Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Which war are they covering?

NY Post columnist Ralph Peters provides his view on Iraq from Iraq, making me wonder why what he says he sees is so different from what other media are reporting.

To hear them tell it, Iraq is (and has been) on the brink of civil war. But despite repeated attempts by terrorist to ignite that tinderbox, every time it seems to sputter out.

The lastest of these is the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, which instigated a spasm of sectarian violence.

But instead of spooling up and out of control and consuming the country, it's been brought under control by the reason and discipline of the Iraqi leadership and the refusal of the bulk of the population to allow it to destroy their country.

Peters provides a view that I find a little on the rosy side, frankly.

But he's right in taking the long view -- yes, violence will continue for a time, but the Iraqi people will ultimately decide their fate and have already declined to give in to the provocations of the terrorists.

The problem for most of the media is that EVERY conflagaration is the ultimate one, heralding ultimate and unavoidable defeat. Commenator Daniel Henninger notes in the Wall Street Journal how quickly they to to "10" on everything. (He was actually talking about how the press covers the White House, but the principle holds.)

Blogger Glenn Reynolds picks up on Henninger's thread, calling it "Spinal Tap" journalism -- everything "goes to 11."

The cowards and defeatists will continue to yell "fire" in the moviehouse. But fewer and fewer will listen over time.

Friday, February 24, 2006

They Printed My Letter!!! Part....

They did -- in the News-Times today, on warrantless wiretapping.

You can read it here.

You've seen most of it here on the blog, but I thought I would share it with a wider audience. Frankly, you can't get much smaller than the audience of my blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

...or give me death!

Osama Bin Laden vows he won't be taken alive, the Associated Press reports.

Anyone got a problem with that? Anyone? You, in the back? No?

Then it's a deal!

In the recently released audiotape statement, Bin Laden also calls U.S. tactics in the war on terror barbaric.

Ho, ho, that's a good one, Osama. This from a man who turned civilian airliners into missles and sends suicide bombers into crowded markets.

That Osama is so funny -- he should be in cartoons!

Oh wait...

Monday, February 20, 2006

eBay Sucks!

That's our topic today.

Long story short. Last week I tried to buy a cellphone cover for my kids' phone on eBay -- found what I wanted, bought it and tried to complete the transaction.

Got all the way to payment, when PayPal wouldn't accept my password. Funny, checked my cheatsheet to make sure I was using the right one -- it all checked out.

Hit "reset password" and waited for the response email from PayPal. Never came.

Got pinged by the seller asking me to complete payment. I explained the problem and he was all cool with it.

Tried the reset twice more -- still didn't work.

Sent an email to eBay explaining the problem -- customer service promptly responded, telling me to follow the same password reset instructions -- tried it one more time for good measure, and it still didn't work.

I pinged eBay again, explaining that the "password reset" still didn't work -- mind you, each time I email them, I get a response from a different CS person. They sent me to the PayPal site to try to resolve it -- now I'm dealing with CS at PayPal and eBay -- nice!

Problem is, you can't get into the PayPal site without logging in, and since my password doesn't work I can't get in. Guess what they ask you to do in cases like that -- yup, the same "password reset" instructions.

Sent eBay an email saying I still couldn't get it fixed, but you know what, NBD -- I'll just shop elsewhere from now on.

And they responded with the same generic email!

I just sent the following email to eBay:

"Salvador: Thanks for your note. Interesting to note that you're the third CS person at eBay to engage me on this, yet you folks continue sending me the same form letters and trying pass the buck to PayPal, without solving the problem.

In case my last note wasn't clear, I'm done.

I have contacted the seller and informed him the reason I haven't completed the transaction is because your application doesn't work. I'm sure he's as delighted as I am.

I would prefer that neither you nor anyone else at eBay or PayPal send me any further generic, useless emails that don't solve the problem. I don't need the spam clogging up my inbox

If you want to do something constructive, you could get on the phone with PayPal and figure out how to solve the problem -- you guys own them so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. Otherwise, I really don't want to hear either of you again.

Thanks and good luck.


Just so everyone knows who everyone is here, I've worked for an IT company for the past 13 years -- I know how this stuff is supposed to work.

See answer #1 -- eBay sucks.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Define "Lack of Response," Please

Democrats still in a flutter about Cheney's "lack of response" after he accidentally winged a hunting buddy last weekend.

But a review of a New York Times timeline (reprinted in the Austin American-Statesman) of what happened shows there was no "lack of response."

The vice president immediately went to the aid of his friend. The incident was reported to authorities by the Secret Service within minutes, and a statement was released to the media the next day by the owner of the ranch.

"Lack of response" is code for "didn't immediately call a news conference while his friend lay bleeding on the ground."

For Democrats to attempt to use this event as an opportunity score political points is the height of hypocrisy.

Compare Cheney's response to the behavior of Ted Kennedy -- a pillar of the Democratic Party -- who allowed a young woman riding is his car to drown while he fled the scene of an accident, which he didn't report to the authorities until the next day after consulting his attorney.

THAT is a lack of response. If you're going to claim the high moral ground, you better make sure you're standing on it.

Some cluck that the Vice President personally didn't issue a public comment for several days after the accident. Uh, neither did Ted.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

China Whining

Execs from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco under fire yesterday in House hearings on their doings in China, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Reps from both sides of the aisle wringing their hands and asking the execs how they sleep at night, having buckled under to China's requirements that they restrict certain services.


The execs cringed, and hemmed and hawed, but this is what one of them should have said:

"Look it's really very simple -- if you want to do business in China, you abide by China's laws.

If you don't want to play by those rules, then stay home. There's really no middle ground on it, and the Chinese government isn't interested in discussing it with you.

What you have to weigh here is where is the greater good? Is it in providing some, if only limited, services in a country like China, promoting growth which could lead to greater cultural and social freedoms. Or is it in staying away, leaving China isolated and festering?"

And if you think you're off the hook because you're not one of those companies, think again. That laptop you're using? Made in China. That DVD player? Made in China. The CD player, the television, the game system? China, China, China.

If you think that's a problem, you're not just part of the problem -- you ARE the problem.

I remember my in-laws once complaining about how everything is made in China now. But they love the inexpensive electronics and consumer goods they buy.

So I told them, look you can either complain about offshoring or you can buy cheap stuff, but you can't do both. Walmart is the single largest importer of goods from China -- they're one percent of the Chinese GDP.

So if you don't like globalization and you don't like the Chinese government, STOP SHOPPING AT WALMART!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Winter Games

Not blogging much this week. Busy at work and busy watching the Olympics every night.

We're Olympics fanatics at our house. The snowboarders have been favorites for us over the last two winter games -- I just love the spirit these guys bring to the games.

And they medal big-time. Shaun White and Danny White just tore it up with their fakey-to-fakey 900s and frontside 1080s, taking gold and silver.

And Hannah Teter and Gretchen Bleiler of the women's team did the same.

2002 gold medalist Kelly Clark finished out of the medals, but put on performance in the finals that rivaled the men's competition -- flying higher and pulling maneuvers that set a new level for the women's competition. Only a fall near the end of her run dropped her to fourth place.

One Olympian I couldn't care less about is the over-amped, over-hyped Bode Miller, who has been washout in two events so far. Yesterday he was disqualified for running over a slalom gate.

The guy says the rules don't apply to him, stays out late before competition, and skips inspection runs, and now it's coming home. Personally, I think he's a punk.

Friday, February 10, 2006

So much for this being an exclusive Republican Scandal

AP via CNN and others report today that Senate Democract Leader Harry Reid -- you know, the guy who's been clucking about what contemptible greedheads the Republicans are for taking money from lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- is a big, fat, crap-spewing-from-every-orifice hypocrite.

Actually, what they said was Reid wrote letters on behalf of Abramoff clients , intervened on their behalf to stop the opening of casinos that would have competed with them, and received more than $68,000 from Abramoff and his partners.

Reid's office said there was no connection between the payoffs and Reid's actions. Uh-huh.

Meanwhile, Dem Party Chief Howard Dean is on the record in a Chris Wallace interview saying no Democrats received any money "directly" from Abramoff and performed no repugnant tasks on his behalf.

Oh well, he always has the insanity defense -- everyone will believe that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

sooo...what else is on....?

The Grammys are on T.V. tonight.

I don't care.

To quote Larry Norman, "I don't like what the radio plays. I don't like what the chart picks."

I won't be watching.

Maybe I'll read a book.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's next? 9/11 Humor?

That's nice. Reuters reports that an Iranian newspaper is running a Holocaust cartoon contest in retaliation for those Danish cartoons about Mohammed many Muslims find so offensive.

So let me see if I've got this right -- the muslims are offended because their prophet was maligned and God blasphemed. So the rational response is to make fun of the murder of 10 million people.

Yeah, I'd say let's chip in for some sensitivity training for the Iranians, or at least a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends And Influence People."

Hint: If you want respect, you have to be willing to give it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

And stay away from "lightbulb" jokes too...

Rioting continues in the Islamic world today over cartoons originating in Denmark that Muslims say denigrate Mohammed, Reuters reports.

There's the usual rioting and storming of European embassies and the like. The cartoons, one of which depicts the Prophet with a turban shaped like a bomb and another with Mohammed advising would-be suicide bombers that he's run out of virgins to reward them with, have been reprinted in newspapers throughout Europe and in parts of Asia.

You know, if you're going to insult someone's Lord and Savior, the best idea is to do it in the guise of art. Take a picture of Mohammed and suspend it in urine, then display the resulting "art" in a gallery. No one can get mad at that.

Why, you might even qualify for a government grant!

Just don't try that with a photo of a liberal icon, like JFK or Hillary.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Some T-Shirts are more newsworthy than others

Cindy Sheehan was ejected from the State of the Union Address last night for wearing an antiwar t-shirt that said "2245 Dead. How Many More?"

Beverly Young, wife of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, was also removed from the spectator's gallery for wearing a "Support Our Troops Defending Our Freedom" t-shirt.

Gee, I wonder who's gonna get more media attention on this.

The Associated Press story reported both incidents, but carried the headline: Police Remove Sheehan From Bush Speech.

The USA Today story doesn't mention Ms. Young until much lower in the story, as an update. A Washington Post story doesn't mention her at all, nor does the San Francisco Chronicle.

Neither does the New York Times, although they did carry an interesting quote from Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D), who said she didn't mean to make the president uncomfortable by inviting Sheehan to the event: "I didn't see [inviting Sheehan to attend] as a political statement at all."

Monstrous amounts of crap immediately starting from shooting from Ms. Woolsey's mouth, nose and ears.

Okay, that didn't happen. But it should have.

CNN online mentions both incidents, but still gives Sheehan top billing -- Ms. Young is mentioned in a subhead and then appears in the fourth paragraph of the story.