Book Ratings

Book ratings explained:

* I didn't like it | ** It was OK | *** I liked it | **** I really liked it | ***** I loved it

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I'm back!

Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?

I spent the week visiting my folks. I needed a break. No work. No computers. Just reading and watching TV and relaxing.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Point, counterpoint

Still no significant improvement on the finger front. I'm on the fourth prescription and I'm honestly beginning to think that surgery will really be my only recourse. Either that or learning to knit left-handed.

Hmmm . . . that might actually be an interesting experiment.

Updated to add: The Celebrex I was on did zip for my finger but it did seem to clear up the problem that was developing with my knee.

Updated update: In case anyone is interested, in order, I've been on Diclofenac, Prednisone, Celebrex, and Etodolac.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Scooter go bye bye

The Bush Administration's Dilemma Regarding a Possible Libby Pardon - And How Outsiders Such as Fred Thompson Appear to Be Working on a Solution
by John W. Dean
On June 5, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton will sentence Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who has been convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury, as the result of the Special Counsel investigation arising from the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent. I suspect that Judge Walton's actions will create a difficult and delicate problem for the White House.

Needless to say, I have no crystal ball. But it is plain that the White House must be bracing itself for Libby's being sent to prison. Moreover, it appears that high-powered friends of Libby and Cheney have figured out the White House's dilemma, so they are trying to help keep Scooter out of prison in a manner that will not have criminal consequences for anyone involved.

No one has been more active in this undertaking on Libby's behalf than former Tennessee Senator Fred D. Thompson, who has strong Presidential aspirations. Yet, to my surprise, Thompson is either being blatantly dishonest, or he is remarkably uninformed about his efforts. Unfortunately for Thompson, neither state of mind ought to commend itself to Republicans clamoring for a conservative with stature for the GOP nomination in 2008.

Just another brick in the wall

You know that completely silly wall the government wants to build along the US/Mexico border that will accomplish nothing but ruining economies in the areas where it's planned and will waste billions more in tax dollars? Well, there are other things it will ruin as well. Take a look at this . . .

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Located within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tijuana Slough is a beautiful 1,500-acre wetland, home to many endangered birds and one endangered plant. It is located in Imperial Beach where the Tijuana River meets the sea and is southern California’s only coastal estuary not bisected by roads and rail lines. More than 370 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge and in the adjacent river valley. Endangered birds include the light-footed clapper rail, California least tern, California brown pelican, Belding’s savannah sparrow, and an endangered plant—salt marsh bird’s beak.

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Estuary is an essential breeding, feeding, and nesting area for resident birds and for the thousands of migratory birds moving along the Pacific Flyway. Over 370 species of birds have been documented in the Reserve, some of which are endangered and threatened. The light-footed clapper rail, a resident bird that depends on marsh cordgrass and may be the most endangered bird in Southern California, is found here in numbers unlike any other wetland is San Diego County.

Folks, it's time to get political again. Tell your congresspeople you will vote them out of office if they agree to this travesty. The only thing walls are good for is building fear and suspicion and hatred. Enough is enough.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's already a circus and the fools outnumber us all

Yahoo! News | VFW backs vet in trouble over protest
"Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we're trying to instill in Iraq is not what we're all about," said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus," Kurpius said.

. . .

Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Kokesh is under administrative review because he wore his uniform at a political event, which is prohibited. And, Lapan said, when a senior officer told Kokesh that he violated military regulations, Kokesh used an obscenity and indicated he would not comply with the rules.

"It's the political activity that is prohibited, not the type of event that it was," Lapan said. "If it had been a pro-war rally, it would still have been a violation."

. . .

A second Marine who was at the same event was also called about the violation, but told the officer he was unaware he was breaking the rules and said he would not do it again, Lapan said. That Marine has not been called to an administrative hearing.

. . .

"We all know that people give up some individual rights when they join the military," Kurpius said. "But these Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it."

May I ask one question? Have the military personnel Bush and other politicians have standing around them when they make their speeches been placed under "administrative review" for wearing their uniforms during a "political activity"?

Bye, bye BSG

Battlestar Ending Next Season
"This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end," Eick and Moore said in a statement on May 31. "Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end, and we've decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms. And while we know our fans will be saddened to know the end is coming, they should brace themselves for a wild ride getting there: We're going out with a bang."

I certainly hope the show goes out with a bang, and not the kind that blows everything up in a CGI fanboy boom-fest. It would be nice for the show go to out as it came in as the best genre show on television. I would really rather it didn't end as the yawn-fest the two middle seasons have been.

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Brownback vs. Darwin

What I Think About Evolution
Published: May 31, 2007
The New York Times
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

A Thinking Reed | Brownback vs. Darwin
Each individual human being comes into existence by way of natural processes, but that in no way justifies treating their individual worth as somehow diminished. So why should the fact that the species came into being by natural processes diminish the worth of human beings as such? If we can say that God intends my particular existence, even though I came into being through natural processes, then why can’t we say that God intended to bring human beings as a species into existence by means of natural processes?

When money is god

BBC NEWS | Americas | US warns over Chinese toothpaste
US officials have warned consumers to avoid using toothpaste made in China after a shipment was found to contain a poisonous chemical used in anti-freeze.

The Food and Drug Administration said it could contain diethylene glycol, which has been blamed for the deaths of at least 50 people in Panama last year.

The brands affected are usually sold at "bargain" retail outlets, the FDA said.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Panama 'to blame for fatal syrup'
China has blamed Panamanian firms for passing off a Chinese industrial solvent for use in medicines, so causing dozens of deaths in Panama.

A Chinese official said Panamanian firms doctored paperwork to mislabel the chemical's use and shelf life.

These comments come amid a series of health scares about Chinese products.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China probes 'tainted' toothpaste
China says is investigating reports that toothpaste contaminated with a potentially lethal chemical had been exported to Central America.

Thousands of tubes of Chinese-made toothpaste have been confiscated in Panama and the Dominican Republic.

The toothpaste contains diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in engine coolants, authorities there say.

BBC NEWS | Business | China cracks down on food safety
China has pledged to clean up its tainted food and drug industry after a series of safety scares that have aroused global concern.

The announcement comes as two company managers were detained, accused of adding melamine to food additives.

The contaminated ingredient used in pet food led to the death of a number of cats and dogs, US inspectors allege.

Unregulated drugs have also been a concern. China's top drugs regulator is to go on trial charged with corruption.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China tightens net on fake drugs
China is to review tens of thousands of drug licences as part of an investigation into a graft scandal.

The inquiry has already led to the sacking of the head of the State Food and Drug Administration.

According to Chinese media, corruption at the drug agency runs so deep that Beijing is considering closing it down entirely.

Dozens of people across the country have died from illegally produced or fake drugs in recent years.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Nine killed by fake Chinese drug
Nine people have died in China after being injected with a drug containing a fake ingredient, authorities say.

They died after being given the drug, which treats gall bladder, liver and gastric disorders, at a hospital in southern Guangdong province.

The Chinese company that made the drug has blamed a supplier for delivering a toxic chemical in place of the genuine ingredients.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China blames 97 over milk scandal
China is to punish 97 government officials over the sale of fake milk powder that caused the deaths of at least 13 babies, state media says.

. . .

Investigators uncovered more than 100 factories making bogus formula, consisting mostly of starch and water.

Friday, June 01, 2007

DRM free . . . yes, but . . .

BBC NEWS | Technology | Anger over DRM-free iTunes tracks

News site Ars Technica was among the first to discover that downloaded tracks free of Fairplay have embedded within them the full name and account information, including e-mail address, of who bought them.

It suggested that this information could be an anti-piracy measure as it could help work out who was putting downloads on file-sharing sites.

But it also added that the user information was found on all the tracks that people buy on iTunes whether free of DRM or not.

Nessie's back! | Fabled monster caught on video