybody can document the world around them at any time. Privacy advocates are up in arms about this. "I could be photographed standing on the street corner without my knowledge!" Yes. You could before too. That happens in public places sometimes. Think of the advantage to society, though...

A few months ago I spotted a suspicious looking van down the street from my house late at night and I saw the occupants of that van go into a construction area that they clearly didn't belong in. I called the police. Anticipating that the suspects might leave before the police could arrive, I strolled down the street as if going for an evening constitutional. As I passed their van I recorded the license plate number into my PDA.

Sure enough several minutes later the suspects came back out, piled into their van and left...minutes before the police could arrive. But I had the license plate number and a description of the van and armed with that information the police were able to figure out who owned it and begin the process of tracking them down. That was good...but imagine if I had a camera phone and could have taken a picture of the van and a picture of the license plate and maybe even gotten a picture of the suspects.

Digital cameras and camera phones are a boon to Neighborhood Watch groups everywhere. This cuts both ways, of course. Get into a car accident? Take pictures with your camera phone to establish what the scene actually looked like. Ask Rodney King if the proliferation of cameras in society is a good thing. It's getting to the point where if anybody sees something important....everybody can see it.

That's good.

-B-

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
 
BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Rumsfeld 'unaware' of WMD claim: "US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he cannot remember hearing the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. "

He's the Secretary of Defense, preparing to lead us into a war against a country he claims has WMD and he isn't reading the intelligence dossiers prepared by our allies? I find that very difficult to believe.

-B-

 
Yahoo! News - Generals Say They Believed Iraq Had WMD: "'It was my belief that this cause was just,' said Adm. Vernon Clark, chief of Naval Operations. 'That was my position then and that's what I believe today.' "

I actually find it reassuring that these military leaders are confirming that they too believed (falsely as it turned out) that Saddam had WMD before the war. This underscores that the failing was more likely with our intelligence than with our leadership.

Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon (news - web sites) briefing that if Saddam had chosen to cooperate with weapons inspectors and disclose what it had on weapons of mass destruction, war could have been averted. "He chose war. If he had chosen differently, if the Iraqi regime had taken the steps Libya is now taking, there would have been no war," Rumsfeld said.

Except that this part is patently false. The UN inspectors did go back into Iraq and it wasn't Saddam who ordered them out...it was us. Saddam did disclose what he had on WMD...he didn't have any WMD. Rumsfeld is saying that the only way Saddam could have avoided war would have been to admit to having weapons that it appears he didn't have. And if he had done so he'd have been admitting material breech...when he didn't subsequently present the non-existent weapons for destruction undoubtedly Rumsfeld would have sent our boys in there anyhow.

I don't see any way, short of suicide perhaps, that Saddam could have averted war. At least not by 2002. I suppose if he had chosen not to invade Kuwait back in 1991 he could have averted war.

-B-

 
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Chile's UN phones 'were tapped': "Press reports in the UK suggested the US National Security Agency was spying on the envoys of those countries, and had requested British help. "

This is just wild speculation, of course, but if it is true it is NOT a very flattering picture of the U.S.

As much as I want our intelligence agencies to improve, I'm not sure that illegally wiretapping the phones of United Nations envoys is the right way to go about it.

IF it's true.

-B-

Friday, February 06, 2004
 
The Scotsman - Top Stories - Out-of-touch Hoon's losing battle over 45-minute claim: "Mr Hoon yesterday gave evidence to MPs where he said he did know the 45-minute claim - which dominated the world�s media after Mr Blair�s dossier was released - related to battlefield weapons and posed no threat to Iraq�s neighbours.

During bad-tempered exchanges with the defence select committee, Mr Hoon repeatedly insisted the 45-minute issue, the key fact on which the Hutton Inquiry turned, had not been central to the case for war against Saddam. "


The problem is that it was central to the case. Perhaps not to Parliment or Congress but certainly to the people. Among the points used by the Bush administration to frighten people into believing that we needed to act against Saddam immediately was the claim that he had these weapons that could be deployed against us in 45-minutes. That's part of what made Saddam such a threat, according to the administration. It was repeated by more than one administration official.

Between the 45-minute weapons and the strong (and false) implications linking Saddam to the 9/11 attacks it's no wonder so much of the country is confused about why we went.

I'm glad Saddam is gone, the world is a better place without him running part of it, but I am constantly dismayed by the manner in which the administration took us into this war which is increasingly looking like a war of choice and opportunity...rather than a war of necessity.

-B-

 
CBS News | 9-Year-Old Repeat Offender? | February 6, 2004�13:03:13County Prosecutor Edward G. Holm said the boy probably will have to undergo psychological testing and attend disciplinary classes.

"He will do some type of probation," Holm said. "When a 9-year-old runs off with a car, something is obviously haywire and we'll have to find out what it is."


I certainly hope they figure it out. Recividism is an ugly problem at any age and I'm afraid our justice system has yet to find a good cure for it. Here in Hawaii the penalties for crimes like auto theft are so apparently so light that it might as well not be illegal. It's not at all unusual to read a news item about a car thief getting arrested who has dozens of previous convictions on car theft charges despite the fact that they're only 26 or 30 years old. Why this obvious career criminal is back on the streets is quite a mystery to me.

Hopefully this young 9yo boy can get himself straightened out. Otherwise 21 years from now we might be reading a story about the car thief who has a history of crime going back to when he stole a dirt bike at 9.

-B-

Thursday, February 05, 2004
 
Yahoo! News - Robert Blake Trial Postponed Indefinitely: "Outside court, Blake wished Mesereau the best.
'I'm sure Mr. Mesereau will have a great life and a great career. I'm 70 years old. I've learned I have to go forward. ... I wish him all the very best,' said Blake, who sang 'Amazing Grace' as he walked to his car after the court session. "


The cynic in me wonders if the 70-year old Robert Blake intends to stall and delay this trial until he's on his deathbed anyhow.

-B-

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
 
Threat advisories improving, DHS says: "Loy said there have been discussions to eliminate the five color codes signifying the different threat levels. Since inception, the country has been at either yellow or orange, the second highest level. The highest threat level is red.
'I do believe this is a work in progress,' he said. There may come a day when such color codes are no longer necessary, but he added the public, businesses and governments must first internalize this new security environment. He also said he favors better education for the public about what to do when the threat is raised."


For 20 points...what code are we at now? (Don't look it up). Answer: Who cares?

We're at yellow...or maybe it's tangerine. No, wait, I think we're actually at magenta. This just in, the threat condition color has been changed to "Aquamarine"...does that mean we're supposed to run for our lives, duct tape our windows, stockpile rice or does that mean "all clear?" I can't recall.

The fundamental problem with the color coding system is that the colors, as currently used, don't mean anything to most people. So we're currently on yellow (Yes, we actualy are) what does that mean to you? To me it just means that you shouldn't wear pink because it doesn't go well.

Scrap the color system folks. Nobody knows if Orange is worse than yellow or if green is worse than blue. Few people know what they're supposed to do differently at each color level. Maybe use numbers or letters instead. Everybody knows where 5 and 3 are in relation to each other. Nobody knows where Green and Yellow are.

-B-


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