Archive for July, 2004

Gettin’ Hitched

Friday, July 30th, 2004

On the blue moon in the Smokies. Then off on a honeymoon on the Georgia Sea Islands. Be back in a week.

Ambition

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

What kind of man (I know I should say person, but I’ve never gotten comfortable with the awkwardness of gender-neutral pronouns) sets his sights on becoming President of the United States, as a teenager, and remains committed to that goal throughout his adult life? Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry are such men. John Kerry filmed reenactments of himself being a hero in Vietnam. He volunteered for Vietnam even though he was against the war. He was thinking about the presidency. Clinton and Gore both calculated every move all their lives with the white house in mind. I suppose it’s laudable, in a strange kind of way. I have a difficult time identifying with it. As teenagers and young men, they could not possibly have had any kind of fully-formed vision of how and where to lead America. It’s not about that. It’s about what is to me almost unimaginable ambition and will.

I suppose it makes sense that these are the kind of people who wind up becoming the most powerful man or woman (see what I mean?) in the world. Not always though. George Bush spent his youth doing everything possible to avoid becoming President. His ambition and will only kicked in when he reached middle age. This is a psychology I can understand. My impression is that John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, although both ambitious men, also did not imagine the possibility of being the President, until later in life. It might be interesting to separate past Presidents into these two groups, and see which ones did a better job.

My daughter always knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to be a veterinarian, and now she is. Although I’m not one of them, I realize there are people like that. Maybe it’s no different than that. Some people want to be veterinarians. Some want to be the President of the United States. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s the same. There’s something scary about it.

How Crazy Are We?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Who could believe that the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan was motivated by a desire to increase profits for Unocal? Who could believe George Bush and John Ashcroft are plotting a fascist takeover of the United States? Who could believe that Hilary Clinton ordered the murder of Vince Foster? Who could believe that Bill Clinton was a drug lord overseeing a huge cocaine smuggling operation? Who could believe that George Bush is somehow in league with Osama Bin Laden? And yet millions of people in the U.S. do believe these things. Some of them are my friends. It’s just a wild guess, but I would estimate that somewhere around 20% of the adult population believes one or more of these things, or any one of a number of other crazy conspiracy theories.

If an individual were 20% convinced of any of these paranoid fantasies, he or she would be considered to be at least border-line psychotic. And that’s just the U.S. if we look at the world as a whole, it is much worse. It would seem that the principles of the Enlightenment, i.e., the scientific method, the rules of logic, etc., have a long way to go, to propogate through the collective consciousness.

This is the world we live in. We are, and have been, under attack by affiliated organizations of millions of psychotics. And we are living in a time when rapidly advancing deadly technology is becoming available to more and more people throughout the world. And yet many Americans, more than 20%, believe that the Bush administration is exaggerating the threat. Myself, I think that, if anything, they are seriously understating it. Exaggeration would be very difficult.

Michael Moore

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I saw part of the appearance of Michael Moore on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Whenever O’Reilly confronted Moore with some factual information, Moore would say, “Would you sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah?” That is such a slimy, demogogic, when did you quit beating your wife, question, purposely designed to create heat without light, a question that it is impossible to answer yes or no to. The legitimate question hiding within the propogandistic wrapper is, “If your child chose to volunteer to put his life at risk, in order to help liberate Iraq, would you approve of his decision?” That is a question that can be answered yes or no. Whenever questions of fact are raised, Michael Moore pulls out one of these cunning misdirections. He is obviously very bright, very quick, but there is no truth or integrity in the man.

At the Democratic convention, Michael Moore sits in the President’s box, next to Jimmy Carter. 95% of the delegates are against the war in Iraq. But if you listen to the speeches, or read the platform, you hear and see nothing about being against the war. Whenever Kerry is forced to mention the war, he sounds like George Bush, except he adds some vague rhetoric about getting more cooperation from our allies. He never says how he would do this. He never provides a serious analysis of why France, Germany, and Russia, are not supporting us. He never says what he would do different. He never provides an alternative vision of how to fight the war against Islamic fascism.

Maybe, if elected, he will turn out to be a great war president. There’s no way to tell, really. But that’s not what these delegates believe. They believe that he is secretly against the war, just like they are, just like Michael Moore is, but that he is saying what he needs to say to beat George Bush. So the anti-war crowd is gong along with the dodge. Maybe it’s a dodge, maybe it’s not. I don’t know what John Kerry would do as President. I have no idea. But I have a very clear sense of what George Bush will continue to do. I have no doubt that he will continue to confront the Islamic Jihad, the axis of evil and its satellites with all the means at his command. His perception of who are our friends, and who are not, seems very accurate to me. I will be very surprised if the voters throw him out, and put John Kerry in his place.

Tough but Wise

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

I agree with Andrew Sullivan. The Democratic convention has been shockingly well-managed so far. The anti-war, Bush-hater vote is sewed up. Kerry doesn’t need to pander to them anymore. They will vote for anyone but Bush. So now it looks like the slogan is changing from “Let America be America” to “Tough but wise”, which is, I must say, a brilliant move. Who’d of thunk the Democrats could be this smart? I still very much doubt that Kerry will be able to convince us that he really is tough but wise. Nevertheless, it is the perfect note to strike. I have to hand it to the Kerry team. They seem to know what they are doing.

One Issue Andrew

Monday, July 26th, 2004

Andrew Sullivan, my, and many others’ favorite blogger, has been riding the fence lately about Kerry vs. Bush. Many of his devoted readers are taking issue with him about this, accusing him of being obsessed with one issue, i.e., the FMA, the proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. He defends himself in today’s blog. Here is my response to his defense:

So what it really boils down to is that you do not believe that the war necessarily trumps all other issues, because 1) Bush has not been that great in the post-victory phase in Iraq, and 2) Kerry might not be so bad. That is certainly an arguable position, wrong but arguable.

My suspicion is, though, that were it not for the FMA, you would not be quite so pessimistic about the current situation in Iraq, nor quite so optimistic about Kerry’s secret plan to continue fighting the war, which he doesn’t like to call a war, which he discusses only when pressed, and then in the most vague terms imaginable. I think this is what many of your readers are sensing, that your understandable passion about the FMA is skewing your view of the main issue of this campaign.

The FMA is almost certainly doomed to failure, and may even turn out to be a boon to its opponents. The Islamic fascist war against America is not at all doomed to failure. It is real and will continue for the foreseeable future. The outcome is uncertain. Time is not on our side. If Kerry is elected President, it will be with an anti-war mandate. This cannot help but be a victory for our enemies.

This is why I, and others, are questioning your hopefulness about Kerry. We can’t be electing someone President because we hope he doesn’t mean what he says, and what his supporters say, just because he doesn’t support a doomed anti-gay amendment to the Constitution.

God, I love Joe Lieberman

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

Senator Joe Lieberman (Dem., CT) and senator Jon Kyl (Rep., AZ) have relaunched the Committee on the Present Danger, first created by Scoop Jackson in 1950 as a bipartisan effort “to educate Americans about the growing threat of Soviet communism.” Here’s a quote from their op-ed in the Washington Post:

“In this third incarnation, we intend to focus the committee on the present danger our generation faces: international terrorism from Islamic extremists and the outlaw states that either harbor or support them. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks awoke all Americans to the capabilities and brutality of our new enemy, but today too many people are insufficiently aware of our enemy’s evil worldwide designs, which include waging jihad against all Americans and reestablishing a totalitarian religious empire in the Middle East.”

Read the whole thing. Lieberman is almost the only sane Democrat left standing. He was only able to muster 5% of the vote in the primaries, which is an indictment of the Democrats, who have become beholden to all the crazies who imagine that Iraq is Vietnam.
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More about the Apple Lock on the Music Download Business

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

Here’s an interesting article in The Register that is relevant to what I believe is Apple’s growing lock on the online music business. Macrovision and SunnComm, the two biggest players in CD copy protection are trying to cut a deal with Apple, because their copy-protected CDs are not iPod compliant. More evidence that if you want to be in the music download business, you have to deal with Apple.

I’m a Wannabe Democrat

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

When I’m walking around town, or riding my bike, I notice that I have a certain amount of resentment towards all those idiots driving in their cars. When I’m driving my car, I feel the same resentment towards all those pedestrian and bicycling jerks who are getting in my way. Prior to 9/11, I was a far left liberal who felt that all those on the conservative side of things were greedy, unfeeling, ignorant bastards. Now that I am a post 9/11 conservative, the liberals all look like delusional morons. I used to think that the mainstream media were biased against liberals. Now I think the opposite. I thought I was right then. I think that I’m right now. I am a walking (or driving) microcosm of the political polarization in America that the pundits are all talking about. No matter which side I’m on, the other side looks like a bunch of wackos.
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Why You Should Buy Apple Stock

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

1. Apple has the music download market locked up. I know this isn’t the conventional wisdom. It’s too soon to tell, Microsoft is about to jump in in a big way, the big music labels will jump in eventually, etc., etc. It is true that we are in the very early stages of the transformation of the music business, and that Apple is still a big frog in a small pond. However, Apple is the current leader by a wide margin, and they have implemented a very Microsoft-like lock-in. iTunes only works with iPod. iPod only works with iTunes. They both only work with the Apple Music Store. And, this proprietary universe provides the best user experience, by far. This means that nobody is going to leave the Apple world once they have bought in. All their songs are stored in aac format on their iPods and in their iTunes. And so many more people want in, Apple can’t even meet the demand. Airport Express and the BMW connection just make it all even more attractive and even more sticky. No doubt Microsoft will come out with an iTunes clone that is inextricably bundled with Windows, and they may even give away music players, but it’s already too late. Apple is over the hump. It’s where people want to be. And, unlike the choice between a Windows PC and a Mac, if you want to be compatible with those around you, you choose Apple.
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